Twenty-odd years ago, when I first began researching Moon Handbook Costa Rica , the country was just beginning to boom as an ecotourism destination.
Hiking, horseback riding, and sportfishing were the principal activities. Surfers had just begun to tune in to Costa Rica  in their search for the perfect wave. But other activities—from ATV tours to ziplining—were unknown.
It didn’t take long before some bright spark (actually Darien Hreniuk) figured out that zipping along a steel cable slung between trees would be fun. Today Costa Rica is considered the world epicenter of ziplining... and one of the world's foremost trend-setters in active adventures.
From A to Z, there are thrills enough to be had to suit everyone.
Here are my top five “Weee-heeee!” activities…
* AXR Tours
ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tours have exploded in popularity in recent years. These tiny yet power-packing off-road quads infuse a jolt of adrenaline as you splash through mud and rivers along coast and jungle trail. My fave is the French-made AXR, a low-slung French-made machine used by AXR Tours , of Jacó.
* Climb Chirripó
For the ultimate high, literally, you cannot top the two-day hike  to the summit of Costa Rica’s highest mountain.
* Tropical Bungee
If the thought of strapping a large rubber band around your ankles and leaping off a bridge sounds like fun, head to Rosario just off the Pan-American Highway about 40 minutes northwest of the capital—San José . Jumps from a 83-meter-high bridge over the Río Colorado are offered by Tropical Bungee  daily, 9am to 3pm.
* Ultralight Auto-Gyro
Perhaps my favorite all-time active experience in Costa Rica was when Guido Scheidt took me for a quick tour of the Nicoya coast in a state-of-the-art auto-gyro. Based out of Sámara , Guido is a professional instructor. He offers tours and piloting tuition at his Flying Crocodile Ultralight Center . You’re in safe hands as you gain a sensational bird’s-eye view over the Nicoya Peninsula on trips from 20 minutes to three days.
Costa Rica boasts more than four dozen ziplines. Wherever you are in the country, you’re sure to be within a one-hour drive of a treetop cable system. Secure in a harness with pulley, you’ll ascend a tall, sturdy tree or other canopy launch platform, where a professional guide will connect your pulley to a cable slung between treetops… Hey presto! Gravity does the rest. The Original Canopy Tour , the started the craze, has five outlets in Costa Rica.
Now that you’re ready to travel to Costa Rica, buy Moon Handbook Costa Rica .
If you're traveling only to San José and the Caribbean, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast  pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to the beaches of Nicoya, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula  pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to Arenal and/or Monteverde, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Arenal&Monteverde  pocket guide.
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker .
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker