Located along the northern Pacific Coast, Guanacaste is one of Costa Rica’s seven provinces and covers 20% of the country’s territory.  Bordered on the north by Nicaragua, it has been blessed with a magnificent coastline, an average year round temperature of 85 °F, volcanoes, and Costa Rica’s only dry forest making it an ideal zone for tourism, water sports and adventure tours.

There are plenty of options in this tropical paradise, the difficult part is deciding what to do and trying to fit it all in.  Below is as list of our top day tours in Guanacaste to help you sort through the options:

1.  Sport Fishing

If you are looking for some world-class sport fishing, the beaches in Guanacaste offer some of the best in the country.  Local hot spots like Tamarindo, Flamingo, and the Gulf of Papagayo are home to Guanacaste’s best charters boats, in addition to the brand new Marina Papagayo.  Being the farthest west point in Costa Rica, the continental shelf and the offshore fishing grounds for malrin, sailfish, tuna, and dorado are just a short run away.  The inshore fishing for jacks, grouper, snapper and roosterfish is always prolific with countless reefs and rocky islands to create structure.  The iconic Catalina Islands are just 7 miles offshore and serve as a congregating point for anything from sharks to rays to humpback whales and huge schools of game fish.

Includes: Bilingual crew, snacks, lunch, drinks (beer/water/soda), all bait/tackle/gas.

What to Bring: Hat, sunglasses, sun lotion, camera, cash for tips

Tamarindo FishingCosta Rica Sport FishingP3130141










2.  Borinquen Combo Tour

When visiting Costa Rica it’s almost impossible not to want to visit the rain forest at least one day.  The Borinquen Combo Tour is a great way to fit in several activities into one day and is the highlight of many people’s vacation!  You will start by doing a scenic horseback ride alongside the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, then you will be taken to the exciting canopy zip-line tour.  This includes different rappel drops and cables between and over Guanacaste’s dry forests.   You will also have the opportunity to see monkeys, birds among other animals.  Next enjoy the amazing mud baths that contain volcanic minerals that will rejuvenate your skin and finish bathing in the soothing hot springs of Rincon de la Vieja Volcano followed by a delicious local lunch.

Includes:  Transportation, horseback riding, canopy tour, mud baths, bilingual guides, lunch.

What to Bring: Clothes to get wet in, secure shoes, change of clothes for after the tour, a little extra spending money in case you want to buy some beers or the Photo CD from your trip.

Borinquen Combo Tour Guanacaste Day Tour









3.  White Water Rafting – Rio Tenorio  Class III-IV

Rafting is one of the most popular adventures tours in Costa Rica due to the abundance of raging rivers and thrilling falls.  Located in the mountains of the Guanacaste province, you will travel to the Tenorio River which is bounded  by a red rock canyons and dry forest.  Despite the thrilling rapids, it is also a great opportunity to see different kinds of nature and wildlife like iguanas, birds and monkeys.  Featuring over twelve miles of river circuits and twenty two exciting rapids, including the famous twelve foot “Cascabel Falls” drop, this adrenaline pumping rafting is exactly what you need to spice up your trip.

Includes: Transportation, trained bilingual raft guides, tropical fruit break, lunch.

What to Bring: Clothes to get wet in, secure shoes, change of clothes for after the tour, a little extra spending money in case you want to buy some beers or the Photo CD from your trip.

White Water Rafting, Costa Rica Rio Tenorio Rafting, Costa Rica









4.  Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Imagine yourself sailing along Costa Rica’s calm Pacific Coast, sipping tropical drinks and enjoying the calm breeze while the sun sets on the horizon.  It doesn’t get better than that, right?  You will have the opportunity to enjoy the views of the Tamarindo coastline and practice snorkeling and water activities; if you are more into a relaxing experience you can lounge at the boat and enjoy a nice cool beer or a tropical drink.  This is perfect way to end your vacation and take some dream pictures about your trip!

Includes:  Transportation, snorkeling equipment, snacks, drinks and a light lunch.

What to Bring: Clothes to get wet in, secure shoes, camera, waterproof bag, swimsuit, sunblock, binoculars and sunglasses.

Costa Rica snorkeling tour Costa Rica sunset cruise










5.  Safari River Float

Enjoy Costa Rica’s stunning wildlife on the relaxing safari float. This is the ultimate activity for nature lovers of all ages.  Your bilingual guide will steer your raft down the Class II river as he points out the exotic flora and fauna that makes Costa Rica so famous. Keep your eye out for howler monkeys, lizards, crocodiles, even the occasional river otter, plus an incredible amount of tropical birds like tucans, ospreys, boat-billed herons, parrots, and kingfishers.  At the halfway point you pull over to the side and enjoy some refreshing tropical fruit and icy cold spring water.  After a short break you’ll you’ll finish the second half of the river where an open air-4×4 jeep will be waiting for you.  After a brief but bumpy ride you’ll reach a local restaurant where you’ll enjoy a delicious Costa Rican lunch to end your day.

Includes: Transportation, bilingual guide, snacks, drinks and a light lunch.

What to Bring: Clothes to get wet in, secure shoes, camera, binoculars, waterproof bag, sunblock, binoculars and sunglasses.

Safari Float, Costa Rica Costa Rican howler monkey










6.  SCUBA Diving

One over-looked aspect of Costa Rica is it’s spectacular SCUBA diving.  With it’s fame for having world class sport fishing, it’s no surprise that the abundant marine life makes for some great diving.  Warm waters and countless islands along the Pacific Coast make for hundreds of dive spots, ranging from the famous Isla Murcielago (Bat Island) in the northwest where you can dive with bullsharks to the protected marine reserve of  Isla del Cano (Cano Island) in the south.  Where you dive, you can expect to find sea turtles, shrimp, lobsters, sea horses, octopi, scorpion fish, rays, giant manta rays, nurse sharks, and white tip reef sharks.

Includes:  Transportation, all dive gear (weights, fins, BCD, mask, snorkel, wetsuit), snacks, drinks.

What to Bring: PADI certification (or similar), underwater camera, towel, money for tips

Costa Rica scuba diving SCUBA diving Costa Rica










7.  One Day Tour Nicaragua

If are looking to get the most your of your Costa Rica fishing vacation, why only come back with one stamp in your passport if you can leave with two?   Since the Nicaraguan border is close to the Guanacaste beaches it’s a perfect opportunity to visit our neighbor to the north.  Discover the gem of Nicaragua, the colonial town of Granada, and all its different monuments on a horse carriage.  Next visit the magnificent Lake Nicaragua, the 19th largest lake in the world, while enjoying a delicious lunch.  You’ll be sure to take in the iconic views of the surrounding volcanoes that tower over the city.  Nicaraguans are famous for their pottery and wooden crafts, so after lunch before heading back to Costa Rica we will take you to a local market to get a souvenir of from memorable trip.

Includes: Air-conditioned transportation to and from your hotel, bilingual guide, entrance fees, breakfast, lunch and insurance.

What to Bring: Valid Passport, comfortable clothes, hat, rain gear, bug spray, extra money if you want to buy souvenirs.

Nicaragua Day Tour Grenada, Nicaragua











8.  Golf

Costa Rica’s lush tropical climate and predictable weather make it an ideal spot for a fishing and golf vacation.  The Guanacaste area alone boasts three 18-hole golf courses, included the #23 ranked course in Central America & the Caribbean according to Golf Week.  With this being the hottest and driest region in Costa Rica, you can golf 12 months a year as long as you can handle the pressure of howler monkeys critiquing your tee shots.  In the area you can find the 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course on the Peninsula Papagayo, the 18-hole Hacienda Pinilla Championship golf course, and the highly regarded, Robert Trent Jones III designed Garra de Leon golf course found at the Reserva Conchal.  All courses have pro shops and rental clubs available so you don’t need to bring your own and lose and arm and a leg in airfare fees.

Costa Rica Golf Vacation Westin Conchal Golf










9.  Palo Verde National Park & Guaitil Pottery

Palo Verde National Park is one of the largest wetlands located right in the heartland of the Guanacaste province.  Found between two major rivers, the Tempisque and Bebedero, it encompasses an exuberant combination of flora and fauna.  If you are an avid birdwatcher you will have the opportunity to see egrets, tucans, spoonbills, herons, ibises and loads of other migratory birds.  Keep an eye out for howler monkeys, caiman, crocodiles, and the Jesus Christ lizards.

After this breathtaking experience, you’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant and will continue your journey to the small town of Guatil, which serves as one of the largest artisan galleries in the country.  An artisan will show you how they transform natural clay into a useful or decorative object and teach you about the importance of ceramics in Costa Rican culture.  You will have the opportunity to purchase some great pieces of artisan artwork as well.

Includes: Transportation, bilingual guides, lunch, entrance fees

What to Bring: Secure shoes, bug spray, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a little extra spending money in case you want to buy some artwork.

Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica Costa Rica Day tour












10.  Rio Celeste National Park & Tenorio Volcano Guided Hike

Rio Celeste is a breath taking experience and an opportunity to see one of the true wonders of mother nature.  This journey starts with a 1.5 hour scenic ride through the rural parts of Costa Ric, then to stretch your legs a three mile hike that goes alongside the Rio Celeste National Park.  At the end of the hike you will arrive to “Los Teñideros”, which is a pond where two different rivers merge.  The combination of volcanic minerals among these rivers is so strong that the water turns into a cerulean, turquoise spectacle, which is how it was so aptly named “Rio Celeste.”

After the hike and filling up your camera with pictures you will enjoy the “ollas”, or mud baths and hot springs, which is a very soothing experience and definitely what you will need after the three mile hike!   You will finish your tour at the waterfall where you can take more pictures and go for a dip to cool off from this wonderful experience.

Includes: Transportation, bilingual guide, entrances to park, and lunch.

What to bring: Secure shoes for hiking, clothes to get wet in, swim suit, camera, snack and a change of clothes.

Rio Celeste, Costa Rica Rio Celeste Waterfall











11.  ATV Adventure

This is a thrilling adventure that is suitable for all adult members of your family, and is a great way to get to explore Tamarindo and the different places in this beach town.  You will get picked up at your hotel and will be given a quick training on how to operate the ATV.  After this quick class your journey will begin driving through the local beach town of Tamarindo which is a great way to check out the shops, restaurants and bars you may want to visit throughout the week.   Enjoy a five mile ride alongside Tamarindo’s dry forest and finish off driving up one of the highest points in the are which offers a great view of the Pacific Coastline.

Includes: Transport, bilingual guide, safety equipment, ATV.

What to bring: Secure shoes, camera/Go Pro, bug spray, sunscreen, glasses, and clothes you can get dirty in.

Costa Rica ATV Tour Tamarindo ATV










12.  Surf Lessons

Tamarindo is one of the most famous surf spots in the entire country, and its mid-size waves make it a perfect place to learn how to surf and get in touch with the Pura Vida lifestyle.  Your guides will pick you up at your hotel and will take you to a calm spot on the beach.  You will receive an hour intense training of how to surf and safety tips, then you will be good to go and ready to ride your first wave!  Learning how to surf in warm water and these easy waves couldn’t be easier!

Includes: Bilingual instructor, transportation, surf board, rash guard, and surf lessons.

What to Bring: Swimsuit, sunscreen, hat, and extra money for drinks and tips

Surf lessons Costa RicaSurf_Lessons_2 Tamarindo Surfing