20 Best Guanacaste Day Tours & Activities

Nearly every activity is possible from Guanacaste in the north-west region of Costa Rica. Coastal exploration and water sports of every sort are available along the long and varied stretch of beaches. An array of national parks and waterfalls can be found within its borders. Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano and its beloved natural hot springs are only a day tour away.

Within this region is the popular beach town of Tamarindo, a hot spot for surfers, and the exclusive Papagayo Peninsula, a newly developed, secluded leg of land less than an hour from Liberia International Airport that features some of the region’s top resorts and a luxurious 18-hole ocean front golf course.

Morning or Sunset Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Your tour begins aboard a luxury catamaran at the Flamingo Marina. The crew will set sail (wind permitting) and navigate roughly 5 miles to some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful isolated beaches and snorkeling locations. Your guide will point out a variety of marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, and whales during their respective seasons, puffer fish, and more. Fishing while en route is also available from the catamaran. The crew will bring you to a tranquil bay to snorkel, kayak, and explore a deserted white sand beach while the on-board chef prepares a delicious buffet lunch.

  • Age Minimum: 6 years old
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, equipment, meal and select beverages.
  • What to Bring: sunscreen, sun hat
  • Tour Type: adventure, family, nature

Snorkeling Tour of Catalina Islands

Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

The morning begins with a boat ride out to the Catalina Islands, a group of volcanic rock formations in the Pacific Ocean beyond Flamingo Bay. Explore the underwater ecosystems of two different locations. Your guide will float along with you as you look for the marine species commonly found here such as seahorses, turtles, angelfish, octopus, eels, eagle rays, and white tip reef sharks.

  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty Level: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, equipment, snack
  • What to Bring: towel, sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses
  • Notes: operates Monday- Saturday, not available from Papagayo
  • Tour Type: adventure, nature

Diving Tour of Catalina Islands

15 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Catalina Islands is a group of volcanic rock formations beyond Flamingo Bay in the Pacific Ocean. Your excursion will begin with a safety briefing. Based on daily conditions and weather, your guide will choose 2 diving sites for 60 ft. max dives, or 40 ft. if certification is restricted. White tip reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, and giant manta rays are just some of the marine animals that inhabit these waters. A diving refresher course is available for divers who have not been out in a while or who do not have very much experience.

  • Minimum Age: 10 years old
  • Notes: requires SCUBA certification, 2 tank dive
  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance, snack
  • What to Bring: towel, sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses
  • Tour Type: adventure, active, nature

Heliconias Hanging Bridges Hike

15 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Between the Miravalles Volcano and the Tenorio Volcano lies the Heliconias Private Reserve. A quiet and peaceful ambiance provides the backdrop to exploring the 73 hectares of rainforest on this private reserve – it is truly a place to experience both ecotourism and nature at their finest. Take a guided tour over suspension bridges to see what wildlife you can spot from the unique perspective of the rainforest canopy. Your guide will be happy to teach you about the rainforest, and point out a variety of birds, plants, and animals.

  • Minimum Age: 8 years old
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance, and lunch
  • What to Bring: sunscreen, hat, bug spray, camera
  • Tour Type: adventure, active

Safari Float on Corobici River

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Today you will float down the Corobici or Tenorio River (depending on water levels) for two hours on a raft boat. This special ecosystem, known as the Tropical Dry Gallery Forest, is packed with giant fig trees, monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, and countless birds. This tranquil tour is a great way to spot wildlife along the riverbed and through the treetops.

  • Minimum Age: 5 years old
  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance, and lunch
  • What to Bring: swimming suit, binoculars, camera, sunblock, change of clothes, insect repellent, strap sandals, sunglasses, hat
  • Tour Type: family, nature

Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary Kayaking

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

This kayaking adventure in single or double kayaks will introduce you to the diverse species of fauna and flora of the Tamarindo mangrove and estuary ecosystem. It’s much easier to get up close to animals without disturbing them on a kayak than a boat. After an hour of paddling, you’ll take a snack break on the side of the river before continuing onward. After the tour, you will return to your hotel.

  • Minimum Age: 8 years old
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: transportation in A/C bus, single or double kayaks, water bottle, fruit juice, naturalist guide, and equipment
  • What to Bring: sunscreen, strap sandals, light comfortable clothes, hat, sunglasses, bug spray
  • Tour Type: family, nature

Santa Rosa National Park Hike & Liberia City Tour

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Walk through and explore a dry tropical forest that contains 2% of the world’s biodiversity. The trails are great for spotting monkeys, deer, and birds. After the hike, head to Liberia City where you can walk around the beautiful and historic city, which has been called “La Ciudad Blanca” because of the white dirt roads, white adobe houses, and the white clothes of people trying to avoid the heat. A guide will take you to some of the city’s most historic places. You’ll have the chance to do a bit of souvenir shopping before returning to your hotel for overnight.

  • Minimum Age: 7 years old
  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: transportation in A/C bus, naturalist guide, entrance, water bottle, and lunch at Liberia
  • What to Bring: camera, light comfortable clothing, hiking or running shoes, sunscreen, spending money, hat
  • Tour Type: cultural, family, nature

Rincón de la Vieja National Park Hike

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

This is a great excursion for the whole family, and one of the best places in Costa Rica for hiking! The trails at Rincon de la Vieja National Park bring you up close to boiling mud pools and fumaroles – remnants of volcanic activity. You’ll see sulfur springs, craters, and the abundant steam vents at Las Pilas along with a variety of exotic flora and fauna. After your hike, stop off and refuel in Liberia City for lunch. Bring some extra cash for shopping!

  • Minimum Age: 7 years old
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transportation in A/C bus, naturalist guide, entrance, fruit juice, water bottle, and lunch
  • What to Bring: comfortable clothing to get wet in, hiking or running shoes, rain poncho, binoculars, camera, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses and hat
  • Tour Type: family, nature

Palo Verde National Park & Guaitil Pottery Tour

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Discovering the birds of Palo Verde National Park with Jacamar

The Tempisque River forms a natural hydrological system within Palo Verde National Park that creates an important wetland ecosystem. The wetlands of Palo Verde are a great destination for wildlife and bird watching. Look for crocodiles, roseate spoonbills, and other animals as you explore the Tempisque River by boat. After lunch, head to the famous artisan village of Guaitil, learn about the Chorotega Indians, and observe as artists make pottery that represents their Pre-Columbian heritage.

  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transportation with A/C, park entrance, water bottle, naturalist guide, and lunch
  • What to Bring: closed shoes, or sandals, binoculars, camera, sunscreen, bug repellent, sunglasses, hat, some money
  • Tour Type: cultural, family, nature

Canopy Zip Line on Dry Forest

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

What better way to enjoy the tropical dry forest of Guanacaste than gliding through it? Feel like the birds do when they fly over this beautiful environment, or like the monkeys when they swing off tree branches. Several cables will take you through the trees, from platform to platform, so you can enjoy the forest from a different perspective.

  • Minimum Age: 5 years old
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, entrance
  • What to Bring: camera, sunscreen, strap sandals or running shoes
  • Tour Type: adventure

Tenorio River White Water Rafting: Class III – IV

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

This beautiful river rises up at the Tenorio Volcano in the Guanacaste mountain range. The pure and white water makes it one of the best in the area for rafting. Combine almost 20 km of rapids with the stunning landscapes around the tropical forest. No experience is required for this tour, but good effort is a must! This challenging river will leave you hungry, so at the end enjoy a delicious lunch.

  • Minimum Age: over 12 years old
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: water bottle, naturalist guide, transportation in A/C bus, equipment, and lunch
  • What to Bring: towel, strap sandals or water shoes, light comfortable clothing, sunscreen, bug spray, changes of clothes
  • Tour Type: adventure, family

Guanacaste Horseback Riding

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

One of the best ways to experience the tropical dry forest of Guanacaste is on horseback. The perfectly gentle and safe horses will carry you for two and a half hours of riding, crossing a variety of forest and mountain trails as well as mountain foothills. This is a great opportunity to see wildlife.

  • Minimum Age: 7 years old
  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Includes: transfers, guide, equipment, snack
  • Tour Type: active, adventure

Liberia City & Shopping Tour

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Explore Liberia City, historically known as “La Ciudad Blanca” or the white city for the white dirt roads, white adobe homes, and the people who avoided the extreme heat by wearing all white. Walk through the city, and discover its history from your knowledgeable guide. You’ll have the opportunity to stop at various gift and souvenir shops as you explore.

  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: transfers and guide
  • What to Bring: hiking or running shoes, sun hat, camera, spending money
  • Tour Type: cultural, family

Diamante Eco Adventure & Animal Sanctuary

12 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Keel-BIlled Toucan at Diamante Animal Sanctuary

Transfer by ground to Diamante Eco Adventure Park & Animal Sanctuary. The park has a variety of family-friendly excursions including a zipline, Superman zipline, Quick Jump, Tarzan Swing, Kayaking, Botanic Garden, Stand-up Paddle Boarding, Snorkeling, Hammock Beach access, Hiking Trails, and Mountain Biking. Visit the Animal Sanctuary to see Costa Rican rainforest animals up close. The rescue animals that inhabit the sanctuary include toucans, jaguars, pumas, sloths, monkeys, and a variety of frogs and birds. Don’t miss a walk through the butterfly observatory.

  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: transfers, guide, activities, lunch
  • Tour Type: adventure, family

Monteverde Cloud Forest Experience

15 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Today you will explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest located on the Tilaran mountain range. As you are driven through the pacific lowlands of Guanacaste, you will notice the landscape gradually turn more green and hilly as you approach Selvatura Park. At the park, you will have the option of experiencing the cloud forest on a Canopy Tour, in which you will glide through the cloud forest canopy on cables and ziplines, or on Treetop Walkways, a 1.9-mile canopy trail of 8 different hanging suspension bridges. After your canopy adventure, visit the Reptiles Exhibition or the Hummingbirds Gallery. Enjoy lunch before returning back to Guanacaste.

  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: naturalist guide, transportation in A/C bus, lunch and water bottle, entrance fee for Selvatura tour
  • What to Bring: hiking or running shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, rain poncho, warm clothing, binoculars, sunglasses, hat, spending money
  • Tour Type: family, nature

Arenal Volcano & Hot Springs One Day Tour

15 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Visit the resting Arenal Volcano and its surrounding hot springs and lush rainforest vegetation. Experience the wonders of the volcano with a hike through Arenal Volcano National Park. Walk along the first lava flow and look out over Lake Arenal. Next, head to the hot springs and enjoy a delicious lunch before relaxing your mind and body in the hot springs, surrounded by rainforest and a magnificent infrastructure of pools and waterfalls. On the return to Guanacaste, dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: naturalist guide, transportation in A/C bus, entrance fee to park and hot springs, water bottle, fruit juice, lunch, dinner
  • What to Bring: swimming suit, hiking or running shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, poncho, change of clothes, binoculars, sunglasses, hat, money for lockers, sandals, camera
  • Tour Type: family, nature, relaxation

Beach Tour & Surf Lessons

17 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

Guanacaste is well-known for its variety of diverse beaches. The beach tour will first bring you to Flamingo Beach, an expansive white sand beach with big development. Then, you will visit Playa Grande, a beautiful beach where sea turtles come every year to lay their eggs. Your finish beach will be Tamarindo Beach, an ideal beach for surfing. Surfing at Tamarindo is safe and laid-back. Your personable and trained surf instructors guarantee that you will stand up and ride your first wave!

  • Age Minimum: 11 years old
  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transportation with A/C bus, equipment, water bottle, naturalist guide, ocean view lunch
  • What to Bring: swimming suit, towel, sandals, sunscreen, change of clothes
  • Tour Type: adventure, family, nature

Turtle Nesting Tour at Night (November – April):

17 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

You will start by registering at the park ranger station. A local guide will point out sea turtles as they make their way onto the beach. Take in this incredible act of mother nature as the enormous turtles begin to dig holes and lay approximately 65 – 90 eggs inside. The mother turtle then cover her eggs with sand to protect them from predators. In 60 days, baby turtles will emerge from the sand, and make their way to the ocean, bringing with them a new generation of Pacific Green Turtles.

  • Age Minimum: 6 years old
  • Duration: half day
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Includes: transfers, entrance fees, naturalist guide, water bottle
  • What to Bring: passport, warm and dark clothing, hiking shoes or sandals
  • Notes: no cameras allowed.
  • Tour Type: family, nature

Rio Celeste Rainforest Hike

18 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

A local Costa Rican legend says that when God finished painting the sky, he washed his paint brush in the Rio Celeste, or Light Blue River. Your excursion begins with a challenging trek through Tenorio Volcano National Park. Discover the abundance of flora and fauna that inhabit the park on the way to Rio Celeste Waterfall. Your naturalist guide will point out the wonders of the forest and explain the science behind Rio Celeste’s brilliant blue color.

  • Age Minimum: 8 years old
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: transfers, entrance fees, naturalist guide, lunch
  • What to Bring: camera, sunblock, hat, binoculars, spending money, hiking shoes
  • Tour Type: family, nature

Barra Honda Caves Tour

18 Best Guanacaste Tours & Activities

The main attraction of Barra Honda National Park is an intricate system of limestone caverns. Barra Honda consists mostly of 60-million-year-old coral reef. It looms 300 meters above Tempisique Valley at a height of 450 meters. A constant drip of rainwater on the calcium carbonate has created this underground ecosystem. Within the park, be on the lookout for the unique wildlife that inhabit it such as agoutis, anteaters, monkeys, and coatis.

  • Age Minimum: 10 years old
  • Duration: full day
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Includes: guide, entrance, transportation, rappelling equipment, water bottle, lunch
  • What to Bring: camera, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, hiking or running shoes
  • Notes: recommended for those in good physical shape
  • Tour Type: family, nature
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