There's tons to do and see on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. Here are some of the tours and activities we recommend that are either in the area or which pick up/drop off at area hotels. We'll even book it for you!
Most of our tours will pick you up and return you right to your hotel (or sometimes to another Costa Rica destination!). Tours which do not include transportation are indicated below and we will be happy to assist to you in getting to the start point in those cases.
Many of the rafting trips include transportation between San Jose or Arenal and Puerto Viejo so it's like getting your transport to/from Puerto Viejo for free! Your luggage is secure throughout the trip so you're free to enjoy your day on the river.
Pacuare River: One Day
Our most popular trip and Costa Rica’s most stunning white water river. Class III-IV rapids. Suitable for 12 years of age+
Two Day Hike and Paddle Rafting Trip
Camp in style on the Pacuare River between two days of white water rafting, hiking and enjoying the best in nature that Costa Rica has to offer!
Pacuare Lodge Honeymoon Getaway
Are you looking for an intimate, secluded getaway location for your Honeymoon or Destination Wedding? Picture you and your partner in the midst of a Costa Rica rainforest, the mighty Pacuare River rushing right outside your doorstep. Enjoy magnificent views atop a 30 foot waterfall; glide through a lush treetop canopy or simply snuggle up for the night with your special someone in our luxury River-View suite or Honeymoon suite and let the chorus of native wildlife serenade you to sleep.
Reventazón River: Carmen Section
A great big water run, with moderate difficulty. The lush surroundings, abundant bird life and good amount of fun rapids makes this a great introduction to river running. This run is clearly divided in two halves. The first hour is very exciting, with big waves and long rapids. The second half is more relaxed as the river enters the true lower Caribbean, the surroundings take on a jungle character and the wildlife is more plentiful. Includes transport to/from Puerto Viejo from/to San Jose or Arenal if you want.
Río Sarapiquí: Go Rafting or Walk on the Wild Side
Take advantage of this tour including pick-up at your hotel in Puerto Viejo and transfer to La Virgen de Sarapiqui, your choice of class 3 & 4 rafting, class 2 & 3 rafting or birdwatching with serpentarium at Costa Rica Nature Pavilion (choose one of these three options) , lunch, and transfer to your hotel in Arenal (La Fortuna).
The Puerto Viejo area has some of the most spectacular natural areas in the country and are even of international importance. The area includes several protected areas including Cahuita National Park and the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge.
Animal Rescue Centre, Chocolate Lady and Waterfall
What could be better than a day playing with monkeys, learning how cacao become chocolate and hiking to a pristine waterfall? Three of our favorite local activities combine to make a truly memorable day on your vacation.
Caribbean Canopy & Zipline
For a thrilling adventure get a bird’s eye view of the jungle while flying through the air at top speed on zipline cables.
Tortuguero Canal and Banana Plantation
See the world-famous Tortuguero Canals on a safari through the mangroves looking for wildlife like birds, mammals like sloths and monkeys, reptiles like the emerald basilisk lizard and with a bit of luck even a caiman. And visit a banana plantation to learn everything about this delicious tropical fruit.
Cahuita Boat, Snorkel and Hiking Trip
Cahuita National Park features the largest coral reefs in Southern Central America as well as great hiking trails with lots of wildlife. This trip combines a boat ride, snorkeling and hiking. First is a ride in a boat to Punta Cahuita. Once at the point, you can put on snorkel gear to explore first hand the “under water tropical forest”. You will then land for a guided rainforest hike, with comprehensive information on this particular area. Monkeys, sloth, several reptiles, frogs and beautiful insects are common sights. Round trip transportation to Cahuita with pickup/dropoff at your hotel in Puerto Viejo is included.
Cahuita National Park Hike
With this trip you discover one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica: Cahuita National Park. Our guide will take you on a hike from the main entrance of the National Park to Cahuita Point and from Cahuita Point further down to Puerto Vargas. During the hike you will be able to spot a lot of different animals like for example the white faced monkey, sloths, snakes and raccoons. Round trip transportation to Cahuita with pickup/dropoff at your hotel in Puerto Viejo is included.
Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike
At the southeast corner of Costa Rica lies the unspoiled Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, stretching to the border of Panama. Home to monkeys, sloths, a great variety of birds and much more. The area is rich with wildlife. It is also spectacularly scenic with cliffs and hidden beaches along the water. You can choose to meet your local naturist guide in Manzanillo town or we can pick you up at your hotel. Your guide will take you on a hike where you will learn much about the rainforest and its inhabitants and see its hidden wonders which take a trained eye to spot.
Nature Observatory Manzanillo Half Day Tour
Get ready for a breathtaking and unbeatable jungle experience up in the Nature Observatory tree 25 meters above the ground.
River and Sea Kayaking with Rainforest Hike
We will drive to the most beautiful location in the area, Punta Uva. This trip consists of three sections. After a safety briefing we will first embark in a magical sea kayaking journey paralleling a coast full of cliffs, caves, and the most amazing rainforest. Then we will paddle our way up river though gorgeous rainforest where you can expect to spot monkeys, sloth, colorful birds, river turtles, bats and iguanas. Your professional guide will deliver a lot of interesting insights on this wonderful eco system. Back at the beach we will take a nice break to relax, swim and enjoy some nicely presented fresh fruit and snacks before hiking to the great over view at Punta Uva.
Full Day Jungle Adventure
Looking for the maximum in adventure? This full day adventure combines our canopy and zipline tour with a jungle hike, tarzan swing and much more in an action packed day you'll not soon forget!
Nighttime Turtle Watching
Take the opportunity to travel through time and go back to the beginning of evolution, represented by the nesting of these live fossils. The leatherback turtle is the biggest turtle in the world; it can be as large as 2 meters long and 650 kg of weight. We will have an unforgettable night walk along the Gandoca Beach; I will show you a different perspective of this spectacular experience. You will observe these mothers in the important work of laying eggs and at the same time you will learn important things about the natural history of these special animals in danger of extinction. Help us with the protection of sea turtles! Pickup and dropoff at your hotel is now included in our price.
Dolphin Watching and Snorkeling
Take a beautiful ride along the coast past Manzanillo deep into the Gandoca National park. Near the Panamanian border, atlantic and bottlenose dolphins come in to feed in the brackish waters near the Sixaola river. After seeing the dolphins, we cruise back to Mona island for snorkeling and/or diving! Then we continue back up the coast to Punta Uva for our second dive and second snorkeling site. An alternative tour from Cahuita with snorkeling off Cahuita National Park is also available.
Thanks to our rich biodiversity, I will find and delight in pointing out and sharing my knowledge on the various bird species of the area, this is definitely a superb bird watching tour! Some of the species you could see in this area are the Red-capped Manikin, crested owl, the olive throated parakeet; pale vented pigeon, masked tityra, Collared Aracari, slaty ant shrike, keel-billed and chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Magnificent Frigate-bird, common black hawk, passerini’s tanager, and the black-cowled oriole, among others.
Costa Rica's South Caribbean (along with Panama) is home to the Bri Bri people. Many of these communities had no exposure to the modern world until recently. These tours not only give you a glimpse into a unique life but they support these communities in their effort at economic diversification. The Caribbean is also home to a unique Afro-Caribe culture. Many of our tours take place within the protected areas of the Kéköldi Indigenous Reserve or the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.
Uatsi Waterfall and Indigenous Reservation
This combo tour includes transportation to/from your hotel as well as visits to the waterfall, to the Sixoala River (the border between Costa Rica and Panama), an indigenous reservation and an indigenous chocolate "factory" where the whole process from the growing of the Cacao plant to the making of this unique organic handmade chocolate is explained.
Bri Bri Medicine Man Tour
This tour will give you the opportunity to learn more about the culture of the indigenous peoples of Talamanca and meet with Don Cándido, a famed local healer who will teach you about local healing plants and methods. We will visit Centro Cultural Indigena and meet Don Cándido, the last in a long line of indigenous medicine men. At the centre there are more than 1500 plants used to cure different illnesses. There is a walking trail where you can see many of these medicinal plants and enjoy close contact with jungle birds and small animals. Also while you are here you can take a treatment with Don Cándido for any illness using nature's own botanical healing system. You can also learn about traditional foods, massage, history and science.
Visit a Bribri family and have a look in to their lifestyle, culture and extensive knowledge of plants and Nature.
There are many local activities we can help you arrange. Many of these do book up so if you want to experience horseback riding along the beach or learning to surf in one of the best spots in the world, then have us book these activities for you.
Learn to surf in Paradise! Puerto Viejo is a great place to learn to surf as there are a big variety of beaches with different conditions suitable for any level of surfer. In a 2 hour lesson you'll be standing on your board -- guaranteed! Group, semi-private and private lesson options are available.
Leave behind worries and stress, hop on a good horse, a comfortable saddle and a trail that leads you to one spectacular post card view after another. We’ll take you to the perfect spots for capturing once in a lifetime photos and viewing wildlife in its natural habitat. You will be able to see eagles, giant jungle trees, gorgeous butterflies, sloths, howler monkeys, toucans and amazon parrots. Our horses are well-fed and able to take any riders from beginner to advanced through the gallop of a lifetime along the most breathtaking side and immaculate Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica. A variety of short, half-day and full day options are available.
Our experienced captain will take you and your friends on a unforgettable day on the Caribbean Sea with the chance to land some amazing catches! We have half and full day trips for fish such as Tarpon, King Mackerel or Red Snapper and others as well as the option to go fishing with the captain.
Pure Jungle Spa: Massages, Facials and more
The Pure Jungle Spa has been featured in many travel articles about Puerto Viejo including articles in USA Today and Conde Nast Traveler. It can feature as a highlight of your vacation too! Services offered include the Rainforest Immersion Massage, the Jungle Chocolate Facial, the Moka Rico 100% Pure Body Treatment, and the Exotic Foot Ritual. Click the link for many more options and information.
Full day tours departing from the Caribbean Coast for nearby destinations.
Bocas del Toro, Panama One Day Tour
A day trip to the Bocas del Toro islands including dolphin watching, snorkelling and a visit to the Red Frog Beach.
Nature Observatory Manzanillo Full Day Tour
This day trip includes a combination of hiking deep into the jungle of Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and some relaxation with lunch on the Nature Observatory tower 25 meters up in a tree.
Check out our Packages page where you can find popular multi-day itineraries like our Volcano, Jungle and Beach Package or our Costa Rica Wet and Wild Package -- these packages include your Puerto Viejo hotel, transportation to/from Puerto Viejo and tours and activities.
Our packages page also has some short multi-day packages that you can add-on to your Puerto Viejo trip to destinations such as Volcano Arenal, Bocas del Toro, Tortuguero or Monteverde. Check out all our destination packages.
Our travel partner Gecko Trail Adventures has an office nearby and can arrange all sorts of local activities in the area beyond those listed here or make special arrangements and tours for groups, etc.
They also can help you arrange the rest of your trip around Costa Rica by arranging transportation, hotels and activities throughout Costa Rica.
So send them an email or give them a call. They're happy to put together a package of activities that suits your needs or answer any questions you have about any of this.
You can contact Gecko Trail Adventures at: