It is not easy to sort through the hundreds of activities available to you during your visit to Playa Hermosa Guanacaste, but in an effort to just start somewhere, here are 10 popular ones that I loved doing, all located within a one-hour drive.
Canopy zip lines. Who of us hasn’t wondered what it would be like to fly like a bird? If hang gliding is too extreme for you, the next best (read: safer) option is zip lining. El Diamante, Trip Advisor #1 Adventure Park in the area, has an incredible superman zipline that is almost 1 mile long. In addition, there is the animal sanctuary with sloths, various different monkeys, and big wild cats like the jaguar. In to beach activities and horseback riding? It all at El Diamante. Or try The Congo Trail Canopy Zip Line Tour which has a network of 11 exhilarating zip lines, rappelling, Tarzan swing and hanging bridges that “fly” you around the forest canopy. There is also an area where you can play with howler monkeys. Add a horseback tour to see the area from a different angle for just over $50. Both are exhilarating and a lot of fun–I know I have been to both.
Scuba diving. Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to swim like a fish? Then you should scuba dive! Playas del Coco is one of northern Guanacaste’s most celebrated dive and snorkeling spots, just a short 10-minute drive from Playa Hermosa Guanacaste. There are many dive shops in town that give PADI certification courses or offer boat tours for certified divers. What the ocean in the area lacks in coral, it makes up for in its abundance of marine life. The local waters team with marine life–giant schools of fish, rays, sharks and sea turtles. January through March there are enormous schools of manta rays, whereas March through November is shark season.
Palo Verde Mangrove Safari. Palo Verde River is a sanctuary for migratory birds and a year round home to crocodiles, monkeys, herons, egrets, king fishers, and scarlet macaws. Tour vendors pick you up at your hotel, and after about an hour and a half drive you begin your 2-hour boat tour of the mangrove swamps. The tours costs about $88 per person and are perfect for any age.
Area Catamaran Tour. Several outfits offer a tour of the beautiful Papagayo Bay. Most tours cost about $75 for 4 hours and include a meal prepared by the crew and tropical drinks. The catamaran drops anchor from time to time in peaceful bays to give everyone a chance to dive into the crystal clear water and snorkel. My favorite is the Marlin Del Ray. It’s a nice big catamaran with bathrooms and a awesome staff. Wildlife sightings include dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish or even a breaching whale if the time of year is right.
Jet Ski and/or Banana Boat Ride. Riding a jet ski can be an extreme sport or a peaceful cruise—it is all up to you! Take yourself out to the nearby islands or find your own private beach. Rentals are usually for 30 minutes and cost $60. Guided tours of 2 hours or more are also available. You can’t miss them–just walk the beach and you will see them.
If you like the idea of mountain biking but not necessarily pedaling, Electric Bike Costa Rica has a solution—a bike with an electric motor! Bike rentals start at $10 an hour. They also offer several group tours to local sights and landmarks. For example, for the Tour Las Pilas you will be picked up from where you are staying, and after coffee and a briefing, you will begin the 2 to 3-hour guided tour through the forest, across rivers, arriving at the Las Pilas waterfalls for a cooling swim. The tour costs $90.
Horseback riding. Several local outfits rent horses for trips to waterfalls, hidden beaches and tours through the forest. Very inexpensive rates may mean overworked and unhealthy horses—beware!
Float trip on the Corobici River. This is a leisurely raft trip that is ideal for families with young children or people just wanting to relax and enjoy the scenery. Along the river banks you will spot monkeys, iguanas and birds. Project Expedition has a tour that lasts 2 hours for $65. It is easy to find, just head back towards and past the Liberia International airport to Interstate RT1 and head south a half hour and it is on the left side of the highway.
ATV tour. Let’s face it: Four wheelers are fun. But let’s also face it: When you are laying on the beach trying to relax, a passing group of screaming, un-muffled four wheelers is annoying. That said, if you stick to the back roads and mountain trails, an ATV tour can be a blast! Xtreme Adventures has a 2-hour ATV Tour for $75. Prepare to eat dust and get really dirty.
If you want to take the easy way, contact Tico Tours Guanacaste and Bernal can arrange everything for you.
Speaking of laying on the beach relaxing, that is actually the Number One Best Activity at Playa Hermosa Guanacaste. Highly recommended and absolutely free. Enjoy!