Things to do in
Guanacaste

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Our most recommended things to do in Guanacaste

La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

1. La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna area. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Visit a Maluku Indian village and trek through a forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. Afterward, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

Guanacaste: 5-Hour Rainforest Canopy Zipline Tour

2. Guanacaste: 5-Hour Rainforest Canopy Zipline Tour

Enjoy a thrilling half-day adventure with a rainforest canopy zipline tour in Guanacaste. Depart from your hotel, and after a short drive, arrive in the tropical dry forest where you will be surrounded by high trees and pristine nature. Once there, take a short hike to the first platform, where your tour guide will get you ready for the ride of your life. Then get ready to start zipping through the trees and flying down the suspended cables. During the tour you will also come across a walking bridge between 2 platforms. If you are lucky, even the howler monkeys will be your company during a part of these canopy travels.

Playas del Coco: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour

3. Playas del Coco: Sunset Sailing and Snorkeling Tour

Sail along Costa Rica’s Gold Coast on a 4.5-hour sunset cruise, passing Guanacaste’s exotic bays, white sand beaches and tropical jungles. Gaze off the bow with a cold tropical drink in your hand as you scan the seas for dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish or even a breaching whale. Stop in a tranquil bay, drop anchor and enjoy a swim. Snorkel in the bay or take a walk down a deserted white sand beach. While you’re enjoying the sun, sand and sea, the crew will prepare a lunch of chicken or pasta salad, fruit, chips, pico de gallo, guacamole and homemade chocolate chip cookies. As the sun sets, you’ll see the ever-changing colors of the sky, while enjoying your favorite drink from the boat’s open bar. Capture the moment to show your family and friends the wonders of a Costa Rican sunset.

Tamarindo: Dream Chaser Catamaran Sunset Cruise

4. Tamarindo: Dream Chaser Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Discover picturesque secluded beaches on a 5-hour catamaran cruise. Benefit from relaxing lounge areas, an open bar, lunch buffet, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards. Board the 40-foot Dream Chaser catamaran and cruise along the north coast and, depending on weather conditions of the day, anchor in the secluded beaches of Playa Minas, Playa Huevo, or Piratas Bay.  Jump into the refreshing waters and tryout water activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and playing with the floaties (noodles). Feast on a delicious home-style buffet and enjoy an open bar where you can get unlimited refreshments, liquor, and mixed drinks.  Lounge on the spacious upper deck while listening to a modern sound system. Cool off in the shaded main cabin, relax in comfortable leather seats, and make use of the free Wi-Fi.  As you head back to Playa Tamarindo, be treated to unforgettable views of the Costa Rican sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Boat Transfer between Monteverde and La Fortuna

5. Boat Transfer between Monteverde and La Fortuna

Add a little adventure to your transportation needs between Monteverde and La Fortuna and avail of a transfer that includes an informative boat tour across Lake Arenal. Get spectacular views of Arenal Volcano and the cloud forests of Monteverde as you travel by van and boat. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure in either direction to suit your schedule, and relax in the knowledge that your luggage will be taken care of on every step of the journey. Depart La Fortuna and travel to Lake Arenal by van. Then, take a 30-minute boat ride to the town of Río Chiquito before continuing to Monteverde by van. For departures from Monteverde, travel to Lake Arenal by van. Cross Lake Arenal on an enlightening 30-minute boat ride to the earthen dam, and then continue to La Fortuna by van for drop off at your hotel.

Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

6. Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

Palo Verde National Park encompasses one of the most important wetlands of Central America. You’ll have the opportunity to explore its varied habitats on this half-day jungle river cruise. Throughout the year resident and migrant water birds sharing the mangroves and marshlands with white- tailed deer, coyote, white-nosed coatimundi, howlers, white-faced monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. Wildlife is plentiful here, from tiny hummingbirds feeding at heliconia flowers, to the huge and flamboyant Roseate Spoonbills. Enjoy the countryside as it changes from savannah to plantations and small villages as you make your way to the pontoon boat, which is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to explore Palo Verde. You’ll travel by boat along the Tempisque River, which borders the National Park. You’ll pass through a wide variety of habitats, including pastureland and mangroves. Observe huge crocodiles resting in the sunshine and monkeys moving rapidly through the trees. You’ll see diverse bird species such as the Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, the rare and endangered Jabiru, Blue Heron, White Ibis, and more.

Rio Celeste Hike & Sloths Wild Life

7. Rio Celeste Hike & Sloths Wild Life

Hike through the tropical rain forest and discover many picture-perfect sights along the way. Visit “Los Teñideros”, see the volcano's furnace vents, the magnificent Rio Celeste waterfall, and 2 species of sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary. Once at Tenorio Volcano National Park, your guide will give a short introduction, and then the hike starts going through the tropical rain forest, where fauna and flora are plentiful. During the hike, visit “Los Teñideros”, where two streams of crystalline water come together and form the astonishing blue color that gives the river its name. Come by the volcano’s furnace vents that expel gases of extremely high temperatures, and get the chance to take a dip in the natural hot springs. See the spectacular Rio Celeste waterfall. Head to the Sloths Sanctuary, where you will see 2 different species of sloths and wildlife in their natural habitat. The final reward will be an exquisite traditional meal at the end of your journey.

Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

8. Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 6:00 PM and driven to Playa Minas or a nearby beach that is home to nesting turtles. Playa Minas constitutes one of Costa Rica's most important nesting sites. Between October and March, large numbers of turtles migrate to this region. It remains one of the last untouched beaches in the world, giving it a remote paradise feel. There will be a 700-meter hike in the dark with infrared flashlights provided by your tour guide. Once arriving at the beach, the guide will educate the group on how to respectfully navigate the area. You will see the black turtles, and if you are lucky, the rare leatherback turtles. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world, weighing over 1,200 pounds and averaging almost 8 feet in length.

Hibiscus Sunset Boat Ride: Open Bar, Food and Water Sport

9. Hibiscus Sunset Boat Ride: Open Bar, Food and Water Sport

Enjoy an afternoon sailing adventure of Costa Rica’s Tamarindo coast on the Pacific Ocean, departing at 2:00 PM from Playa del Coco, RIU hotel beach entrance or Playa Ocotal. Once you have checked in, you will be shuttled to the 48-foot launch boat for the start of your adventure. As the sails are raised, relax in the afternoon sun or find a shaded spot in the saloon as the crew serve drinks. You’ll head north along the coast, enjoying the fresh sea breeze, a cold beverage, and some fresh fruit. About an hour into the trip, anchor in a cove where you can snorkel in the warm tropical waters, kayak, swim to the beach, or just relax on the boat. Break for afternoon appetizers while making new friends. Finally, it's happy hour! Pull anchor and raise the sails while the crew eagerly prepares a rum punch, imperial beer, or other beverage to your liking. Dance to a mix of Latin and rock music as you glide across the ocean en route back to Tamarindo as the sun falls below the horizon.

La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Hike

10. La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Hike

After being collected from your accommodation in La Fortuna, you will make your way to Rio Celeste. Rio Celeste is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica, and on a clear day, it is possible to receive spectacular views. Upon arrival to the park you will set off on a 7-kilometer hike, which passes by the River Celeste Waterfall, the Tenorio Lookout, the Blue Lagoon (a great place for taking pictures), and Borbollones (little geisers), before you finally arrive to Teñideros.  In this area, mother nature magically mixes the water of two crystal clear streams, changing the water's color to a beautiful bright, light blue (hence the name Rio Celeste, or "Light-Blue River"). After visiting the most beautiful places of this park there is a tough hike back to the park entrance, where you will have a delicious, well-deserved lunch waiting for you.

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What people are saying about Guanacaste

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 624 reviews

I highly recommend going on this excursion!!!! I am never the person to leave reviews, but I was honestly blown away by all that we did and got to see. Be prepared to spend the entire day as it lasted far beyond the 10 hours that is stated, but it’s so worth it! Our tour guides were Enrique and Isaac and they were phenomenal. They were very easy going and knowledgeable, they helped make the experience as enjoyable as it was. You will be doing a lot of hiking and climbing up and down steep and uneven stairs/terrain getting to the volcano as well as the waterfall (500 steps). I am not an avid hiker or even an outdoorsy person so some of this was a bit challenging, if you feel intimidated don’t let that stop you! There were people of all hiking levels on this trip. From seeing the volcano/the lava fields to climbing over rocks to take a dip next to a waterfall you will be impressed by the beauty around you. Ending the day in a hot spring with drinks was a great ending to the day! 11/10

Amazing experience- Ivan was such a wonderful and knowledgeable tour guide! Only thing to note is that it will not get back on time. We read reviews and expected this, so we didn’t plan anything afterwards- it ended up being 11 hours.

Really fun! The three guides/ photographer, Bryan, Marvin and Jefferson were lovely and very professional- zipping through the jungle is an amazing experience when in Costa Rica!

The experience was seemless and flawless. The driver pointed out toucans as we drove and then helped us with our luggage onto the boat.

Excellent door to door service and fantastic trip down the river with a great guide and boat captain