Sports and adventure in Costa Rica

raie manta isla del coco costa rica decouverte


For fans of this sport, there are several outstanding sites to visit during your stay in Costa Rica: the Catalinas Islands in northern Guanacaste and the Isla del Caño, off the coast of Corcovado. Life-size aquariums!

Whale sharks, white tips and manta rays will be your diving companions.
The most interesting sites are Papagayo, Manuel Antonio and Cahuita, with a special mention for Isla del Caño opposite Corcovado Park.
Last but not least, an out-of-the-ordinary site reserved for the most experienced but also the most wealthy among us: Isla del Coco (book well in advance).

If you want to learn to dive, you’ll need to take an introductory course the day before, usually in the pool. If you are not a beginner, diving centers require :
– A medical certificate of fitness for diving less than 3 months old,
– CMAS or PADI card (certificate indicating level),
– Possibly a logbook to justify the number of dives.

What’s more, not all dive centers in Costa Rica are of equal quality, either in terms of equipment or safety. We’ve drawn up our own “black list” of these centers, so that we can offer you only the best and safest.


Costa Rica is Central America’s favorite surfing destination.
What’s more, there are waves to suit all levels of surfers, on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides, whatever the season. The cult films Endless Summer I and II (1964-1994) immortalized Costa Rica’s beaches best, especially the Guanacaste beach, Playa Grande, on the North Pacific side.

Since then, numerous international competitions have been organized and, conversely, Costa Rican surfers are regularly invited to world championships. In Biarritz, France, for example, the Quicksilver Junior World Surfing Championship held on May 21, 2008 saw the French and Costa Rican teams, coached by Christophe Commarieu, go head-to-head.
It’s worth pointing out that the variety of coastlines allows all surfing styles to express themselves.
Two terms are often used by surfers: Reef-break, which means that the waves are hollow and form a tube, and Beach-break, which means that the waves are less hollow and form on a sandy bottom.
For beginners, it’s best to opt for beach-breaks like those at Tamarindo, Jaco, Manzanillo and Cocles. Violent winds from December to mid-February can upset the average surfer. Towards Mal Pais, further south, you can go surfing and kite surfing at Santa Teresa, or even take lessons at a club. The best season for surfing is from April to November, with waves over 3 m and little wind.

On the Central Pacific, at Playa Hermosa in Jaco, you’ll have to watch out for strong currents.
A little further south, at Matapalo or Dominical, you’ll find well-known spots for all levels. However, beware of the dangerous currents at playa Dominical, as well as on the south Pacific tip at Cabo Matapalo and Bahia Drake. On the shores of the Golfo Dulce, the most experienced go to Playa Pavones for one of the world’s longest, almost a kilometer long!
In the Caribbean, from Cahuita to Manzanillo, you’ll also find all types of waves, from beach-break to river waves. The most impressive is undoubtedly Puerto Viejo and its famous reef-breaks! Beginners please watch out.

surf saut santa teresa costa rica decouverte
surf santa teresa
Horseback riding Guachipelin


Costa Rica has a long tradition of horse breeding, and it’s easy to enjoy horseback riding throughout the country. The most significant example of this is the annual Topes events held in many towns and villages, where the region’s best riders gather to compete in dances and cavalcades with their mounts. The most developed region is undoubtedly Guanacaste (north-west), but the entire central valley also lends itself to beautiful rides, less stifling and just as rich in discoveries.
Horseback riding is a great way to discover nature, cool off at the foot of a waterfall or take a long ride on the beach during your trip to Costa Rica. There are many possibilities for beginners and experienced riders alike. The level of the horses varies greatly from place to place, so we’ve classified a number of them for experienced riders and beginners alike.


Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty to do on their trip to Costa Rica, with its vast diversity of lakes, rivers, mangroves and 2 oceans. Indeed, Costa Rica has become one of the most popular destinations for sport fishing or big-game fishing, and holds several world records for catches of marlin and swordfish.

However, the Caribbean coast is less suited to this sport, except south of Tortuguero if you want to fish for tarpon. The Pacific coast, on the other hand, is renowned from north to south as far as Golfo Dulce. Almost all the companies are run by North Americans. Depending on the season you choose for your stay, we can recommend the best sites. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll be unlikely to come back empty-handed. In conclusion, it’s an unforgettable experience, as it’s not uncommon to see a large 4 m black marlin weighing almost 600 kg, or to follow a blue marlin at 60 km/h.

marlin 2 costa rica decouverte
rafting pacuare
rafting costa rica decouverte


Costa Rica’s relief, with its high mountains regularly fed by tropical rains, also favours the practice of this sport: rafting. From level 1 to 5, there are many descents to choose from, making this one of the best sites in the world. From level 1 to 3, no experience is necessary.
From the Sarapiqui, Pacuare, Chirripo or Savegre rivers, you can combine sport, adventure and nature observation. It’s worth pointing out that some of the viewpoints are breathtaking and inaccessible other than by river. But the most important aspect is that the supervision offered is designed to reassure the less adventurous: everything is well secured and the staff highly competent, and all equipment is provided. All in all, if you’re interested in an adrenalin rush, let us know – you’ll need to book in advance.


cat II/III

+ over 6 years
Rio Pacuare

cat III/IV

+ over 12 years
Rio Sarapiquí

cat III/IV

+ over 13 years
Rio Toro

cat III/IV

+ over 13 years

Rio Balsa

cat II/III

+ over 10 years

Rio Tenorio

cat III/IV

+ over 13 years

Rio Savegre

cat II/III

+ over 6 years

Rio Naranjo

cat III/IV

+ over 8 years

Rio Naranjo – Section Chorro

cat IV

+ over 15 years


During your trip to Costa Rica, for a complete immersion in nature, this country offers countless trails where encounters with wildlife and the indigenous people, the “Ticos”, are most rewarding. The parks offer well-marked trails for you to follow. In the Braulio Carrillo Park, for example, there’s a cable car that allows you to admire the tropical rainforest from a height of over 60 m, or you can take one of the many “sky-walks”, bridges suspended between the treetops of the Monteverde. If you prefer more invigorating hikes, Rincon de la Vieja, Poas or Chirripo will delight you. Some routes require a guide, such as Corcovado, where treks are organized at night, with infrared goggles, to observe the impressive nightlife!
Whatever your level, you’ll always find trails to suit you. However, you’ll need to be in good physical condition to practice this sport, given the heat and humidity levels in some cases.
Don’t forget your water supply!

parc nationa la amistad costa rica trek
1207 canopy tyrolienne


Costa Rica was the first country to develop this activity, which is more entertainment than sport. Originally, Donald Perry, a biologist studying the canopy near Sarapiqui, developed this means of locomotion to move from tree to tree. The system was subsequently adopted as a fun sport accessible to ordinary people. Today, ziplines can be found all over the world, but Costa Rica’s majestic landscapes add to their appeal.

If you’re a thrill-seeker, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Costa Rica. There are thrill-seeking sites all over the country. The most famous and longest or highest are at Arenal and Monteverde. It was in Monteverde that the first public zip-line was built.

Today, these courses are often combined with Tarzan jumps. The principle: you throw yourself into the void suspended from a bungee cord. Adrenalin guaranteed!