Costa Rica: Raft, Surf, Kayak & Hike

Costa Rica: Raft, Surf, Kayak & Hike

From $ 5,465 AUD

Description

Raft down the Pacuare River, swim in the company of turtles, barracuda and reef sharks in Manzanillo National Park, take a memorable four-day hike along the Savegre River and explore the thickets of Corcovado National Park in search of monkeys, toucans and jaguars. Costa Rica is a country where adventure-seekers thrive, so jump straight into this thrilling tour through the secluded wilderness, past picturesque coastline and into high-octane activities for even the most seasoned active traveller. Being one of the greenest countries on the planet, this 18-day energetic escapade in Costa Rica is part jungle, part beach, but above all, full on.

Trip Name
Costa Rica: Raft, Surf, Kayak & Hike
Last Updated
2019-11-13
Days
18
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • 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 and Rio Narajo – areas ranked in some of the world’s best whitewater rafting spots. 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!
  • 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.
  • Discover the abundant wildlife and secluded swimming coves with a hike through the primary rainforest of Corcovado National Park.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - San Jose
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.
Day 2 - Rafting Pacuare River
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.
Day 3 - Rafting Pacuare River / Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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.
Day 4 - Surfing Manzanillo beach / Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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.
Day 5 - Tortuguero National Park
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.
Day 6 - Kayaking Tortuguero National Park
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.
Day 7 - San Jose
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.
Day 8 - San Jose
Today is a free day for you to explore San Jose. An assortment of galleries, theatres and lively central plazas set among San Jose’s glitzy modern shopping malls make this one of Central America’s most surprising capitals. Keep in mind that there will be another group meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet some new travellers joining you on the next stage of your active adventure. Before then, you are free to choose your own adventure, however thrill-seeking or relaxed that may be!
Day 9 - San Gerardo de Dota
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 last-minute 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.
Day 10 - Hiking Savegre River
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
Day 11 - Hiking Savegre River
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
Day 12 - Hiking Savegre River
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
Day 13 - Hiking Savegre River
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
Day 14 - Rafting Quepos / Uvita
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.
Day 15 - Zipline Drake Bay
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. 
Day 16 - Corcovado / Drake Bay
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.
Day 17 - San Jose
After breakfast, take the return boat, then hit the road towards San Jose, taking approximately 5 hours, in total. There's an optional lunch stop along the way, as that driving will be sure to pique your appetite. 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.
Day 18 - San Jose
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. If you wish to spend more time in San Jose, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-02-202003-03-2020AUD $ 5,520-
11-04-202028-04-2020AUD $ 5,465-
09-05-202026-05-2020AUD $ 5,465-
18-07-202004-08-2020AUD $ 5,465-
15-08-202001-09-2020AUD $ 5,465-
21-11-202008-12-2020AUD $ 5,685-
12-12-202029-12-2020AUD $ 5,685-

Accommodation

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

Transport

Private vehicle,Shared vehicle,Shared boat. Raft

Map