7 Water Activities You Can Enjoy in Costa Rica that Aren’t Surfing

Costa Rica has long been synonymous with surfing, along with eco-tourism. With over 300 beaches, there are dozens that are ideal for surfers of all different levels and wave preferences. In fact, Playa Grade is recognized as one of the top surfing beaches in Northern Guanacaste. However, if you aren’t surfer, don’t worry, there are still plenty of other amazing water activities that you can enjoy while you are in Costa Rica.

7 Water Activities You Can Enjoy in Costa Rica that Aren’t Surfing

Water activities to do along the coast


Costa Rica is hot year-round. And, except for February and March, when the water temperature drops a little bit, the rest of the year, you can expect pleasantly warm seas. When the waves are small, Playa Grande is a lovely place to go for a dip; however, be careful when there is swell in the water as rip currents are common and the waves can be powerful. If the waves are too big for swimming, there are often tide pools around the big rock at the north end of the beach that are nice for cooling off in.

Nearby beaches like Bahia Piratas, Playa Conchal, and Playa Flamingo are typically very calm and perfectly suited for swimming.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

With plenty of protected bays up and down the coast, stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and healthy way to spend some time on the water. Playa Grande is not an ideal place to practice this watersport, but you can find rentals and tours through Costa Rica Stand Up Paddle Adventures and Costa Rica SUP & Yoga.

Water activities to do out at sea

Snorkeling / Snuba / Scuba

Just off the coast and a bit to the north are the Catalina Islands. This island chain is famed for its incredible diving. Whether you want to scuba dive, snorkel, or snuba, and whether you are a first-timer or a life-timer, Snuba Costa Rica is who you want to venture below the surface with! Sea turtles, manta rays, sharks, and even the rare whale shark are regular visitors to the Catalina Islands as well as hundreds of species of tropical fish.

To do inland

White-water Rafting

Costa Rica is home to several world-class white-water rapids. The most famed rapids are the following: La Fortuna, Penas Blancas, Rio Toro, Rio Balsa, Turrialba, Sarapiqui, Pacuare, Reventazon, Savegre, and Naranjo. You will find everything from gentle but fun class I rapids to powerful and adrenaline-pumping class IV in Costa Rica. While it will make for a long day, it is possible to embark on a day trip to go white-water rafting from Playa Grande.

Thermal Hot Springs

There are currently three active volcanoes in Costa Rica (that number can change at any time, though!), along with over 200 volcanic formations. For this reason, Costa Rica has a lot of thermal hot springs! La Fortuna is one of the most popular destinations to go to if you want to soak in some of nature’s hot tubs; which is highly recommended.

Whether you are a surfer or not, there are plenty of refreshing, relaxing, and active ways to spend time in the water while you are vacationing in Costa Rica. These seven water activities should get you started off on the right foot!


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