Hiking in Costa Rica

Jungle Walks, Hillside Rambles and Peak Experiences

Lace up your walking shoes and get started, because there is a lot of ground to cover in Costa Rica. Start off with a relaxing stroll to a swimming hole fed by a cascading waterfall. Add more miles with a loop through a rainforest filled with bird songs and the chatter of monkeys. Gain elevation with an ascent to the peak of a dormant volcano or a climb into a cloud forest where more than 100 species of orchids thrive. There are routes for all interests and ability levels, and many hikes can be enjoyed as day trips from beachside resorts or mountain lodges.

Highlights

  • Best for: All travellers from budget to luxury with a love of nature and adventure
  • Best season to visit: Year Round, drier November - May
  • Weather: There is minimal seasonal variation in air temperatures, with highs reaching near 90 and lows touching 70 at night. The wet season runs from May through November, drier months from December to April bring lower humidity

Things to Do

Costa Rica Information

Hiking in Costa Rica Overview

More than half of Costa Rica is covered in forests, much of which lies within 26 national parks and 160 additional protected areas. Five major mountain ranges rise from the coastal plains on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, creating 12 distinct climate zones. Hiking trails give access to the country's full extent of ecological diversity, with routes ranging from easy mile-long walks to multi-day treks to mountain summits and remote valleys.

Hiking in Costa Rica Tips

Dress for the elevation. While coastal areas often see temperatures in the 90s, mountain regions can be 20 degrees cooler, and on the way to the summit of tall peaks, hikers may see the mercury drop into the lower 60s, which can feel chillier than expected when accompanied by higher humidity, as is the case in cloud forests.

Best Places for Hiking in Costa Rica

Trails in Arenal National Park lead through lava beds, open savannas and rain forests, delivering the closest safe view of an active volcano. A hike into Rincon de la Vieja passes smoking fumaroles, hot mud pools, and eerie steam holes. Other routes enter ancient forests on the way to naturally heated pools and cool waterfalls.

What to Pack for Hiking in Costa Rica

Hiking shoes that breathe, and have enough tread to hold on muddy inclines. Light to mid-weight moisture-wicking clothing and a spare pair of socks. Swimsuit and a towel if there are waterfalls or hot springs on the route. A light, water-resistant jacket for higher altitude hikes. Hat and sunglasses. Remember a daypack for water, snacks and sundries.

Packages

Hiking

Costa Rica

Occidental Papagayo

PAPAGAYO, GUANACASTE - BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE includes 7 night Deluxe Room accommodations, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and beverages including alcohol, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,076 per person double occupancy

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Costa Rica

Caradonna Adventures

COSTA RICA - 7 NIGHT HIGH ADVENTURE PACKAGE includes 1 night accommodation at Park Inn Radisson in San Jose, 3 nights accommodations at Arenal Manoa in Arenal and 3 nights accommodations at Si Como No in Manual Antonio. Activities including Class 3-4 White Water rafting on the Sarapiqui River, Hanging Bridges and Tabacon Hot Springs in Arenal, Waterfall Rapelling Tour, visit Butterfly Botanical Atrium, Crocodile Lagoon and Amphibian Jungle, Zip line tour, Catamaran Sail and snorkel. Package includes all ground transportation from San Jose roundtrip, 6 days of breakfast, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,741 per person double occupancy

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Resorts

Hiking

Costa Rica

Bosque del Mar Hotel

A unique beach front high-end boutique eco concept located in Hermosa Bay, Guanacaste. Surrounded by beautiful beachfront gardens with frequent visits by local monkeys and iguanas. Playa Hermosa Bay is a great and peaceful location for beach lovers, not crowded and offers a gorgeous view of Pacific Ocean. Close to Local diving, Catalina Island and Bat Island and lots of topside activities.
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Casa Conde del Mar

Beach Front All Inclusive Boutique Resort of 26 rooms located within a twenty two acres Tropical Dry Forest. Casa Conde Beach Front Hotel offers comfort and relaxation with one of the most pristine beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Panam?. Many water sports can be enjoyed including diving, fishing, swimming, and windsurfing. Playa Panam? has the Blue Flag certification and categorized as one of the most sanitary beaches in the country.
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Margaritaville Beach Resort

Escape to a tropical paradise where golden sands invite you to linger under shady palms and the warm, blue Pacific Ocean beckons you to dive in and explore. Where a relaxing and casual beach vibe and authentic hospitality truly inspire the spirit of Pura Vida - the pure life. Relax in beautiful rooms and suites overlooking beautiful gardens, oversized pool and the Pacific Ocean. Indulge your senses at OnZen Spa, lounge on the pristine beach or enjoy paddleboarding on Pacific waves. Relax by the sparkling outdoor pool and sip a cocktail at the swim-up pool bar. Take in a spectacular sunset over the ocean while enjoying international cuisine infused with Costa Rican flavors at our restaurant. Enjoy whitewater rafting, zip-lining adventures, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and volcano tours. At the Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo , the possibilities for romance and adventure are endless.
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Seahorse Resort Tamarindo

Featuring an outdoor swimming pool and a garden, Seahorse Resort and Dive Center is five miles from Tamarindo. All of the rooms include breakfast daily and have a private terrace with complimentary WiFi and the property features a shared lounge. The bed and breakfast rooms are equipped with a desk, and pool view. A dedicated fitness center for cardio and yoga with equipment provision are available at the property,
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Occidental Papagayo

PAPAGAYO, GUANACASTE - The Occidental Papagayo is an all-inclusive resort in which premium service is joined by a breathtaking location just 35 minutes from Liberia International Airport. Situated on a bluff with stunning bay views and sunsets, the resort offers 4 restaurants, 4 bars, a day spa, tennis courts and many other activities. Diving services provided by Rocket Frog Divers nearby.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

A valid passport is required for entry that must be valid for length of stay. No visa is required for stays less than 90 days. The passport must have at least one blank page for the Costa Rica entry stamp. There is a departure tax of approximately $29 U.S. which should be included in your international ticket. Check the entry/exit requirements here.

Immunizations

There are no immunizations required for entry into Costa Rica, although you should check with your doctor and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for other recommendations.

Culture and Customs

Costa Rica is known as the safest and most prosperous country in Central America. It is home to a large community of North American ex-pats, but also retains its distinctly Latin culture, which includes a relaxed attitude to schedules that is known as “Tico time.” Laid back is not the same as uncaring, however, and Costa Ricans are known for taking pride in their appearances and their work. A well-developed road system connects major destinations, but much of the country's central highlands remain wild and protected within national parks. Within a day's drive of beach resorts at Guanacaste lie the slopes of Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest and Palo Verde National Park. Costa Rica is the eco-adventure capital of the Caribbean. Surfers come from around the world to ride famous breaks from Witch's Rock to Pavones. Coastal lodges are filled with fishermen seeking light tackle challenges with roosterfish or tug of war with a marlin. Forests draw birders, hikers and naturalists, and there are more than a dozen rivers offering whitewater rafting thrills. More relaxing experiences await at hot springs, where spa treatments and soaks in mineral-rich volcanic water provide a soothing end to an active day.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

The standard in Costa Rica is the same as in the United States: 110 volts AC (60 cycles). Some electric outlets only have 2 prong sockets, so an adapter may be needed for 3 prong plugs.

Costa Rica has an excellent phone system, and the country code for dialing is 506. Check with your cell phone provider for international data and voice plans and costs.

Many resorts and restaurants offer WiFi.

Water Quality

Although the water in Costa Rica is generally safe to drink, water quality varies in some cities. It would be best to use bottled water and avoid ice.

Language & Currency

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, but English is widely spoken. The Costa Rican currency is called the “colon”. Check the current exchange rate here. Many businesses will accept U.S. Dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.

Time

Costa Rica is on Central Standard Time, 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Costa Rica does not use daylight saving time, so the time difference is an additional hour April through October.

Location, Size and Population

Costa Rica is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua (to the north) and Panama (to the south). Costa Rica encompasses a total of 19,700 square miles (51,100 square kilometers).

The population of Costa Rica is 4.9 Million (2015) with approximately 350,000 living in the province of Guanacaste.