Costa Rica Adventure for All

Whitewater rafting, forest hiking, horseback riding, exploring caves and rappelling through waterfalls are just the beginning of this rainforest journey. Enjoy stays in the premier eco-lodge in Costa Rica and in the quirky airplane-turned-hotel nestled in the trees. This adventure has something for everyone in the family!

Country Information

Costa Rica & Nicaragua

Costa Rica Adventure for All Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Costa Rica & Nicaragua

(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways


Sustainable Travel


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

8 Days

Tour Highlights

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  • Thrill to whitewater rafting on one of the top five rivers in the world, known for its Class III and IV rapids
  • Hike trails used by the traditional Cabecar Indians for centuries
  • At Arenal, get close to nature on a rainforest canopy adventure that includes some 15 cables and 18 platforms
  • Discover Manuel Antonio rainforest and Pacific beaches where you’ll stay in the eccentric 727 airplane-turned-hotel nestled in the trees
  • Experience kayaking in the warm waters of the Damas Island estuary and mangroves, or spend an evening on a Catamaran cruise and search for spotted dolphins, sea turtles and migrating humpback whales

Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica
Arrive at the San Jose International Airport. San Jose is Costa Rica’s capital and home to a quarter of its population.  Upon clearing immigration and customs, exit the airport and meet your driver and guide who will be waiting for you.  Board your private van and enjoy the 1.5-hour scenic drive to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, home to four spectacular waterfalls, the world’s largest butterfly farm and an enchanting hummingbird gallery.  Spend a few hours hiking the trails as you come close to these powerful waterfalls.   After the tour, you return to San Jose and check into your hotel.  The remainder of the day is at leisure. Grano de Oro Hotel – Deluxe Room

Day 2: San Jose – Pacuare River
Today, an early morning transfer takes you to Pacuare River, about 2.5 hours from San Jose. Enjoy breakfast in route. You travel to your lodge in an unexpected fashion - by whitewater rafting!  This river is ranked as one of the top five rivers in the world for whitewater rafting, chiefly because of its 18 miles  of Class III and IV rapids and some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Costa Rica.  You will enjoy the thrill of the rapids, as well as the natural beauty that surrounds the river - cascading waterfalls and a variety of tropical flora and fauna. The overland alternative to get to the lodge includes a combination of 4x4 vehicle, hand-pulled-cable river crossing, and a short hike.  Check in to Costa Rica’s premier eco-lodge on the banks of the river, tucked away in the heart of Costa Rica’s most pristine rainforest. Once there, you savor a luxurious jungle experience hard to find any place else.  Surrounded by nature in its purest and most primitive state, you will experience that most coveted of travelers’ rewards… the opportunity to savor the spirit of a place.  The lodge was designed and constructed to blend with the environment, with minimal impact. It has been recognized by the World Tourism Organization as one of 65 examples throughout the world of good practice in sustainability and ecotourism.  The jungle view rooms are among the newest rooms and were especially designed for families.  Each features a canopy king size bed, hardwood flooring, spacious terrace with hammock, and a private bathroom with heated water and rainforest view.  These rooms are the only ones on the property that have limited electricity to illuminate the room and bathroom. After lunch, you can participate in an optional canopy tour or waterfall hike, or simply relax. Candlelight dinners accompanied by fine wines are the hallmark of the owners, who are Costa Rican foodies. Tonight, sink into one of the big canopy beds, serenaded by nature’s lullaby. Pacuare Lodge – Jungle View Room (B,L,D)

Day 3: Pacuare River
Awake to bird song and the soothing sound of the river nearby.  Then head over to the main lodge for a delicious breakfast.  The lodge employs a resident naturalist guide who will provide you with unique insights into the plant and animal world.  Optional activities here include a canopy tour along a series of transverse cables; hiking the trails used by the Cabecar Indians for centuries; a personal visit with a Zutkia, or Cabecar medicine man, to learn about the Cabecar’s relationship with nature; a horseback riding trek guided by a local horseman; an exploration of the river region and rainforest; and visit the community of Bajo del Tigre, where you will meet the dedicated people who make this jungle habitat their home.  Pacuare Lodge – Jungle View Room (B,L,D)

Day 4: Pacuare River / Arenal
Mid-morning, you depart by raft for an even more fun-filled day of white water rafting, about a three and a half hour trip over Class III-IV rapids.  Stop to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch along the river.  At the end of the run, you have an opportunity to change clothes at a private facility before being transferred to Arenal, about three hours. Check into your hotel, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the Leading Spas of the World.  It has also been recognized by both Spa Finder’s Readers´ Choice Awards and Travel & Leisure.  Nestled within the flat, rich lands of San Carlos, the Arenal Volcano rises up from the rainforest like a natural monument.  One of many remarkable sights in the area, this mountain of fire symbolizes the adventure and mysticism of the region.   Known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano/Fortuna area offers numerous activities including highly charged whitewater rafting, canyoning, caving, rainforest hikes and swimming in the hot springs.  The region’s attractions include the Arenal National Park, the Fortuna River Waterfall, the Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve, and numerous adventure tours in the rainforest.  With its rolling hills, cattle farms, rainforest, and Costa Rica’s largest lake, the Arenal area’s verdant landscape is a cornucopia of biodiversity. Optional activities include a visit to Fortuna River Waterfalls; rafting on the Sarapiqui River, with its Class II, III and IV rapids; a floating safari with Class I and II rafting for slower-paced nature lovers; and canyoning, which entails rappelling down four walls, including three waterfalls, inside the rainforest. For nature and kayaking lovers, the Arenal Lake offers the opportunity to go kayaking. Take a volcano hike in the Arenal National Park to learn about the geology of Arenal Volcano and its history. Extreme adventure lovers, the Venado Caves challenge guests with wall climbing, sliding through mud-holes, hiking in underground rivers, and exploring these unique caves.  Your clothes are likely to be ruined, but the adventure makes it worth it.  Mountain bike on an old dirt road and take in view of the volcano, Lake Arenal and the rainforest.  Discover the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge during a floating safari. This area is considered to be of the best sites on the continent for bird watching.  Caño Negro is also home to a number of other animals such as sloths, three types of monkeys, caimans, lizards, bats, and a myriad variety of flora native to the wetlands. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort – Superior Room (B)

Day 5: Arenal
Today, with your experienced guide you explore the rainforest treetops on the famous Hanging Bridges tour of this 600-acre reserve.  Traveling through the lush vegetation, you may spot some of the 400 bird species identified in the surounding area as well as monkeys and other animals.   The trail itself is 3.1 km/1.9 miles long and crosses nine fixed bridges and six suspension bridges, and is laid out at a maximum grade of 7 degrees so that anyone can walk it.  The Arenal Ecoglide consists of 15 cables and 18 platforms that are divided into three sections mostly in the trees, and designed to provide visitors greater close-up contact with nature.  An optional “Tarzan Swing,” similar to a bungee jump, is included mid-tour. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort – Superior Room (B)

Day 6: Arenal / Manuel Antonio
This morning, you’ll have a four-hour private transfer to Manuel Antonio along a picturesque, winding route that passes through San Carlos, San Ramon and Orotina en route to the shores of Jaco.  Continue along the Central Pacific through the towns of Esterillos and Parrita en route to Quepos, a fishing town near Manuel Antonio, the most popular destination in Costa Rica.  Here you can find almost any type of adventure activity and tour, including sport fishing, sea kayaking, Catamaran cruises, white water rafting, canopy tours, nature hikes, horseback riding, and surfing.  The Central Pacific is a wonderful destination for both families and couples. Check into Hotel Costa Verde, located on a coastal rainforest bluff overlooking the Pacific beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos.  Its many amenities make Costa Verde a wonderful destination for those seeking adventure, ecotourism, sportfishing, or just the tranquility of white sand beaches and magnificent ocean views.  Three hundred yards from the beach and Manuel Antonio National Park, the Hotel Costa Verde features two cliff side pools with sundecks and spacious rooms and balconies, all offering bird's-eye views of the coastline and rainforest canopy.   Enjoy the quirky airplane-turned-hotel nestled in the rain forest on a custom-built platform 15 meters/50 feet above the ground. At this height, its guests will be able to enjoy scenic ocean and jungle views from both the factory airplane windows and the handcrafted deck that has been built atop its wings. The inside of the plane has been decorated using local teak wood and Costa Verde's renowned innovation. This has resulted in a beautiful wood paneled fuselage with three queen size beds, two bathrooms, TV, AC, kitchenette and safety deposit. Hotel Costa Verde - Executive Suite 727 (B)

Day 7: Manuel Antonio
Today you are at leisure to pursue your own interests. Optional activities include visiting Manuel Antonio National Park (closed Mondays) to see spider and white-faced monkeys, sloths and iguanas.  You can also hike through the mangroves, or simply relax and lounge on the pristine beaches.  Visit Quepos, home to some of the world’s best sport fishing.  Experience sea or estuary kayaking in the warm waters of the Damas Island estuary and mangroves; spend an afternoon or evening on a Catamaran cruise; search for spotted dolphins and keep an eye out for giant sea turtles and migrating humpback whales (September through January).  Explore the mangroves on a motorized boat tour guided by experts, and you can expect close encounters with white-faced monkeys, sloths and many bird species. Take a guided horseback tour through the Pacific Lowland Rainforest Reserves to a spectacular waterfall where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the pristine lagoon.  Take a coastal Jet Ski tour or learn to surf.  You can also opt for more whitewater rafting adventures on Costa Rica’s most picturesque rivers.  The Naranjo River,  (Class II & III - May through December), includes the well known El Chorro Section (Class III & IV  - January through April). The  Savegre River, (Class II & III - year round) is a magnificent stretch of whitewater that begins its course by winding out of a sparsely inhabited valley in the mountains.  Hotel Costa Verde - Executive Suite 727 (B)

Day 8: Manuel Antonio / San Jose / Depart
Board your van for the 2.5-hour, private transfer to San Jose, where you connect with your flight home. (B)

Land price, per person: From US$250 per person per day, based on 4 guests (adults and children) traveling together.

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