Map of Costa Rica: Hike, Bike & Raft including Costa Rica

Get active in the wilderness of Costa Rica: hiking, rafting and cycling

Get a thrill in Central America on this 8-day active adventure through one of the world's greenest countries: Costa Rica. Cascade down the rapids of the Pacuare River, and later opt to surf the Caribbean waves and hike misty jungle trails in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Cycle along the Costa Rican coastline at the mellow beach refuge of Puerto Viejo and be free to choose your own adventure everywhere in between. Costa Rica is a country perfect for adventure seekers, and the ecstasies of this expedition are sure to impress even the most seasoned active traveller.


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Swap the concrete jungle for real jungle on a guided hike into the Monteverde Cloud Forest, home to Costa Rica’s amazing range of exotic animals.

  • Raft Costa Rica’s Pacuare River – an area ranked in the top five rivers of the world for whitewater rafting. You’ll tackle Class 3 and 4 rapids on an unforgettable river adventure.

  • Cycle the quiet palm-fringed roads and drop in at hidden beaches along the Caribbean coast.

  • Opt to ride some waves with surfing expedition at Manzanillo beach. You’ll be away from the crowds and hanging ten in no time!

  • Explore the rich urban centre of capital San Jose, with time before and after your active adventure to really get to know the Costa Rican way of life.

Is this trip right for you?

  • With so many activities on offer in Costa Rica we have deliberately planned this trip so that you have ample time to explore activities that specifically interest you outside of the including hiking, cycling and rafting.

  • The included activities on this trip don't require a super high level of fitness or skill, but it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to partake in all activities.

  • Most of the activities (both included and optional) on this trip take place in the great outdoors. This means you'll need to be prepared to deal with insects and occasionally rustic conditions. It's all part of immersing yourself in this natural paradise.

  • Costa Rica is generally hot year-round, and from May to October can be pretty wet too. Of course, you wouldn't get that gorgeous, emerald-green rainforest without the rain, but please carefully consider which time of the year you'll feel most comfortable travelling. Although most vehicles do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool.

  • With so much to see and do, Costa Rica can sometimes be expensive. Expect to pay more than you would in mainland USA for a lot of things. 

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a city with colourful markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. If you do happen to arrive early, a good place to start exploring is the main plaza. 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 San Jose Handcraft market or the Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - Pre-Colombian Gold Museum (entrance fee) - USD16
  • San Jose - National Museum (entrance fee) - USD11
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting 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).
A morning of travel by bus (approximately 3-4 hours) leads to incredible Monteverde. Settled by North American Quakers in 1951, the area was initially used as an environmentally conscious agricultural community and is now a biological preserve. Make the most of your free time in lush Monteverde and organise a local guide to take you on a nature walk. There also several local communities that operate cooperatives worth visiting. You may wish to get a different perspective on the forest by walking through the canopy on suspension bridges, or perhaps watch butterflies at play in the Butterfly Garden. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Monteverde home, and no matter what you choose to do, be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Monteverde - Coffee & Chocolate tour - USD40
  • Monteverde - Canopy Zip Lining (Entrance, Equipment & Transport) - USD50
  • Monteverde - Butterfly Garden and Insects Farm (entrance fee) - USD18
  • Monteverde - Suspension bridges tour - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The forest near Monteverde has near-constant cloud cover, providing consistent rainfall, which also gives the area an enchanted feel. Spend the morning in the cloud forest on a leader-led nature hike, looking out for hummingbirds, quetzals and even lazy sloths among the mist early in the day.

After your hike continue take a 3-hour drive, skirting the impressive Lake Arenal, to La Fortuna, a small but vibrant town with an abundance of hot springs and natural pools to enjoy. Here you have the rest of the day to do as you please. In the evening, why not grab a classic local dinner with your travel buddies? Chifrijo (fried pork, salsa, beans and tortilla chips) is a great dish to try.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest leader-led Nature Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day to explore La Fortuna as you wish. The region offers a range of sights such as stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and water-based sports on the lake. The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has plenty of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs, often surrounded by foliage, make the ideal place to relax. Active types could try stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Arenal with the incredible backdrop of the volcano and rolling green hills. Animal lovers will have a good chance of spotting sloths, monkeys, crocodiles and basilisk lizards skipping across the water on a boat tour of Cano Negro Reserve. Have a chat with your leader about the options available.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • La Fortuna- Caño Negro boat tour - USD75
  • La Fortuna - La Fortuna Waterfall (Entrance only) - USD18
  • La Fortuna - Stand up paddle board - USD75
  • La Fortuna - Arenal hanging bridges - USD29
  • La Fortuna - Arenal 1968 Volcano View and Lava Trails (Entrance fee) - USD19
  • La Fortuna - Ecotermales Hot Springs (entrance fee) - USD44
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, leave the towering volcano behind and drive 3 hours east head to the adventure-filled Pacuare River. Pacuare is renowned for its natural beauty and what better way to experience it than an adrenaline-filled white water rafting adventure. While not an overly challenging or technical river the 29 kilometre (18 mile) one day run includes an amazing 52 rapids, guaranteeing you a day of fun on the water. And when you’re not surrounded by white water remember to relax and enjoy the natural beauty all around. Flanked by green gorge walls, tumbling waterfalls and tropical rainforest this is Costa Rican nature at its best. Keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife as well, with sloth, parrots, toucans, and colourful butterflies and frogs a common sight.

Afterwards continue by vehicle (approximately 4 hours) to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for a taste of Caribbean seaside – think reggae bars and palm-fringed beaches.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pacuare - 4hrs. Pacuare River white water rafting - Class 3 & 4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast get to know the area better as you enjoy a relaxed bicycle ride along the palm-fringed coastal road, stopping at various beaches and inlets so you make your way south.

Along the way stop at a local restaurant for lunch, and what better way to get to know the local cuisine than making it yourself at a Caribbean cooking class. Experience African, indigenous, and Spanish flavours as you mix coconut milk, spices, fruits, curry, and sea food in a melting pot of culinary traditions and cultures.

Return to Puerto Viejo for the evening. Hit the bars or chill out at the beach, the choice is yours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Coastal Bicycle ride
  • Caribbean cooking class (included lunch)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning is free for you to choose what activity suits you best. Rise early to take the public bus to Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge – an area that encompasses several rare habitats, including a lowland rainforest, a wetland, a coral reef and a mangrove swamp. Spend around 2 hours exploring and keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, reptiles, toucans and macaws. Otherwise relax on the Caribbean shores or take to the waves for a beginners surf lesson. Learn some basic pointers to ride a wave, or if you've done this before, grab a board and hang ten!

Around midday take the bus back to San Jose (approximately 5-6 hours). With time to explore the historic buildings and bustling food and artisan markets, you’ll see a more urban Costa Rica, quite different to the past few days of travel. After so much activity in Costa Rica, you may instead be up for a quiet night, so perhaps head out for a group dinner and become acquainted with the city's night scene – your group leader will know a good place to go.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Manzanillo - Beginner surf lesson or Independent surfboard rental - USD65
  • Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge (donation for entry) - USD2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, you are able to leave at any time, with no activities planned for the day. If you’d like to explore San Jose in more depth, why not book in an Urban Adventures tour like the San Jose Bites & Sights tour. If you wish to spend more time in San Jose, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD38
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Shared vehicle, Public bus, Raft, Bicycle

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), Lodge (1 nights)

Included activities

  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest leader-led Nature Hike
  • Pacuare - 4hrs. Pacuare River white water rafting - Class 3 & 4
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Coastal Bicycle ride
  • Caribbean cooking class (included lunch)

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Costa Rica: Hike, Bike & Raft trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1 in San Jose. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Please be careful when booking flights to/from San Jose; make sure you fly into/out of Juan Santamaria 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.
4. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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