While there is a host of things to do in and around the Pura Vida Ecolodge Reserve, a lot of our guests choose to dedicate at least a small part of their vacation and experience to exploring what is probably Costa Rica's hidden gem, 'La Zona Sur' (South Pacific Zone) where 'eco-tourism' and sustainability is slowly making its mark. Below you will see a fairly extensive guide to what is available in the area and once we receive your reservation, we are always 'at-hand' to help put together some exciting activities whatever your tastes. 

A lot of the suggested 'tours & activities' are half-day or full-day adventures (while some you can independently choose how long you wish to indulge...). Whether you're amongst friends, family or perhaps escaping the urban madness on honeymoon, there will be something for you... and because of their relatively close vicinity, you'll still have the chance to enjoy that long leisurely breakfast & daybreak yoga session in the morning or get back to the retreat to enjoy the sunset with a fruit blend by later afternoon...

We take great pride at Pura Vida Ecolodge in succesfully collaborating with a handful of exclusive , eco-friendly and  'local' operators offering the following exciting excursions, tours and activities.


Pura Vida Boat Adventure (Mangroves, Fishing, Playa Garza, Nature)

This tour is run by our housekeeper Gerzan and is for the guests who are after something a little different to the ‘more commercial’ tours in the area. This is your chance to see & discover the real side of Costa Rica & it's hidden gem, the ‘Zona Sur’. The adventure begins in the village of Coronado which backs onto the mangroves & historically was a fishing village where the locals collected, treated & traded the carbon found in the roots of the mangroves – often used as a kind of dye for fabrics. We board the small motor-boat (also equipped with oars for the smaller channels of the mangroves). The boat is fairly small (with numbers limited to a maximum of 6) but is the perfect way to glide through the mangroves, travel across the Rio Terraba & admire nature along the way until we arrive at the stunning beach of Playa Garca, backed by thousands of coconut palms and pineapple plantations.

As the trip generally leaves first thing in the morning, the surrounding rain forest is coming to life as the sun rises, with a good variety of wildlife on offer. Gerzan & Ily (your local hosts) will bring some fishing lines where you can try your luck to catch ‘parga’ in the labyrinth of mangroves or indeed in the main river Terraba, or if you prefer, just sit back and admire the spectacular scenery, surroundings, nature and sea breeze.

The real reward is after the adventure of navigating the mangroves and crossing the river, when you will arrive at the secret Playa Garza, named after the thousands of birds that visit the countless kilometres of dark volcanic sand every day. After leaving the boat at the pier, there is a short walk through coconut and pineapple plantations to the deserted beach. Here you can swim, sunbathe or drink coconut after coconut. Further info is in the welcome pack and can be seen on their NEW Facebook Page -


Isla de Caño (Diving, snorkeling, whale watching)

Caño Island Biological Reserve is located 16.5 kms west of the Osa Peninsula in the Pacific Ocean and consist of 300 hectares of land and 2,700 hectares of sea. The jagged coastline is 10 kms long with small beaches of white sand, rocky platforms and cliffs up to 60 meters high. In the center of the island there is a wide plateau which is divided into two parts by a watershed which is crisscrossed by rivers and streams that plunge down the cliffs to the sea.

Caño Island is one of Costa-Rica's premier snorkeling and diving spots. The island is surrounded by 5 marine platforms or low coral reefs where 15 species of stony corals have been indentified and offers an array of fish species in the clear waters surrounding the island.

Your adventure will begin with a short 90-minute boat ride across the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean to Caño Island. Along the way, it is likely that we will encounter turtles, manta rays, spotted spinner or bottlenose dolphins swimming from the boat. Upon arrival, our divemaster will point out the best spots for sighting marine life and as well lead divers through the exotic underwater realm. Our snorkeling trips give you the opportunity to explore the reefs and island at your leisure.

While underwater, one can encounter species of fish like the king angel, moorish idol, puffers, surgeon fish, snapper, barracuda, barber fish, parrot fish, damsel fish and a variety of eels hiding around the coral lined rock formations. Turtles, rays and the non-aggressive reef shark can also be spotted.

Between dives, the island offers idylic sandy beaches, coconut palms and offer a shaded picnic area next to the beach where you can enjoy your lunch and trails leading into the jungle allowing you to explore the island and its hidden waterfalls a little further.



Caño Island Dive Sites

EL BAJO DEL DIABLO (THE DEPTH OF THE DEVIL) El Bajo Del Diablo known as the Depth of the Devil is the best site by far which consist of a huge area sub-divided into many secluded sites. The towering rock pinnacles range from over 150 ft to just under 20 ft which provides one of the best sites to encounter Moray eel, Mantas, Spotted Eagle Rays and more than 4 different species of eels. Its incredible maze of peaks and valleys is the home of Groupers, Snappers and Amberjack reaching 70lb and gives divers a chance to swim amongst enormous schools of tuna, barracuda, reef sharks and scores of tropical fish.

CUEVA DEL TIBURON (SHARK CAVE) Cueva Del Tiburon known as the Shark Cave is surrounded by beautiful white tip reef sharks. Other inhabitants of the area include angels, butterfly, damsels, parrot fish, moorish idols, lobsters, puffers, sturgeon fish. Occasional visitors like the mantas and stingrays can also be found in this area which adds to a lifetime experience for any diver.

LOS ARCOS (THE ARCHES) Los Arcos or The Arches are made up of unique rock formations formed in the shape of arches. Divers can swim through these towering underwater arches and see fish life similar to the Shark Cave due to its close proximity.

EL BARCO (THE WRECK) El Barco has no wreck here but is referred as the wreck. It is made up of a variety of rock formations with areas with the most plentiful hard corals. The large array of fish life provides divers opportunities to encounter white tip reef sharks, manta rays and occasional sea turtles.

PARAISO (PARADISE) Paraiso or Paradise is famous for its abundant marine life which offers divers the experience to encounter whitetip sharks, schools of big groupers, snappers, tuna and its many smaller species of tropical fish.



All human beings dream of flying like a bird. Make this dream a reality by joining us for a tandem paragliding flight along Costa Rica's Pacific Ocean coastline. You do not need to have any previous experience, training or special physical conditioning. After a few minutes of instructions from your pilot, you will be ready for a completely safe and secure flight. Enjoy the experience of free flight with pilots who are specially trained and certified in tandem paragliding flights.


Parque Nacional de Manuel Antonio

Although one of Costa Rica's smallest National Park, Manuel Antonio is really quite special. On a good day, at the right time, it's easy to convince yourself that you;ve died and gone to a coconut filled paradise. The park's clearly marked system of trails winds through rainforest-backed tropical beaches and rocky headlands and the views across the bay to the pristine outer islands are unforgettable. As if this wasn't enough of a 'hard sell', add to the experience iguanas, howler monkeys, capuchins, sloths and squirrel moekeys and you've got yourselves a good day out! The park is currently open 7am - 4pm Tuesday- Sunday.

Manuel Antonio is absolutely stunning, and on a good day, at the right time, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’ve died and gone to a coconut-filled paradise. The park’s clearly marked trail system winds through rainforest-backed tropical beaches and rocky headlands, and the views across the bay to the pristine outer islands are unforgettable. As if this wasn’t enough of a hard sell, add to the mix iguanas, howlers, capuchins, sloths and squirrel monkeys.


AirPark (2 Passenger Light Aircraft Tour)

Set just outside Uvita, this particular tour is not for the faint-hearted but rather the adrenalin junkie! Within a few seconds of take-off you will be witness to some of the most dramatic coastlines and beaches on the Pacific. including the famous Whale's Tail beach and rock formation in the Marino Ballena National Park. This is the world from above! 


Horse riding (The Farms of Coronado, Tortuga sunset tour or Nauyaca Falls)

There are various horseback riding tours both on Pura Vida Ecolodge's doorstep as well as more adventurous options further inland. Some tours are designed with romance and sunsets in mind, whereas other local options give guests an insight of the working of a typical Costa Rican farm or 'granja' in the areais over. The recent 'favourite' is a half-day tour (led by 'Macho') leaving right from the lodge and then going up to El Pavon (a great local spot for a dip in a stunning waterfall and then a tasty 'tico' lunch at the neighbouring restuarant). Be sure to ask Gerzan for more details.

In contrast at Nauyaca Falls, a 12 kilometer route with three resting periods, departing from the base camp, passing by Casa de Don Lulo’s, where you will have a delicious and typical Costa Rican breakfast. 

This particular tour takes approximately from 45 minutes to one hour up to “Don Lulo’s house”. After breakfast and observing animals in the family’s mini-zoo, the ride continues on for 25 minutes until arriving at the waterfalls themselves. There is excellent swimming in the huge natural plunge pools as well as excellent jumping and diving options - for the more adventurous among you!


Parque Nacional de Corcovado

As the guidebooks say, it’s not uncommon to use superlatives when describing the Península de Osa, Corcovado and the Golfo Dulce. National Geographic famously described it as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth.’ That’s right, on earth. Residents claim it is the most picturesque, the most pristine, the most perfect spot in Costa Rica. Certainly, indisputably, it is the most remote (which goes a long way toward explaining why the other adjectives also apply).

The Osa area contains a huge swathe of Pacific rain forest crammed with life. What’s more, you can actually see it. From the army ants toiling away, to the scarlet macaws squawking in the almond trees, from Baird’s tapirs hanging around Sirena ranger station, to the four species of monkeys swinging in the trees, this is undoubtedly Costa Rica’s top spot to witness life at its wildest.

It’s not uncommon to use superlatives when describing the Península de Osa and the Golfo Dulce. National Geographic famously described it as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth.’ That’s right, on earth. Residents claim it is the most picturesque, the most pristine, the most perfect spot in Costa Rica. Certainly, indisputably, it is the most remote (which goes a long way toward explaining why the other adjectives also apply).


Surf & Stand-up Paddle Board  (Dominical, Uvita, Ventanas)

Costa Rica Coast has some of the finest surf in Central America and surfers searching for the perfect surf getaway have been coming to Costa Rica for years, year round surfing in its warm waters without a wetsuit, its beautiful beaches and clean surf breaks from every coastline being the key ingredients.

Dominical is a very good option for those looking for similar conditions to Playa Hermosa in a more relaxed atmosphere. The surf here is mostly beach break, however, tends to close out on bigger swells as it is not as steep as Hermosa. There is a point break just to the south which offers some good surf on a bigger swell. Dominical, is a small laid back town surrounded by pristine rainforest and beautiful coastlines. This surfer’s paradise offers great surf, numerous local restaurants, bars and a wild nightlife. Dominical is geared towards serious surfers who wish to avoid the heavy crowds of Playa Hermosa and are looking for a more relaxed, tropical atmosphere.

But Dominical definitely isn't the only option when it comes to serious surfing. For the more adventurous ones among you, (or if you want to just step away from the slightly 'beaten track') you may like to consider more 'rugged' options the South Pacific zone offers the extreme adventurer with an opportunity to witness one of the few untouched, pristine regions in Costa Rica. Where the Talamanca Mountain Range gently slopes into the South Pacific Ocean and waterfalls cascade down and spill onto the beaches, you will find a plethora of bays, beaches and inlets offering strong beach breaks with lefts and rights. While May to November generally host the larger breaks, a fairly consistent break can be found for all levels throughout the year and starting with the closest to Pura Vida Ecolodge - Tortuga, Ventanas, Pinuelas, Arco, Uvita, Dominicalito and of course Domincal, are all great options and worth exploring.

Here they say “Pura Vida”, meaning “Man, it’s fine!” One of our partners, Tito, the founder of one of the local surf schools, began to surf at 11 years old in 1998…and is a good pace to start, whatever your level, if you're a beginner, intermediate, or even an advanced surfer, there are options to tailor a custom package just for you. Packages include surfing lessons, surfing trips and surfboard rentals from both Dominical and Uvita -

You can also get in touch with Pineapple Tours ( &  Dominical Wave Rider ( two surf shops based in Dominical that hire boards and offer a variety of lessons and excursions.


Cataratas Nauyaca (Nauyaca Waterfalls)

Nauyaca Waterfalls is a totally Costa Rican owned family tourism company, dedicated for several years to tour operations. These are horseback riding tours traveling through the farm that border with two impressive waterfalls from Río Barucito.

These majestic waterfalls are one of the main attractions of the southern region in Costa Rica, not only for their natural scenic beauty, which offers the tourist moments of recreation and fun, but also to participate in different activities such as horseback ridign tours, swimming, climbing, jumping and to observe much of the beauty of the tropical rainforest, among others.

Nauyaca Waterfalls is the ideal place, not only for those in search of tranquility and nature, but also for adventure and excitement lovers.

They are a reference point for adventure ecotourism as they are recognized worldwide for their beauty and the excellent services they provide.



Isla Del Caño is one of the most popular destinations for sailing tours and charters and is a small island in the Bahia de Coronado (Bay of Coronado) in Costa Rica. It is on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, east of the Peninsula de Osa. It has been established as a protected national park, with a permanent ranger station on the island.

Nonetheless, it is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors for its beaches, coral beds, and sea life. Marine life includes manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles, whales, and a wide variety of fish. The island has a great historical and archaeological legacy: it was considered an ancient indian cementery, but the most amazing finding is the great number of stone spheres found throughout the island. Some are almost perfect and have different sizes.

The vegetation is quite similar to Corcovado National Park. The only mammals present are pigs and tepezcuintles. There is a trail going around the whole island, including a rather special waterfall and plunge pool. There are latrines and drinkable water at the Rangers station.


Canopy Tour (Zip-lining, repelling, suspension bridges)

A canopy tour is an adventure like none other you will experience. It consists of a network of cables that are strung from one tower to another high above the jungle floor. Riders travel along the wire via a specially-designed harness that is safe and secure as it glides along the zipline. The force of gravity propels the rider along the cable, giving the rider the feeling of flying through the air in the majesty of nature until they reach the next platform where more spectacular views await.



Enjoy an ocean kayak paddle and discover some of Costa Rica's most rugged and natural  coastline. A plethora of caves, arches and stacks await you at Playa Ventanas along with other island tours such as Las Tres Hermanas.


Deep sea sports fishing

The South Pacific coast (and of course their deeper waters) offer a selection of different world class fishing trips to choose from. With over eleven years of fishing experience our partners will guarantee you some of the best fishing Costa Rica has to offer with Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Tuna, Wahoo, Roosterfish, Snapper and many more. Enjoy the ultimate saltwater challenge in Costa Rica…



Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world for rafting because of the diverse river formations that made ​​our rainforests. Guests can enjoy spectacular scenery while choosing between one of the slower river paths or perhaps opting for adrenaline & excitement on one of the quicker routes. 

Rivers are classified into classes according to their intensity, among them are Guabo River & Rio Savegre Class II and III; Rio Coto Brus offers class III and IV. 

Local tours can last a full or half day and generally include transportation, lunch and a professional guide/team and usually start from Uvita or Dominical. Further afield, there is the Pacuare River which is ranked as one of the top five rivers in the world to white water raft. What earns the Pacuare River this acclaim is its eighteen miles of class III and class IV rapids and some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Costa Rica. Adrenalin junkies get to enjoy the thrill of the rapids, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds the river such as cascading waterfalls and a variety of tropical flora and fauna. Experienced, specialized rafting guides, top of the line equipment, and a day full of safe and exciting adventures on the Rio Pacuare are guaranteed. Tours typically begin near the town of Tres Equis; one hour East of Turrialba. 



Canyoning, also known as 'canyoneering' in North America, is a vertical sport that involves descending a series of waterfalls using techniques like rappelling, jumping, sliding, and boulder scrambling. The canyon tour involves mostly rappelling with 6 waterfalls varying in height that are in succession from smallest to biggest. Guests therefore can become comfortable with rappelling before descending Iguana Falls, the last and most adrenaline pumping waterfall.

All the techniques are demonstrated by professional qualified guides with over 12 years of international canyon guiding experince (Switzerland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Japan and Costa Rica). A truly unique waterfall rappelling experience that you will never forget!

When guests reach the first waterfall (which is 5 meters, or 15 feet high) they will be taught the fundamentals and proper techniques of rappelling. Then you are on your way – with 5 more waterfalls to go! The largest of the falls is 25 meters, or 75 feet! The canyon ends at the Uvita River where there are some pristine swimming holes to relax, reflect or simply spash around. Then the Canyon Cruzer will pick you up and take you back to the Base Camp or you can arrange your own transportation (4x4)

You need to be an active person in good health. There are no special skills and experience required for the canyoning tour, just a good sense of adventure! Also, it;s worth noting that Canyoning is kid friendly! Children must be 11 years or older to participate. 


Cerro Chirripo 

Cerro Chirripó is the name of the highest point in Costa Rica is part of La Amistad International Park. The massif is located on the border between the cantons of Perez Zeledon (San Jose) , Turrialba ( Cartago) , Limon and Talamanca. The summit is at 3820 meters above sea level ( 12,530 feet), and is the best known of the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain, and one of the highest in Central America. It offers the visitor stunning landscapes including glacial lakes and both coastlines (Cartibbean & Pacific) and on a clear day you can also see 3/4 of the country and Panamanian territory. At its highest point plains , steep points, glacial lakes , forests and variety of nature, flora and fauna can be enjoyed.

The only way to get to this point is to walk up a mountain about 20 kilometers, which is typically done in two stages. In the first step you climb to 3400 meters setting off at around 6 or 7am, where the Refugio El Paramo, which has electricity services & drinking water, cooking utensils etc  (sleeps 80 people). The second stage is usually performed the next morning on a walk of 5 miles of moderate intensity and a time of 2-3 hours. For more info: