The Road Less Traveled: Top 5 Things to Do in Costa Rica

Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

When it comes to deciding on the premier vacation destination, Costa Rica, the little country with a big personality, is never far from your thoughts. Sure you’ve heard of its “la pura vida” lifestyle, the killer waves, lush tropical jungles and overwhelming natural beauty, but what’s really on tap? The real question is what isn’t? Active travelers can surf, hike, snorkel and mingle with wildlife for starters.

The incredibly varied landscape means you can cruise the cloud forest one day, visit an active volcano the next and finish off by relaxing on a hot sandy beach before heading back to your luxury Costa Rica villa rental. Adrenaline junkies have a myriad number of ways to make mothers worry – among them zipping through canopy lines hundreds of meters long and riding the rough surf of the Pacific. We here at Oasis have outlined some of the top 5 things to do in Costa Rica.

1. Learn to Surf

Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

When it comes to the top 5 things to do in Costa Rica, the appeal of surfing here is pretty strong. Whether you’re a rookie or a vet, understand that the waves here are on par with some of the worlds premier surf destinations such as Australia, Hawaii and Bali, minus the ridiculously long flight. Not only are there over 730 miles (1200 kilometers) of coastline, but also the waters here generally stay at a lovely 80 degrees. With two oceans (the Pacific and Atlantic) a mere six-hour drive from each other, but just be aware that the Pacific side has pretty terrific swells most of the year while the Caribbean side can be a bit more seasonal.

For the beginners looking to get some help standing on those boards, Costa Rica has a plethora of surf schools that teach classes on the basics of catching waves. Lessons are offered for those who need guidance, and often times they’ll have planned excursions to remote spots where you can catch waves that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. However, just know that a surf camp doesn’t necessarily guarantee prime surfing conditions. This can be an issue if you’ve bought a huge package of activities, while some camps and most hotels have extremely overpriced lessons and equipment rentals. Finding the perfect Costa Rica villa rental and doing some research on good places to pick up a board or lessons will serve you well.

2: Take a Stroll in an Active Volcano

Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica happens to be a geological hotbed of volcanic activity, but not in a scary “Dante’s Peak” kind of way. With over 200 identifiable volcanic formations, only five are classified as active volcanoes. The volcanoes here are among the country’s top tourist attractions and many are located in national parks in the northern part of the country and Central Highlands where you can combine a visit with kayaking, rafting or nature hiking.

Irazu Volcano is known for its astonishing green blue lake that sits in one of its craters, while trails leading up to the summit are also impressive and are home to numerous exotic animals and birds like tapirs and tanagers. The most accessible active volcano in Costa Rica is the Poàs Volcano, which sits in the national park of the same name. While the active crater has a boiling acid lake, one of the inactive carters has a lovely icy cold-water lake, which flows down the side of the volcano to become the Rio Sarapiqui. Regular tours of this volcano can be arranged any time, however, the best time to come and experience the Poàs Volcano’s majestic beauty is during May through November when the weather is good and you can actually take a look inside the volcano’s active crater.

3: Glide Through the Treetops 


They say the view is best from the top, and believe us, this is certainly true in a rainforest. By going on a zip-line tour, you can have a hair-raising close view of these vast forests. There are dozens of companies offering tours throughout the country, several near our own luxury Costa Rica rentals in the quaint costal town of Playa Herradura. But if zip-lining through tropical jungles at lighting speeds is a bit too fast pace for you, then the Rainmaker Aerial Walkway is another, more laid-back option for getting close to the jungle’s upper echelon. Costa Rica‘s claim to fame is that this was the first aerial walkway to be built in Central America, and it is still considered to be one of the top sights in the region. At the highest point of the walkway, you’ll find yourself at a staggering 20 stories above the ground. Definitely considered one the top 5 things to do in Costa Rica, treetop tours are reasonably priced and even offer meals. Fun fact: The highest 10% of a rainforest is where most of the ecological action takes place.

4: Visit a Coffee Plantation for Premium Joe 

Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

Lets face it, the vast majority of people on earth love coffee, and it just so happens that Costa Rican coffee is some of the best in the world. Plantation tours are packed with culture and history, and include visits to the coffee fields, roasters and cafés. By taking one of these coffee plantation tours you can see every step of the refining process and get the chance to buy some premium coffee at discount prices in the gift shops. Take one of these tours and you’re guaranteed to learn the ins-and-outs of coffee production, as well as the opportunity to enjoy one of the world’s freshest cups of Joe.

 5: Lounge in Volcanic Hot Springs 

Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

So, you’ve decided to take a relaxing vacation and book a Costa Rica villa rental. Great, now what better way is there to get some well deserved rest and rejuvenation than by soaking in thermal waters heated to therapeutic temperatures by an active volcano? Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Thanks to the country’s 5 active volcanoes, these volcanic hot springs are among the top 5 things to do in Costa Rica. The majority of these thermal pools are located in the La Fortuna region thanks to the nearby Arenal Volcano. Since most travelers opt to include a stop in La Fortuna throughout their trip, adding a visit to a local hot spring attraction on your itinerary is easy without sacrificing precious vacation time.

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