Where to Visit in Costa Rica for Adventure
This article will assist you in finding the best spots in Costa Rica for adventure and fun this Winter. Costa Rica is a beautiful Central American Country with coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean is one of the most biodiverse places in the World. The lush wild natural environment is easily accessible to adventurous visitors! This 5 day adventure trip includes visits to;
Central Costa Rica:
- Arenal Volcano National Park
- The town of La Fortuna
- El Silencio Nature Reserve
- La Fortuna Waterfall
- Baldi Hot Springs Resort
Mountainous (elevation 4662) Northwestern Region of Costa Rica:
- Monteverde Cloud Forest and Ziplines
- Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens
- Hanging bridge 500 feet high
Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica:
- Manuel Antonio National Park
- Marine exploration of Manuel Antonio National Park
- Manuel Antonio Beach
Costa Rica is a about 19,700 square miles or approximately the size of West Virginia or Denmark. There is a lot of natural territory to explore. The stops listed are some of the most popular tourist destinations. They are a great sampling for a first-time visit to Costa Rica.
5 Day Costa Rica Road Trip – Stops along the Way!
La Fortuna Area – Central Costa Rica
If you are enjoying this post about tropical adventure, you might like this post about Glamping in Maui!
1. Arenal Volcano The Arenal Volcano is located near the town of La Fortuna in the Arenal Volcano National Park in the Central region of Costa Rica. If you fly into San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, the drive to La Fortuna is about 3 hours and 30 minutes away by car.Remember that the roads in Costa Rica are not well maintained. Some regions have roads filled with pot holes and they can be extremely difficult to navigate…but.. the locals do it daily! I drove the entire trip, and it is a 4 out of 10 for ease of driving. The mountainous pot-hole ridden roads and the traffic on the main roads make for tedious driving.
2. & 3. Arenal Volcano National Park and The El Silencio Nature Preserve
The National Park is 29,960 acres and the volcano is in a resting phase since a 2010 eruption. The volcano rainforest and natural history tour takes you through the lush rainforest along the base of the Arenal Volcano. We hired a private guide and learned about the interesting plants and wildlife in the primary rainforest and the secondary rainforest of El Silencio Nature Reserve. At the end of the tour, we hiked up to the perfect vantage point to see the dramatic volcano and the clouds hovering around the peak.
If you would like to go on this same exact trip check out the dates Trip N Trek Travel Group has slated for 2020!
4. The La Fortuna Waterfall
The La Fortuna Waterfall is located about 30 minutes away from the Arenal Volcano National Park and is a short scenic 15 minute hike down to the 200 foot perfect waterfall. You can swim, picnic and enjoy the lush setting. Wear sturdy shoes as the hike back up is pretty steep! There is an $18 fee that is collected by a local non-profit that supports local conservation. The parking lot is a bit hectic, but the scenery is well worth it.
5. Baldi Hot Springs Resort
Baldi Hot Springs Resort is located close to the town of La Fortuna and is the perfect spot to relax after a day of hiking and adventure. The gorgeous lush setting is situated on 4.5 acres, and offers 25 different types of hot spring pool options. The average temperature is 104 degrees. You can easily spend 3-4 hours lounging, and they offer a delicious buffet and the usual spa treatments for an additional cost. We opted for the day pass as we were staying in the quaint town of La Fortuna. A bit touristy, but not too crowded when we arrived. Definitely worth the stop for relaxation.
6. Town Center La Fortuna
Costa Rica is leading the way in sustainable tourism. We were lucky enough to find a reasonably priced hotel in the town center of La Fortuna. Hotel Las Colinas is a charming boutique hotel which is owned by a local family and is committed to sustainable tourism. It offers a local vibe with small rooms and an open air courtyard with a fun bar area. The room prices are in the $60 range and the rated includes a traditional breakfast.There are many restaurants within walking distance in La Fortuna. We made dinner reservations for our group of 9 and dined at Chifa La Familia Feliz. They served traditional Peruvian food which was served in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I ordered the ceviche and it was fresh and delicious. I highly recommend this restaurant as an option in La Fortuna.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve
7. Monteverde Cloud Forest – Ziplining
Our next stop was the Monteverde Cloud Forest which is approximately 4 hours South ( But a higher elevation!) of La Fortuna. You will think yo are lost on certain portions of the road, but if you have downloaded Google Maps offline, you will eventually arrive in the Cloud Forest. Aventura Canopy Tours boasts the longest zipline in Latin America at .9 miles long! The 15 ziplines are situated along a path in the cloud forest with platforms in between and an incredible staff. The experience was exhilarating and we felt safe despite dangling high above the forest. I’ve ziplined in other locations, but this was just breathtaking and like nothing I’ve experienced before. Well worth the $57 admission for an adult. Don’t forget to add on the Tarzan swing option at 148 feet!!
8. Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens
The biodiversity of this unique habitat is greater than almost any other ecosystem and makes a visit here one of the highlights of any Costa Rican journey. You’ll see butterflies of all colors- red, orange, yellow, and lots of Blue Morphos, Costa Rica’s national butterfly.The hummingbird garden is also a sight to see. There are fifteen different species of hummingbirds that are housed in this beautiful open area
9. Hanging Bridges
The Monteverde hanging bridges are up to 500 feet high, and great for bird watching and seeing other interesting plants and wildlife. Note that the bridges are an additional fee and about a 2 mile walk. Definitely worth it for getting the feeling of walking in the tree tops in the mountains of Costa Rica!
Manuel Antonio National Park
10. Nature Trails, Boat Tour & Wildlife Manuel Antonio National Park
Arrive early at the National Park, and be aware of vendors posing as National Park officials. We paid to park and determined a legitimate and approved tour guide to take us on a 2 hour wildlife hike. The sloths are really high up in the trees, and you will need a guide with a high powered telescope to see them. We did, and they are so amazingly cute.The endangered white – faced capuchin monkeys do not feel endangered in the Park. They are unfortunately all over the beach area and are very aggressive in taking food. Take precaution and put away your food as soon as you are finished. The tour felt a bit touristy, but it was well worth getting to see the birds, insects and mammals native to Costa Rica.
The beaches at Manuel Antonio Natonal Park are spectacular. They are consistently rated the top beaches in the World. That rating comes with a price…they are busy. Despite being busy, you can enjoy a day on the beach and take in the gorgeous scenery on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.The two main beaches inside the park, Espadilla Sur Beach and Manuel Antonio Beach are about a 30-minute hike from the main entrance of the park. Playa Manuel Antonio is best known for its spectacular views, but if you’re looking to beat the crowds, venture a bit further down the main trail to Playa Espadilla Sur.
A boat tour exploring the rugged rocky coastal perimeter of Manuel Antonio National Park was the perfect ending to our day. The boat tour took us to a popular snorkeling spot and we jumped off the diving platform into the warm waters. The best part & finale to an incredible trip was the magical sunset over the Pacific.
Costa Rica is one of my favorite tropical trips. This country offers so much to do and see. The challenge will be seeing enough of this gorgeously biodiverse country. You will definitely want to travel back and experience other regions not mentioned above.This trip included a great sampling of some of the most popular sites in a short amount of time. It will be a busy trip with hours of driving on pothole-filled roads, but… If you are a traveller who wants to do more than sit at a tiki bar and read on the beach, Costa Rica would be the perfect spot for you this Winter!!Oh…and did I mention how delicious the coffee is, and how inexpensive & scrumptious the food is? I’ll save that for another post.