Costa Rica: Raft, Surf, Kayak & Hike

18 Day Small Group Adventure from San Jose to San Jose with Intrepid

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Intrepid's 18 Day Costa Rica: Raft, Surf, Kayak & Hike. 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 more

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Small Group Adventure Starts In
Starts In
San Jose
Small Group Adventure Ends In
Ends In
San Jose
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Adventure Tour
Trip Style
Adventure Tour
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Countries Explored:
Costa Rica
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1 San Jose

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.

2 Rafting Pacuare River
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. (B/L/D)
3 Rafting Pacuare River / Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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. (B/L)
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 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. (B)
5 Tortuguero National Park
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). (B)
6 Kayaking Tortuguero National Park
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. (B)
7 San Jose
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. (B)
8 San Jose
Today is a free day for you to explore San Jose. (B)
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 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. (B)
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 (B/L/D)
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 (B/L/D)
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 (B/L/D)
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 (B/L/D)
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. (B/L)
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. (B)
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. (B)
17 Carara National Park / San Jose
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. (B)
18 San Jose
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart after breakfast. (B)

Intrepid Inclusions

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Sightseeing Highlights
  • 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
  • Hotel (8 nights)
  • Multishare Cabin (4 nights)
  • Lodge (5 nights)
Included Meals
  • 17 Breakfasts included
  • 7 Lunches included
  • 5 Dinners included
Read Trip Notes
  • Trip Notes outline what's included, visa information, important notes, how to get to your accommodation, packing checklist, optional activities, travel insurance requirements - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more. Please take time to have a read through, and contact us if you have any questions. View Trip Notes

Prices & Dates

There are currently no departures available on this trip. Either it's the end of the season and new departures will be released shortly, or this itinerary has been changed and will no longer continue. Feel free to contact us for information about when next seasons dates will be released or click here to view the general brochure release dates for all destinations.

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Trip Notes
Trip prices are per person, and reflect applicable discounts. Discounts are subject to availability, exclusive to Global Journeys and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change by Intrepid. Full terms & conditions are available here.