Costa Rica Adventure & Nature Vacations

Whether your focus is on experiencing the warm and friendly Tico culture through a volunteer project, the heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping adventure activities or seeing as many animals as possible in their natural habitats, we have tours that focus specifically on these elements. We want to know what gets you excited!

Our knowledgeable Costa Rica itinerary design specialists will apply their years of experience as adventure guides to design the perfect trip to fulfill your goals for the trip. We can focus these itineraries on visiting National Parks or around a specific sport like white-water paddling or mountain biking.

Our Costa Rica Adventure & Nature Vacation Itineraries

If you are looking for out-of-the-ordinary Costa Rica adventure vacations, then you’ve come to the right place. These itineraries are very unique, often include overnight adventures and are great for those who want to experience Costa Rica’s best adventures! If you are looking to combine some volunteer work with your travel, we can help you with that as well. These volunteer trips work especially well for families with older children. They are ideal for those who are making a return visit to Costa Rica. Review our adventure and nature vacation itineraries below, or customize your own trip.

Avid Explorer Costa Rica Vacation Itinerary

Avid Explorer/Traveler

Turrialba -> Pacuare River -> Arenal -> Drake Bay

Travelers looking to embark on this unique adventure will experience a wide range of Costa Rica’s natural environments. This itinerary includes a heart-pounding descent on the white-water rapids of the Pacuare River, before traveling north to the “Adventure Capital of Costa Rica” where you can go Canyoning, waterfall rappelling and soak in the natural hot springs of Volcan Arenal. The trip ends with an in-country flight to the Osa Peninsula where you will explore the intense Corcovado National Park from the land and water!


Spirit Trekker Itinerary - Canyoning in Costa Rica

Spirit Trekker

Tree of Life -> Dominical/Uvita -> Drake Bay

This adventure takes you deep into the Southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica. From the SJO airport you will travel south to begin a adventure in the mountainous jungle overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Osa Peninsula. You’ll trek up into the mountains where you will remain for a couple of nights participating in daytime activities like rappelling down waterfalls and cliff-jumping into pristine river pools. The accommodations are very natural and the guides are one-of-a-kind. After you time in the mountains you can choose to go directly to the Osa Peninsula or stop off in Dominical for a night or two to check on the waves and do some surfing. Ultimately, you will take a boat ride to the Osa Penisnsula where you will go snorkeling, hiking and see a massive array of wildlife before returning to the SJO airport on an in-country flight from Drake Bay.


Tico Panama Vacation Itinerary

Tico-Panama – A Piece of Panama

Turrialba -> Pacuare River -> Cahuita -> Bocas del Toro, Panama

For those who want to truly experience the Caribbean side, this adventure starts in the mountains on the Caribbean slopes of Costa Rica with an adrenaline filled rafting trip through the primary rainforest and down the Pacuare River. This river trip takes you most of the way to the Caribbean Coast to the quiet fishing village of Cahuita. You will explore the remote beaches and their tide pools along with the National Park and its abundance of wildlife. You will then cross the border of Panama where you will be driven to a boat, which will take you to Bocas del Toro and Isla Bastimentos. You will stay here for a few days soaking it in. The scuba diving and snorkeling is incredible here and the accommodations are out of this world! You will return directly to SJO by way of in-country flight.


Adventure Volunteer Costa Rica Vacation

Volunteer-Adventure Travel

Arenal -> Manuel Antonio

The philanthropic traveler will enjoy this unique travel experience, which visits both the mountains and beaches on the western side of Costa Rica. You will spend two days donating your time to a wonderful cause. At the same time you will be able to practice your Spanish and integrate into the culture of Costa Rica as you volunteer at a local school, orphanage or wildlife center and gardens. You’ll have plenty of time to take in adventures and enjoy the beaches as you travel on this itinerary.


Steps to Secure Your Adventure & Nature Trip to Costa Rica

1. Call (314) 808-7232 or Contact Us via Email

Review the Adventure & Nature sample itineraries. Tell us with an email or phone call which itinerary(s) you like. Email us some details about: Who is going on the trip? What time of year will you travel? What will be the duration of your travels? We can begin personalizing the vacation and will set up a time to speak over the phone.

2. Itinerary Design Process

A personal conversation is an important element as the itinerary process begins. We completely understand that these trips are large investments of time and money. We want to speak with you to personally ensure that our upscale services are a good match for your Costa Rica adventure itinerary. The CRE itinerary design team is available and able to speak over the weekends and in the evenings. Based on a quick intro telephone call, CRE can begin to create an itinerary. When the preliminary itinerary & price range is ready it will be sent to you for review.

3. Sample Itineraries & Revised Itineraries

The itinerary design team will continue to personalize your vacation’s price point and inclusions based on your feedback and wishes. This process will continue as the details are finalized as the time leads up to your trip’s departure date. You will be notified of due dates for your itinerary’s inclusions as they present themselves.

4. Flight & Airline Info

Costa Rica Escapes doesn’t include airfare in our Costa Rica vacations. CRE can give industry knowledge & airline advice on the best airfare during the planning process, but it will be up to the individual traveler(s) to purchase the tickets. You do not have to have your airfare purchased before or after you contact us. At some point, travelers need to email CRE their flight information. CRE will work to customize the trip around the purchased flight times.

5. Deposit & Applications

When you are ready to secure your itinerary, we will request a deposit and application to move forward in the process. Together we can organize a schedule of deposits. We will request a sufficient amount to begin. After a deposit is processed, the details for your itinerary’s accommodations will be shared with you through an email.

6. Confirmation of Reservations for Accommodations

When a deposit has been processed, CRE will verify availability for chosen accommodations and share these details with you. You can research & reconfirm lodging and send CRE your thoughts. This gives everyone the chance to discuss the accommodations and provide feedback. CRE almost always exceeds expectations for accommodations with the travelers that we work with, because we take a great deal of pride in the accommodations that we select for our travelers.

7. Detailed Itinerary Emailed One Week Before Your Trip

7 days / 1 week, before your trip’s starting day, you will be emailed a day-to-day, Costa Rica vacation itinerary, which details all of the instructions and information needed to implement your self-guided, Costa Rica adventure vacation.


What Our Clients Say:

You set up an incredible adventure vacation that my boys will never forget. I don’t think you missed a detail. I can not thank you enough. It was the greatest family adventure trip we have ever done. Thank you! — Matt

Ready to Plan a Costa Rica Adventure & Nature Vacation? Contact Us!

  • Planning Tip: Please include your phone number. We want to respect your time. A quick phone call is a mutually beneficial way to start planning your dream trip to Costa Rica!

  • Please tell us how we can help you plan a trip to Costa Rica. Our trips start at $1,500 per adult, which includes your lodging, in-country transportation, and many of your activities and meals.
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Questions from Adventurers & Nature Seekers Traveling to Costa Rica

  • Is Costa Rica safe? – Yes, Costa Rica is very safe. Over the recent decade, Costa Rica has grown in popularity as a major international destination for adventure & nature seekers. There are a plethora of hospitals and healthcare clinics with educated and bilingual staff throughout the country. Costa Rica does not have a military and very little violent crime. Travel insurance policies are affordable and readily available from reputable North American agents. Service suppliers, transportation agencies and adventure outfitters and are well equipped and regulated. Guides are trained in basic first aid as well as advanced wilderness medical care, but as always it is very important to use your resources to connect you with these best-prepared service providers.
  • Is Costa Rica safe to drive in? Yes, if you are using professional private, semi-private or public transportation companies. In order to increase safety and decrease your stress level, we strongly recommend that you do not rent a car on your Costa Rica vacation. Driving rules in Costa Rica are very different than other places. State of the roads along with directional signs and lighting on roads are not always in great shape or very trustworthy. The expense of a rental often exceeds the cost of private transportation which comes with less responsibility, too.
  • When should we purchase airfare? Airfare can be purchased at any time during the planning process and even before reaching out to us. CRE can assist in the airfare purchasing process with industry advice and ideas, but CRE does not purchase airfare as parts of our Costa Rica itineraries.
  • Which airport(s) in Costa Rica should we use? In Costa Rica there are two main airports. You can use one or both airports on your travels. This is determined by the type of experience that you want to have during your Costa Rica adventure travel trip. We will share our creative thoughts on this with you in the planning process.
    1. LIR, Liberia, Guanacaste: located in the Pacific Northwest portion
    2. SJO, San Jose, Juansantamaria located in the center of the country just west of the capital
  • Do you offer travel insurance? Yes, we have a preferred provider that we promote.
  • Is there an emergency, in-country contact? Yes, along with an in-country contact, you will have all information for all of the suppliers that you will be working with during your travels.

Every year, around three million people visit Costa Rica either for business or pleasure, but mostly for pleasure. There are so many reasons for all of those visitors to come to this small country. One of them and a significant one is the opportunity to have a memorable adventure vacation.

White Water Rafting

In Costa Rica, there are adventure activities for all levels of adrenaline needs. Just think about it. Costa Rica has two oceans, five active volcanoes, a complex mesh of rivers, five different mountain ranges that cross the country from border to border, and mountains as high as 12,000 feet. In Costa Rica, you can hike, mountain bike, white water raft, rappel, zip line, surf, windsurf, dive, snorkel, climb, and more.

But because the offer is so vast, it is very easy to get lost in the numerous offers there are out there. We want to share with you some advice on what to look for when you are trying to find that unique tour to have a Costa Rica Adventure Vacation.

And if you are traveling with your kids, we have prepared this separate article to help you find the right match for your family adventure vacation.

What to Do in Costa Rica for Adventure?

As previously mentioned, the adventure activities you can find in Costa Rica are many and very varied. We at Costa Rica Explorations, have our favorites and want to share them with you.

Let’s start by talking about Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica. To visit Chirripó means a 12+ mile long trail with a 6,000-foot elevation gain that will take you through very different landscapes, like cloud forest and tundra. This hike can be done in one day if you are in perfect physical shape. But if you want to take it a bit easier as you enjoy everything this destination has to offer, you need to spend at least one night at the shelter located at 10,000 feet.

Now, we can’t talk about adventure vacations in Costa Rica without mentioning the most famous biodiverse destination, Corcovado. Hiking inside this national park is a treat, giving visitors the opportunity to incredible encounters with monkeys, wild peccaries, tapirs, and even jaguars. The good thing about Corcovado is that it is not reserved only for those capable of hiking in through two 20+ km trails since you can fly in or take a boat in.

Another must-do adventure activity in Costa Rica is white water rafting in the Pacuare River. This fantastic river not only offers visitors incredible rapids level III and IV, but also an astonishing rainforest scenery.

Now, when it comes to Zipline and canopy tours, Costa Rica is the place to go; after all, it is where it all started. There are so many of these tours in Costa Rica, so before you settle for one, make sure to visit our canopy tour blog post to help you pick the right one.

Canopy Tour

We have also mentioned that Costa Rica has a lot to offer when it comes to volcanoes and mountains. Just imagine visiting Poas Volcano, one of the biggest craters in the world and an active volcano. Another active volcano you can visit is Rincón de la Vieja. At this national park, you can see bubbling mud and small geysers surrounded by incredible dry forest and wildlife.

As you can see, the problem here is not what to do, but what to choose from, and that is why we invite you to let us help you plan the perfect and unique adventure tour that will fit your adrenaline needs and dreams.

Where to Stay in Costa Rica for Adventure?

If you’re looking for the area of Costa Rica that has the right amount of adventure, we also have our list of favorites.

Because of its remoteness and beauty, Drake Bay in the Osa Península is one of our favorites. From here, you can hike Corcovado, snorkel and dive the Caño Island, deep-sea sport-fish, mountain bike, rappel, and much more. But what’s even better, you can enjoy amazing lodging too.

If you want to have a chance to surf and enjoy fantastic food, we always love to recommend Dominical. This community in the South Pacific of Costa Rica offers excellent hiking, and many other adventure activities involving waterfalls, rivers, and mountains.

Now if you are looking to enjoy the power of a volcano, Arenal is the place to visit, where hot springs will relax you after enjoying some great adventures.

What Does A Unique Tour for A Costa Rica Adventure Vacation Look Like?

If you like the activities and the places that we’ve suggested so far, take a look at some of the adventure vacation itineraries we’ve created:

Those itineraries are our way of showing you what we love to do. Still, the beauty of working with us at Costa Rica Escapes is that we are ready to customize the perfect trip for you.

Are Adventure Resorts Adventurous?

In our opinion, resorts and mainly all-inclusive resorts, are not the more adventurous nor authentic way to travel. We do understand why one can decide to book a trip to one of these types of destinations. Still, if you are looking to have an adventure in Costa Rica, we advise you to try to stay away from them. Resorts and all-inclusive resorts have been created to please the mass majority of travelers, which means sacrificing a unique and authentic experience.

What to Do With Passport During Adventures in Costa Rica?

When traveling around Costa Rica, we suggest you leave your passport in your hotel room safety box. Also, carry with you either a photocopy or a picture of the front page and the page with Costa Rica’s entry stamp of the passport.

Find more Costa Rica travel tips and Costa Rica safety information to help you better plan your trip.

What adventures are the most authentic?

Costa Rica is all about wildlife and nature. Any of the adventure activities and destinations we have suggested in this post are as authentic as it gets in Costa Rica. But if you want to find not only authentic but the right fit for you during your vacation in Costa Rica, let us help you by organizing the trip for you.

What adventures are most dangerous?

Any adventure activity that you decide to engage in has a level of risk and danger. Accidents can happen at any moment and place. But during your travels around Costa Rica, you have to consider that the majority of adventures are related to the natural world. Therefore, you’re at the mercy of mother nature.

If danger is your middle name, consider these activities. Keep in mind that all of these are actually quite safe as long as proper precautions are taken.

  • Canyoning (waterfall rappelling)
  • White water rafting
  • Off-trail hiking (we do not recommend for vacationers!)

Something as silly as a bite from a bullet ant, or as serious as falling during a rock climb, can hinder your experience in this tropical country, so remember to always travel with good travel insurance and ask for expert advice when deciding which adventure tour operator to hire.

Corcovado National Park Hikers

What adventures are the least dangerous?

Like we mentioned before when it comes to nature, there is no guarantee. But if we have to suggest an activity that we consider to be the least dangerous, it would be hiking in high-ish traffic and well-maintained trails, where dangerous animals, like snakes, tend to stay away from.

Please browse our website to learn more about traveling in Costa Rica. Please contact us if we can help you plan the perfect trip for your family and friends in Costa Rica.