The Best Hikes in Costa Rica: Explore Our Natural Wonderland

Did you know that Costa Rica has protected around 25% of its land? Our country has an incredible 28 national parks, 11 forest reserves, 58 wildlife refuges, 15 wetland areas (or mangroves), 32 protected zones, and eight biological reserves.

It’s no surprise, then, that Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise! There are numerous ways to appreciate all this unparalleled nature, including our own Jaco adventure activities and canyoning and waterfall experiences from Jaco.

But another highly popular option is hiking. Taking a slower pace and soaking up the views and lush landscapes is one of life’s simple pleasures. To help inspire a hike of your own, we have picked out some of the best hikes in Costa Rica below.

Scroll down to find our recommendations. If you have any questions for our team at any point, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for the answers you need.

Mistico Arenal Park

Mistico Hanging Bridges in Arenal Volcano National Park

Nestled in the Arenal Volcano National Park, the Arenal Hanging Bridges offers one of the simplest, most spectacular, and most popular hikes in Costa Rica. There is a series of 15 bridges, six of which hang over vertical drops!

The area is home to more than 300 bird species, countless mammals, and over 700 species of flora. And amidst all the lush greenery, keep your eyes open for breathtaking views of the iconic Arenal volcano.

At two miles long and with an average duration of two to three hours, this is a short hike that leaves you with plenty of time to explore the other incredible sights in the Arenal region.

El Miro Jaco

Take in the Views from the Top of Miro Mountain (El Miro)

We love our home of Jaco, so we had to include this hidden gem! With an elevation gain of 125m, this is generally considered to be a moderately challenging hike that takes around 50 minutes to complete. The out-and-back route is 2.3km.

Starting at the southern end of Jaco Beach, the trail begins near Miro’s Restaurant. You can park here, but you have to pay a small fee if you aren’t eating. If the sudden thought of food has got your stomach rumbling, check out our Guide to Typical Costa Rican Food!

What makes El Miro unique is the incomplete, abandoned hotel at the summit. Money for construction dried up, so the project was simply left incomplete. Today, it’s a fascinating place to explore and enjoy the jaw-dropping view across Jaco Beach.


Marvel at Nature’s Colors in Tenorio Volcano National Park

The hiking trail in Tenorio Volcano National Park is a 3.5-mile out-and-back loop that takes around three to four hours to complete. And while it may be on the shorter side, this hike packs in an impressive amount of sights.

The Rio Celeste runs through the park, but it’s the 30-metre, aqua-blue waterfall that steals the show here. Surrounded by sheer cliffs covered in verdant rainforest green, this scene is a picture-perfect piece of paradise.

And don’t miss the captivating Los Teñideros, where two rivers merge. Here, you can see the clear water of one river changing into the vibrant turquoise of another right in front of you! The bold blue water then cascades down the falls, creating the equally remarkable lagoon on the other side.

It’s important to note that the vibrant blue of the water isn’t consistent. Rainwater, in particular, can dull the tone for a while, so plan your hike well if you want to see the waterfall at its dazzling best.

At Los Borbollones, you can also see hot water bubbling away because of the volcanic heat. 

Looking for more adventure inspiration? We think you’ll love our blog Best Things to Do in Costa Rica for Outdoor Lovers.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Touch the Sky on the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Trails

While the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve covers a huge 765 acres, visitors only have access to a fraction of that area. The rest is reserved for the conservation of the animals and biodiversity that brought this awe-inspiring place into existence in the first place.

As you may already have guessed, this beautiful rainforest is frequently shrouded in cloud. First, this creates some mesmerizing scenery; and second, it also means you should bring a rain jacket!

You can choose from several trails for your hike, but consider doing them all. In total, they all add up to eight miles and showcase everything this incredible reserve has to offer. Trust us, there is plenty to see in those eight miles!

Looking for more canopy-based thrills? Find out more about our Jaco Canopy Zipline Tour.

Scarlet Macaw

Watch Out for Birdlife in Carara National Park

If you’re a bird enthusiast, nature lover, or a little of both, consider a hike in the biodiversity hotspot of Carara National Park. This wonderful sanctuary boasts an incredible array of flora and fauna, including the famous scarlet macaws. 

You can pass along three park trails here — Acceso Universal, Quebrada Bonita, and Las Aráceas — each of which offers an individual loop through a different part of the park. The interconnected trails run for around 2.8 miles with an elevation gain of 122m.

Like so many of the best hikes in Costa Rica, this route provides a staggering array of flora, including some enormous trees.

Is your upcoming trip to Costa Rica your first? Read our blog Cultural Dos and Don’ts for Toursits in Costa Rica to ensure you avoid any awkward social faux pas.

Book Your Spot on Our Adventure and Waterfall Tours in Jaco!

We hope you enjoyed these picks for the best hikes in Costa Rica. This is far from a complete list, but more of an introduction! 

With Costa Rica Waterfall Tours, you can enter a world of thrilling adventures. Based in Jaco, we offer everything from canyoning and canopy ziplining to exploring natural swimming pools and waterfalls. Sound like your idea of fun? Browse our full range of Jaco adventure activities and waterfall experiences.

Our team is here to help, so contact us if you have any questions!

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