ATV in Costa Rica: Advice for a Fun Adventure Experience

Are you interested in going on an ATV tour in Costa Rica?

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.

ATV day tours are one of our favorite day tour activities to do throughout Costa Rica. It is the perfect way to combine some thrilling adventure with enjoying the scenery.

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 in Costa Rica: Advice for a Fun Adventure Experience

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?

ATV in Costa Rica: Advice for a Fun Adventure Experience

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.

Popular ATV Tour Towns

ATV in Costa Rica: Advice for a Fun Adventure Experience

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

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.

Our three favorite ATV tours in La Fortuna are:

Class II-III Rafting and ATV Tour from La Fortuna

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  9 hours | ✅ Book it!

This is a full-day combo tour that includes hotel pick up/ drop off, lunch, snacks, and tons of fun activities!

Your day will consist of:

  • ATV Ride: Kickstart with an ATV journey, offering unmatched views of Arenal Volcano and its verdant valley.
  • White-Water Rafting: Dive into the Rio Balsa’s Class II-III rapids, with expert guidance, and amidst the lush rainforest. Spot monkeys, sloths, and toucans along the way.
  • Tropical Break: Refresh with a tropical fruit snack and a rejuvenating swim in between adventures.
  • Authentic Lunch: Wind down with a traditional Costa Rican lunch at a serene local estate.

Private & Customized ATV Rides and Hot Springs

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  4 hours | ✅ Book it!

This is a private tour and can be customized as needed. Just note that transportation to the meeting point is not included.

The activity consists of:

  • Powerful ATV Ride: Experience the adrenaline rush of a high-spec 4WD, 500cc ATV with power steering and brakes.
  • Customized Routes: Whether you’re a novice or a thrill-seeker, there’s a route tailored for you, from easy trails to challenging off-road terrains.
  • Forest Hot Springs: After the action, relax and rejuvenate in serene hot springs nestled deep within the rainforest.
  • Exclusively Yours: Relish a pr

Original Arenal ATV #1 Arenal Volcano Experience

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours 30 minutes | ✅ Book it!

This is the shortest tour and mainly focuses just on the fun ATV ride. Its the perfect half day activity so you can fit in all the things you want to do in La Fortuna.

The activity includes:

  • Rainforest ATV Ride: Dive into an exhilarating ATV experience on tracks amidst the lush Costa Rican rainforest. You will ride on a private farm adjacent to the Arenal Volcano National Park with stunning views of the iconic volcano.
  • Guided Experience: With expert guidance, navigate the rugged terrains and enjoy a fun-filled mud adventure.
  • Natural Facial: Pause for an optional natural facial treatment, embracing the rejuvenating powers of nature.
  • Convenience: The adventure includes equipment, bottled water, and seamless hotel transfers.

Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a bustling surfing town located about 1.5 hours from the Liberia International Airport. It is the kind of place where people of all interests will find something fun to do. 

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.

Here are our two favorite tour options:

ATV/UTV BEACH TOUR

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✅ Book it!

This is not a private tour, but they keep the groups small and it is a bit cheaper than the private tour listed below. With this ATV tour you will enjoy:

  • Rugged Routes: Navigate through challenging terrains, river crossings, and enjoy panoramic mountain vistas.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife like birds and monkeys, as you traverse the tropical landscape.
  • Flexible Adventures: Upgrade your adventure! Opt for snorkeling, UTV driving, ziplining, or even exploring new ATV areas.
  • Hassle-Free Experience: No prior ATV knowledge is needed. All essential equipment is provided, ensuring a smooth ride.

Private ATV or Buggy Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✅ Book it!

This fun-filled private tour is amazing! You will get the chance to enjoy:

  • Exclusive Exploration: Venture off the usual trails and navigate Tamarindo’s hidden back roads, only accessible by ATV.
  • Diverse Terrain: Ride through captivating forests, across rivers, and to secluded beaches and panoramic viewpoints.
  • Drive Options: Adults can self-drive, while families can opt for double ATVs or buggies. Perfect for every adventurer!
  • Customized Journey: Tailor the experience to your preferences, ensuring a memorable adventure.
  • Comfort & Convenience: Safety first with provided helmets and goggles. Enjoy fresh fruit and refreshments on the go, and relish hassle-free round-trip transfers.

Papagayo

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.

Our top ATV tour in the area is:

ATV Tours Guanacaste

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✅ Book it!

You will enjoy:

  • Jungle ATV Ride: Experience an adrenaline-filled journey through Costa Rica’s jungles, mountains, and towns, led by a private guide.
  • Sardinal Town Exploration: Traverse the charming town of Sardinal, known for its magical history. Enjoy its scenic park, capturing moments with photographs, and soaking in the local ambiance. (30 minutes, Admission: Free)
  • Playas del Coco: Navigate through mountainous terrains to reach the vibrant Playas del Coco. Spot birds, monkeys, and relish the thrill of off-road trails, ensuring a heart-pounding adventure. (1 hour, Admission: Free)
  • Relax at Playa Panama: Conclude your tour at the serene Playa Panama. A perfect spot to unwind, snap photos, encounter wildlife like iguanas, and enjoy the pristine blue waters and sandy shores.

Jaco

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.

4-Hour ATV Waterfall & Delicious Rainforest Lunch

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  4 hours | ✅ Book it!

This fun-filled four hour adventure includes:

  • Trail Adventure: Embark on an exhilarating ATV journey through mountain rainforests, unveiling panoramic views and refreshing waterfall swims.
  • Nature & Villages: Navigate off-beat trails, explore quaint villages, rainforests, rivers, and hidden spots, immersing yourself in Costa Rica’s natural beauty and culture.
  • Mountain Peaks & Canopy Views: Start in the mountains behind Jaco, heading towards the peak, offering breathtaking vistas stretching from Manuel Antonio to the Nicoya Peninsula.
  • Catarata Bijagual Visit: Ride through primary rainforests to the top, enjoying ocean views. Proceed towards Bijagual’s serene village and reach “El Paz Del Campo” for an authentic Costa Rican meal. Discover this hidden Tilapia farm and restaurant, a gem in the midst of nature.
  • Concluding Adventure: Post the memorable meal, journey back through the captivating landscapes, ending the adventure at the ATV Adventure Tours Headquarters in Jaco.

Ocean View Zip Line + 2hr ATV Combo

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  4 -5 hours | ✅ Book it!

  • Double the Fun: Experience Costa Rica’s rainforest from both a bird’s eye view on a zip line and up close on an ATV ride.
  • High-Flying Zip Line: Embark on a thrilling zip line adventure across 10 cables and 12 platforms, including one of Costa Rica’s longest zip lines in the Central Pacific region. Access the top via a 15-minute tractor ride and sail through the treetops.
  • ATV Jungle Adventure: Dive deep into the jungle with a 2-hour ATV ride, exploring trails, rivers, and mud paths. Get panoramic views of the Jaco Beach area, complemented by the guidance of expert bilingual guides.
  • Local Culinary Experience (Optional): After your adventure, opt to savor a traditional Costa Rican “Typical Casado” meal. This dish comprises rice, beans, salad, fried plantain, vegetables, and a choice of meat. Dine surrounded by nature in a refreshing open-air setting. (Additional cost applies)
  • Refreshing Beverages: After a day of excitement, quench your thirst with natural drinks at the park, with the option to purchase more.

3-Hour ATV Jungle Waterfall Adventure

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✅ Book it!

  • Thrilling Journey: Dive into an exhilarating off-road ATV experience in Jaco, navigating rugged mountain paths.
  • Natural Destinations: Ride to a scenic vista point and discover two captivating waterfalls. If you’re feeling brave, take a leap from a 15-foot jump into the waters below.
  • Rainforest Ride: Navigate through the Costa Rican rainforest, crossing rivers and ascending mountains, all on your ATV.
  • Refreshing Stops: Don’t forget your swimsuit! Whether you jump from the waterfall or not, you can still cool off in the natural pools.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Choose from multiple departure times to find a tour slot that perfectly matches your plans.

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. 


ATV Tour Half-Day Trip From Manuel Antonio

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours 30 minutes |  Book it!

This fun-filled tour includes hotel pickups and drop-offs for those in Manuel Antonio. You will also enjoy:

  • Scenic Adventure: Traverse picturesque Costa Rican villages, mountains, and lush tropical rainforests on a guided ATV journey.
  • Cultural & Natural Insights: Follow your bilingual guide through rugged trails, learn about the region’s unique culture and ecosystem, and stop by traditional villages.
  • Wildlife & Waterfalls: Keep an eye out for exotic wildlife and refresh with a dip in a serene waterfall.
  • All-Inclusive Experience: The adventure is bundled with a traditional Costa Rican lunch, bottled water, and the expertise of an informative guide.

Playa Flamingo

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.

ATV Beach and Mountain Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars on Viator | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours |  Book it!

This fun day tour includes:

  • Triple Beach Adventure: Visit three of Costa Rica’s most stunning beaches – Flamingo, Brasilito, and Potrero – all in a single day.
  • Off-Road Exploration: Embark on a thrilling ATV ride, accessing hidden trails and secluded beaches that most travelers miss.
  • Local Insights: Benefit from the expertise of both a local and professional guide, giving you a deeper understanding of the coastal life and the region’s natural wonders.
  • Wildlife Encounters: With your guide’s keen eye, spot unique Costa Rican wildlife, including howler monkeys and iguanas.
  • All-Inclusive Experience: The tour includes hotel pick-ups and drop-offs (selected hotels in Conchal, Flamingo, Brasilito, and Potrero), ATV helmet, and bottled water to keep you hydrated.

Renting an ATV

ATV in Costa Rica: Advice for a Fun Adventure Experience

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

ATV in Costa Rica: Advice for a Fun Adventure Experience

To Wear

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. 

To Bring

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. 

Safety

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. 

Age Limit

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!

Pura Vida!

-Sarah & Thomas

Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know

๐Ÿš— Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?

Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will also allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฝ How can I book things to do?

We find that Viator tends to have the most comprehensive selection of activities with secure booking and good cancellation policies.

๐Ÿ I’m overwhelmed with planning. Can you help?

Of course! I suggest joining our Facebook group for specific questions and head to our Start Here Page to get started planning.

โœˆ๏ธ What is the best way to book a flight?

Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).

๐Ÿ›๏ธ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?

We highly suggest Booking.com for hotel bookings and typically use VRBO for Costa Rica vacation rentals.

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธWhat is the main language in Costa Rica?

The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.

๐Ÿ’ฐ What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colรณn (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas

๐Ÿ“ž What is the best way to stay connected?

An eSIM from Airalo is the easiest way to get 4G data while traveling in Costa Rica.

๐ŸŒด Is Costa Rica safe?

Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.

๐Ÿ›‚ Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.

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