Take your Costa Rica adventures out onto the water with ocean sports like stand up paddle boarding, learning how to surf or plunging into adrenaline-pumping river rafting.
With its close proximity to San Jose and waves that cater to both beginners and seasoned pros, Jaco Beach draws in surfers from all over the world. Experienced wave-riders paddle out during high tide when you can expect consistent head-high waves in the warm Pacific waters. Low tide is better for beginners, with smaller waves in calmer waters. Rising-mid to high tide is best for most, with chest-high waves and steady swells from the southwest and northwest on the beach’s multiple breaks.
If you’re not a seasoned surfer, getting a guide is advisable. Local surf instructors understand the intricacies of the waters and the sometimes strong undertow which merits caution during big swells.
While Costa Rica is famed for beaches and rainforests, its rivers offer equally spectacular adventures in nature. The Savegre River is considered one of the most scenic stretches of water in the country, snaking through a lush landscape with tropical fauna, dramatic cascades and exotic wildlife with egrets, ospreys and colorful toucans swooping overhead. The river’s Class II and III rapids are perfect for beginners to intermediate rafters. A run down the Savegre mixes semi-wild rides with tranquil stretches that give you time to take in the scenery.
For more-advanced rafters, the Naranjo River awaits. Dropping steeply down from the mountains that tower over Quepos, the river has Class IV rapids that twist and plummet through a spectacular tropical gorge. Float past thick jungle terrain, flat farmland and rocky outcrops on your high-octane journey to the sea. While you need not be a professional, a certain degree of skill and physical fitness is needed to take the trip.
A sport that’s become increasingly popular, many are still unaware of stand-up paddle boarding (or SUP). It’s exactly as it sounds — think an oversized surfboard that you stand on with a big paddle. And it’s not exactly new, as Polynesians have been using it as a mode of transport for centuries. More simple to learn and easier than surfing, SUP is the perfect entry-level ocean sport to enjoy on your trip to Costa Rica. Moderately work out the muscles of your entire body as you navigate gentle waves and calm ocean waters close to shore.
Almost any ocean outing you wish can be tailored to a kayak trip. Paddle off into Pacific waters to enjoy a day of snorkeling in the calm shallows of unspoiled beaches. Head inland to walk nature trails with howler monkeys swinging through the trees and exotic parrots nesting high the in the lush canopy. Take some fishing gear and cast off right from your kayak looking to hook snappers, bonita or roosterfish that populate the waters of the Gulf of Nicoya.
Offering a more-stable glide through the water, outrigger canoes are perfect for far-reaching exploration of shores with dramatic cliffs, scenic beaches and breathtakingly beautiful tropical forests. However you choose, Costa Rica’s beaches and rivers are perfect for enjoying action water sports and embarking on ocean adventures.