Looking for a running adventure that mixes sun and surf with sweat? You’re not alone in looking to find the best of the best running vacation Costa Rica.
With a range of amazing running adventures that include relaxing Costa Rican hideaways to challenging, cross-country courses that take you from coast to coast, Costa Rica really puts the paradise in runner’s paradise.
The only real problem that comes up when looking for Costa Rica running vacations is narrowing down the field. Given the stunning options available, that process can begin to feel overwhelming.
We’re here to help you make sense of the broad selection of Costa Rica running vacations so you can make the right choice for you – and get back to running!
As international runners ourselves (who may or may not have agreed to pace a friend for the Rio de Janeiro Marathon… the night before the marathon), we know the importance of picking out the right adventure to get the vacation you want.
So, before you get out your passports, let’s look through what kinds of running vacations Costa Rica has to offer, as well as which ones are right for you.
Why Do A Running Vacation In Costa Rica
For runners who want to keep their stamina up while still soaking in a beautiful vacation, Costa Rica tops the list.
For casual athletes, Costa Rica presents the opportunity to run along the beach and through the jungle during the day while you wind down in relaxing eco-lodges in the evening.
For runners who like to get to know where they’re running, you can meet the farmers who grow some of the best coffee in the world, then taste a cup while you’re catching your breath before the next run.
For endurance athletes, you’ll have volcanoes to run up and challenge courses that stretch past 200 kilometers over six days. Where better to push yourself than Costa Rica?
For the adventurous runners among us, they’ll note that Costa Rica is also an ideal spot for white water rafting, ziplining, hiking, scuba diving, and more. The only difference? On their Costa Rica run vacation, they’ll be running from adventure to adventure.
To help us make sense of the incredible variety of adventures, we’ve broken down what we believe to be the three main styles of Costa Rica run vacations below.
Types Of Running Vacations In Costa Rica
Based on the kind of runner you are or the kind of running vacation you’d like to have, we believe this will help you choose the best Costa Rica running vacation for you.
- Running Retreats – A Costa Rica running retreat is designed around running and relaxing. The runs may be challenging and the days may have additional adventures listed, but the core goal remains to combine regular running with mindfulness, down time, and relaxation.
These trips are designed for runners of all experience levels.
- Running Adventures – A Costa Rica running adventure is meant to be fun. This high-energy vacation combines awesome running venues with some of Costa Rica’s best adventures for a memory-filled trip that will leave you feeling refreshed and reenergized. These trips are designed for runners of all experience levels.
These trips are designed for runners of all experience levels.
- Race Vacations – A Costa Rica race vacation is one that’s oriented around an official race or a running challenge. This is designed primarily to let you experience the challenging and breathtaking running environments Costa Rica has to offer.
These trips are designed for more intermediate to experienced runners.
Best Costa Rica Running Retreats
Prioritizing a retreat/base camp vibe, Run BC Adventures Costa Rica run trip connects you to Costa Rica’s plentiful natural running destinations – waterfalls and mountaintops, to name a few – with 5 nights spent in the same ecolodge.
Though many of the Costa Rica running retreats include yoga, mindfulness, and enjoying the natural wonders, this Run BC Adventures trip makes it a much bigger focus. And when you spend less time moving from place to place, you get to spend more time relaxing in a hammock in Costa Rica. If there’s a better post-run activity, I don’t want to hear it.
Best Costa Rica Running Adventures
For one of the most well-established Costa Rica running adventures that blends daily runs with the best of Costa Rica’s activities, give Vacation Races’ Costa Rica: Central a look.
From running the jungle trails in Puerto Viejo, running toward rafting on the Sarapiqui River, running around dormant crater lakes, and then running in the shadows of Arenal Volcano, there’s no run here that’s not also its own adventure. You can even check out each day’s run in detail here.
Best Costa Rica Race Vacations
If you’re ready to test yourself along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Coastal Challenge is the once-in-a-lifetime experience you’re looking for.
The Coastal Challenge pushes runners along “jungle and rainforest trails, mountain trail and single track across ridge lines, highlands and coastal ranges; pristine beaches, rocky outcroppings and reefs, river valleys, river and estuary crossings” and comes in two categories: Expedition and Adventure.
- The 240km (150 mile) Expedition takes place over 6 stages for the equivalent of about 40km (25 miles) per day.
- The 140km (90 mile) Adventure takes place over 6 stages, too, for the equivalent of about 24km (15 miles) a day.
The 2023 Coastal Challenge takes place from February 4th, 2023 to February 11th, 2023. Think you’re up for it? You can send in your registration request here.
Honorable Mentions For Other Costa Rica Running Vacations
Other Interesting Costa Rica Running Retreats
- Aire Libre’s all-inclusive Costa Rica Running Retreat is 7 days and 6 nights of dreamy exploration as it mixes in cloud forests of Monteverde, volcanic landscapes, rain forests, and Caribbean beaches. Plus, there’s coffee to be brewed and sea life to scuba dive with? Sign us up.
- For a Costa Rica run retreat that’s equal parts inspiration and perspiration, Runfully Global’s Costa Rica Retreat may be for you. The Runfully Method uses running/jogging to break through mental blocks, so this is especially designed for creatives and entrepreneurs looking to make progress in their personal and professional pursuits.
- Soul & Trail, known for international running retreats in Bali, Vietnam, and the Pyrenees, offers their own Costa Rica Running Retreat. There isn’t as much information listed online, so you’ll have to inquire for more.
Other Interesting Costa Rica Running Adventures
- Becoming Ultra’s Costa Rica RAC (Run | Adventure | Culture) trip is 9 days of running, hiking, rafting, and culture that will connect you with as much expert running advice as it does nature and wildlife (looking at you, giant tortoises!).
- If you’re looking for a local provider of a Costa Rica run vacation, the Costa Rica-based Desafio Adventure Co. offers an 8-day, 7-night run tour at more competitive prices than many other international providers.
- While not available until 2024, Marathon Expeditions Run Costa Rica Tour is rightfully popular. Over eight days, you’ll enjoy beachside runs, volcano zip lining, wildlife experiences, and more, all while enjoying nights at a beautiful resort.
Other Interesting Costa Rica Race Vacations
- Run The World Adventures’ South Pacific Jungle Expedition has caught our eye for years now. With 160km (100 miles) taking you from El Cerro de la Muerte, one of Costa Rica’s tallest mountains, down to the Osa Peninsula in the Pacific, you’ll be running in some very rarely run spots.
Other Running Adventures Around The World
Schedule doesn’t line up? Want to see what else is out there?
We’ve got you covered with the best running retreats in the U.S., our favorite run travel companies for seeing the world, and a country-by-country guide of international running holidays.