Guanacaste
Safaris & Wildlife Activities

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Our most recommended Guanacaste Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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.

Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour

4. Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour

Start the tour with a pickup head to the location. Receive safety instructions upon arrival and follow the tour guide through pastures and rivers, up mountains with breath-taking views of the valley, pristine beaches, the Pacific Ocean, and take in the natural beauty and wildlife. Enjoy 3 gorgeous beaches and maybe make a quick stop to take it all in and make incredible photos. See howler monkeys, iguanas, and other exotic animals of the tropical dry forest, natural to the environment you will be visiting. Improve your experience and choose the option that includes a snorkeling activity at Playa Conchal before heading back to the hotel.

Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

5. Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

Discover Central America’s second largest lake on this 2-hour kayaking tour of Lake Arenal. This trip gives you the best views of the Arenal Volcano and you’ll get to see the fantastic Costa Rican wildlife from your boat. Observe different species of birds such as flycatchers, kingfishers, great blue herons, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and toucans. This tour is ideal for any amateur or experienced birdwatcher. You may also hear howler monkeys calling from the rainforest. The rainforest ecosystem that encompasses Lake Arenal is hugely diverse. There are over 2000 species of plants, 300 types of bird, and 120 mammals including jaguars, tapirs, and quetzals. This tour is ideal for those who wish to see Costa Rica’s diverse flora and fauna.

From La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

6. From La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

Experience the best way to explore beautiful Lake Arenal — go stand-up paddling and get amazing views of the colossal Arenal Volcano. You'll feel like you're walking on water as you cross the lake from one side to the next. This activity is perfect for all adventure enthusiasts, including beginning paddlers. Venture to Costa Rica's largest lake and hop on board a private boat. Meet your friendly captain while your adventurous guide provides you with all the necessary gear. As you embark on your journey out to the middle of Lake Arenal, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of Arenal Volcano. When you reach the middle of the lake, your guide will give you plenty of safety instructions and plunk your board into the water. Paddle out on your knees, and when you are ready, stand up, find your balance, and begin crossing the calm waters. About halfway through the tour, make a short stop on an island for amazing scenic views.  After 2.5 hours of paddling, finish your day at the new Pedal and Paddle Adventure store located in the small town of El Foforo on the other side of the lake. Change into dry clothes and fuel up with a refreshing and well-deserved snack before heading back to your hotel.

Tamarindo: Celeste River and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

7. Tamarindo: Celeste River and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Embark on an adventure and discover sloths, beautiful waterfalls, and a true bluewater river. Start off with a hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park and discover the rainforest in a 2 hour easy to moderate hike.  Marvel at the Celeste River, one of the most popular rivers in Costa Rica, well known around the world by its particular natural color from light blue to turquoise.  In addition to the stunning beauty of the water, the river also has several thermal hot springs and boiling mud pots. Plumes of volcanic gases are expelled and in some places give the appearance of boiling water. Visit a 98-foot waterfall and take in the stunning atmosphere.  After your swim, a small hike leads you to the place where sloths are at a very low height in their natural environment, as well as toucans and red-eyed leaf frogs.  Enjoy a country-style Costa Rican lunch with salad, rice, beans, and options for meat, chicken, or fish. On your way to one of Costa Rica's most beautiful waterfalls, the Llanos de Cortez waterfalls with a 65-foot height and 49-foot width drop into a tranquil pond with a white sandy beach, that's perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Liberia: Rincón de la Vieja Bird-Watching Tour

8. Liberia: Rincón de la Vieja Bird-Watching Tour

After being collected from your accommodation, you will journey towards Hacienda Guachipelin, where your experience will take place. There you will walk around the Hacienda in search of unique bird species with an expert bilingual guide. Hacienda Guachipelin is replete with bird watching opportunities due to its diverse ecosystems. Over 300 different species have been identified in these areas, including the spectacled owl, the turquoise-browed motmot, the emerald toucanet, and the Montezuma Oropendola. Throughout this ecosystem fly colorful, sonorous, intrepid birds, all of which you can take fun in seeking whilst in the park. The dry forest is full of wildlife and unique species, creating the perfect place to enjoy wildlife and bird watching in the gardens rich in native trees and exotic flowers. At the conclusion of your enjoyable bird-watching experience, you will be transferred back to your point of origin.

Palo Verde & Guatil: Jungle Boat Tour, Pottery & Lunch

9. Palo Verde & Guatil: Jungle Boat Tour, Pottery & Lunch

Discover the birds and biodiversity of Palo Verde National Park on this boat tour with lunch. Complete your tour with a stop in Guaitil, known for its pottery, for an authentic Costa Rican experience. Start with an early morning pickup at a location provided by you. The natural hydrologic system of the Tempisque River creates the perfect conditions for exotic wildlife to thrive. As a result, Palo Verde is a refuge for hundreds of resident birds and a wide variety of migratory species. Board a river boat for a leisurely cruise along the Tempisque. Admire the park’s beauty while a naturalist guide tells you about its unique ecosystem. This cruise is perfect for bird watchers. Nature lovers can also get a close look at howler and capuchin monkeys. Spot crocodiles on the riverside. After a cruise down the Tempisque River, give yourself a well-earned break. Feast on a delicious traditional lunch. Continue to your next stop, the artisan village of Guaitil. Learn about the history of Chorotegan Indians of Guaitil. Watch local artists as they make pottery, a heritage of their Pre-Columbian ancestors. Step back into a thousand years of tradition with a visit to this indigenous village. Relax on the ride back to your hotel, once the 5-hour tour concludes in the afternoon.

Arenal Forest: Bird Observation & Photography Tour

10. Arenal Forest: Bird Observation & Photography Tour

If you are a lover of birdsong and enjoy the beautiful colors of these feathered creatures, this tour and outing amongst nature is for you. Enjoy a gentle walk through the forest with the purposes of observing and photographing these incredible animals. The areas around the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal are fantastic for bird watchers. An expert bilingual naturalist and birdwatcher guide will help you find a wide variety of species such as toucans, parrots, orioles, colorful tanagers, parakeets and many more. Birds are most active early in the morning and in the late afternoon as the day cools into evening. For more experienced birdwatchers, you can focus on seeing Royal Flycatchers, White-Fronted Nun birds, Cinnamon Woodpeckers and other less commonly seen species.

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What people are saying about Guanacaste

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 14 reviews

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.

The guide was excellent - so knowledgeable! The day included much more than I ever expected! This was such a well rounded experience - I definitely recommend it! I feel like I got to so much more about Cost Rica! Pura vida!!

Great morning, very enjoyable! The boat driver was very good and pointed out lots of neat birds, crocodiles and monkeys for us. Our tour guide Freddy was great!!!

Amazing and unforgettable experience! Guide was really friendly and had loads of fun facts.

Really fun experience and amazing scenery and friendly staff. Would definitely recommend.