Things to do in Costa Rica - Surfing, Fishing,
Scuba Diving, Golf & Rafting

Surfing - With more than 750 miles of coastline on the Caribbean and Pacific, year-round 80-degree Fahrenheit water, and more than 50 named breaks, Costa Rica is a surfing paradise.

Several websites offer detailed guides to surfing locations in Costa Rica. Whether you’re a beginner and you want to try surfing for the first time or you’re a skilled surfer looking for a challenge, there’s a spot for you.

Many Costa Rica surfing breaks are convenient to hotels, villas, resorts, and rental properties. So you can find lodging that fits your budget and your lifestyle, walking distance from the beach.

You do want to pay attention, if surfing is going to be an important part of your trip to Costa Rica, to the time of year you go. A spot that offers great surfing in January, like parts of the Caribbean coast, may be a lot less promising in July. The southern Pacific coast, which has some great surf in July, is only so-so in January.

Fishing - You can do deep-sea fishing on the Pacific, with easy access to fishing charters from all the coastal resorts and towns. On the northern part of the Caribbean coast you can fish for snook and tarpon in the canals and rivers. And you can do freshwater fishing in Lake Arenal and the major rivers in the north of the country.

A fishing charter operator on the Pacific coast routinely releases anywhere from a dozen to 30 or more sailfish and marlins in a day. (They let you keep the record contenders, though.) In addition to the plentiful billfish, you’re likely to catch snapper, wahoo, dorado (dolphin) roosterfish, mackerel, mahi mahi, several kinds of tuna, and more.

Deep-sea fishing in Costa Rica is rewarding year-round, with different species more prevalent seasonally, of course.

On the northern Caribbean coast, you can fish the mouths of the canals and rivers for tarpon, which averages about 80 pounds, and for snook, which is smaller but puts up a good fight. If you get out to sea farther, you can fish for Atlantic blue marlin, too. Other Atlantic and Caribbean species you might catch include wahoo, dorado, tripletail, mackerel, kingfish, barracuda, and more.

Scuba Diving - The best scuba diving is during the dry season, from February to April, when underwater visibility is at its best. Most commercial development is along the Pacific coast, with dive sites near offshore islands and in government-protected marine sanctuaries. You’ll find grouper, snapper, sharks, rays, and tropical species. Fully equipped dive shops, commercial dive boats, and instruction at all levels are readily available, but you should plan ahead and reserve early.

Along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, scuba diving is less developed commercially, but here is where you will find major coral reefs, shipwrecks, and lots of tropical fish.

Experienced divers will find lots of opportunities to explore new areas off the Costa Rica coastline. And if you are enjoying a relaxing resort vacation but have never dived before, you can sign up for a beginner’s class.

Golf - Costa Rica boasts over a dozen championship golf courses, designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones II, with more under construction.

Golf courses are modern, beautifully landscaped and maintained, with spectacular natural surroundings. With temperatures that average in the 70s year-round in many areas and only get into the 90s on the coast in the summer, these courses are comfortable to play, too. Now you can use the old Jack Benny line on your friends at home: “I shoot in the low 80s. If it gets any warmer than that, I quit.”

Greens fees for are moderate, generally in the $50 range for hotel guests (or included at no extra charge in an all-inclusive package) and under $150 for others. Generally speaking, courses are not overly crowded, and guaranteed tee times are available.

Rafting and Kayaking - Enjoy white water rafting in Costa Rica’s wild interior. Great rivers flow off volcanoes and through high gorges. You’ll see spectacular wildlife, from sloths to jaguars to capuchin monkeys. You’ll see beautiful tropical butterflies, and some of the 850 native bird species. At least you’ll see them when you’re not screaming down class 5 rapids! (But relax if you’re a novice. There are plenty of rafting excursions that provide a level of excitement you can handle, too.)

You can also enjoy Costa Rica’s rivers, as well as spectacular coastline, in a kayak. Costa Rica rafting and kayak outfitters have one-day and multiple-day packages available at all skill levels. You can access one or more of these adventures from any of Costa Rica’s resort areas.

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