Become immersed in Costa Rica's natural wilds, rafting, kayaking and surfing

Quench your wanderlust while sating an appetite for adventure on this active trip through one of the world's greenest countries. Paddle down the Pacuare River by raft for a night in a rainforest eco lodge. Swim in the company of turtles, barracuda and reef sharks in Cahuita National Park. Cycle along the Caribbean coastline to the mellow beach refuge of Puerto Viejo and paddle through the waterways of Tortuguero National Park in search of monkeys, toucans and jaguars. Costa Rica is a country where adventure-seekers thrive.


Start
San Jose, Costa Rica
Finish
San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination
Costa Rica
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures
Code
QVXAC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • The Pacuare River has been rated as one of the ten top best rivers around the world; not only for its rapids, but also its pristine rainforest surrounds and waterfalls

  • Cahuita National Park is home to monkeys, reptiles, toucans and macaws, while its waters contain turtles, barracudas, sea urchins and more than 125 species of fish

  • Hop into kayaks and paddle through the waterways of Tortuguero National Park in search of monkeys, sloths, caiman, jaguars, lizards, bats and a gamut of birdlife

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an active trip - a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Itinerary

Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping head to the out door market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • San Jose - San Jose By Night: Food and Culture - Urban Adventures - USD79
  • San Jose - Pura Vida Experience: Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visite - Urban Adventures - USD65
  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD36
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - CRC4490
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Transfer to Pacuare River. From here you'll hit the rapids of the Pacuare River by raft all the way to your rainforest lodge. The next two days involve some incredible white water rafting down the Pacuare River. This river has been rated as one of the ten top best rivers around the world; not only for its rapids, but also its pristine rainforest surrounds and waterfalls. On arrival at tonight's eco-lodge accommodation you'll have time to either chill out or take a self-guided walk along garden trails.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pacuare - 2hr. Pacuare River white water rafting - Class 3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Hit the river again as you leave the lodge by raft for more unforgettable white water, and maybe some wildlife-spotting along the way. You'll ride the Class 3 and four rapids for around 2 hours, or 14 kilometres. Around 10 am, travel by private vehicle (approximately 2.5 hours) to Puerto Viejo for a taste of Caribbean seaside: reggae bars and palm-fringed beaches.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pacuare - 2hr. Pacuare River white water rafting - Class 3 & 4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Rise early to take the 8 am public bus (20 minutes) to Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, an area that encompasses several rare habitats like a lowland rainforest, a wetland, a coral reef and a mangrove swamp. Spend around two hours exploring alongside your leader and keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, reptiles, toucans and macaws. The Refuge is also the nesting area for several species of turtles, manatees, crocodiles, caimans, tarpons and dolphins. There will be some free time for lunch in Manzanillo town before the surf lesson at 2 pm where you'll spend around two hours in the water. Learn some basic pointers to ride a wave, or if you've done this before, grab a board and hang ten! You will be dropped back at the hotel between 4-5pm. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Manzanillo - Beginner surf lesson or Independent surfboard rental
  • Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge - Leader-led walk (Entrance fee & Transport)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At 8 am, transfer back to Limon and travel by boat to Tortuguero National Park, one of the best places in Costa Rica for spotting wildlife (approximately 3-4 hours depending on the water level).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Accessible only by plane or boat, Tortuguero National Park is regarded as one of the best places in Costa Rica for spotting wildlife. With this in mind, hop into kayaks and set out on a two-hour journey through the park's canals in search of monkeys, sloths, caiman, jaguars, lizards, bats and a gamut of birdlife. Along the way, learn from a local tour leader about how the jungle's islets, lagoons, wetlands and palm forests functions as an ecosystem.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tortuguero - Canals kayak trip
  • Tortuguero - National Park (Entrance Fee)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by boat to La Pavona (1.5-2 hours depending on water level) and continue by road to San Jose (approximately 3.5 hours). Perhaps head out for a final group dinner and become acquainted with the city's buzzing nigh scene.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day for you to explore San Jose.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - National Museum - CRC4890
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - CRC4490
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Before 9 am, transfer to your lodge near San Gerardo do Dota (approximately 2.5 hours). As the next few days are going to be quite remote, you’ll make short stop on the way to purchase lastminute supplies and some snacks for the hikes ahead. There will also be a lunch stop before reaching the accommodation for your afternoon check-in. Huddled up against the Talamanca Mountain is San Gerardo de Dota – a haven for birdwatchers, hikers, and fishing enthusiasts. Perhaps join your leader for a short afternoon stroll or enjoy some free time before regrouping for dinner (at your own expense) and a briefing about the hike. In the evening, take the time to pack a smaller, lighter bag with only the essentials you require. Your main luggage will be transported to Uvita with access to it on the evening on Day 7.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
We recommend that your backpack should only hold the essentials required for 4 days of hiking and weigh no more than 7kg. Among other essentials, we suggest you take a rain jacket, quick-dry clothing, water bottle, hiking boots &/or shoes suitable for river crossings, swimwear, sunblock, insect repellent, a dry bag, flashlight, hat, microfiber towel, extra socks, thermos &/or a warm jacket for evenings. You should also carry a copy of your passport and a small amount of money.
Leave your main luggage at reception, ready for an early departure (6–7 am). Set off on a four-day trek to the Pacific Coast. Guided mainly by the shores of the Savegre River, trek through cloud forests and lowland rainforests, looking out for Quetzals on the way your accommodation for the evening: a big wooden house deep in the Costa Rican wilderness. You will pass through cattle farms and forest with multiple descends and ascends. This is an area where few people travel, so make the most of the remote area, full of untouched vegetation, unique wildlife, and the chance to swim in nearby waterfalls. Once arrived at your cabin, enjoy a rest in the afternoon and prepare for a group dinner at 7 pm. 

Estimated hiking time time/distance: 6 hours; 14 kilometres 
Elevation Change: Morning; 2000 MASL, Evening; 1600 MASL
Accommodation
  • Multishare Cabin (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Savegre - Savegre Crossing 4-day Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
This cabin has electricity in all rooms for charging devices, however hot water is not always available, so we suggest you shower earlier rather than later.
Day two is the most challenging trek, where you will hike a mighty total of 16km. Starting at 6 am, you will ascend relatively quickly for the first couple of hours through fields and by open road until you will reach around 2200 metres above sea level. Here, you will be treated to spectacular views of the rolling hills and green valleys of Costa Rica’s countryside peeking out of the passing clouds and mist. For the second section of the hike, you will mainly descend through the forest. This part of the trail can be very challenging if there has been rain as the track can become very muddy and slippery. Once you reach the cabin, enjoy a well-deserved rest, before dinner at 7 pm – and don’t forget insect repellent! This evening you will hopefully get to try some heart of palm for dinner, a local specialty and side dish made in indigenous communities, and especially around celebrations like Easter.

Estimated hiking time time/distance: 7-8 hours; 16 kilometres
Elevation Change: Morning; 1600 MASL, Evening; 700 MASL
Accommodation
  • Multishare Cabin (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
This cabin is powered by solar panels so there is only one power point available for use by the entire group. There is no hot water for showers today. The group will usually be split into rooms according to gender (depending on group size and make-up). 
On day three, continue on your journey down the Savegre River towards the Pacific Ocean. Initially, the trek will be relatively flat along open trails before an extended lunch stop with a chance see the Savegre River from a different angle. Now is a ideal time to go for a swim in the cleanest river in Costa Rica, and arguably one of
the cleanest rivers in the world! Afterwards, tackle a 4km climb before arriving to the night’s cabin. If you still have energy, perhaps take the trail nearby to the cabin to search to seek out an array of different frog species native to Costa Rica, returning in time for a group dinner at 7 pm.

Estimated hiking time time/distance: 6 hours; 14 kilometres
Elevation Change: Morning; 700 MASL, Evening; 840 MASL
Accommodation
  • Multishare Cabin (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that this cabin is powered by solar panels, so there is only one power point available for use by the entire group in the kitchen. There is no hot water for showers today and candles are used in the bedrooms for light. You’ll really feel like you’re in the wilderness!
Today, continue your descending hike to the Albergue Los Campesinos ecolodge. Starting early (approximately 6.30 am) with a steep climb, expect some varied undulation today. You’ll aim to reach the cabin by lunchtime, and by then, you should reward yourself with a swim in one of the nearby waterfalls. There’s also a hanging suspension bridge to cross nearby, which gives 360-degree panoramas views of the surrounding jungle. Relax with your group over a laidback dinner at 7 pm, ready for a thrill-seeking adventure
tomorrow.

Estimated hiking time time/distance: 7 hours; 16 kilometres
Elevation Change: Morning; 840 MASL, Evening; 200 MASL
Accommodation
  • Multishare Cabin (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
This cabin has electricity in all rooms for charging devices, and hot water is hopefully available.
After breakfast, take a 45-minute drive to the river, then hop in a raft and tackle some thrillseeker’s rapids for around 2 hours. Rio Naranjo flows down from the mountains and weaves through tight gorges, creating a world-class rapid system – depending on the water level, they are either Class 3 or 4. Afterwards, stop for a local lunch with your group. In the afternoon, you'll then drive 1.5 hours to Uvita, where you’ll have the evening to relax after a wild day. Your luggage will be waiting for you at the accommodation.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Savegre - Rio Naranjo rafting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
From 9 am, travel in a private vehicle for 2 hours, before boarding a shared boat at 11.30 am headed for Drake Bay, taking around 45 minutes. For 30 years, Drake Bay was conserved by a local family before being handed over to the Costa Rican government, so this paradise is in pristine condition. Getting to the wildlife-rich reserve is all part of the adventure. But first, this is sure to get the heart pumping – it’s zip-lining time! After check-in (at around 3 pm) head near the national park and begin your adventure. You'll navigate a course that lasts about 2.5 hours, and will definitely get an adrenaline rush when flying through the canopies of the jungle.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Drake Bay - Zipline
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Corcovado National Park is all yours to explore today. There are multiple optional activities to choose from today, including an early birdwatching expedition, or a kayaking adventure through the park’s lagoons. Corcovado is one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, with 13 different ecosystems in its boundaries – highland cloud forests, lagoons, mangrove swamps and marine habitats, just to name a few. Feel free to explore the park in your own time, with many of the hiking trails leading to pristine and largely untouched beaches. You’ve earned some time to pull up a towel and sun-bake on the shores of the Pacific.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Corcovado - Sirena Station Hike - USD90
  • Corcovado - San Pedrillo Station Hike - USD80
  • Corcovado - Lagoon Kayaking - USD75
  • Corcovado - Early Birdwatching - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take the boat at 7:30 am and hit the road towards San Jose (approximately 5 hours total), with a visit to the stunning Carara National Park on the way. The protected area is 4700 hectares including regenerating tropical rainforest-lowland and tropical dry forest. After checking in to your hotel, the afternoon and evening is yours to continue exploring the city. Perhaps a group dinner is on the cards! San Jose has a surprisingly diverse choice of restaurants available, so head to a soda (a family-style restaurant) or head to the hip neighbourhood of Barrio Escalante for an eatery along Calle 33.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Carara National Park - Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart after breakfast. If you would like to continue to explore San Jose, why not book yourself an Urban Adventures tour? There’s a heap to choose from, including the Pura Vida Experience: a walking tour learning of the local legends and freshest food of central San Jose and Escazu. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/san-jose-tours. 
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD36
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

17 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Shared vehicle, Shared boat. Raft

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights), Multishare Cabin (4 nights), Lodge (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Pacuare - 2hr. Pacuare River white water rafting - Class 3
  • Pacuare - 2hr. Pacuare River white water rafting - Class 3 & 4
  • Manzanillo - Beginner surf lesson or Independent surfboard rental
  • Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge - Leader-led walk (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Tortuguero - Canals kayak trip
  • Tortuguero - National Park (Entrance Fee)
  • Savegre - Savegre Crossing 4-day Hike
  • Savegre - Rio Naranjo rafting
  • Drake Bay - Zipline
  • Carara National Park - Entrance

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2.To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable (subject to availability) with exception of Days 10-13 (Savegre River Trek) where you would be in shared accommodation.
3. To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures. Your leader and the composition of your group may change with the start of each adventure.
4. Please be careful when booking flights to/from San Jose; make sure you fly into/out of Juan Santamaría International Airport [SJO]. Please do NOT book flights to/from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport [SJC] as this is located in California, United States.
5. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Essential trip information

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