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Guanacaste

Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended Guanacaste Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

1. 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.

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.

Tamarindo: Celeste River and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

3. 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.

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

4. 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.

Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour

5. 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.

Tamarindo: Palo Verde National Park Tour

6. Tamarindo: Palo Verde National Park Tour

Discover the beauty of one of the most important ecosystems in Costa Rica on a guided tour of the Palo Verde National Park. Enjoy a boat ride along the wetlands of the Tempisque River and visit a small village where you can find traditional pottery art. Step inside Palo Verde, which consists of a dry forest, wetland, and mangrove swamp, and is populated with big iguanas, crocodiles, and large groups of howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys.  See the rare jabiru, the largest bird in Central America, white ibis, parrots, and blue herons. With over 300 bird species, the park is considered one of Costa Rica's top bird sanctuaries.  Explore the park from a different perspective as you cruise on a boat during a 2-hour ride along the wetlands of the Tempisque River. Enjoy a delicious, healthy, and traditional lunch consisting of rice, beans, salad, and a choice of meat, chicken, or fish. Sip on on rich Costa Rican coffee after lunch. At the end of the tour, visit a small village where you can find and buy typical handcrafted pottery, supporting the local artisans.

Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

7. 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.

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.

Monteverde: Curi-Cancha Reserve Tour with Entry Ticket

9. Monteverde: Curi-Cancha Reserve Tour with Entry Ticket

Go on a tour of the Curi-Cancha reserve in Monteverde. Get picked up from your hotel, and drive to the 83-hectare reserve. Start your tour with a local guide and see a variety of rare birds and unusual animals. Marvel at the views and take lots of photos. Get dropped back at your hotel at the end. Begin your hike and listen to your guide tell you all about the wildlife in the area. Keep your eyes peeled for rare birds, including the Resplendent Quetzal, the Three-Wattled Bellbird, the Blue-Crowned Motmot, and the Orange-bellied Trogon. Continue along 7 kilometers of natural trails and get to see the flora and fauna of the tropical forest. See if you can spot unusual wild animals, such as armadillos, coatis, and two-toed sloths and use the opportunity to take photos. Learn about the sustainable practices of the reserve. Marvel at impressive views of the mountains surrounding you. Get taken back to your hotel at the end of the tour.

La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Guanacaste

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 14 reviews

Despite a slight delay with the pickup and start or the tour, afterwards it was all just great. We went to two nice beaches along the way (Puerto Viejo and another equally beautiful one). Keep in mind that you'll swallow a lot of dust, especially if you'll be driving among the last in the group.

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!!

I wasn’t sure what to expect on this tour. It was honestly one of the best days my husband and I have ever experienced together. Every spot we were taken was a beautiful scenery. I can’t wait to come back!

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

Wonderful day on Arenal lake trying the stand up paddling. Very nice guides.