The Best Outdoor Activities in Costa Rica

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Catch Waves and a Sunset at Playa Jacó

Costa Rica / Playa Jaco, Costa Rica

There are hotels nearby, but if you are staying in San Jose this is a great day trip since it is only a couple of hours away by bus. Jaco is a big, wide open beach with room for everyone.

Eric Bennett
128 Saves

Explore Playa Espadilla Beach

Costa Rica / Playa Espadilla Beach

The beach just outside of Manuel Antonio National Park is called Playa Espadilla and you can camp here for free if you have a tent or hammock.

Eric Bennett
122 Saves

Hike the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges

Costa Rica / Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is just a short 15 minute drive from downtown La Fortuna.

Kelly Park
103 Saves

Hike Costa Rica's Cerro Chato

Costa Rica / Sendero Cerro Chato

Hiking the Chato Volcano, or Cerro Chato, is the perfect way to get an incredible view of neighboring big brother, Arenal Volcano.

Climb into the Terciopelo Cave

Costa Rica / Terciopelo Cave Ranger Station, Barra Honda National Park, Costa Rica

Riddled with stygian chambers much like the holes in Swiss cheese, Barra Honda is unique among Costa Rica's network of national parks.

Hillary + Matt
71 Saves

Hike Around Poás Volcano

Costa Rica / Poás Volcano Visitor Center

Poás Volcano was last active briefly in 2014, but most notably in 2009. It's one of the most active volcanos in Costa Rica.

Izzie Kirsch
68 Saves

Hike the Las Pailas Trail

Costa Rica / Las Pailas, Rincon de la Vieja

Rincón de la Vieja offers an immense variety of scenery and wildlife. The trail, Las Pailas, twists around the base of the volcano through jungle, geysers and low-dry foothills.

Lindsay Cameron
60 Saves

Hike to Nauyaca Waterfalls

Costa Rica / Nauyaca Waterfalls

With so much to explore in Costa Rica, I suggest you try and make time for Nauyaca Falls. You start by going to a small office on the side of Route 243 between Dominical and San Isidro.

Lara Paul
57 Saves

Hike to La Fortuna Falls

Costa Rica / La Fortuna Trailhead, Costa Rica

This is a nice 1/2 day trip.

John Maurizi
52 Saves

Hike Cerro Chirripó

Costa Rica / Parque Nacional Chirripo Entrance (Rivas)

It's 4:55 a.m.

Chelsea Hohn
39 Saves

Swim at Llanos de Cortez, Costa Rica

Costa Rica / Cataratas Llanos de Cortez

Llanos de Cortez is a hidden gem in the northwestern portion of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste region.

Ashley Barlow
31 Saves

Surf Playa Negra

Costa Rica / Playa Negra Beach

Compared to its more famous neighbor Tamarindo, Playa Negra feels worlds away from the tourist crowds and beach hawkers.

Will Cebron
26 Saves

Relax at Playa Conchal, Costa Rica

Costa Rica / Playa Conchal

Concha is the Spanish word for "shell" and as the name states, you will find the whole beach is made up of tiny sea shells.

Gustavo Quiros
12 Saves

Relax in Punta Leona, Costa Rica

Costa Rica / Punta Leona

Punta Leona is a peninsula located south west of San Jose and Alajuela. Head west towards Punta Arenas, then south on interstate 34.

Gustavo Quiros
10 Saves

Relax at Playa Barrigona

Costa Rica / Playa Barrigona, Costa Rica

This was the very first beach I found off the radar about 15 years ago.  Every year I travel to Costa Rica, I make a point to return to Barrigona.

John Maurizi
8 Saves

Relax at Playa Corozalito

Costa Rica / Playa Corozalito, Costa Rica

I have been to many beaches in Costa Rica. I have never experienced a beach as beautiful (yet) as this one. The approach to the water is a gradual, barely noticeable ease into the ocean.

John Maurizi
5 Saves