Kayaking in Costa Rica
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Kayaking in Costa Rica is just as diverse as the country itself. There are several types of kayaking — from sea kayaking to mangrove kayaking — that you can experience during your trip to Costa Rica. Regardless of where you are staying in Costa Rica — you will be able to find fun kayaking tours nearby that allow for unique nature and wildlife encounters and memorable experiences.
Costa Rica Kayaking Options
Sea kayaking (or ocean kayaking) is a fun way to encounter tropical fish and marine life without snorkeling, diving, or even getting wet. Sea kayaking tours in Costa Rica are often found on the Pacific Coast and often require more skill than kayaking in a lake or mangrove estuary since the waves are choppier and more challenging to navigate.
During your sea kayaking experience, you may spot dolphins, sea turtles, and even sharks!
Kayak fishing is a type of inshore fishing, so you will likely catch wahoo, snapper, mahi-mahi, and other common species in the Pacific Ocean. Most beach towns will have kayak rentals and fishing gear to purchase or rent to make your sea kayaking adventure a breeze.
Costa Rica is filled with mangroves — groups of mangrove trees and shrubs that have adapted to a saltwater environment. In fact, most rivers in Costa Rica end in a mangrove estuary where the river meets the ocean.
Kayaking through mangrove estuaries is a great option for beginning kayakers because of the calm and peaceful waters. If you book a kayak tour with a naturalist guide, they can point out incredible wildlife sightings on your trip, including monkeys, birds, sloths, and even flying fish!
Another easy option for beginning kayakers is Lake Arenal. Lake Arenal is an artificial lake at the base of Arenal Volcano with calm waters, beautiful views, and some of the best kayaking tours in Costa Rica.
Though there are other lakes in Costa Rica, Lake Arenal is the largest and most popular lake for kayaking in Costa Rica.
If you have been kayaking for a while and are looking for a challenge, white-water kayaking in Costa Rica may be the perfect option for you.
Costa Rica is filled with dozens of excellent white-water rafting rivers, including the Pacuare River, Naranjo River, and Sarapiqui River. While you are paddling through the rapids, you can spot wildlife, like birds, monkeys, and sloths, with the help of a nature guide.
Costa Rica Vacation
Costa Rica Kayaking Locations
Damas Island Estuary
Damas Island Estuary in Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular locations for kayaking tours in Costa Rica. While you are wading through the calm waters of the mangrove estuary, you will likely see monkeys, pumas, and hundreds of tropical birds.
Lake Arenal in Arenal Volcano National Park is the largest (and best) lake for kayaking in Costa Rica. The views of Arenal Volcano are incredible from the lake, and since the water is calm, it is easy to enjoy them. After your kayaking adventure, you can even explore some of the nearby hiking trails in the park to see the lake from a whole new vantage point.
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is filled with mangroves, canals, and coves you can paddle through on a kayaking tour. This park is teeming with wildlife, so you will likely see monkeys, sea turtles, lizards, and birds while paddling through the mangroves.
If you are an experienced kayaker looking for a fun adventure, the Curu Sea Kayaking Tour in the Nicoya Peninsula is the perfect experience for you.
You will spend four days and three nights exploring the jungles, oceans, and other waterways in Costa Rica during the day and camping on a tranquil white-sand beach at night. The Curu Sea Kayaking Tour is only intended for expert kayakers — but if you are up for the challenge, it is an incredible experience filled with wildlife, adventure, and natural beauty.
Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands
The Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands are located on the Southern Pacific Coast, between Uvita and Corcovado National Park. They are the largest wetlands in Costa Rica and one of the best places to embark on a kayaking adventure to see tons of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for Scarlet Macaws, cranes, crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys, and even sharks.
Tamarindo Beach is one of the most popular beach town destinations in Costa Rica. It also happens to be a spectacular location for kayaking — you can go paddling in the ocean or explore the mangrove estuary just off Tamarindo Bay on a kayaking tour.
Stay with Special Places of Costa Rica for Quick Access to Fabulous Kayaking Experiences
Special Places of Costa Rica has hundreds of vacation rentals to choose from in the Guanacaste Province. While you are here, you will be just a short distance away from destinations where you can kayak through mangroves, ocean waves, white-water rapids, and more! Browse our rentals to find the perfect place to stay during your trip to Costa Rica.