Costa Rica – sun, sea, sand... and sloths – what more could you ask for from a holiday?

Costa Rica is a surprisingly versatile holiday destination, with everything from wildlife to water sports. In fact, no less than 5% of the entire planet's species can be found here - in a country smaller than Switzerland. Meanwhile, more and more innovative and top-class resorts offering unique activities and experiences are cropping up both in the jungle and on the coast. We explore the different Costa Rican sojourns on offer...

Take the kids

With its beaches, jungles and abundance of wildlife, Costa Rica has plenty of entertainment for all the family. Little monkeys will be thrilled with a ride on the Rain Forest Aerial Tram (website: through the jungle canopy, with four different species of real monkey, as well as sloths, jaguars and pumas, spottable below.

For thrill-seeking teens, bungee jumping or white-water rafting along the forest rivers will provide the adrenaline rush. If all that sounds a bit too much on the wild side, hit the beach for relaxation, surf lessons, fishing with the locals or banana boat rides.

Be a surfer girl

For the ultimate girls-only getaway, but with a difference, Kelea Surf Spa (website: has revolutionised the typical beach holiday. Go with a group of friends or even on your own to really get away from it all and indulge in la pura vida (the pure life), with a range of spa treatments after an exhilarating day learning to surf.

The Kelea Surf Spa is located in Malpais, where water temperatures are idyllic throughout the year, and from mid November to April, there are consistent winds creating perfect waves for surfing. Plus, this area of the coast has few rip tides, making it easy for beginners. 

Packages can include cabina (cottage) accommodation, three gourmet meals a day, surf lessons and daily massages. Mmm... pure bliss.

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Horse ride along the beach

Live your dream and gallop a horse along stunning beaches, on a 10-day or week-long tour with Equitour (website:  

After meeting your horse and familiarising yourself with the Costa Rican riding style, your holiday begins. Days are spent leisurely trotting through such diverse scenery as meadows, forests, savannahs and mango plantations, spying on wildlife along the way. All followed by relaxing nights in local haciendas and lodges.


Build homes for Costa Rican families, teach in rural schools, combine surfing and turtle conservation, or coach football to local children... and sharpen up your Spanish skills along the way.

Volunteering is one of the best ways to really get to know a country and its people, bringing benefits to them, as well as to your CV. The opportunities for volunteer work are endless in Costa Rica, with several companies such as i-to-i (website: offering packages ranging in duration from one month to a year, including the work placement, activities, meals and accommodation.

Cook up a feast

Learn about the culinary history of the Americas and get some new cooking ideas at the same time on a Creole cookery course, and throwing a dinner party will never be a daunting prospect again. Inn at Coyote Mountain (website: provides a three-day course in a beautiful and remote hilltop hacienda

Classes delve into Creole, Latin and Mediterranean cookery styles and include trips out to markets, gardens and fincas (plantations). 

Experienced chefs introduce you to different ways of using tropical ingredients such as chillies, corn, squash and vanilla; and there are plenty of opportunities for some hands-on experimentation with exotic dishes

Each day concludes with a candle-lit gourmet dinner al fresco, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the twinkling lights of Puntarenas.

Photo credits:
Costa Rica Rain Forest Aerial Tram
Kelea Surf Spa
Horse riding on the beach © Equitour Worldwide Horse Riding Holidays
Volunteering in Costa Rica with i-to-i © i-to-i Meaningful Travel
Creole Cookery Course, Inn at Coyote Mountain

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