Select departures: April - December 2022 & January - December 2023 - Club Adventures:
Get a thrill in Central America on this 8-day active adventure through one of the world's greenest countries: Costa Rica. Cascade down the rapids of Pacuare Rivers, and later relax in a rainforest eco lodge. Take a surf lesson in the Caribbean waters near Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Relax along the Costa Rican coastline to the mellow beach refuge of Puerto Viejo and paddle through the waterways of Tortuguero National Park in search of monkeys, toucans and jaguars. Costa Rica is a country perfect for adventure seekers, and the ecstasies of this expedition are sure to impress even the most seasoned active traveller.
Day 1: San Jose
Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a city with colourful markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. If you do happen to arrive early, a good place to start exploring is the main plaza. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping, head to the outdoor markets in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
This morning, head out of the city and to the river. The next 48 hours are full of exhilarating white water rafting in Pacuare River with a nights’ stay in an eco-lodge. Today will be an approximately 2-hour adventure down the river covering 12 kilometres of rapids, ranging up to Class 3. In the afternoon, arrive at your lodge, where you can either chill out around the gardens or walk through the self-guided trails around the lush canopies of the Turrialba Valley.
Hit the river again as you leave the eco-lodge by raft for more unforgettable rapids on the Pacuare River, and potentially stopping for some wildlife-spotting along the way. You'll ride the Class 3 and 4 rapids for around 2 hours, or 14 kilometres. Around 10 am, travel by private vehicle (approximately 2.5 hours) to Puerto Viejo de Talmanca for a taste of Caribbean seaside – think reggae bars and palm-fringed beaches.
Rise early to take the 8 am public bus (20 minutes) to Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge – an area that encompasses several rare habitats, including a lowland rainforest, a wetland, a coral reef and a mangrove swamp. Spend around 2 hours exploring with your group leader and keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, reptiles, toucans and macaws. The Refuge is also the nesting area for several species of turtles, manatees, crocodiles, caimans, tarpons and dolphins. There will be some free time for lunch in Manzanillo town before taking to the shores for a surf lesson at 2 pm. Learn some basic pointers to ride a wave, or if you've done this before, grab a board and hang ten! You will be dropped back at the hotel between in the late afternoon, in time for perhaps a Costa Rican regional specialty, casado, at one of the local restaurants on offer.
Wake up nice and early, and at 8 am, transfer to Limon on the Caribbean Coast, and then travel by boat to Tortuguero National Park, one of the best places in Costa Rica for wildlife spotting (approximately 3-4 hours depending on the water level). Tortuguero is a network of canals and waterways on Costa Rica’s north Caribbean coast, surrounded by native jungle and full of exotic plant and wildlife species, including turtles, caimans, monkeys, and various bird species. Today and tomorrow are dedicated to kayaking on some of the canals in search of various forms of land and birdlife around the park. Tonight, why not join an optional activity of a turtle watching night tour where, depending on the time of year, you’ll see these small creatures nesting and (hopefully) some little babies hatching.
Today is another active day in Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by plane or boat, the park is regarded as one of the best places in Costa Rica for spotting wildlife. With this in mind, today, hop into kayaks and set out on a 2-hour journey through the park's canals in search of monkeys, sloths, caiman, jaguars, lizards, bats and a vast selection of birdlife. Along the way, learn from a local tour leader about how the jungle's islets, lagoons, wetlands and palm forests functions as a thriving ecosystem.
Travel by boat to La Pavona (1.5-2 hours, depending on water level) and continue by road back to San Jose (approximately 3.5 hours). With time to explore the historic buildings and bustling food and artisan markets, you’ll see a more urban Costa Rica, quite different to the past few days of travel. After so much activity in Costa Rica, you may instead be up for a quiet night, so perhaps head out for a group dinner and become acquainted with the city's night scene – your group leader will know a good place to go.
After breakfast, you are able to leave at any time, with no activities planned for the day.