A day guide to Costa Rica

Photo by Rikin Katyal

Considering that Costa Rica’s land area covers approximately 19,700 square miles – about the size of West Virginia – there’s certainly a lot to explore.

While this is obviously a good thing if you’re looking for an adventure, if you really want to make the most of what Costa Rica has to offer, you need to have some kind of plan.

There’s only so much you can pack into one day in this country, especially if you’ve taken the time to start your trip and coordinate exactly what you’re going to do. With that in mind, here’s a small sample day in Costa Rica and how much you can get out of it.

First, pick your destination and stick to it

This may seem a bit obvious at first, but it’s so important to set a destination and not try to ramble too much. If, for example, you plan to visit Arenal Volcano, Las Canas and Tigra in one day, you will only be a observer from these places, not a make-er.

That way, you’ll be watching Costa Rica pass you by rather than soaking in the culture and experiencing what it has to offer. In that case, let’s stick to Arenal and see how much you can earn from it:


Arenal is a beautiful place in Costa Rica with an abundance of rainforests, wildlife, activities and water sports. Pack your bag – including waterproof clothing and dry bags for valuables in case of rain – and start your trip by parking near Lake Arenal.

Here, you can put your wakeboarding skills into high gear and start the day with some water sports. Volcano Watersports offers wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing and more, all under the watchful eye of the nearby volcano. It’s a great way to get your adrenaline pumping and start the day with a little adventure.

Climb the volcano itself

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to put on your walking boots and do some sightseeing. Arenal’s rainforests are some of the most stunning the country has to offer.

If you tour the Volcano Trail, you’ll get some amazing views and a way to soothe your aching muscles with some hot springs. The hot springs here have been used as therapeutic baths for more than two hundred years and are a perfect way to relax for a moment.

Visit your local town

Once all of that is done, you’ve probably worked up an appetite. That’s okay, though, because the local town of La Fortuna is a perfect place to regroup and sample some of the local delicacies.

During your time in Arenal, you’ve already done some wakeboarding and traveling through the local wilderness, so feel free to get up and spend a few hours here, meeting the locals and – hopefully – enjoying the sun. as long as the weather has rarely been kind to you!

Venado Caves or back to hotel

Once you’ve experienced La Fortuna, you need to look at that wristwatch of yours. If it’s still early afternoon, then you might have time to visit the Venado Caves. This will give you the opportunity to venture underground and explore the world of limestone tunnels – many of which are over 20 million years old.

If, however, you’ve had a little too much fun in town, it might be time to head back to your hotel. The reason you’ll be back so early is that the local towns, including Monteverde, Las Juntas or even Jaco – although it’s a bit further – offer a brilliant nightlife you won’t want to miss.

Experience, not observe

So here it is. Water sports, volcano exploration, hot springs, local food, underground caves and then a fun night.

These are all things you can fit into one day in Costa Rica, so make sure you plan them all and make the most of your vacation. You’ll be surprised how much you can experience, so get out there and make some memories that will last a lifetime!

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