10 things to do on your Costa Rican Road Trip

In Costa Rica, Featured, Road Trips, The Americas, Try-this by JanisLeave a Comment

Visit a Pacific coast beach, cross Hanging Bridges and lose yourself in a rainforest

Golden orange tones of the sunset, set against the lush green vegetation at from our room at the Hotel Parador, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The sunset view from our room at the Hotel Parador, Manuel Antonio

These are the top 10 unforgettable things we think you’ll enjoy on a Costa Rican Road Trip, based on our own adventures.

This Central American country has so much to offer beautiful beaches, wildlife in abundance lush rainforest and warm and friendly Ticos.

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1 Meander through a Rain Forest

Strolling through the Monteverde rain forest was an incredible experience, particularly for me, who comes from the UK
The blur of water dropping between the rocks and lush green vegetation to create a waterfall in the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, Arenal, Costa Rica

A small waterfall, deep within the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

 It was breath-taking and a such delightful way to get close to nature and witness first-hand the amazing diversity of the flora and fauna that Costa Rica has to offer.

2 Journey through the canals of Tortuguero

Travelling along the waters of one of the channels off the central lagoon of Tortuguero, surrounded by dense vegetation of Costa Rica

The channels around Tortuguero

You will be astounded at the wildlife that inhabits Tortuguero. As you float along the peaceful maze of tributaries that feed the main lagoon, you’ll be scanning the canopies high above for sloths & monkeys.
A young Caiman resting, out of the water, in one of the channels that lead off the main lagoon at Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A resting Caiman, Tortuguero

Keeping your eyes wide open for the array of tropical colourful birds. Look-out along the banks in the still waters where Caiman maybe hiding. And, don’t forget watch out for overhanging branches where reptiles are warming their bodies in the Costa Rican sunshine.

Further Reading

If your heading off on your own Costa Rican adventure, than grab a copy of this DK Eyewitness book.

I love planning trips and these guides are so helpful.

I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

3 Wander surrounded by a Cloud Forest

A mist engulfs the upper levels of the Cloud Forest Reserve of Monteverde in Costa Rica.

The Cloud Forest Reserve, Monteverde

The peace and tranquillity that comes from walking under the protective canopies of the Monteverde cloud forest is magnificent. You can feel the forest is alive all around, you may not be able to see the wildlife; however, they will certainly be able to see you.

4 Admire the Sloths

When we decided to head to Costa Rica one of the main animals, I wanted to see were sloths. They are such charming creatures, I’m not too sure if they do anything quickly.

A 3 toed Sloth hiding in the canopy of the bush in the grounds of our hotel in Manuel Antonio , Costa Rica

Our first Sloth in Costa Rica

We were lucky to see quite few sloths on our Costa Rican travels, both two-toed and three-toed. Their slow pace of life certainly starts to rub off on you.

A soaked Sloth, clinging to a branch, as the rain pours down on a wet day in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A Sloth, reaching out in Tortuguero

Don't just take our word for it!

If you're tempted by the enchanting rainforests full of incredible wildlife or the golden sandy beaches, take a look at the 'Visit Costa Rica' official website. The local Ticos know what they are talking about.

5 Appreciate the Reptiles, Birds, Monkeys, Snakes (the list is endless)

An iguana moving through the forest of Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A huge iguana in Tortuguero

From the hummingbirds that seem to defy physics, to the elegant pelicans swooping across water. The range of colourful bird life throughout Costa Rica is staggering.

A hummingbird with its wings a blur as they beat at pace while feeding at a station in the Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

A hummingbird in flight

Monkeys that look so human in their mannerisms to spooky bats hiding on trunks of trees. Okay, we didn’t see a huge number of bats, the line of long-nosed proboscis bats we saw were impressive.

A mantled howler monkey clutching a bunch of seed pods, hanging from a branch, looking bemused as we watch on in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A Mantled howler monkey, looking bemused

A Green Basilisk lizard resting on the branch of a tree, within the forest of Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A Green Basilisk lizard resting, Tortuguero, Costa Rica

6 Walk across the Hanging Bridges

Strolling across the Hanging Bridges at Arenal was a bizarre experience. You feel like you’re teetering above the world.
The opportunity to observe the canopy of the forest and get a birds-eye view was awe-inspiring. Walking from peak-to-peak with the sound of the forest surrounding you, is a feeling that will always remain with me.

Looking across a long, steel, hanging bridge between two peaks in the Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Bridges connect different parts of the park

Tempted To?

Embark on your own Costa Rican road trip you'll be amazed how easy it is to tour around by car with. Like us you can create your own road trip and visit Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Arenal and Tortuguero.

Take a peek at the offers at Rental Cars, they cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.

7 Stroll along a Pacific Coast Beach

Are there many experiences better than strolling a tranquil idyllic beach, on the Pacific coast? Especially when you appear to have it to yourself, although you never know how many little pairs of eyes are watching you from the trees.

Playa Biesanz bay in Manuel Antonio was beautiful.

A sandy beach, Playa Biesanz, in a bay in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.

The secret Beach, Playa Biesanz - Manuel Antonio

8 Observe an active Volcano

A memorable experience of our road trip around Costa Rica would have been to observe lava erupting from the top of the volcano.

A view of the Arenal volcano, shrouded in cloud, across the lush landscape of Costa Rica.

Arenal volcano shrouded in cloud

However, we were probably lucky that it didn’t happen. Especially while we were zip-lining through the nearby forests. 🙂

9 Visit a Coffee Plantation

Get the full bush to mug story on how that early morning pick-me-up juice is grown. Stroll through the plantation and enjoy the historical journey from the rich red beans that spread from Ethiopia to the global commodity that is now coffee.

Palm trees line rows of coffee bushes at the Don Juan coffee plantation in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Over the Don Juan coffee plantation, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Whether you like coffee or not, the tour is fascinating, our visit was to the Don Juan Coffee plantation in Monteverde.

10 Experience a Zip Line adventure

This is not just for the adrenaline junkies this one. Very few of us will get the opportunity to soar across the treetops of a tropical rain forest. If you get the chance, give it a go because you only live once.

A view from the Sky tram platform in the Arenal Volcano National Park through the rain forest to Lake Arenal.

The cable line back to the Sky Tram base, Arenal

It was an unbelievable experience and really made me smile from ear to ear. It’s not often you see a flock of toucans fly by in front of you. Truly memorable.

Our zip-line adventure was with Sky Tram in Arenal.

Have You?

Ticked any of these off your bucket list? What have we missed? What else is a must do in Costa Rica.

Inspired to visit Costa Rica?

Why wouldn't you? It's a great way to see many ecological wonders of the world.
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