Costa Rica: Volcanoes & Rivers
9 Day Inn Tour
If you love the outdoors, then consider Costa Rica. No other nation has protected its natural resources as well and fostered a brand of ecotourism that is so envied by the rest of the world. Costa Rica’s stable, democratic government has made the country a haven for adventure tourism. We’ll cross it by bicycle, on quiet roads through the rain forest, beside five different volcanoes, by hot springs, and along rivers and lakes. Then we’ll end our adventure at the beach!
The tour still has space. Make your travel arrangements.
Moderate level. Rolling hills and flat terrain on a mixture of paved and dirt roads.
8 nights lodging, 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners, snacks, guided river rafting trip, guided hike, cooking class, van support, mountain bicycle, and trained bilingual guides.
Mountain bike is included.
Fly to San José, Costa Rica (SJO) and out of Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR). We will pick you up at the San José airport on the first day of the tour. You can also choose to fly round-trip in/out of San José, flying one-way at the end of the tour from Liberia to San José for about $75 on the Costa Rican airline, Nature Air. We will also provide a ground shuttle back to San Jose, arriving by 2:00pm. We will coordinate a group transfer to the Liberia airport, which takes about 1.5 hours and costs less than $20.
DAY 1: We’ll pick you up upon your arrival at the San José airport. Then we’ll meet at 6:00pm for an orientation and dinner. If you have time in the afternoon, be sure to stop by the National Theater. Its beautifully ornate interior is a show in itself. 0 miles.
DAY 2: We’ll get an early start after breakfast with a shuttle out of the city. We’ll pick up our bicycles in Irazu Volcano National Park where we’ll start cycling from the volcano down through plantations of pineapple. Then we’ll enter a beautiful cloud forest, where fog hangs eerily below the treetops and moss seems to cover everything. We’ll get a spectacular view of Turrialba Volcano, the most active volcano in Costa Rica, before we descend to lunch.
After lunch we'll shuttle to Guayabo National Monument, the largest and most important archaeological site in Costa Rica. It’s fascinating to walk the cobblestone paths dating from 1000 BC and wonder what happened to the community that mysteriously disappeared here about 1400 AD. 15 miles - 3 hours cycling.
DAY 3: After a hearty breakfast, we’ll shuttle to Pacuare River. Long known as one of the best rivers in the world for rafting, it was nearly destroyed by a plan to build a hydroelectric dam in 2005. Fortunately for us, the plan was rejected due to its impact on the river’s gorgeous surroundings.
We'll experience the intimate nature of the rainforest as we raft right through it on the river. No experience is necessary. The water is warm, the cascading waterfalls sound musical, and the animals and tropical birds that we should see are amazing. There are even jaguars in these parts, but we will more likely hear these nocturnal animals than see them. 0 miles.
DAY 4: After a wonderful night’s rest, we’ll cycle a mostly flat ride on small gravel and dirt roads through the Sarapiqui area. We’ll pass through little villages and cross over streams that beg to be enjoyed. We’ll end our day in La Fortuna, home of the Arenal Volcano. We’ll stay in cabanas where we can swim in pools naturally heated by the volcano’s thermal springs. 19 miles - 4 hours cycling.
DAY 5: Today’s beautiful ride takes us around the Arenal Volcano on dirt roads. We’ll pedal beside rivers and creeks to the sounds of Costa Rica’s raucous howler monkeys and magnificent birds. Look for the beautifully colorful Toucan, which you should recognize from the cover of Fruit Loop boxes. After a picnic lunch, we’ll visit the hot springs at Guayabo near the Miravalles Volcano – our fourth volcano of the tour - and finish the day with a cooking class! 15 miles - 3 hours cycling.
DAY 6: After a morning soak, we’ll depart for another ride along dirt back roads in the valley between two volcanoes – Miravalles and Rincon de la Vieja. We’ll cycle through the midst of the tropical rainforest, and should catch a glimpse of the ocean in the distance. 16 miles - 4 hours cycling.
DAY 7: We take a break from cycling today to explore deep into the rainforest on foot. We’ll hike in Sensoria, or “Land of the Senses,” through narrow Madrigal Canyon and into a thermal pool surrounded by the immensely high Pilón tree. We’ll also see Jicara trees whose hard-shelled fruit are used for crafting bowls and are a favorite food of the elusive nocturnal tapir. We’ll listen to the song of cicadas and roaring waterfalls as we walk among wild orchids and gigantic ferns - and take a dip in the thermal mineral waters.
After lunch, we’ll leave the jungle and shuttle to our lodging on Avellana Beach, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Dinner is on your own tonight. You can head inland to the lively town of Tamarindo for a Latin-music filled evening, or stay on the beach to enjoy the sunset from Lola’s. 0 miles.
DAY 8: Our last day of adventure is a day of options on your own. Locals call Avellana Beach “Little Hawaii” for its beautiful waves. You can try your hand at surfing by taking a lesson at the surf school that caters to all levels. You can choose to snorkel, horseback ride or cycle into town, or you can just relax on the pristine white sand beach. Lunch today is on your own, but we’ll mark the end of our wonderful week at dinner together tonight. 0 or 15 miles - 2 hours cycling.
DAY 9: After breakfast, we’ll shuttle everyone to the Liberia airport, arriving by 10:00am, and say our goodbyes. 0 miles.