Although Costa Rica is known for being a country with impressive beaches, exuberant nature and perfect waves for surfing, it is also an ideal destination for lovers of active and adventure tourism. You can go rafting, kayaking or canoeing, horseback riding or diving through its incredible waters. But, in addition, you will find a surprising number of trails to explore its natural surroundings.
Here is a list of the best hiking routes in Costa Rica:
1. Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is an excellent place to enjoy Costa Rican nature in all its splendor. Although it is only seven square kilometers in size, it offers hikers the opportunity to access an impressive variety of landscapes.
On a walk through the park you will see dense rainforests, rocky shores, fine white sand beaches and spectacular coral reefs. You can also observe different species of wildlife such as monkeys, tropical birds and even sloths.
The most recommended route is the main circuit. It has an area of approximately three kilometers and covers the places of greatest tourist interest. It is an easy and pleasant walk ideal for less experienced families.
2. La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall was formed by an ancient lava flow that came from the Cerro Chato volcano, which is currently inactive. To get to the viewpoint of the waterfall and admire it from the heights, you have to climb more than 500 steps, but it will be worth it, since from there you will get an incredible panoramic view.
At the base of the waterfall there are natural pools formed by the waters of the Fortuna River that are ideal for bathing. It is located in a biological reserve with more than 200 hectares, where the humid tropical forest predominates. The environment is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park.
3. Natural Reserve of Cabo Blanco
Touring the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve requires being in good physical shape, or at least being used to taking long walks. At a leisurely pace, the tour can last more or less five hours. The path involves entering the jungle. Through it, you will see how the dry forest intermingles with the humid one, which makes gigantic ancient trees with dry bushes come together in the same place.
The walk will be worth it because at the end of it you will find a spectacular passage. Cabo Blanco beach is a beautiful and lonely corner of the Nicoya Peninsula and, also, home to a large number of pelicans.
4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Costa Rica is home to this tropical cloud forest, one of the last remaining in the world. This reserve is located at an intermediate point between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, offering its visitors a privileged location that is different from anything else that can be visited in the country.
There are almost a dozen trails to choose from within Monteverde, but one of the best known is the Cloud Forest Trail. Although it is barely two kilometers long, the road becomes hard at some points, since it can reach 60 meters of unevenness.
5. Catarata Del Toro
The Toro Waterfall is one of the most impressive in Costa Rica. Its waters fall into an ancient volcanic crater and it is surrounded by rock formations and impressive fauna and flora. The excursion is simple and suitable for all ages, although it involves the ascent and descent of a good number of steps.
From the heights you will admire the waterfall and the beauty of the environment that surrounds it and, from below, you will find yourself on the edge of the volcanic crater that has become a small lake.
6. Cahuita National Park
The vast majority of travelers, who choose to go hiking in Costa Rica, usually do it through the Monteverde cloud forest or through the volcanoes. But, the Cahuita National Park offers tourists a different environment: the beach.
In the southern Caribbean, Cahuita combines forests, beaches and the ocean. The park has 23,290 marine and more than 1,000 terrestrial hectares. In the territory there is a set of ecological systems that, due to their diversity, are considered the most developed in the country.
The trails through the Cahuita National Park are well signposted and easy to do. The environment in which they develop is quiet and one of the essential places to visit in Costa Rica.
7. Rio Celeste
Río Celeste is one of the most spectacular in Costa Rica. It is located in the extreme north of the country and its light blue color, as its name suggests, is due to sulfur mixed with calcium carbonate.
Located within the Tenorio Volcano National Park, the walk to go through it lasts approximately one hour. In addition to seeing the river, the excursion can also include a bath in its hot springs and the spectacular river waterfall.
8. Laguna de Hule
About eleven kilometers from the Poás Volcano, there are three beautiful lagoons. The best known and the largest is that of Rubber. The entire area that includes the Laguna de Hule and its exuberant vegetation is called Bosque Alegre.
This is probably one of the most beautiful in the country and also an impressive wildlife refuge. The path that runs along it has an extension of about seven kilometers through tropical forest, but the path is paved so it is very comfortable to walk.
9. Arenal Hanging Bridges Trail
Arenal National Park is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is a must see for anyone visiting Costa Rica. The park has miles of walking trails, but one of the best known is the Hanging Bridges.
It is a very popular activity among tourists, as it allows them to see the jungle from a perspective that they have not experienced before. Sixteen bridges, six of them suspended in the air, span the forest and jungle. You will be able to see a great variety of unique birds and insects while enjoying the sounds of the jungle.
10. Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. Inside, impressive wildlife, plants and landscapes gather, all within the different ecosystems that the park brings together.
Each of the trails within Corcovado require guidance. All are excellent for walking, since they do not present major difficulties. The most famous path is the one that runs between Leona and Sirena. Hopefully you will see jaguars, monkeys, wild boars, tapirs or anteaters.