Tourism information about Costa Rica can be a little confusing, due to the huge number of destinations and activities offered in such as a small country. The number of tourists visiting our country keeps growing year by year, to the point that in 2016 we had almost 3 million visitors, and because of this touristic “boom”, there are more and more entrepreneurs creating new numerous attractions every year, making the offer bigger and bigger; and more confusing for the tourists to choose. So if you are surfing the web trying to decide what activities to do, but encounter a huge number of options then the big question arises: Which activities should I do? Here is a little guide of the Top 5 tours in the ; we are going to start with this particular region of the country because is the one with the largest number of activities, and it’s also the most visited part of Costa Rica:
Zip lining tour in the rainforest: This is the most popular adventure activity in Costa Rica, the one the tourists book more during their vacation. In Arenal there are endless options to do zip lining and all of them with mixed reviews. Here you just have to be careful if you are traveling with kids, because some of these zip lining places could be a little too intense for the little-ones. For example, the one we consider as and in the whole country is the one at the “Mundo Aventura Park”, whoever, that is a tour that we would not recommend for children younger than 6, because some of the lines are very long and way up high; some of them are more than 500 feet above the ground. In terms of excitement is the best tour in our opinion because of the long lines and the great views of waterfalls, rainforests, volcanoes and rivers, but the tour is not for everyone. On the other hand, an easier tour that is recommended for the whole family is the one at the “Go Adventure Park”, which combines the excitement of zip lining but with shorter lines and not so up high. There are other good parks like the one at Sky Adventures, but that’s another tour we wouldn’t recommend for families with little children or elderly members, because the lines are very fast, creating violent breakings at the end of the lines, but for those who like adrenaline this would be a good option. Another good option not so adventurous would be the Eco-glide park, which combines excitement and short slow lines; this tour is done in the rainforest and offers good views.
: Here is where the most confusion is probably caused on the internet… The Arenal Volcano area is well known because of its hot springs places and the options are endless; there are several hot springs parks with all kinds of price ranges. In our opinion the absolutely best hot springs place is Tabacon, because it’s a natural hot water-clear water river that comes from the volcano and is immersed in the lush rainforest of this area, quite a unique experience… Most of the pools at Tabacon are natural, with rock and sandy bottoms, but there are also many man-made pools through ought the resort. There is another famous place called Baldi Hot Springs, this is a park the a tendency more of a party place, with lots of pools, bars, waterslides and music, not our favorite because here you lose the relaxing hot springs experience, but there are many people who prefer it the way it is. Another great option is Paradise Hot Springs and Gardens, despite of being an smaller place, the design of the pools and the gardens are extremely beautiful, especially the gardens, because the owners are landscaping experts who have exported tropical plants around the world for many years, they definitely know their stuff… Other options that we consider ok are The Springs Resort and Ecotermales, these are also good options but don’t have the name or presence of the places mentioned before. Last, we have the low budget hot springs places, where a tourist pays less to enter, but there are normally not restrictions in terms of the amount of people they allow to get in, kids playing in a crazy way, etc.
: Hanging bridges walks is another activity that lots of tourists search for in Costa Rica. To be flat honest the best place for this activity would be the Selvatura Park in Monteverde, but if you are not visiting this area of the country, then doing the “Mistico” Hanging Bridges walk in Arenal is a great option too. This particular hike has the benefit of having multiple trails, so you can choose the distance and level of difficulty based on your physical conditions. The tour offers at the beginning a look out point with some of the best view you could get of the impressive Arenal Volcano and the Arenal Lake (weather permitting). Once you enter the bridges’ trail, you would be surrounded by a beautiful tropical rainforest, where it is common to see different species of , mainly howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, crested guans, agoutis, toucans and other animals, but the ones I just listed are the most common to see there. This park offers a good amount of trails and galleries where great pictures can be taken.
: This is the most popular waterfall of Costa Rica, the one that appears in all of the brochures and videos promoting the country. The hike to this waterfall is not very long, but take in consideration that you would have to go down 500 hundred steps aprox. That’s not too big of a problem; the real problem is to hike them all the way up! For those who decide not to take the hike, there is a look out point at the entrance of the park where you just have to walk 200 yards and would be able to take great pictures of the waterfall from the platform. For those who decide to take the hike, the reward is to feel the power of this waterfall being close to it, as well as being able to swim at the refreshing pool below the waterfall. However, if the power of this waterfall is too much for you at the bottom of it, there are other pools where the visitors can swim a little further from the waterfall. This waterfall also has a new reaching point from the “Mundo Aventura” Park, but the trail is a little more difficult; the overall experience is more adventurous and the views of the forest and the waterfall itself when approaching to it are much better than on the traditional park.
: White water rafting is a very popular activity in all Costa Rica, and this is not the exception at the Arenal Volcano area. There are a few tours offered and different rivers, but the absolutely best tour from this region takes place at the Sarapiqui River, as a matter of fact, the best class II-III tour in all Costa Rica is done at this river. Sarapiqui also offers a class III-IV which is very intense, but I would only recommend this type of tour for experience rafters. Going back to the class II-III tour, there are lines of busses that depart daily from the La Fortuna area, there are several companies who offer the tour and with the new highway between Arenal and Sarapiqui, the drive is now easier and shorter, it’s only 1 hour approx. away. The Sarapiqui River offers many rapids for the excitement of rafting, but also offers gorgeous views of Jungles where wildlife can be observed, due to the fact that this tour passes next to the Tirimbina Biological Reserve, which protects very dense rainforests. Another river where rafting is practiced close to Arenal is the Balsa River, but to be honest is not as great as Sarapiqui, the tour done at the Balsa River is basically to say that a person did rafting.
This is some information about the Top 5 tours in the Arenal Volcano-La Fortuna area, there are to be done here, but the ones listed above are the most popular among the millions of tourists that visit this region and the ones we would recommend not to be missed!