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9 Things to do in Turrialba

Last updated on September 27, 2023
turrialba volcano

Bienvenidos, fellow adventurers, wanderers, and all those who have got a soft spot for the less beaten track! Forget those regular Instagram worthy vacation spots, I present to you the hidden gem of Costa Rica – Turrialba. 

This tiny city situated in Cartago, best known for creating baseballs for the MLB and being home to an occasional fireworks display (you know, courtesy of an active volcano) is just the place for you to get your adrenaline rushing. It’s not the next Ibiza, but if you’re into nature, local culture and exhilarating adventures, this is the place for you. So, grab your notepad, and jot down these:

Things to do in Turrialba

Turrialba Volcano National Park: Lava or not, you gotta love this! Our beloved volcano has recently turned into a total drama queen, spurting ash all the way to San Jose and even causing the occasional airport closure. But fret not, it’s all safe and back open now with a trail leading up to a fantastic vantage point. So, if you’re brave enough (just kidding, it’s totally safe), you can even hike your way up there!

Biking around the CATIE: Ever wished for a Hogwarts of flora and fauna? Welcome to CATIE, Turrialba’s very own Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center. It’s basically the ‘potions class’ of the plant world, researching all things agriculture and sustainability. Plus, you get to pedal around campus, checking out everything from exotic fruit trees to illegal coffee (don’t worry, no one’s getting arrested here). The campus is huge and has a vibe like a tiny self-sufficient village, with more herons and cranes than you’ve ever seen. 

Ziplining: Too lazy to hike around? How about gliding through the jungle like Tarzan? We’ve got Explornatura’s canyoning and canopy tour for that. You can rappel down waterfalls, zipline through the rainforest, and even walk across a 130-foot hanging bridge. Plus, nothing’s too extreme – the waterfalls aren’t that high, and the ziplines aren’t too long. But hey, isn’t zipping around amidst toucans flying just downright cool?

Coffee Tours is a Must do in Turrialba

Coffee Tour: Java lovers, unite! Turrialba houses the Golden Bean Coffee Tour, where you’ll find an eco-friendly factory (it runs on 100% renewable energy) that reuses everything (I mean everything) from their plantation. Sip some coffee and remember to bring back a few bags. Trust me, your morning routines will thank you.

Guayabo National Monument: Got a thing for history and abandoned cities? Enter Guayabo National Monument, the Costa Rican version of the ‘Lost City’. Here you can see ruins dating back to 1000 AD. I highly recommend taking a guide or else you’ll be staring at mysterious stones and structures with no idea what they mean.

La Marta Wildlife Refuge: This under-the-radar wildlife refuge is perfect for a tranquil hike without the touristy rush. It offers great hiking trails, camping areas, two rivers, and even ruins of an old gold mine. The best part? The breathtaking view of Turrialba and the valley below.

Rural Tourism at Mollejones: Ever wanted to live a day as a rural farmer? Turrialba offers you a chance to do just that at Mollejones, a tiny town where you can learn about agriculture and meet some very lovely locals. Don’t forget to try their cheese – it’s the pride of Turrialba!

Horseback Riding: Unleash your inner cowboy (or cowgirl)! There’s nothing quite like riding around the hills of Turrialba, with breathtaking views of the lake, the volcano, and the surrounding hills. The perfect way to take a break from the adventure and just soak in the beauty.

Water Sports Around Turrialba

River Kayaking and White Water Rafting: Want some more water adventure? Turrialba is home to some of the best river kayaking in Costa Rica, with both beginner and pro routes. After all, who wouldn’t want to flip, spin, and race down the river?

While you’re at it, Turrialba is also known for its world-class white water rafting. It’s one of the must-dos in Turrialba, and let me tell you, it’s an absolute blast!

Now you’ve got your day all sorted, let’s talk about accommodations. Turrialba is no Vegas Strip, but it offers some great boutique lodges and Airbnbs with views that’ll make you want to call in sick at work. I stayed at the Guayabo Lodge and a city Airbnb. The lodge offers a fantastic view of three volcanoes, and it’s just a stone’s throw from Turrialba Volcano.

So, are you ready to discover Turrialba – the city that’s more than just a producer of baseballs and volcanic ash? Trust me, it’s an adventure you won’t forget!