10 Best Hikes in Costa Rica for Trekking in 2024

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10 Best Hikes in Costa Rica for Trekking in 2024

Tucked in Central America, Costa Rica, with its vast stretches of natural landscapes, vivacious sceneries, thriving biodiversity, pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and much more, is a natural paradise, ideal for hiking. With over one-fourth of the nation’s untouched natural marvels, this beautiful place attracts people seeking adventure, natural serenity, and unique animal species.

The myriad wildlife species found here make hiking adventures even more fun as you tread this land’s varied and challenging terrains. This article will explore the various spots in Costa Rica that must be on your list to experience great hikes.

1. Arenal Volcano National Park Hike

Arenal Volcano National Park Hike

Imagine this- A beautiful national park with elaborate stretches of tropical rainforest, volcanic activity, la Fortuna waterfall, natural hot springs, hanging bridges, and diverse wildlife, all available for you to enjoy in a single and easy hike. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, The Arenal Volcano National Park Hike gives you precisely that. 

This gorgeous national park is ideal for hikers who do not want to tread challenging terrain. To explore this, you must go to the park entrance and reach the ranger station. From there, you can choose from two paths: a short one and a longer one.

Taking the longer one will take you to the peak point, where you can see the active volcano where old lava flows. You can spot bird species or see howler monkeys through the trek since wildlife freely roams here. 

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2. Manuel Antonio National Park Hike

Manuel Antonio National Park Hike

Located on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Manuel Antonio National Park is a site to behold. This is an excellent place for mildly challenging hiking expeditions, and since it is rather popular, you will see various people running, hiking, or simply enjoying leisurely here.

This national park has everything to make those challenging trails of about 7.7 km absolutely worth it, from a rain forest to white sand beaches and beautiful coral reefs. In addition to the beautiful beaches and expansive ocean views, this national park also houses various wildlife species, including multiple species of birds, three-toed sloths, and even white-faced monkeys, also known as capuchin monkeys. 

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3. Corcovado National Park Trek

Corcovado National Park Trek

The Corcovado National Park preserves and protects the delicate tropical biodiverse ecosystems of the southwest region of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. This reserve is one of the most biologically intense places in the world because of rare wildlife species, including scarlet macaws, jaguars, squirrel monkeys, and more.

With a dense rainforest, this national park is among the best places a hiking enthusiast must visit. The trekking paths span over 20 km and are routed along the coastal paths, passing through swamps, Pacific beaches, and even montane rainforests. 

When hiking through the Corcovado National Park, it is advised to have a professional guide take you through the challenging terrain. A guided hike for these trials is necessary for safety and to ensure you do not miss out on the best lookout points and spectacular views. 

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4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Trails

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Trails

Named after a town in the region, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is an expansive cloud forest founded in 1972. The forest reserve is in the Puntarenas and Alajuela provinces along the Cordillera de Tilarán of Costa Rica. For hikers, there are various trails within this reserve; however, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Trails are the most common choice, attracting thousands of enthusiasts every year. 

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is also prominently known for its rich diversity of wildlife (comprising over 425 species of birds, 120 mammals, 100+ reptile species, 650+ butterfly species, over 60 amphibian species, and more), the famous red hanging bridge, which is extensively photographed, and over 3200 species of plants. 

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5. Rio Celeste Hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park

Rio Celeste Hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park

At the Tenorio Volcano National Park, you can experience one of the best hikes of your life if you choose to try the Rio Celeste Hike, also known as the Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike. It has been known as one of the most beautifully breathtaking landscapes in the country, making it a popular choice among avid hikers. 

As the name suggests, during this hike, you will witness the lovely waterfalls hidden in the flourishing rainforests of the national park. If you believe turquoise blue waters are only found in photoshopped images, this trek will have you questioning your every thought. 

Hikers can take it easy during the first portion of the hike, which features paved ways; however, as you go deeper, the pathways become rocky and have muddy roads, needing more vigilance. But, if you complete the hike, you will reach the top of a blue lagoon, making the trip spectacular. 

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6. Chirripó National Park Summit

Chirripó National Park Summit

If short hikes are not your thing, consider this multi-day hike that requires an overnight stay. Renowned as one of the best hikes in Costa Rica, the Cerro Chirripo National Park Summit hike must be on your bucket list. Before you start your journey, hiring a guide or a naturalist guide is best advised to take you through the landscape, showing you the best spots and photo ops.

This is the perfect place for adventure seekers who wish to do something out of the ordinary. By the end of this hike at Cerro Chirripó, you will have reached the highest peak of the tallest mountain in the region, located at 3820m above sea level. 

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7. Rincon de la Vieja National Park Trails

Rincon de la Vieja National Park Trails

The Rincon de la Vieja National Park, home to hot springs, mud pots, waterfalls, and most importantly, the famous Rincon de la Vieja volcano, presents an exciting and thrilling hiking opportunity for enthusiasts to explore new terrains.

Offering multiple hiking trails, this national park has something to excite everyone. This place is a paradise with striking views, evergreen forests, tropical birds, an active volcano, great hiking trails, and pictures of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on opposite sides. 

Because the park is situated such that one side faces the Pacific and the other the Caribbean, it experiences diverse climatic conditions, which have led to various distinct wildlife species finding a home here. Containing rare flora and fauna is an additional plus of this park. 

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8. Tenorio Volcano National Park: Las Heliconias Trail

Tenorio Volcano National Park: Las Heliconias Trail

The Tenorio Volcano National Park has another gem within its ambit. The Heliconias Trail, hidden in his national park, is part of a community eco-lodge project, of which very little is known. Nevertheless, this terrain features exceptional hiking trails leading to a protected private reserve.

You will reach this protected region if you keep following the main trail. The trails also feature multiple hanging bridges, taking you through an exciting experience as the yas nestled under the lush Tenorio rainforests. 

Since this is one of the lesser-known paths, there is an advantage that you would not encounter a lot of crowds, which promises much more excitement for serious hikers. If experiencing something out of the box matches your preferences, this is a must-try! 

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9. Cahuita National Park Coastal Trail

Cahuita National Park Coastal Trail

The Cahuita National Park is a coastal park famous for its delicate marine ecosystem balanced with the diverse terrestrial life here. This national park is lovely for hikers exploring beachy trails with preserved reefs. This is the place to come if you wish to interact with sea animals like olive ridley sea turtles, manta rays, sea cucumbers, urchins, sharks, and more.

However, this does not mean that the terrestrial life here is boring. The Cahuita National Park is home to unique species like the keel-billed toucans, agoutis, mantled howlers, sloths, raccoons, iguanas, orcas, and many more. 

Situated in the Limon Province, this hiking trail may require professional guidance, especially for inexperienced hikers. One of the best things about this place is that it is a thriving hot pot for not just land animals but also sea animals, providing an experience like no other. 

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10. Poás Volcano National Park Hike

Poás Volcano National Park Hike

The Poas Volcano National Park, situated in the central region of Costa Rica, is yet another active volcano hiking site for those who can never get enough of them. The Poas volcano, for which the national park has been so named, is magnificent but can also be dangerous because of its activity. In general, the Polas volcano does not pose a threat.

However, activity might be restricted sometimes when there is suspicion of danger. So, if you plan to go here, check if hiking would be allowed that day. 

Regarding the hike, the terrain is pretty simple and straightforward, with gorgeous landscapes waiting for you to immerse yourself in. If you visit here on a clear day and reach the volcano, which is situated at the center of the park, the experience would be nothing short of surreal. Beyond the volcano, the park also features Lake Botos, surrounded by a cloud forest. 

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Costa Rica has some of the best trails that you can imagine hiking on. The presence of active volcanoes, the Pacific Ocean, options for short hikes or longer, more challenging terrains, and just the raw natural ecosystem of the place make it a haven for hikers. While this place must be on your list, you must also remember that the beauty of this paradise has only been able to stay because of immaculate care.

As such, it is vital that while you enjoy your time and take in nature, you also follow the park rules. So enjoy your hikes in the lap of nature and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

10 Best Hikes in Costa Rica for Trekking in 2024

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