Want to see humpback whales, jumping stingrays, flying fish, sea turtles and Costa Rica’s dramatic and dynamic coastline? Grab your crew and hop aboard a catamaran. There’s nothing quite like sharing a day at sea, and you can find reputable tour operators up and down the Pacific coast, especially in Playa Flamingo, Tamarindo, Jacó and Quepos. Most day-trip tours include a locally inspired lunch and an opportunity to snorkel.
Navigating furious whitewater is a team effort, so it should be at the top of your group itinerary – especially as Costa Rica is home to world-class rafting rivers. The Pacuare River was named one of the top five rapids in the world, and you can also dive into some serious adrenaline-pumping action on the Reventazón, Sarapiquí and Pacuare rivers.
Costa Rica’s verdant valleys, national parks and forests are nothing less than stunning: but they look even better from up high. A zip line tour is the perfect group activity as it offers plenty of unforgettable thrills as you whiz past the most incredible views. Plus, if you head to areas like the Arenal river canyon, Monteverde, or Rincón de la Vieja, you’ve got the chance to feast your eyes on everything from volcanoes and beautiful plains to rare plants and wildlife.
An arribada is when thousands of egg-carrying sea turtles lay their eggs under the new moon, at only a few beaches around the world. One of the most famous in Costa Rica is Playa Ostional, and during the peak months of September and October, species like the Olive Ridley sea turtle make their way to the high-tide line to lay their clutch of eggs. Find a certified guide who can escort you to a site, as this is an incredible display you don’t want to miss.
In Costa Rica’s national parks you’ll find thousands of plant and wildlife species, as well as unique ecological zones including rainforests, mangrove swamps and coral reefs. You’ll want to hire a private group guide with a trained set of eyes and an encyclopedic knowledge of the country’s unmissable natural wonders.
It’s quite amazing how much wildlife you can see on a guided night tour through one of Costa Rica’s mystical cloud forests. Cloud forests like Monteverde come alive at night, and the music and movement in the dark forest are truly enchanting.
The Térraba Sierpe National Wetlands are some of the most extensive in Central America, bursting with wildlife. You can access these wetlands only by boat, but that’s the best way to witness the magic of the vast waterways of Térraba Sierpe. The boats are also a great size for a group.
La Fortuna and the area around the Arenal volcano are famous for their natural hot springs. However, nearly all of them are part of one of the many exquisite resorts in the area. Río Chollín is one of the few free places where you can access the glorious volcano-fed thermal pools; you can kick back and relax with a mineral-rich soak in the forest.
Costa Rica is world-renowned for its coffee and chocolate, and many plantations also grow cacao, the raw fruit that becomes chocolate. The central region of the country and the Caribbean slope are revered for their boutique coffee and chocolate farms that offer educational tours complete with taste testing.
With dozens of wave-riddled beaches, it is easy to understand why thousands of visitors a year come to Costa Rica to learn how to surf. There is no shortage of surf instructors and surf camps here, especially in Tamarindo, Playa Guiones and Santa Teresa on the Pacific coast. There are often great group discounts for surf lessons and camps too.
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