Costa Rica is a major adventure-tourism destination. The following basic itinerary packs a lot of adventure into a single week; if you want to do some surfing, mountain biking, or kayaking, just schedule in some more time. If you’re into windsurfing or kiteboarding, you’ll definitely want to visit Lake Arenal between December and March.
DAY 1: Starting in San José
You’ll probably have a little time to explore and enjoy San José. Head first to the Plaza de la Democracia, where you’ll find the Museos del Banco Central de Costa Rica and the Teatro Nacional. Take a break for an afternoon beer or kombucha brewed on-site at Apotecario in Barrio Escalante. For a traditional Costa Rican dinner with a spectacular view of the city lights, head to Mirador Tiquicia in the hills above Escazú.
DAYS 2 & 3: Get wet & wild
Take a 2-day whitewater rafting expedition on the Pacuare River with Ríos Tropicales, and spend the night at their remote riverside lodge. When you finish running the Pacuare, they will transport you (as part of the trip package) to La Fortuna.
DAY 4: Waterfalls two ways
Go waterfall rappel canyoning with Desafío Expeditions in the morning, and then hop on a horse or a mountain bike in the afternoon and stop at the La Fortuna Waterfall. Take the short hike down to the base of the falls and take a dip in the pool. In the evening, check out the hot springs at Eco Termales.
DAY 5: Reptiles and surf
Drive south through the rugged jungle hills and towards the Pacific Coast, stopping at the Tárcoles River near Carara National Park to spot crocodiles. Get a better look on a 2-hour tour with Eco Jungle Cruises. Continue on to Jacó. Settle in quickly at your hotel, rent a surfboard, and head to the beach for one of the country’s most consistent breaks. You can also sign up for lessons with Jacó Surf School. In the evening, pick up a few souvenirs and find a bite to eat at the open-air Jacó Walk shopping center (p. ###).
DAY 6: Fish for big game
Wake up early and head to the marina at the Los Sueños Marriott Resort and join a sportfishing excursion with Maverick Sportfishing Tours for a full day out at sea. See if you can reel in Pacific sailfish or a 300-pound yellowfin tuna, then transfer back to San José.
DAY 7: Squeeze in a soccer game before splitting
You’ll most likely be on an early flight home from San José, but if you have a few hours to kill, head for a hike or jog around Parque La Sabana or, better yet, try to join a pickup soccer game here.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.