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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

Costa Rica is justifiably famous for its rain and cloud forests. Less well-known are the country’s tropical dry forests.

This 147,000-hectare UNESCO World Heritage-listed biome preserves the largest stretch in Central America, through a series of public and private protected areas.

The landscapes – from volcanoes to empty beaches and mangrove swamps – are breathtaking and the area is home to spectacular rare animals including the endangered Central American tapir, jaguar and ocelot. Critically endangered leatherback turtles nest on the beaches.

Light adventure includes hiking, canyoning and zip lines.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The Conservation Area is composed of a mosaic of National Parks and reserves. These include Santa Rosa, Guanacaste and Rincon de la Vieja, Horizontes Experimental Forest and the Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Access roads into many of these areas require a four-wheel drive and many of the roads are difficult to navigate even with GPS. The best way to visit any of these areas is on an organised tour with a wildlife guide.

Rincon de la Vieja National Park – which spreads over and around an active volcano – is the easiest of the areas to visit on a range of light adventure tours which usually take in hot springs, waterfall swims and zip lines.

When to do it

Late November through to mid-April is the dry season. Come at the beginning of the season for greener foliage; in March and April the forest is very dry and yellow.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Mega Combo / All Day Adventure

Liberia

Mega Combo / All Day Adventure
Enjoy  many different activities in one day for one price this place called Buena Vista is located in the slope of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano where we doing zip line canopy tour , waterslide of 250 mtrs long into the pool , haging bridge , costa rican lunch style buffet after food horsebackrinding or tractor ride by the forest , waterfall where you can just take pictures or enjoy this magic place , natural sauna , volcanic mud bath , mineral hot spring water and cooking class with old ladies if you want to practice how they make and cook even you can taste too and the way back to the hotel if guests want to stop in Liberia City for buy some souvenirs or just watch the city is not problem we can do it here you can finding better deal for eveything because is where the local people going for shopping the prices are much better compared with the tourist shops .

Price: $220

Min age: 5

Rating 4.86 / 5 [107 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Guanacaste Snorkel and Sunset Cruise

Playa Hermosa

Guanacaste Snorkel and Sunset Cruise
Snorkeling sunset catamaran sailing cruise along the Pacific Coast watching for humpback whales, orcas, dolphins, turtles and flying fish. Snorkel in secluded bay with included snorkeling equipment. Open bar is included for the duration of tour, and the crew will prepare a light meal and delicious snacks. Pull anchor, raise the sails and watch the spectacular pacific sunset sky explode into a multitude of colors. The tour ends as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Price: $120

Min age: 0

Rating 4.68 / 5 [47 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Beach and Mountain Buggy Tour in Guanacaste

Playa Hermosa

Beach and Mountain Buggy Tour in Guanacaste
Get your adrenalin pumping on this adventure tour. Ride through the back trails in your very own side by side. This tour  offers something for everyone, breathtaking views, wildlife, unspoiled nature, rugged terrain and local culture. Spend the day plunging through rivers, cutting through mountain trails and across rugged terrain. Tour includes stops for swimming, take photos. All skill levels are welcome, and no prior buggy riding experience is necessary.  

Price: $154

Min age: 0

Rating 4.81 / 5 [33 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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ATV Tour from Guanacaste

Playa Hermosa

ATV Tour from Guanacaste
Ride your own ATV or share an ATV with a friend and ride together through the dry forest canopy. Guides will fit you with helmets, give safety instructions and accompany you along the tour. Experience Costa Rica in a unique way as your guide points out animals, flora and fauna along the way. 

Price: $65

Min age: 8

Rating 4.6 / 5 [20 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste

San Antonio De Belen

9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste
Experience Costa Rica's northwestern highlights on this 9-day tour, including Arenal Volcano National Park, Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Super Combo in Guanacaste. Explore the natural wonders of land and water, where approximately six percent of the world’s most bio-diverse species reside. Relax in a thermal hot spring as you watch the active Arenal Volcano, spot wildlife on a cruise through a tropical rainforest, explore the forest canopy on a Sky Walk and ride on horseback along mountain trails – with an extra day to relax at your leisure or continue your adventure with multiple options.

Price: $1,680

Min age: 3

Rating 4.55 / 5 [9 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Rainforests, powdery beaches, white-water rivers and towering volcanoes: this relaxed Central American country offers exceptional wilderness adventures in stunning landscapes.