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Activities in Costa Rica

Costa Rica's national parks are a smorgasbord of outdoor activities for both the Gen-X adrenaline junkie and the more sedate stop-and-smell-the-roses type rambler. Apart from the opportunity to do some prime-time hiking through magnificent rainforests, some parks offer the chance of fun rappelling. Monteverde is the best place for zip-lining (zipping across the top of the jungle canopy on flying foxes), while horse riding is available just about everywhere. If you're into bird watching you should head straight for La Selva, Parque Nacional Tapantí, Parque Nacional Palo Verde, Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Caño Negro or the area around Tortuguero. Turtle watchers should visit Parque Nacional Tortuguero, where they can visit nesting sites and watch the turtles lay their eggs.

Pavones on the Pacific Coast reportedly has some of the best surfing in Central America while windsurfers should check out the artificial Laguna de Arenal, near the spectacular volcano. There are snorkeling and diving possibilities at the Reserva Biologica Isla del Cano, 20km (12mi) west of Bahía Drake, off the northern part of the Península de Nicoya and in the Parque Nacional Isla del Coco - an isolated island 500km (310mi) southwest of Costa Rica in the eastern Pacific.

Golfito is a center for deep-sea fishing, and there are plenty of opportunities to charter boats for several days or more. Parsimina, a small village at the mouth of the Río Parsimina, 50km (31mi) northwest of Limón, has several excellent fishing lodges and good offshore reef fishing. Río Reventazon, in central Costa Rica, is one of the most exciting and scenic rivers in Costa Rica and a favorite with river rafters and kayakers. Río Pacure, the next major river valley east, is perhaps even more scenic and offers the best white-water rafting in the country through spectacular canyons clothed in virgin rain forest.

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