Costa Rica Activities

This half-day tour brings you face-to-face with the forests, streams and waterfalls of the Arenal area. You'll rappel down the side of cliffs, walk across hanging bridges, and splash through streams. It's a fun and safe experience for the whole family. The tour begins with a short rappel to get your adrenalin pumping-which, as it turns out, is also a good way to familiarize yourself with the equipment. Hold on tight to the rope as you ease yourself over the cliff face, and make your way slowly down its side. Once you land, you'll tromp through small streams and watery ripples as you make your way to the next feature – the hanging bridge. This bridge offers great views into the rainforest, so keep your eyes keen for birds, animals, and reptiles. One of the tour's most exciting features, the zip line, comes next. During this, you'll hold onto a carabiner (which is secured safely to a steel cable), lift your legs up, lean forward and fly across the forest floor. Enjoy the ride! The tour ends with a mellow hike down a slow-flowing river. At the exit point, fresh fruit and drinks await. A CD of photographs is available for purchase at the end of the tour.

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Nestled on the west side of the Continental Divide, the trail system offers spectacular views across the valley and out towards the Monteverde Reserve, on clear days. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the mysteries of the nocturnal forest while learning about one of Costa Rica's most important environmental conservation projects. The Children's Eternal Rainforest (CER) is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica with an Area of 22,600 hectares (55,000 acres), and it continues to grow. It was created by the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL), a non-profit organization. This was possible thanks to the help from children that started raising money in the Swedish countryside to save the rainforest near Monteverde. The idea spread, and eventually non-profits in 44 different countries were sending money to help. The CER straddles the continental divide, extending from about 600 m in elevation on the Caribbean slope, up to the highest peaks at almost 1,800 m, and down to about 900 m on the Pacific slope. Climate, and with it the flora and fauna, change very fast across the different slopes and elevation; six of Costa Rica's twelve life zones are found within the CER. It is home for about 440 species or 5% of the world's birds, 60 species or 6.5% of the world's bats, 700 species or 3% of the world's butterflies; and 360 species or 3% of the world's ferns, and just a few examples! The CER is also the watershed that feeds the dozens of communities and farms beneath it, as well as hydroelectric projects which, together, produce about one third of Costa Rica's electricity. Bajo Del Tigre trails are situated in the transition zone of the forest, traversing from pre-mountain wet to seasonal moist forest. This location and specific altitude on the Pacific slope make the area a unique habitat, distinct from other reserves in the area and home to a range of unusual flora and fauna, including thirty species of tree recently identified as new to science. The Bajo Del Tigre trails are one of the best sites in the region for observing wildlife. The CER Night Hike utilizes a separate system of trails within the reserve, most accessible only with a guide. The tour begins daily at 5:30 pm, just before sunset, giving visitors the chance to observe species preparing for nightfall and the activity of nocturnal species. After meeting your guide at the reserve entrance, you will walk to the visitor center where you will hear the inspiring story of the reserve, as well as learn about the MCL and its projects. You will then be taken into the forest to explore the nighttime wonders. All guides working with the MCL are bilingual, professionally trained and very experienced. Most are local to the region and all have extensive knowledge of Costa Rica's natural and cultural history. They are willing to answer any questions and have well-versed eyes and ears for spotting hidden forest creatures. On the Bajo del Tigre CER Night Hike visitors are likely to see snakes, tarantulas, beetles, fireflies, walking sticks, sleeping birds, bats, agoutis, coatimundis, frogs and owls. If you're lucky you may see a sloth, wide-eyed kinkajou, armadillo or a porcupine. You may even spot Monteverde's famous bat specialist, Richard Laval, as he goes about his research. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but dusk is one of the busiest times in the forest dwellers' schedule and the CER Night Hike provides the best chance to see a range of species and to experience the vastly different sights and sounds of the forest after dark. The CER Night Hike is a great family activity. All trails are well maintained and easy to navigate, even in low light. Visitors are advised to wear long pants, covered footwear and to bring a light jacket or raincoat, as temperatures can get fairly cool at night. Flash lights are provided. The tour leaves at 5:30 pm daily and lasts approximately two hours. Visitors should meet at the entrance to Bajo Del Tigre. Transport from your hotel can be arranged. A percentage of all proceeds from the CER Night Hike goes to support the Children's Eternal Rainforest. By participating in this tour, you are directly contributing to the protection of the forest.

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A horseback riding tour is a wonderful way to experience Monteverde's green, mountainous countryside. Until recently, horseback riding was the most common form of transport in the region, and considering the state of the roads, some would argue that it is still the easiest way to get around. Horseback riding is not permitted in the reserves, but there are a range of horseback tours on private land and trails, where you can appreciate the beauty and tranquility of rural Costa Rican life, a world away from the tourist crowds and traffic. Emiliano Arguedas, a local farmer who has lived and worked in Monteverde all his life and whose family was one of the original settling families to arrive in the region, operates a stable from his 139 hectare family farm. All the trails used are located on his land. Previously devoted to environmentally harmful dairy and forestry activities, the farm is now devoted entirely to horseback riding and grazing. The private land encompasses a large area of protected forest that is undergoing a reforestation program developed and managed by Emiliano's son, Alonzo. You will be given the rare privilege of exploring this beautiful private reserve on horseback, from where they will see amazing views of the Gulf of Nicoya and its pacific islands, as well as enjoy coffee and sugarcane plantations, primary and secondary tropical forest, open fields and an array of local wildlife that includes toucans, green parrots, bellbirds, emerald toucanets, blue-crowned motmots and white-faced monkeys. You will be able to capture the best of the weather and the clearest views and the afternoon tour offers spectacular sunset skies. All Emiliano's horses, with health certification and insurance, are easy to handle and are very well cared for. Emiliano's son Alonzo is a veterinarian and looks after the horses himself. All saddles are equipped with a rain poncho, and helmets are available on request. Some basic English is spoken, otherwise smiling and rudimentary sign-language is usually sufficient!

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Have your camera handy as you search the riverbanks for monkeys, crocodiles, and a myriad of birds on this nature cruise through this National Park. After a scenic guided drive through Guanacaste's Sabanero (cowboy) Country, you'll hop into a boat and begin your cruise down the Tempisque River. Best known for its murky water and spectacular wetlands, this area acts as a sanctuary for both resident and migrating marine bird species. Appropriately, this tour is a real treat for bird watchers, as you'll have the chance of spotting a wide range of fowl that includes storks, egrets, spoonbills, grebes and more. Also be on the lookout for monkeys, iguanas, scarlet macaws, anteaters, crocodiles and caimans, which can often be seen lingering along the banks of the river. The tour ends with a visit to the Guaitil indigenous village, where some of the country's most spectacular pottery is made and sold.

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Spanning 14,084 hectares (34,800 acres), Rincon de La Vieja National Park (World Heritage Site) is filled with a wide range of natural wonders that includes nine volcanic craters, pristine tropical forests, waterfalls, and hot springs. The park extends over six life zones, and not surprisingly, has a huge amount of biodiversity. You will have the opportunity to spot such creatures as howler monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and even pumas. Your naturalist guide will help to interpret and inform as you hike along the park's trails, ensuring an exciting and educational day spent in one of Costa Rica's most magnificent national parks. A SERIES OF ERUPTIONS AROUND THE CRATER OF RINCON DE LA VIEJA VOLCANO HAS CREATED A SAFETY HAZARD FOR VISITORS WISHING TO HIKE TO THE CRATER. PERHAPS STABILITY WILL RETURN TO THIS ACTIVE VOLCANO BUT UNTIL THEN NO HIKERS ARE ALLOWED NEAR THE CRATER.

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We will add an adrenaline element to this tour taking you to a Canopy Tour. The Tree Top walkway is the ideal cloud forest experience to appreciate the incredible array of vegetation and exotic bird life that the region has to offer. The walkway consists of 8 suspension bridges connected by trails covering 1.9 miles (3km). The bridges vary from 150ft (50m) to 500ft (170m) in length and are suspended at heights ranging from 36ft (12m) to 180ft (60m). At almost 5ft (1.5m) wide, the bridge system is the widest and sturdiest in Costa Rica. You will have the option of taking a self-guided treetop tour, or of joining a guided Natural History Tour. You will learn about the mammals, birds and plant life – particularly bromeliads, epiphytes and ferns – living in this unique eco-system, as well as hearing some of the fascinating cultural history of the region. Tours last up to 2.5 hours. Bring long pants, suitable shoes and waterproof jackets. Selvatura's stunning butterfly garden is one of the largest on the continent. At 300ft long and 90ft wide, with a huge 50ft dome ceiling, the giant garden is host to 50 species of butterflies. Accurate and sensitive temperature controlling enables the survival of species from a range of altitudes and climate conditions throughout Costa Rica. Take a guided tour through this fascinating live exhibit and learn about the life cycle, special behaviors and evolution of these unique creatures. The tour lasts between 4.5 and 5 hours, but can be either shorter or longer, depending on your pace. The Selvatura Park hosts the world's largest private insect collection and the life work of Dr. Richard Whitten. Visitors are able to view thousands of insects, butterflies and other wonderous specimens from all over the tropics that Dr. Whitten has been collecting since age 5. In addition, watch a video that Dr. Whitten has produced titled "Jewels of the Rain Forest" and features insects from all over Costa Rica, most which can be found at Monteverde. The reptile and amphibian exhibition includes over 30 species of frogs, toads, lizards, geckos and snakes, all of which are native to Costa Rica. The live specimens are housed in an array of terrariums, each adorned with vegetation and natural lighting and humidity levels to simulate natural habitats. Everything is monitored by a permanent, on-site biologist. The exhibit is educational and informative, offering visitors the opportunity to see many unusual species, most of which are rarely spotted in the wild. Guests will also learn about breeding and feeding habits and the environmental challenges facing these diminutive creatures.

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For the finest, most unobstructed views of the Arenal Volcano and Lake, ride the Sky Tram up to the area's best observation deck. The slow paced Sky Tram gondolas will provide a smooth ride through the rain forest, with endless views along the way, so you can appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you on your way to the top. Once at the at the observation deck, you will be able to enjoy the most magnificent views of the volcano's south face for as long as you desire. From there, you will have two options for returning to the base. The first option is to ride back down the same way you came up, on the Sky Tram. On the ride you will be able to notice how the vegetation varies as the altitude changes once again. The second and more exciting option is to zip your way to the bottom along a series of zip lines. The zip line descent is the best option for those seeking a rush of adrenaline. FTS will transport you to Canopy Tour scheduled at 10:30 AM. There is also a 2:00 PM tour.

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The Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour is a great activity for family and friends to enjoy ocean breezes and coastline scenery while sipping delicious tropical drinks. Feel the wind in your hair and bask in the sun while sailing silently past beautiful bays and sandy beaches. The sailing tours depart from Playa Tamarindo on a 66-foot sailing catamaran, the Marlin del Rey. This large boat is registered for up to 85 passengers, and it is capable of reaching 25-knot speeds under sail. A forty foot beam provides space for guests to soak up the sun and enjoy the day, while a huge main saloon hosts an open bar and snacks of chips, dip, fruit, ceviche, and salad. Catamaran departs at 8:30am and sails north to the glamorous beach of Playa Conchal. Here, the boat drops anchor, and the crew prepares snacks. Guests can enjoy both the cool temperate water and beautiful white-shell beach. Many choose to snorkel among rock reefs in search of colorful fish and eels. Others take a kayak to relax on the shore. If you choose the afternoon tour, the Catamaran departs from Tamarindo Bay at 1:30. On this tour, the boat skims along the coastline past Playa Grande and Bahia De Los Pirates. The boat then puts out anchor in tranquil bay, giving guests time to enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing the boat. Meanwhile the crew will prepare delicious snacks. Then, the tour sails back to Tamarindo for an amazing sunset over the water. Marlin Del Rey presents excellence in comfort and service with a friendly bilingual staff. While you're in Costa Rica, skim silently along the coast, feel the sun on your face, and look off the bow for dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles, and perhaps even a breaching whale.

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The transition from day to night in the tropical rainforest is a powerful shift and when most mammals become active. This Twilight Safari Float offers a unique perspective as guests will meander along the Peas Blancas River accompanied by bilingual naturalist guides that help to identify the sounds and sights of the nocturnal rainforest. The two hour float begins with pick up from the Arenal Springs Resort and a short drive to the Peas Blancas River. The guides will talk about and hopeful help you to observe the habits and environments of forest creatures such as Opossums, Sloths, Long-Nosed Bats, Howler Monkeys, Spectacled Owl, Caimans and birds such as the crowned-Night Heron. One of the most powerful things that you will encounter is the sounds that pulse all around you from the river banks to the tree tops above. After navigating the calm river and which normally takes about 2 hours the guides will pull up to a local farm where the tour ends and the traditional dinner begins. The typical Costa Rican snack includes yucca bread, sweet fried plantains, homemade cheeses, coffee & juices. Once everyone has filled themselves the tour concludes with a 20 minute ride back to the Arenal Springs Resort.

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