Get active in the wilderness of Costa Rica: surfing, kayaking and rafting.

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 Pacuare Rivers, and later relax in a rainforest eco lodge. Take a surf lesson in the Caribbean waters near Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Relax along the Costa Rican 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 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
QVXA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is home to monkeys, reptiles, toucans and macaws, while its waters contain turtles, barracudas, sea urchins and more than 125 species of fish.

  • 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.

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

  • Hop into kayaks and paddle through the waterways of v in search of monkeys, sloths, caiman, jaguars and lizards.

  • 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?

  • As seen in the trip’s name, this is an active adventure. So, while this trip doesn't require a super high level of fitness, it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to partake in all activities.

  • Although our private vehicles do have air conditioning, it has to work pretty hard to keep a full group cool.

  • Costa Rica is tropical, so expect a hot and humid climate and heavy rain depending on the season. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun &/or rain, wear comfortable, light clothing and stay hydrated - especially when out on walking tours.

  • 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 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 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 outdoor markets 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 - Gold Museum - USD13
  • San Jose - National Museum - 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).

Please note that this trip can be partnered with other adventures into a ‘combo’, which means that some of your fellow travellers may have begun their journey before today, and some may carry on to further destinations at the end of this tour. If you’d like to spend more time in Central America, have a look at the combos that include this trip’s itinerary: San Jose on Raft, Snorkel, Kayak & Hike in Costa Rica (QVXAC).
This morning, head out of the city and to the river. The next 48 hours are full of exhilarating white water rafting in Pacuare River with a nights’ stay in an eco-lodge. Today will be an approximately 2-hour adventure down the river covering 12 kilometres of rapids, ranging up to Class 3. In the afternoon, arrive at your lodge, where you can either chill out around the gardens or walk through the self-guided trails around the lush canopies of the Turrialba Valley.
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 eco-lodge by raft for more unforgettable rapids on the Pacuare River, and potentially stopping for some wildlife-spotting along the way. You'll ride the Class 3 and 4 rapids for around 2 hours, or 14 kilometres. Around 10 am, travel by private vehicle (approximately 2.5 hours) to Puerto Viejo de Talmanca for a taste of Caribbean seaside – think 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, including a lowland rainforest, a wetland, a coral reef and a mangrove swamp. Spend around 2 hours exploring with your group 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 taking to the shores for a surf lesson at 2 pm. 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 in the late afternoon, in time for perhaps a Costa Rican regional specialty, casado, at one of the local restaurants on offer.
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
There are no meals included on this day.
Wake up nice and early, and at 8 am, transfer to Limon on the Caribbean Coast, and then travel by boat to Tortuguero National Park, one of the best places in Costa Rica for wildlife spotting (approximately 3-4 hours depending on the water level). Tortuguero is a network of canals and waterways on Costa Rica’s north Caribbean coast, surrounded by native jungle and full of exotic plant and wildlife species, including turtles, caimans, monkeys, and various bird species. Today and tomorrow are dedicated to kayaking on some of the canals in search of various forms of land and birdlife around the park. Tonight, why not join an optional activity of a turtle watching night tour where, depending on the time of year, you’ll see these small creatures nesting and (hopefully) some little babies hatching.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tortuguero - Turtle watching night tour - USD45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is another active day in Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by plane or boat, the park is regarded as one of the best places in Costa Rica for spotting wildlife. With this in mind, today, hop into kayaks and set out on a 2-hour journey through the park's canals in search of monkeys, sloths, caiman, jaguars, lizards, bats and a vast selection of birdlife. Along the way, learn from a local tour leader about how the jungle's islets, lagoons, wetlands and palm forests functions as a thriving 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 back to San Jose (approximately 3.5 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)
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 Art of Craft Beer, where you’ll learn of the emerging industry of breweries in Costa Rica. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/san-jose-tours. 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 - USD36
  • San Jose - Pura Vida Experience: Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visite - Urban Adventures - USD65
  • 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
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

5 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Shared vehicle, Shared boat. Raft

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights), Lodge (3 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)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. 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. The single supplement excludes Day 2 (Pacuare River) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. 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.

Essential trip information

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