Active Costa Rica
One for adventure lovers and adrenalin junkies, as you raft, swing, hike and climb your way round Costa Rica – a country-sized adventure playground!
Active Costa Rica Holiday
13 days from £2,065 pp
(exc. international flights)
As the name suggests this holiday is aimed at those who want to get out and about, expend some energy and experience the thrill and excitement of activity. You have a gentle start with a boat trip in Tortuguero National Park, and then time for hiking or kayaking if you wish. Next you have some high octane action as you go rafting on the Pacuare River. Not for the fainthearted (but neither is this holiday!), you’ll find yourself shooting grade III and IV rapids in steep-sided canyons.
Your next thrills are on, and above, dry land. The canyon adventure is a clever combination of Tarzan swings, zip lines, bridges, suspended platforms and ladders – an assault course par excellence, with the added bonus of thermal springs. At your final destination on the Pacific coast you have a host of water-sports available. Don’t worry if this leaves you feeling a little breathless: in each location there is plenty of time to relax, though you do also have the option for more activity if you prefer.
All accommodation is en-suite and each property has some lovely facilities. At one you can have an indulgent massage, and another offers a therapeutic body wrap of volcanic mud. At your lodge in Tortuguero you can swim in a pool in the shape of a turtle, and at your final hotel you can enjoy fabulous sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
It’s not just an activity holiday. You have time to enjoy Costa Rica’s famously varied scenery and wildlife. You have time on both coasts and in the central highlands among hills and volcanoes. You’ll become accustomed to the lush beauty of the rainforest and have guided tours in several national parks and reserves with their wide array of bird and animal life. Most of your lodges are surrounded by gardens which are home to hummingbirds, macaws, monkeys and iguanas. If you’re ready for some excitement this is definitely the trip for you!
Note that this itinerary is not suitable for children under 12.
- San José 1 night
- Tortuguero 2 nights
- Pacuare 2 nights
- Arenal 2 nights
- Río Perdido 2 nights
- Potrero Beach 3 nights
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You are met at San José international airport by a local representative for the short drive into town and Hotel Presidente, where you spend your first night in Costa Rica. This downtown hotel has a striking contemporary style and comfy, air-conditioned accommodation. There’s a restaurant-bar and terrace where you can rest after your journey, taking in views of the city. Relax – the holiday has begun!
You set out from the city early, travelling to Tortuguero on the north Caribbean coast. You pass through the rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, breaking the journey for breakfast. There may be time to visit a banana plantation, before arriving at the port where you board a boat and continue along the wide coastal canals. This cruise offers great chances to view birds and mammals. You arrive to lunch at Evergreen Lodge, and later there’s a guided tour of the town, museum and beach, the last famous for its nesting turtles. Dinner is at the lodge.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Rise early to enjoy a canal cruise at sunrise when many of the birds and animals can be seen and heard, with your guide helping you discover the natural wonders of Tortuguero. Back at the lodge you have a well-earned breakfast. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Explore the 2 hectares of grounds, relax by the pool and talk to other guests as you enjoy a drink at the bar. You can also head back into the national park with a guide (pay locally), and if you’re here between July and September you can visit the beach after dark to see nesting turtles.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning you travel inland to the Pacuare River through dense forest, stopping for lunch on the way. You will either raft or hike to the lodge, which is an adventure in itself. The lodge staff will welcome you with a refreshing drink and the afternoon is at leisure. You might like to socialise with the other guests or spend some time relaxing on your terrace and reconnecting with nature. Meals are based on healthy produce and include traditional dishes and international favourites and are enjoyed by candlelight.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
You have a free day to enjoy the pristine surroundings by the Pacuare River, an area of extraordinary natural beauty and blessed with abundant wildlife. On a stroll in the rainforest you can expect to see a range of animals, birds and butterflies, as well as lovely tropical flowers. Should you wish there’s a chance to take a 4-5 hour hike into the rainforest mountains.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Time for some aquatic fun! You are taken to the Pacuare River this morning where your rafts, paddles, helmets and life jackets await. Take to the water and for the next 4 hours or so you follow the river through bubbling rapids (class III-IV) flanked by rainforest. It’s an exciting way to travel and is sure to have you grinning from ear to ear for some time afterwards. At the end you have the chance to take a shower and don a change of clothes before continuing the journey in rather more sedate fashion as you are driven to your next home, Arenal Springs Hotel. Check out the facilities which include 2 pools, thermal springs, a spa and 3 restaurants, and sit and admire the majestic sight of Arenal Volcano.
With no activities planned till the afternoon you might want to treat yourself to a lie in this morning, though there are plenty of things to keep you busy at the hotel if you’re feeling active. Go for a walk in the grounds and you may spot iguanas and lizards as well as a multitude of birds, soak in thermal pool to ease any aching muscles. In the afternoon you join a group hike in the foothills of the volcano, including a walk across a recent lava flow, learning about the history and geology of the area from your guide. The hike ends at some hot springs, the perfect way to relax, before you return to the hotel.
Your tour of Costa Rica continues as you travel west to Guanacaste province and Río Perdido, a journey of almost 3 hours. This lodge is situated high above the convergence of 2 rivers, the Perdido and the Blanco. For many years this site was inaccessible, but thanks to the hard work of the lodge owners, you can now enjoy this wilderness area. Settle into your bungalow, then this afternoon you can follow one of the walking trails, some of which offer views of waterfalls, incorporate hanging bridges and lead to panoramic viewpoints. Maybe you’d prefer to hire a bike and sample one of the specially created mountain bike circuits, ranging in length from 8 to 20kms. Either is a great introduction to the area.
Get ready for action! Today you take on the canyon adventure! Much thought has gone into the design of this course which combines a huge Tarzan swing, a pendulum cable, several high platforms, ziplines, via ferratas and hiking trails. At various points you can access thermal pools and viewing decks where you can rest and catch your breath. It’s full an excitement and adventure. Later, exhilarated, you return to the lodge, where you can relive the day’s events over a drink in the bar.
This morning you travel to Potrero Beach on the Pacific coast, and Bahía del Sol where you spend the next 3 nights. This is a restful setting where you soak up some sun on the beach, laze by the pool, treat yourself to a massage at the spa and dine within sight of the beach.
Today is a free day, you may want to book an option tour and spend the day at Palo Verde National Park. It has a broad range of ecosystems and is especially well known for its diverse birdlife including spoonbills, egrets, storks and grebes, though there are also excellent chances to observe monkeys, caimans and crocodiles. After lunch you could visit the village of Guatil, home to Chorotega Indians, many of whom are skilled potters who produce some of the country’s finest ceramics. You would return to the hotel for dinner. The activities are payable locally.
Your last full day has been kept entirely free, so you can decide how active, or not, you want to be! All manner of watersports can be arranged at the beach including kayaking, snorkelling and diving, while boat trips are available from the Playa Flamingo marina nearby. If you simply want to relax you can stay by the hotel pool or saunter to the beach for an indulgently restful day spent perfecting your tan and swimming. Tonight you can choose where you dine at the hotel or one of the many nearby restaurants.
Following breakfast you are driven to the local airport at Tamarindo, a journey of about 30 minutes for the flight back to San Jose, to connect with your onward flight home.
2020 price from (pp sharing, excluding international flights):
Rio Tropicales standard option:
01 Jan – 30 Apr 2020 from £2,155
01 May – 30 Jun 2020 from £2,065
01 Jul – 31 Aug 2020 from £2,145
01 Sep – 10 Dec 2020 from £2,110
Upgrade option for Pacuare Lodge:
01 Jan – 30 Apr 2020 from £3,075
01 May – 30 Jun 2020 from £2,890
01 Jul – 31 Aug 2020 from £3,080
01 Sep – 10 Dec 2020 from £2,940
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter will attract a supplement on the above prices.
Includes: Meet and greet at San Jose Airport on arrival, private transfers on arrival and departure, all other transfers and ground transport on a shared basis, 12 night twin share accommodation, meals as specified Tours: Tortuguero village tour, canal tour in Tortuguero, morning white water rafting at Rios Tropicales, afternoon group hike and hot springs visit at Arenal, canyon adventure and thermal pool visit at Río Perdido.
Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not specified, drinks, optional excursions and activities, personal expenses, tips.
Getting there: This tour starts and ends in San José. Return flight prices from the UK start from around £600.
Departure dates: This is a private, tailor-made holiday and can begin on any day you chose, subject to availability.