ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) are a popular way to explore the rainforests, beaches, and mountains in Costa Rica. They are ideal for families, couples, and adventure-seekers and can accommodate a wide range of skill levels (and thrill levels!).
If you want to embark on a thrilling adventure off the beaten path in Costa Rica — an ATV tour is perfect for you. Keep reading to learn more about planning the perfect Costa Rica ATV adventure!
What to Expect on a Costa Rican ATV Tour
If you book an ATV ride through a tour provider, expect an adrenaline-pumping ride through rugged terrain, remote villages, and beautiful landscapes with an experienced guide.
Safety equipment and instructions will be provided before the tour, so you can practice in a safe environment before you hit the road. Remember to bring your driver’s license, sunscreen, and closed-toed shoes. You might also want to bring a change of clothes — you will get dusty during the dry season and muddy during the green season.
Many tours will point out wildlife, like sloths and monkeys, during your ATV tour. Some tour providers even offer a combo tour, which pairs your ATV experience with another activity, like horseback riding, zip-lining, or a waterfall hike. Many half-day or full-day adventures provide travelers with a traditional Costa Rican lunch.
Best Places to Ride ATVs in Costa Rica
You can find ATV tours in the following destinations in Costa Rica. Some destinations will allow experienced riders to rent their own ATV to use on a half-day or full-day basis.
Tamarindo is the perfect place to embark on an ATV tour if you want your ride to include a little bit of everything — beaches, rivers, and hilly jungle areas. It’s a popular beach town in Guanacaste that attracts all types of travelers, from thrill-seekers to beach bums.
You will find dozens of tour providers offering ATV tours from Tamarindo Beach that cater to all lengths (from one to four hours) and skill levels. Some tours will even whisk you away to neighboring beaches, like Playa Flamingo and Playa Conchal!
If you are spending time in Central Costa Rica along the Pacific Coast, you must book an ATV tour in Manuel Antonio National Park or Quepos (the nearby town).
ATV adventures in Manuel Antonio offer a little bit of everything, like Tamarindo— you will usually see the beach, rainforest, and local villages, in addition to plenty of wildlife, including toucans, monkeys, and iguanas. On some ATV tours in Manuel Antonio, you can stop and swim in the river or at the base of a gorgeous waterfall — so bring your swimsuit!
La Fortuna is a popular jungle town in Costa Rica that sits at the base of Arenal Volcano — the most famous active volcano in Costa Rica. It is a popular destination for several fun activities in Costa Rica, from kayaking and hiking to relaxing in hot springs. However, it is also a well-known destination for an off-road adventure!
This jungle town is the ideal place for an ATV adventure because of the rugged mountain terrain, thanks to Arenal Volcano, and the native wildlife you can spot during your ride, such as sloths, monkeys, exotic birds, and more!
Playa Flamingo is one of the most stunning resort towns in the country, known for its white-sand beaches and turquoise-blue waters. However, it is not only one of the best places to stay in Costa Rica — it is also one of the best places to go on an ATV tour!
ATV adventures in Playa Flamingo typically include a mix of riding along the nearby beaches — including Playa Brasilito and Playa Potrero — as well as riding up in the mountains and rainforest overlooking the beach.
Jaco is a lively beach town on the Pacific Coast of the Puntarenas Province in Costa Rica. It is known for its surfing beaches, nightlife, and of course, ATV adventures!
You will leave Jaco Beach and venture into the surrounding remote villages and rainforest trails on your ATV tour. During your ride, you will likely see native flora, fauna, and even a few stunning waterfalls before returning to the beach.
ATV Adventure Tours in Costa Rica
If you are looking for the perfect ATV tour in Costa Rica, check out this ATV Adrenaline Adventure Tour. This half-day adventure takes you through rugged backroads, hillsides, and muddy swamps — so while you will have fun, you will get dirty!
With this ATV tour, you can also add a zip-lining experience for the chance to sail over the stunning beaches, rainforests, and wildlife in Playa Flamingo. This tour includes water, fruit, snacks, transportation with A/C, and a bilingual guide. Participants must be at least 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license.
ATV Riding in Costa Rica FAQs
Do you need a license to drive an ATV in Costa Rica?
Yes, you need a valid license to operate an ATV in Costa Rica. Typically, only people over the age of 16 are permitted to drive an ATV. Many tour providers will allow children over the age of 12 to ride double on an ATV with their parents or an experienced guide.
What should I wear on an ATV ride in Costa Rica?
You should not wear any clothing you care too much about while ATV riding in Costa Rica — your clothes and shoes will get dirty! We recommend wearing long shorts or pants, a lightweight shirt, sunglasses to keep the sun (and mud) out of your eyes, and closed-toe shoes.
We also recommend bringing sunscreen, bug spray, a change of clothes, a water bottle, and a swimsuit and towel if your ATV tour involves swimming in waterfalls, rivers, lakes, etc.
Do I need to take any safety precautions before an ATV ride in Costa Rica?
If you book an ATV ride with a tour provider, they will provide you with all the safety equipment you need — including a helmet. Be sure to secure the helmet correctly and follow all safety instructions from your guide.
Stay with Special Places of Costa Rica for a Relaxing Place to Stay After an Epic ATV Adventure
If you are on the hunt for a thrilling adventure that will allow you to see as much natural beauty as possible — a Costa Rica ATV tour may be the perfect activity for your vacation!
If you are planning a Costa Rica vacation, we hope you will consider our vacation rentals with Special Places of Costa Rica. We offer hundreds of rentals in popular beach towns, including Playa Flamingo, Playas del Coco, and Playa Potrero — and you will find plenty of opportunities for ATV rides in these towns, too!Browse our available properties to find the right stay for your vacation.
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We are very proud of our professional maid service staff, who provide regular cleaning for some 150 properties — and do it with a smile. A half-dozen maids provide full-time service at a single house, but all the rest rotate among a wide variety of properties from Matapalo to Playa del Coco.
Maids are responsible not just for cleaning but for staging the house, with everything in its proper place, and keeping track of inventory (so that, for example, new clients don’t check in and find there’s no toilet paper). At times, say on Jan. 2, there are so many checkouts and check-ins that the maids bring their sisters, brothers and mothers to get all the work done.
Full-time maids assigned to a single property assist clients with shopping, cooking and laundry, and they often form close bonds with clients. It’s no surprise that our clients often want to take their maids home with them.
Special Places of Costa Rica employs two full-time maintenance men who service all our properties, plus a handful of caretakers dedicated to a single property each.
These men will fix just about any problem that arises — leaks, electrical and plumbing issues, a door that scrapes on a floor, a noisy ceiling fan… you name it. They also paint homes and provide roofing maintenance.
Our maintenance staff are available 24/7 for emergencies like a burst pipe that causes a flood. Special Places of Costa Rica also enjoys a network of qualified subcontractors to handle swimming pool service, gardening / landscaping and repairs to air conditioning units & kitchen appliances.
Steven, from Potrero, is a rental agent for Special Places. He processes rental inquiries, checks on property availability, makes reservations and helps with check-in and check-out info.
Steven has worked at three hotels: as a bellman at Casa Chameleon in Las Catalinas, as a receptionist in the Sugar Beach Hotel near there, and as a receptionist at Jardín del Edén in Tamarindo. He has a bachelor’s degree in teaching English from the Universidad Latina in Santa Cruz, and someday he hopes to teach English at his old high school in Cartagena.
Steven likes to ride his Kawasaki 250 dirt bike in the Potrero Hills, around Las Catalinas and in Tempate. He’s also interested in cars and mechanics, and he’s skilled at repairing motorcycles.
Quote: “I think work is a very important tool that helps us to fulfill ourselves as human beings in life and to improve on what we already know.”
Rebeca is an accounting assistant at Special Places, processing invoices and accounts payable and monitoring vehicle fleet expenses.
Originally from San José, she studied accounting at two institutions there and spent years working in accounting for two international shipping firms.
She currently lives in Santa Cruz, where she is married and has dogs and cats. She is a big fan of the Saprissa soccer team and also likes going to the beach and the movies.
Quote: “Haz bien y no mires a quién,” meaning, “Do good without considering to whom.”
Born in Samar Province in the Philippines, Phem has a two-year degree in computer science from the Asian Institute of Computer Studies. She came to Costa Rica at age 19 to work for her aunt, who owned the Mariner Inn in Flamingo. She later worked for House of Rentals, then Special Places of Costa Rica when the companies merged. As a concierge, she books tours, rental cars, chefs or whatever clients need to make their stay enjoyable. “Whatever they request, you do it,” she said.
She enjoys “having a connection to people, meeting different people, helping people.” Her proudest accomplishment was moving from the Philippines to Costa Rica to explore better opportunities. She recommends that visitors to Flamingo try an ATV tour, a catamaran cruise, rappelling or whitewater rafting.
Quote: “I love Potrero. I live in Surfside. It’s quiet, safe, and people there are very accommodating, nice, friendly, always willing to help you. They’re open to anyone. I like that community. And the bars are within walking distance.”
Pascale, Kenny’s mother and business partner, is the head accountant at Special Places. She is responsible for all the accounting, billing and taxes, managing the maid service, setting work schedules and procuring cleaning products.
Pascale is from Antwerp, Belgium, where she and her husband had a food-service business specializing in poultry. But they often traveled to the Caribbean and Central America, and in 2009 decided to move to Costa Rica.
“We thought it was time to follow some dreams, so we sold the business and came to Costa Rica,” she said. They traveled to every corner of the country, but they fell in love with Guanacaste and decided to settle in Flamingo. They couldn’t find a house that satisfied Pascale’s handyman husband, so they built their own on the hills above Potrero in Pacific Heights.
She says her proudest accomplishment is “bringing two beautiful sons into the world.”
Quote: “The way we raised them, they were very independent. We taught them to work also. Of course, school came first. To us it’s white and black, and the gray doesn’t exist. It’s good or bad.”
Norlyng coordinates the maintenance of all Special Places properties, and she’s also in charge of Human Relations and is an assistant to Kenny Segers.
Born in Limón but a longtime resident of Matapalo, she previously worked as a receptionist at the Best Western Seis Playas Hotel. She also spent six years at the Wyndham Tamarindo, working as head of reception and as an administrative assistant.
Norlyng studied law for a year and a half at the University of Costa Rica in Liberia, but currently she is more focused on tourism. She is married and has two daughters, ages 9 and 2. Her interests include reading (the Bible, inspirational works and finance) and going to relaxing places.
Quote: “My philosophy of life is to live in the present and try not to worry about the future, to have clear objectives, to try not to stress too much and to act in the present.”
A native of Brasilito, Karolayn has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Universidad Latina in Santa Cruz. She is responsible for the billing, accounting and filing at Special Places.
She enjoys hiking and swimming, and her favorite local places are Playa Danta and Playa Conchal. Asked what activity she would recommend to visitors, she said riding a Banana Boat, an inflatable, banana-shaped boat towed behind a speedboat.
Quote: “The working environment here is very nice, very tranquilo. We get along really well, the management, the coworkers, and also the maids and maintenance people. Also, in my job I’ve learned a lot of things that in university classes they don’t teach. It gives you the opportunity to learn and grow.”
A native of Antwerp, Belgium, Kenny emigrated to Costa Rica in 2008. Having graduated from high school in Belgium, he studied economics and business administration in Costa Rica. Eager to go into business, Kenny left university to work as a property manager for House of Rentals in Flamingo, which he acquired not long after starting the job. House of Rentals grew into Special Places of Costa Rica, currently represented by offices in Playa Flamingo and Playas del Coco, and known as one of the leading agencies in the area.
Kenny speaks and writes fluent Spanish, English and Dutch. He is the proud father of a Costa Rican son, Khael, who was born in 2016.
Passionate about his growing vacation rental and management business, Kenny is always looking for investments and opportunities. Hotel Pitaya Lodge (formerly Kakaos Lodge) is also under his management.
In 2020, he began building the first of several homes as part of a newly launched project development/construction company.
Juan Carlos works as a rental agent, attending to any questions about renting a property, explaining the options available, answering any questions and supporting the concierge team in extra services like tours or transport.
Juan Carlos was born in San José and currently lives in Potrero. He has worked for some 15 years in sales or customer service at hotels, including the Hotel Barceló in San José, the Hotel Parador in Manuel Antonio and the Lagarta Lodge in Nosara.
He also studied English at the Instituto Norteamericano in San José, earning a C2 certification in English. He has also taken several courses in administration.
Juan Carlos likes walking on the beach (“so I’m definitely in the right place”) with his French bulldog. “They’re very mischievous but very sweet, very good company.”
Quote: “I always say, ‘It costs nothing to smile.’ I always like to convey that people should be happy no matter what.”
Juan Diego, who was born and raised in Villarreal, works as a concierge. That means he helps visitors arrange tours and transportation, rental cars, airport pickup and dropoff, and other services.
Juan Diego studied sustainable tourism management at UNED, the Universidad Estatal a Distancia, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 2013. He has worked as an admin for the Dream Chaser catamaran in Tamarindo, as a receptionist at the Hotel Pasatiempo in Tamarindo, and as a concierge at the Hotel Dreams Las Mareas in El Jobo.
Juan Diego enjoys watching HBO series and movies, riding his bike, going out with friends and watching the sunset on the beach.
Quote: “I like concierge work because I get to help a lot of people, fulfilling the dreams of tourists who visit a beautiful country like Costa Rica that’s full of nature.”
José does property inspections, check-ins and check-outs for Special Places, making sure that properties are in great shape for new clients.
Born in Limón, he currently lives in Cartagena. He went to high school at Liceo Experimental Bilingüe de Santa Cruz, and he spent seven years working as a waiter and bartender at the JW Marriotts in Hacienda Pinilla and Reserva Conchal.
He enjoys going to the beach, listening to music, watching movies and series, playing video games and spending time with family.
Quote: “If you’re afraid of dying, it’s better not to be born.”
A native of Nicoya who lives in Cartagena, Jhon works in accounting at Special Places, calculating reservation contracts, sales commissions and billing. He has been studying accounting at the Universidad Latina in Santa Cruz for a year and a half.
His goal is to have an accounting firm of his own. His favorite hobby is artisanal fishing, usually from a boat out of Flamingo, and he once caught a 70-pound mahi-mahi. He also has caught marlin in Tamarindo and Quepos.
His greatest pride is a nearly 2-year-old daughter named Elizabeth Aitana.
Quote: “I think the most marvelous thing that’s happened to me would be the birth of my daughter. That’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
Jason is a concierge and rental specialist with an interesting job — knocking on new clients’ doors to see if they need anything or would like to book any tours or other services.
Born in Limón and currently living in Huacas, Jason speaks flawless English. He has taken some university courses on websites and social media marketing. He is married, no kids, but has a cat named Kirara.
Jason previously worked as a database analyst at Western Union in San José, typically addressing charge-backs on credit cards and resolving other monetary issues.
Jason loves “adrenaline,” muddy offroad adventures, motorcycling, ATV, video games, surfing and skateboarding.
Quote: “You don’t have to be the smartest person to fulfill your dreams, all you need is to put in a little effort and be certain that you will achieve whatever you set your mind to.”
Gabriel joined Special Places as an accounting assistant at the age of 20. He was born in Liberia and currently lives in Filadelfia with his family.
He studied at the Colegio Técnico Profesional de Carrillo, with a specialty in accounting and auditing. He worked previously as an accounting assistant and secretary for a clinic in Palestina de Belén that serves disabled people.
Gabriel enjoys mountain biking, and for the past eight years he has volunteered at the Red Cross in Filadelfia, working mostly in strategic communication.
Quote: “We never have to give up on a dream just because of the time it takes to achieve it.”
Daniela works as an administrative assistant in Human Resources, helping with payroll, health benefits and insurance, as well as onboarding new personnel.
Born in Liberia, she now lives in Villarreal, and she not only has two dogs but also a horse. She adores animals and loves to go horseback riding in the country. She also likes listening to Latin music like cumbia and salsa.
Daniela has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Universidad Libre de Costa Rica (ULICORI). Before coming to Special Places, she worked as an HR assistant at the Occidental Hotel in Tamarindo, where she learned a lot about Human Resources in a real-world environment.
Quote: “Take risks, because everything good starts with a little fear!”
Carla works as an accounting assistant at Special Places and is also involved in property management.
She was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised in Ciudad Guayana, where she earned a law and accountant degree and worked as a lawyer and accountant. Since coming to Costa Rica, she has worked as a manicurist, masseuse, bartender, waitress and artist.
A gifted artist and something of a Renaissance woman, Carla also draws and makes earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Her varied interests include dancing, hiking, scuba diving, traveling and discovering new cultures.
Quote: “My motto is ‘I know that I own the weak and fragile body of a woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king.’ ”
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