Costa Rica tours

Best tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a small, democratic country, famous for its natural environment - and with that comes plenty of exciting, adrenaline-filled tour options.

  1. Take a thrilling canopy tour
  2. Go higher than the tree tops
  3. Take a splash in Costa Rica
  4. Take a tour of the National Theatre
  5. Discover the villages of Costa Rica
  6. Learn all about coffee on a fascinating tour
  7. Explore Costa Rica’s volcanoes
  8. Get up close with nature in Costa Rica

Costa Rica tours are some of the most adventurous in the world. Delve deep into the rainforest where you can glide above the treetops, or dip in the water and try waterfall rappelling. Whatever tour you choose, Costa Rica will provide you with unforgettable memories, so enjoy reading our best of the bunch.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Take a thrilling canopy tour

Get a bird’s-eye view of life at the top, and a thrilling ride, as you zip through the forest, suspended from a cable strung along platforms set high in the tree canopy. For a bird’s-eye view of the forest canopy adjacent to Braulio Carrillo, you can take a ride on the Rainforest Aerial Tram. This is an 80-minute, 2.6km trip through the forest’s treetops, 35 metres above the forest floor. The ‘tram’ is an open, metal gondola, big enough for five passengers and a naturalist guide, equipped with a walkie-talkie to pass along information on wildlife sightings. Visitors can experience the forest canopy up close, breathe the steamy air, and catch the unforgettable tropical smell of damp, mossy tree trunks.

Best for: An exciting ride

Top tip: Note that Sky Trek, the highest and longest zip-line, also operates in Monteverde

2. Go higher than the tree tops

Fancy going higher than the tree tops? Take a parasailing tour over the ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park, suspended from a parachute kept aloft by a fast motorboat. Or if you would rather leave the flying to someone else, step into a two-person ultralight, fixed-wing plane and let the pilot take you on a thrilling bird’s-eye view of the ocean and jungle. There are ultralight tours in Uvita on the South Pacific coast and near Samara on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Best for: An unforgettable tour

Top tip: Other adventures include climbing 30-metre (100ft) trees, using ropes, or spending a night in a tree-top platform.

3. Take a splash in Costa Rica

For a wet and wild adventure, try waterfall rappelling. Instead of zipping along a cable, you step off the top of a waterfall and rappel your way down, attached to ropes secured by guides at both the top and bottom of the waterfall. It takes a fair bit of courage to take that first step backward, but the thrill is worth it.

Best for: Water adventure

Top tip: Note that you stay cool thanks to waterfall spray!

4. Take a tour of the National Theatre

The National Theatre (Teatro Nacional) is without doubt the finest building in San Jose, if not all Costa Rica. Its construction was financed by 19th-century coffee barons. International guest artists feature here and their season begins in March. There are also daily tours where you can admire the marble, gold, bronze, tropical woods, crystal chandeliers, velvet drapes and statuary.

Best for: A theatre tour

Top tip: Remember to look up - the ceiling fresco is famous and features an idyllic scene of coffee and banana pickers.

5. Discover the villages of Costa Rica

There are misty, almost enchanted places such as the Orosí Valley, adobe villages such as Barva that sing of old Costa Rica, and crowded, relentlessly vital cities, such as Heredia or Cartago. And they are all easily accessible. Day trips by bus or car, or with tour groups, can easily be arranged. Searching for Costa Rica holidays? From San Jose to the rainforest and everywhere in between, Costa Rica is home to endless adventure.

Best for: Learning about local villages

Top tip: Orosí Valley is home to ideal soil conditions and is home to some of tastiest coffee in the country.

6. Learn all about coffee on a fascinating tour

In the hills just outside Barva is a lively and entertaining Aventura de Café tour at Café Britt. Guides at this coffee farm take you through every step of the process, from raw bean to the hot, steaming final product, using a multimedia, theatrical approach. If you need it, transport to and from San José is available.

Best for: Coffee drinkers

Top tip: Ask to taste the ripe, red fruit that surrounds the coffee bean. It is surprisingly sweet and good.

7. Explore Costa Rica’s volcanoes

Costa Rica is a land of earthquakes and volcanoes, where hikers and mountaineering enthusiasts can climb the Central Valley’s four active cones in just two days. Visitors should remember, though, that an active volcano demands respect; proper equipment is essential. Taking a guided tour will ensure the greatest safety. local people are proud of their explosive geology, and have made Poás and Irazú volcanoes the country’s most visited parks.

Best for: A memorable walk

Top tip: Palo Verde National Park is one of Central America’s largest protected wildlife areas.

8. Get up close with nature in Costa Rica

There are plenty of tours to take which take you down the Corobicí River on rubber rafts. It makes a fun and wonderful opportunity to observe the river’s habitat, especially the birds - laughing falcons, herons, trogons, wood storks, motmots, parrots, osprey, and, of course, egrets. Howler and white-faced monkeys all make their homes along the shores of the Corobicí.

Best for: Seeing nature

Top tip: Plan for an early-morning trip (trips available from 7am) to enjoy the best birding.

Find your perfect destination