Costa Rica: Volcanoes & Rivers
8 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 revered 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, near hot springs, and along rivers and lakes. We raft, hike, and learn to cook. It's going to be a spectacular adventure!
Moderate level. Rolling hills and flat terrain on a mix of paved, gravel and dirt roads.
7 nights lodging, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, snacks, guided river rafting trip, guided hike, cooking class, van support, mountain bicycle, transfer to the Liberia airport at the end of the tour, and trained bilingual guides.
Mountain bike is included.
Fly to San José, Costa Rica (SJO) and out of Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR). Take a 30-minute taxi/Uber to our starting hotel. At the end of the tour, we will provide a shuttle to the Liberia airport arriving by 11:00am. There are flights from Liberia to San José as well as to the USA. If you'd like to stay longer at our final resort, you can arrange your own 2-hour shuttle to the Liberia airport for $125 for 1-4 people.
The trip more than met my expectations in that I did not know that the river rafting trip or the jungle hike or the comprehensive sites we saw would be so awesome.
DAY 1: Upon your arrival at the San José airport, take a 30-minute taxi/Uber ride to our starting hotel. 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. 15 miles - 4 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 - 5 hours cycling.
DAY 5: After a wonderful breakfast, it's back on our bikes to go around the Arenal Volcano. 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. Then we'll spend some time before dinner in a cooking class learning to make our own tortillas! 15 miles - 4 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: Today we'll explore deep into the rain forest 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. We'll celebrate the end of our adventure with our last dinner together tonight. 4 hours walking.
DAY 8: After breakfast, we’ll say our good-byes and shuttle to the Liberia airport, arriving by 11am. If you plan to stay longer in lovely Costa Rica, you can arrange your own shuttle through the hotel. 0 miles.