Our favourite adventure experiences in Costa Rica
Despite being just less than 51,800sq km and under a quarter of the size of the UK, Costa Rica is known as one of the most exciting destinations for adventure travel. Here are a few of our favourite activities in this amazing Central American country:
Costa Rica is the home of recreational ziplining and, for that very reason, it is a must-do when visiting. I did this exhilarating activity in several areas, over various landscapes – but a highlight for me was alongside Lake Arenal, with spectacular views of Arenal Volcano. I was terrified at first, having always had a slight fear of heights, but the guides made me feel totally at ease. Having completed the first couple of rides and got a taste of the fabulous vistas, I began to enjoy it more and more. It was truly exhilarating and is something I would recommend to anyone who craves an adrenaline rush. What better way to experience a country and its landscapes than from the sky?
The Pacuare is one of the most well-known rivers in the world for white-water rafting – and I can completely understand why. The river itself is incredibly scenic, surrounded by rugged canyons and lush rainforest, and the rapids are world-class. If staying at Pacuare Lodge, you are encouraged to arrive at and leave the property by raft (there are no roads here, so arriving there by car is quite a bumpy experience). I enjoyed the rafting immensely, particularly on the way out of the lodge, as those rapids were grades 3 and 4 on the international scale of river difficulty. There is nothing quite like the sheer exhilaration you feel, while being encircled by truly unspoiled jungle and incredible natural beauty.
Having always been a rider, and having always dreamt of galloping along the beach, this was a definite highlight for me. I was taken out on a ride at a family-owned ranch near the surfing town of Santa Teresa on the Pacific coast. I passed through the farm with my private guide and sabanero, taking in the scenery and enjoying seeing a different side of the Nicoya Peninsula. We rode up a very steep hill to a viewpoint which, for use of a better phrase, took my breath away. It’s not every day that you find yourself on a horse admiring dramatic views of pristine shores and grasslands. We then continued down to the deserted beach and slowly pottered along the sand. It was everything that I dreamed the experience would be. This is just one example of the incredible places where you can set out on an equestrian adventure in Costa Rica.
I was told that I shouldn’t go to Costa Rica without trying my hand at surfing and I’m so glad that I did. I was apprehensive at first, as balance isn’t my strong suit, but with the help of an expert guide who had been surfing since he could walk, even I managed to stand up. I was taken onto a beach called Playa Hermosa, which literally translates as ‘beautiful beach’ – and beautiful it was. There are several coastlines in Costa Rica called Playa Hermosa, but this one, located near the town of Santa Teresa, is a surfer’s paradise. It’s peaceful and has hardly any development, except the occasional house nestled in the trees. It also has a great surf break. Your guide is there to give you the best possible direction but also to make sure you have fun. I had such an enjoyable time and standing up was just a bonus!
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