Guanacaste
Safaris & Wildlife Activities

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Our most recommended Guanacaste Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

1. Playa Minas: Sea Turtle Watching Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 6:00 PM and driven to Playa Minas or a nearby beach that is home to nesting turtles. Playa Minas constitutes one of Costa Rica's most important nesting sites. Between October and March, large numbers of turtles migrate to this region. It remains one of the last untouched beaches in the world, giving it a remote paradise feel. There will be a 700-meter hike in the dark with infrared flashlights provided by your tour guide. Once arriving at the beach, the guide will educate the group on how to respectfully navigate the area. You will see the black turtles, and if you are lucky, the rare leatherback turtles. The leatherback sea turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world, weighing over 1,200 pounds and averaging almost 8 feet in length.

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Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour

2. Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour

Start the tour with a pickup head to the location. Receive safety instructions upon arrival and follow the tour guide through pastures and rivers, up mountains with breath-taking views of the valley, pristine beaches, the Pacific Ocean, and take in the natural beauty and wildlife. Enjoy 3 gorgeous beaches and maybe make a quick stop to take it all in and make incredible photos. See howler monkeys, iguanas, and other exotic animals of the tropical dry forest, natural to the environment you will be visiting. Improve your experience and choose the option that includes a snorkeling activity at Playa Conchal before heading back to the hotel.

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Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

3. Palo Verde National Park: Half-Day Jungle River Cruise

Palo Verde National Park encompasses one of the most important wetlands of Central America. You’ll have the opportunity to explore its varied habitats on this half-day jungle river cruise. Throughout the year resident and migrant water birds sharing the mangroves and marshlands with white- tailed deer, coyote, white-nosed coatimundi, howlers, white-faced monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. Wildlife is plentiful here, from tiny hummingbirds feeding at heliconia flowers, to the huge and flamboyant Roseate Spoonbills. Enjoy the countryside as it changes from savannah to plantations and small villages as you make your way to the pontoon boat, which is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to explore Palo Verde. You’ll travel by boat along the Tempisque River, which borders the National Park. You’ll pass through a wide variety of habitats, including pastureland and mangroves. Observe huge crocodiles resting in the sunshine and monkeys moving rapidly through the trees. You’ll see diverse bird species such as the Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, the rare and endangered Jabiru, Blue Heron, White Ibis, and more.

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Tamarindo: Celeste River and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

4. Tamarindo: Celeste River and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Embark on an adventure and discover sloths, beautiful waterfalls, and a true bluewater river. Start off with a hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park and discover the rainforest in a 2 hour easy to moderate hike.  Marvel at the Celeste River, one of the most popular rivers in Costa Rica, well known around the world by its particular natural color from light blue to turquoise.  In addition to the stunning beauty of the water, the river also has several thermal hot springs and boiling mud pots. Plumes of volcanic gases are expelled and in some places give the appearance of boiling water. Visit a 98-foot waterfall and take in the stunning atmosphere.  After your swim, a small hike leads you to the place where sloths are at a very low height in their natural environment, as well as toucans and red-eyed leaf frogs.  Enjoy a country-style Costa Rican lunch with salad, rice, beans, and options for meat, chicken, or fish. On your way to one of Costa Rica's most beautiful waterfalls, the Llanos de Cortez waterfalls with a 65-foot height and 49-foot width drop into a tranquil pond with a white sandy beach, that's perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

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Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

5. Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

Discover Central America’s second largest lake on this 2-hour kayaking tour of Lake Arenal. This trip gives you the best views of the Arenal Volcano and you’ll get to see the fantastic Costa Rican wildlife from your boat. Observe different species of birds such as flycatchers, kingfishers, great blue herons, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and toucans. This tour is ideal for any amateur or experienced birdwatcher. You may also hear howler monkeys calling from the rainforest. The rainforest ecosystem that encompasses Lake Arenal is hugely diverse. There are over 2000 species of plants, 300 types of bird, and 120 mammals including jaguars, tapirs, and quetzals. This tour is ideal for those who wish to see Costa Rica’s diverse flora and fauna.

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From La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

6. From La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

Experience the best way to explore beautiful Lake Arenal — go stand-up paddling and get amazing views of the colossal Arenal Volcano. You'll feel like you're walking on water as you cross the lake from one side to the next. This activity is perfect for all adventure enthusiasts, including beginning paddlers. Venture to Costa Rica's largest lake and hop on board a private boat. Meet your friendly captain while your adventurous guide provides you with all the necessary gear. As you embark on your journey out to the middle of Lake Arenal, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of Arenal Volcano. When you reach the middle of the lake, your guide will give you plenty of safety instructions and plunk your board into the water. Paddle out on your knees, and when you are ready, stand up, find your balance, and begin crossing the calm waters. About halfway through the tour, make a short stop on an island for amazing scenic views.  After 2.5 hours of paddling, finish your day at the new Pedal and Paddle Adventure store located in the small town of El Foforo on the other side of the lake. Change into dry clothes and fuel up with a refreshing and well-deserved snack before heading back to your hotel.

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Liberia: Rincón de la Vieja Bird-Watching Tour

7. Liberia: Rincón de la Vieja Bird-Watching Tour

After being collected from your accommodation, you will journey towards Hacienda Guachipelin, where your experience will take place. There you will walk around the Hacienda in search of unique bird species with an expert bilingual guide. Hacienda Guachipelin is replete with bird watching opportunities due to its diverse ecosystems. Over 300 different species have been identified in these areas, including the spectacled owl, the turquoise-browed motmot, the emerald toucanet, and the Montezuma Oropendola. Throughout this ecosystem fly colorful, sonorous, intrepid birds, all of which you can take fun in seeking whilst in the park. The dry forest is full of wildlife and unique species, creating the perfect place to enjoy wildlife and bird watching in the gardens rich in native trees and exotic flowers. At the conclusion of your enjoyable bird-watching experience, you will be transferred back to your point of origin.

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Tamarindo: Palo Verde National Park Tour

8. Tamarindo: Palo Verde National Park Tour

Discover the beauty of one of the most important ecosystems in Costa Rica on a guided tour of the Palo Verde National Park. Enjoy a boat ride along the wetlands of the Tempisque River and visit a small village where you can find traditional pottery art. Step inside Palo Verde, which consists of a dry forest, wetland, and mangrove swamp, and is populated with big iguanas, crocodiles, and large groups of howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys.  See the rare jabiru, the largest bird in Central America, white ibis, parrots, and blue herons. With over 300 bird species, the park is considered one of Costa Rica's top bird sanctuaries.  Explore the park from a different perspective as you cruise on a boat during a 2-hour ride along the wetlands of the Tempisque River. Enjoy a delicious, healthy, and traditional lunch consisting of rice, beans, salad, and a choice of meat, chicken, or fish. Sip on on rich Costa Rican coffee after lunch. At the end of the tour, visit a small village where you can find and buy typical handcrafted pottery, supporting the local artisans.

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Guanacaste Full-Day Jungle Boat Cruise and Coffee Tour

9. Guanacaste Full-Day Jungle Boat Cruise and Coffee Tour

For wildlife travelers, Costa Rica is a veritable playground and this 8-hour scenic tour lets you play in one of the country’s great landscapes. Escape the hustle and bustle of modern-day life and explore lands that provide shelter to a vast array of wildlife. Part of the Palo Verde National Park, encompassing one of the most important wetlands of Central America, throughout the year the rivers, mangroves, and marshland see resident and migrant water birds join white-tailed deer, coyotes, white-nosed coatis, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, and more. As you cruise, look out for iguanas and crocodiles. Your will see hundreds of birds take flights or rest in trees as you float slowly along the Tempisque River. After lunch, visit the Beneficio Matambú home of Diriá Coffee, and learn the different processes of coffee production, from the bean to the cup, as well as what happens to the solid and liquid wastes. Naturally, your day would not be complete without a taste of some exquisite Diriá coffee.

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Liberia: Private Bird Watching Tour

10. Liberia: Private Bird Watching Tour

Costa Rica is a colorful country, especially when surrounding its birds. With over 900 species of birds, Costa Rica is one of the world’s top destinations for birding. Throughout this private tour, you will explore the Rincon de la Vieja National Park to find bird species with the company of an experienced bilingual guide. The Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is replete with bird watching opportunities due to its diverse ecosystems. Over 300 different species have been identified in the area, including the spectacled owl, the curassow, and the Montezuma oropendola. In the ecosystem fly colorful, sonorous, intrepid birds, who are the owners of this exceptional environment. The dry forest is full of wildlife and unique species, making it the perfect place to enjoy wildlife and bird watching. A the conclusion of your experience, you will be returned to your tour starting point.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Guanacaste

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What people are saying about Guanacaste

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 14 reviews

Interesting and informative guide through our drive and the boat trip. Saw many "hidden" animals due to good boatman and guide. Guide "called" to howler and capuchin monkeys and encouraged them to come closer for perfect views. One curious capuchin actually came on the roof of our boat to checkout the tourists!

Despite a slight delay with the pickup and start or the tour, afterwards it was all just great. We went to two nice beaches along the way (Puerto Viejo and another equally beautiful one). Keep in mind that you'll swallow a lot of dust, especially if you'll be driving among the last in the group.

Everything about the tour was interesting, from the drive to the river to the journey up and down river. we saw plenty of wildlife and our guide Jose was friendly and informative. Highly recommended.

It was a beautiful ride and scenery. I highly recommend it. The guide (Jose) and the driver were very knowledgeable about all the animals we saw.

Wonderful day on Arenal lake trying the stand up paddling. Very nice guides.