Horseback riding on the beach in Nicaragua. Photo © Boy Driessen/123rf.

Things to Do on Nicaragua’s Northwest Coast

Although a trip to the scenic crater that makes up the highest point of Reserva Natural Volcán Cosigüina is the center point of a trip to this area, you can also relax in the Padre Ramos Wetlands Reserve, take a horseback ride, explore, fish, or lounge on the beach.

Nicaragua's national bird, the turquoise-browed ... Photo © Jeff Grabert/123rf.

Explore Miraflor Nature Reserve in Nicaragua

More than a trip into Estelí’s misty mountains, a visit to Miraflor is a trip backward in time. Miraflor is unabashedly rustic, natural, and unpretentious. Declared a protected natural reserve in 1990, this rudimentary tourist infrastructure was developed by locals. You can certainly visit parts of Miraflor in a day trip from Estelí, but consider experiencing the unique and friendly lodging options.

Rio Celeste Valley in Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica. Photo © Joerg Hackemann/123rf.

Hiking Tenorio Volcano National Park

Volcán Tenorio, rising southeast of Upala, is blanketed in montane rainforest and protected within Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio. Local hiking is superb, albeit often hard going on higher slopes. Cougars and jaguars tread the forests, where birds and beasts abound.

Rafters passing through lowland rainforest on the Río Naranjo. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Outdoor Activities Near Quepos, Costa Rica

The small yet booming port town of Quepos is the gateway for travelers heading to Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, seven kilometers south over a sinuous mountain road lined with hotels, restaurants, and bars. It’s a great base for all kinds of outdoor activities and adventures from sportfishing to horseback riding. You can mangrove estuaries, wildlife habitats, embark on an in-depth farm ecotour experience, and all of that is just for starters.

Paso Fino horses. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Puerto Rico’s Paso Fino Horses

Although not indigenous to Puerto Rico, the Paso Fino horse is closely associated with the island because it was here and in the Dominican Republic where the Spanish conquistadors first introduced the mixed-breed horse. The Paso Fino are superb saddle horses thanks to their unusual gait, high level of endurance, great agility, and remarkable obedience.

A surfer walking on the beach in Malpais. Photo © Keith Levit/123rf.

Things to Do in Malpaís and Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

The shoreline immediately north of Cabo Blanco is a lively surfers’ paradise with some of the best surfing beaches in the country. The past few years have seen phenomenal tourism development, propelling the contiguous communities of Malpaís and Santa Teresa from offbeat obscurity to huge popularity. With this boom comes a surge in nightlife, outdoor activities, and more and more ways to spend your time.

Cyclist in San Jose's Parque la Sabana. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Recreational Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has scores of tour operators offering a complete range of options. Here are recommended general tour operators as well as specific recommended tours from horseback-riding and hiking to bird-watching and cruises and nearly everything between.

View of the Futaleufú river winding through the mountains.

Futaleufú: White-Water Rafting and More

With its reputation for world-class white-water rafting, Futaleufú draws outdoor recreationists like a magnet. Get more information on how to get there, outfitters, and other essentials to plan your trip.