Two rafts of Costa Rica travelers floating down a turquoise river with rocks and green trees lining the river.
landscape with volcano on costa rica explorer land tour
rafting through rapids on costa rica explorer land tour
A beautiful blue hot springs with wide, short waterfall falling into the stone surrounded pool.
suspension bridge on costa rica explorer land tour
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Central America Costa Rica Land Tour

Costa Rica Explorer

Costa Rica Explorer combines three natural highlights of Costa Rica: the Pacuare River, the Arenal Volcano and the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. Your eco-adventure begins with a river rafting trip down the Pacuare, Costa Rica’s wildest and most scenic river. Then, get a different perspective of the rainforest as you literally fly through the canopy on a zip line, a concept pioneered in Costa Rica! Certified naturalist guides lead you into the highlands and the steep slopes of the iconic Arenal Volcano. After adventuring, soak in the Ecotermales Hot Springs for a full Costa Rica hot springs experience of this volcanic region. 

The journey culminates in wildlife-rich Manuel Antonio National Park, where you’ll have a guided tour plus a full free day to explore on your own. Options include surfing, horseback riding, snorkeling or simply unwinding on a beautiful tropical beach.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Costa Rica adventure tours.



Itinerary

Costa Rica Explorer Itinerary

This 9-day Costa Rica adventure spends time exploring three natural highlights of the region. The Costa Rica Explorer begins and ends in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO).

Costa Rica Explorer route map from San Jose, Costa Rica.
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Day 1
Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica

Upon arrival at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport and clearing customs, exit the airport terminal to the right and be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel in San Jose.

Accommodations

Park Inn (standard) or Hotel Grano de Oro (deluxe) or similar

Meals

n/a

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Day 2
Pacuare River Rafting

Early this morning, be picked up by the guide at your hotel in San José for a journey into the Caribbean lowlands. There will be a stop for breakfast en route at a typical Costa Rican restaurant. After an orientation and safety talk by the bilingual river guide, raft down the exhilarating Pacuare River, one of the planet’s top whitewater rivers. Raft through pristine rainforest environment, heart-pumping class III and IV rapids, and scenic canyons with crystal clear waterfalls. Arrive mid-afternoon at the riverside Pacuare Lodge or the Pacuare River Camp with time to relax and enjoy a rainforest hike or swim in the falls.

Accommodations

Pacuare River Camp (standard) or Pacuare Lodge (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Canopy Tour

Get a different perspective of the rainforest while literally flying through the tree top canopy. Face the exotic beauty of the rainforest head on, feeling the adrenaline of dramatic views, rappelling down towering trees and zipping along cables from tree to tree while descending through the jungle toward the Pacuare Lodge for a final thrilling rappel that leaves you just steps away from the main lodge! Safely anchored with a harness, relax and enjoy the unique ride.

Accommodations

Pacuare River Camp (standard) or Pacuare Lodge (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Pacuare River Rafting & Arrive Arenal

After a delicious buffet breakfast, prepare to paddle down the Pacuare gorge for approximately 3.5 hours. The second section of the river is truly the most spectacular. At the take-out you can change clothes and have lunch. Your local driver will meet you for a 4-hour transfer to Arenal.

Accommodations

Arenal Observatory Lodge (standard) or Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 5
Arenal National Park, Hanging Bridges & Hot Springs

Hike with your bilingual naturalist guide through the forests of the Arenal Volcano National Park. On the trail, enjoy spotting a large variety of wildlife and view the volcano from a safe vantage point while the guide explains its fascinating history and points out the volcano’s current activity.

Later visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, suspended bridges and trails through a beautiful yet complex rainforest. On this canopy adventure, possibly encounter a variety of wildlife, including toucans, motmots, trogons, poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and white-faced capuchin monkeys. Then for some relaxing time, enjoy the hot springs at Ecotermales. This family-run hot springs features four volcanically heated pools ranging from 91 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The facility offers separate changing rooms for women and men, each equipped with hot showers, lockers and toilets. The subtle landscape includes regenerating forest and beautiful tropical plants.

Accommodations

Arenal Observatory Lodge (standard) or Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast

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Day 6
Manuel Antonio

Today drive from Arenal to the beaches of Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio is a community of beach homes, hotels and restaurants, surrounded by lush rainforests on a mountain top overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Manuel Antonio National Park. The rainforest is home to a variety of wildlife that is easily seen including sloths, monkeys and birds. The temperature of the ocean is great for swimming and many water sports. The region offers numerous activities such as boating, river rafting, snorkeling, diving, canopy tours and more.

Accommodations

Si Como No Resort (standard) or Arenas del Mar (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast

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Day 7
Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Today enjoy a half-day tour of the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the country’s smallest but most famous parks because of its unique mix of beaches and forest trails. The rest of the day is yours to explore more or relax back in town.

Accommodations

Si Como No Resort (standard) or Arenas del Mar (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast

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Day 8
Free Day in Manuel Antonio

While in Manuel Antonio take advantage of the activities offered in the area (added cost) such as ocean and river kayaking, world-class sport fishing, horseback riding, canopy tours, sunset sailing, Isla Damas Estuary Tour, Rain Maker Reserve, whitewater rafting or simply relaxing on the beautiful beaches or at the hotel.

Accommodations

Si Como No Resort (standard) or Arenas del Mar (deluxe) or similar

Meals

breakfast

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Day 9
Depart San Jose, Costa Rica

This day be picked up at your hotel for a transfer to the International Juan Santamaria Airport in San Jose. Check in must be at least 3 hours prior to the departure time. Driving time from Manuel Antonio to the International Juan Santamaria airport is approximately 2.5 hours, plus any stops along the way.

Note: Your departing flight must leave San Jose no earlier than 12:00pm in order to make the connection from Manuel Antonio. If your departing flight leaves before noon, then arrangements will be made for you to overnight in San Jose on day 8.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations, meals, naturalist guided activities, national park entrance fees and transfers.

Exclusions

Airfare to Costa Rica; airport departure tax; excess baggage charges, taxes and port fees; gratuities to naturalist staff and crew; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages; and insurance of any kind. Holiday supplement may apply Christmas, New Year’s and Easter weeks; contact AdventureSmith for pricing and availability.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days – 50% of deposit
90 to 31 days – 50% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Costa Rica Explorer adventure begins and ends in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive in San Jose anytime on day 1 and depart anytime after 12:00pm noon on day 9 of the itinerary. If your departing flight leaves before noon, then we can make arrangements for you to overnight in San Jose on day 8. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit ourBooking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

There is a 40 lb. weight limit for your checked baggage on all flights within Costa Rica (with an additional 10 lb. allowance for carry-on luggage). AdventureSmith Explorations suggests packing a small empty duffel bag inside of your checked baggage. Use this smaller bag for the segments of your trip where you will be flying. The remainder of your baggage can be left in a secure office in San Jose.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the guides can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include river rafting, zip lining, rappelling, hiking, birding, wildlife observation, canopy tours, hot springs visits, swimming, boating, snorkeling; and added-cost activities such as diving, ocean and river kayaking, world-class sport fishing, horseback riding, canopy tours, sunset sailing, whitewater rafting and touring the Isla Damas Estuary Tour or Rain Maker Reserve.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy room may do so at a $975 supplement (2019) for standard acoommodations or $2,875 supplement (2019) for deluxe acoommodations in addition to the per-person listed rate in select rooms upon availability. Otherwise single travelers may request to share a same-sex room. If another single traveler is assigned then the single supplements will be waived. Triple rates may be available in select room categories; contact AdventureSmith for details.

Families & Children

Children must be a minimum of 14 years old to participate in this trip due to Pacuare River Rafting.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife or National Park regulation. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Details

Departures available daily, year-round. Contact us for current rates and availability.

Accommodations

Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Hotel
Park Inn

Park Inn by Radisson is a 117-room hotel located three blocks from Paseo Colón, San Jose's main avenue, and in walking distance of downtown.

Hotel Grano de Oro

The Hotel Grano de Oro in San Jose, Costa Rica, is a renovated, elegant, Victorian mansion that houses 32 unique rooms.

Lodge
Pacuare Lodge

Pacuare Lodge is nestled in a rainforest overlooking Costa Rica’s Pacuare River, which National Geographic has listed as one of the world’s top ten scenic rivers. Getting to this eco-lodge is half the adventure, since you arrive and depart via whitewater raft on the Pacuare River.

Lodge
Arenal Observatory Lodge

Set high on a ridge facing Costa Rica’s most active and spectacular volcano, the Arenal Observatory Lodge offers adventure travelers a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Hotel
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens

Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens is a luxury boutique hotel adjacent Arenal Volcano National Park that is widely recognized for providing luxurious accommodations and premium amenities.

Lodge
Si Como No Resort

Si Como No Resort, which means "Yes, why not?," is a treasure of natural beauty surrounded by lush tropical rainforest in Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. The resort's rooms are distributed on ten separate terraces located on ten acres of protected tropical forest.

Hotel
Arenas Del Mar

Arenas Del Mar is a beach and nature resort located in walking distance of Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park. This carbon-neutral property is the first Costa Rican luxury hotel to be awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award and a Five Star Award.

Hotel
Hotel Bougainvillea

The unique and comfortable Hotel Bougainvillea is a place where guests can truly experience the world-famous beauty of Costa Rica, just ten minutes from San José.

Hotel
Hotel Heliconia

Hotel Heliconia in Costa Rica's famed Monteverde region is located on a stunning 6-acre property surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. The lodge offers panoramic views of Monteverde and hundreds of exotic birds and animals onsite.

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Costa Rica Explorer

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