Costa Rica is an amazing place to experience with 30% of the land protected by national parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges. Hiking through the jungle, climbing mountains or volcanos, strolling down beaches, Costa Rica has something for everyone! Here you’ll find the ultimate hiking guide for Costa Rica, especially for those up for an off-the-beaten-path adventure!
Ultimate Hiking Guide for Costa Rica
Seeing a new place, a new country by foot is the absolute best way to experience the true beauty of a new place. Hiking allows you to slow down, absorb everything around you, and notice things you likely won’t notice when you’re driving in a car!
Here is a post I recently wrote that talks more about Slow Travel!
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Traveling to Costa Rica for 1-4 weeks?
Check out our 4-week Itinerary of our favorite places traveled!
Costa Rica Guided Hikes
There are a ton of hikes you can experience without a hiking guide! However, tour guides are often more knowledgeable about the area, plants, wildlife, and where to spot wildlife! A guided hike can be a great way to experience, and learn more about the area!
Costa Rica Tours are usually pretty reasonable in price and offer multiple location points! Depending on how much time you plan on spending in Costa Rica, depends if you should book your tour much sooner or not. Since Costa Rica is a popular destination, the tours can sell out rather quickly, depending on your location of choice! If you reserve through Get Your Guide, you are able to reserve now and pay later, and cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund!
These are all areas that we have explored, some guided, some not!
Costa Rica’s Caribbean side is where it’s at! Rich in wildlife, less touristy than the pacific coast, and Cahuita National Park is a must-see! Personally, this was my favorite area to explore!
Experience the natural beauty of Tenorio Volcano National Park, experience the beauty of Rio Celeste Falls, and the color change that is created by 2 merging rivers! It is truly Magical!
La Fortuna has some amazing sites to see!! From waterfalls to volcanos to hot springs! There are free hot springs which are super cool to experience, or there are also a ton of dreamy resorts! The Arenal Volcano is such a stunning site to see! If you’re interested in more guided tours or hiking to the summit of Arenal Volcano you can find more details here!
Experience the unique Costa Rican tropical rainforest on Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Swim in healing volcanic waters in thermal pools under the canopy, feel small beside towering trees, and purify your soul in stunning blue volcanic waterfalls.
Walk through the tree tops in the hanging bridges, and experience the cloud forest from a different perspective! Learn about the region and be guided by naturalist guides!
As I mentioned in our Costa Rica Itinerary Post, Jaco is a party, surfer town, no doubt! But to experience the crocodiles under the Tarcoles river bridge is definitely something to see! You can easily drive to this spot, and watch from above, however, if you want to make it a full day and watch white-faced monkey’s in their natural habitat, then book this tour!
Okay, Manuel Antonio National Park is also one of my favorite places! It is definitely touristy, and often busy, and the entrance fee seemed a bit higher than other parks, but we experienced so many animals in this park, from Monkeys, sloths, lots of beach iguanas, and crabs! You are basically on a boardwalk the entire time, so great for little experience hikers, and then you come to a beach. There is a more secluded beach where all the monkeys and beach iguanas hang out! And you have to watch your belongings when you turn your backs, as the monkeys will try to steal things from your packs!
Whales Tail at Marino Ballena National Park is a spectacular sight to see! The beach is bordered by trees where the howler monkeys explore, so walk down the beach with your feet in the sand, or along the border to see the monkeys! They call it Whales Tail because of the formation of the rock and sand and the distinct shape of a whale’s tail! This is also known to be a spot where hundreds of humpback whales congregate each year. You can also take boat tours here where you will spot lots of marine life!
Corcovado National Park is a National Park on the Osa Peninsula. The Corcovado National Park requires a tour guide! Corcovado National Park is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, it contains over five percent of the world’s animal population. National Geographic describes it as the “most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.” This is where we spotted lots of poisonous snakes, but also mama and baby sloths, and of course, lots of monkeys!
Cerro Chirripó requires you to have a permit to hike which you can obtain from the National Park Office in San Gerardo de Rivas. but make reservations as soon as you can!! Cerro Chirripo is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, standing at an elevation of 12536.09 feet (3,821 meters).
Cloudbridge Nature Reserve Near Cerro Chirripó
The Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a private Reserve and Research Center protecting the cloudforest nearby Chirripó National Park. Lots of hiking trails, waterfalls, and nature! About 1 mile past the trailhead to Cerro Chirripó you will find the entrance to the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve. The Cloudbridge has been dedicated to the conservation and reforestation of the cloudforest.
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