Eight Amazing Adventures to Have in Costa Rica

Eight Amazing Adventures to Have in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect destination for anyone, but especially with teens in tow.  There are so many adventurous activities that one can never run out of things to do!  From hiking, surfing, swimming in waterfalls, ziplining, ATV riding, and white water rafting, this will probably be rated “the best trip ever!”  We took our teens, plus traveled with another family with teens, to Costa Rica for our spring break.  We kept busy while there, adventuring all along the way.  All of us adults had fun as well!  Below, we share eight amazing adventures to have while in Costa Rica.

About Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located in Central America with Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Caribbean to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.  The climate is warm and tropical with a rainy season (December to April) and a “dry season” (April to December), although in the rainforest it’s always lush and green.  

Costa Rica, located in Central America

Top Adventures in Costa Rica


Ziplining is one of the most popular activities in Costa Rica.  The beautiful rainforest is the perfect backdrop for soaring along on cables high above a jungle canopy.  We ziplined with EcoGlide, located in La Fortuna.  

EcoGlide was great!  They fitted us with helmets and harnesses and walked us through the procedure of ziplining on a low cable line to start.  From there, we boarded a truck with bench seating in the back and drove our way up into the jungle.  The crew was engaging, friendly, and very knowledgeable.  We highly recommend ziplining with EcoGlide.

Swimming in a Waterfall

We recommend the Green Vacations full day tour where your guide takes you to three stops with Fortuna Waterfall one of them.

This was the last stop of the day for us during our three stop tour and it was fabulous to end it with swimming in a waterfall!  The water was cool but it felt refreshing after our day of hiking in the hot sun.  There is a beautiful, calm area to the left of the waterfall which is shallow and has slow moving water, perfect for smaller kids.  Keep in mind, the only way up after you’re done swimming is climbing back up 500 stairs.  When we reached the top, I had climbed 91 flights that day (noted by my Apple Watch), between all the hiking and climbing these stairs!

Hiking at Arenal Volcano

This was the second stop with Green Vacations on our three stop tour.  Our guide took us among lava rocks, through various vegetation, and to lookouts with great views of Arenal Volcano.  She also stopped periodically to teach us about the area as well as the eruption of Arenal Volcano in 1968.  Many lives and homes were lost but this sad situation turned into the positive one.  People began arriving into Costa Rica by the busload to check out the eruption for themselves as well as soak in the hot springs heated by the volcanic activity.  Costa Ricans appreciated the happiness exhibited by these tourists as well as the boost in the economy.  This detrimental situation turned into a positive one and modern day tourism in Costa Rica was born.  

Trekking Across Hanging Bridges

Hanging bridges are all over Costa Rica, as it’s how people can move about in the jungle without disrupting the flora and fauna.

We visited Mistico Hanging Bridges as the first of three stops of the day with Green Vacations.  One of the highlights of this stop was seeing so many native animals here in their natural habitat.  Our guide pointed out the animals where we would have surely missed them if not for her expert eye.  We saw sleepy sloths, active monkeys, snakes perched on the bark of trees, birds flitting about, and a tarantula sitting in a deep hole!  

Walking across the hanging bridges is also a really fun experience!  Just some wobbly wires to take you from one side of the jungle to the next, across waterfalls, rivers, and tree canopies with amazing animals all around.  

ATV Tour

What teen doesn’t like driving?!  If they are 16 years old they can operate an ATV in Costa Rica.  We opted to take 2 side-by-sides that seated 4 people each.  We were very glad to have done this as it was just our two vehicles and our guide leading the way on his own ATV.  

On this tour, we drove through the jungle, on dusty paths, past howler monkeys growling high up in the trees, and stopped for a bit at a beautiful beach.  The kids loved having a chance to drive here.

Whitewater Rafting

If you find yourself in Costa Rica during the rainy season, April to December, one of the perks is that it’s an excellent time to go white water rafting.  The massive amounts of rainfall make this one of the top things to do in Costa Rica.  One can do Class I & II rapids which is more like a river float (great for small kids) or for the more adventurous ones in your group, Class III, IV, & V rapids! 

The Pacuare River, located east of San Jose, is rated as one of the top ten rivers to white water raft in the world.  There are many places throughout the country to white water raft, however.  It would be best to find what is closest to where you are staying.


The Pacific coast of Costa Rica reigns supreme in terms of world class surfing.  The Gaunacaste area is home to fabulous surf breaks.  This is a great place to take some lessons or just to watch the incredible surfers!

Rappelling a Waterfall

Still need more adventure?  How about rappelling down a waterfall!  Also knowing as canyoning, one wears a harness and belays down the waterfall, getting sprayed all along the way.  Just like whitewater rafting, you can find places to do this all over the country and it can generally be done year round.

Read More!

Our full one-week itinerary in Costa Rica divides time between the rainforest and the beach, the best of both worlds and includes a lot more in depth information.  You can find the itinerary here:  One Week in Costa Rica.

Dietary Notes

As always, everyone’s needs are different.  At press time my husband is grain-free and two of our kids are allergic to nuts and eggs.  Although we seem to encompass a large amount of dietary restrictions, we can only offer advice as to what pertains to our own family, as that is where our expertise lies!

Dining in Costa Rica was very easy with dietary restrictions.  The food is fresh yet simple.  Seafood is prevalent here due to Costa Rica’s proximity to both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and other proteins such as chicken, beef, and pork were on every menu.  Casado is a very common menu item and it’s delicious!  It consists of a mixture of rice and beans, a protein of your choice, plantains, and a small green salad.  

We ate at the following restaurants.  All were fabulous and we highly recommend them:

  • Casa Fortuna, La Fortuna
  • Cafe & Macadamia, Guanacaste
  • Coloso Arenal Restaurant, La Fortuna
  • Que Rico Arenal Restaurante, La Fortuna
  • Amor Arenal – our hotel in La Fortuna
  • The Westin Playa Conchal – our hotel on the Pacific beach Playa Conchal

For more on traveling with dietary restrictions, be sure to check out our guide:  On the Go with Allergies.

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