Hiking in Costa Rica: An Adventure Through Lush Forests, Active Volcanoes, and Waterfalls

Get Ready to Trek: Hiking in Costa Rica

Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of hiking in Costa Rica, my fellow adventurer! Are you ready for a tropical paradise filled with lush forests, active volcanoes, and cascading waterfalls? Of course you are! But before you grab your backpack and lace up your boots, let’s take a closer look at what you need to know to make the most of your Costa Rica hiking adventure.

What You Need to Know Before You Go

First things first, Costa Rica has a rainy season which can make some hiking trails muddy, slippery, or downright impassable. Unless you’re into hiking in a swamp, plan your trip during the dry season, which runs from December to April. And, while you’re planning, research your trails and check for permits or other restrictions that may apply.

When it comes to gear, pack sturdy hiking boots, a rain jacket, and a backpack with plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray. And don’t forget to bring a map or GPS device, especially if you plan to explore remote areas where cell service may be spotty.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Hike

Now that you’re prepared, let’s talk about how to stay safe and have fun on the trails. First and foremost, be aware of the local wildlife. Costa Rica is home to howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, and even jaguars in some areas. While they’re beautiful to look at, it’s important to keep a safe distance and avoid feeding or touching them.

It’s also essential to stay on marked trails to protect the fragile ecosystems in Costa Rica. Cutting switchbacks or making new paths can damage the environment and spoil the experience for others. And speaking of others, consider hiring a guide to help you navigate the trails, provide insights into the local flora and fauna, and ensure your safety on the trail.

The Best Hikes in Costa Rica

Now for the fun part: the best hikes in Costa Rica. Here are some of our favorites:

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

This park offers a 5-mile loop trail that takes you through forests, past hot springs and waterfalls, and up to the rim of a volcano crater. You’ll also have the chance to see howler monkeys, coatis, and iguanas along the way.

Cerro Chirripó

For experienced hikers seeking a challenge, Cerro Chirripó is the highest peak in Costa Rica, with an elevation of 12,533 feet. The trek to the summit is steep and unpredictable, but the views are worth it.

Nauyaca Waterfalls

This picturesque hike near Dominical offers stunning views of waterfalls and lush forests. You’ll encounter several waterfalls, including the 200-foot Nauyaca waterfall.

Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park

This hike takes you through a stunning blue river that gets its color from a chemical reaction between the minerals in the water and the volcanic soil. You’ll also encounter waterfalls and hot springs along the way.

Corcovado National Park

For a truly remote and wild hiking experience, Corcovado National Park is the place to be. You’ll have the chance to see rare wildlife such as jaguars, tapirs, and scarlet macaws in this biologically diverse area.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

This reserve offers several hiking trails through cloud forests and suspension bridges with stunning views of the canopy. You’ll also have the chance to see rare wildlife such as quetzals and toucans.


Now that you’re equipped with all the necessary information and inspiration, it’s time to hit the trails! Remember to plan ahead, wear appropriate gear, be mindful of wildlife, stay on marked trails, and consider hiring a guide. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse landscapes, hiking in Costa Rica is truly an adventure like no other. So, pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready to experience the thrill of exploring this tropical paradise on foot!


Chifrijo Jones is a traveler, writer, and entrepreneur. He first visited Costa Rica more than ten years ago for a Spanish immersion school. He made friends and developed a strong affinity for the country. Today, he splits his time between the United States and Costa Rica, traveling the country and discovering new places.

Recent Posts