Unique Water Sports in Costa Rica and Where to Do Them

© IIP Photo Archive / Flickr
© IIP Photo Archive / Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
12 February 2018

Water activities in Costa Rica offer a refreshing break from the often sweltering heat. While most people think of surfing, snorkeling, and swimming when they think about water sports, there are actually some pretty unique aquatic experiences to be had here – check out our pick of the best.

Free diving

One of the most harmonious ways to experience the diverse marine zones and underwater wildlife of Costa Rica is by free diving. Through a multiple day PADI free diving certification course, you can learn how to comfortably and safely dive to depths of 10 meters (30 feet) for a minimum of one and a half minutes on a single breath. This empowering ability grants you incredible freedom to explore beneath the surface without the constant sound of air bubbles and bulky scuba diving gear.

Swim with the sea turtles | © Shawn / Flickr


For those who aren’t interested in a free diving course, but still want to explore Costa Rica‘s mesmerizing marine life, snuba is an amazing choice. Snuba is a mix of snorkeling and scuba diving, but no certification or experience is necessary. A scuba tank is placed in a free floating raft and a pressurized hose is attached; this hose is your personal air line. The hose allows you to breathe underwater without having to carry around the tank. The liberating experience is great for the whole family and grants you the opportunity to swim with giant manta rays, eagle rays, turtles, sharks, and a plethora of tropical fish.

Snap a shot of a sting ray | © Estoy Viajando / Flickr

SUP yoga

Stand up paddle boarding and yoga are two very popular activities in Costa Rica. But have you ever tried stand up paddle boarding yoga? The experience of doing yoga out in the ocean is truly divine. The classes usually take place in a protected bay area where the water is calm. Practising yoga on a SUP board is fun, peaceful, and challenging. There is nothing like doing savasana with the sound of the ocean ringing in your ears.

Backbends in the bay | © SURfit / Flickr


Have you ever dreamed of flying underwater? Subwing is a small winged device that is pulled behind a boat while you hold onto it. You can dive, spin, and fly upside-down all while gliding effortlessly through the ocean. This exhilarating experience is a must-try! It also enables you to cover a lot of ground underwater where you will encounter a wealth of marine wildlife.

Shark diving

There are several shark hotspots in Costa Rica where adventurous and experienced divers can spend time admiring these exquisite apex predators. Costa Rica is home to hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, and multiple other impressive species. The Bat Islands and Isla del Coco are two of the most famous shark spots in Costa Rica, but there are several others that support a large population of a variety of sharks.

Rocket Frog Divers, Playa Ocotal, Costa Rica, +506 8562 3340

Waterfall repelling

There are dozens of spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica. One of the most rip-roaring experiences to have in the midst of a tropical rainforest is swimming in a cool natural pool beneath the raw power of a mammoth cascade. Sometimes the best way to get down a waterfall is to simply repel down it. Waterfall repelling – also known as canyoning – is a heart pumping and smiling inducing adrenaline rush, and a water activity that you won’t soon forget.

Wind surfing

The northernmost tip of Lake Arenal is one of the premier wind surfing lakes in the world. The wind is incredibly consistent and can blow all day every day during peak months, which are between October and May. Lake Arenal is Costa Rica‘s wind energy epicenter, making it a fantastic spot for wind sports. Wind surfing on this beautiful blue lake also puts you in the perfect position to see the famous Arenal Volcano. There are opportunities to take lessons, rent equipment, or just head out on your own from two different launch spots, if you are already experienced.

Lake views | © Leonora Ellie Enking / Flickr

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