Costa Rica’s jungle, cloud forests, and waterfalls comprise a veritable natural playground for adrenaline junkies. But sometimes adventure can compromise local environment and wildlife. Eco-conscious thrill-seekers can take advantage of Costa Rica’s dedicated eco-adventure parks, which combine conservation efforts and education with exhilarating outdoor activities. Here are our favorites.
Diamante Eco Adventure Park
Located on the north coast of Guanacaste, about an hour from Liberia or Tamarindo, the Diamante Eco Adventure Park has a botanical garden, a wildlife rescue reserve, and miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. There’s also horseback riding; the country’s longest ocean-view zipline, at almost a mile (1.6 kilometers) long; and water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing.
Turubari Tropical Park
Close to the Carara National Park and the Rio Grande de Tarcoles, Turubari Tropical Park serves up 650 acres (263 hectares) of nature walks, working plantations, and farmlands that are doable as a day tour from Puntarenas. Immerse yourself in rural life with a tour of the farmlands; enjoy a hike or horseback ride through the orchid gardens; soar through the treetops on a zipline; or take in the scenery on an aerial tram ride over the Tarcoles River.
Cinco Ceibas Rainforest Reserve and Adventure Park
It’s possible to visit Cinco Ceibas Rainforest Reserve, located in Sarapiqui, on a full-day tour from San Jose or La Fortuna. There’s plenty to keep you occupied all day long, but highlights include spotting green macaws and howler monkeys along Central America’s longest boardwalk; riding around the reserve in a carreta (a traditional two-wheeled, oxen-pulled cart); or paddling down the Rio Cuarto on a guided kayak tour.
Selvatura Adventure Park
At the heart of the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest, Selvatura Park is home to one of Costa Rica’s most impressive canopy tours. Treetop walkways, high-speed ziplines, a Tarzan swing, and 18 viewing platforms make for an unforgettable experience. Plus expert guides are on hand to explain more about the cloud forest’s unique ecosystem and point out wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and birds along the way.