Guanacaste
National Parks

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Guanacaste National Parks

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.

Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

2. 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

3. 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.

La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Hike

4. 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.

Tamarindo: Boat Safari at Las Baulas National Park

5. Tamarindo: Boat Safari at Las Baulas National Park

Embark on an adventure and experience the mangrove swamps and bays protected by Marino Las Baulas National Parl. Spend your afternoon exploring on a boat trip.  See frigate birds, brown footed boobies, pelicans, and other waterbirds that are the main attraction. Witness also monkeys, but as conservation takes hold, it is becoming easier to spot ocelots, crocodiles, and anteaters. Find big iguanas and different species of wading birds, amidst the mangroves, orchids, and trees lining the river. Experience Las Baulas that includes in its habitats beach, coral reef, and mangrove, with wildlife from green marine iguanas, bottle-nosed and common dolphins, leatherback sea turtles, sponges, anemones, lobsters, trunkfish, frigate birds, brown footed boobies, to pelicans.  Sail up the waters of Las Baulas National Park, in a 2-hour tour, where you'll be able to watch crocodiles sunning on the banks or swimming alongside the boat while green parrots call from the above and howler monkeys play among the treetops.

Rincón de la Vieja: One-Day Nature Tour

6. Rincón de la Vieja: One-Day Nature Tour

Experience the natural beauty of Costa Rica on a one-day nature tour in Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Hike the Las Pailas Trail in the park to discover the raw nature and amazing wildlife. With a bilingual naturalist guide, walk the 3.5-kilometer, circular path through the tropical forest to enjoy the best views of the volcano. Walk to the mirador to see the Rincón de la Vieja and Santa María Volcanoes, and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. Trek to a stunning waterfall that descends into a beautiful sky-blue pool. Stop here for a cooling swim, or to enjoy the lovely surroundings.  Afterwards, rejuvenate yourself in the Rio Negro Hot Springs and Mud Baths. Smother your skin in heated volcanic clay, then wash it off in the cold river before jumping back in the hot pools. End your tour with a delicious buffet lunch at La Hacienda Restaurant.

From Tamarindo: Zip-Line and Rafting Full Day Adventure Tour

7. From Tamarindo: Zip-Line and Rafting Full Day Adventure Tour

Kick-start your full day of outdoor thrills bright and early led by your private guide. This small-group tour will give you the opportunity to try your hand at rock climbing, horse riding, water tubing or river rafting, as well as enjoying a canopy tour. Begin your journey either water tubing or rafting down the peaceful waters of the Colorado River, meandering your way through its verdant canyon surrounded by steep sides. Next, enjoy the thrill of zip-lining over the canyon through the course of eight zip-lines that zig and zag across it. If you're feeling up for more, you have the choice to rappel down into the canyon and rock climb back up. Savor traditional local flavors over lunch, taking the opportunity to snap some pictures of the impressive backdrop. Get back on the adventure track, and horse ride along the mighty foothills of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano, making your way to its hot springs. Here, relax in a natural mud bath and ease into the end of your day before being dropped off at your accommodation.

La Fortuna Town: Rio Celeste and Tenorio National Park Tour

8. La Fortuna Town: Rio Celeste and Tenorio National Park Tour

Following your pickup from your hotel in La Fortuna Downtown, you will venture to the heart of the Tenorio Volcano. Once having arrived there, you will discover the mystery of the minerals that produce the reaction that causes the river to turn a marvelous light-blue color. You will explore right where the Buena Vista River and Roble River merge, with both rivers originating from the volcano. The colors of these rivers is caused by the different concentrations of minerals. The natural chemicals mix and cause a reaction between the sulfur from the volcano and calcium carbonate from the rain, creating one of the most beautiful attractions in Costa Rica. Later on in your tour, you will be taken to a breathtaking waterfall called the “Bride’s Veil”, which is the highlight of your adventure. You will then be taken to the Tenorio Volcano viewpoint, thermos mineral hot springs, and volcanic mud ponds. At the conclusion of your geothermal experience, you will be returned back to your point of origin in La Fortuna Town.

Río Celeste National Park Hike

9. Río Celeste National Park Hike

Once we arrive to the Río Celeste National Park, you may use the facilities to get ready and look at the information booth provided by the Río Celeste National Park. We will then begin a hike through the dense, lush, tropical rainforest that surrounds the Río Celeste National Park. The hike is approximately 3-miles long and considered intermediate. You and your naturalist guide go at your own pace and you'll learn interesting things about the rainforest along the way. We then arrive to "Los Teñíderos" where two rivers come together to form the celestial, turquoise blue water color that gives the waterfall its name "Celeste." We'll return, walking back through the Rio Celeste National Park to the "Ollas" -- or mud baths -- and take a moment to relax in the natural hot springs. For the grand finale, we then walk-on further to see the spectacular Río Celeste waterfall - the perfect place to take photos. We finish off with a delicious lunch at a local restaurant and then head back to La Fortuna. Please note: the Río Celeste waterfall may lose its blue color during rainstorms. Our policy is to advise clients the day of the tour if it is raining in the area and offer the tour for the following day, should clients want to postpone or change to a different tour. No refunds for inclement weather.

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano 8-Hour Tour from Guanacaste

10. Rincón de la Vieja Volcano 8-Hour Tour from Guanacaste

On this 2-hour hike, you will visit the amazing Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and see the energy that this sleeping giant liberates. Bubbling water lagoons, steamy sulfur water ponds, little mud volcanoes, gases, and more are enough to understand that this is an active volcano. This National Park is home to one of the most active volcanoes with fumaroles activity. Sights include an extraordinary amount of interesting flora and fauna, as well as plenty of hot bubbling sulfurous mud pits and a little "mini-volcano." Rincón de la Vieja National Park is home to more than 300 species of birds, including the quetzal, as well as numerous reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, including kinkajous, tapits, monkeys, and jaguars. Mammals found here include peccaries, coatis, skunks, and of course monkeys (white-faced and howler), 2-toed sloths, armadillos, and anteaters. The park also has probably one of the largest populations of the national flower of Costa Rica, the orchid "Guaria Morada."

Frequently asked questions about Guanacaste National Parks

What are other things to do than National Parks that are worth visiting in Guanacaste?

The other unmissable things to do in Guanacaste are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Guanacaste

Want to discover all there is to do in Guanacaste? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Guanacaste

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 15 reviews

This is the best activity I have done in Costa rica ! Carlos & Julian were amazing and so knowledgeable. the overall day started with pick up (5 minutes late which is okay) and going to the local indigenous tribe, learning about their culture, seeing sloths in trees, waterfall, lunch was great, we saw a butterfly garden nearby, then continued to the hike on the volcano before finishing in the hot springs. it was a magical and perfect day ! I'd love to do it again !!!

This tour is run by Red Lava. It was a full day tour and the guides were really nice! There was a decent about of hiking but that was fine. The waterfall area was beautiful and we got to swim there for an hour. The lunch was the typical Costa Rican meal and it was really good as well. I am glad that we did this tour!

The place is beautiful! They picked us up, we went through several places to spot some animals, our guide took us through the national park and explained a little about the flora and fauna that surrounded us! The food and the dip afterwards were also great! We are very satisfied with the excursion in general!

This was the best tour I've ever been on. Erick and Isaac were such great tour guides. Erick was so knowledgable about the different plants, animals, history about Costa Rica. This tour was the highlight of my trip! :)

Très belle journée bien remplie et guide très sympathique!