It's no secret that Costa Rica has some of the best hiking trails in the world. With unparalleled natural beauty and a stunning variety of exotic plants and animals, a hiking tour in Costa Rica is a real adventure. If you're planning a hiking vacation in Costa Rica, you'll definitely want to check out the trails of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Coastline at Curu Wildlife Refuge
Coastline at Curu Wildlife Refuge

A gentle stroll...

Regardless of whether you're an experienced hiker or a first-timer, the Nicoya Peninsula has a number of trails that are perfect for visitors of all skill levels. One of the best places to start your hiking adventure is the Curu Wildlife Reserve. This park has eight different trails of varying difficulty, and some of the most impressive wildlife found anywhere in the country.

Beginners should probably start with either the Quesera, Laguna or Ceiba routes. Offering spectacular scenery and the chance to meet animals such as howler monkeys, kinkajous and tapirs, these trails are easier to navigate than some of the other routes in the park.

The Quesera trail takes about two hours to complete, and ends in a small bay with a secluded beach. Laguna runs along a picturesque lagoon and fringes areas of pastoral land, ideal for spotting some of the region's more relaxed critters like deer. The Rio Curu river runs through the Ceiba route, offering some breathtaking views and the chance to see creatures such as squirrel monkeys and anteaters.

Or a test of skill?

For experienced hikers and adventurous visitors, the Posa Colorado, Killer and Avispero routes are significantly more challenging.

Although the Posa Colorado trail starts out gently, don't be fooled - after a mile or so, it soon becomes much tougher. The route features a stunning viewpoint of the Tortuga Islands, after which the trail becomes rugged, suitable only for experienced hikers.

As the name implies, the Killer trail is one of the toughest in Costa Rica. Fringing a series of steep cliffs and featuring challenging terrain, this route is a real test of hikers' skill. The Avispero route is an extension of the Killer trail, and is only accessible during the dry season due to its narrow paths and rocky terrain. 

Great fun, great exercise

There are few better ways for tourists to see everything that Costa Rica has to offer than on hiking tours. Before setting off on your adventure, check the conditions of any routes you plan on tackling with a park ranger to make sure that it's safe. You never know - maybe I'll see you on your travels!