The Greatest Costa Rica Excursions (for Each Funds!)

In case you’re a seasoned traveler, you may shrink back from excursions and decide to go to locations by yourself as an alternative. I get it: I additionally benefit from the freedom to go the place I would like, after I need, with a purpose to keep away from crowds.

Nonetheless, there are advantages of reserving excursions, particularly if it’s your first time in a brand new place. Certainly one of them is having a information who can reply your questions and supply significant context to what you’re seeing. One other large perk is that hopping on a tour can probably prevent cash, as lots of them embody meals and transportation.

I totally loved the excursions I went on in Costa Rica. Particularly contemplating the spectacular biodiversity there, it’s tremendous useful to have an skilled with you who can level out completely different vegetation and animals that you simply may in any other case miss.

I’ve put collectively an inventory of the perfect Costa Rica excursions, together with free and finances ones, and luxurious and multiday excursions. Some stellar choices await you:

Funds Excursions

1. San José Bites and Sights Strolling Tour

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I did this tour on my first day in Costa Rica, and it completely set the scene for the complete month I spent exploring the nation. I discovered about completely different sorts of fruits, acquired a full rundown on particular customs and different cultural norms, and loved among the greatest meals that San José has to supply. My information was an skilled in all issues San José, from its historical past and structure to the perfect locations to eat and methods to get essentially the most out of the town. You may learn all about my expertise right here to get a greater thought of what you may anticipate from the tour.

  • The place: Downtown San José
  • Period: 3 hours
  • What’s included: Native information, fruit & vegetable samples, espresso, and different small bites
  • Worth: $38 and price each penny! Book here.

2. Jungle Evening Tour

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There are few experiences which can be fairly like strolling by way of a pitch-black jungle at night time. I did this Manuel Antonio jungle night time tour on my first night time there, and I couldn’t imagine how fascinating it was. The feeling of listening to the nonstop rhythmic sounds at night time felt surreal. My information had a eager eye for bugs, spiders, frogs, reptiles, and different critters, pointing them out for us as we hiked. There have been so many animals that I had by no means seen earlier than; I needed to do a double-take to actually take of their magnificence.

Not solely was the hike itself an incredible expertise, however the tour included dinner and transportation, making it a stellar finances choice. You may learn extra about my expertise on this tour right here.

  • The place: Rainmaker Conservation Park, close to Manuel Antonio
  • Period: 3 hours
  • What’s included: Naturalist information, dinner with drinks, transportation, and park entrance charge
  • Worth: $59; contemplating the upper value of meals in Manuel Antonio, the included dinner made it price it. Book here.

3. Waterfall, Arenal Volcano, and Scorching Springs Full-Day Tour

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There’s loads to do in La Fortuna, and it may be tempting to attempt to squeeze every part into a brief interval. That’s why I like to recommend hopping on this full-day tour to take advantage of the time you may have right here. I booked this tour as a result of I didn’t lease a automotive and was overwhelmed by the effort of making an attempt to get from place to put after I realized that La Fortuna doesn’t precisely have a sturdy public transportation system. Plus, taking taxis all over the place would have been costlier than the tour and even renting a automotive for the day.

This tour began early, round 7am. I hopped on the bus, met my guides, and buckled up for the trip. Throughout the 10-hour journey, I acquired to go to the La Fortuna Waterfall, hike on volcanic rock close to the Arenal Volcano, and take a dip in some steamy scorching springs afterward. There was even a beneficiant lunch included, with some drinks on the scorching springs as effectively. For me, it was effectively well worth the value.

  • The place: La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park
  • Period: 10 hours
  • What’s included: Native guides, lunch and drinks, park entrance charges, scorching springs entrance charge, and transportation
  • Worth: $90, which is lower than it could price to do all of these items by yourself. Book here.

4. Río Celeste and Tenorio Nationwide Park Tour

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This exercise was my favourite factor I did close to La Fortuna. Río Celeste is a sky-blue river that runs by way of the Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park. Right here you’ll discover an abundance of wildlife, together with sloths, toucans, monkeys, and extra. Plus, the crown jewel of the park is the big Río Celeste waterfall, which crashes into one of many bluest swimming pools you’ll ever see.

This tour, very similar to the Arenal tour above, was effectively well worth the value. Contemplating that the park is a 90-minute drive from La Fortuna, the transportation alone makes it an incredible bang on your buck. Plus, I had a blast studying in regards to the distinctive ecosystem and dipping into a close-by scorching river. Learn extra about my expertise right here.

  • The place: Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park
  • Period: 8 hours
  • What’s included: Naturalist information, lunch, park entrance charge, and transportation
  • Worth: $89, which is about the identical value as it could be to lease a automotive for the day to get there, so it’s price it. Book here.

5. Rainforest Chocolate Tour

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Cacao, the plant that turns into chocolate, is native to Costa Rica. There are cacao plantations all through the nation, a few of which you’ll be able to go to on a tour. That is the very best approach to be taught in regards to the harvesting and processing of cacao from begin to end, as you’ll have the ability to see the completely different phases and style the ultimate product on the finish.

  • The place: close to La Fortuna
  • Period: 1.5-2 hours
  • What’s included: Native information, chocolate tastings, and entrance charges to the plantation
  • Worth: $30. Book here.

6. Natural Farm Go to & Farm-to-Desk Cooking Class

So that you already did the San José meals tour, and now you’re itching to learn to make these delicious empanadas. Connecting with the best way Costa Ricans put together typical dishes is an superior approach to be taught in regards to the tradition and admire it by way of meals. I really feel like I missed out by not doing this tour and can guide it subsequent time I go to.

  • The place: La Fortuna
  • Period: 2 hours
  • What’s included: Guided tour of the farm, cooking class, a meal ready by you
  • Worth: $45, which is greater than a meal would price at a restaurant, however you get a studying expertise as effectively. Book here.

7. Lake Arenal Stand-up Paddleboard or Kayak Rental

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Paddleboarding with a big volcano as a backdrop sounds fairly epic, proper? Lake Arenal is on the base of a volcano of the identical identify. Its waters are tranquil and excellent for a paddle, making this exercise a must-do whereas in La Fortuna. Some even say that the perfect view of the volcano is from the lake, so don’t miss out on the chance to see what all of the hype is about!

  • The place: La Fortuna
  • Period: 1 hour
  • What’s included: Rental of paddleboard tools
  • Worth: $20, which is the usual value per hour to lease a paddleboard. Book here.

8. Cloud Forest Evening Strolling Tour

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In case you learn my information to Monteverde, you recognize already that this was certainly one of my favourite locations in Costa Rica. The cloud forest is nothing wanting magical, what with its mossy timber, thick foliage, and abundance of untamed animals scurrying about. Just like what I discussed above in regards to the Manuel Antonio jungle night time tour, this one is important to any Monteverde itinerary. The forest is totally completely different at night time, and having a information there to level out completely different animals makes it effectively well worth the value, as lots of them are troublesome to identify. The parks closed at night time, so that is the one approach to see them after darkish.

  • The place: Monteverde/Santa Elena
  • Period: 3 hours
  • What’s included: Naturalist information, entry ticket to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Organic Reserve, and transportation
  • Worth: $28.25, making it one of the crucial reasonably priced actions on the checklist. Book here.

9. Aquiares Property: 2-Hour Espresso Tour with Tasting

Have you ever ever puzzled what it takes to make a cup of scrumptious espresso? Costa Rica is likely one of the espresso capitals of the world, as a result of it has the perfect local weather for the vegetation to thrive. Many Costa Ricans make their dwelling harvesting, processing, and promoting espresso, so plantations are considerable right here. Take it from me; you may’t go away Costa Rica with out visiting certainly one of these — it was one of the crucial eye-opening experiences I had there. I would dare to say that touring one made me increase the bar for what I take into account to be a superb cup of joe.

  • The place: Aquiares, Limón Province
  • Period: 2 hours
  • What’s included: Skilled information, entrance charge to the farm, espresso tasting
  • Worth: $35, which is fairly customary for excursions like this one. Book here.

Luxurious Excursions

10. ATV Quad Bike Journey Tour (±Snorkeling)

So many stunning locations in Costa Rica are solely accessible through ATV or on foot due to how dense the jungles could be. Tamarindo is a seashore city, but in addition has some unimaginable forests with streams and waterfalls, and this ATV tour is the perfect approach to attain these spectacular, off-the-beaten-path locations. Put together your self to get sandy and muddy throughout this wild journey by way of Costa Rican seashore and jungle landscapes.

  • The place: Tamarindo
  • Period: 2.5-3 hours
  • What’s included: Native information, transportation to and out of your lodging, ATV rental (you get to drive), snorkel tools (for those who select the snorkeling choice)
  • Worth: $170 with out snorkeling, $220 with snorkeling. Book here.

11. Paragliding Flight

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Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is legendary for its breathtaking sunsets. Although admiring them from the shore has its perks, there’s nothing fairly just like the panoramic view whereas parasailing. It is a dear exercise, however many individuals who’ve finished it describe it as surreal and the closest factor you may really feel to flying like a hen.

  • The place: Jacó
  • Period: 40 minutes
  • What’s included: Paragliding flight with skilled pilot
  • Worth: $230, making this a little bit of a splurge however price it for the once-in-a-lifetime expertise. Book here.

12. Day Journey to Tabacon Scorching Springs & Arenal Volcano

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In case you’re dying to take a look at the new springs in La Fortuna however solely have someday for it in your itinerary, take into account this present day journey from San José to Tabacón scorching springs and Arenal Volcano. Tabacón is probably essentially the most well-known scorching river in Costa Rica. It will get its steamy temperature from the geothermal exercise of Arenal Volcano.

In comparison with different scorching springs in La Fortuna, Tabacón is pricier and extra luxurious. It’s one of many solely locations that has a soaking space that’s half of the particular river, whereas different scorching springs are man-made swimming pools. This tour begins off with a hike close to Arenal Volcano, one of the crucial iconic locations within the nation, and finishes with the new springs.

  • The place: San José to La Fortuna
  • Period: 13 hours
  • What’s included: Tour information, round-trip transportation from San José to La Fortuna, entrance to Tabacón Thermal Resort, lunch and dinner
  • Worth: $232, which is unquestionably price it as a result of a day cross on the resort is round $70 alone. Book here.

Multiday Excursions

13. 3-Day Tortuguero Nationwide Park Tour (2 nights)

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Tortuguero Nationwide Park, on the northern Caribbean coast, is actually an extended, skinny island with a community of canals on the mainland facet and the Caribbean Sea on the opposite. It was one of the crucial stunning locations I visited and the place I noticed essentially the most wildlife. It will get its identify as a result of the island is a hatching floor for a number of species of sea turtles, which yow will discover there at completely different instances of the 12 months.

A 3-day tour like this one is a superb alternative to get essentially the most out of Tortuguero in little time. Having a information is an enormous plus, as they’re specialists in recognizing wildlife and giving recommendations on the place to go and what to do. Plus, having transportation to and from San José takes the stress off of determining methods to get there, as the general public buses could be unpredictable at instances and the journey is kind of lengthy. Discover out extra in regards to the itinerary here.

  • The place: San José to Tortuguero
  • Period: 3 days, 2 nights
  • What’s included: Guided excursions, all meals, 2 nights’ lodging
  • Worth: $500, which is kind of cheap contemplating that you simply don’t have to fret about lodging, meals, or transportation. Book here.

14. All-Inclusive Bundle for 7 Nights (8 Days)

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If you wish to take pleasure in the perfect websites on this stunning nation with out having to plan a single factor, an all-inclusive tour is a superb choice. This one is a spotlight reel of among the greatest locations to go to in Costa Rica, together with Poás Volcano, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, Monteverde, and extra.

Some of these excursions usually are not for everybody, however for those who don’t thoughts going with the move and following another person’s itinerary, it may be enjoyable to not need to plan each exercise. It’s additionally fairly good to have the ability to pay one flat charge that covers virtually every part.

  • The place: San José, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Irazú Volcano and extra. Discover the total itinerary here.
  • Period: 8 days, 7 nights
  • What’s included: Tour information, transportation, 7 nights of lodging, admission tickets, breakfasts, and lunches
  • Worth: $1,430, relying on the season (costs could also be larger from December to April). Book here.

Free Excursions

15. San José Strolling Tour

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Likelihood is that you simply’ll fly into Costa Rica’s capital metropolis, San José. Although most guests aren’t tremendous enthusiastic about spending a lot time within the nation’s solely actual concrete jungle, this metropolis may shock you. It definitely was rather more fascinating than I assumed it could be, and I really wished I had spent extra time there. Take into account becoming a member of a free strolling tour of San José (aka El Chepe or Chepetown) to get the inside track on its historical past, tradition, and meals scene from the angle of a neighborhood information.

  • The place: Downtown San José
  • Period: 2.5-3 hours
  • What’s included: Native information
  • Worth: Free, however tipping the information is advisable. Book here.

16. La Alegría Waterfalls Tour

Discovering free excursions like this one is fairly uncommon. The free waterfalls tour in La Alegría will take you to a secret waterfall the place you may go for a swim with out the crowds you’d discover at different, extra touristy locations. You’ll additionally have the ability to take a look at some incredible jungle vistas from a viewpoint towards the Reventazón lagoon. The information is an expert in ecological tourism and can have the ability to level out birds, mammals, and different vegetation and animals alongside the best way.

  • The place: La Alegría, Limón Province
  • Period: 4.5 hours
  • What’s included: Transportation to and from the waterfalls and a information
  • Worth: Free, however tipping the information is advisable (most give $10-50). Book here.


The perfect Costa Rica tour for you is the one which excites you, suits your finances, and might make your journey right here additional particular.

Which one will you select?

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