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Rafting in Costa Rica

Things to do in Costa Rica

A pocket-sized link in the chain connecting North and South Americas, Costa Rica promises travelers a range of outdoor activities that sweep across cloud forests, active volcanoes, tumbling rivers, and wild beaches. Touring the Arenal National Park, you can discern the rumblings of the region's perfectly conical volcano and negotiate the hanging bridges in search of numerous bird species. At Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, a three-hour cruise along the Rio Frio could put you in sight of sloth, caiman, lizards, tropical birds, monkeys and turtles. Or, fly through the treetops of the Selvatura Forest on a zipline, glimpsing birds and monkeys among the canopy.

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Michael, an Audley Travel specialist

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Ideas for experiencing Costa Rica

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know Costa Rica, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

  • Aerial tram, Costa Rica

    Arenal Rainforest Sky Tram and Trek

    Arenal Volcano

    Enjoy a peaceful gondola ride above the Arenal rainforest and take in the breathtaking views of the volcano and the still, blue lake. Choose to return back to your starting point the same way or via the Canopy Tour; an exhilarating zip line through the forest canopy.

  • Howler monkey

    Rain Forest Aerial Tram

    San José & Central Valley

    The 2.6km long ride lasts about 90 minutes and takes you on a fascinating journey through the canopy which is one of the most biologically diverse rainforests in Costa Rica.

  • Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica

    Arenal Volcano Hike

    Arenal Volcano

    This easy and manageable hike will allow you to enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano as you walk along the base of this marvelous 'Mountain of Fire'. See recent lava flows and rock formations and learn about the big eruption of 1968.

  • Isla de Cano, off Osa Peninsula

    Caño Island


    Caño island has great archeological significance as it was used as a cemetery and a permanent pre-columbian settlement. You can still see pottery remains and some almost perfectly round stone spheres made by the Indians.

  • Resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rica

    Quetzal Walking Tour

    San Gerardo de Dota

    The famous Resplendent Quetzal is seen in San Gerardo de Dota year round but April and May are the best months to spot the striking birds.

  • Canopy Walkway, Arenal

    Arenal Hanging Bridges Natural History Tour

    Arenal Volcano

    Follow the hanging bridges through the Arenal rainforest canopy and the walking trails along the forest floor to spot numerous bird, animal and plant species. Clearings and open spaces in the forest canopy offer a glimpse of the magnificent Arenal Volcano in the distance.

  • La Fortuna waterfall, Volcan Arenal

    Cerro Chato Hiking Excursion

    Arenal Volcano

    Ascend through dense primary forest, which is home to a huge variety of flora and fauna, to the summit of Cerro Chato - Arenal Volcano's 'older brother'. Finish this half day walk with a refreshing swim at La Fortuna Waterfall.

  • Turrialba, Costa Rica

    CATIE Agricultural Research Station


    Enjoy a guided tour of CATIE, one of the leading tropical and agricultural research stations in the world. Walk the winding paths, spotting many tropical bird, insect and reptile species along the way, and learn about the cutting-edge research and techniques being used by the centre.

  • Cloud-forest, Monteverde

    Selvatura Walkways and Canopy Ziplining

    Monteverde Cloud Forest

    Explore the Selvatura cloud forest from a unique perspective. Follow the canopy walkways through each different level of the forest and traverse the exciting zip lines through the trees.

  • Monteverde sunset

    Monteverde Night Tour

    Monteverde Cloud Forest

    This fascinating night tour allows you to see the wildlife around Monteverde quite literally in a different light. Spot a huge variety of nocturnal animals, including insects, tarantulas, snakes, sloths, sleeping toucans and bats.

  • Rio Celeste Waterfall

    Tenorio Volcano National Park Hike

    Tenorio Volcano

    This hike on the slopes of the Tenorio Volcano, takes you to some of Costa Rica's most striking sights, such as the Rio Celeste Falls and up to the top of the volcano. You therefore need to be in pretty good shape and enjoy hill walking to get the most out of it.

  • Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica

    Eco Termales Hot Springs

    Arenal Volcano

    The Eco Termales hot springs are a beautiful sanctuary surrounded by nature. The smallest of the hot springs in the Arenal area, Eco Termales is perfect for privacy and relaxation.

  • Turrialba, Costa Rica

    Canyoning in Turrialba


    Explore the dramatic Puente Vigas Canyon with an experienced climber and guide. Rappel down cascading waterfalls, climb down vertical canyon walls, zip line through verdant forest canopies and witness the raw natural beauty of the Turrialba region.

  • Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica

    Cacao Plantation Tour

    Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

    Visit a working cacao plantation and enjoy a guided tour, learning about the whole process of turning Costa Rican cacao beans into one of mankind's favorite foods - chocolate.

  • Red-eyed tree frog, Costa Rica

    Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

    Arenal Volcano

    The Cano Negro refuge itself is located 25 kilometers south of Los Chiles in the northern area of the Alajuela province, approximately a two hour drive from Arenal. It has been declared a site of international importance for the nesting of migratory birds and occupies an area of 9,969 hectares in the Río Frío Basin.

  • Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica

    Arenal Volcano National Park Tour

    Arenal Volcano

    Embark on a journey of exploration through the beautiful Arenal Volcano National Park, spotting unique flora and fauna along the way and learning about the activity and history of the still-active Arenal Volcano.

  • Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

    Half Day Quad Bike Tour

    Arenal Volcano

    This half-day quad bike tour combines adrenalin and adventure with incredible wildlife and tropical forest, all set within the shadow of the majestic Arenal Volcano.

  • Three toed sloth near Arenal, Costa Rica

    Peñas Blancas River Floating

    Arenal Volcano

    Drift silently along the Peñas Blancas river, which winds through lush, verdant forest, and see a huge variety of wildlife including monkeys, sloths, iguanas, tortoises, crocodiles and several types of birds.

  • River-rafting

    Sarapiqui River Rafting

    Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

    This trip takes in some of the best grade II and III rafting on the Sarapiqui river and offers a more gentle rafting experience than some of the other river trips in Costa Rica. Wildlife such as toucans, cormorants, kingfishers and howler monkeys can be spotted along the water's edge.

  • Crossing Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

    Lake Arenal Kayaking Excursion

    Arenal Volcano

    Take to the water of Lake Arenal in your own kayak and explore the shores to spot a multitude of different bird species, and perhaps hear the unmistakable call of a howler monkey.

  • Canopy walkway at Selvatura

    Selvatura Walkways

    Monteverde Cloud Forest

    See the Selvatura Cloud Forest Reserve from a totally unique perspective via a system of raised canopy walkways.

  • River-rafting, Costa RIca

    Pacuare River Rafting

    San José & Central Valley

    This heart-thumping trip takes you along the Pacuare river's grade III and IV rapids, which wind their way through stunning virgin rainforest where a huge diversity of animals, birds and butterflies can be seen along the river's edge.

  • La Selva Biological Station, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

    La Selva Biological Station Birding Tour

    Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

    The diversity of species here is spectacular, including more than 1,850 species of plants, 350 species of trees, 448 species of birds, and approximately 500 species of ants.

  • Horse-riding, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

    Pozo Azul Horse Riding

    Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

    Many Costa Rican's will tell you that the horse is the ultimate "all terrain vehicle" and that the best, most comfortable way to experience the rain forest is on the back of a well trained horse!

  • Cafe Britt Coffee Show

    Café Britt Coffee Excursion

    San José & Central Valley

    Traditionally dressed guides will take you on an interactive tour around the six acres of coffee fields, tropical gardens and coffee processing facilities. The volcanic views from the plantation are spectacular along with those of the Central Valley.