Costa Rica Traverse

Starting From

$2,999/person

Number of days

12

Start Location

Costa Rica

Group Size

4-16

Operated by

World Expeditions

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A crossing of Costa Rica from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean Sea under your own steam

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrive in San Jose

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.

Manuel Antonio

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.

Cycling the Pacific Coast and trekking the Central Costa Rica Mountains

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

Cycle to Santa Maria De Dota

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

Cycling across the Continental Divide

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

Cycling and trekking in Tapanti National Wildlife Refuge

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

Cycling to the Pacuare River and whitewater rafting

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

El Nido del Tigre on the Pacuare

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.

Rafting on the Pacuare River

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

Cycling & Sea kayak to the Caribbean Sea and transfer to Cahuita

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

Relax on the Caribbean and transfer to San Jose

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.

In San Jose, trip concludes

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

Additional Information

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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