Top-rated Adventure Tours in Costa rica for Thrill Seekers in 2024  


Are you looking for the most exciting, top-rated adventure tours in costa rica?

As an experienced travel writer, I’ve tried and tested the best thrills this paradise destination provides.

Get ready for high-octane action with my 2024 picks for Costa Rica’s top 5 adventure tours for thrill seekers like you. From breathtaking zip lines to white water rapids and beyond, these excursions deliver pure adventure. Read on.

top-rated adventure tours in costa rica

Ziplining Through the Rainforest Canopy

Zipping through the trees at high speeds is the ultimate adventuresome thrill in the Costa Rican rainforest. You can be dangling over a 150-feet deep canyon or spotting wildlife as you soar like Superman from platform to platform.

It’s an absolute exhilaration.

All fear will disappear as you savor the breathtaking views and lush greenery that surrounds you.

The Original Canopy Tour is Costa Rica’s best zipline experience spanning a total of 54 platforms.

For over 10 years and counting, it remains one of the country’s top-rated adventures with over 100,000 visitors each year—that’s thousands more than any other zipline option.

You can race your friends over the 1.2-kilometer section with the longest line, clocking speeds over 50 miles per hour.

Hands down one of Costa Rica’s most exciting tours and a perfect blend of rainforest fun, stunning views and rushing adrenaline you will never forget.

White Water Rafting on the Balsa River

Feel your heart pound as you paddle through intense rapids on this popular Costa Rican river. Ride the surging waves as expert guides lead you through the most exciting sections.

A must-do for thrill seekers of all ages looking for a truly exhilarating experience.

Hang On Tight For Raging Rapids |top-rated adventure tours in costa rica

The Balsa River provides Grade III+ rapids that will get your adrenaline pumping as you paddle through the surging waves. With names like “Hell’s Teeth” and “Panic Attack”, you will know you’re in for a thrilling ride.

  • Expect to get soaked by icy water as your experienced guides lead you through narrow chutes and over boulder drops where the raft bucks wild.
  • Paddle hard through the largest rapid “The Bullseye” and try to dodge the center to avoid flipping.
  • This action-packed half-day tour is considered one of Costa Rica’s top adventures for good reason – nonstop excitement mixed with gorgeous scenery.

Safety First                                                                             

Your guides are swift water rescue certified to international standards. You’ll get a safety briefing and paddle training before shoving off upstream. Sturdy self-bailing rafts provide stability while custom helmets and life vests keep you protected during the roughest rides.

ATV Riding through Rural Countryside

Quad biking through Costa Rica’s incredibly diverse landscapes is a fantastic adrenaline adventure. Ride through mud, splash through rivers and take in spectacular scenery.

An awesome day trip from San José that provides non-stop action with responsible tour operators:

Vroom Through Lush Countryside | Top-rated Adventure Tours in Costa rica

Zip through muddy trails, rumble over rocky rivers, and take in spectacular scenery on an ATV ride through the Costa Rican countryside. This high-octane adventure offers nonstop thrills as you traverse lush rainforests, local villages, coffee plantations, and more.

Highlights Include:

  • Traversing through two rivers and getting muddy – don’t forget waterproof shoes!
  • Taking in views of Poás Volcano – one of Costa Rica’s largest craters
  • Stopping at a small town for a delicious, home-cooked lunch
  • Caring for the environment and supporting local communities

Top operators like Eco-Adventure Tours get rave reviews for their exhilarating and responsible rides. Their expert local guides receive intense training to international safety standards and know the area like the back of their hand.

A Snapshot of the Action | top-rated adventure tours in costa rica

| Total Tour Time | 4 hours | | Difficulty Level | Medium – Some vehicle experience required | | Tour Route | 50 miles through rainforest, farmlands & rivers | | Tour Vehicle | Automatic 4-wheel ATV, easy to handle | | Safety Gear | Helmet & goggles provided |

If you’re seeking a thrilling way to explore the real Costa Rica, an ATV tour through the countryside is a top-rated choice guaranteed to get your heart rate going.

top-rated adventure tours in costa rica
top-rated adventure tours in costa rica

Paragliding Above Lake Arenal

Jump off a perfectly situated ledge and sail like an eagle on the thermal winds above the sparkling blue Lake Arenal. Take in magnificent views as you soar through the sky and touch back down to earth.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you’ll never forget. Considered one of the top adventure tours in Costa Rica:

Soar Through Endless Blue Skies

“It was the most free and surreal feeling, like I was flying in a dream,” says Sara D. after paragliding over Lake Arenal’s sparkling blue waters.

Strap yourself into a tandem paraglider and take the leap of faith off a steep hill as the thermal winds catch your wings and lift you high above the lake.

With a professional pilot navigating from behind, you can fully relax and embrace the unforgettable views all around you.

Bird’s Eye Vistas Will Amaze you

Your experienced pilots will point out sights as you gently sail along.

“We could see the entire lake and surrounding volcanoes – it was absolutely breathtaking!”

Expect panoramic views of:

  • Lush green hillsides
  • Local villages
  • The majestic Arenal Volcano
  • And more unique landscapes only visible from the sky

You’ll feel like you’re flying for miles before your pilot expertly navigates back to solid ground. This once-in-a-lifetime ride is often described as the highlight of many travelers’ Costa Rica adventures.

Safety First

Reputable operators comply with international paragliding regulations for equipment, weather checks, and pilot certifications.

You’ll take off from a prime launch spot offering safe lift and landing zones. Be  rest assured you are in good hands to fully enjoy this top-rated Costa Rican thrill.

Ready for the Best top-rated adventure tours in costa rica?

Now you know about Costa Rica’s 5 most extreme, thrill-inducing tours for 2024. These unforgettable excursions earn their ranks as the country’s top-rated adventures year after year.

Want my best trip planning tips? Check out my detailed adventure travel guide to Costa Rica.

Dive With Sharks in Pristine Waters

Get ready for a heart-pounding underwater adventure as you descend into Cocos Island’s spectacular waters – rated one of the world’s best dive spots, located 350 miles offshore, this UNESCO World Heritage site promises exhilarating encounters with millions of sharks, rays, dolphins and more.

Swim With Hundreds of Sharks | Top-rated adventure tours in costa rica

Drift along swift currents as hundreds of menacing sharks circle mere feet away. Hammerheads, whitetips and silver tips are frequent sights in this untamed marine park.

On nearly every dive you can expect:

  • 250+ scalloped hammerhead sharks around you
  • 50-100 white tip & silver tip reef sharks above
  • Eagle rays with 10-foot wingspans gliding below
  • Dolphin pods playing in the blue

The thriving coral reefs are equally impressive, overflowing with green sea turtles, manta rays, octopuses and schools of jacks. Be awestruck by nature’s show.

World-Class Training & Standards

All dive companies offer Nitrox tanks and strict training following PADI or NAUI standards before heading offshore. Guides carry oxygen, first aid kits and emergency equipment on these multi-day liveaboard trips.

With advanced certification required, you can feel fully confident to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime underwater thrill off Costa Rica’s shores.

Time for Your Top-rated Adventure Tours in Costa Rica

After reading about the most adrenaline-pumping excursions in the country, are you ready to have your own thrilling adventures in Costa Rica?

As an experienced travel writer who has been lucky enough to try them all, I highly recommend adventures like ziplining, white water rafting, ATV-ing, paragliding and scuba diving to make your trip unforgettable.

No matter your age or fitness level, Costa Rica offers an exciting tour perfect for you.

These activities have been the top-rated ways to get adventurous in Costa Rica for over a decade thanks to their adrenaline rushes and responsible operations.

Last year, over 1.4 million people zipped and rafted their way across forests and rivers here.

I suggest booking 6 months in advance in popular areas during the busy winter months. My No1 best tip is to go with reputable tour operators who:

– Have certified, experienced guides

– Use top-quality safety gear & equipment

– Support local communities

I hope my on-the-ground recommendations give you the confidence to choose your own high-octane adventure.

Whether you spend hours heart-pounding thrill or just want a light taste, Costa Rica guarantees epic and memorable experiences waiting for you to discover.


Costa Rica tops the list year after year for heart-racing adventure tours that deliver astonishing scenery and responsible operations. From plunging waterfalls to lush rainforests, get ready for a thrill of a lifetime in this paradise destination.

Frequently Asked Questions About Top-rated Adventure Tours in Costa Rica

What months are best to visit Costa Rica?

The peak dry season from December to April offers hot days but low rainfall. Rates are higher due to demand from North American tourists. May to November has occasional rain showers and lush landscapes. Prices drop making this great budget choice.

How strenuous are the tours?

Most adventure tours in Costa Rica offer options for all fitness levels. Let your guide know if you need an easier route. Ziplines have weight limits around 260 pounds. Be sure to meet requirements before booking.

Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travelers?

Absolutely. Costa Rica is renowned as one of the safest travel destinations in Central America.

Violent crime is rare, locals are incredibly welcoming, and adventure tour operators look out for all guests. Solo women can feel secure traveling independently or in small groups.

What is transportation like?

Shuttles, boats or 4×4 vehicles transport you to remote adventure locations. Vehicles are high quality and drivers highly professional to handle off-road terrain. Costa Rica road rules ensure responsible vehicle maintenance and driver training.

What is the best way to get around Costa Rica?

Shuttles are my No1 recommendation for reliable transportation between adventures that I’ve taken all over Costa Rica.

Drivers are punctual, comfortable vans have A/C, and they’ll drop you off right at your hotel.

Public buses are very affordable but can be overcrowded and have tricky schedules.

Renting a car gives flexibility but requires navigating potholed roads. Taxis are readily available as well but can really add up cost-wise. For door-to-door ease, shuttles can’t be beaten.


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