Waterfalls, horses, a wild ride above the jungle, SUP along the coast… Our favorite local tours and adventures are just another reason to fall in love with the magic of Costa Rica. Add an exciting excursion (or two, or three) to your surf retreat and go deep into the “pura vida” way of happily living life to the fullest. Our surf camp hostess, Sara, is here to arrange tours just for you and even book custom excursions for the extra adventurous, all with the most trusted operators in the area. Here are our top picks!
Mal Pais Zip-line/Canopy Tour
Not your average zip-line tour, Canopy Malpais, – this excursion goes above and beyond, hosted by fun-loving local guides, who make it one of our most popular adventures. The two-hour tour through the jungle is nearly a mile long, with 11 platforms set high in the trees bordering the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. It’s not uncommon to see howler monkeys swinging through the jungle as you make your way through the course, and many platforms offer stunning ocean views. A 10-minute taxi ride from our retreat hotel takes you there, and the tour begins with safety instruction and a practice run. If you’re inspired to get wild, the guides can help you safely zip-line upside down, spinning around, or even outstretched like Super Woman. Aspiring surfers will enjoy a fun little surf surprise as well. After the tour, check out the optional photo package and stop by Mariolita’s Café next door for a fruit smoothie. The taxi will return you to the hotel just in time for sunset. Starts at $60, transportation included. Photos extra.
Sunset Horseback Ride
Gallop down an empty beach at sunset and experience the pure, wild freedom of Costa Rica. You can also take it slow, if you like – all levels of experience are welcome. This tour is a truly special opportunity to connect with nature and witness the quite village life of Mal Pais, a local community still mostly untouched by tourism. You’ll follow deserted beaches and hidden jungle trails up to a lookout point for a stunning ocean view, and then walk, trot or gallop down the beach at sunset. Your guide will keep an eye out for monkeys and other wildlife to point out during the ride. Have you ever dreamed of being a princess or the star of a romance novel? This is the tour for you. Our guests rave about the experience. The stables are just a 5-minute taxi ride from the hotel, and the kind, reputable tour operator takes excellent care of his horses. Starts at $55.
Visitors to the Mal Pais and Santa Teresa will quickly notice that the vehicle of choice here is the ATV (all-terrain vehicle, also called a 4-wheeler). It’s playful, it’s scenic, and it’s a classic Costa Rica experience. Our dirt roads and jungle trails are ideal for off road vehicles, and there’s a lot to see within a 45-minute drive in any direction. You can rent an ATV to independently explore the area for 8 or 24 hours (or more), and it will be delivered directly to the hotel. The rental company will teach you to safely operate the vehicle (helmets are included), and Sara will give you the best local tips for what not to miss on your adventure. Starts at $50/8 hours, $70/24 hours.
The classic “road trip” from Santa Teresa to Montezuma is a feast for the senses – back roads jungle trails, river crossings, mountaintop ocean views, wildlife, abandoned beaches, and a hike to the most famous waterfall in the area, where you can swim and sunbathe. You can do this tour by taxi or ATV, depending on how dusty you want to get on the dirt road journey. The direct drive is about 40 minutes to Montezuma, but sightseeing stops are recommended along the way. One of our favorites is the massive banyan tree (or strangler fig) that’s one of the biggest, oldest and most photographed trees in Costa Rica. Stop and give it a hug! You’ll also pass picture-perfect deserted beaches and some of our favorite secret surf spots. A pretty river hike takes you to the Montezuma waterfalls where you can swim or jump from different cliffs to the deep water below. Refresh and recharge with a cold Imperial at a nearby beachside bar. This adventure offers many options and prices vary accordingly – depending on your preferences, you can take a taxi or ATV, with or without a guide. Starts at $50, ask Sara for more information.
Stand-up Paddle Board (SUP)
Witness the dramatic jungle coastline from your stand-up paddleboard as you glide along the ocean near the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. This tour is led by one of our fabulous surf instructors or a knowledgeable local guide, and is dependent on the tides and ocean conditions (guides will recommend the best times of day). All levels are welcome, and SUP beginners will receive plenty of instruction and guidance along the way. Yogis can try a downward dog while floating above the cool, blue water and nature lovers may be treated a visit from turtles and dolphins, depending on the season. River tours that promise an even greater chance to see birds, monkeys, and other wildlife may also be available during our green season months (June-August). Starts at $60.
Fish the Nicoya Peninsula’s unspoiled waters with the local fishermen! Depending on the season, past clients have caught mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, grouper, and more, seen wildlife such as whales, sea turtles and dolphins. On this 3-hour tour, your guide will even take you to an underwater volcano, where you can hop off the boat and swim in the warm, bubbly waters. You’ll also have the chance to snorkel at a secret beach and enjoy beautiful views of Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. Choose to toss back what you catch or keep some fish for a BBQ dinner. The local fishermen will clean and filet your fresh catch when you arrive back on land. If you’re lucky enough to reel in a yellowfin tuna, you’ll be treated right there to some of the best tuna sashimi of your life! Starts at $250 for 6-person boat, 3-hour tour.