Loved the Middle Fork of the Salmon River last summer and coming again on the Main Salmon this year? But just have to get away for the spring break before your Idaho trip? Come join MFRE in Costa Rica! Looking for the most active and adventurous trip Costa Rica has to offer? Look no further! Experience Costa Rica’s National Parks and Reserves by sea kayak, river raft, and on foot with certified naturalist guides that lead you to hidden gems within this ecological wonderland. Our small group size allows us to travel easily and intimately through a country that has made farsighted decisions to protect their ecosystem and rain forests in a world where they are rapidly vanishing.
You’ll start off at Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast, the largest seasonal spawning ground for many varieties of sea turtles including Leatherbacks, Hawksbills, and Green Turtles. The best way to discover the rainforest is by sea kayak as you can get really close to the animals. You will see howler and white-faced monkeys, jesus christ lizards, morpho butterflies, and many species of tropical birds. After early morning sea turtle hatchings (July & August) we visit the nearby “Sea Turtle Survival League” an NGO dedicated to researching and saving the sea turtles of Costa Rica.
Then it’s off to the Pacuare River, where you will hike into a jungle lodge that is situated right on the river. You will hike to hidden waterfalls and have the option to do a “zip line” to fulfill all of your Tarzan fantasies of swinging from limb to limb.
You’ll then cap your trip with sea kayaking, mountain biking, sea kayaking and hiking fun in the wilderness surrounding Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano. You will mtn. bike or hike to the La Fortuna waterfall, sea kayak on Arenal Lake, and go for a full day mtn. bike in the foothills of the Volcano. You will soak in some hot springs watching the red hot lava pour off the volcano, and be hosted by a local family for dinner in their home. This Eco Family Adventures vacation has it all.
F This trip begins with a rendezvous at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Day 1.
Day 1 ~ Arrive in San José
Your trip leader (or a representative) will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel.
Hotel Alta (or similar)
Day 2 ~ Tortuguero National Park: Sea Kayaking
Drive two hours to the Río Suerte for a three hour paddle by sea kayak to Tortuguero National Park and our accommodations at Mawamba Lodge. Mawamba is a wonderful lodge located on the beach in Tortuguero National Park. Its pretty pool, a walk on the beach or on nature trails, and cocktails on the sunset deck await us.
Day 3 ~ Tortuguero National Park: Sea Kayaking
Optional early morning search for sea turtles with the guide (best viewing is during the July and August trips). After breakfast we take a motorboat loaded with our kayaks and head to Laguna Nueve near the Río Samai. We board the kayaks and paddle through a narrow waterway into the lagoon, which is accessibly only by sea kayaks. This is an ideal place for close encounters with hundreds of monkeys and birds of all colors. We head back to Mawamba for lunch. In the afternoon we have many choices. We can paddle to some more areas only accessible by kayak, simply relax at the pool, or take a walk to the Sea Turtle Survival League, an NGO run by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, providing education and a safe haven for these amazing creatures.
DAY 4 ~ Pacuare River Forest Reserve: Rafting
Early morning sea turtle viewing. After breakfast we take a boat to Matina (11⁄2-hour ride), then drive about two hours to the put-in point on the beautiful Rio Pacuare (class III/IV), a protected tropical wilderness river and one of the most exciting to raft in all of Costa Rica! Once at the river we paddle downstream about eight miles to our riverside jungle lodge, which has rooms with attached baths. Along the river we may see many animals, including sloths, river otters, and anteaters, and an incredible variety of birds—toucans, toucanitos, egrets, herons, kingfishers, and trogons. A picnic lunch is served on the riverbank; dinner is in a thatched-roof open air dining area overlooking the river.
B,L,D…Pacuare Jungle Lodge
DAY 5 ~ Nature Hike, Zip Line, Bird Watching
Early morning bird-watching with your guides to see toucans and many other species by hiking on a trail high above the rainforest canopy for sweeping views of the river corridor. We’ll spend the rest of the day exploring in the tropical rainforest by hiking to hidden waterfalls where we will have the opportunity to swim in the refreshing pools. We can also be tarzan for the day and take a “zip line” from tree platform to tree platform (5 in total!) with a cable tied between them. Return to camp for dinner and overnight.
B,L,D…Pacuare Jungle Lodge
DAY 6 ~ Pacuare River Forest Reserve: Rafting
Today we enter the deep and lush gorge of the Pacuare. As we float through the dense jungle we watch the riverbank for signs of wildlife and look for the waterfall that literally drenches you as you float by! After enjoying another exhilarating day on the river, we take-out in the afternoon and drive 2 ½ hours to La Fortuna, the gateway to the Arenal Volcano wilderness areas. Dinner on your own in San José.
B,L,D…Lomas del Volcan (or similar)
Day 7 ~ Arenal Volcano: Mtn. Biking, Hiking, Evening Float Trip
Morning optional mountain bike ride or hike to La Fortuna Waterfall, over 200 ft. tall. After breakfast, you will get ready for a biking adventure. This is an optional activity and for those who wish to hike can start hiking to the waterfall while the bike riders get ready. Safety instructions will be given and the guide will help you getting familiar with the bikes and the equipment. Once everybody is ready, the adventure begins thru trails and wonderful views of the area and the Arenal Volcano, which will end with a quick hike down a slope to the La Fortuna Waterfall. At the waterfall you can swim, take photos or just relax and have some snacks that the guide provides.
In the evening, you will take a twilight raft float on the Peñas Blancas River (no rapids), where you will discover the behavior of animals and plants during transition from day to night and your naturalist guide will handle your boat while you relax and pay attention to the different sounds of nature. Dinner tonight is hosted by the Hidalgo family, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy a typical Costa Rica (Tico) meal, which they are famous for.
B,L,D… Lomas del Volcan (or similar)
Day 8 ~ Arenal Lake and Volcano: Sea Kayaking and Relaxing in Hot Springs
In the morning, you will embark in sea kayaks paddling in the calm waters of the Arenal Lake, where the beautiful views of Arenal Volcano will provide lasting memories for a lifetime. In the afternoon, you will have time to relax at the Baldi Hot Springs. The hot springs are surrounded by tropical gardens and have ten various pools of various temperatures, so you can choose which one is perfect from your sore muscles from sea kayaking this morning. If there are no clouds tonight near Arenal Volcano, we might see some red hot lava pouring off the mountain. Often times you can even feel the earth rumbling from the volcano, but not to worry it is very safe! We then drive two hours back to San José with dinner either along the way or back in San Jose.
B,L,D…Hotel Alta (or similar)
Day 9 ~ Fly home
We drive you to the airport and you depart for home.
$2190 per person
Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.
Single Supplement—$400 for “requested” singles; $200 for “forced” singles.
If you prefer single accommodations, you must pay the Single Supplement Fee. If you’re traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we’ll try our best to find you a roommate. If that’s not possible, we will only charge you half of the single supplement.
♦ expert leadership
♦ field arrangements, sea kayaking gear and equipment
♦ meals as noted (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
♦ airport transfers
♦ sightseeing as noted in the itinerary
♦ ground transportation
♦ additional guides where necessary
♦ entrance fees and permits
International airfare to San José and return; meals as noted; insurance (we strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance offered by Eco Family Adventures, which includes trip cancellation insurance); optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; cost of medical immunizations; items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. Use the internet to find a flight. But please check with us before purchasing or obtaining your tickets. We need to verify your arrival and departure schedule and ensure we have confirmation that all services are booked.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Expert leadership is the key to every successful trip. Eco Family Adventures attracts gifted leaders for whom leading trips is their passion. They show you many natural wonders that you’d never find on your own and make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. Eco Family Adventures guides positively elevate your experience by being educators, companions, and the best of friends. Although guide assignments can change, the following leaders regularly guide this trip.
Alonso Lezama has been an adventure guide for more than seven years. A certified naturalist, he is currently studying biology in college in Costa Rica after finishing his high school studies in the US at Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania. Alonso comes from a long tradition of tourism in the Turrialba area of Costa Rica; his family owns a hotel and a very well-known restaurant in the area called the Turrialtico Lodge.
Jorge Calderón is a whitewater rafting guide in his mid thirties who has led trips in Costa Rica for the past seven years. He was part of the Costa Rica whitewater rafting team that won the fourth place in the World Championships in Brazil in 1997, and also competes in long distance sea kayaking competitions. Jorge loves the outdoors and is eager to share with you the natural beauty of his country.
This trip is easy to moderate in nature, and is recommended for people in average to good physical condition. Some of the activities are optional, as we often have a support boat or vehicle along if you choose not to participate. We don’t recommend this trip for people who cannot swim, as the activities all take place on or around water. Previous sea kayaking and rafting experience is not needed. The trip is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
Camping & Lodging
In Tortuguero, we stay at Mawamba Lodge, a comfortable facility that features basic rooms with hot showers, swimming pool, volleyball court, and a game room. We’ll stay two nights at a simple yet clean jungle lodge in the Pacuare River Forest Reserve. The rooms have attached baths, sinks, and solar-heated showers. In the La Fortuna area we stay at the Lomas del Volcan, which offers bungalows with attached bath and two queen beds with air conditioning. Lodging in San José is in a very nice hotel with private baths. Please “google” the hotels to have a good idea of the quality of the hotels chosen for this adventure.
Note on Itinerary
Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Note on Services
We often use local suppliers who provide services that may include transportation, equipment, logistic support, and other services (hotels, restaurants, etc.). We do not own or operate these independent suppliers. We work with service providers who share our commitment to safety and quality, and work closely with them to develop itineraries unique to Eco Family Adventures or Middle Fork River Expeditions.