Best Costa Rica Tour Companies

Search 130 Costa Rica tour operators and travel companies, with 906 reviews.

Exodus Travels

Exodus Travels

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Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel

Collette

Charlie The Traveler

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Contiki

Project Expedition

Discover Corps

Discover Corps

SITA World Tours

SITA World Tours

On The Go Tours

On The Go Tours

The Vacation Project

The Vacation Project

WB Surf Camp

WB Surf Camp

Perillo Tours

Perillo Tours

Green World Adventures

Green World Adventures

Costa Rica Monkey Tours

Costa Rica Monkey Tours

Sierra Club Outings

Sierra Club Outings

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten

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Costa Rica Reviews & Ratings

A wonderful trip.

Thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. We saw so much wildlife from sloths and monkeys and even an anteater to scarlet macaws and toucans, as well as the elusive quetzal...

Wonderful holiday!

I would recommend this well organised holiday to anyone who wants to explore the diverse landscapes of Costa Rica, as well as see a wide range of wildlife - sloths...

A tropical paradise.

Overall we had such an amazing trip. Our tour guide was fantastic and one of a kind. He really knew his stuff and went the extra mile above and beyond for the grou...

I really wanted to see a Tapir!

Our third visit to Costa Rica was everything we expected and more (sadly we didn't see a tapir - but that was the only disappointment!). The trip is full on - if y...

Coastal secrets of Costa Rica

I had booked this trip to celebrate "big birthdays" for both me and my daughter, so my expectations were high and this fantastic holiday exceeded my expectations. ...

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Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

The Best Tour Companies in Costa Rica

Costa Rican volcano

The first country I traveled to outside of the United States was Costa Rica , which was immensely popular back then with US travelers. It was beautiful, it was safe , and English was widely spoken. It enabled Americans who weren’t used to traveling a way to wade into the world.

These days, it’s even more popular.

It attracts huge numbers of expats, digital nomads, yoga practitioners, surf school attendees, backpackers, birders, hikers, and adventure enthusiasts. More and more people are buying property and moving there.

If you’re thinking of visiting, one of the best ways to get a better sense of it is by taking an organized, guided tour. Tour operators in the country are not just for groups led by a local holding an umbrella in the air. They cover all sorts of travelers, regardless of age or travel style. My first trip to Costa Rica was on a tour and it was not a big bus, cheesy tour that we usually think of when it comes to tours. There were a ton of adventure and cultural activities.

Group tours act as a nice primer so that when you travel on your own, you’ll have a better understanding of the place.

If you’re thinking of traveling to Costa Rica with a tour company, here are the ones I recommend:  

1. MY FAVORITE COMPANY: Intrepid Travel

Intrepid is my go-to tour company. I’ve been on their tours in a few different countries and always have a great time. Their tours are small group tours that focus on sustainability and local culture. They offer about twenty trips that take you all around the country, hitting the famous – and not so famous – attractions. If you’re a solo traveler, you won’t feel out of place as they always have tons of solo travelers on their trips.

Intrepid’s tours that include Costa Rica range from a nine-day “classic” tour for $1,460 USD per person to a 59-Day Ultimate Central America Experience starting at $6,550 USD.

Learn more about Intrepid Travel’s Costa Rica tours here!  

2. Costa Rica Expeditions

Since 1978, this company has been arranging and offering a slew of guided tours around the country. Rather than providing pre-set tours that you simply book and go on, they create tailor-made itineraries based on a questionnaire you fill out in advance.

Pricing for tours with Costa Rica Expeditions depends on the length of your trip and the activities you want to do, so it all depends on how you answer their questionnaire (packages start at $250/day per person).

Learn more about Costa Rica Expeditions here!  

3. Green World Adventures

Proud owner of the prestigious Certificate of Sustainable Tourism from the Costa Rican Tourism Board, this 12-year-old tour operator offers eco-themed adventures for luxury lovers, families, adventure-savvy folks, and nature enthusiasts.

Its 13-day highlights trip literally goes from coast to coast , zigzagging through the country to give tour-takers experiences on kayaks, horses, boats, beaches, and volcanoes, allowing you to submerge yourself in all things “pura vida.”

Trips through Green World Adventures start at $762 for a five-day volcano-and-cloud-forest extravaganza and go up to $6,693 for extreme luxury vacations.

Find out more about Green World Adventures here!  

4. Greenway Nature Tours

Offering up to 40 different experiences in Costa Rica, this two-decade-old company has something for just about everyone. Whitewater rafting, bus tours, helicopter rides, private shopping tours, hot-springs-and-chocolate-eating excursions, crocodile-viewing adventures, coffee farm visits, full-day fishing extravaganzas, and thermal spa visits are among many of the activities that you can book.

Greenway tours start as low as $1,225 for the 8-day “Affordable Costa Rica Vacation Package” and can reach as high as $4,700 for a 14-day immersive safari.

Learn more about Greenway Nature Tours here!  

5. Foodie Tours Costa Rica

This company offers food-based tours that are designed to entertain, educate, and fill you up on delicious Central American fare. Guides often take you back to the origins of Costa Rican cuisine and go all the way up to contemporary gastronomy.

The “Farm-to-Table Essential Gastronomy Experience” is a fantastic and delicious introduction to the local cuisine. The 3.5-hour experience takes you around the restaurants and cafés of San José , where you’ll meet chefs who explain the various concepts behind each dish.

For something more extensive, their two-day $295 USD food tour takes you into the countryside where you’ll visit an organic farm, learn about traditional Costa Rican cooking methods, and make your own dishes (including chocolate)!

Learn more about Foodie Tours Costa Rica here!

Costa Rica is an amazing, beautiful country. It’s also bursting with amazing, affordable tours for every budget and interest. By taking one, you’ll not only get a deeper sense of the place by having an expert local guide introduce you to their homeland, but you’ll feel safer venturing into the rainforest with someone who knows what they’re doing.

Book Your Trip to Costa Rica: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay in the country are:

  • Arenal Backpackers Resort (Arenal)
  • Rocking J’s (Puerto Viejo)
  • Pura Natura Lodge (Manuel Antonio)

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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panoramic view of the Poas Volcano with its aquamarine caldera surrounded by rocky cliffs in Costa Rica

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17 best costa rica tours of 2024: zip lining & more.

Dive into this natural paradise on these exceptional excursions.

The 17 Best Costa Rica Tours

two toucans on branch touching beaks

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While known for its vast species of wildlife, lush rainforests and gorgeous waterfalls, Costa Rica can be difficult to navigate when you're not a local due to its rough roads and dispersed attractions and activities . Opting for a guided tour may be a simpler option that yields a richer experience. To help, U.S. News compiled this list of the top tours based on traveler opinion and expert input. Whether you want to experience Costa Rica's wild side while zip lining or indulge in its famous chocolate, you'll find an excursion on this list that suits your needs.

Adventure Tours Costa Rica – Tour de la Paz

Price: From $35 per passenger to $95 per driver Duration: 3 hours

Discover Costa Rica's rainforests, waterfalls and beaches on this ATV excursion that begins and ends in Jacó . Along the way, you'll make several stops for photos and even have the chance to jump off of a waterfall. Tour-takers enjoy the knowledgeable guides and amazing scenery. They also recommend bringing plenty of water with you.

Tours operate several times each day between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Drivers must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver's license. No open-toed shoes are allowed. The company recommends bringing bug spray, sunscreen and a swimsuit. ATV Adventure Tours offers a wide variety of tours, including kayaking, rappelling and horseback riding.

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El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour

Price: From $85 Duration: 4.5 hours

Sail across a nearly mile-long zip line near Manuel Antonio National Park while enjoying breathtaking views on this trip. During the tour, you'll ride 10 zip lines in total, cross hanging bridges and walk nature trails. The excursion also includes round-trip transportation from your Manuel Antonio or Quepos hotel , lunch and all safety equipment. Travelers say they feel safe during the whole trip and that the zip lines are awesome. Many add that the included lunch is tasty.

Participants must be at least 4 years old. Those who are pregnant are not allowed to go zip lining. Tours run daily at 8 and 11 a.m., and there may also be a 2 p.m. tour available in select months.

Costa Rica Waterfall Tours – The Explorer Tour

Price: From $79 Duration: 4 hours

On the Explorer Tour, you'll be driven up a mountain in a four-wheel-drive vehicle before hiking through the company's private rainforest reserve along a river, across bridges and to natural pools and waterfalls. Along the trek, there will be opportunities to swim, sit under the rushing water and jump from the top of the falls. Tours are limited to 12 people. Patrons say this tour is a must-do. They appreciate not only swimming in the waterfalls, but also the informative guides who point out local flora and fauna. Be sure to bring water, a swimsuit and shoes that can get wet.

Tours are available daily at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The company also offers ocean-based excursions and explorations through Costa Rica's canyons, among other options.

Desafio Adventure Co. - Rafting Class 2-3 Balsa River

Price: Adults from $80; kids from $72 Duration: 5 hours

Participants highly recommend this waterlogged adventure, praising the guides, delicious food and the scenery. This adventure begins with pick up from your accommodations to drive you to Desafio's private put-in on the Balsa River. You'll paddle for 6 miles down the river and experience mild Class II and III rapids (which are ideal for first-timers and children). After the rapids, you'll get a buffet lunch.

Trips depart daily at 10 a.m.; participants must be at least 8 years old. Also know that sturdy, secure shoes are required (no flip-flops). The company runs a myriad of adventurous outings, including rafting in stronger rapids and canyoning.

Green Vacations Costa Rica – Nature Lover Combo 1

Price: Adults from about $172; kids from $129 Duration: 9 hours

Ideal for those looking to explore the wild side of Costa Rica, this tour lets participants experience three of the top outdoor excursions in the nation. Cross 15 hanging bridges (perfect vantage points for spotting wildlife), climb up and down a waterfall, and take a hike that offers stunning views of the Arenal Volcano . Reviewers recommend this tour and say they enjoy spotting wildlife. They advise bringing water shoes for the challenging stairs by the waterfall.

Tickets include pickup and drop off from La Fortuna, as well as admission fees and lunch. Tours run at 7 a.m. daily. Green Vacations Costa Rica offers many tours, including a river hike and a volcano hike.

Best Costa Rica Tours

Rainforest Chocolate Tour

Price: Adults from $30; kids from $21 Duration: 2 hours

Satisfy your sweet tooth and learn all about chocolate, including its history, its origins and the production process on the two-hour Rainforest Chocolate Tour. You'll also learn about the ceremonial chocolate drink of the Mayans and of course, enjoy a sample of organic chocolate. Chocolate lovers say they learn a lot about chocolate on this tour and enjoy tasting the various samples.

Tours, which take place in La Fortuna, are available at 8 and 10 a.m., as well as 1 and 3 p.m.; reservations are required. All ages are welcome.

Native's Way Costa Rica – Guachipelin Adventure Combo

Price: Adults from $109; kids from $100 Duration: 12 hours

Ideal for travelers who want to experience the adventurous pursuits Costa Rica is known for, including zip lining and river tubing, this tour is a hit with reviewers. Along with a variety of heart-pumping activities, the trip includes a buffet lunch, a volcanic mud bath and a dip in hot springs. Tour-takers say they feel safe and that guides are helpful. They also appreciate the stop at the hot springs as the tour's finale.

Tours depart daily at 9 a.m. If you want round-trip transportation from the company, your journey will be around 6:30 a.m. (to allot time for driving before the tour) and you'll pay extra. Native's Way Costa Rica operates a variety of other tours, including excursions to the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve , fishing, scuba diving and more.

WAVE Expeditions – White Water Rafting Class II and III

Price: Adults from $78; kids from about $70 Duration: 6 hours

Families will appreciate this rafting experience on the Balsa River that takes travelers through mild Class II and Class III rapids. Ideal for participants ages 8 and older, the trip takes travelers out on the water for about two hours. A break filled with fruit and swimming opportunities allows you to take a better look at the surrounding flora and fauna. After rafting, enjoy lunch at a country estate. Participants rave about their experienced guides and say the trip is perfect for novice rafters.

Tours are available daily at 10:30 a.m. In addition to whitewater rafting, WAVE Expeditions also offers river float trips and tours that combine a variety of activities, including horseback riding and hiking.

Pure Trek Canyoning – Canyoning Tour

Price: From $105 Duration: 4 hours

Rappel and rock climb in a waterfall canyon that's filled with wildlife on this thrilling tour near La Fortuna. Depending on the time of day, participants enjoy a traditional lunch either before or after their tour. Families say this tour is great for kids, that they feel safe and highly recommend the "monkey drop" portion (rappelling to the canyon floor).

Children must be at least 5 years old to participate. Round-trip transportation from La Fortuna hotels is included with your ticket. There is a morning tour at 7 a.m. and another tour at noon. This tour is also available as a private excursion. The company also offers whitewater trips combined with zip line tours, among other options.

Arenal Mundo Aventura – Big Ama

Price: Adults from $75; kids from $57 Duration: 3 hours

Fly high above La Fortuna Waterfall via zip line on this adrenaline-fueled excursion. You'll also sail along 12 zip lines leading you through canyons and whizzing over treetops. Participants say the views are amazing and that they feel very safe throughout.

Kids must be at least 3 feet, 10 inches tall and weigh 55 pounds to participate. Tours operate at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. There is a minimum of two people required to book the tour, and transportation is included for some area locations. Arenal Mundo Aventura hosts a variety of zip lining, hiking, rappelling and bird-watching tours.

Callidryas Tours – Sloth Tour

Price: Adults from $60; kids from $30 Duration: 3 hours

Discover sloths in their natural habitat on this walking and driving excursion. A naturalist guide will lead you on a mission to find as many sloths as possible; the company even guarantees you will see wild sloths. In addition to the tour's namesake, you could also see toucans, frogs, iguanas and monkeys. Participants rave about the number of sloths spotted on the tour and praise the guides.

Transportation and snacks are included with your ticket. Tours begin at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Callidryas Tours also operates an Arenal Volcano hike, as well as a frog-watching night walk and various other hikes.

Horse Trek Monteverde – Mountain and Farm View Costa Rica Horseback Ride

Price: From $49 Duration: 2.5 hours

During this horseback ride, you'll traverse through winding, rugged paths and along the cloud forest with fantastic views and bird sightings along the way. Those who have limited experience riding horses say they feel comfortable on this ride and praise the guide's passion for horses.

Children must be at least 6 years old to participate. The maximum weight to ride is 200 pounds. You do not need previous riding experience. Rides are available in both the morning and afternoon, with pickups from Monteverde-area accommodations at 8:30 a.m. and between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Horse Trek Monteverde offers a variety of horseback riding tours in different settings.

Best Costa Rica Tours

Costa Rica Jade Tours – Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Group Tour

Price: Adults from $59; kids from $49 Duration: 3 hours

Discover the diverse flora and fauna of Manuel Antonio National Park, including its beaches, coral reefs and rainforest, with an in-the-know local by your side. During the trip, guides share the park's history and information about the park's inhabitants, including monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans and more. Reviewers say guides are incredibly knowledgeable and that they see lots of wildlife on the tour.

Tickets include round-trip transportation from Quepos City. Tours, which have a maximum of 10 participants, start at 7:30 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. The company also operates tours all throughout the country, including Jacó, Arenal Volcano and Guanacaste , among other locales.

Don Olivo Chocolate Tour

Price: From $30 Duration: 2 hours

Explore a cacao tree farm, sample handcrafted chocolate and hot chocolate, as well as fresh fruit grown on the farm on the Don Olivo Chocolate Tour. Participants will also learn about cacao trees, plants and seeds and how they are made into chocolate. Tourgoers find the experience interesting and say there is a lot more to see, learn and sample on the tour than just chocolate.

Tours are available daily at 8 and 10 a.m. as well as 1 and 3 p.m.; participants should reserve their spots in advance by contacting the company online.

Sunset Sails Tours

Price: From $95 Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours

Sail along the Manuel Antonio coast on this cruise past area islands and Manuel Antonio National Park, spotting dolphins, sea turtles, stingrays and (possibly) whales along the way. You'll also have the opportunity to snorkel and enjoy a gourmet meal on board. Throughout the trip, guides share information about marine life. Reviewers say that the crew is personable, the boat clean and comfortable, and the food excellent.

Tours start at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets include transportation from hotels in Quepos and Manuel Antonio, snorkeling gear, a meal and snacks.

Lazy Lizard Sailing – Tropical Sunset Tour

Price: Adults from $90; kids from $70 Duration: 4 hours

Sail along the Costa Rican coast from the Guanacaste province aboard a catamaran with a stop for water activities like snorkeling, kayaking or swimming in a secluded inlet on this cruise. Afterward, enjoy a picnic-style lunch and beautiful views of the sunset. Reviewers say the food served on board the cruise is delicious, and describe the sunset as stunning.

Tours are available at 2 p.m. daily; the company also offers private catamaran tours.

Bahia Aventuras – Hiking Corcovado National Park Day Tour

Price: Adults from $150; kids from $95 Duration: 8 hours

Travelers can explore the vast biodiversity of Corcovado National Park on this tour, which features a guided nature hike about two hours long. The adventure also includes a picnic lunch at San Josecito Beach. After lunch, tourgoers will take another, albeit shorter, hike. Tours depart from Punta Uvita beach and you'll get to Corcovado National Park via boat (you could spot dolphins, whales and turtles). Participants applaud the tour for the knowledgeable guides and variety of wildlife on view. They also recommend motion sickness medication for the boat ride.

Tickets include entrance fees to the park. The tour is not recommended for children younger than 4 and people who are pregnant. Tours start at 7:30 a.m. and require a minimum of six people to embark. Bahia Aventuras offers a range of tours, including whale watching, snorkeling and sport fishing.

You may also be interested in:

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10 Best Costa Rica Tour Operators 2024 [Unbiased & With Reviews]

10 best costa rica tour operators 2024.

Are you planning to visit Costa Rica, but unsure which tour provider to select? Now, you no longer have to waste time searching the internet and filling out dozens of contact forms. Simply fill out ONE form, we’ll send it off to multiple tour providers and they’ll contact YOU! You’ll be able to compare rates and find the lowest cost tour for the most affordable trip abroad

Get Free Quotes From 10 Best Costa Rica Tour Operators

Has a captivating adventure in the far away jungle paradise of Costa Rica been a dream of yours? Would you like to experience exotic animals, pura vida culture, and beautiful scenic views? Are you interested in booking a tour with one of the top 10 Costa Rica Tour Companies for a safe and fun filled trip?

Many people often mistake Costa Rica and Puerto Rico as being the same place. In reality, Costa Rica is a landlocked nation and is highly regarded as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Throughout the 5 provinces of Costa Rica, you can find charming locals and stunning volcanic mountains. You can also explore the east and the west coast! There are thousands of excursions of every kind and you have so many options when it comes to fun and exciting things to do. The time you spend in Costa Rica may even convince you to retire in paradise. No matter what you are interested in seeing, there is a great tour company that can help you achieve your dreams.

As you begin to research different tour opportunities, you will come to find out that there is a lot of research to go through and hundreds, if not thousands of tour companies offering their services. Investing in a tour on your vacation is a big decision and in many cases, a large monetary choice. You should be investing in a tour that will give you a life changing and memorable experience. Being able to safely choose a company comes with knowledge and we are here to ensure you are well informed about tours in Costa Rica.

We would hate for you to accidently pay thousands of dollars to an illegitimate or lack luster tour experience. This could ruin your tour and even tarnish your vacation and there is an easy way to avoid this. We have spent many hours combing through different tour operators in Costa Rica in order to provide you with this in-depth guide on the best options for you. Everything you need to know is found below!

Here is an unbiased list of the Top 10 most reputable Costa Rica tour operators.

Table update Jan 16, 2024

Jaguar Rescue Center

The Jaguar Rescue Center is an institution that provides shelter and care to abandoned, ill or orphaned animals. Through organizing public and private tours of their sanctuaries, they have risen to become one of the best tour operators in Costa Rica. In their sanctuaries, you will get an extremely rare opportunity to observe endemic animals in their natural habitat. You can even interact with animals and adopt them!

Founded by two biologists, Encar Garcia and Sandro Alviani, they established the Jaguar Rescue Center to share their deep love and admiration of animals to other people as well. You can go on a well-guided tour of the Jaguar Rescue Center and have the most memorable wildlife experience in Costa Rica.

Jaguar Rescue Center Best Costa Rica Packages

The Jaguar Rescue Center organizes private and public tours of their institution on a regular basis. You can go on their Public Tour of the JRC Sanctuary and have a unique experience with animals. For 1 and a half hour, interact with rare animals like sloths, monkeys, toucans and many more on this guided and informational tour.

They also offer a Private Tour of their sanctuary that you can book beforehand. This tour can be tailored according to your preferences and you can have an even more intimate experience with the friendly animals! You will also be guided by a professional bilingual tour guide.

Lastly, you can also choose to stay at one of their Jaguar Inn Bungalows . Experience the secluded areas of the jungle and even visit two beaches that are just a minute’s walk away!

Jaguar Rescue Center Reviews

The Jaguar Rescue Center is one of the best-reviewed Costa Rican tour companies and they have done respectable work in preserving wildlife. With 6,496 reviews on TripAdvisor, they are the very best when it comes to providing quality tours. They are also ranked as #1 of 71 Outdoor Activities in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. They were awarded the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023. A satisfied customer wrote this about them:

The tour was amazing! The guides were very knowledgeable and you could tell they really cared about the animals there… Isaac M

Read all reviews of Jaguar Rescue Center on TripAdvisor .

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Desafio Adventure Company

Desafio Adventure Company

Desafio Adventure Company is the best tour company in Costa Rica that provides premier tours and transportations at an affordable cost. They have over 30 years of experience in adventure tourism in Costa Rica. They specialize in group and family tours and have customized their services so that tourists of all ages can enjoy their services. They also have an extremely professional set of staff that ensures you have the best time in Costa Rica. Their organization skills and detailed itineraries are remarkable and deserve recognition. Your trip to Costa Rica will become one of the highlights of your life with Desafio Adventure Company!

Desafio Adventure Company Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

From extreme adventure sports to relaxing cooking classes, Desafio caters to all your travel needs with their extensive list of tour packages.

Have a genuine Costa Rican experience as you go canyoning in the Lost Canyon . Fulfill your adventure needs as you rappel down a 200ft waterfall. You will also get a guided tour of the El Salto Swimming Hole in this package.

For the ultimate Costa Rican adventure, you can choose their Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Package . You will be provided high quality gear and professional guides on this thrilling adventure. End the day with an all-you-can-eat buffet!

For a more relaxing option, you can go birdwatching in the Arenal Volcano region. You will get truly immersed in the natural life as there are over 840 bird species to witness on this trip!

Desafio Adventure Company Reviews

Ensuring quality time spent with their customers, Desafio Adventure Company has risen to be a top-rated Costa Rican tour operator. With over 4,200 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor, they are ranked as #9 of 63 Boat Tours & Water Sports in La Fortuna de San Carlos. Their quality service has landed them the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award of 2023. A customer that toured with them recently wrote:

The trip was one of the best organized in Costa Rica . Thanks to our guide Crystal we not visited best location for birds watching but also learned a lot… Sightseer20787377916

Read all reviews of Desafio Adventure Company on TripAdvisor .

Go Tours Costa Rica

Go Tours Costa Rica

Go Tours Costa Rica was founded by passionate Costa Rican natives committed to conserving natural resources. They aim to craft unforgettable vacation experiences to all visitors that tour with them. Their friendly approach and fantastic services has earned them the rank of being one of the best travel agencies in Costa Rica.

The team at Go Tours is extremely helpful and wants you to experience the cultural and natural richness of their land. They emphasize personalized service and ensure utmost satisfaction for your vacation.

Go Tours Costa Rica Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

Their commitment to crafting you memorable experiences is reflected in their detailed travel and tour packages. If you are traveling with your family to Costa Rica, you can book their 5D/4N Costa Rica Best Attractions and Destinations package. You will enjoy a wonderful time touring around Manuel Antonio National Park and engage in fun activities like hiking and zip-lining.

Among their day tours, one of their best is the Arenal Volcano Mega Combo Tour . Enjoy breathtaking view of volcanoes and waterfalls, zip-line through a rainforest and relax in hot springs in this mega package.

Also, you can visit the famous Monteverde Cloudforest and Hanging Bridges . Observe exotic wildlife in the cloudforest as you hike through hanging bridges and well-preserved trails.

Go Tours Costa Rica Reviews

Go Tours Costa Rica is a highly-respected tour operator in Costa Rica whose nature and adventure tours are recommended by many tourists. They have 4,255 reviews on TripAdvisor, most of which are 5-star ratings. They are also ranked as #1 of 12 Tours & Activities in Santa Ana. A past customer of theirs wrote:

Our guide Augustine was fantastic and the tour was wonderful. Our driver also did a great job!! We loved it… Doug B

Read all reviews of Go Tours Costa Rica on TripAdvisor .

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Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park

Vista Los Suenos Adventure Par k is a travel agency in Costa Rica that specializes in extreme adventure tourism. Established in 2008, they have served more than 300,000 customers to the date. Their services range from zip-lines and ATV tours to horse-back riding and hiking. They have a team of extremely skilled and trained guides that ensure your safety and comfort at all times. Covering a large area nearby Jaco, Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park is a fitting option for those that want an electrifying vacation in Costa Rica.

Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

It does not matter if you are a nature-lover or an extreme adrenaline seeker; Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park has something for everybody!

If you have ever dreamed of swinging on jungle vines just like Tarzan then the Tarzan Swing package is just the thing you need! Vista Los Suenos offers this thrilling experience that lasts an hour with professional guides and safe gear.

For a sightseeing tour, you can book their Exclusive Beach Day tour from San Jose . Snorkel in the first aquatic museum in Costa Rica and see crocodiles in their natural habitat in the Tarcoles River in this package.

If you don’t feel like adventuring out, there are still other things to do! You can go on their Chocolate Experience tour where you can taste different kinds of chocolate and fruit. You’ll also be informed by a bilingual guide about the chocolate and cocoa production process.

Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park Reviews

Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park has established itself as a leading Costa Rican travel agency that appeals to thrill-seekers and nature-lovers both. Their 4,111 reviews on TripAdvisor is a testament to their great success. They are ranked as #5 of 172 Tours & Activities in Jaco and were awarded the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023. A customer satisfied with their service wrote:

Great attraction. We did the zip line and ATV adventure. Staff super friendly and knowledgeable, spoke excellent English. Very efficient operation… Travelling G

Read all reviews of Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park on TripAdvisor .

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

As the only oceanfront adventure park in Costa Rica, Diamante Eco Adventure Park is a top-rated, highest-reviewed Costa Rican tour operator. Their vision is to be the #1 tourist destination in Costa Rica by offering unique experiences that aren’t found elsewhere.

At Diamante Eco Adventure Park, they believe in values of conservation and safety. Their equipment meets international standards and all of their tours and activities are extremely safe and non-intrusive to its natural surroundings. With a team consisting of competent and professional individuals, the company wants to educate and entertain its customers through sustainable eco-tourism. Your trip to Costa Rica will become an unforgettable one with Diamante Eco Adventure Park!

Diamante Eco Adventure Park Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

As leaders of sustainable tourism, the company provides tour packages that are both fun and non-harmful to the environment. Visit their Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary where you will learn and interact with a large variety of animals. You will also be informed by licensed biologists about any inquiries you have on this tour.

If you are looking for a thrilling adventure, look no further than their Superman Zip Line Pass . Ride one of the longest zip lines in Costa Rica in true fashion like Superman. You will see spectacular views of the ocean and nearby forests while on the zipline.

Similarly, you can opt for their Costa Rica Cultural Experience Tour . In this package, you will visit a botanical garden that has local herbs and plants. Also see how they make chocolate, sugarcane and coffee in this culturally flavorful tour.

Diamante Eco Adventure Park Reviews

As pioneers of eco-tourism in Costa Rica, Diamante Eco Adventure Park has held its position as one of the best tour operators in Costa Rica. Over 4,000 reviews on TripAdvisor is proof of their commitment to nature conservation. They have also received the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023 and are ranked as #2 of 12 Outdoor Activities in Playa Matapalo. A customer that visited them in the past wrote:

Great place! We spent most of the day there. Loads to do. Zip lines are great! Great animals. Food was good. Staff are really nice too… Marine

Read all reviews of Diamante Eco Adventure Park on TripAdvisor .

Experience the charm of Uruguay with a trusted company. Here we have curated list of the 10 Best Uruguay Tour Operators , ensuring a delightful and enriching travel experience.

Arenal Rafting

Arenal Rafting

As the most experienced river rafting tour operator in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, Arenal Rafting is dedicated in bringing you an action-packed adventure. Their rafting tours are safe and exciting and will definitely be the highlight of your vacation.

The team at Arenal Rafting, led by Daniel Anchia, is made up of professionals when it comes to rafting. They will ensure your utmost safety while making sure you have the best time in La Fortuna. Their affordable rates and top-tier customer service make them one of the best tour companies in Costa Rica. Embark on an electrifying adventure with Arenal Rafting to experience the magnificence of Costa Rican rivers.

Arenal Rafting Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rafter, Arenal Rafting has tour packages that suit your specific needs. If you are a beginner, go on a Class III and IV rafting trip to the Rio La Balsa . You will be fully equipped with safety gear as you enjoy the thrilling rapids of the river on this 5 hour ride.

For their most challenging adventure, they offer white water rafting in Rio Sarapiqui . Experience a thrilling ride down continuous rapids with an expert guide. You will also have time left over for lunch in La Fortuna!

Arenal Rafting also offers a combo package that consists of canyoning and rafting in the Arenal Volcano region. Start on a local farm and rappel down waterfalls. Then you’ll enjoy an electrifying adventure rafting on the Rio Balsa.

Arenal Rafting Reviews

Arenal Rafting is a highly-reviewed Costa Rican travel agency that has safety as its number one priority. They have 3,342 reviews on TripAdvisor. They are also ranked as the top #1 of 256 Tours & Activities in La Fortuna de San Carlos. They received the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023 for their exceptional service. A satisfied customer wrote:

Very good experience lots of fun splashes but still felt safe. Would definitely recommend with families and younger kids. Our guide Chizo was fun and experienced… Srinivasan K

Read all reviews of Arenal Rafting on TripAdvisor .

Wave Expeditions

Wave Expeditions

Wave Expeditions is a top-tier tour operator in Costa Rica when it comes to whitewater rafting and adventure tourism. The company was founded by Warner Baltodano and Vanessa Willing – both of them sharing a deep passion for the rivers of Costa Rica. The company started out as just as single raft and slowly evolved over a 14-year period to become one of the best rafting service providers in Costa Rica. The teams at Wave Expeditions, from chefs to tour guides, are incredibly efficient at their job and provide only the best services to their customers. Embark on a journey with Wave Expeditions and discover the wonders of the Costa Rican landscape.

Wave Expeditions Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

With over 200,000 satisfied customers on their list, Wave Expeditions provides only the most exciting tour packages for you to explore.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can book their Rafting and Waterfall Rappelling Adventure Combo . Rappel down majestic waterfalls with professional guides and safety gear. You will also be able to go rafting on level 2 and 3 rapids in this trip.

For an incredibly unique nature tour, you can opt for the Nocturnal Nature Safari Float package. Discover the nighttime ambiance of the Costa Rican wilderness as you quietly float down the Penas Blancas River. You will see all sorts of animals and birds like the long-nosed bat, iguanas, caimans etc.

Also, go on their Rafting and ATV Combo in Arenal where you will ride quad-bikes through the plains of Arenal Volcano. Then, the tour will move on to an exciting rafting expedition in the Balsa River.

Wave Expeditions Reviews

As one of the highest-reviewed travel agencies in Costa Rica, Wave Expeditions holds up to the highest standards of care and safety. Their 3,051 reviews on TripAdvisor are symbolic of their excellent service. They are ranked as #3 of 63 Boat Tours & Water Sports in La Fortuna de San Carlos. They were also awarded the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023. A recent customer of theirs wrote:

WAVE rafting was fantastic, from resort pickup to rafting and more. These people care about a fun guest experience and are always willing to help… LetsGo800

Read all reviews of Wave Expeditions on TripAdvisor .

Unearth the cultural treasures of Guatemala by choosing one of the 10 Best Guatemala Tour Operators , providing expert guidance.

Costa Rica Descents

Costa Rica Descents believes that conquering the thrilling rapids of the Costa Rican rivers is the best adventure you can have! As a local top-rated Costa Rican travel agency, they provide rafting classes as well as tours in various rivers near La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano. Through their customized excursions, they promise an immersive experience in the heart of nature.

At Costa Rica Descents, they value safety, innovation and cordiality and they treat their clients with the highest show of respect. They have a team of highly trained and educated tour guides that ensure a top-quality adventure. Under the guidance of Costa Rica Descents, you can embrace the full splendor of Costa Rica’s nature.

Costa Rica Descents Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

With Costa Rica Descents’ numerous tour packages, you are guaranteed to get the best personalized service and care. If you are on a family trip to Costa Rica, their Rafting Adventure on the Sarapiqui River is an excellent option for you to consider. You will get incredible views of the surrounding areas, experience thrilling rapids and even have time for a Costa Rican organic lunch.

They also offer a tour of an organic farm near La Fortuna . You can observe how local crops and food is grown, how pest management is done and even meet and interact with farm animals! For land adventure, consider their Rio Celeste Day Hike . In this tour, you will hike through the Tenorio Volcano National Park and see the colorful sights of waterfalls and hot springs. Since the hike isn’t physically challenging, it is available for all ages!

Costa Rica Descents Reviews

As a tour company in Costa Rica that upholds the highest travel standards, Costa Rica Descents has gathered a lot of respect and support. With over 2,900 reviews on TripAdvisor, they are ranked as #2 of 63 Boat Tours & Water Sports in La Fortuna de San Carlos. They also received the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023 for their amazing support and service. A satisfied customer said this about them:

Loved the repelling and rafting. We took our whole family, with 5 kids from 21 to 10 years old. Our guide Orlando, and others were amazing… Tyler B

Read all reviews of Costa Rica Descents on TripAdvisor .

Explore the unique landscapes of Bolivia with our recommendations for the 10 Best Bolivia Tour Operators , promising an adventurous journey.

Arenal Jungle Tours

As leading experts in hiking tours in the Arenal Volcano area of Costa Rica, Arenal Jungle Tours is there to provide you the best nature and wildlife tours of your life. They are one of the best tour companies in Costa Rica. Their quality of service and attention to detail exceeds other tour operators by a large margin. They provide packages at an affordable rate and their professional tour guides help customers in any way they can. Experience the biodiversity of Costa Rica in true adventurous fashion with Arenal Jungle Tours at your side.

Arenal Jungle Tours Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

Arenal Jungle Tours provides a large range of tour packages that cater to beginners as well as experienced hikers.

As one of their top-selling adventures, you should not miss out on the Waterfall, Volcano and Hot River tour package. In this 9 hour tour, you will see the breathtaking sight of La Fortuna waterfall, hike through rainforests and an ecological park. See all types of tropical wildlife and end your tour with a traditional lunch.

If you want to see the famous sloths of Costa Rica, the company also provides a Sloth Watching Trail . You will be accompanied by a naturalist guide. He will take you on a hike in the Costa Rican rainforest to see sloths in their natural habitat. Arenal Jungle Tours also offers spa services.

You can also join their spa session and a deep tissue massage . Feel all your tiredness wash away from your body as expert masseurs give you an excellent body massage.

Arenal Jungle Tours Reviews

As a leading Costa Rican tour operator, Arenal Jungle Tours ensures that their customers have the best experience while touring their country. Over 2,900 reviews on TripAdvisor mark how satisfied their customers are with their services. They are ranked as #5 of 207 Outdoor Activities in La Fortuna de San Carlos. They also received the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2023 for their satisfactory service. A past customer wrote:

Carlos was the best. A funny and informative tour. Got to taste so many things. Even managed to peep a sloth sighting and mating attempt. Pura vida… Patrick C

Read all reviews of Arenal Jungle Tours on TripAdvisor .

Paddle 9

Paddle 9 has been in operation since 2012 and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. As a well-respected travel agency in Costa Rica, Paddle 9 is well known as the waterfall excursion expert in Manuel Antonio. They are a full-service team of adventurers that have a knack for giving tourists an amazing experience.

This company was the first to begin offering Stand Up Paddle Boarding tours. They are pioneers in their field and offer services that are safe but will take you out of your comfort zone to ensure the perfect adventure. They are committed to providing you and your family the perfect vacation tour in Costa Rica.

Padddle 9 Best Costa Rica Tour Packages

Offering packages ranging from private tours to waterfall excursions, Paddle 9 will ensure that you have an amazing time no matter what you choose!

Go paddleboarding in the Damas Island Mangroves , one of Costa Rica’s most eco-diverse areas. In this tour, you will see the spectacular wildlife of the area while equipped with the latest equipment.

If you prefer kayaking, they also provide a kayaking tour in Manuel Antonio . You will ride their easy to use pedal kayaks and navigate the crystal ocean waters. Also get a chance to see secluded beaches that won’t be available on any other trips.

The wilderness of Costa Rica holds many wonders. Explore the Nauyaca Waterfall , one of the most impressive waterfalls in Costa Rica. You can hike to the top of this magnificent attraction or have a refreshing dive in the pool at the bottom. This tour also includes a picnic spot for lunch.

Paddle 9 Reviews

Paddle 9 has been in operation for a long time and over the years, they have garnered respect and credit for being one of the top Costa Rican tour operators in Manuel Antonio. With over 1,600 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor, they are ranked as #1 of 145 Tours & Activities in Manuel Antonio. They have received the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 203 for their amazing service. A satisfied customer that recently toured with them wrote:

Fun, safe, lovely guides. I’ve been taking my daughter on several of their tours with this company every year for about 7 years. It was always a great time spent… vianora v

Read all reviews of Paddle 9 on TripAdvisor .

Uncover the wonders of Brazil. Join one of the 10 Best Brazil Tour Operators , promising an unforgettable journey.

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the Americas that are completely safe for travel. Tourists of all ages and group sizes can enjoy the wonderful landscapes and natural attractions of Costa Rica without having to worry about crime.

The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season when the weather is dry and the sun shines spectacularly. From the months of December to April is prime-time to visit Costa Rica and see its natural wonders.

Costa Rica ranks as #2 in the American regions according to data presented by the WEF Travel & Tourism Development Index.

The best places to visit in Costa Rica for the first time are the cities of San Jose and Limon. From there, you can travel to the Arenal Volcano region or the Monteverde Cloud forest for its breathtaking sights.

One of the major attractions in Costa Rica is its beautiful natural parks. Costa Rica is also rich in biodiversity and is considered one of the richest eco-regions on the planet. Its secluded beaches are also popular among tourists.

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"From beaches to jungles to volcanoes, and all the weird and wonderful wildlife in between, I could never choose just one favourite place in Costa Rica. Relax and enjoy the pura vida, mae!"

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Visit Tortuguero National Park

A spectacular wilderness of rainforest, beaches and lagoons, Tortuguero National Park is filled with incredible wildlife. We’ll take you through the canals on a river boat to spot caimans, howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans, crocodiles and scores of bird species, plus endangered ocelots, river otters, manatees and six species of sea turtles.

View Arenal Volcano

One of the most active volcanoes in the world, rising to 1,670 metres over the lush rainforest, Arenal Volcano is a magnificent sight. Our Costa Rica vacations will take you up close to the volcano, from guided treks through old lava rocks, to ziplining on the slopes of the volcano.

Indulge in gourmet chocolate from the best cacao beans

Dive into Culture with Trafalgar, as we journey to San Isidro de Heredia, where you’ll meet master chocolatiers, Julio Fernandez and George Soriana. You’ll learn about the history and production of chocolate in their workshop, and sample some of the sweet delicacies made from the world’s best cacao beans.

Have Costa Rican lunch at a traditional working ranch

When you visit Costa Rica with Trafalgar, we’ll meet the people behind the country. Join Don Alberto and Doña Ana Quintana for a traditional Costa Rican lunch at their eco-friendly Hacienda Pozo Azul, a 2000-acre working ranch. You’ll learn about classic Costa Rican cuisine and life on a working farm.

Spot wildlife at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Take to the sky in Monteverde Cloud Forest, where you’ll join your Local Specialist for a walk through the rainforest along the treetop Sky Walk bridges. The forest is home to a staggering abundance of wildlife, with around 2.5 percent of the world’s species, including jaguar, puma, tapri, coatis, toucans and hummingbirds.

Our top 5 things to do in Costa Rica

From hiking up volcanoes to walking through treetops, our Costa Rica guided holidays take you to the heart of the country in ways you could never imagine.

Museo de Jade

Founded in 1977 by Fidel Castro, the Museo del Jade is an archaeological museum with a massive collection of pre-Columbian items. Located in San José, you can discover the world’s largest collection of American jade, along with ceramics, stone tables and ceremonial heads.

Museum of Costa Rican Art

With more than six thousand pieces of art, the Museum of Costa Rican Art holds one of the world’s largest collections of Latin American art. You’ll find pieces from artists like José Sancho and Max Jiménez, with paintings, sculptures and pieces dating back to the early 19th century.

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

The National Museum of Costa Rica is set in the Bellavista Fortress, built in 1917 with bullets still lodged in the exterior walls from the country’s civil war. The building became a museum in 1950, and today has an excellent collection of colonial furniture and pre-Columbian artefacts like ceramics and stone tables.

Best museums in Costa Rica

Our Costa Rica tour packages delve deeper into the history and culture of Costa Rica through their wonderful museums.

The tamale is a quintessential Costa Rican dish, made from dough filled with a mix of meat (like chicken or beef), corn flour and broth. The tamales are then wrapped in banana or plantain leaves, and although they are traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, our Local Specialists will show you where to taste tamales all year round.

Gallo Pinto

A beloved dish of rice and beans, Gallo Pinto is the pride of Costa Rica. The name translates as ‘spotted rooster’ and the local saying ‘mas tico que el gallo pinto’ means ‘more Costa Rican than spotted rooster’. It’s usually eaten at breakfast, but can be enjoyed throughout the day.

A classic staple of Costa Rican cuisine, casado is a dish of rice, black beans, salad, plantains and a tortilla, with an optional serving of meat like beef, pork, chicken or fish. The dish comes in many variations with added flavors like corn, eggs and avocado, and you can mix and match as you please.

Best food in Costa Rica

Full of fruits, vegetables, rice and beans, Costa Rican food is fresh and filling, and we’ll show you all the best places to taste the country’s most-loved dishes.

What to pack for Costa Rica

People packing for a tour

Spanish phrasebook

Learning a few Spanish phrases is highly appreciated and will make it easier to connect with the locals. The first Costa Rican saying to learn is ‘pura vida, mae!’

Waterproof coat

No matter where you go, it can rain at any time in Costa Rica. Pack a waterproof jacket and keep it in your day bag on your daily adventures.

Mosquito repellent

Costa Rica has plenty of mosquitoes, so to avoid any nasty bites from mosquitoes or other insects, bring a strong repellent with DEET (diethyltoluamide) and apply it regularly.

Adaptor plug

In Costa Rica, the standard voltage is 120 V and the power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Reef-safe sunscreen

Protect yourself from the harsh sun with SPF 30 or higher and protect the environment with reef-safe sunscreen. It’s recommended to bring your own, as sunscreen is expensive in Costa Rica.

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  • South America Tours
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Top Tour Operators and Travel Agencies in Costa Rica 2024/2025

Top Tour Operators and Travel Agencies in Costa Rica. Below you will find 24 of the best tour operators and travel agencies in Costa Rica offering in total 228 tours and holidays through-out Costa Rica. Combined they have received 915 customer reviews and an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars. The top tour activities offered in Costa Rica are: Wildlife, landscapes and nature, Adventure and sport & Beach, romance, getaways and relaxation.

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24 Tour Operators in Costa Rica with 915 Reviews

Green World Adventures

Green World Adventures

  • Address Calle 5, Avenida 1 & 3, Cartago, Costa Rica
  • Response Rate 97%
  • Response Time 2 hours

best tour companies to costa rica

  • Best-in-Class Top 5% of companies
  • Excellent Service Top 10% of companies
  • Superior Service Top 15% of companies

G Adventures

G Adventures

  • Address G Adventures Ltd, 60 Bastwick Street, London, England
  • Response Rate 90%
  • Response Time 1 hour

TruTravels

  • Address 6 Fife Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey,, London , England
  • Response Rate 84%
  • Response Time 3 hours

World Expeditions

World Expeditions

  • Address 1B Osiers Road, Wandsworth, London, England
  • Response Rate 81%

Destiny Travel Costa Rica

Destiny Travel Costa Rica

  • Address Urbanizacion La Pacifica Av 64 - Calle 49, San Francisco 2 Rios , San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Response Rate 95%

Costsaver

  • Address 33 Kern Road, Toronto, Canada
  • Response Rate 88%

Exodus Travels

Exodus Travels

  • Address Grange Mills, Weir Road, London, England
  • Response Rate 85%

Marvelus Travel

Marvelus Travel

  • Address Avenida Santander Zona 2 , Panajachel, Guatemala

Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel

  • Address 380 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Australia

Travel Talk

Travel Talk

  • Address 18 Exhibition House Addison Bridge Place, London, England
  • Response Rate 96%

Greenway Nature Tours

Greenway Nature Tours

  • Address Montelimar de Guadalupe, San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Response Rate 100%

Destination Services

Destination Services

  • Address Edificio TUI, SM2, Calle Rita Levi, Parc Bit, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Response Rate 98%

Collette Tours

Collette Tours

  • Address 162 Middle Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA
  • Response Rate 86%

Contiki

  • Address 38-51 Bedford Way, London, England

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Costa Rica Tours & Vacations

Travellers walking with tour guide in the jungle near Fortuna Waterfall in Costa Rica

Biodiverse, brilliantly colorful and naturally breathtaking, Costa Rica embraces a slower pace of life.

An adventure hotspot for some, a cultural haven for others and a tropical paradise for most, Costa Rica definitely lives up to its translation as the ‘rich coast.’ And as you journey under lush jungle canopies and through laidback surf towns, you’ll soon be rich with  memorable experiences.  Lean into the slower pace of life as you become a pro at spotting toucans in Monteverde’s  steamy cloud forests  or listening out for the distant whoop of white-faced capuchins in Manuel Antonio. The phrase ‘hustle and bustle’ isn’t in Costa Rica’s vocabulary, as you’d expect from a country whose unofficial motto is ‘ pura vida ’ – the pure life.

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Costa Rica at a glance

Capital city.

San Jose (population approximately 340,000)

Approximately 5.1 million

(GMT-06:00) Central America

CALLING CODE

Electricity.

Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)

Learn more about Costa Rica

Culture and customs.

Costa Rican culture can be summed up in two words: 'pura vida', or the pure life. It's a greeting, farewell and a way to show appreciation. Like any good life motto, pura vida is better experienced than explained. It means being friendly and polite, taking it easy and being thankful for what you have. Costa Ricans' carefree way of life, coupled with living in one of Central America's most progressive and prosperous nations, makes the locals some of the happiest in the world.

You'll find that people in Costa Rica are generally in less of a hurry than most North Americans or Europeans. Following what is affectionately known as 'Tico time', people will often be fashionably late, except for things with schedules – Tico time does not apply at work, the movies or the train station.

Costa Ricans (or Ticos and Ticas) are known for their conflict-averse nature. Peace is so highly valued here that their army was abolished in 1949, with all funds reallocated to create an 'army' of teachers instead.

History and government

Ancient history.

Like most Central American countries, indigenous communities thrived for thousands of years as hunter-gatherers, and it's believed that humans have lived in Costa Rica's jungles and rainforests for as many as 10,000 years. However, with no urbanized civilization like the Aztecs or Mayas, and little to no cultural preservation during the time of Spanish colonization, not much is known about Costa Rica's true indigenous populations.

Colonization, independence, and trade

At the time of Spanish colonization, it was estimated that 400,000 people lived in what is now known as Costa Rica. Christopher Columbus arrived in the region in 1502 on his fourth voyage, leading to the settlement of the first Spanish colony in Costa Rica.

As settlements grew, indigenous populations dwindled due to disease and forced labor. After around a century, the population had fallen to 20,000, and a century later, down to 8000.

In 1821, the Americas broke free of Spanish control following the Mexican War of Independence. Costa Rica became part of the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823 before gaining complete independence in 1838

Costa Rica eventually found its feet in the global coffee trade, and by the end of the century, coffee crops accounted for nearly 90% of Costa Rica's exports and 80% of its foreign income. Not only was coffee production an indicator of wealth in Costa Rica, it was also a powerful political tool prompting the emergence of other industries, including the banana trade, which surpassed coffee exports in the early 20th century.

Costa Rica's economy relies on eco-tourism, and the country has championed the idea that the 'rich coast' refers not to resources dug from the ground but to the natural wonders above ground. The easygoing attitude of Ticos comes from a love of their country and pride that their democracy has endured in a conflict-ridden region.

Eating and drinking

Costa Rican cuisine is wholesome and fresh, with influence from  Spanish ,  South American , and  Caribbean  culinary traditions. On the Caribbean coast, you'll find dishes with Afro-Caribbean flair, usually featuring more meats, spices and coconut milk. 

Capital city, San Jose, not only has an up-and-coming food scene but has established itself as the craft beer hub of Costa Rica. Enjoy seasonal samplings on a San Jose Bites and Sites tour with Urban Adventures 

Look out for these favorite dishes and drinks across Costa Rica:

What to eat in Costa Rica

  • Gallo pinto Gallo pinto, the most common side dish in Costa Rica and across the Americas is served alongside meals morning, noon and night. It’s made of rice, beans, onions, peppers and spices, and the name translates to ‘speckled rooster’ because of the pops of color in the rice.
  • Casado If you eat at a ‘soda’ or a traditional Costa Rican restaurant, when traveling, chances are a casado will be on the menu. Although there are multiple variations of this tasting plate, you’ll likely get served up some gallo pinto, fried plantains and salad with either chicken, beef or fish, and freshly squeezed juice, covering all your food groups in one.
  • Chifrijo Chifrijo is a common bar snack in Costa Rica. The word is a combination of its two main ingredients – chicharrones (fried pork rinds) and frijoles (beans). The chicharrones and beans are layered together and topped with guacamole and pico de gallo and served with fresh tortilla or plantain chips for dipping.
  • Ceviche While ceviche is probably more often associated with Peru, the Tico version is a delicious variation. Made with raw fish cured in citrus juice, onions, coriander and peppers and served with tortilla chips or fried plantains, this dish is light, refreshing and a great start to a meal.
  • Patacones Patacones are deep-fried green plantains that are ideal for a snack or as a dipping device for chifrijo, guacamole or pico de gallo.
  • Sopa negra Sopa negra is a Costa Rican black bean soup, often flavoured with tomatoes and spices and served with egg and coriander.
  • Rondon Rondon is a seafood chowder that comes from Jamaica. Other Caribbean countries who’ve adopted the recipe have put their own spin on it with their choice of seafood – fish, crab, small lobster – as well as the coconut milk broth and spices.
  • Arroz con leche Sweet tooths can rejoice with this Central and South American dessert staple of arroz con leche – a spiced, sweet rice pudding made with cinnamon, cloves and raisins. Try it as a warming snack or a special dessert.
  • Pejibayes This unusual fruit comes from a type of palm known as the peach palm – the same tree that heart of palm comes from. After boiling for a few hours and discarding the inner seed and outer skin, the fruit is finished with a squeeze of lime or a dollop of mayonnaise to eat the local way. The taste has been likened to a mix between a squash, potato and cashew.

What to drink in Costa Rica

  • Coffee Costa Rica produces some of the best coffee in the world, so you’re set for your caffeine fix during your time in Costa Rica. It has both the ideal soil composition and the perfect elevation to grow the perfect coffee crop, so be sure to sample as many fresh local brews as you can.
  • Alcohol If you’re looking for drinks of the alcoholic variety, try guaro – a liquor made from sugar cane, best enjoyed in a guaro sour (with lime, simple syrup and soda). The craft beer scene is growing quickly here as well, so look for microbrews from a multitude of small local breweries. And if you’re wondering how to say cheers, just say ‘pura vida’ again!
  • Naturales Naturales – sometimes also called refrescos or batidos – are delicious fresh fruit juices blended with either milk or water. You can find them all over the country at small kiosks or booths in a variety of flavors like mango, pineapple and guanabana.

Geography and environment

Costa Rica is known for its incredible beaches and magical rainforests. But the backbone of this coastal nation is truly stunning mountain ranges, many of which contain both active and dormant volcanoes. You’ll also find heaps of waterfalls, lakes and rivers throughout the country. For this reason, adventure sports such as zip-lining, whitewater rafting and cycling are popular in inland destinations such as La Fortuna and Montverde, and adventure-packed activities are a popular way to experience the country.

Get active on an  8 day Costa Rica: Hike, Bike & Raft trip

Costa Rica’s diverse topography is home to many microclimates, and the temperature and weather can vary dramatically depending on elevation and how close you are to the coast. Rainforests, cloud forests, jungles and mountains exist side by side. The varied land and climate foster over 5% of the world’s total biodiversity.

Witness ecological diversity firsthand on a  10 day Best of Costa Rica trip   Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 species of plants and animals. Those seeking to  spot local wildlife  will be enthralled by Costa Rica’s unique flora and fauna. And the spectacular variety of wildlife isn’t limited to the land – scuba diving is another popular activity, with Costa Rica boasting some of the most beautiful bays, beaches and reefs in the world.

Four of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica

  • Tortuguero National Park One of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets, this national park is the unspoiled paradise you’ve been searching for. Take a dip in Tortuguero’s warm turquoise waters or just relax on the idyllic shores
  • Manuel Antonio A true eco-playground, you can spend a day exploring misty rainforests and searching for sloths and monkeys before cooling off on one of the delightful beaches. Head into Quepos town for some good food and fiery nightlife after the sun sets.
  • Jaco Once a sleepy beach town, Jaco’s proximity to San Jose has made it a one-stop shop for those seeking big waves and even bigger parties. The gateway to national parks and  active adventures , there’s no denying Jaco’s uber-cool surf-town vibe.
  • Corcovado Well off the tourist trail, Corcovado isn’t your average beach experience. Boasting a diversity of colors, landscapes and wildlife, Corcovado is perfect for those seeking beaches with character and charm. Oh, and it’s got the largest primary forest in the American Pacific, if you needed another reason to visit. 

Whether you’re buying souvenirs or groceries, your best bet in Costa Rica is to shop at local markets. Head to the Mercado Calle Nacional de Artesania y Pintura (National Craft Market) in San Jose for the best selection of handmade goods and souvenirs. Here you can stroll through dozens of stalls selling handmade hammocks and painted oxcarts as well as t-shirts and shot glasses that say ‘pura vida’. San Jose's Mercado Central is also a great place to grocery shop and pick up souvenirs, and vendors offer everything from fresh produce to coffee to leather goods.

You’ll often see carved wooden masks for sale but, while all of them are beautiful, for a truly authentic mask, you should aim to buy directly from indigenous communities who make them.

As in any destination, check that any souvenirs made from natural materials have been ethically sourced. Avoid buying products made from rainforest woods that were not sustainably harvested,  sea turtle  shells and other animal products. Before heading home, check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand, for example, have strict quarantine laws regarding some materials, such as food and wooden objects.

Festivals and events

Costa Ricans definitely know how to throw a party, and place a lot of importance on food, family and community. Many Costa Rican festivals celebrate the country’s farming and ranch heritage, and a lot have a Catholic element. No matter which festival you’re celebrating, you’re pretty much guaranteed a deep dive into Tico culture. Here are a few of the biggest festivals in Costa Rica:

Las Fiestas de Zapote

This festival, celebrated from Christmas until New Year’s Eve every year in the town of Zapote, is a week-long fiesta. It’s home to the biggest rodeo in Costa Rica, many carnival games, as well as rides and food stalls.

Palmares Fiestas

After the festivities of Christmas, New Year’s and the Zapote festival have wound down, it’s time for the Palmares festival. In mid-January, more than one million Ticos and tourists head to the town of Palmares for one of the largest festivals in Costa Rica. Revelers drink beer, enjoy food, listen to international acts and watch traditional bullfighting and the ‘tope’ – a horse parade through the streets.

Fiesta de los Diablitos

The ‘Festival of the Little Devils’ is celebrated twice each year (in December and February) in the indigenous communities of Boruca and Rey Curre. The festival celebrates the triumph of the original inhabitants over the Spanish conquistadors, with dancing and performances featuring costumes and painted masks.

Limon Carnival

If you’re traveling to Costa Rica in October, you’ll probably find yourself in the festive spirit as you touch down, as this is the month of Carnival. Notably, it’s when the Caribbean town of Puerto Limon celebrates this annual festival, with elaborate costumes, floats, parades and food stalls aplenty, spread across two weekends.

Public holidays that may impact travel include:

Juan Santamaria Day

Guanacaste Day

Our Lady of Los Angeles Feast Day

Independence Day

Natural Cultures Day

Please note:  Costa Rica's public holidays may vary.

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your Costa Rica adventure, check out these books:

  • Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica – William Allen
  • The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica – Mavis Hiltunen Biesanz
  • Off the Map – Dorien Kelly
  • The Costa Rica Reader: History, Culture, Politics  – Steven Palmer and Ivan Molina
  • Mamita Yunai – Carlos Luis Fallas
  • Unica Looking at the Sea – Fernando Contreras Castro
  • Monkeys are made of Chocolate: Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica – Jack Ewing

Costa Rica travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Year-round tropical warmth means there really isn’t a bad time to visit Costa Rica. December to April are normally the driest months; however, Costa Rica’s diverse topography and blanket of rainforests suggest that you should be prepared for at least some rain any time of the year – a very small price to pay for such lush surroundings.

The good news is that even during the rainiest of seasons, the rainfall tends to be limited to a couple of hours a day – just enough time for you to enjoy a cup of Costa Rica's acclaimed coffee in one of its many cafes.

The most popular time to visit Costa Rica is between December and March – the driest and hottest months along the Pacific Coast. May to October brings the most rainfall across the country, but this is dependent on the region, as the wetter seasons are extended on the Osa Peninsula and northern sections of the Caribbean Coast.

Do you need a visa to travel to Costa Rica?

Generally, Costa Rica grants visas to most countries’ passport holders for a period of 90 days, providing travelers have a valid passport, a return or onward ticket and their trip is for leisure. Some countries’ citizens must apply for a visa before leaving their home country, but most do not.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of your tour itinerary for more information. This is for general information only and may be subject to change. It is your responsibility to obtain relevant visa and travel information required for entry, departure and travel to each country or region you visit on your trip. You should confirm these with the relevant embassies and/or consulates. 

Last updated: 14/12/2023

Is tipping customary in Costa Rica?

While tipping isn't mandatory in Costa Rica, rounding up the bill and leaving spare change at restaurants and cafes is standard practice. Many restaurants do add a service charge to the final bill which is usually a 10% gratuity; however, 500 colones (or around USD 1) of local currency is an appropriate extra amount.

What is the internet access like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica's cities and tourist centers have wi-fi and internet access available in hotel lobbies and internet cafes. Internet access is less available in rural and remote areas.

Can I use my cell phone while in Costa Rica?

Cell phone coverage is generally good in Costa Rica's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone while in Costa Rica, but, be sure to check with your service provider first to find out about any fees you may incur, as sometimes this can be expensive.

Costa Rica has one state-owned phone provider – Kolbi – as well as a selection of private companies, should you wish to purchase a SIM while abroad. Depending on what connection and coverage you need during your stay in Costa Rica, a prepaid option with one of these providers may be the cheapest way to go.

What are the toilets like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica's toilets are a mixture of flushable and squat toilets, so be prepared to encounter both. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap or hand sanitizer, as these aren't always provided.

Can I drink the water in Costa Rica?

Although tap water is considered safe to drink in Costa Rica's cities, it's probably a good idea to avoid drinking tap water in Costa Rica. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying small bottles of water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this, so you’re able to use a reusable bottle. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and to peel fruit and vegetables rather than eating washed or unwashed produce.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Costa Rica?

Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops, hotels, and restaurants, although smaller vendors and market stalls often only accept cash, so be sure to have a combination of both when traveling.

What is ATM access like in Costa Rica?

ATMs are easily found in large cities and airports, although are less common in rural and remote areas. When traveling out of the city, come prepared by having enough cash, as ATMs aren't always an option.

Is Costa Rica safe for LGBTQIA+ travelers?

Generally speaking, Costa Rica is a safe destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers. Same-sex relationships are legal and, in 2015 Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to recognize gay relationships; however, recognition of same-sex marriage is currently pending government approval. In many places in Costa Rica, public displays of affection might attract unwanted attention, but there are a few places in Costa Rica with a thriving LBGTQI scene. Quepos has long been known as the LGBTQIA+ capital of Costa Rica, and the actual capital, San Jose, has a good number of gay bars and clubs.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting   Equaldex  or   ILGA   before you travel.

If you are traveling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travelers who do not wish to share a room.

What is the weather like in Costa Rica?

Being in the deep center of Central America, Costa Rica gets hot and oh so humid. However, there’s a whole number of microclimates inside its borders – that’s a fancy way of saying that the terrain is pretty hilly – so depending where you are in the country, the temperature may fluctuate. Generally speaking, Costa Rica enjoys a tropical climate year-round with temperatures averaging at 64°F minimum and 81°F maximum.

Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast has tropical heat almost all year round. March is the driest and hottest month, and May to October brings the wet season to the region. The Western Central Valley, including cities like San Jose, indirectly follow the Pacific Coast’s weather trends.

The Caribbean Coast has pretty steady rainfall all year round with no distinct dry season. September to October and February to March are considered the best months to travel to this side of the country as they are drier than most, but still experience rainfall. The Eastern Central Valley usually follows a similar weather pattern.

Is Costa Rica accessible for travellers with disabilities?

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them toward the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Much of Costa Rica’s travel highlights are based around the coast and in nature, so depending on travelers’ level of mobility, this may present obstacles. Many national parks are difficult to visit for travelers using a wheelchair, as jungle paths are mostly remote and not stable. Manuel Antonio does have wider paths and more accessible routes to venture into the rainforest, and the wide boardwalks and beaches are wheelchair friendly. The capital, San Jose, is a bit tricky to get around, with rough sidewalks and a lack of ramps. There are, however, taxi companies in the capital that offer wheelchair-accessible vans.

If you do live with a visual, hearing, or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you, and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.

What to pack for a trip to Costa Rica

Packing for a trip to Costa Rica doesn't have to be difficult as long as you take into account the weather conditions you're likely to experience while you're over there. This means packing lightweight, comfortable clothing, walking shoes for exploring, appropriate sun protection items like sunscreen and hats, and a backpack so you can carry your camera and a reusable drink bottle. 

What language is spoken in Costa Rica?

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, however, there are five indigenous languages that are still spoken throughout the country, as well as a mixture of English, Portuguese, German, and French spoken by a percentage of the population. 

How do I stay safe and healthy while traveling?

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before traveling?

Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners, Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilize school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

Costa Rica Travel Life

Home » Travel Planning and Inspiration » 22 BEST Tours in Costa Rica that You Don’t Want to Miss in 2024

22 BEST Tours in Costa Rica that You Don’t Want to Miss in 2024

By Author Costa Rica Travel Life

Posted on Last updated: March 17, 2024

22 BEST Tours in Costa Rica that You Don’t Want to Miss in 2024

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Costa Rica is one of my favorite destinations in the world; this popular but small country is most famous for its varied and unique wildlife (think sloths , monkeys, and more!), natural beauty, and an abundance of awesome activities.

The truth is, there aren’t many countries where you can go ziplining and white water rafting one day and go whale watching or looking for turtles the next! Having spent a lot of time in Costa Rica we have found that there is definitely a tour for every type of traveler in Costa Rica, so whether you’re after an adrenalin-fueled holiday or a more relaxing getaway, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this gorgeous country!

And to help you plan your vacation to Costa Rica, we have come up with an incredibly detailed list of the 22 best tours in Costa Rica. Our list includes snorkeling , volcano-climbing, kayaking through mangroves, and much much more! Here are the absolute best tours in Costa Rica for every type of traveler!

The BEST Tours in Costa Rica

1. tortuga island.

A lady walks on the beach at Tortuga Island on a tour

Tortuga Island is a paradise island off the Pacific coast of Jaco in the Puntarenas province; this small island is just 156 square kilometers and is part of the  Islas Negritos Biological Reserve . It’s home to fantastic snorkeling, white sand beaches, and overall good vibes! You can easily join a tour to Tortuga Island from many different locations around Costa Rica. In fact, it’s one of the most popular day-trip options from San Jose .

Other than  San Jose , tours to Tortuga Island are also offered from nearby  Jaco  as well as  Montezuma ,  Paquera ,  Punta Arenas ,  Santa Teresa ,  Playa Herradura ! It’s important to note that you can only access the island on a guided tour, and all the tours I’ve listed above are full-day tours, so you will need to allow an average of 9 hours. 

On your tour to Tortuga Island, you’ll jump on a scenic boat ride first; then, you’ll get to snorkel at not one but two epic snorkeling spots. Be prepared to spot turtles, sharks, and lots of fish here! I think snorkeling here is the best in Costa Rica – even better than Caño Island ! After, the boat will drop you to the island, where you will enjoy a yummy lunch and plenty of beverages. You’ll have a few hours there to play volleyball, kayak, or sunbathe.

Overall, it’s really an enjoyable day out and one of the best tours in Costa Rica!

2. Poas Volcano

Sunny Poas Volcano crater

Poás Volcano is one of the largest open volcanoes in the world; the crater drops a huge 900 feet (274 meters) deep and stretches over a mile (1.6 km) in diameter! This active volcano had its last eruption in September 2019, but it is closely monitored so that visitors are safe. From the viewing area, you’ll be able to look right into the volcano crater but don’t expect to see lava here; instead, what you will see is a bright blue geothermic lake! It’s so cool, and to me, it looks like something from another planet!

Visiting Poas Volcano can be comfortably done on a guided  day trip from San Jose  or  Alajuela , with tours running from both.

Once you reach the volcano, you’ll watch a video about the volcano and listen to a safety briefing. With your hard hat on your head, you’ll enjoy a short 500-meter (0.3 miles) hiking trail leading to a viewpoint on the edge of the crater. You get approximately 20 to 30 minutes at the crater before you must return to the visitor center.

One of the most important things to note about visiting Poas Volcano is that the volcano is often covered in clouds, which can completely obstruct your view. Therefore, it is best to visit early in the morning as opposed to later in the day when it tends to be cloudy, and this greatly increases your chances of seeing the crater. 

To access the park, you must  purchase your tickets online  and pick your visiting date and exact time for your entry. Once you arrive at the park, ensure you have your ID and entry permits ready. If you don’t, you will be turned away and need to purchase your tickets from a nearby shop at a premium (security at Poas will tell you where.) However, if you book on a guided tour, the entrance ticket is almost always included.

One of the best tours you can choose is  this guided Poás Volcano tour from San Jose . This particular tour includes a visit to the crater as well as La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It even includes a romantic breakfast at the Doka Coffee Estate, followed by a guided tour of the estate.

Related Read: Looking for more romantic things to do? Check out our guide to planning a honeymoon in Costa Rica !

3. Whale Watching

A humback whale in Uvita, Costa Rica

Seeing whales in the wild is a dream for many visitors to Costa Rica! I’ve been lucky enough to go whale watching in many countries, but Costa Rica was the first place I witnessed a baby whale swimming with its mother! It was an incredible moment for me, and it happened on my way to Corcovado National Park from  Puerto Jimenez  (a remote town on the southern coast).

But, you don’t have to travel to Puerto Jimenez to see whales in Costa Rica. As a matter of fact, whale watching tours in Costa Rica can be done all up the Pacific Coast, including from  Drake Bay ,  Uvita , Manuel Antonio, Jaco, and Tamarindo, in the Gulf of Nicoya, and in the Gulf of Papagayo. You just need to pick the right month to guarantee your chances of seeing them! 

It’s important to note that here in Costa Rica, there are two whale watching seasons; the first runs from December to March and the second from July to October. This second season is when the whales come to give birth in the calm waters – an awesome experience if you’re lucky enough to see it! However, I think the  best months to visit Costa Rica  for whale watching are January to February and July to September.

If you’re visiting during these months, you should definitely book a whale watching tour and enjoy this bucket-list-worthy activity in Costa Rica! I highly recommend  this incredible whale watching tour in Marino Ballena National Park . On this particular tour, you will hop on a boat in search of these majestic creatures. For over 3 hours, you’ll explore the coastline, even heading out as far as Caño Island! In my opinion, it’s one of the best tours in Costa Rica!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here ! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here .

4. Cano Island Snorkeling

A turtle swims at Cano Island

Tours to Caño Island Biological Reserve  are popular and involve jumping on a boat out to the island, where you can enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving . The reef here is filled with wildlife, and during my tour, I got to swim with turtles, sharks, and a huge variety of fish. I should note that although you can snorkel or scuba dive around the island, setting foot on the island is forbidden! 

The best place to  start your tour is from Drake Bay ; from this small bay, it’s just a 40-minute boat ride. In fact, tours to Caño Island are considered one of the best  things to do in Drake Bay . From Uvita and Sierpe, you’ll need to take an extra-long boat ride through the mangroves (and a short bus journey from Uvita,) but for keen divers or snorkelers, the trip is well worth it!

Caño Island Biological Reserve is a must-do for ocean enthusiasts!

Related Read: Consider staying a night or two in Drake Bay – check out the best hotels in Drake Bay before you book!

5. Overnight Corcovado National Park Tour

A monkey near Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park  isn’t the most popular national park in Costa Rica but it is the most important. That’s because Corcovado National park is home to approximately 3% of the world’s biodiversity, a huge percentage! In fact, it’s the best place to see a large variety of Costa Rica’s wildlife, including big cats and tapirs. This park is easily accessible from both Puerto Jimenez and Drake Bay.

The only way to visit Corcovado National Park is on a guided tour. The rules for the park make tourists visit with a certified guide. This is to protect the park and the animals within it.

From Puerto Jimenez, you can join this  three-day tour that includes a stay at the ranger station  – because it’s three days long, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see wildlife! Or, if you’re short on time, you can book this day tour to the La Leona Ranger Station  and enjoy the many hiking trails with a local guide.

From Drake Bay, you can do an overnight tour , when we did this tour, we saw every monkey species in Costa Rica, many rare birds , jaguar footprints, rodents, and other wildlife, including snakes. This full-day guided tour is another great option if you have limited time.

Although not as popular as those listed above, tours also leave from Uvita into the park.  This particular tour  visits the San Pedrillo Ranger Station, where you’ll enjoy a hike through the park in search of wildlife.

Overall, Corcovado National Park is the best national park to visit for those who come to Costa Rica to see wildlife. Bird watchers and animal photographers love this place!

6. Cahuita National Park Tour

Playa Blanca in Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica

Cahuita National Park is a stunning area close to Puerto Viejo , and it’s best known for its coral reefs and the 500 species of fish that live in these reefs. The park was created to protect the mangrove, reefs, and tropical rainforest here. What’s awesome is that entry to the park is free, but donations are encouraged as they go towards the park’s upkeep.  

If you want to explore the national park by foot, there’s a long trail that winds through the forest, and this is a great way to spot sloths and monkeys!  

There are a few beautiful beaches within Cahuita, too (including Playa Blanca pictured above!) so keep an eye out for those you can swim in. Snorkeling is allowed on the beaches here, but only with a certified guide to ensure the coral is protected. There are even two different shipwrecks here in the shallow water that you can explore!

You can drive yourself to Cahuita National Park from nearby Puerto Viejo – it’s just a 15-minute drive! Or, if you’re staying around Puerto Limon , it’s about a 45-minute drive along the coast. From San Jose, this is a longer trip of around 4 hours. If you don’t have a rental car, buses leave San Jose daily for Cahuita, so that’s another option.  

Whiel you can visit on your own, on a guided tour you’re guaranteed to have a much better experience. Tour guides are experts at spotting wildlife, so without them, there is a good chance that you won’t see much. Tours also include other stops to make it a full day experience!

This tour from Puerto Viejo  to Cahuita National Park is easily one of the best tours in Costa Rica. You’ll have a professional naturalist tour guide to help you spot animals, including white-faced monkeys, snakes, raccoons, and more. They will also tell you all about the animals as well as the park. It also includes a visit to Cahuita’s hidden waterfall, where you can cool off with a swim!

Alternatively, this full-day tour from Puerto Limon  includes a stop at Cahuita National Park. It also visits the city of Limon, a covered boat cruise down the Tortuguero Canals, a stop at the Chiquita banana plantation, and a one-hour hike through the park.  

Related Read: Renting a car in Costa Rica makes for an epic adventure, plus it’s an easy way to get around!

7. Manuel Antonio National Park guided hiking tour

Walking a trail in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park  is a sprawling coastal area filled with tons of biodiversity and natural beauty. And, it is considered one of  the best national parks in Costa Rica . 

Located within the park are several short hiking trails, including “The Sloth Trail,” where you have great chances of seeing two- and three-foot sloths (the only types of sloths found in Costa Rica .) Other trails here take you to some epic viewpoints over the coastline or to secluded beaches and mangroves. Expect to encounter lots of wildlife on your hike, including snakes, monkeys, sloths, macaws, and more.

The park sits on the doorstep of the small town of Manuel Antonio (2.5 hours from San Jose) and is only a short drive from the city of Quepos. And we recommend  staying the night in Manuel Antonio  before exploring the park. 

You can visit Manuel Antonio National Park on your own or on a guided tour, of which there are many!  This specific tour  is the best option if you’re staying in Manuel Antonio town. It costs just $30 USD and includes a 2-hour guided walk through the park. However, don’t just visit during the day.  This jungle night tour  is incredible, and Andre (your guide) is so talented at spotting wildlife in the dark! 

Manuel Antonio National Park is open daily from 7 am to 4 pm. Entrance tickets to the park, which cost $18.08 USD for adults and $5.65 USD for children,  NEEDS to be purchased online in advance . You must select the day that you’re visiting when booking, and this is because the park has a limited number of daily tickets. Important – if you are booking a tour, check if it includes your entrance ticket or not.

Top Tip – check out the  best things to do in Manuel Antonio , where I have lots of detailed info about visiting the park. Also, don’t miss the  best restaurants in Manuel Antonio  during your visit!

Related Read: Another great place to see sloths is on a sloth tour in La Fortuna !

8. La Leona Waterfall

A landscape shot of La Leona Waterfall in Costa Rica

La Leona Waterfall is definitely worth visiting. Until recently, this pretty waterfall has been a hidden gem, but its beauty has made its popularity rise in recent years. La Leona sits within a canyon and the water running through it is turquoise blue. In fact, in my opinion, it’s one of the  best waterfalls in Costa Rica ! 

So, if you’re visiting the  Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica , seeing  La Leona Waterfall  is a must. This is an easy day trip of around 1 to 2 hours from the popular resort towns of Tamarindo, Playa Coco, and Playa Flamingo . You’re even closer (around 20 minutes!) if you’re in Liberia, making it one of the  top things to do in Liberia . 

Unfortunately, the only way to visit La Leona Waterfall is on a guided tour. This is because the waterfall’s location within the canyon requires  s a fety  gear and an expert guide to access it. Thankfully, tours are very cheap and cost from just $30 USD! 

For our tour with Guanaverde Experiences, we drove to the tour office near the waterfall.  That tour through Guanaverde Experiences  is top-rated and includes all the equipment needed, including a dry bag to take your camera or phone. 

9. Costa Rica’s Longest Zipline

Ziplining in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Ziplining is one of those activities available in just about every tourist town in Costa Rica. The mountains and rainforests are perfect for this adventure activity, and I’ve done some awesome tours. Truthfully, ziplining is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica .

Although you can zipline in most towns, not all are created equal, and Monteverde comes in at number one, in my opinion, simply because the cloud forests and mountains here make the ziplining that much better. On top of that,  if you book this ziplining tour , you’ll be able to enjoy Costa Rica’s longest zipline at 5,220 feet (1,591 meter) or almost 1 mile (1.59 kilometers!) You’ll also get the chance to try out the 10-cable zipline course, rope suspension bridges , an ATV ride through the forest, and the Mega Tarzan Swing Ride – if you’re brave enough, that is. 

Ziplining at Aventura Park is easily one of the best  things to do in the Monteverde region ! So, if you’re planning to go ziplining here, make sure you do it in Monteverde! It’s one of the most adventurous tours available in Costa Rica!

You can drive or take a taxi or an Uber to 100% Aventura Park as it’s conveniently located just outside Santa Elena. Once there, tours are offered daily with various fun attractions. 

Related Read: Be sure to check out our guide on the best restaurants in Monteverde !

10. Pacuare River White Water Rafting

Pacuare River white water rafting

I’ve been lucky enough to try the thrilling sport of whitewater rafting all over the world. And even though my standards are relatively high, I loved whitewater rafting in Costa Rica . It’s, without a doubt, one of the best adventure activities available in the country!

However, out of all of the rafting tours available in Costa Rica, one experience stands out from the rest – the Pacuare River! I loved my experience rafting  down the Pacuare River , and I certainly got the adrenaline rush I signed up for!

Tours to the Pacuare River typically leave from  either San Jose ,  Puerto Viejo , or Puerto Limon. Although it’s a fantastic river, tours from San Jose are really long (12 hours) and require a lot of driving . For that reason, it’s best only to do tours from Puerto Viejo (just over 2 hours driving each way) or Puerto Limon.

This is definitely one of the best tours in Costa Rica for thrill-seekers who love the water.

11. Turtle Tour in Tortuguero

A display at Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor's Center in Tortuguero

Tortuguero National Park is a truly unique part of Costa Rica as it’s one of the most important nesting sites for sea turtles. This park is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see turtles ! It’s home to a huge stretch of beach where 20,000 green sea turtles come every year to nest –  the largest colony of turtles on the globe ! 

Tortuguero can only be accessed by boat or plane, and it’s one of the most remote tourist attractions in the country. It is preserved and protected, so it’s known as one of the wildest national parks in the country.  

You can go turtle-spotting on your own; however, to view turtle nesting sites, you’ll need to  book this tour . Most nesting sites are protected and can only be visited with a guide to ensure you won’t disturb the animals. Plus, turtles only lay eggs at night, so having a guide to assist you in the dark is helpful too!  

There are peak times of the year to visit Tortuguero , within these months you’re more likely to witness the turtles nesting. The nesting season here for green sea turtles is from July to October and from February to June for leatherback sea turtles. 

12. Bioluminescent Tour

bioluminescent plankton in Paquera, Costa Rica

There are only a few places in the world where the ocean glows in the dark, and Costa Rica is one of them! This phenomenon is thanks to the  bioluminescent plankton  that floats under the surface and flashes bright blue as you pass by. This unique light show is used to scare off predators and help them find food. And it’s one of the most unique tour options in Costa Rica!

These creatures are so small that there can be thousands of them in just one drop of water! Together, they create this magical appearance that looks like thousands of blue, glowing stars!

The best place to see bioluminescent plankton is in the waters around Paquera Bay. And one of the best ways to see the plankton is by gliding above them in a kayak. As you float across the water, every time you dip your paddle in, it will create bursts of sparkling light around you.  This kayak tour  (and what I did) gives you a full hour to explore Paquera Bay under the stars. This is one of the best places to kayak in Costa Rica ! It’s so peaceful to see the bioluminescent plankton below and the stars above you.

Another option to see them is by boat.  This boat tour  leaves from the small beach next to the ferry dock in Paquera. Partway through the tour, they anchor the boat so you can get out and swim amongst the glowing light. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Paquera , and all of Costa Rica, for that matter!

13. Mangrove Kayaking Tour

Kayaking through mangroves

Mangroves are a special type of forest, made up of a variety of trees and shrubs, and are found where a river meets with the ocean – and they can be found all over Costa Rica. The mangroves here are a wildlife haven and can be home to a wide variety of different species, including birds, sloths, and monkeys! 

What’s great is that you typically won’t have to travel far to explore a mangrove swamp in Costa Rica. The best way to enjoy any mangrove is from a kayak where you can paddle in the calm waterways.

The small town of Puerto Jiménez in the Puntarenas province is very close to the winding mangrove forests inside the Preciosa Platanares Wildlife Refuge. Here, there are 70-foot tall mangrove trees, and it’s best to  explore the winding river by kayak  because on this tour, you’ll have a local guide to help you spot wildlife; it even includes some delicious snacks for when you finish paddling.  

14. Birdwatching tour

A quetzal bird while birdwatching in Monteverde

Bird-watching is one of the most popular activities in Costa Rica . The country is well known for its beautiful bird species, which include scarlet macaws, toucans, hummingbirds, quetzals, and more. The best part is that you can go bird-watching in almost every town in Costa Rica!

One of the most popular places to visit for bird lovers is Monteverde – especially for those who want to see the rare and beautiful quetzals. Bird-watching tours in Monteverde are best done in Curi Canchi Nature reserve, and  this tour is a great option .

If you love macaws, you’re in luck. They can be seen all over the country, but no place is better than Puerto Jimenez! We saw them daily in our hotel and even around town; sometimes, we were lucky enough to get as close as a few meters away.

Other great places to go bird watching include Manuel Antonio,  Carara National Park in Jaco , Uvita, Dominical, and more.

Related Read: Check ut our complete guide to visiting Dominical, Costa Rica .

15. Irazu Volcano

view into the Irazu Volcano blue crater

In the province of Cartago, to the east of San José, is the mighty  Irazu Volcano . This is Costa Rica’s highest volcano, at a whopping 3,432 meters (11,260 feet), and it’s still active – having last erupted in 1994!

Irazu is thankfully very accessible, and  you can rent a car  or take a bus there. If you love hiking, this is also a great place to do it since the volcano is located within a national park with plenty of awesome trails. There are also amenities like a cafeteria, parking, toilets, and picnic areas within the park. The entrance fee is just $15 USD, and its opening hours are from 8 am to 4 pm. 

If you can, I recommend booking a guided tour to Irazu from San Jose, such as this  half-day tour , which includes transportation and snacks! It’s a 1.5-hour drive (47 km/30 mi) from San Jose to Irazu, and this tour involves 3 hours at the volcano. Plus, on the way back, it will also stop to tour the Basilica de Los Angeles in Cartago, the Costa Rican Cathedral of la “virgencita” (the patron saint of Costa Rica to whom the Costa Ricans pay homage every August during its pilgrimage.)

16. Cooking class

A local Costa Rican woman cooks on a cooking class

The food in Costa Rica is SO good. Sure, it may not be as famous as Italian or Mexican cuisine, but it’s one of my favorite foods in the world! I just love Gallo Pinto (a breakfast dish which is made of rice and beans) and, of course, the famous Costa Rican tamale!

I always try to book a cooking class when I’m traveling because I believe the best way to take the tastes of the country home with you is by learning how to cook the food from that destination.  

I did a cooking class with a local lady in Puerto Viejo, which was amazing! But there are lots of options for cooking classes across the country; these are a few of the best-rated.  

  • La Fortuna  –  Join a Costa Rican family  at home and make a traditional Casado and picadillo’s, tortillas, and guisados. You’ll even create a tropical cocktail called Kiss of the Cacique. This experience is one of the best things to do in La Fortuna .
  • Jaco  – Learn from famed cookbook author Melissa Guzman in her home or have her come to wherever you’re staying for a  private cooking class . She’ll teach you healthy, classic Costa Rican dishes such as ceviche and soup. 
  • Manuel Antonio  –  Take a cooking class  at a beautiful property with a botanical garden, vanilla plantation, cacao plantation, and a sugarcane mill. You’ll start with a walk where you will learn about the local and fresh ingredients before getting to work in the kitchen. 
  • Online  – Wherever in the country you may be,  join this cooking class via ZOOM . You’ll receive a list of ingredients that you must purchase before the class and then learn to create recipes like empanadas, tortillas con queso, and Arroz con Pollo. 

17. Fishing tour

A group of people on a fishing boat in Santa Teresa

If you enjoy fishing as much as I do, you certainly won’t want to skip a fishing charter in Costa Rica. 

It’s worth noting that there are two main types of  fishing charters in Costa Rica . The first are inshore tours, which usually head out up to 5 nautical miles; on these tours, you will typically catch fish such as tuna, roosterfish, mahi-mahi, jack crevalle, bigeye trevally, needlefish, barracuda, and snapper. Prices vary greatly but expect to pay between $250 to $550 USD for a half-day tour for up to 5 people.

The second option are offshore tours, which head out much farther and are full-day tours. On these, you can go for all the fish above and big game fish such as sailfish and marlin. These tours cost around $700 USD per boat.

However, in Santa Teresa , you can go on this  inshore fishing charter for only $300 USD  for up to 6 people. That means with a full crew, it’s just over $50 USD per person! Which I think is fantastic value-for-money! And for that reason and the other reasons below, I think, this is one of the best tours in Costa Rica!

I did that particular tour while I was staying in Costa Rica, and I must admit it’s well worth the early start of 6:30 am! In the morning, we headed out from Mal Pais a few nautical miles, and we were catching tuna within minutes. The trip involved passing fishing rods around the boat as we landed more fish. We ended the day with the grand total of 12 tuna! We even finished the tour with some fresh raw tuna at the dock. 

You can also catch mahi-mahi, wahoo, snapper, roosterfish, and more. Your captain will know what fish to go for depending on the time of year, currents, and tides. 

18. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall, Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a fun day trip option from San Jose, consider the  La Paz Waterfall Gardens , less than an hour from downtown. It feels like stepping into another world with lush forest, five different waterfalls, and picturesque hiking trails among rain and cloud forest.  

The property is also home to the biggest butterfly garden in the world; an animal sanctuary that houses jungle cats, sloths, and monkeys; a hummingbird garden, a frog pond; and a trout lake where you can catch your own fish!  

You can drive here yourself in a  rental car , and it’s best to get here early in the day to avoid the crowds. Allow a few hours to explore, the park is open from 8 am to 5 pm. You can purchase a ticket in advance if you want to skip the line. Admission is $50 USD per adult and $34 USD for children.  

If you don’t have a car,  this guided tour includes transportation from San Jose  and the entrance fee. You’ll also have a tour guide to navigate the trails with you and help you spot amazing wildlife that might be hiding in the trees.  

Or, why not join this guided tour that includes Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens  to easily have the chance to see both!  

19. Jaguar Rescue Center tour

A baby sloth at the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has worked hard to protect its local wildlife . However, there are still issues that lead to animals needing help. Luckily, you’ll find not-for-profit organizations all over Costa Rica rescuing these animals and rehabilitating them for release.

Visiting one of the many wildlife rescue centers in Costa Rica is a great way to support the cause (your entrance fee goes directly to helping the animals) and see some cool animals for yourself that are elusive in the wild. 

The  Jaguar Rescue Center , located in  Puerto Viejo , is my favorite wildlife rescue center in the country! Despite the center’s name, wild cats are rare to see here, but you will see lots of other animals like sloths, monkeys, opossums, toucans, deer, snakes, and more. My favorite has to be the adorable baby sloths!

The best way to see the animals and the work the center is doing to help them is through a tour. Just remember that you won’t be able to hold or touch the animals as the hope is to release them back into the wild and not get them too used to people. You can also volunteer here, which, as you can imagine, is incredibly popular.

There are two options for tours. If you want to join a group tour, it’s $24 USD. No need to book in advance; just show up about 15 minutes before the tour starts at 9:30 am or 11:30 am daily. If you want a more personal experience, book a private tour for $75 USD per person. These are offered every day at 2 pm and must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

20. Chocolate tour

A chocolate and coffee tour in Monteverde

Chocolate is one of my favorite treats, and I’m certain I’m not alone! Would you believe approximately one billion people eat chocolate daily! In Costa Rica, cocoa beans and chocolate have a long history. These beans were sacred to the Indigenous people and were even used as currency. It was also used to create a delicious drink for ceremonies and celebrations.  

Today, cacao beans are still a very important crop in Costa Rica. There are lots of different farms that offer chocolate tours throughout the country. And on these tours, you can learn about the origins of chocolate and taste some homemade chocolate. 

The best chocolate tour in Costa Rica I’ve been on is at the  Rancho Raices de Osa  in Puerto Jimenez. On this particular tour, we were given a visit of this stunning property and witnessed the chocolate-making process from beginning to end. We learned all about organic farming and, of course, got the chance to try the cacao. Towards the end of the tour, we got to make our own chocolate before finishing off with a refreshing cacao face mask.

In other parts of the country,  this tour in La Fortuna  and  this tour in Manuel Antonio  both take place at cocoa plantations. If you’re in the San José area,  visit Botánica Chocolate  to sample different cacao recipes, from ancient cacao beverages to the chocolate bars we know and love today.  

21. Coffee tour

Dane and Bailey take a selfie ona coffee tour in Liberia, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, and the country produces more than 1.5 million bags of coffee every year that are shipped worldwide! But while you’re here, you can enjoy a fresh cup of coffee with coffee beans grown probably not far from where you’re sitting.  

If you travel across Costa Rica, you’ll see the coffee fields covering the hillsides. Most of the country’s coffee is grown in the Cartago, Alajuela , Puntarenas, Heredia, and San José regions. The coffee is top-notch thanks to ideal growing conditions – volcanic soil, good climate, and high altitude.  

Most coffee here (almost 90%) is grown by small farmers. One of the best things to do in Costa Rica is to get the freshest cup of coffee and learn about this important crop on a coffee tour.  

There are coffee tours offered all over Costa Rica , so you’re sure to find one near where you’re staying. Here are a few great options by location: 

  • La Fortuna  – Visit a family-owned farm near  La Fortuna on this tour . You’ll see how coffee goes from bean to cup and how it is grown, roasted, and ground.  
  • San José  –  Tour the Doka Estate  coffee plantation to get up close to coffee production and have a bonus visit to the working sugar mill that processes sugar cane.  
  • Quepos/Manuel Antonio  – Learn about the history of the coffee bean  while touring a local farm  and enjoying a variety of tasty samples. 
  • Guanacaste (including Liberia & Tamarindo)  –  Tour a coffee farm  on this day trip from the Guanacaste area, which also includes visiting a nearby waterfall.  

22. Night Walk in La Fortuna

Two red eyed tree frogs on a Tortuguero Night tour

While Costa Rica is stunning during the day, most of the county’s wildlife comes alive at night. There are plenty of animals who live in the rainforests here that only come out once it gets dark. Would you believe that about 80% of the mammals here are nocturnal? I think that’s a huge number!

If you really want to see the many animals here, consider going out at night. Having a guide is recommended because they know exactly where to look and can spot animals in the dark that you may have missed. In fact, a night tour in La Fortuna is one of the most memorable tours in Costa Rica!

I did this Rainforest Night Walk and Dinner tour  while I was staying in La Fortuna; the tour is run by a company called Ecoterra. The tour includes a 90-minute hike, a visit to a frog sanctuary, and ends with a Costa Rican dinner prepared on a wood-burning stove. During the excursion, your guide will lead the way along an easy trail as you look for bats, birds, frogs, snakes, and other cool animals!  

The trail follows around the mirrored lakes to a frog sanctuary where you can spot the rare red-eyed tree frog and the tiny dart frog. We saw so much wildlife when we did it, such as a huge green lizard and even a bullet ant, which is known for having the most painful sting of any insect in the world. Luckily, our guide kept us safe!

Related Read: Night tours in Monteverde as also very popular!

Getting Around Costa Rica

Bailey with our rental car near Rio Celeste Costa Rica

How you choose to get around Costa Rica is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your holiday here! How you do it depends on your budget, travel style, and comfort level. 

Renting a Car

Without a doubt, the number one way to explore Costa Rica is in a rental car. We book rental cars on the Discover Cars website as we have had good experiences with them in the past.

One of the things you need to watch for when renting a car in Costa Rica is the mandatory insurance that the government requires you to have. There are a lot of very cheap rentals that don’t include this mandatory insurance (TPL) in the original booking price, but there are also ones that do. To avoid additional surprise charges when you pick up your rental car, be sure to rent a car that includes the mandatory insurance when you book.

Thankfully, on Discover Cars it’s easy to tell apart the companies that include the mandatory insurance and those that don’t. The trick is you can’t pick any car on their website. In the picture below, you can see this rental car, with pick up in Jaco, includes the TPL. That means the mandatory insurance is included in the price. Any cover you get above that is extra.

Of course, I still suggest getting the full coverage offered by Discover Cars, which covers you even more.

You can  browse cars on Discover Cars here .

TPL Cover Costa Rica

Book Shuttles

If renting a car isn’t in your budget, you don’t feel comfortable driving in Costa Rica , or you just don’t like driving, shuttles are the next best option. There are hundreds of shuttle routes available all over the country, and they are very affordable.

Shuttles in Costa Rica are specifically for tourists and often include pick up and drop off at your selected hotels and airports. The drivers also speak some English, and the vehicles have air conditioning. You’ll also be guaranteed a seat when you book a shuttle (which isn’t the case with the public bus system.)

To get the best price, use the website  Bookaway . They compare all the offers and prices of shuttle companies in Costa Rica so you get the best price! Honestly, we have saved so much money using Bookaway! 

You can search for shuttles online on Bookaway here.

Lastly, you can use the public bus system. On short journeys, such as from San Jose to La Fortuna or Uvita to Manuel Antonio, this system is great. However, the longer the journey the more hassle and time spent on a bus. It’s undoubtedly best to save the public bus in Costa Rica for short and straightforward trips!  

The public buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around Costa Rica, but they are not always very reliable and schedules often change without notice and delays are to be expected. The buses can also be very crowded and hot – so just be prepared!

It’s also good to speak some Spanish if you plan on riding the public bus since most drivers and ticket booth operators don’t speak English.

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in Costa Rica in a pool of water

And there you have it, 22 of the absolute best tours in Costa Rica! As you can see, it’s such a varied list, and I’m certain you will find your new favorite tour in Costa Rica on this list!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best tours in Costa Rica. It’s truly one of the best blogs I have written, and I am sure it’s given you heaps of inspiration for your upcoming vacation! If you did enjoy this guide, then be sure to check out more of our in-depth guides to Costa Rica, such as:

Where to stay in Costa Rica – The BEST hotels

Must visit volcanoes in Costa Rica

Ultimate guide to the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Best beaches in Costa Rica

Sunday 4th of September 2022

I'd like to bring my Granddaughter here for her 16th birthday. Where would the best town, area be for a young adult...too young to drink alcoholic beverages?

Costa Rica Travel Life

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I would recommend Manuel Antonio! It is a beautiful area without a large party scene and tons to do! You could also do a mixed trip adding in La Fortuna too!

Please check out both places, each with its own attractions and tours.

Thanks Bailey

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Unlock Costa Rican vacations & nature's wonders with Xplore Costa Rica

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Why Choose Xplore Costa Rica

A beautiful Red Eyed Frog found on our Eco/Rain Forest tour

Expert Guidance

At Xplore Costa Rica, we have a team of experienced drivers and concierge guides who are dedicated to providing expert knowledge and experience. We take the time to understand our clients' needs and we work closely with them to create personalized travel experiences that exceed their expectations.

Flying through the air on one the amazing canopy tours

Unforgettable Experiences

We believe that travel should be about creating unforgettable experiences and memories. That's why we offer a wide range of travel services that cater to different interests and preferences. Whether you're looking for a luxury vacation or an adventure expedition, we've got you covered.

Don't forget to pack your PURA VIDA

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Travel can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. At Xplore Costa Rica, we handle all the details so our clients can relax and enjoy their travels. We also offer 24/7 support and assistance so our clients can have peace of mind knowing that we're always here to help.

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Xplore Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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10 Day Costa Rica Tours & Trips

115 costa rica 10 day tour packages with 1,233 reviews.

Essential Costa Rica - Package with Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Essential Costa Rica - Package with Manuel Antonio National Park

"Interesting and educational trip." Lev, traveled in March 2024

Essential Costa Rica - Package with Guanacaste Tour

Essential Costa Rica - Package with Guanacaste

"We were impressed by the flexibility and organization of all of our transfers and transports." Terry, traveled in July 2023

Costa Rica Adventure Tour

Costa Rica Adventure

"This was my first solo trip and I felt very safe and was able to make connections with a lot of people!" Pulla, traveled in December 2023

Our Costa Rican Highlights Tour

Our Costa Rican Highlights

"The activities we did were great and the transport was excellent, almost always on time." Katie, traveled in February 2024

Costa Rica Eco Adventure (Guanacaste Beach, End Liberia, 10 Days) Tour

Costa Rica Eco Adventure (Guanacaste Beach, End Liberia, 10 Days)

  • €100 deposit on some dates

Highlights of Costa Rica + Beach Extension Tour

Highlights of Costa Rica + Beach Extension

"The scenery was breathtaking, and the wildlife was abundant. It was an unforgettable experience." Alison, traveled in December 2023
  • 10% deposit on some dates

Costa Rica Adventure (Tortuguero Extension, 10 Days) Tour

Costa Rica Adventure (Tortuguero Extension, 10 Days)

"Once the tour began, it was great. However, the pre-tour communication was awful." Eleonore, traveled in April 2022

Costa Rica Escape with Tortuguero Tour

Costa Rica Escape with Tortuguero

"I was very pleased with accommodation; local tours (night trip; day hick trip in rain forest/ cloud forest reserve; horse riding; boat trip ..." Gheorghe-Valentin, traveled in September 2018

Eco-adventure in Costa Rica Tour

Eco-adventure in Costa Rica

"The activities were amazing! The food covered was delicious and plentiful." Susan, traveled in December 2023

Costa Rica Quest Tour

Costa Rica Quest

"The tour and our tour guide as a whole was great!" Edwin, traveled in February 2024

Discover Costa Rica Tour

Discover Costa Rica

Costa Rica Pure Nature 10 days Tour

Costa Rica Pure Nature 10 days

"The wild nature experience was really good, and the staff provided efficient support and transportation." Shingo, traveled in December 2020

Ecotourism in Costa Rica; rainforests, coffee & coastline Tour

Ecotourism in Costa Rica; rainforests, coffee & coastline

Costa Rica Experience Tour

Costa Rica Experience

"We had a wonderful time. Many thanks to Intrepid Tours and the richness of the Costa Rican culture." Michael, traveled in February 2022

Discover Costa Rica - Package with Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Discover Costa Rica - Package with Manuel Antonio National Park

What people love about 10 day costa rica tours.

The trip was absolutely amazing and a beautiful country! The booking was great and filled with a good amount of activities at each location, but also was able to have some free time in each location to visit the town, hang out at the pool or ocean, or just relax if needed. All transportation pickups were relatively smooth and on time. The hotel in Monteverde was a little disappointing compared to all the other hotels.
Very organized. Good communication. Always kept me informed and answered all my questions in a timely manner
A very active tour with lots of activities included but also many optional extras to choose from. A jam-packed and varied experience, shared with like-minded people and a super friendly, knowledgeable tour guide! Be prepared to spend extra money on meals out, tipping and extra activities, which adds to the overall cost of the trip

Regions in Costa Rica

  • Monteverde (35)
  • Northern Lowlands Costa Rica (20)
  • Tortuguero National Park (5)

Other Regions in Costa Rica

  • Monteverde 10 day Tours (35)
  • Northern Lowlands Costa Rica 10 day Tours (20)
  • Northern Lowlands Costa Rica 7 day Tours (12)
  • Monteverde 3 week Tours (11)
  • Monteverde 7 day Tours (9)
  • Tortuguero National Park 2 week Tours (8)
  • Manuel Antonio National Park 3 week Tours (8)
  • Monteverde 2 week Tours (6)
  • Tortuguero National Park 3 week Tours (6)
  • Tortuguero National Park 10 day Tours (5)
  • Costa Rica Travel Guide | All You Need to Know
  • Best 7 Day Costa Rica Itineraries 2024/2025 (with Reviews)

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ConchalFun

COSTA RICA :  011(506) 8557-2776 TOLL FREE : 1-800-309-4123 EMAIL : [email protected]

Costa Rican Tours

Your one-stop shop of the guanacaste region.

ConchalFun Trip Advisor Traveler's choice 2022

THINGS TO DO IN COSTA RICA

ConchalFun is your gateway to Costa Rican Tours of the Guanacaste Region .  We have Costa Rican Tours that are beyond compare and will take you to the hidden gems of the Guanacaste Region!

Are you wondering how to get the most out of your visit to the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica?  Wanting to make sure you spend your days sinking into the culture and experiencing the raw beauty that makes Costa Rica one of the most popular destinations in the World?

ConchalFun is here to help you explore the myriad of things to do in Costa Rica.  We call Playa Conchal our homebase and we share our local guides’ expertise and knowledge of the area as we take you to the secret places only insiders know exist.  We have a tour for everyone from children to adults and focus on meeting your needs–be it a family affair, a large group of friends/work mates, or a romantic destination for two .  We love making your trip a special memory that you and your friends and family will always cherish  (just check out our Trip Advisor and Google reviews!).

Because we love what we do it is our pleasure to take you out to explore amazing destinations whether it is on an ATV Tour of one of our amazing beaches or a Private Sailboat Charter .   Our goal is to make sure your trip is tailored to your needs.  Our adventure tours of Costa Rica are filled with limitless possibilities.  We can take you on a hike (1 mile or 4.5 mile options) of the Rio Celeste River, waterfalls, and even catch a little time to visit the Sloth Sanctuary.

For those of you that love the rich history of Central America, you can also experience the Colonial charm of Nicaragua on our Nicaraguan Colonial Tour .  During this full day’s adventure will not only get you a second stamp on your passport, but it will transport you to another world and teach you the folklore and craftsmanship of our neighboring Nation.  You’ll also get to view/visit three amazing volcanoes.

If you can’t get enough of our azure blue waters, you can certainly join us for a Private Sailboat Tour   and enjoy your day with food (did we mention our amazing fish tacos and wide array of beverages), snorkeling, fishing, and soaking in the sun in solitude.

We also understand that a large group may have many competing demands that make it hard to choose just one tour/activity and we offer our Mega Fun Tour , which fits as much fun into one day as possible as you zip line above the forest, explore hanging bridges, enjoy the mud spas, and take in the view of Rincon de la Viejas.

Our many Costa Rican Tours offer you unique, tailored adventures of a lifetime.  We hope you’ll take a moment and explore your options.  We are here to help you have the vacation of a lifetime!

Andrei Caravan your Adventure tour guide

Safe Travels, Andrei and the ConchalFun Team

$ inquire

Rio Celeste Hiking

$85 per person

Catamaran Sunset Cruise

$ inquire

Mega Fun Combo

$ inquire

Jet Ski Guided Tours

$ Inquire

Sport Fishing

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best tour companies to costa rica

Car Rentals in La Fortuna, Costa Rica: What You Need to Know

A re you considering renting a car while traveling in La Fortuna, Costa Rica? This jungle town is home to several rental car companies, but there are a few things you should know before securing your booking.

We created this post to give you info on your car rental company options, help you decide if you even should rent a car, inform you of some possible car rental scams, fill you in on the best cars to rent, and give you some awesome activities you can do with your rental car. 

Ready? Let’s get to all things car rental in La Fortuna!

La Fortuna Car Rental at a Glance

  • We suggest booking your rental car with Adobe Rent-a-Car. They are an amazing local company. Book here to save 10% plus get other great perks .
  • Adobe will even deliver your vehicle directly to your hotel in La Fortuna for a small fee. Just select Ciudad Quesada as your pick-up point and enter your hotel info.
  • You most likely don’t need a 4 wheel drive vehicle, but we suggest at least an SUV with decent clearance.
  • You should be fine driving here if you are a somewhat experienced driver.

Should You Rent a Car in La Fortuna?

We think that having a rental car is often the best way to travel. It will give you the most flexibility in exploring La Fortuna and the surrounding areas. 

However, there are some exceptions to that. 

People Who Should Rent a Car in La Fortuna

  • Travelers who want the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path locations.
  • Larger groups or families: Renting a car will likely be more affordable than a shuttle and booking day tours. Plus, it gives you the flexibility to stop whenever needed.
  • Photography Enthusiasts : If you are like my husband and tend to slam on the breaks to take pictures of pretty birds, you might want a rental car. 
  • Travelers with Specific Itineraries : If you have created a specific itinerary that includes multiple destinations or activities, a car will be so helpful.
  • Visitors Staying Outside the Town Center: If your hotel is located outside the La Fortuna town center a car will be helpful to get to restaurants, stores, and activities.

People Who Should Not Rent a Car

  • If you are uncomfortable with driving in unfamiliar conditions, it is probably better to depend on shared or private shuttles to get to La Fortuna. Once you are in town you can book day tours with transportation, take a taxi , and walk in the downtown area.
  • If you are a solo traveler it might be more cost-effective to use different transportation options. 
  • If you are staying in a jungle resort with most amenities and activities available on-site you may not need a car. 

​​Car Rental Companies in La Fortuna

There are several car rental companies in La Fortuna.

The main ones are; La Fortuna Car Rental, Mapache, Alamo, National, Enterprise, Trebol, Avis, and our personal favorite Adobe.

We suggest renting your vehicle through Adobe Rent-a-Car because:

  • They are a local company that prides themselves on excellent customer service
  • They don’t have any hidden fees and are completely upfront with their costs
  • We have rented with them several times and have always had a great experience
  • They offer free cancellation at any time
  • Your car rental will include unlimited mileage for tons of exploration
  • They will deliver your car to directly at your hotel in La Fortuna for about $5 to $10.

We have rented cars from Adobe several times and always had a great experience.

So, we approached them to ask if they would be interested in working with us because we think so highly of them. 

They have been generous enough to pass on a great discount to all Costa Rica Vibes readers. 

The Adobe Car Rental Discount

This discount includes:

  • 10% discount for Costa Rica Vibes readers
  • Free additional drivers
  • 0% deductible on Liability Protection Insurance
  • Discounted GPS unit

….and several other perks.

Note: If you would like to rent a car from La Fortuna, select Ciudad Quesada as your rental office. Then, input your hotel in La Fortuna. Adobe will deliver (and pick-up) your car in downtown La Fortuna for about $5 each way. This service is available every day except on Sundays

You can find out all the details and book your discounted price with Adobe here

The Best Type of Car for La Fortuna

It is not always necessary to rent a 4×4 for La Fortuna , but I suggest at least renting a vehicle with decent clearance such as an SUV.

Most of the roads in this area are paved, but they are very hilly and curvy. You will be much more comfortable in something that is stable and has good clearance.

You might want a vehicle with 4 wheel drive if:

  • You are staying at a remote hotel or vacation rental. It is always a good idea to message the hotel to ask what the road condition is if it is unclear. 
  • You would like to drive through the Arenal Volcano National Park. The roads within the park (between the volcano and Lake Arenal) are unpaved. This usually isn’t a problem for an SUV, but, if there have recently been heavy rains it can get very muddy and your vehicle might get stuck.
  • You are going somewhere else after that is more remote and has dirt roads. 

Also, you will have the choice between a vehicle with manual transmission and automatic transmission.

Typically it is a bit more affordable to rent a manual vehicle rather than automatic cars in Costa Rica.

How to Get from San José International Airport to La Fortuna

​First things first, you need to actually get to La Fortuna. There are two international airports in Costa Rica. San Jose International Airport is located in the central part of the country.

There are a few different ways to get from the San Jose International Airport to La Fortuna. 

  • Drive with Rental Car:  The drive isn’t overly complicated and is on main roads the entire way. You should be fine if you feel somewhat comfortable with your driving abilities. We detail the drive below this.
  • Private Transfer: If you are a family or group you might opt to take a private transfer to La Fortuna. You can then pick up a rental car/ have it delivered to your hotel once you arrive in town. Get a private transfer quote here .
  • Shared Shuttle: This is a good option if you are a solo traveler or couple. Bookaway is the best site we have found to easily find shuttle services to La Fortuna.

Find out more about the process of renting a car from the San Jose International Airport here.

The drive from San Jose International Airport to La Fortuna will take about 3:30 hours depending on the traffic. 

  • Leave San Jose International Airport and head northwest on the main airport road, following signs for Route 1 (also known as the Inter-American Highway or Pan-American Highway).
  • You will then merge onto Route 1, heading northwest towards San Ramon. Note: There are tolls on this first stretch. They do not accept credit cards but cash in dollars or colones is accepted. This road can be a bit hectic, especially during rush hour. 
  • Take the exit onto Route 156, following the signs for La Fortuna and Arenal. You will then drive on the main road through downtown San Ramon. This can also be a bit chaotic. 
  • After San Ramon, you will get on Route 702. Things calm down and you can enjoy beautiful views as you make your way along well-maintained (but sometimes curvy) roads to La Fortuna.

Just be aware that sometimes you might get stuck behind a slow truck and passing can be difficult. 

Even though these routes seem easy, it is best to use a GPS app because sometimes it is hard to tell where the road actually goes while you’re driving. 

You can  download offline Google Maps  if you won’t have a network connection.

We find that the  free app Waze  typically works best in Costa Rica. 

How to Get From Liberia Airport to La Fortuna

Your drive from Liberia International Airport will start on the nicest highway in Costa Rica called Route 1. 

Be careful on this highway because it is easy to want to speed here. It is just set up very weirdly and you’ll randomly come to spots where there are crosswalks (yes…. crosswalks on a highway).

After 22 miles you will come to the town of Canas.

In Canas, you will turn left onto a smaller (but well-maintained) road called Route 142. You will stay on this to continue into the mountains, around Lake Arenal, and to La Fortuna.

For me, the road around Lake Arenal is where I get the worst motion sickness in all of Costa Rica. I always arrive at La Fortuna like a zombie and need to sleep it off. But, I’m prone to bad motion sickness.

We have done this route with other people and they have had no issues. So, it might just be a me problem.  

Things to Do with a Rental Car in La Fortuna

There are so many fun things you can do in the surrounding areas when you have the flexibility of a rental car.

Some of our favorite things are….

Take a Day Trip to Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste is a bright blue river with a waterfall that almost looks fake because it is so blue. This is located in Tenorio National Park and is about an hour drive from La Fortuna.

You can always book a day tour here with transportation, but it will be a lot cheaper to just drive yourself.

Visit the Hot Springs

There are several amazing hot spring parks in La Fortuna for all budgets and interests. I think this is a must-do activity in this area.

The easiest way to get to these hot springs is by driving yourself. They all have large parking lots for guests to use.

Go to the La Fortuna Waterfall

The La Fortuna waterfall is another must-do activity in town. This is an impressive jungle waterfall that you can sometimes even swim under depending on the current water levels.

This is located near the downtown area and we often see people walking to it from their hotel. It appears close on a map, but from the downtown area, it’s actually 3.5 miles.

Plus, once you get to the waterfall you need to hike down over 200 steps and then back up them again.

So, save yourself the long walk and drive here instead. Then you only need to struggle through the stairs. 

There is a large free parking lot for visitors to use.

Go Hiking at the Arenal Volcano National Park

It is not possible to hike all the way to the Arenal Volcano National Park crater, but there are a few nice hikes around the volcano that offer good views of both the volcano and Lake Arenal.

For more info on your hiking options, we created an  Arenal Volcano National Park Guide . 

Visit the Butterfly Sanctuary

If you have a car with you, head about 30 minutes from La Fortuna to El Castillo. Here you can visit the  Butterfly Conservatory .

This place is one of those hidden gems that most people don’t venture into, but I really like it here.

It is run by volunteers (who, in our experience, are always great) that will show you around and tell you a bit about each butterfly and reptile.

After looking at all the butterflies on the grounds you can take a nice little walk through their property. 

At the end of the hike, you will be rewarded with a great view of Arenal Volcano.

Go Caving at Venada Caves

About 45 minutes from downtown La Fortuna there is a place called  Venado Caves .

The caves are really tight at some points (as in you’ll be slithering to get through certain spots) and if you don’t do well with tight spaces this is not an activity for you. 

I thought I would freak out, but once the adrenaline kicked in I was good to go.

Check out our guide to 30 Things to Do in La Fortuna for more info

Getting Gas in La Fortuna

There is a gas station in the downtown area aptly called “Gas Station La Fortuna.”

Keep in mind all gas stations here are full-service. So stay in your car and an employee will fill your gas tank up. 

Gas prices are regulated by the government. So, the price will be the same no matter which gas station you go to. 

You can find out more with our guide to gas stations in Costa Rica . 

Most car rental agencies have a fuel policy in which your rental car should come with a full tank of gas. You will then need to return it with a full tank as well. 

If you make your car very dirty it is a good idea to have it cleaned before returning it. Sometimes car rental companies will have an additional charge for deep cleaning if the vehicle is not returned in good condition. 

There are several car washes in downtown La Fortuna. Look for the word “lavacar.” That means car wash. 

What You Should Know Before Renting a Car in Costa Rica

Renting a car in Costa Rica is a bit complicated. Here is what you need to know. 

Requirements to Rent a Car

To rent a car in Costa Rica you need to meet a few main conditions:

  • Meet the minimum age requirement. This ranges by company from 18 to 25. If you rent with Adobe through us you will need to be at least 23 years old. 
  • Have a valid original driver’s license. You do not need an international driving permit. Your regular license is fine. It needs to be the official license. Not a photocopy or temporary license.
  • Have been driving for at least 2 years. You can not be a brand-new driver and rent a car.

The Rental Car Process

First you need to decide which car rental company to book through. 

Please do not book through a third party travel websites like Expedia!

These sites often do not disclose the taxes, extra fess, and mandatory rental car insurance. Instead, you might think your rental price will be something ridiculously low like $5 a day.

When you go to pick up your rental car you will be charged several hundred dollars more for all additional fees. You can  read all about our negative experience with this here .

We suggest booking through us if you plan to rent with Adobe for the best deal. 

As I mentioned above, Adobe no longer has an office in downtown La Fortuna. However, they have an office in nearby Ciudad Quesada and will be happy to deliver your car (and pick it up again) to your La Fortuna area hotel for a small fee (typically about $5).

Just select “Ciudad Quesada” as your pick-up location. In your reservation select “Specify Location” for pick up spot. You can then enter your hotel info.

If you would like to pick up your car with Adobe at the Ciudad Queada Office ,  here is a Google Maps link . 

Check Availability and Rent Your Car with Adobe Plus Save 10%

If you plan to rent through another company, book directly on their website and make sure all fees are included. 

Mandatory Rental Car Insurance

In Costa Rica there are three types of car rental insurance. These are Liability Protection Insurance, Car Protection Insurance, and Total Protection Insurance. 

Liability insurance is required by Costa Rican law . Every person who rents a car in Costa Rica will need to purchase this insurance.

Car Protection is also required by law . However, it is possible to avoid paying this if you have a letter from your credit card company with proof of coverage for car protection in Costa Rica (if you rent with Adobe). 

Total Protection is an additional comprehensive insurance. This extra insurance is not required by law, but is helpful to have. 

You can get more details in our  complete guide to renting a car in Costa Rica . 

Car Rental Deposit

Keep in mind, that you will need to pay a deposit for your rental car at the rental agency. This is often between $1,000 and $2,000 US dollars depending on the rental car company.

It is usually possible to pay this with either a debit or credit card.

We suggest paying with a valid credit card because it is just a hold on your account. When you return the vehicle without issue you will automatically be refunded the deposit.

If you book with a debit card it can take several days for the refund to be processed.

Most companies accept all major credit cards. 

Note: Check your credit card limit beforehand to make sure that you can put down $1,000 without maxing out your card.  

Paying for Your Rental Car

You can pay for your rental car with credit or debit cards.

If you opt to rent with Adobe, you do not need to pay until you arrive and pick up your rental vehicle. Also, all prices from Adobe are quoted and paid in United States dollars. 

Check Availability and Save 10% with Your Adobe Car Rental

Saving Money on Car Rentals

We get it, Costa Rica car rentals are not cheap. To save money there are a few things you can do.

  • Travel at off-peak times. During the rainy season, the average price of car rentals goes way down. During the high season the prices go up A LOT!
  • You could always opt to rent a car for only a few days of your trip rather than for the whole vacation. 

Other Things to Know About La Fortuna Car Rentals

  • Never leave belongings in your vehicle unattended. La Fortuna is safe, but petty theft is known to happen. 
  • Be wary of rental deals that seem too good to be true (like $6 a day prices). These are not accurate. You will then be charged with a lot of other fees upon picking up your vehicle. Find out more in our guide to common rental car scams.
  • If you are coming from the United Kingdom, Australia, etc. people drive on the opposite side of the road in Costa Rica. The roads and driver seat are set up the same as in the United States, Canada, mainland Europe etc.  
  • If you rent with Adobe you can always pick up your car in one spot and return in a different location. They have several car rental locations throughout the country.
  • The posted speed limits in Costa Rica is listed in kilometers per hour NOT miles per hour
  • If you get in an accident, the emergency number here is 9-1-1. 
  • If you would like a long-term rental with Adobe, let us know. We can get you a discount if you need a car for over a month. 

Conclusion: Car Rental La Fortuna

In conclusion, having a rental car is the best transportation option in La Fortuna if you plan to visit a lot of off-the-beaten-path activities or want the flexibility of exploring on your own.

If you have any questions about renting a car in La Fortuna don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. we are always happy to help you plan.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Costa Rica Car Rental: Key Tips for the Best Experience

Driving in costa rica: what you need to know before, costa rica car rental scam: what to watch out for, 27 best places to stay in la fortuna: hotel guide, 19 best restaurants in la fortuna, costa rica: eating guide.

The post Car Rentals in La Fortuna, Costa Rica: What You Need to Know appeared first on Costa Rica Vibes .

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  8. 10 Best Costa Rica Tour Operators 2024 [Unbiased & With Reviews]

    Here is an unbiased list of the Top 10 most reputable Costa Rica tour operators. Get Free Quotes From 10 Best Costa Rica Tour Operators. Providers. Reviews. Jaguar Rescue Center. Trip Advisor - 6,496 reviews. Go Tours Costa Rica. Trip Advisor - 4,255 reviews. Vista Los Suenos Adventure Park.

  9. THE TOP 10 Costa Rica Tours & Excursions (UPDATED 2024)

    Rio Celeste Hiking, Sloth Sanctuary & Llanos de Cortes Waterfall Tour. 794. Get an up-close look at Costa Rica's hidden natural wonders on this Rio Celeste and Llanos de Cortes waterfall tour. Follow an expert local guide through breathtaking scenery, rugged trails, and truly beautiful attractions. This is the perfect way to explore outside the ...

  10. THE 10 BEST Costa Rica Tours & Excursions

    1. Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall, Hot Springs Full Day Tour. 851. Full-day Tours. 6+ hours. See the best of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano area in just one day with this tour. Start with a hike along the La Fortuna…. Free cancellation. Recommended by 96% of travelers.

  11. THE 10 BEST Costa Rica Tours for 2024 (from

    With volcanoes, waterfalls, and rainforest right its doorstep, La Fortuna is ideally situated for an outdoor adventure. …. Free cancellation. Recommended by 98% of travellers. from. ₹14,716. per adult. 8. Upper Balsa River White Water Rafting Class 3/4 in Costa Rica. 1,524.

  12. Costa Rica Tours & Costa Rica Travel Guide

    Book your Costa Rica tour package with Trafalgar and walk along the treetops in the Monteverde Cloud Forest or canoe the lagoons and beaches of Tortuguero. ... Our top 5 things to do in Costa Rica. ... Trafalgar Tours Limited is a proud member of The Travel Corporation family of companies. #SimplyTrafalgar. Travel House, Rue du Manoir St Peter ...

  13. THE 10 BEST Costa Rica Tours & Excursions for 2024 (from C$7)

    Zip across a Costa Rican cloud forest on this canopy tour in Monteverde. Ride across zip lines, rappel down to the forest…. Free cancellation. Recommended by 97% of travellers. from. C$95. per adult. 7. La Fortuna Waterfall, Hanging Bridges, Arenal Volcano Combo Tour.

  14. 10 Best Tour Operators and Travel Agencies in Costa Rica

    Below you will find 24 of the best tour operators and travel agencies in Costa Rica offering in total 228 tours and holidays through-out Costa Rica. Combined they have received 915 customer reviews and an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars. The top tour activities offered in Costa Rica are: Wildlife, landscapes and nature, Adventure and sport ...

  15. Best Costa Rica Tours & Vacations 2023/2024

    We have tours departing from all over South America. The option below may be of interest: San Jose to Panama City. Tours from San Jose. Tours to San Jose. Intrepid's adventures and tours in Costa Rica focus on nature - Monteverde's cloud forests, Manuel Antonio's beaches, Tortuguero's turtles, Arenal Volcano and more!

  16. 9 BEST Tours of Costa Rica (Multi-Day Guided Tours) & How to Pick One!

    9. 3-Day tour with Arenal Volcano. This is Espadilla North Beach which is in Manuel Antonio outside the national park! This short but sweet tour takes you to 3 of Costa Rica's natural gems in as many days: Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park.

  17. 10 Best Costa Rica Small Group Tours & Trips 2024/2025

    Discover Costa Rica with the best small group tours powered by top tour operators & travel companies. Explore new destinations at your pace accompanied by like-minded travelers. All Major Brands. Biggest Selection. Best Prices. Shop 2,500 operators. 4.5 stars on (6,361 reviews)

  18. 22 BEST Tours in Costa Rica that You Don't Want to Miss in 2024

    Bird watchers and animal photographers love this place! 6. Cahuita National Park Tour. Playa Blanca in Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica. Cahuita National Park is a stunning area close to Puerto Viejo, and it's best known for its coral reefs and the 500 species of fish that live in these reefs.

  19. Costa Rica Tours

    18 Day Panama & Costa Rica Tour. TOUR CODE: PA2. Countries Visited: 2 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural. HIGHLIGHT: Partial Canal transit; Chiriqui Highlands & La Amistad Park; Bocas del Toro: White sands & coral reefs; Exploring the canals of…. TOUR START: Panama City. TOUR END: San Jose.

  20. TOP Costa Rica Experiences

    Delve Deep into the Heart of Costa Rica's Wonders: At TOP Costa Rica Experiences, we guide you through the untouched beauty and vibrant essence of this Central American haven. Our meticulously curated tours ensure that you don't just visit; you immerse, engage, and become a part of the land's captivating narrative.

  21. Best Tour Agency in Costa Rica

    Tamarindo, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. USA (805) 637-8370 International +506 2653 1010 [email protected].

  22. 10 Best 10 Day Costa Rica Tours & Trips

    Find the best 10 day tours to Costa Rica with TourRadar. Choose from 116 tours with 1352 real tour reviews. ... Destiny Travel Costa Rica . 10% Off . Duration 10 days Price per day $400 From . US $3,995. View tour Download Brochure ... Company . About us ; Careers Apply Now! Travelers . Days to Come Magazine

  23. ConchalFun: Costa Rican Tours of the Guanacaste Region

    ConchalFun is your gateway to Costa Rican Tours of the Guanacaste Region. Explore hidden gems on a private sailboat, riding an ATV and more! ... TOLL FREE : 1-800-309-4123. COSTA RICA : 011(506) 8557-2776. Menu. The Best Tours in Costa Rica. Home; Our tours; About Us; ... Trustworthy and Organized We booked multiple excursions through this ...

  24. Car Rentals in La Fortuna, Costa Rica: What You Need to Know

    We find that the free app Waze typically works best in Costa Rica. How to Get From Liberia Airport to La Fortuna Your drive from Liberia International Airport will start on the nicest highway in ...