Tours & Activities

Our favorite things to do in Costa Rica

 

We Create Experiences

At Leaves and Lizards, your Costa Rica activities and tours are personalized and can be customized to meet your needs. We believe in creating high quality, safe, and memorable experiences for our guests, and we are committed to providing the best tours in Costa Rica.

Scroll down to explore your options. If you don’t see what you are looking for, just ask! We can make arrangements for a wide variety of activities. Remember to leave some time in your vacation to just sit and relax! Just hanging out is a great way to spend a day too!

Professional Guide for a Day

Arenal Volcano Private Guide

Consistantly one of our most popular Costa Rica tours option, our professional, bilingual, naturalist guide will  lead you on a unique
adventure.  Tour the country side or pick a National Park to explore; you never know what you will discover! The perfect choice for bird watching or understanding the secrets of the rain forest.  Immerse yourself in the culture, go to places where tourists rarely tread.

Favorites include: Arenal National Park, Rio Celeste, Arenal Hanging Bridges, El Silenco Reserve and Bird Watching.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards

Time: Full day: 8 hours OR Half Day: 4 hours

Cost: Full day: $125 OR Half Day: $85 Please Note: Park entrance fees not included. Transportation is not included.

Degree of difficulty: You set the activity level, fun for all ages!


Proyecto Asis Wildlife Rescue

Costa Rica Jungle HikeJoin Alvaro del Castillo and his dedicated team at Proyecto Asis Wild Animal Rescue Center. Take a private tour or volunteer your time while learning about conservation of the rain forest and wild life in Costa Rica. Advance reservation is required. They offer AM and PM options 2 times per day.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards and PROYECTO ASIS

Cost: $18-54 p/p TRANSPORTATION NOT INCLUDED

Time: 8:30 am and 1:00 pm. At least 3 hours, tour or volunteer.

Degree of difficulty: Easy – fun for everyone!


Jungle River Safari Boat, Float and Kayak Tours

Float along a jungle shrouded river, spotting monkeys, tropical birds, reptiles and other flora and fauna of the rain forest. We offer a private raft float trip on the Penas Blancas River, a pontoon boat trip or kayak on the Rio Frio in the Cano Negro area. For birders, photographers and nature enthusiasts, this is ‘must do’ Costa Rica tour!

This tour is for nature lovers of all ages. If you are lucky you may even spot the rare Golden Howler Monkey or a 5-foot tall Jabaru stork!

Operator: Leaves and Lizards

Time: Rio Penas Blancas Safari Float 4 hours (best for families with small children) or  Kayak Cano Negro/Rio Frio.

Cano Negro/Rio Frio Pontoon 8 hours TRANSPORTATION NOT INCLUDED.

Cost: Cano Negro/Rio Frio $65-$85/pp. Penas Blancas Safari Float $65-$85/pp. Kayak Trip $145-$185/pp. Inquire for current rates. Advance reservation required.

Degree of difficulty: Cano Negro and Safari Float Easy and fun for all ages! Kayak trip is moderately strenuous.

Canopy Zip Line

 

Arenal Volcano Zip Line TourExperience one of the safest, highest and longest canopy tours in Costa Rica! After detailed safety instructions you will hike through primary rain forest in this 1200 acre nature preserve to reach the first platform. After 3 practice zip lines over pristine jungle, you will zoom over two 300 foot waterfalls.  What an adrenaline rush! There are a total of 11 zip lines; the longest is nearly 1 kilometer. This tour includes a tour of a butterfly garden, frog garden and a visit to a traditional Maleku Indian Village. Transportation is not included.

Operator:  We usually recommend Mundo Aventura. Ask us about the best options in the area to suit your expectations, we’ve experienced them all!

Time: Allow 4 hours, tours are usually offered three times daily at or around 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Try the Combo Zip line/Rappel along side the 300 foot Penas Blancas Waterfall at Mundo Aventura!

Cost:  Canopy Zipline at Mundo Aventura is who we usually recommend.  See Rate sheet for current rates. Minimum age 6 years.

Degree of difficulty: Moderately strenuous, you may take the option of having a “taxi” on the zip lines, a guide will link his harness to yours.

Please Note: It is often better to wait until you get here to make these reservations. Weather conditions can often affect planned activities. Most commercial operators will not offer refunds with a less than 48 hour notice. We are happy to help make the reservations. There are several other operators in the area, we can discuss the differences between the experiences when you get here.


Canyoning

 

Arenal Volcano Waterfall CanyoningTrek through the forest on magical trails that lead to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica, a place very few people get to experience.  You will explore beautiful and pristine canyons with picturesque waterfalls.

Operator: Pure Trek, Desafio or Spider Monkey Canyon

Time: Trips offered at several times during the day. Ask for current times schedules.

Cost: $90.00 to $101, includes lunch, transportation is not included. See rate sheet for information on rates.

Degree of difficulty: Moderately strenuous, no experience necessary. The Desafio experience has minimum and maximum age requirements.

Please Note: It is better to wait until you get here to make these reservations. Weather conditions can often affect planned activities. Most commercial operators will not offer refunds with a less than 48 hour notice. We are happy to make these reservations upon your arrival.


The Best Horseback Riding in Costa Rica!

 

Stand with a horse in a lush green landscape. Feel his warm, soft rhythmic breath on your arm, look deep into his soulful brown eyes, watch his ears flicker towards you and discover how 60 million years of equine evolutionary instincts can help you unlock your own natural sensing abilities.  Ride with us and really ride or learn to ride.

Our horseback riding tours are not typical nose-to-tail type rides. We keep a stable of loved and cared for horses.

We have a variety of horses appropriate for the novice rider to the very experienced rider. We are considered one of the best horseback riding destinations in Central America.

The Costa Rica horses, Costarricense de Paso also known as Criollo, are a combination of several Spanish horses (Barb, Andalusian, Arab) and the Peruvian Stepping Horse. This magical mix has created horses with a smooth gait and very comfortable ride. The spirit of these horses will touch your soul. They are fearless, hardworking and extremely versatile; they can perform in a dancing horse parade (Tope) in the morning and round up cattle in the afternoon! The horses at Leaves and Lizards are cared for and trained by Ronald Perez Rojas using relationship based natural horsemanship techniques.  Let us introduce you to a Criollo ride!

Operator: Leaves and Lizards

Time:   As requested

Cost: $70.00/ride per person (around 2 hours)

Degree of difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Due to the smaller stature of Costa Rica horses, in general, we have a 250 pound weight limit.


Our Waterfall Horseback Ride

 

After an orientation to relationship based riding, you will ride our well cared for Leaves and Lizards horses to a nearby waterfall. Your private guides will point out the flora and fauna along the way. You may encounter poison dart frogs, toucans, monkeys and sloths while riding though pasture and rain forest. Then hike for 20 minutes through  rain forest to our private waterfall hidden in this jungle canyon. Enjoy a refreshing swim below the falls, relax for a while and listen to the jungle before riding back to Leaves and Lizards.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards, part of our Rural Tourism Project

Time: 5-6 hours -time varies according to how long you want to ride and swim. You need to allow at least 5 hours for this tour.

Cost: $89.00 p/p

Degree of difficulty: Horseback riding experience is not necessary. Moderate.  Riders will be paired with a horse according to your riding ability/experience. Ask about minimum age.  Younger riders may ride with a guide or be ponied.

Due to the smaller stature of Costa Rica horses, in general, we have a 250 pound weight limit.


Cowboy for a Day

 

Ever dream of living the life of a rancher or cowboy? Spend the day with a real Costa Rican rancher. The activities in this tour vary; depending upon what work needs to be done. The typical tour starts early, with your Costa Rican Cowboy mentors. You may move the cattle into a corral for routine care, give medications, inspect them for any needed medical care, help with branding and separate the young or females ready to calf from the large herd. Then move them to another location, often through rivers, over hills through the beautiful countryside.  Our host rancher would like at least a 2 day notice to prepare for this tour.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards. For a Cultural Immersion experience, consider a home stay at our friend’s working dairy farm, Finca El Tuete.

Cost: $100- $120/pp. Varies, includes meals, professional bi-lingual guide.

Time: Full-day tour

Degree of difficulty: Moderately strenuous, previous horseback riding experience is required. This tour is part of our community/rural tourism project. Not for children under 14. To experience this tour you will first have had to do another ride with us.


Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

Smooth sailing

Join Eric Kolesar for a day of water fun and exploration on beautiful Lake Arenal. Paddle Boarding is fun for everyone. These wide and stable boards are perfect for beginners or experienced paddlers. Glide along the clean waters of Lake Arenal, enjoy surreal views of the Arenal Volcano and spot wildlife along the jungley shores of the lake.

Operator: Leaves & Lizards

Cost: $25-$75/person

Time: As requested

Degree of difficulty: Moderately strenuous. Minimum age and weight requirements.

Please Note: It is better to wait until you get here to make these reservations. Weather conditions can often affect planned activities. We are happy to make these reservations upon your arrival.


Whitewater Rafting

 

White Water Rafting near the Arenal Volcano Costa RicaWhitewater rafting is one of the most popular Costa Rica tours. If you are ready for exhilarating fun consider a whitewater rafting trip. Paddle your day away as you roar through lush canyons, traveling through large expanses of tropical rain forest. The rivers vary from an easy Class II and III rivers to adrenaline pumping Class IV whitewater.

Operator: Wave Expeditions

Cost: $70.00 Balsa River Class II and III; $89.00 Sarapiqui River Class III and IV, includes lunch.  Check out the WAVE LINK option and make use of a travel day to/from the San Jose area. Raft a river on your way here!

Time: Allow a full day for either river.

Degree of difficulty: Moderately strenuous. Minimum age and weight requirements.

Please Note: It is better to wait until you get here to make these reservations. Weather conditions can often affect planned activities. Most commercial operators will not offer refunds with a less than 48 hour notice. We are happy to make these reservations upon your arrival.


Venado Caverns

 

Venado Caverns Costa RicaIf wading in an underground river, spying strange blind crickets, frogs and spiders while bats flutter above your head sounds fun, then this is the tour for you! The Venado Caverns extend for about 2 miles along an underground river, displaying, fossils, stalagmites and stalactites in fascinating formations.

Operator: Venado Caverns

Time: 5 hours TRANSPORTATION NOT INCLUDED

Cost: $25.00 per person, Guided – pay at park entrance, minimum age 10

Degree of difficulty: Mildly strenuous


Hot Air Balloon

 

Hot Air Balloon ride over Costa Rican rainforestCosta Rica provides unquestionably the most fascinating ballooning in the world – low and slow drifting, over rain forests or mountain villages, caressing the tops of giant trees, dipping into white water rivers or chasing monkeys in the tree-tops. With the right climactic conditions, you may find yourself ascending to watch the awesome, smoking Arenal Volcano.

Operator: Serendipity Adventures

Cost: $675.00- $1200, Minimum 2 people TRANSPORTATION NOT INCLUDED

Time: Take off is at sunrise. The trip lasts from 1 hour to 1.5 hours.

Degree of difficulty: Easy and fun for all ages!

Paradise on a Platter

Costa Rica Cooking TourCulinary Tour! Experience the fresh tastes of Costa Rica! Learn traditional cooking techniques, with hands-on participation. Prepare authentic cuisine with fresh, tropical ingredients. This tour offers a rich, cross-cultural experience. Learn to prepare a variety of traditional Costa Rica recipes from our cooks in the Lava Lizard Restaurant.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards

Time: 3 hours

Cost: $25/pp includes lunch

Degree of difficulty: Easy


Dia de Campo – Tico Farm Tour

Go beyond our little farm and go off to ‘Day Camp’ Costa Rican style. Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture. The day may consists of milking cows, making cheese, tortillas, a variety of farm chores. Activities may vary and weather conditions.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards, part of our Rural Tourism Project.

Time: 6 hours

Cost: $65.00 per person, $45.00 children (<12); Transportation $20, lunch and snacks included

Degree of difficulty: Easy, fun for all ages, one of our most popular tours!


Rainforest Chocolate Tour

Understand how Chocolate is made.

In this 1,5-hour “hands on” program, you will have the opportunity to participate in the production process, from the

harvesting of the fruit, drying and grinding of the seeds. Prepare the traditional Cacao drink of our ancestors and enjoy high quality organic chocolate. Enjoy this journey through the history, culture and flavor!   

Operator: Rainforest Chocolate Tour

Time: 1.5 hours. Tours offered at 8am, 1pm, 3pm.

Cost: $25-$44 (rates for private tours and group tours). Transportation not included.

Degree of difficulty: Easy fun for everyone.

Hoja’s SPA Services

Spa experience at Leaves and Lizards Costa Rica retreat

AHHH!

Experience Leaves and Lizards ‘Hojas Spa’. Our professional masseuse uses natural and traditional methods to sooth your body and soul.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards

Time: Spa Hours: 9am to 7pm

Cost: SPECIAL CHAKRA & REFLEXOLOGY & MASSAGE (THERAPEUTIC/HOT STONE/DEEP) 70 MINUTES FOR $65!!! Rates Vary. Massages, Manicures, Pedicures, Facials, Hot Rock Massage, Body Wraps, Chakra and Reflexology re-balancing.

Degree of difficulty: Very relaxing!


Yoga Services

 

Experience yoga in the jungle on our peaceful yoga deck. Daily classes during peak seasons and workshops. Take your practice to another level, or explore yoga as a beginner.

Operator: Leaves and Lizards

Time:  Daily yoga during peak seasons and workshop/retreats.  Private sessions time are variable.

Cost: Daily Group Yoga $12/pp/sesson. Private Classes $25/hour

Degree of difficulty: Classes are customized to the needs of our guests.


Eco Termales Hot Springs

 

Eco Termales hot springs in Costa Rica near Arenal VolcanoEco Termales Hot Springs is a sanctuary. This secluded property has been the life work of the Hidalgo family. The smallest of the Arenal area hot springs, Eco Termales is geared toward privacy and relaxation and does not accept more than 100 visitors at a time. Reservations are required. The 5 pools vary in temperature, the coolest one is 91F degrees and the hottest one is 105 F degrees and there is a cold pool as well. You can also reserve a delicious typical Costa Rican lunch or dinner. There are other hot spring options in the area. Only Eco Termales requires reservations. 

PLEASE NOTE: It is best not to make reservations at other hot springs. They will not refund the money if you change your mind. Reservations are not necessary for Tabacon.

Operator: Eco Termales

Cost: $32.00 p/p, $47.00 w/lunch or dinner, $20.00/$34.00 child; pay at the springs. Prices may change.

Time: Advance reservations required 10 AM – 1 PM, 1 PM – 5 PM, 5 PM -9 PM TRANSPORTATION NOT INCLUDED

Degree of difficulty: Enchanting and relaxing for everyone!

ARENAL HOT SPRINGS OPTIONS

Eponicity Equine Assisted Learning

Eponicity One Day Workshops Information Click Here

Eponicity is Eponaquest based equine facilitated learning methods that encourage us to look within ourselves to find balance, regain strength, renew spirit and rediscover our power. Horses teach us to be authentic with ourselves and within our communities. Let the special horses at Leaves and Lizards lead you to a place of peace and understanding. We offer multi-day workshops, riding treks and one day mini-workshops. Certified Eponaquest instructors Sally Nilsson or Debbie Legg will lead this journey of connection.   This activity is suitable for individuals, couples and families or corporate groups.

Corporate Team Building Workshops at Leaves and Lizards

Operator: Leaves and Lizards  Eponicity Equine Facilitated Learning

Time: Full day, weekly workshops and treks

Cost: Varies

Degree of difficulty: Easy to Moderate. All work can be done on the ground, there is no need to ride.

Eponicity One Day Workshop Testimonials:

CV, Psychologist; “ …I was amazed how each of my children could step into the arena on their own and work through their unique and precise areas of growth. It truly almost felt like it was magic, but rather it was just deep intuition from Debbie, Sally and mostly the horses! ”

QS, 6 year old: “…my horse know when I was scared, I felt like he comforted me, then he helped me see that I am strong, and I wasn’t scared anymore!”

SA, 10 year old; “…I am being bullied in school, and Titan taught me how to stand my ground without becoming a bully too. I felt good understanding how to be dominant in a good way.”

EV, 12 year old;…”I saw my family in a different way, it was nice to do the activity together we grew closer, I know more about myself now….I learned how  to understand when to back off, when I come on too strong.”

KR, Psycholgist; “…What amazed me is how the horses mirrored or pulled out dynamics that I see in my children, wife, and myself, and what they pulled out is exactly what each of us needed to see. How does a horse do that??!!!. Nature, and these wonderful horses, helped me step into a greater awareness of myself and my family…”


Professional Coaching Services

Sally Nilsson Coaching

Sally Nilsson is a certified executive coach with the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC), experienced facilitator, mentor and instructor in Eponaquest & Power of the Herd horse-led leadership and personal development activities. Sally spent 15 years as a corporate attorney in London and Hong Kong, starting her career in a leading global law firm and culminating as General Counsel of a well-known European real-estate investment firm with a multi-national team of lawyers – her communication skills and emotional intelligence have always been at the core of her leadership style. Sally first discovered Leaves and Lizards by chance on a riding vacation and a few years later in 2015, stepped off the corporate path to follow her passion, move to Costa Rica and focus her full attention on supporting others to find the life they truly want – and to believe, that like her, they can create it.

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Operator: The Dandelion Life at Leaves and Lizards

Time: By Appointment on-site or by SKYPE.

 Full Brochure of Services Click  Link: Sally Nilsson Coaching


Professional Photography Classes

Remember this trip to Costa Rica forever with beautiful, professional pictures!

Take photos like a pro!

PACKAGE 1 – SNAP LIKE A PRO ~ Do you have a great camera but your photos won’t stand out?Let Leila, our professional photographer, teach you how to take the best vacation pictures! Learn how to get the most out of your camera and make your photos stand out! Whether you have a  fancy smart phone or a top technology camera, learn professional tips on how to photograph wildlife, portraits, excursions, learn editing techniques, how to use of editing software and so much more!

 

Audrey Pages

PACKAGE 2 – SHARED MOMENTS ~ Do you want to rest and enjoy your vacation while having beautiful memories of it? Leila offers a photography package and takes pictures of your stay at Leaves & Lizards.  You receive a beautiful personalized photo gallery of your stay that you can share with friends and family! Click Here For Sample Album

PACKAGE 3 – MAKE ME AN ALBUM ~ Have you ever taken pictures of  a special vacation and don’t have time to do anything with it? With this package, let Leila take your own photos and videos and select the best, edit them and put them together on a beautiful photo gallery and video slideshow that you can share with friends and family.  Click Here for Sample Video This service is only $30! 

PACKAGE 4 – HEAD-SHOTS ~ Have you always wanted your professional portrait taken but never took the time to do it? Take advantage of the beautiful landscapes in Costa Rica to get beautiful head shots of you or professional portrait of  your family!

Operator : Leïla Pagès (on-site photographer)

Time : Full day (8 hours) OR 1/2 day (4 hours) OR Hourly

Cost :

  • PACKAGE 1 : $30 per hour / $100 for a half day / $150 for a full day
  • PACKAGE 2 : $150 for a gallery of 80 pictures
  • PACKAGE 3 : $30 per photo album
  • PACKAGE 4 : $30 for 2 photos (+$10 per additional pictures)

Degree or difficulty : All ages and all levels are welcome!

Fun stuff to do for free

  • Swimming down at the Arenal River
  • Leaves and Lizards farm chores (milk the cow, collect eggs clean the pig pen!)
  • Farmers markets
  • Local soccer games
  • Local festivals and celebrations
  • Tabacon River free hot springs
  • Hiking on our 3 km of trails
  • Hammock time
  • Grooming our horses
  • Taking our dog for a walk
  • Unguided hiking at Rio Celeste, El Silenco or Arenal National Park

Please Note:

  • Rates for tours not based at Leaves and Lizards are set by the vendor. We carefully select our outside tour providers based on safety, value and experience.
  • Some of our tours require 24 hour advance reservation.
  • Once a professional guide is scheduled a cancellation fee of ½ the tour rate will be charged if the tour is canceled with less than 48 hours notice.
  • Rates and service are subject to change at any time.
  • Weather conditions may limit tour availability.
  • Transportation is not included in most cases. Ask about options.
  • Tours operated by Leaves and Lizards are part of our rural tourism project. Rural tourism promotes community involvement and cross cultural exchanges between locals and our guests. Part of the proceeds from our community based tours go back into the community.
  • Leaves and Lizards is located in the mountains, Monterrey (AKA Santa Domingo) above the busy tourist center of La Fortuna, San Carlos. We are a 30-40 minute drive form the major commercial attractions in the area.