Costa Rica for


Costa Rica is a nirvana for outdoor adventurers. Local operators are constantly pioneering new activities, so there are always fresh opportunities for thrill-seekers to test their mettle, plus staples from scuba diving to white-water rafting to zipline canopy tours.

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t Flying above the canopy, harness and helmet strapped in place

Soar Through the Canopy

Pioneered by biologists wanting to study Costa Rica’s forests without leaving a footprint in the 1970s, ziplining is now an eco-tourism staple. Adrenaline junkies can go whizzing hundreds of feet above the forest floor across the country. Many national parks have facilities for ziplining, but Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, in the Northern Zone, combines ziplining with an aerial tram, a rather more sedate way of seeing the canopy from the inside.

Surf’s Up!

A surfers’ paradise, Costa Rica is blessed with epic waves and a host of surf schools to choose from. Board masters can test their moves at “Salsa Brava”, over razor-sharp coral reefs off Puerto Viejo or the two-minute perfect break that stretches from Pavones. Novice surfer? Take a lesson from the renowned Witch’s Rock Surf Camp ( at Tamarindo.

Into the Deep

Although it has few coral reefs, the awesome opportunities for diving with big pelagics makes Costa Rica a major scuba center. Boat out to Isla del Coco with Undersea Hunter ( to swim with hammerhead sharks. Alternatively, take the plunge off the Islas Murciélagos, in northern Nicoya, to get nose-to-nose with huge bull sharks.


Costa Rica’s oceans teem with game fish, from snook to sailfish. Sportfishing is fantastic year-round, although prime spots depend on the season. Boat operators in Quepos and Parque Nacional Tortuguero will get you out to the right spot at the right time to hook the big one.

Chasing Big Water

Costa Rica’s world-class white-water rivers offer thrills alongside outstanding natural beauty. Head to Río Pacuaré, with its large flows and roiling waves, to snatch up a paddle with top-pick Aguas Bravas ( for a heart-thumping guided high-water run.

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Hidden Gem

Lost River

Take a hike into Río Perdido (“Lost River”), in darkest Guacacaste, and you’ll come across three waterfall rappels and multiple climbing routes into a slot canyon. A Tarzan swing gets you over the abyss. Screaming encouraged.

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