There are so many things to do in Costa Rica, but figuring it all our can be a confusing chore. Few things are more disappointing (at least vacation-wise) to plan all kinds of activities, only to experience half or less because there was not enough time due to logistical planning snags that could have been avoided. Keep in mind, just because two places look particularly close on a map, it doesn’t mean its a short trip or even possible to tackle both in one day. I have tried here to organize some achievable day trips, so try a few of these and have fun!
Keep in mind, Waze is a very helpful GPS app which will ease your navigation throughout this beautiful country, but you will need to speak with your cellular company to make sure you have a plan, even a temporary one, which allows usage while traveling in Costa Rica. Google Maps is helpful in cities, but it has also led us into a farm field or two, so it is not entirely accurate or updated often enough. If those options are not possible, you might be able to rent a “hotspot” from your car rental company which essentially will give you wifi everywhere you go based off the hotspot’s local cellular connection. You could also get a local SIM card.
Ok let’s get to it:
- El Toledo Coffee Farm & Los Chorros Waterfalls – Take a tour of a local family owned El Toldeo Coffee Farm who have decided to grow their organic coffee in a biodynamic way – its a fascinating personal tour by a family passionate about keeping farming safe and healthy for their family, neighbors and customers. This tour does require reservations which are easy to make. After that, head on over to Los Chorros Waterfalls in Grecia. Los Chorros, or “The Jets” in English are two very large waterfalls separated by a beautiful canyon, make sure to trek through the water to visit them both. The hike down and back is a brisk hike through a forest. Bring water shoes so you can hike into the falls and sunscreen and hat for the coffee tour , avoid the traditional flip flips.
- Poas Volcano /Vara Blanca/ La Paz Waterfall Gardens/ Chubasco Restaurant/Doka Coffee Estate /Zoo Ave – This may be a lot to do in a day, but all these sites are along the same route so pick and choose which you’d like to see. Poas Volcano has been active since early 2017 and until further notice the CR government will not allow people on the viewing platform, unfortunately, to look into the crater. Check the volcano website https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/national-parks/poas-volcano for up to date info on closures. However, it is still a beautiful ride up the mountain and there is much to see.
- Zoo Ave / Botanical Orchid Garden – If you are looking for a mellow day, and you are interested in Orchids and botanical gardens in general, these two spots fill the bill. Zoo Ave is a rescue center for animals in Costa Rica and it is filled with very impressive botanical gardens. The Botanical Orchid Garden has an impressive collection of local orchids in a lovely setting. You can call ahead and arrange a tour, plus you can purchase specimens (to be shipped back home I believe).
- White water Rafting on the Pacuare River –
This is something we have done 3-4 times and we love it, BUT please note that it is an early morning to late day event. It is some of the best white water rafting in Costa Rica with some serious rapids. There are many companies that run trips here, but Rios Tropicales is the one we have often used. This company has always been very professional. The ride to the area where the rafting takes place is out of the way so its a drive, but a beautiful one. The rafting is fabulous. Make sure you listen to your guide and do what he/she says, especially when they go over directions while in the van. The people who are goofing around too much and not paying attention to their guides are the ones who end up going overboard – and there are definitely places that you don’t want to go overboard. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush – this is a good one!Reservations are required
- Lands In Love Adventure Park in the Cloud Forest –
- Turu Bari Adventure Park and Pacific Beach points
- Zarcero/El Silencio Waterfalls and lunch/ Bajos del Toro
- Pacific Beaches/ Cararra National Park
- Crocodile River tour/ Beaches/ Surfing lessons