Costa Rica is most popularly known for its amazing beaches, surfing, its mesmerizing forests, hiking, and overall beautiful landscapes. There are historical landmarks all over the country, and of course the conservation effort is alive, well, and thriving. As with any place though, there are other things to do than what you see in the travel brochures. I would know, I’ve looked at all the brochures, and I’ve hopped all over the country! While adventure is calling in Costa Rica, there are some activities that are just as awesome, even if they are underrated. Here are a few of the most underrated Costa Rica activities, as collected by me over the years:

Javi the Frog relaxing on Flamingo Beach Resort pool
Javi the Frog relaxing on Flamingo Beach Resort pool

1. Read by the pool

Yes, it’s true that Costa Rica is a land of adventure, but a vacation is also about getting in a little rest and relaxation. Whether you are traveling alone or in a group, you’ll find that Costa Rica is a great place to read, in general. The atmosphere is relaxed and the stress levels are low. While you’re likely to fill most of your days with hiking and other high profile activities, try to fit in some time to just sit by the pool with your favorite book. It will be just as great a memory to have as that memory of you zip lining in the forest. Click here for some of the best hotel pools...

Precolumbian gold pieces made by Costa Rica indigenous, Gold Museum
Precolumbian gold pieces made by Costa Rica indigenous, Gold Museum

2. Go to museums

Sure, if you’re at home, or if it’s a school field trip, museums sound boring. But in Costa Rica, the museums are a cultural experience. From kid’s museums to museums for sciences, arts, insects, and jade – there is something for everyone. The museums here are rich with knowledge, and with cool artifacts. They are also a great place for you to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family!

Relaxing Yoga class on Montezuma beach
Relaxing Yoga class on Montezuma beach

3. Do yoga on the beach

No yoga mat needed! Whether you go as sunrise, sunset, or practice some natural hot yoga in the middle of the day, there is nothing like yoga on one of Costa Rica’s many, world­famous beaches. If you are someone that practices yoga every day, you can make yourself a Costa Rica beach yoga bucket list; try to do yoga on tan, white, and black sand beaches during your stay! Namaste.

Playa Grande Beach Break Surf
Playa Grande Beach Break Surf

4. Go for a ATV ride

Atv's and water activities are definitely the most talked about things to do in Costa Rica, but getting on four wheels is a great way to see the sights! Many of the hotels that I have stayed out during my travels around the country have offered ATV rentals, and if they don’t, you can usually find a local vendor to rent from. Hop on your rented ATV and travel around the cities, or use a trail, and you’ll see Costa Rica in a whole new way!

A large crowd at the Palmares Fiestas, Palmares (photo by vmv205)
A large crowd at the Palmares Fiestas, Palmares (photo by vmv205)

5. Go to a concert or see a play

While seeing a concert or play might seem like something you’d do at home, you should also consider doing it while visiting Costa Rica. Here, you won’t see the regular old stuff that you’d see back home; instead you’ll see some more of the culture of Costa Rica! Head out to see some of the country’s most popular bands – trust me, the locals will show you a great time!

Soccer sand field at Jaco Beach, Best Western Hotel
Soccer sand field at Jaco Beach, Best Western Hotel

6. Play beach Soccer

Most of the time, I fill my Costa Rica articles with beach activities like watching the turtles nest, surfing, or snorkeling. I also talk about how you can visit the beaches to get some sun, or to watch the sun rise or set. But what if you are somewhere in the middle? You don’t want to just lay around on the beach, but you aren’t into the water activities – what then? Well, how about playing some beach soccer? You’ll still be outside, enjoying the amazing views that my country offers, out of the water, and active playing the most popular sport in Costa Rica.

Beach bar at Tamarindo
Beach bar at Tamarindo

7. Hang out with the locals

I have to say, one of the most underrated things about Costa Rica is the locals. While the beauty of my country takes center stay, don’t forget about the locals. Ticos are some of the friendliest people in the world! Unlike some other countries that might not welcome travelers from all over, Ticos will be happy to show you around, teach you some dance moves, and entertain you with stories of their country.

Javi the Frog checking out the new micro-beers of Costa Rica - Segua & Libertas
Javi the Frog checking out the new micro-beers of Costa Rica - Segua & Libertas

8. Visit a brewery

Handcrafted beer is on the rise in Costa Rica, and I couldn’t be happier! It’s great to taste so many different beers. There are a lot of new craft beers here, and you can either visit one brewery, or you can take a craft beer tour to treat your taste buds. Check out which microbreweries are open in the areas where you’ll be visiting, and make a checklist of all the ones that you want to visit.

Ticos chating in Alajuela main Park
Ticos chating in Alajuela main Park

9. Hang out at the park

While there is a lot to do in Costa Rica, that doesn’t mean that you need to try to do it all, or that you need to constantly be doing something. One of the most underrated things to do, wherever you visit – and definitely in Costa Rica – is to simply head to the park to hand out, people watch, and immerse yourself in the culture. Here, you can take in the surrounding town or city, and watch people go about their everyday life. While museums and tours are a great way to get a pulse of the culture of Costa Rica, there is nothing like just getting out there to experience it for yourself. Without the distractions of our awesome lineup of adventures and activities, you can enjoy the simple things, and the native life.