Central America might be small, but that doesn’t mean there’s little to do. This is especially true when it comes to adventure—from volcano boarding to swimming with sharks, there are plenty of adrenaline-spiking adventures to choose from. Here are just a few of our favorites:
1. Zip Lining in Costa Rica
If you’ve ever dreamed of soaring through the jungle canopy, then zip lining in Costa Rica is for you. You won’t see much wildlife zipping 30 miles an hour, but you will get fantastic jungle views. We recommend zip lining in Monteverde for a particularly memorable adventure.
2. Volcano Boarding
If you’re looking for a unique adventure, then you can’t beat volcano boarding at Cerro Nero in Nicaragua. Participants are given a jumpsuit and goggles and then instructed on how to hurtle down a steep volcano slope on a sled-like piece of plywood.
3. Hiking Corcovado National Park
Costa Rica might be increasingly touristy, but Corcovado National Park remains the Wild West of the country. Hire a guide for a three-day hike that takes you deep into the jungle and amongst tapirs, monkeys, macaws and even jaguars.
4. Scuba Diving in Belize
If you’re a scuba diver, then chances are you’ve dreamed of diving in the Blue Hole. Declared one of the top 10 diving sites in the world by Jacques Cousteau, this dive will take you into the perfectly circular 400 ft. blue hole, where encounters with sharks are a common occurrence. After your dive, there are plenty of other off-the-beaten-path adventures in Belize to keep you occupied.
5. White Water Rafting in Panama
The Chiriqui area near Boquete is said to have some of the best white water rafting in all of Panama; with unspoiled mountain scenery and a large variety of crystal-clear rivers, it’s hardly any wonder why. Adventurers can choose from Class III to IV rafting and kayaking down the Chiriqui or Chiriqui Viejo River.
6. Cross-Country Cycling
If you’re really up for an epic adventure, then why not try cycling from San Jose, Costa Rica all the way to Belize? This five-week journey reveals the highlights of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize while allowing you an intimate perspective of the region from the seat of your bike. It’s not an easy journey, but it is bound to be a memorable one.
7. Rock Climb Cerro Quemado
Rock climbers can’t miss the opportunity to scale the side of Cerro Quemado, a dormant volcano in Guatemala. The volcanic rocks are ideal for climbing and the views from the top astounding. If rock climbing isn’t for you, it’s also possible to hike to Cerro Quemado’s summit.
8. Swim With Whale Sharks in Utila
Utila is one of the best places in the world to have an intimate encounter with whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean. These gentle giants are phenomenal, and though you should always give them respect, it is possible to get quite close to them for a photo of epic proportions.
9. Surf in El Salvador
El Salvador’s sleepy beaches are some of the best places in Central America to grab a board and try to surf. The East Coast boasts plenty of beginner-friendly waves, while La Libertad is world-renowned for its more advanced (and slightly gritty) surf scene.
10. Go Canyoning
Canyoning is an adventure activity increasing in popularity all around Central America, and for good reason—who wouldn’t want to rappell down rushing waterfalls and steep mountain canyons? Costa Rica is a great place to give the adventure a try, with plenty of canyoning spots around the country.
Are any of these activities on your list of things to do?