Costa Rica Tour for Active Travelers: Whitewater Rafting, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Kayaking & More

A 8 day trip to Costa Rica 
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Forget about the adrenaline specific vacations of New Zealand and South Africa. Costa Rica offers the unique wildlife of the tropics with exhilarating adventures in its mountainsides and celebrated beaches. The rainforest provides an intoxicating aroma, and the coastal waves offer a serene soundtrack. The abundant marvels of this 8-day vacation in Costa Rica take you along a thrilling ride through the dense canopy found in the diverse mountain ranges. The country will sweep you off your feet, where you can stand on the shoreline and witness unparalleled beauty after a day of electrifying exploration.

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

San Jose, Turrialba, Pacuare, Manuel Antonio

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Enthusiastic Arrival

Welcome to San Jose, the bustling capital of Costa Rica. The active neighborhoods emanate from an underlying charm that encompasses history and culture from around the countryside. Mountains encircle the city and the Central Valley region. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and takes you to your hotel that offers you a view of the mountainsides from the comforts of the hotel garden. The adventure of San Jose is spread throughout the city, from the elegant colonial mansions that date back to the days of coffee barons, to the colorful murals that artistically display the every day lives of local Ticos, Costa Ricans. Locals flock to the national stadium at La Sabana Park. A serene lake reflects the ever-present mountains and verdant trees.

The fields are filled with children playing soccer. Their jovial cries carry through the park. The National Stadium of Costa Rica holds 35,000 people and was opened in 2011. When the national team plays, the roar of the crowd echoes through the valley skies. The Central Market provides a deeper look into the daily lives of the people and the cultures that have amassed in the capital over the years. The market was constructed in 1880 and houses over 200 shops and stalls that offer food, clothing, and traditional woodworks. The aroma of fresh tamales comes from Soda Tapia, an old corner café with 120 years of history.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Contours of the Countryside   

The morning washes the streets with energetic light. Your first breakfast in Costa Rica showcases the sweet and colorful tropical fruits that grow throughout the country. Juicy mango and decadent jackfruit create a delightful combination to accompany the clear daylight. After breakfast you will leave San Jose behind to embark on a remarkable mountain biking tour through the unparalleled landscape. Your guides bring you to the edge of Turrialba Volcano National Park. The summit rises 10,919 feet above sea level and sits at the edge of the Central Volcanic Corridor. Three defined craters are found at the summit, one of which reaches a depth of 164 feet.

The dense rainforest blankets the countryside. Rambunctious wildlife calls the canopy home. As you follow your guide on specified roads and trails you hear the quick flutter of wings. Long-tailed hermit hummingbirds are curious and assertive. Their long curved bill reaches almost one-third of the bird’s body length. Their feathers flicker a bronzy green in the beaming sunlight. The day is warm but the breeze is cool and refreshing. The leaves sway and rustle around you. The roads rise and fall, which gives unique panoramas to the forest and the town of Turrialba.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Around the Riverbed

Turrialba Volcano looms above the city. Steam rises from the summit and adds texture to the passing clouds. After breakfast you will have semi-private transfer through the forest of the Central Valley and arrive at the banks of the Pacuare River. The water begins in the Talamanca Mountains and meanders through the countryside, and runs 68 miles to the Caribbean Sea. The river has created exceptional landscapes and a treasured gorge home to the vivacious wildlife that fills the trees, traverses the cliffs, and sips at the temperate fresh water.

The expedition begins when you step into your raft and push off the banks. The current sweeps you away. Howler monkeys are known for their particular low and guttural call. It can echo through the trees and be clearly heard up to three miles away. They sit in the dense vegetation and watch you pass by. Their calls combine with the rush of the river. The calm current turns to whitewater and your body pulses with excitement.

The river rushes over boulders and pushes against a small cliff side. Rocky outcrops pave the banks and you paddle as hard as you can. The raft rises and dips. The river mists into the air and splashes against your face. It’s refreshing against the day’s warmth. Settle into your comfortable riverside lodge and visit the nearby waterfall. The falls fill the natural pool with cool water. The serene rumble of the careening water reminds you of the rapids and the incomparable fun of the day.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Rafting Down the River

The morning jungle is filled with waking wildlife that sings in the trees. Toucans twitter and nest in the canopy. Their large animated bills can measure more than half of their body length and is the bird’s most notable characteristic. After breakfast you step aboard your raft once again to continue your adventure. As the current takes you along the riverbanks you can understand why National Geographic has called the Pacuare one of the top ten best rafting rivers in the world. The Upper and the Lower sections of the river encompass 23 miles and take you along the Lower Huacas and Double Drop rapids.

The river travels down the foothills and drops in altitude approximately 1,200 feet, which adds to the roaring torrents and exhilarating experience. Cliffs tower alongside the water and vines dangle from the arching canopy. Jaguars have been known to scour the forest floor and lap at the calmer sections of the riverside. Sloths hug the trees and camouflage themselves with the shifting hues of the bark. Your time along the river is nothing less than tremendous, allowing you both the excitement of the rapids and the beauty of the rainforest. In the afternoon your transfer will take you back to San Jose for the evening.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: The Waters of Manuel Antonio

The city’s energetic streets hum in the morning. The sunlight reaches over the encircling mountains and returns the bustling nature to the neighborhoods. Your private transfer escorts you from the city and onto the treasured coastline around Manuel Antonio National Park. Venture into the warm waters of the Pacific on a kayaking tour. Follow your guide alongside the pristine white sand beaches and jungle colors that edge on opulence. The ocean is sapphire and clear.

The sea breeze sweeps through the air with a salty sweetness. Cliffs separate the barreling waves from the calm water of secluded coves. The park encompasses 4,900 acres of protected rainforest and beach. White-headed capuchin monkeys ramble around the canopy that fringes the shore. White hair frames their faces and stands out against the jade leaves and pastel orchids. They forage in the trees in search of nuts, berries, and any quick snack. The sound of splashing waves becomes a familiar and soothing sound around you.

Near shore you can see black spiny tailed iguanas basking in the sunlight. From a distance they almost blend into the rock; however, your guide points out their tail dangling alongside the rising boulder. They can grow to over four feet long and can run up to a speed of almost 28 miles per hour. The sunlight passes over the Pacific and soon rests on the horizon. Settle into your fantastic accommodation nestled in the rainforest trees with a view of the celebrated shore.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Far Above the Forest Floor

Watch the temperate Pacific Ocean lap at the cove’s shores in the morning. Capuchin monkeys scramble through the trees. They’re attracted to the aromas of fresh papaya and star fruit. You wake up to the decadent scent of pressed Costa Rican coffee. The rich flavors seem almost chocolaty. After breakfast you can spend the morning among the wildlife and decadent shores of Manuel Antonio National Park. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel in the early afternoon and escort you into the jungle to journey through the canopy. Travel through the treetops with the freedom of the birds on a zip line adventure.

Soar along 10 lines and stroll across hanging bridges to witness the exceptional forest landscape from above. Listen to the birds chirp and tweet at their level. Orchids blossom up to 125 feet above the forest floor, their petals shimmering with colors that border on florescent. Butterflies flutter around the flowerbeds and you will have a chance to meet the iridescent Glasswinged butterfly. It has a wingspan of up to two and a half inches with clear circles and opaque edges. Your time in the canopy shows you the unique world of the jungle, different than the that of the underbrush where tapir forage, and one that is particular stunning against the background of bright blue sky.    

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation  

Day 7: A Different Light

Savor your final morning along the shores of Antonio Manuel National Park. The sapphire water peels back from the white sand shore. The calls of the toucans blend into the rolling cries of howler monkeys. Stick your toes into the warm sand and let the temperate Pacific embrace you. You have adventured through forest and gorges, mountains and rivers. Your body feels soothed by the tranquil ocean and soft wild calls. Your transfer meets you at your hotel and takes you to the local airport for your flight to San Jose.

The city continues its energetic bustle. The mountains are familiar in the skyline around the city. Parque Espana fills with avifauna in the afternoon when the sunset turns the mountains into silhouettes. A pristine statue of Christopher Columbus decorates the park’s center. The city’s birdlife seems to flock to the park and sing in the setting light. You listen to their calls and feel like you have stepped back into Costa Rica’s expansive and illustrious rainforest.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Calling Home

The bright lights of the city fade away as the sun rises over the Central Valley. The birdcalls have been replaced by the vibrancy of the city streets. Your panoramic view of the mountains is always exceptional; today the view reminds you of the distances you traveled across the landscape of the diverse countryside. Your private transfer meets you at your hotel and takes you to the airport for your flight home. Your time in Costa Rica was more than a vacation, it was an unforgettable adventure, filled with roaming rivers, meandering mountains, and treasured wildlife.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer  


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.