Kayak through Costa Rica's rivers & mangroves

The best way to see the mangroves is on a kayak in Piedras Blancas National Park
The best way to see the mangroves is on a kayak in Piedras Blancas National Park

Due to its diverse natural landscape and significant number of rivers, Costa Rica is an excellent destination for travelers looking to enjoy kayaking during their vacation.

This relaxing activity is enhanced even more by the natural beauty and abundance of native wildlife that can be found in and around these bodies of water. Tour operators on either of the country's coasts offer tourists a chance to enjoy kayaking adventures that can last up to a few days.

For All Ages

While a number of outdoor activities cater specifically to adventure travelers, kayaking is one sport that can be thoroughly enjoyed by travelers of all ages and interests. Tourists looking to enjoy a relaxing day on the water should make a trip to Tortuguero National Park, where they can ride through the black water canals. The four water trails that wind through the park and provide kayakers with the best chance of viewing wildlife are the Tortuguero River, Harold Canal, Chiquero Canal and Mora Canal.

Where to Go

More adventurous travelers can still enjoy kayaking the rapids by taking a ride through the Pacuare and Reventazon rivers near the town of Turrialba in the Central Valley. Here, tourists looking for an exhilarating rush can make their way through the class V rapids.

Another excellent destination for travelers looking to kayak or canoe is the river community of Sarapiqui, which is located in the northeastern region of Costa Rica. This area is the ideal place for tourists to set up single- or multi-day trips as a number of local companies offer tours that include equipment, food, lodging and even bilingual guides. These locals can often make the difference between a fun adventure and a journey you'll never forget, particularly because of their unique knowledge of the landscape.

Still, the most experienced kayak and canoe enthusiasts can bring along their own gear and enjoy an exciting couple of days on the rapids.

Other Locations

Also located in the northern region of Costa Rica are the Fortuna and Arenal rivers, which provide fantastic opportunities to view some of the country's diverse flora and fauna. With enormous trees hanging over the water, the Fortuna River is an ideal setting to view various monkey species hanging in the trees as well as sloths and a large number of birds.

The Arenal River, which provides breathtaking views of the Arenal Volcano, is known for its lush forests and dense green areas surrounding it. Trekking via kayak or canoe on this river is another excellent way to check out some of the country's abundant wildlife species.

Another great place to kayak is the mangroves of Piedra Blancas National Park. There is numerous amount of wildlife viewing that can be done here in addition to a very relaxing and beautiful way to see the mangroves.