If you are looking for a great combination of thrilling adventure and wildlife viewing, look no further! A Costa Rica ATV tour is the perfect fun-filled half-day or full-day activity.
We created this guide to give you info on the best tours in each area of the country as well as what to look out for before booking, what to wear, safety, and more!
Alright, now on to all the ATV Costa Rica tour info!
What Is an ATV?
ATV is an abbreviation for all-terrain vehicles. You might also hear them called a quad. These are open-air vehicles with four large wheels which are driven like a motorcycle. But, the four wheels give the vehicle extra stability.
Some are designed for a single person and some have space for a passenger on the back.
In Costa Rica, it is often possible to also take a tour on utility terrain vehicles (UTV’s). These are vehicles that offer side-by-side seating. These are great if you plan to take kids on the tour.
What Can I Expect on ATV Tour in Costa Rica?
Your experience will vary based on the company and details of the tour. However, usually, you can expect a thrilling adventure with an experienced guide. Usually, there will be a stop for snacks such as fruit and drinks.
Your guide might point out wildlife such as sloths and monkeys during your tour. They are typically very knowledgeable about wildlife and can answer any questions you have.
Most tours include transportation from and back to your area hotel. We suggest booking a tour with transportation so you don’t have to worry about driving to a meeting point.
Note: If you opt to rent a car for your Costa Rica vacation (which we usually suggest) we have a 10% discount plus other great perks for you from our favorite local rental car company, Adobe.
Popular ATV Tour Towns
It is usually possible to find ATV tours all over the country, but here are a few of our favorite places to go on a tour….
La Fortuna is the most popular jungle town in Costa Rica. Here you can enjoy tons of activities including zip lining, swimming under a waterfall, relaxing in hot springs, white water rafting, and of course, an ATV tour!
We like La Fortuna for ATV tours because often they combine an ATV ride with other fun-filled activities for a full day of adventure.
For example, below you can book a combo tour with white water rafting or one with a visit to a hot spring. ↓
With an ATV tour here you can expect a mix of riding on beaches, through rivers, and in jungle areas with plenty of fun hills.
The Papagayo Peninsula is home to many of the nicest resorts in the country. It is a great place to visit due to its proximity to the Liberia International Airport.
ATV tours here are a mix of beautiful white sand beaches and jungle.
Jaco is the nearest Pacific beach town from the capital city of San Jose. In our opinion, it is not the nicest town, but it is a great jumping-off point for fun day trips. We like the nearby towns of Herradura and Playa Hermosa as places to stay.
There are so many great tour options here! We suggest a tour that combines an ATV ride with another fun option such as visiting a waterfall or zip lining.
Manuel Antonio / Quepos
Manuel Antonio is one of the most Central Pacific beach town to visit because it is home to the most popular national park in the country, Manuel Antonio National Park. Here you can see tons of flora and fauna in a condensed setting.
Playa Flamingo is a beach town that consists of a lot of more high rise condo style accommodation options. This beach is considered one of the nicest beaches in the country due to its white sand and clear turquoise waters.
The tours here are usually a mix of beach and mountain.
Renting an ATV
In some places, you can rent your own ATV to enjoy on your own without a tour.
One of the most popular places for this is the town of Santa Teresa.
The roads in this town aren’t paved, so almost everyone drives around the town on ATV with their surfboards attached to the back.
Advice for ATV Adventures
First off, don’t wear anything you care a lot about. You are bound to get really dirty while on this activity. What we suggest wearing includes…
Pants – We suggest wearing longer shorts of pants for this adventure. You may get warm, but there is nothing worse than the burns your get from your upper legs rubbing against the seat if you are bouncing around a lot.
Bandana – Bring a bandana to wrap around your face. This will help prevent debris from getting in your mouth and nose.
UV Protective Shirt – The sun in Costa Rica is strong. A UV-protecting shirt will help you stay protected while in the sun for a lengthy amount of time. Plus, these shirts are usually made of lightweight breathable fabric which is perfect for your ATV experience.
Sunglasses or Glasses – It most likely will be sunny so you will want your sunglasses, but either way, some type of glasses will provide protection from dirt and other debris going into your eyes while zooming along.
Glasses Strap – If you plan on wearing glasses a glasses strap will keep them from flying off when you make some crazy ATV moves.
Helmet – The company you take your ATV tour with will provide helmets and will require that you wear them. Make sure you secure it tightly and keep it on at all times while riding.
Sturdy Shoes – You will not be allowed to wear open-toe shoes while riding an ATV. We suggest sneakers or boots. And, keep in mind that they may get completely covered in mud.
Sunscreen – The sun is strong here. We suggest SPF 50+ for maximum protection.
Bug Spray – If you are riding through the jungle or swampy areas you might experience a lot of mosquitos. Bring some bug spray just in case.
Change of Clothes – If you plan on doing anything after your ATV tour, you should probably bring a change of clothes because there is a good chance you will get very muddy.
Wet Wipes – I love to be able to do a quick wipe down of my skin after getting covered in mud.
Water Bottle – We like Lifestraw bottles because they filter out a lot of bacteria. We still suggest buying bottled water, but if you have to drink the sink water here, this will help protect you from things you might not be used to.
You will be given a helmet to wear for your tour. Make sure you actually wear it and secure it properly.
Also, most ATV tour companies do these rides every day and have well-trained guides. But always trust your instincts. If something feels unsafe to you, then don’t participate in it.
Each tour operator will determine their own age limit. Typically, only people over 16 years of age are able to drive an ATV. You should bring your driver’s license or be willing to sign a waiver. However, usually, kids over the age of five or six are allowed to participate in a side-by-side ATV.
And that is all for ATV tours in Costa Rica. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!