Costa Rica

Top 10 Sports to Watch and Play in Costa Rica

February 26, 2024
Bex Smith Bex Smith
Top 10 Sports to Watch and Play in Costa Rica

Ever wondered which sports capture the hearts of Costa Ricans? Today, we’re diving into the sports culture of Costa Rica to satisfy your curiosity. 

Nestled in Central America, Costa Rica is a Spanish-speaking country known for its lush landscapes, rich biodiversity, and, of course, its passionate embrace of sports. Bordered by Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north, with its bustling capital, San José, home to over 1.5 million people (and swelling to more than 2.15 million when you factor in the metropolitan area), this country’s athletic spirit is as diverse and lively as its ecosystem. 

Costa Rica’s sports scene is a fascinating blend of traditional and modern, where the love for the game transcends the boundaries of its scenic landscapes. From the adrenaline of world-renowned surfing beaches to the fervor of soccer stadiums, the country offers a unique palette of athletic endeavors that reflect its people’s zest for life. 

sports in costa rica

In this article, we’ve rounded up the most popular sports in Costa Rica, aiming to give you a closer look at the pastimes that define the Pura Vida lifestyle.  

1. Soccer – A National Passion 

In Costa Rica, soccer isn’t just a sport; it’s a way of life. Known locally as “fútbol,” it reigns supreme as the country’s most cherished athletic pursuit. From the echoes of children’s laughter in makeshift street games to the roaring crowds in packed stadiums, soccer’s heartbeat is felt everywhere. It’s a game that brings together families, friends, and communities, celebrated with genuine enthusiasm during both local matches and international competitions. The sport’s deep-rooted popularity is evident in the national pride for the national team, La Sele, especially during the World Cup events, where the entire country comes alive in a sea of red, blue, and white. 

2. Surfing – Embracing the Ocean’s Call 

The surfing culture here thrives on its magnificent coastlines, stretching along Pacific and Caribbean shores. The beaches are not just sun-soaked retreats but arenas where surfers from around the globe come to challenge themselves against the perfect waves. From the beginner-friendly breaks in Tamarindo to the world-class barrels of Pavones, Costa Rica offers diverse surfing experiences. Whether you’re paddling out for the first time or dropping into a towering wave, these surf spots deliver unforgettable moments against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. 

3. Cycling – Exploring Natural Beauty on Two Wheels 

Cycling in Costa Rica is rising, offering an eco-friendly way to explore the breathtaking tropical landscapes. The sport caters to a wide range of enthusiasts, from road cyclists seeking the thrill of speed on paved paths to mountain bikers craving the challenge of rugged terrains. Popular routes like the journey around Lake Arenal or the steep ascents of the Central Valley provide cyclists with both a physical challenge and scenic rewards. As cycling culture grows, events and communities continue to sprout, inviting both locals and visitors to pedal through paradise. 

4. Mountain Biking – Adventure on Rugged Trails 

Mountain biking takes the adventure up a notch in Costa Rica, tapping into the country’s diverse and dynamic landscapes. This sport attracts thrill-seekers to its myriad of trails, ranging from volcanic terrains near Rincón de la Vieja to the cloud-forested hills of Monteverde. Each trail offers a unique riding experience, challenging bikers with everything from steep inclines to technical descents amidst breathtaking scenery. The popularity of mountain biking is evident in the rise of competitions and festivals, making it a vibrant part of Costa Rica’s sporting life. 

costa rica sport

5. Volleyball – A Sport for All 

Volleyball in Costa Rica is a beloved sport that transcends age and skill level, enjoyed in gyms, beaches, and parks nationwide. The country’s passion for volleyball is twofold, with both indoor and beach variants drawing enthusiastic participation. Beach volleyball, in particular, takes advantage of the stunning shorelines, turning sandy stretches into competitive courts. Indoor volleyball thrives in schools and clubs, where it’s known for its teamwork and fast-paced action. Together, these forms of volleyball offer accessible and enjoyable ways for Ticos to stay active and connected. 

6. Basketball – Gaining Momentum 

Basketball is growing in popularity in Costa Rica due to its dynamic and engaging nature, capturing the hearts of many. Once overshadowed by more traditional sports, basketball has begun to carve its niche, with its popularity surging at school, college, and professional levels. Various nationwide leagues offer young athletes a platform to showcase their talents, while community courts see pick-up games that unite neighborhoods.  

7. ATV/RZR – Off-Road Thrills 

Exploring the rugged terrains becomes an adrenaline-fueled adventure with ATV and RZR tours. These off-road vehicles offer a unique way to navigate the diverse landscapes, from muddy trails in the rainforest to sandy paths along the coast. It’s not just about the thrill of driving; it’s a chance to experience the tropical natural beauty up close, accessible to adventurers of all skill levels.  

8. Zip-lining and White-water Rafting – Blending Thrill and Adventure 

The country is a playground for thrill-seekers, with zip-lining and white-water rafting standing out as must-try nature sports. The country’s towering canopies and roaring rivers provide the perfect setting for these exhilarating activities. Zip-lining offers a bird’s-eye view of the lush rainforests, while white-water rafting puts you right in the heart of the action, navigating rapids with names as wild as their waters. Not only do these sports provide a rush of adrenaline, but they also emphasize the significance of preserving breathtaking natural landscapes. 

9. Sport Fishing – Angling in Rich Waters 

Sportfishing in Costa Rica is a world-class experience, drawing anglers from across the globe to its crystal-clear waters. The Pacific and Caribbean coasts are teeming with a bounty of game fish, including marlin, sailfish, tuna, and dorado. Hotspots like Quepos, Golfito, and the Northern Caribbean region offer some of the best deep-sea and inshore fishing adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or trying your hand at angling for the first time, the rich marine life and expert charters promise an unforgettable experience of Costa Rica fishing.  

10. Golf – Leisure Amidst Natural Beauty 

Golf in Costa Rica is more than a game; it’s an experience set against the backdrop of the country’s lush landscapes. With a growing number of courses designed by renowned architects, golfers can enjoy world-class play amidst tropical forests, mountain ranges, and ocean vistas. These scenic courses not only challenge players with their design but also blend harmoniously with the natural environment, showcasing its commitment to ecological preservation. The serene beauty of golfing in Costa Rica offers a peaceful retreat for players looking to enjoy the sport in the lap of nature. 

costa rica sports


Costa Rica is all about living the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle, where sports play a significant role. It’s a place that invites you to dive into adventures or simply soak in the beauty around you. 

Right in the heart of this paradise is Villa Firenze, a luxury spot that lets you enjoy the thrill of Costa Rican sports without sacrificing comfort. With a top-notch golf course just around the corner, hiking trails waiting to be explored, and an in-house X-golf simulator, this all-inclusive villa in Costa Rica offers the perfect mix of relaxation and fun. It’s where every day ends in beauty, and every activity is just steps away. 

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