Costa Rica Hiking Travel Ideas
More than 12 unique hikes to add to your travel bucketlist
Try These Awesome Hikes in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a land of natural contrasts and the hikes help you explore a wonderful variety of landscapes. Hike on beaches, volcanoes, in cloud forests and ancient rainforest, plus caves and trails filled with wildlife.
Discover Costa Rica from its trails as you walk with expert guides and uncover a country untamed. These are just a few ideas for your travel bucketlist and you can save the ones you like by using the heart.
Arenal Volcano NP Hike Plus Tabacón Spa and Dinner
Tour along hiking trails on the northwest side of Arenal while your guide interprets the impressive sights and sounds of this active volcano and its attendant biodiversity.Marvel at lava rock formations. Spot white-faced capuchin monkeys and parrot snakes. Watch the lava-red sun set over the serene waters of Arenal Lake.Afterward, unwind at Tabacon Resort, a serene retreat that features both natural hot and cold pools, unique to the Arenal area.Drink in the surroundings while you bathe in water heated by Arenal’s volcanic heart.End your day with dinner at the Tucanes Restaurant, which serves up tasteful gastronomical experiences in the resort’s impressive rainforest atmosphere.
Barra Honda NP Caves Full-Day Hike
Barra Honda National Park protects a cave system that plunges hundreds of meters into the earth. Venture down and visit this strange world of bats and stalactites.The cave systems hold mesmerizing limestone forms, sculpted over millions of years by a combination of rainwater and gravity. Your light throws eerie shadows off the bizarre shapes. Stalactites mark the way as you delve deeper. Sweeping your lamplight around a chamber, don’t be surprised to see dozens of bats roosting in the ceiling, awaiting nightfall—a common sight in this often overlooked ecosystem.
Cahuita Rainforest Hike in Puerto Viejo
Boas and other snakes slither in the undergrowth. An armadillo waddles across the trail. A howler monkey bellows his haunting call. Blue butterflies flutter among the brilliant flowers.The rainforests around Cahuita teem with a stunning degree of life. On this hike, you travel with a knowledgeable guide who explains the sights and sounds, points out medicinal plants, and keeps you on track. Move among the rainforest’s residents and experience Costa Rica’s coast for what it is: wild.
Corcovado National Park Full-Day Hiking Tour
Explore the crown jewel of Costa Rica’s national parks on a private tour. In addition to being the country’s largest park, Corcovado also includes the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline and accordingly supports a range of spectacular and rare animals.Two hikes will take you to different areas of the park, giving you the best chances of spotting wildlife. Scarlet macaws populate the trees overhead as you move through the forest. Listen for the scurrying of tapirs and keep a watchful eye for the elusive jaguar—Corcovado is one of the feline’s last great refuges in North America.
Explore Irazú Volcano
The Irazú Volcano is 3432m tall, making it the tallest volcano in the country. Standing on the summit on a clear day, you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in one unforgettable panorama.Minerals from volcanic eruptions have made the soil surrounding the volcano exceptionally rich, feeding robust flora. Adventurous souls can connect with nature by exploring the loop hiking trail, winding around the volcano and between its numerous craters.For many, the highlight of the day is the view of Diego de la Haya—a particularly photogenic crater that contains a bright green volcanic lake.
Hiking the Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano NP
Featuring iconic milky turquoise water, several hot springs, and an impressive waterfall, Rio Celeste is among Tenorio Volcano National Park’s main attractions. Your private guide will bring you on a hiking tour, following the river up into the park.Learn how natural aluminum, silicon, and acids combine to give the water its heavenly hue. Pass areas of the river which literally bubble with the output from volcanic hot springs.Your magical hike culminates at the base of the river’s large waterfall. While swimming in the river is prohibited within park boundaries, you can relax after the hike in a nearby hot spring.
Horseback Riding and Hiking to La Fortuna Waterfall
Travel by horseback to one of the most beautiful waterfalls on earth. La Fortuna Waterfall drops 70 meters in a single, thin stream, forming an impressive column of water.Get there by horse, riding through bucolic countryside before climbing hills enclosed by rainforest alive with the songs of tropical birds.Leave your horse and hike down a short distance until you arrive at a lovely pool at the base of the fall — a fantastic place for swimming.
Las Pailas Loop Hike on Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
Volcanic mud bubbles swell and pop. Steam pours from fumaroles set in the brightly-colored ground. Water as dark and hot as coffee boils in pools. Welcome to Las Pailas (The Cauldrons) of Rincón de la Vieja National Park. This is the largest and most active volcano in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region. Begin your adventure by hiking through pristine dry tropical forest in the company of spider monkeys, armadillos, iguanas, and snakes. Once at Las Pailas, the character of the scenery changes into an otherworldly furnace. You will smell sulfur and feel steam billowing up from deep in the earth.
Poás Volcano Day Trip from San Jose
Poás Volcano is a contender for Costa Rica’s most impressive and active volcano.You will enjoy an interpretive trail that winds upward through cloud forest and delivers you to a breathtaking viewpoint. The stunning vista encompasses a 1.5 kilometer-wide crater and its two crater lakes, one of which is startlingly bright—and one of the most acidic lakes on earth.The 2,708-meter stratovolcano has erupted 40 times in the past 200 years. Even on its calm days, volcanic gases spew from vents, contributing so much sulfur to the air that it’s not recommended to remain at the observation area for more than 20 minutes.
Rincon de la Vieja NP & Liberia City Tour
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano stands at the center of the national park that shares its name. This active volcano is nearly 2000m tall and has erupted as recently as 2011. Wander the hiking trails that span the park, offering glimpses of the volcano from all angles, as well as its subtler characteristics and the robust flora that burst from mineral-rich volcanic soil.Monkeys clamber up trees only meters away from bubbling mud pools. Vibrantly colored birds flitter above steaming fumaroles. The sights along the trails illustrate how natural beauty and volcanic violence go hand-in-hand in this uniquely diverse land.
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano Full-Day Tour
This is a whirlwind tour of the wonders of Costa Rica as they appear to all five senses. Hike through the jungle to see cascading waterfalls. Stroll along rivers and listen to the layered sounds of the forest. Smell the rich bouquet of abundant foliage and tropical flowers. Taste incredibly fresh fruit juice. And finally, feel the disarming warmth of volcanic hot springs.Connect with nature as you experience all of this and more, at this protected wildlife sanctuary in the shadow of Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
Wildlife Hike on Arenal’s Sloth Trail
See everyone’s favorite Costa Rican mammal in its natural habitat!Sloths are native to Central America and Costa Rica boasts premier sloth-spotting locations. Visit one of them today—Arenal's Sloth Trail. Explore 50 acres of tropical forest peppered with cecropia trees, the sloth’s favorite hideaway. Your naturalist guide will point out other flora and fauna while you search for these lethargic jungle denizens. Watch the slow, deliberate movements of two- and three-toed sloths moving up tree trunks and along branches. If you’re lucky, you might see a mother with a baby clinging to her fur.