Costa Rica Coast to Coast Adventure (12 days)
- An epic adventure as you cycle, trek, white-water raft & kayak across Costa Rica
- Discover this amazing and diverse country as you venture from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast
- Explore the sandy beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park
- Mountain bike and trek up and over the Continental Divide
- Pedal through the coffee plantation valley of Orosi
- Make a splash as you white-water raft down the stunning Pacuare River
- Experience a night in the rainforest tented camp El Nido del Tigre
- Celebrate finishing this challenge as you paddle downriver to a picturesque Caribbean beach.
Costa Rica Coast to Coast
If there’s one country that has every possible challenge for a great adventure it has to be Costa Rica with a tropical climate that supports an incredible biodiversity encompassing thick rain forest, mangrove swamp and a handful of live volcanoes thrown in for good measure, the result is a destination made for adventure.
This Costa Rican coast to coast multi–activity challenge has it all, covering 250km, you will hike, bike, kayak and white water raft across the Continental Divide on an epic team journey from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the Caribbean Sea and experience the breath taking beauty of Central America. The only requirement is a great sense adventure and a dose of stamina. Rest time is as important as being active, so we will have plenty of time to rest up each day in different locations having trekked, cycled or paddled to incredible overnight points. Our itinerary has been carefully designed by our fantastic local team who completed the first coast to coast crossing of Costa Rica in 1996.
Trekking, Cycling & Paddling Experience
Preparation is key for this journey from the Caribbean to the Pacific. To complete the coast to coast adventure comfortably, it is preferable that you have previous experience of multi-day treks and cycling in varied and irregular terrain. The trekking or cycling sections are not technically difficult, however you must be a confident with a good level of fitness in order to manage the long duration of challenge with crossing the country. The more you prepare, the more you will enjoy your experience.
The regions we visit on the trip are very remote and you should be prepared to spend time in areas where facilities and services are limited. Roads are mostly unpaved and although well-maintained they can be bumpy and dusty. Due to the unpredictability of the climate, you will also need to be prepared for all conditions as the weather can change extremely rapidly.
Trekking and cycling hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.
No previous experience in kayaking or white water rafting is necessary, however you are required to be comfortably capable of swimming 25m or more.
Rest assured you will not be alone – we will be on hand to support you on this epic journey, with comprehensive training programme and in depth challenge information plus a fantastic support team will accompany you throughout your Costa Rican adventure.
Included in the price of the trip
1 night accommodation in San Jose
Airport transfer in San Jose
1 night hostel on Pacific Coast
1 night local homestay
6 nights camping
Qualified Mountain Leader (Groups 10+)
Qualified Argentinian Trekking Guide/s with first aid training
Local support crew and porters
National Park Fees
Expedition transfers to starting points
Satellite telephone and VHF radio back up
All meals whilst trekking
English Speaking Guide
Not included in the price of the trip
Flights to and from Costa Rica (approx. £700)
Meal in San Jose
Additional excursions outside the itinerary
Personal spending money
Kit and equipment as listed on your kit list (kit hire available)
Tips for local crew – recommend minimum of $US50.000
Single room supplement
Personal drinks and expenses
Any associated costs with leaving the expedition early
The tour includes all accommodation, private transfers too and from San Jose, park entry fees, support team, local guides, cook and meals whilst on the trip . It does not include insurance, airport tax if applicable.
If anyone needs to leave the group at any point during the trip, all expenses incurred until re-joining the group on the itinerary described in these Trip Notes are the responsibility of the individual(s) concerned.
How to Book your Trip
The easiest way to book your trip is online via the Adventurous Ewe website. You will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £250 at the time of booking. The full balance is required to be paid no less than 4 weeks prior to departure.
For a new trip set up on dates that suit you, your charity or corporate organisation, we require just 10 people.
This challenge is available between January – May & September – December.
London to San Jose
Arrival our local crew will meet us at the Airport in San Jose. Overnight: Hotel in San José.
San Jose to Dominical, Pacific Coast
This morning we transfer from San Jose to the Pacific Coast. The rest of the day can be spent enjoying the beach and getting used to the hot humid climate. Late afternoon we meet up for a bike fitting and a short warm up ride in the area. The official trip briefing is scheduled for after dinner this evening. Overnight: Hotel at Pacific Coast Meals: B, D
Pacific Coast to Esquipulas – Mountain Biking (40 km)/Trekking (7km)
Today you will be given maps and navigating yourselves to camp! After a short walk to the starting point, we take the customary picture on the beach and begin the ride along a coast section of the Pan American highway. A few kilometres along the highway we turn off and ride along a dirt track beside the Savegre River. A few hours into the ride we get our first taste of Costa Rica´s angulating terrain as we head toward the mountains of the Pacific. Close to the town of Londres we trade our bikes for hiking boots and hike the rest of the way to our camp in the small community of Esquipulas. Overnight: Esquipulas Camp Meals: B, L, D
Esquipulas to Naranjillo – Trekking (16km)
After a hearty breakfast, we begin the first full day of trekking into the mountains of Central Costa Rica, with only 16 kms to cover, there is plenty of time to enjoy the veiws of the rainforest covered mountains ahead of us and the beautiful Pacific Coastline behind us. Our route takes us up to an altitude of over 800 mts before we drop back down into a valley to our camp in the community of Naranjillo. Overnight: Naranjillo Camp Meals: B, L, D
Naranjillo to Santa Maria- Trekking (20km)/Mountain Biking (13km).
This challenging day starts with a crossing of the Naranjillo River and a steep climb out of the valley along a trail through the rainforest. At just over 1300 mts., the forest opens up to our first glimpse of Costa Rica´s abundant coffee industry. From here we continue trekking through coffee plantations for several hours until we get to an altitude of 1950mts. Here we switch back to biking and enjoy an exhilarating descent into the quaint village of Santa Maria where we refortify with some typical Costa Rican fare and rest up in comfortable local cabins. Overnight: Santa Maria Cabins Meals: B, L, D
Day 6 – Continental Divide – Mountain Biking (46km)
Today we tackle the hardest, steepest cycle climb of our adventure. The challenging 14-kilometer up-hill climb to the Continental Divide, bringing us to an altitude of 2,330 meters – 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 and single-track trails. 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. Overnight: Lodge in Orosi Meals: B, L,D
Reventazon Valley – Mountain Biking (65km)
After a typical breakfast we are back on our bikes for another full day of mountain biking. The route takes us through the town of Orosi, across a swing bridge and into the Reventazon Valley. Along the way we are treated to amazing vistas of coffee covered hillsides and views of Lake Cachi. Following a short climb, the altitude drops as the temperature rises and coffee fields turn into sugarcane plantations. Most of the morning is on paved roads with a fun dirt section along the Pejibaye River where we stop for lunch and a swim. The afternoon is entirely on dirt roads and finishes with a steep climb up a mountain road to the town of Mollejones. Here we split into smaller groups of 2 to 3 and join a family for the evening. This is a great chance to experience Costa Rican culture first hand. Overnight: Mollejones Family Stay Meals: B, L, D
Pacuare River – Mountain Biking (43km)/Whitewater Rafting (10km).
After breakfast we say goodbye to our new families and we begin the day´s Ride towards the white water rafting “put-in” at La Cruz, which is the gateway to the raging Pacuare River. Here we have lunch and embark on a white water rafting journey through pristine rainforest spotted with waterfalls. The rapids section of the river is approximately 30 kilometres of Class II-IV rapids. By afternoon we arrive at our comfortable riverside camp. 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. Overnight: El Nido del Tigre Meals: B, L, D
El Nido del Tigre – Hiking /Free
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 centre of the camp, trails radiate out to secreted areas of rainforest, waterfalls and swimming holes. Overnight: El Nido del Tigre Meals: B, L, D
Day 10 – Pacuare River – Whitewater Rafting (3-5 hours, 17km).
Today the Pacuare takes us through virgin rainforest, cascading waterfalls and river carved canyons. We manoeuvre 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. Overnight: Finca Pacuarito Meals: B, L, D
Pacuare River – Mountain Biking (20km) Sea Kayaking (15km)
THE SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS…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 down the canals to the coastal town of Caño Blanco where we are transferred back to San Jose Overnight: Hotel in San Jose Meals: B, L
Transfer to Airport .
Pick up at your hotel in time for your departure from the airport
FOOD AND DRINKS
All meals are included within the trip cost apart from during free time on the last day of the challenge.
On the trek the emphasis is on a varied and well-balanced diet with a greater amount of fresh fruit and soup to maximise the daily intake of fluids to help with acclimatisation.
Fully purified and treated water provided whilst trekking.
All other drinks at the hotel/restaurant will need to be paid for on an individual basis.
Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Costa Rica the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home.
The menu has a high liquid and carbohydrate content; the two important elements for successful coast to coast trip. At mealtimes a
selection of hot drinks are available. Soup is served twice daily.
Breakfast – consists of seasonal fresh fruit, porridge, cooked eggs, sausage, bacon and toast.
Energy snacks are provided for the daily walk such as biscuits, bananas, and chocolate bars. Bringing your own snacks can often be a treat especially when trekking or cycling. Be sure to bring some of your favourite treats.
Lunch – either a packed lunch on longer days or, more usually, a hot lunch served in specifically set up lunch camp.
Afternoon tea – served in late afternoon. It is an opportunity to drink lots of hot or cold drinks and snack on peanuts or popcorn.
Dinner – the main meal of the day usually consists of three courses; starter: soup and bread / main: rice, potatoes or pasta with fish, meat or vegetables / dessert: usually fruit. Eating is one of the wonderful experiences when travelling in Costa Rica. Included meals are a combination of restaurants, local food and delicious meals prepared by the tour guides.
You will be provided with Katadyn filtered water throughout your mountain expedition. If you wish to bring your own water purification treatment in order to be extra safe, you are welcome to do so.
Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day.
Internal road transfers
Airport transfers and transfers to and from the start of the trekking point will be via mini bus. All mini buses are fitted with seat belts.
PASSPORT, VISA, INSURANCE & VACCINATIONS
All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. Airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than 6 months validity.
Most nationalities do not require a tourist visa for Costa Rica, including British nationals. We recommend that you check with the relevant embassy for the most up to date information regarding visas. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and obtain your own visa, if one is necessary. Adventurous Ewe is not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise.
Please visit the UK Foreign & Commonwealth office website, or your respective nationality governing website, for the latest travel information on Tanzania at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/costa-rica
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our overseas expeditions. It is a condition of joining this expedition that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). We strongly recommend that the policy also covers trekking, cycling and white water rafting, personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
At a minimum of 4 weeks prior to departure you must send through your travel insurance details to Adventurous Ewe. You will also be asked to present evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number to your guide on arrival in Costa Rica.
We also recommend that you enrol with Global Rescue prior to embarking on your trip (optional). Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical & security advisory and evacuation services http://www.globalrescue.com/adventurousewe/.
For the most up to date information on vaccinations, you should consult with your GP or travel healthcare practitioner 6-8 weeks in advance of travel.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Adventurous Ewe prioritises the safety of all of their trekkers and staff, and as such have developed a thorough safety management system. This encompasses comprehensive risk assessments and procedures together with audits of all aspects of your expedition from vehicles to accommodation to the high altitude trek activities. Your health and safety is our top priority.
Costa Rica is one of the safest Central American countries for travellers and serious crimes are rare. But as with all places where tourists and crowds gather petty theft can be a problem. In the same way that health risks can be avoided with a few sensible precautions, so can security risks.
While we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Any valuables such as your passport and money should be kept on you at all times or kept in the hotel safe.
Do make photocopies of all your important documents, including passports, and keep copies of emergency.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. To keep informed of current travel news visit https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/
Mountain bikes with front suspension (TREK 4500 or similar). You will need to supply your own bike helmet. Rafts are 7-person, self-bailing (6 pax + 1 guide) with certified lifejackets, helmets and paddles. Sea kayaks are plastic sit on top 2-person sea kayaks.
All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by vehicles you will be expected to carry a day sack for items needed during the day: sunscreen, camera, waterproofs etc. Walking and mountain biking is on terrain ranging from good open track to narrow and overgrown jungle paths and is very steep both up and downhill at times. We are travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to a variety of weather conditions at any time. It is essential that your luggage is carried in either a soft sailing bag or soft rucksack. Bags must be waterproof, or their contents waterproofed in plastic bags (your sleeping bag and mat must fit into this bag).
All safety equipment will be provided along with a full safety briefing and support staff. The Pacuare River is a class III –IV River. “ Grade IV:These rivers are considered to be very challenging, with long stretches of rapids with irregular waves. The courses to take on these rivers will complicated and various obstacles and obstructions may be hidden and unseen underneath the waves. There can be narrow and steep channels that are difficult to navigate. However, careful manoeuvring with experienced guides is required”
Trekking and cycling experience and level of difficulty
To complete this trip comfortably, it is preferable that you have previous cycling experience and your comfortable cycling 60km a day on consecutive days. The walking or cycling is not dangerous or technically difficult, though you must be a confident with a good level of fitness in order to manage sections of the trip. During the trip you will be required to carry your own kit including snacks, drinking water, wet weather gear and personal items such medication and toiletries. The walking and cycling hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings include lunch and photo stops though will vary depending on the pace of your group and weather conditions.
We wake up between 06.00 – 06.30 and start the day with breakfast. After filling our water bottles, we start cycling or trekking as a group, your trek leader will set a slow pace, with the supporting staff and U.K. Leader amongst the group to offer support to the team. There will be regular short breaks to rest and refuel on snacks and water and a longer stop for lunch.
On arrival into our overnight stay, there will be time relax enjoy a hot or cold drink, before sitting down together for our evening meal and a briefing by your leader on the following day.
All of our main luggage, tents and camping equipment will be carried by the supporting porters and will be already set up each evening as we arrive into camp.
All main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared, cooked and served by our supporting team when camping or in local restaurants and hotels.
Responsible Travel in Costa Rica
Adventurous Ewe is committed to delivering travel experiences in a responsible and ethical manner and with sustainable development at its core.
We respect and aim to operate our adventures and events to benefit local people, their cultures, economy and the environment!
Some of the responsible travel features embedded our Costa Rica Coast to Coast:
• Using local crew who are qualified guides, support crew, cooks and drivers who are all extremely knowledgeable and willing to share their local way of life often with a big friendly smile
• Staying in smaller-scale locally owned accommodation.
• Buying locally produced food and drink, and dining in locally owned restaurants
• Minimising plastic waste wherever possible
• Careful management of limited energy and water resources
• Offering real life experiences which promote cross-cultural understanding
• Operating with a ‘leave no trace’ ethos