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The Greatest Costa Rica Excursions (for Each Finances!)

If you’re a seasoned traveler, you might shy away from tours and opt to visit places on your own instead. I get it: I also enjoy the freedom to go where I want, when I want, in order to avoid crowds. However, there are benefits of booking tours, especially if it’s your first time in […]



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Should you’re a seasoned traveler, you would possibly shrink back from excursions and decide to go to locations by yourself as an alternative. I get it: I additionally benefit from the freedom to go the place I need, after I need, so as to keep away from crowds.

Nevertheless, there are advantages of reserving excursions, particularly if it’s your first time in a brand new place. Considered one of them is having a information who can reply your questions and supply significant context to what you’re seeing. One other massive perk is that hopping on a tour can doubtlessly prevent cash, as a lot of them embody meals and transportation.

I completely loved the excursions I went on in Costa Rica. Particularly contemplating the spectacular biodiversity there, it’s tremendous useful to have an professional with you who can level out completely different vegetation and animals that you just would possibly in any other case miss.

I’ve put collectively a listing of the very best Costa Rica excursions, together with free and price range ones, and luxurious and multiday excursions. Some stellar choices await you:

Finances Excursions

1. San José Bites and Sights Strolling Tour

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I did this tour on my first day in Costa Rica, and it completely set the scene for your entire month I spent exploring the nation. I discovered about completely different types of fruits, obtained a full rundown on particular customs and different cultural norms, and loved a number of the finest meals that San José has to supply. My information was an professional in all issues San José, from its historical past and structure to the very best locations to eat and easy methods to get probably the most out of town. You possibly can read all about my experience here to get a greater concept of what you possibly can count on from the tour.

  • The place: Downtown San José
  • Length: 3 hours
  • What’s included: Native information, fruit & vegetable samples, espresso, and different small bites
  • Worth: $38 and price each penny! Book here.

2. Jungle Night time Tour

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There are few experiences which are fairly like strolling via a pitch-black jungle at night time. I did this Manuel Antonio jungle night time tour on my first night time there, and I couldn’t imagine how fascinating it was. The feeling of listening to the nonstop rhythmic sounds at night time felt surreal. My information had a eager eye for bugs, spiders, frogs, reptiles, and different critters, pointing them out for us as we hiked. There have been so many animals that I had by no means seen earlier than; I needed to do a double-take to essentially take of their magnificence.

Not solely was the hike itself an ideal expertise, however the tour included dinner and transportation, making it a stellar price range possibility. You possibly can learn extra about my experience on this tour here.

  • The place: Rainmaker Conservation Park, close to Manuel Antonio
  • Length: 3 hours
  • What’s included: Naturalist information, dinner with drinks, transportation, and park entrance charge
  • Worth: $59; contemplating the upper worth of meals in Manuel Antonio, the included dinner made it value it. Book here.

3. Waterfall, Arenal Volcano, and Sizzling Springs Full-Day Tour

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There’s lots to do in La Fortuna, and it may be tempting to attempt to squeeze every little thing into a brief interval. That’s why I like to recommend hopping on this full-day tour to profit from the time you might have right here. I booked this tour as a result of I didn’t hire a automotive and was overwhelmed by the trouble of attempting to get from place to put after I realized that La Fortuna doesn’t precisely have a strong public transportation system. Plus, taking taxis all over the place would have been dearer than the tour and even renting a automotive for the day.

This tour began early, round 7am. I hopped on the bus, met my guides, and buckled up for the experience. In the course of the 10-hour journey, I obtained to go to the La Fortuna Waterfall, hike on volcanic rock close to the Arenal Volcano, and take a dip in some steamy sizzling springs afterward. There was even a beneficiant lunch included, with some drinks on the sizzling springs as effectively. For me, it was effectively well worth the worth.

  • The place: La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park
  • Length: 10 hours
  • What’s included: Native guides, lunch and drinks, park entrance charges, sizzling springs entrance charge, and transportation
  • Worth: $90, which is lower than it might price to do all of these items by yourself. Book here.

4. Río Celeste and Tenorio Nationwide Park Tour

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This exercise was my favourite factor I did close to La Fortuna. Río Celeste is a sky-blue river that runs via the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Right here you’ll discover an abundance of wildlife, together with sloths, toucans, monkeys, and extra. Plus, the crown jewel of the park is the large Río Celeste waterfall, which crashes into one of many bluest swimming pools you’ll ever see.

This tour, very like the Arenal tour above, was effectively well worth the worth. Contemplating that the park is a 90-minute drive from La Fortuna, the transportation alone makes it an ideal bang in your buck. Plus, I had a blast studying concerning the distinctive ecosystem and dipping into a close-by sizzling river. Learn extra about my experience here.

  • The place: Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park
  • Length: 8 hours
  • What’s included: Naturalist information, lunch, park entrance charge, and transportation
  • Worth: $89, which is about the identical worth as it might be to hire a automotive for the day to get there, so it’s value it. Book here.

5. Rainforest Chocolate Tour

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Cacao, the plant that turns into chocolate, is native to Costa Rica. There are cacao plantations all through the nation, a few of which you'll go to on a tour. That is the best possible strategy to study concerning the harvesting and processing of cacao from begin to end, as you’ll have the ability to see the completely different levels and style the ultimate product on the finish.

  • The place: close to La Fortuna
  • Length: 1.5-2 hours
  • What’s included: Native information, chocolate tastings, and entrance charges to the plantation
  • Worth: $30. Book here.

6. Natural Farm Go to & Farm-to-Desk Cooking Class

So that you already did the San José meals tour, and now you’re itching to learn to make these delicious empanadas. Connecting with the way in which Costa Ricans put together typical dishes is an superior strategy to study concerning the tradition and respect it via meals. I really feel like I missed out by not doing this tour and can e-book it subsequent time I go to.

  • The place: La Fortuna
  • Length: 2 hours
  • What’s included: Guided tour of the farm, cooking class, a meal ready by you
  • Worth: $45, which is greater than a meal would price at a restaurant, however you get a studying expertise as effectively. Book here.

7. Lake Arenal Stand-up Paddleboard or Kayak Rental

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Paddleboarding with a huge volcano as a backdrop sounds fairly epic, proper? Lake Arenal is on the base of a volcano of the identical identify. Its waters are tranquil and excellent for a paddle, making this exercise a must-do whereas in La Fortuna. Some even say that the very best view of the volcano is from the lake, so don’t miss out on the chance to see what all of the hype is about!

  • The place: La Fortuna
  • Length: 1 hour
  • What’s included: Rental of paddleboard tools
  • Worth: $20, which is the usual worth per hour to hire a paddleboard. Book here.

8. Cloud Forest Night time Strolling Tour

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Should you learn my guide to Monteverde, you recognize already that this was considered one of my favourite locations in Costa Rica. The cloud forest is nothing in need of magical, what with its mossy bushes, thick foliage, and abundance of untamed animals scurrying about. Just like what I discussed above concerning the Manuel Antonio jungle night time tour, this one is crucial to any Monteverde itinerary. The forest is totally completely different at night time, and having a information there to level out completely different animals makes it effectively well worth the worth, as a lot of them are tough to identify. The parks closed at night time, so that is the one strategy to see them after darkish.

  • The place: Monteverde/Santa Elena
  • Length: 3 hours
  • What’s included: Naturalist information, entry ticket to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Organic Reserve, and transportation
  • Worth: $28.25, making it one of the crucial inexpensive actions on the checklist. Book here.

9. Aquiares Property: 2-Hour Espresso Tour with Tasting

Have you ever ever puzzled what it takes to make a cup of scrumptious espresso? Costa Rica is without doubt one of the espresso capitals of the world, as a result of it has the perfect local weather for the vegetation to thrive. Many Costa Ricans make their dwelling harvesting, processing, and promoting espresso, so plantations are ample right here. Take it from me; you possibly can’t depart Costa Rica with out visiting considered one of these — it was one of the crucial eye-opening experiences I had there. I would dare to say that touring one made me increase the bar for what I think about to be a great cup of joe.

  • The place: Aquiares, Limón Province
  • Length: 2 hours
  • What’s included: Knowledgeable information, entrance charge to the farm, espresso tasting
  • Worth: $35, which is fairly commonplace for excursions like this one. Book here.

Luxurious Excursions

10. ATV Quad Bike Journey Tour (±Snorkeling)

So many beautiful places in Costa Rica are solely accessible through ATV or on foot due to how dense the jungles might be. Tamarindo is a seaside city, but additionally has some unimaginable forests with streams and waterfalls, and this ATV tour is the perfect strategy to attain these spectacular, off-the-beaten-path locations. Put together your self to get sandy and muddy throughout this wild journey via Costa Rican seaside and jungle landscapes.

  • The place: Tamarindo
  • Length: 2.5-3 hours
  • What’s included: Native information, transportation to and out of your lodging, ATV rental (you get to drive), snorkel tools (if you happen to select the snorkeling possibility)
  • Worth: $170 with out snorkeling, $220 with snorkeling. Book here.

11. Paragliding Flight

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Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is legendary for its breathtaking sunsets. Although admiring them from the shore has its perks, there’s nothing fairly just like the panoramic view whereas parasailing. This can be a dear exercise, however many individuals who've accomplished it describe it as surreal and the closest factor you possibly can really feel to flying like a chicken.

  • The place: Jacó
  • Length: 40 minutes
  • What’s included: Paragliding flight with skilled pilot
  • Worth: $230, making this a little bit of a splurge however value it for the once-in-a-lifetime expertise. Book here.

12. Day Journey to Tabacon Sizzling Springs & Arenal Volcano

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Should you’re dying to take a look at the new springs in La Fortuna however solely have sooner or later for it in your itinerary, think about at the present time journey from San José to Tabacón sizzling springs and Arenal Volcano. Tabacón is maybe probably the most well-known sizzling river in Costa Rica. It will get its steamy temperature from the geothermal exercise of Arenal Volcano.

In comparison with different sizzling springs in La Fortuna, Tabacón is pricier and extra luxurious. It’s one of many solely locations that has a soaking space that's half of the particular river, whereas different sizzling springs are man-made swimming pools. This tour begins off with a hike close to Arenal Volcano, one of the crucial iconic locations within the nation, and finishes with the new springs.

  • The place: San José to La Fortuna
  • Length: 13 hours
  • What’s included: Tour information, round-trip transportation from San José to La Fortuna, entrance to Tabacón Thermal Resort, lunch and dinner
  • Worth: $232, which is certainly value it as a result of a day cross on the resort is round $70 alone. Book here.

Multiday Excursions

13. 3-Day Tortuguero Nationwide Park Tour (2 nights)

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Tortuguero National Park, on the northern Caribbean coast, is basically a protracted, skinny island with a community of canals on the mainland aspect and the Caribbean Sea on the opposite. It was one of the crucial stunning locations I visited and the place I noticed probably the most wildlife. It will get its identify as a result of the island is a hatching floor for a number of species of sea turtles, which you could find there at completely different occasions of the yr.

A 3-day tour like this one is a superb alternative to get probably the most out of Tortuguero in little time. Having a information is a giant plus, as they’re consultants in recognizing wildlife and giving tips about the place to go and what to do. Plus, having transportation to and from San José takes the stress off of determining easy methods to get there, as the general public buses might be unpredictable at occasions and the journey is kind of lengthy. Discover out extra concerning the itinerary here.

  • The place: San José to Tortuguero
  • Length: 3 days, 2 nights
  • What’s included: Guided excursions, all meals, 2 nights’ lodging
  • Worth: $500, which is kind of affordable contemplating that you just don’t have to fret about lodging, meals, or transportation. Book here.

14. All-Inclusive Bundle for 7 Nights (8 Days)

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If you wish to get pleasure from the very best websites on this lovely nation with out having to plan a single factor, an all-inclusive tour is a superb possibility. This one is a spotlight reel of a number of the finest locations to go to in Costa Rica, together with Poás Volcano, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, Monteverde, and extra.

A majority of these excursions will not be for everybody, however if you happen to don’t thoughts going with the circulate and following another person’s itinerary, it may be stress-free to not must plan each exercise. It’s additionally fairly good to have the ability to pay one flat charge that covers virtually every little thing.

  • The place: San José, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Irazú Volcano and extra. Discover the complete itinerary here.
  • Length: 8 days, 7 nights
  • What’s included: Tour information, transportation, 7 nights of lodging, admission tickets, breakfasts, and lunches
  • Worth: $1,430, relying on the season (costs could also be increased from December to April). Book here.

Free Excursions

15. San José Strolling Tour

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Likelihood is that you just’ll fly into Costa Rica’s capital metropolis, San José. Although most guests aren’t tremendous enthusiastic about spending a lot time within the nation’s solely actual concrete jungle, this metropolis would possibly shock you. It definitely was a lot more interesting than I thought it might be, and I truly wished I had spent extra time there. Take into account becoming a member of a free strolling tour of San José (aka El Chepe or Chepetown) to get the news on its historical past, tradition, and meals scene from the attitude of a neighborhood information.

  • The place: Downtown San José
  • Length: 2.5-3 hours
  • What’s included: Native information
  • Worth: Free, however tipping the information is really helpful. Book here.

16. La Alegría Waterfalls Tour

Discovering free excursions like this one is fairly uncommon. The free waterfalls tour in La Alegría will take you to a secret waterfall the place you possibly can go for a swim with out the crowds you’d discover at different, extra touristy locations. You’ll additionally have the ability to take a look at some incredible jungle vistas from a viewpoint towards the Reventazón lagoon. The information is knowledgeable in ecological tourism and can have the ability to level out birds, mammals, and different vegetation and animals alongside the way in which.

  • The place: La Alegría, Limón Province
  • Length: 4.5 hours
  • What’s included: Transportation to and from the waterfalls and a information
  • Worth: Free, however tipping the information is really helpful (most give $10-50). Book here.


The perfect Costa Rica tour for you is the one which excites you, suits your price range, and may make your journey right here additional particular.

Which one will you select?

Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!