Costa Rica: Pacuare River + Nicoya Peninsula

Select Experience Tour, Costa Rica: Pacuare River & Nicoya PeninsulaSelect Experience Tour, Costa Rica: Pacuare River & Nicoya Peninsula

Costa Rica

Pacuare River + Nicoya Peninsula

overview

Here’s an adventure that literally plunges you into an extraordinary experience. Within hours of embarking on your adventure, you’re sweeping along the Pacuare River— Costa Rica’s most spectacular white-water route. This class III-IV waterway delivers a trip of unsurpassed beauty and exhilarating rapids as it courses past scenic canyons, crystal-clear waterfalls, and dense vegetation sheltering a paradise of tropical animals and birds. At eco-friendly Pacuare Jungle Lodge, Costa Rican hospitality welcomes you as part of the family. Outdoor adventures abound in the surrounding rainforest. You then set out for Nicoya Peninsula, famous for year-round surf. In the delightful village of Santa Teresa, practice yoga, kayak, snorkel, surf, and simply relax at your oceanfront resort.

Activity Level
Activities vary and
are accessible to
most fitness levels;
see full itinerary
Meet
San José, Costa Rica
Depart
San José, Costa Rica
Daily Itinerary
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7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Meals: seven breakfasts, four lunches (Days 1, 2, 3, and 5), and three dinners (Days 1, 2, and 3)
  • Accommodations in an eco-lodge, boutique hotel, and oceanfront eco-resort
  • Two whitewater rafting excursions into (and out of ) the Pacuare Lodge with expert rafting guide
  • Small-group rainforest canopy tour (2 hours) with expert local guide
  • Small-group walk to visit with Cabecar Indians (5 hours) with expert local guide
  • Private transfer from San José to the river put-in for rafting excursion
  • Small group transfer from the river take-out (after rafting excursion) to San José
  • Private transfer from (and back to) Tambor airport
  • Domestic airfare (San José/Tambor and return on Days 3 and 7)
  • Full-day Tortuga Island boat excursion
  • Surf lesson or kayaking excursion (2 hours)with expert local instructor/guide
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Internal airfare + $250

*Surcharges may apply for New Year’s, Christmas, or other national holidays

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Pacuare River
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2
Pacuare River
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3
Turrialba
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4
Santa Teresa
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5
Santa Teresa
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6
Santa Teresa
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7
Santa Teresa
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Day 1

Pacuare River

Arrival in San José; transfer to Pacuare; guided rafting excursion. Tree-top canopy adventure; 2 hours, easy to moderate

Your active adventure in Costa Rica begins with your pickup in San José and approximately 2½-hour transfer by van to the Pacuare River (with a stop en route for a Costa Rican-style breakfast) for the next stage of the journey, by river on a class III-IV whitewater rafting ride. Officially declared a “Wild and Scenic River,” the Pacuare is one of Latin America’s finest whitewater rivers, and winds through the heart of crucial primordial rainforest. Located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean slope, the Pacuare River lies beneath the biologically rich Talamanca mountain range, home to the Cabecar Indians. Once at the river, your professional river guide(s) provide a safety briefing before you set out on the excursion through luxuriant gorges and past rushing waterfalls, serene pools, and rapids, as the conditions alternate between stretches of thrilling rapids and calm waters. After running fun rapids like Pele el Ojo, you reach the river take-out point, from where a short transfer brings you to your welcoming eco-lodge.

After lunch and some time to settle in to your river-view room, you may choose to embark on a two-hour canopy tour, a unique experience of rising to the treetops on a series of platforms, walkways, and cables, where you gain access to dramatic vistas above the tropical rainforest. With a thorough safety orientation and equipment fitting, you walk about 20 minutes on a trail through your lodge’s private reserve to the canopy tour starting point; here you ascend to the sensitive forest canopy ecosystem, secured safely in a harness. Proceeding from platform to platform, you emerge just steps away from the lodge. You can unwind in your room before enjoying a gourmet candlelit dinner.

Pacuare Lodge

Pacuare River, Costa Rica

An award-winning eco-lodge that blends comfort and exemplary sustainable practices, located in 740 acres of protected rainforest, with spacious and well-appointed suites or bungalows, private pools, a spa, and gourmet dining.

Day 2

Pacuare River

Cabecar Indian visit; 4-5 hours, moderate to challenging, or treetop canopy tour (see Day 1 for description)

Today you have the rare opportunity to visit a small community of Cabecar Indians, the largest indigenous group in Costa Rica, who maintain many of their traditional customs and beliefs. In their ancestral home of the Talamanca Mountains, the Cabecar live in small family units scattered throughout this remote region. After walking along the Cabecar’s centuries-old trails through the rainforest, you are greeted by the clan’s “Zutkia” or shaman, who in this culture acts as priest, magician, and healer. Little accustomed to contact with the outside world, the Cabecar can be shy and prefer not to be photographed. Your local guide provides cultural instruction and acts as interpreter in Spanish with the Zutkia. A portion of your tour payment goes directly to the Cabecar community to be used in sustainable projects.

Alternatively, you may choose to embark on the treetop canopy tour today, and later fully relax at your lodge, enjoying its amenities and tranquil location before concluding the day with another delicious dinner of fresh local cuisine.

Pacuare Lodge

Pacuare River, Costa Rica

An award-winning eco-lodge that blends comfort and exemplary sustainable practices, located in 740 acres of protected rainforest, with spacious and well-appointed suites or bungalows, private pools, a spa, and gourmet dining.

Day 3

Turrialba

Morning rafting adventure (Class III-IV rapids); transfer to San José

This morning, awakening again to a chorus of bird song and an enticing breakfast and coffee, you depart the lodge the same way you arrived—by river. The portion of river you run today is also a thrilling combination of Class III and IV rapids, including the Upper and Lower Huacas, Cimarron, and Dos Montanas rapids, slicing through spectacular scenery. You may be tempted at one stop at a waterfall and pool to plunge in via a natural waterslide. Finishing up the excursion with a well-deserved picnic at the water’s edge, you have the opportunity to change into dry clothes at a private facility before transferring to downtown San José and your boutique hotel renowned for its hospitality and comfort. Dinner tonight is excellent Costa Rican and international fare in the hotel’s elegant fine-dining restaurant.

Hotel Grano de Oro

San José, Costa Rica

Situated on a shady street just off Paseo Colon, San José’s main thoroughfare, Hotel Grano de Oro is a true oasis in the heart of the city. Converted from a “Tropical Victorian” mansion, the boutique hotel maintains the warmth and comfort of a private home with all the amenities of a fine hotel. Rooms are furnished with wrought-iron beds and rich brocade linens. The property also features concierge services, complimentary Wi-Fi in the public areas, and an excellent restaurant and bar/lounge. Please note that this is a smoke-free property.

Day 4

Santa Teresa

Flight from San José to Tambor; Transfer to Nicoya Peninsula

Today you travel west to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast—the Nicoya Peninsula. A short (15-minute) transfer brings you to the San José airport to catch the 30-minute flight to this destination. Your beachside resort is on spectacular Playa Santa Teresa, not far from the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. The beach is well known for its year-round surf and friendly, relaxed village. After checking in, you may wish to unwind with a swim in the chemical-free saltwater swimming pool. Dinner of local produce and perhaps freshly caught seafood is served in the resort’s lovely open-air restaurant. Alternatively, you may wish to pop over to town for a meal in one of the many local restaurants or cafes.

Pranamar Villas & Yoga Resort

Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

An intimate oceanfront resort on the spectacular beach of Playa Santa Teresa in a setting of tropical grounds with a saltwater swimming pool and open-air restaurant; offering yoga classes and easy access to world-class surfing, expansive beaches, and snorkeling.

Day 5

Santa Teresa

Full-day Tortuga Island boat excursion

Today’s Pacific exploration consists of a full-day boat and snorkeling excursion, taking you to nearby Tortuga Island. The small boat that holds a maximum of  20 passengers anchors off the island, in crystal-clear waters, where you can dive in and swim or snorkel, watching for seabirds from the surface, and breaking for lunch on board. You return in the late afternoon to your resort where you can continue enjoying the ocean, stroll the beach, or perhaps join a yoga class.

Pranamar Villas & Yoga Resort

Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

An intimate oceanfront resort on the spectacular beach of Playa Santa Teresa in a setting of tropical grounds with a saltwater swimming pool and open-air restaurant; offering yoga classes and easy access to world-class surfing, expansive beaches, and snorkeling.

Day 6

Santa Teresa

Options of surf lesson (2 hours) or sea kayaking (2 hours); independent afternoon for activities of your choice

Your final full day on the Pacific coast offers a myriad of activities. One is a two-hour surf lesson with a professional from Del Mar Surf or, alternatively, a two-hour sea-kayaking excursion with instruction and safety briefing provided. Also, your resort is conveniently situated on a beach with tidal pools and easy access to snorkeling, or a 2-minute walk to the north brings you to Playa Hermosa, a vast banana tree-lined beach, perfect for swimming, walking, or jogging, or more surfing. Your hotel staff can also assist with additional diverse activities (at your expense)—easily accessible half-day adventures include horseback riding, canopy zip-lining, fishing, and hiking to nearby waterfalls or through the Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve. Toast your Costa Rican adventure over a Pacific sunset tonight.

Pranamar Villas & Yoga Resort

Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

An intimate oceanfront resort on the spectacular beach of Playa Santa Teresa in a setting of tropical grounds with a saltwater swimming pool and open-air restaurant; offering yoga classes and easy access to world-class surfing, expansive beaches, and snorkeling.

Day 7

Santa Teresa

Flight from Tambor to San José and departure

After breakfast, you bid farewell to the Nicoya Peninsula as you travel by private car to Tambor for your short flight to San José, where you make connections for onward travels.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guest Comments

D. LoVullo, Colorado, August 2013

Perfectly planned and executed honeymoon, stress-free travel to absolutely gorgeous locations.

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