Costa Rica is a vacation paradise and a retiree’s dream come true. Whether you chose Costa Rica as your second home or decide to retire here permanently, there is virtually no end to the fun and exciting outdoor activities available throughout this spectacular country.
Costa Rica is known around the globe for its wide variety of top sports fishing spots and deep-sea fishing charters. Fishing enthusiasts will marvel at the diversity of both the species of fish and the available fishing conditions, from rivers and lakes to oceans on two coasts. Keep in mind that most of the fishing services in Costa Rica practice catch-and-release programs for Marlin and Sailfish.
Atlantic / Caribbean
You’ll find a wide variety of fish on Costa Rica’s Atlantic/Caribbean coast, from tarpon to barracuda, kingfish, and snapper, and this area of the country boasts some of the best snook fishing in the world.
Marlin, sailfish and tuna can be found in the North Pacific region all year long. For fishermen who are looking for a little less fight, you will also find a wide variety of smaller fish in the area, including dorado, wahoo and roosterfish.
As in the North Pacific region, you will find plenty of marlin, sailfish and tuna in the area. For fishermen looking to catch snook, the rainy season is a popular time to fish, especially near Rio Naranjo where a world record Pacific Black Snook was recently caught.
This area is famous for its large roosterfish, which can be found all year. Other species in this region include marlin, sailfish, tuna and snook.
Be sure to take advantage of the freshwater fishing available in several areas throughout Costa Rica. Hot fishing spots like Tapanti National Park, Rio Savegre, Arenal Lake, and the Cano Negro Wildlife refuge offer plenty of fishing excitement away from the ocean with varieties that range from rainbow bass to tilapia.
Golf, Tennis & Country Clubs
Outdoor sports enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Costa Rica. From fabulous golf courses to tennis courts, swimming and basketball, the golf courses, hotel resorts and country clubs throughout the country offer a wide range of activities for visitors and residents of all ages. Most country clubs are located within the San José area, but you will find tennis and golf available throughout the country.
Costa Rica offers a wide range of golf courses with most of the courses located within the city of San José, although many local resorts also offer golf at their facilities. The Central Valley is home to four golf courses and there are five courses scattered throughout the Pacific Coast regions. Golf is not a particularly popular sport among the locals so visitors will find most courses to be wide open and without crowds. All of Costa Rica’s Club Pros are bilingual and most golfers you’ll meet on the courses are tourists, diplomats or expatriates.
With its lush rainforests, cloud forests, volcanic regions, and oceans on two coasts, Costa Rica is filled to the brim with more than 10,000 species of plants and trees and is home to some of the world’s most exotic reptiles, animals, fish, butterflies, and birds. Costa Rica’s jungles are pristine and secluded, offering a unique habitat where animal and plant life flourishes, and there is plenty of jungle adventure available in Costa Rica, from canoeing in Turtuguero National Park to hiking through the clouds in Monteverde. When you visit Costa Rica’s forests, make sure to hire a reputable guide or join a tour so you can understand more about the local plants and animals, while avoiding the wide range of dangers found in Costa Rica’s jungles. Although much of the country’s forests are protected within National Parks and wildlife refuges, Costa Rica’s forest cover has diminished drastically in the past 60 years, from around 85% forested in 1940 to about 50% forested today. During the 1970s and 1980s, large portions of the rainforests were burned and turned into agricultural land for banana farms and grazing land for cattle. Today, Costa Rica is working to eliminate illegal clear-cutting practices and, despite past deforestation, the country’s tropical dry forests, rainforests and cloud forests remain some of the most beautiful and diverse win the world.
Costa Rica’s cloud forests are located along the high slopes of mountains and volcanoes all through the country. Characterized by thick fog and a profusion of plant life, like bromeliads, mosses and ferns, Costa Rica’s cloud forests are a mysterious and exotic choice for visitors.
Found in the southwestern portion of Costa Rica and in the Atlantic lowlands region, the country’s rainforests are where you’ll find the widest variety of reptiles, animals and birds, from monkeys and snakes to Scarlet Macaws. Visitors to the rainforests will be awestruck by the dense forests filled with huge trees, vines and plenty of rain.
Tropical dry forests
Costa Rica’s tropical dry forests are located in the Northern Pacific region and receive much less yearly rainfall, which makes them less diverse than their rainforest cousins. But, although these forests are less lush, they do offer visitors a dramatic example of Costa Rica’s native flowers and trees.
Tennis lovers will find plenty of opportunity for a game at the local clubs, hotels and resorts in most areas of the country. In Costa Rica, tennis is a more popular sport than golf, so most large hotels, resorts and communities offer at least one court for visitors to enjoy. All of Costa Rica’s country clubs offer tennis courts, including both indoor and outdoor courts, some with lights for evening games.
Costa Rica’s cowboy culture is rooted in the province of Guanacaste, which was one of the first parts of the country to be settled by the Spanish. The vast cattle ranches, sweeping plains and rolling hills of this area lend themselves well to this lifestyle. Although, this area is well known for its horse culture, many other areas in Costa Rica offer horseback excursions that run the gamut from partial and full-day rides through rolling pastures and tropical forests to afternoon romps along windswept beaches.
Expat Communities and Resources
Costa Rica is a haven for expatriates, and many people choose to retire, invest, or move their businesses to Costa Rica due to the advantageous benefits the country has to offer. The Association of Costa Rica Residents (ARCR) is a great resource for prospective and current Costa Rican expatriates. Their website offers valuable advice and information to consider before making your move to Costa Rica and all ARCR members receive the “El Residente,” a bi-monthly magazine filled with information about Costa Rica, as well as a list of current and up-coming activities. http://www.arcr.net
Beaches and Surfing
Boasting more than 750 miles of spectacular coastline on two coasts, Costa Rica is home to a myriad of great surf spots and heavenly beaches. From postcard-perfect beach breaks to impressive coral platforms, surfers of all skill levels will find the perfect wave in Costa Rica. The warm water in Costa Rica, combined with world-class breaks and beautiful scenery, makes this country an ideal destination for a surfing adventure or the surfer wishing to relocate to the tropics. For sun worshippers, the beaches here are as varied as the surfing, from rocky beaches to sandy beaches in all the colors of the rainbow, including pink.
Top surf spots in Costa Rica*
Top 10 beaches in Costa Rica*
Nicoya Peninsula: including Tamarindo, Playas Hermosa, Samara, Flamingo, Conchal, and Playa Grande
South of Limón