Costa Rica Caribbean Adventure
This Costa Rican adventure will allow you to bask in the unique rainforest and wetland habitats of the Caribbean side of the country, visiting secluded indigenous communities and vibrant Afro-Caribbean towns along the way. You will get to plunge into the world-famous Pacuare River and its mystic rapids, stay in a sustainable lodge on the banks of the river, discover wildlife in some of the most impressive tropical forests, immerse yourself in the way of living of a remote indigenous community and get a hands-on introduction into the culinary wonders of this area. Enjoy the rich cultural heritage and exuberant natural setting of the Caribbean!
- Raft through the beautiful Pacuare River
- Visit Cahuita National Park and enjoy its white sandy beaches and nature trails
- Discover the most preserved coral reef in the Costa Rican Caribbean
- Experience Bribri’s indigenous paradise and learn about their history and culture
- Watch an amazing array of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, tropical birds and butterflies
- Enjoy an Afro-Caribbean cooking class with a local chef
The rafting portion of this tour from days 2 to 5 is as part of a small group tour. During the rest of days, it is a private tour and you will have private transfers and an English-speaking guide throughout. The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All tours can be tailor-made to suit your interests and requirements.
This 10-day tour is designed to give you insight into the traditions and the diverse natural wonders of the Caribbean of Costa Rica. This coast extents almost 200 kilometers and is home to impressive tropical forests and ecosystems. After a visit of San José, you will get your gear on and raft your way down the Pacuare River to get to the lovely Ave Sol River Sanctuary. Here you will have the opportunity to discover the marvels of the rainforest and get a glimpse of traditional customs in the Cabecar Indigenous Reserve. After, continue your journey to Cahuita, a vibrant Afro-Caribbean town, where you will explore its lush tropical jungle and have the chance to swim in some of the clearest waters in the country. Your trip will then take you to the Yorkin River, in the indigenous territory of the Bribri, where you will take part into this remote’s community traditions and discover their natural surroundings. Finish in the lovely coastal town of Puerto Viejo, a multicultural town, famous for its beautiful beaches and amazing Caribbean gastronomy. Here you will learn form one of the best chefs in town about local ingredients and culinary customs.
This is a private tour and the itinerary can be tailor made to suit your interests, requirements and travel dates. We can include these and other destinations across Costa Rica.
Day 1: San José – Welcome to Costa Rica (-/-/-)
An English-speaking guide will welcome you at the airport and drive you to your well-located hotel in San José. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and settle in, then perhaps take a walk around the city. There is plenty to do in the capital, from walking in its parks, visiting a museum, taking a food tour or browsing in the shops and the busy central market.
Day 2: Rafting the Pacuare River (B/L/D)
Today, you will arrive via land transfer and then rafting to your next destination: the banks of the Pacuare River. Early in the morning, you will join a small group for you transfer to Finca La Cruz (approx. 2 hours), where your rafting adventure will begin. The Pacuare River is considered among the ten most beautiful rivers in the world and is one of the top five in the planet for whitewater rafting. It is one of the most beautiful and exciting rafting experiences in all of Costa Rica (Class III-IV). After 1.5 hours rafting, arrive and check in at Ave Sol River Sanctuary, a very secluded mountain/river lodge and natural reserve located on the margin of the Pacuare River, bordering the Nairi-Awari Indigenous Reserve and other protected areas that cover much of the Talamanca Mountain Range. Ave Sol is part of the locally owned company Rie Rio Pacuare, whose main objective is the protection of the Pacuare River basin's natural ecosystems. Professionals in biology, natural resource management, veterinary science and tourism working in the Talamanca Mountain Range teamed up in order to work in wildlife conservation and sustainable development. They promote the implementation of various programs and environmental projects in the areas of habitat protection, scientific research, cultural heritage and sustainable tourism. Free afternoon and evening to enjoy the area. Afternoon activities include various optional hikes (from easy to challenging) around the lodge.
Day 3: Hiking and cultural activities in the rainforest (B/L/D)
After breakfast, join a small group for a beautiful 2-hour rainforest hike and visit to neighbouring Cabecar Indigenous Reserve. This is a unique opportunity to immerse in the rainforest and get a glimpse of the most traditional ethnic culture of Costa Rica. You will join a guided walk up to this relatively isolated community where you can see the neatly constructed traditional huts, visit the local school, learn about forest lore and techniques and let a few quarrels fly with the traditionally made bow. Free afternoon and evening back at the lodge.
Day 4: Rafting Pacuare River to Cahuita (B/L/-)
After breakfast, join the small group for your final rafting descent of the Pacuare River, arriving in time to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant where you will meet your English-speaking guide and driver for your journey to the Southern Caribbean town of Cahuita (approx. 3 hours). Due to its proximity to the Caribbean shoreline, Cahuita is a place where the lush tropical jungle meets the sand and Afro-Caribbean people have paired with the local indigenous communities and European immigrants to create a wonderfully cosmopolitan Caribbean town. You can experience a deep respect for nature, peace and calm. Upon arrival, check in at a charming B&B, just in front of the beach. The rest of the day is free.
Day 5: Hiking Cahuita National Park (B/-/-)
After breakfast, you will join a small-group, half-day excursion of Cahuita National Park, with its pristine white sand beaches and nature trails. Cahuita is a unique national park in Costa Rica because of its close relationship with the community. It is an example of shared management for sustainable development between the community and government. White sand beaches, a turquoise sea and diverse marine life are some of the attractions that await, and you should also be able to see monkeys, sloths, iguanas and tropical birds along the way. Free afternoon and evening back at the B&B. Free afternoon for optional activities in Cahuita, such as snorkeling, sea kayaking and horseback riding.
Day 6: Cahuita to Yorkin (B/L/D)
Today you will delve into the indigenous territory of the Bribri people, located in the tropical rainforest of Talamanca. This is an incomparable opportunity to experience the Bribri culture. After breakfast, you go by private transfer to the town of Bambú, where you will board an indigenous canoe and head up the Yorkin River (the natural border between Costa Rica and Panama), enjoying the exuberant vegetation of the area (total journey time: 3 hours - 1 hour by car and 2 hour by boat). Upon arrival you will visit the village and go to the rural lodge, Casa de Las Mujeres - Stibrawpa Rural Lodge, passing organic banana and cacao plantations. In 1985, the indigenous women of Yorkin founded the Sitibrawpa indigenous association with the purpose of creating income opportunities that would allow them to preserve their cultural heritage and protect the area’s natural environment. They started this initiative producing handcrafts and have evolved to agricultural and tourism activities. After a traditional Bribri lunch, you will learn about the different projects of the association and the worlview of the Bribri people. In the evening, you will have dinner and conclude with a cultural exchange listening to ancient stories about the Bribri culture, an oral tradition passed on from generation to generation. Tonight you will sleep in private rooms in the community guesthouse.
Day 7: Medicinal Plants and Cocoa tour (B/L/D)
After a hearty breakfast, venture into the natural trails for a day of exploration. During this private half-day tour, you will have the opportunity to learn about local crops, the traditional use of medicinal plants and witness the process of chocolate making, all while enjoying the natural wonders of this isolated part of the country. Back at the guesthouse, a delicious lunch will be waiting for you. The afternoon will be free to swim in the natural pools, explore the community or make new friends, among others.
Optional activity: Guided hike to visit the Arakupa Kakonu in Panama (approx. 3 hours), a group of women who look after the forest. Upon arrival you will have a snack while you enjoy a presentation on artisan coffee production or the preparation of banana cream. Afterwards, take a walk in the forest while the women tell you some of their stories about Talamanca.
Day 8: Yorkin to Puerto Viejo (B/-/-)
After an early breakfast, we will depart in a canoe to return to Bambú and continue by car on to Punta Uva, near Puerto Viejo (approx. journey time: 2 hours - 1 hour by boat and 1 by car).
Punta Uva, located in southern sector of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is known worldwide for its nature-based wildlife observation activities. The area exhibits a unique mix of beach, natural resources and Afro-Caribbean heritage. Here there are high-quality beaches where you can find a mix of activities involving adventure and natural history, which uniquely complement the local culture, gastronomy and music. The area is also known for its coral reefs, multi-coloured sand beaches (black, yellow and grey), costal vegetation, and medium-high forests. On arrival, check in at a quaint B&B, walking distance to the beach. Free afternoon and evening to relax.
Day 9 Manzanillo Hike and Cooking Class (B/-/D)
After breakfast, enjoy the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge on a private, half-day guided hike through this natural paradise filled with astonishing flora and fauna. The refuge encompasses 11,000 acres of land including lush rainforest and sandy Caribbean beaches. Go in search of monkeys, toucans, sloths, iguanas and a broad variety of birds. Free afternoon to enjoy the beach. For dinner, one of Puerto Viejo’s most famous chef invites you for a 2 to 3 hour cooking class. Discover interesting facts about their culture, practice your patois (or your Spanish) and learn some recipes you can take home with you, a taste of the Caribbean. Using fruits and veggies traditional to coastal Talamanca learn to cook patacones, bread fruit, rice and beans in coconut milk, smoothies, fish or chicken in Caribbean sauce and more!
Day 10: Puerto Viejo to your next destination (B/-/-)
Enjoy a last day in the beach. End of tour. To continue your journey, you can take a shared shuttle transfer to Bocas del Toro in Panama or back to San José, or to explore other parts of Costa Rica.
- Trip duration: 10 days
- Countries visited: Costa Rica
- Level of difficulty: Low
- Accommodation: 1 night in a hotel in San José, 2 nights in a river lodge in Pacuare, 2 nights in a B&B in Cahuita, 2 nights in a community guesthouse in Yorkin (private room), 2 nights in a hotel in Puerto Viejo
- Transport: Private mini-van, canoe, river rafting boat and 4x4 vehicle
- Meals included: 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by our local guide who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly.
No minimum number of passengers required and you will not be travelling with a group of people you do not know. Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling.
This tour of Costa Rica, like most of our adventures through Latin America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like.
What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries, dry bag, microfiber towel.
Hot destination: comfortable light cotton shirts with long and short sleeves, comfortable trousers made of cotton or a light synthetic material (bring at least two sets of light clothes which can be washed and dried easily), shorts, rain coat, plastic ziplock bags, plastic bags for your luggage in case of rain.
- Best time to travel: From May to November
- Extra budget recommended: Around £200 / $250 pp to cover meals and other expenses not included in the itinerary
What is included:
Welcome reception at the airport. Transfers (some may be shared). Overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary. Guided activities and excursions with English speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the social projects visited.
- What is not included: Flights from your country of origin. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Travel within and around each town. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs.
There is no minimum duration and you can take only the activities or destinations you want. To start creating your ideal, tailor-made tour to Costa Rica, please complete and send this form. Our Costa Rica team will be in touch shortly: