trip
6
Moderate to Challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 4 day trek
  • 6 day cycle
  • 2 day raft
  • 1 day kayak
Accommodation
  • 3 nights hotel
  • 5 nights camping
  • 1 night cabin
  • 2 nights village house/lodge
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
  • 11 Breakfasts

12 Days$3090USD

Hit the trails with confidence

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: CRT

Trip highlights


  • Trek and bike in the Costa Rica highlands
  • Visit remote Indigenous communities
  • Experience exotic wildlife and the Cloud Forest
  • Raft the exhilarating Pacuare River through spectacular canyons
  • Undertake a sea kayak adventure to the tidal mouth of the Caribbean Coast
  • Explore the vibrant city of San Jose

An adventure high on the wish list of active adventurers keen to take on the challenge of traversing Costa Rica under their own steam. Our crossing takes us on bike, foot, raft and kayak across this spectacular natural wilderness through farmlands, foothills and mountainous regions reaching the peaks of the Central Highlands. The trails are often slippery and with several river crossings. We encounter indigenous settlements deep in the cloud forest and hope to glimpse rare wildlife and birdlife in this pristine tropical rainforest. The views and terrain vary greatly as we traverse the mountainous backbone of Costa Rica. Our journey will take us into the depths of the Pacuare River on one of the world's classic whitewater experiences, where we undertake an exhilarating rafting trip with class 2-4 rapids through a series of spectacular canyons. In between the powerful rapids there is time to absorb your superb surroundings and the tropical rainforest. We leave the rapids and gorges behind as we ease our way by sea kayak along a much slower moving section of the river, through banana plantations to our final goal, the Caribbean coast.


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You will be met on arrival at San Jose's international airport and taken to your hotel. Depending on arrival time you should have some time to explore the sights of San Jose.

Meals:  Nil

We transfer from San Jose to the Pacific Coast. The drive takes us along the Pan American highway reaching heights of over 3000 metres before turning west to the coast. Upon arrival we have a chance to relax either at the pool or on the beach. In the late afternoon, we will meet for a bike fitting and a short warm up ride. After dinner the trip briefing will be held and your guide will outline the plans for the coming days.

Meals:  B,D

This morning, we take the customary picture on the beach and begin the ride along a section of the Pan American highway. A few kilometers along the highway we turn off and ride along a dirt track beside the Savegre River. A few hours into the ride we get our first taste of Costa Rica’s undulating terrain as we head toward the mountains of the Pacific Coast. In the town of Londres we take a break and enjoy some local color before continuing our ride to camp in the small community of Esquipulas. Cycling distance: 47km

Meals:  B,L,D

After a hearty breakfast, we begin the first full day of trekking into the mountains of Central Costa Rica. With only 16 kms to cover, there is plenty of time to enjoy the vistas of the rainforest covered mountains ahead of us and the beautiful Pacific Coastline behind us. The trek route takes us up to an altitude of over 800 metres before we drop back down into a valley to our camp in the community of Naranjillo. Trekking distance: 16km

Meals:  B,L,D

Although today is challenging, our previous activities have stood us in good stead for our day’s mixture of trekking and biking. The day starts with a crossing of the Naranjillo River and a steep climb out of the valley along a trail through the rainforest. We will be trekking around 13 km in total today. At just over 1300 metres, the forest opens up to our first glimpse of Costa Rica’s abundant coffee industry. From here we continue trekking up and down through coffee plantations for several hours until we get to an altitude of 1950 metres. Here we switch back to biking and enjoy an exhilarating descent and ascents of 13 km on paved roads into the quaint village of Santa Maria where we refortify with some typical Costa Rican fare and rest up in comfortable local cabins. Trekking distance: 13km, Cycling distance: 13km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we tackle the hardest, steepest climb of our adventure. The challenge before breakfast is mountain biking a 14 km uphill stretch to the Continental Divide, bringing us to an altitude of 2330 metres - the highest peak of our journey. Following the rule that everything that goes up must come down, the remainder of the day is mountain biking at its best - mostly downhill on dirt roads and single-track trails. We finish the afternoon in the beautiful Orosi Valley where rich pastures and dark green forests of coffee carpet the land and we rest for the night in the town of Orosi after our exhilarating ride. Cycling distance: 46km

Meals:  B,L

We are amidst both cloud and rainforest today but by now we are well into our stride of climbing mountains. After breakfast, we mountain bike along a river to the Tapantí National Wildlife Refuge. This is an area of vast rugged terrain covered with dense primary rainforest. Leaving our bikes, we take to the mountains trekking amongst thousands of trees covered with ferns, bromeliads, mosses and other epiphytes until the small settlement of Taus, where we jump back on the bikes to continue with our last section of cycling on dirt roads to the town of Pejibaye, where local families will welcome us with fresh coffee. The group is then divided into different houses in the village where dinner and a bed are provided for the night and breakfast the following morning. This makes for a great cultural exchange so remember to bring your phrase books! Cycling distance: 10km & 6km, Trekking distance: 12km

Meals:  B,L,D

After saying goodbye to your new Costa Rican family our day starts with cycling, followed by whitewater rafting. We begin the day’s bike (approx 40kms) towards the whitewater rafting put-in at La Cruz, which is the gateway to the raging Pacuare River. Here we have lunch and embark on a whitewater rafting journey through pristine rainforest. The rapids section of the river is approximately 30 kilometers of Class II-IV rapids. The Pacuare is the most scenic rafting river in Costa Rica and one the world’s classic whitewater experiences. By afternoon we arrive at our comfortable riverside camp, El Nido del Tigre. Nestled between the sounds of the rainforest and the hum of the river we take time to explore this lush environment and look out for wildlife such as Toucans overhead. Spacious tents on fixed platforms board the edge of the river and nestle in the surrounding forest. The camp is fully functional with its own supply of pure spring water, shower and sanitary facilities. The name of the camp, El Nido del Tigre, comes from the giant patches of ginger plants that carpet the main floor of the main area of the camp. When the ginger reaches a certain height it falls over creating flattened areas in the shape of a tiger’s paw - hence its name, which translates to “the nest of the tiger”. From the centre of the nest, trails radiate throughout the forest and along the river. There is an open area for those who like the odd game of ball or Frisbee. If this is too much after a day on the river, seek out one of our quiet reading areas, set yourself down with a refreshing drink and just ‘be’ for a while. Cycling distance: 40km, Rafting distance: 10km

Meals:  B,L,D

This is a well earned rest day although you can make it as active as you like. Your guides will be with you and so make the most of this free day at the camp by spending it enjoying El Nido del Tigre and the surrounding area. Hiking through the rainforest to a waterfall, floating down a rapid with just a life jacket, or relaxing in a hammock around the camp, are all possible activities. Trekking distance: 12km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the Pacuare takes us through virgin rainforest, cascading waterfalls and river carved canyons. We manoeuver through the exhilarating Class III and IV rapids and point out the intricacies of the rainforest at the river’s edge. The Class IV rapids are exciting and separated by calm stretches which enable you to stare at the near vertical green walls towering hundreds of metres above the river, which makes this a magnificent and unique river trip. Along the way we take time out to do some hiking to spectacular waterfalls and have lunch on the shore. Tonight’s camp marks the end of the rapids and the beginning of the banana lined slow moving waters of the Pacuare River. We take-out in the heart of banana plantation country at Finca Pacuarito, where we rest for the night before an early start in the morning. Rafting distance: 17km

Meals:  B,L,D

THE SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS...This morning we jump on our bikes for a short ride through banana plantations to the town of Freeman where we begin the final leg of the traverse in kayaks down the Pacuare leaving the rapids behind as the river eases into the Caribbean lowlands where banana plantations gradually swallow the receding rainforest. The river slows to a tranquil pace as we are rafting the last mile of the river, completing the mosaic of the landscapes we have experienced. At the end of the adventure, we reach the mouth of the Pacuare as it meets the Caribbean Sea, celebrating our passage with bubbly in the surf, while enjoying a well-deserved rest. After some time on the beach we are picked up by a motorboat and transferred down the canals to the coastal town of Caño Blanco where we are transferred back to San Jose. Cycling distance: 27km, Kayaking distance: 12km

Meals:  B,L

You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport.

Meals:  B

Expand all | Collapse all

You will be met on arrival at San Jose's international airport and taken to your hotel. Depending on arrival time you should have some time to explore the sights of San Jose.

Meals:  Nil

Our challenge starts on the Pacific Coast so this morning we transfer you from San Jose to the fishing village of Quepos which is also linked to Manuel Antonio. There is time to relax, chill out on the beach or visit Manuel Antonio National Park, which is famous for its abundant wildlife. After dinner the trip briefing will be held and your guide will outline the plans for the coming days.

Meals:  B,D

We awake early and enjoy a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit and coffee as we set off on our bikes and climb into the steep mountains and beautiful valleys of the sparsely populated Pacific Coast. In the small town of Esquipulas we have a snack, rest up and prepare our day packs for the next leg of the day’s journey. Trading our wheels for hiking boots, we continue by trekking into the cool mountains of Central Costa Rica. We camp overnight in the valley of Naranjillo. Mountain Biking distance: 25 km. Trekking distance: 14 km

Meals:  B,L,D

We begin our day by trekking towards the Continental Divide and challenging the infamous “Cemetery Hill” - a strenuous 3 km climb. We then head for the pueblo of San Lorenzo switching to mountain bikes along the way. We finish the day in the quaint village of Santa Maria where we refortify with some typical Costa Rican fare and rest up in comfortable local cabins. Trekking distance: 13km. Cycling distance: 13km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we tackle the hardest, steepest climb of our adventure. The challenge before breakfast is mountain biking a 14km up-hill stretch to the Continental Divide, bringing us to an altitude of 2,330m - the highest peak of our journey. Following the rule that everything that goes up must come down, the remainder of the day is mountain biking at its best - mostly downhill on dirt roads. We finish the afternoon in the beautiful Orosi Valley where rich pastures and dark green forests of coffee carpet the land and we rest for the night in the town of Orosi. Cycling distance: 46km

Meals:  B,L

After breakfast, we mountain bike along a river to the Tapantí National Wildlife Refuge. This is an area of vast rugged terrain covered with dense primary rainforest. Leaving our bikes, we take to the mountains trekking amongst thousands of trees covered with ferns, bromeliads, mosses and other epiphytes. The end of the day finds us on flatter ground, camping near the small settlement of Taus. Cycling distance: 13km. Trekking distance: 13km

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we continue mountain biking towards the whitewater rafting “put-in” at La Cruz, which is the gateway to the raging Pacuare River. Here we have lunch and embark on a whitewater rafting journey through pristine rainforest spotted with waterfalls. The rapids section of the river is approximately 30km of Class II-IV rapids. By afternoon we arrive at our comfortable riverside camp, El Nido del Tigre. Nestled between the sounds of the rainforest and the hum of the river, take time to explore this lush environment first hand, looking out for toucans overhead or simply relaxing in a hammock to the sounds of the river. Cycling distance: 46km. Whitewater rafting distance: 10km

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we spend some quality time at this unique location on the banks of the Pacuare River. This area of rainforest is maintained as much as possible in its natural state. The camp takes its name from the giant patches of ginger plants that carpet the floor of the main area. From the center of the camp trails radiate out to secreted areas of rainforest, waterfalls and swimming holes.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the Pacuare takes us through virgin rainforest, cascading waterfalls and river carved canyons. We maneuver through the exhilarating rapids and point out the intricacies of the rainforest at the river’s edge. Along the way we take time out to do some hiking to spectacular waterfalls and have lunch on the shore. We take-out in the heart of banana plantation country at Finca Pacuarito, where we rest for the night before an early start in the morning. Whitewater rafting distance: 17km

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we jump on our bikes for a short ride through banana plantations to the town of Freeman where we begin the final leg of the traverse in kayaks down the Pacuare leaving the rapids behind as the river eases into the Caribbean lowlands where banana plantations gradually swallow the receding rainforest. The river slows to a tranquil pace as we are rafting the last mile of the river, completing the mosaic of the landscapes we have experienced. At the end of the adventure, we reach the mouth of the Pacuare as it meets the Caribbean Sea, celebrating our passage with bubbly in the surf, while enjoying a well-deserved rest. After some time on the beach we are picked up by a motorboat and transferred to Cahuita from where we travel by vehicle to the beach. Cycling distance: 20km. Sea Kayaking distance: 15km

Meals:  B,L

The morning is free to relax around the hotel or at the beach. There are also a number of optional tours in the area. After lunch, we will begin our drive back to San Jose taking time to appreciate the breathtaking views as we pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Meals:  B

You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners
  • Experienced guides
  • Airport transfers (days 1 and 12 only)
  • Private transport
  • Good quality hotel accommodation
  • All group camping equipment
  • Summer sleeping bag & sleeping mat
  • Rafting gear and instruction
  • Kayaking gear and instruction
  • Mountain Bikes (bicycle helmets are not included)
  • Support vehicle on majority of bike sections (except for 1.5 hrs between Santa Maria and the Orosi Valley)

  • International flights
  • Airport and departure taxes
  • Bicycle helmet
  • Christmas, New Year and Easter supplement (please ask our staff for details of this small peak season surcharge)
  • Meals not indicated
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance

Departure dates


Notes

H
High Season
IT2
Alternative itinerary can apply to small groups of less than 4 travellers. Refer to secondary itinerary in trip notes for details.
Note:
Surcharges apply during Easter, Christmas and New Year.

Dates or itinerary don't fit?

Create a custom made itinerary for the perfect adventure. Choose when you travel, what you see and where you go.

Total Priceper person from

$3090USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement (1 July 21 - 30 June 22)USD$510
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Costa Rica Traverse trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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