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Best Costa Rica Kayaking Tours

Planning to go on a Costa Rica kayaking adventure? Check out our list of the best kayaking tours in Costa Rica. 

Costa Rica’s beauty can only be accessed and appreciated by boat.

The region’s mangroves, lakes, and other waterways are home to specific wildlife creatures that thrive in such environments. 

An incomparable sense of solitude comes with quietly gliding through the waters, searching for animals and plants to gaze upon.

Compared to hiking, kayaking seems more relaxing and calm-inducing. The dense green forest is a soothing background for an activity such as this. 

What’s best about Costa Rica kayaking tours is that it is open for beginners and experienced paddlers alike.

We also published a Costa Rica Travel Guide and detailed information about Costa Rica transportation to help you plan your vacation.

Best Costa Rica Kayaking Tours

1. Lake Arenal Costa Rica Kayaking Tour

Make this Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour your ultimate choice for a Costa Rica kayaking adventure.

For six hours, discover the beauty of Lake Arenal, the second-largest lake in Central America. 

Your tour operator will arrange your Lake Arenal kayak rental – all you have to do is show up and be ready to get mesmerized by wildlife sightings and the fresh breeze.

Howler monkeys are regular showstoppers in the area, filling the jungle air with their calls. 

Bring your binoculars on your Lake Arenal kayaking for a fun bird-watching activity with your guide.

Some birds you will see during your tour include kingfishers, hummingbirds, and toucans.

Lake Arenal is a thriving environment that houses about 2,000 species of flora and more than 420 species of fauna.

The Arenal Volcano quietly exists nearby, with its commanding majesty displayed for everyone.

Once you feel exhausted from all the active paddling, relax on your kayak and stop to enjoy the peaceful scenery surrounding you.


  • Transportation to and from your hotel
  • Fun and professional guides
  • Tropical fruit break and delicious typical meal
©g-stockstudio via

2. Quepos: Mangrove Kayaking Tour

Fancy going on a mangrove kayak tour in Costa Rica?

One of the best locations for this activity is in Quepos, part of the province of Puntarenas. 

Your Quepos Mangrove Kayaking Tour starts with your expert local guides picking you up from your hotel and briefing you about the activity.

Be ready to exert quite a lot of physical strength during this Damas Island estuary kayak tour because you will be navigating through a series of canals to see the migratory birds that reside in the area during the season.

Some birds you will see during your Isla Damas kayak tour include kingfishers and herons.

Ensure not to forget your binoculars to look at the wildlife your guide is helping you spot.

The Damas Estuary, Costa Rica, is a perfect location for the whole family to get up close and personal with the animals that live on mangroves.

While there is no prior kayaking experience necessary to join this tour, children must be at least eight years of age and able to paddle independently.


  • Transportation
  • Bilingual guides
  • Beverages and lunch or dinner

7 Top Costa Rica Kayaking Places

1. Damas Island Estuary Kayaking, Manuel Antonio:

Navigate the intricate mangroves and tight channels of the Damas Island estuary in Manuel Antonio.

Be vigilant for wildlife, such as monkeys and pumas, and witness vast flocks of wading and water birds.

2. Lake Arenal Kayaking, Arenal Volcano:

Experience an adventure on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest lake, all while soaking in the majestic view of Arenal Volcano.

Its serene waters make this an ideal choice for beginners or younger kayakers.

3. Golfo Dulce Sea & Mangrove Kayaking, Osa Peninsula:

Set out in the clear waters of Golfo Dulce on the Osa Peninsula, with dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and a myriad of marine life.

Nearby rivers provide a chance to delve into jungle mangroves.

Kayaking In Corcovado Costa Rica
©skodonnell via

4. Curu Sea Kayaking, Nicoya Peninsula:

For those seeking a more extended challenge, embark on the Curu Sea Kayaking Tour.

This 4-day, 3-night journey features camping on the secluded Playa Quesera with its pristine white sand and dense forests.

Fill your days exploring this tropical haven, and at night, relax in a cozy tent or a hammock, enjoying stargazing and the peaceful sounds of nature.

5. Coastal Kayaking, Pacific Coast:

Kayaking options abound along the Pacific Coast, with many beachfront hotels offering complimentary rentals or a nominal fee.

Consult with the hotel reception for rental details and nearby beach suggestions.

For an all-day adventure, request a picnic lunch, and don’t forget to grab some snorkeling gear, available at most hotels.

6. Tamarindo Mangrove Estuary Kayaking, Guanacaste:

This 3-hour excursion unveils the diverse ecosystem of Tamarindo’s mangroves in the Guanacaste region.

Quietly paddling through these jungle estuaries often reveals more wildlife than one would typically spot on a boat cruise.

7. Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands Kayaking, South Pacific Coast:

The Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands are Costa Rica’s most expansive wetlands on the secluded South Pacific Coast.

A diverse range of aquatic birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals call this place home.

Watch for crocodiles, iguanas, caimans, cranes, Scarlet Macaws, sea turtles, monkeys, and even sharks.

Book your kayak tour through hotels in and around Uvita for this adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Protect your trip: With all our travel experience, we highly recommend you hit the road with travel insurance! SafetyWing offers flexible & reliable Digital Nomads Travel Medical Insurance at just a third of the price of similar competitor plans.

What are the best kayaking tours for beginners?

While most kayaking tours suit novices, ocean kayaking can be more demanding due to tidal changes. For beginners, kayaking in Lake Arenal or the mangrove estuaries is a gentler choice.

How many rivers are in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is home to 14 primary rivers that flow from its mountainous regions, meandering through valleys and emptying into the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or Lake Nicaragua.

What should I wear kayaking in Costa Rica?

When kayaking in Costa Rica, wear a swimsuit and ensure you’re protected from the sun: use sunscreen, a sun hat, a sun shirt, and sunglasses.

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