Untamed Costa Rica
Raft your way to a remote rainforest eco-lodge and sail the Pacific on a private catamaran
Untamed Costa Rica
About your trip
If Flash Pack had the chance to create its dream adventure destination from scratch, it would probably look a lot like Costa Rica…
The highest density of biodiversity than anywhere else on the planet. Pure sands lapped by Pacific and Caribbean waters. Vast swathes of rainforest, live volcanoes, exotic wildlife and fast-flowing rivers. Costa Rica is made for adventurers; and this trip will certainly get your adrenaline pumping, whilst showcasing a more unique side to this beautiful wilderness, too.
Across nine epic days, you’ll tackle class II, III and IV rapids as you make your way, by raft, into the heart of the rainforest to reach your secluded boutique lodge. You’ll sail on your own private catamaran across azure Pacific waters to secret beaches and coves. And you’ll learn the art of making chocolate. Returning home, you’ll be able to tell people that you flew, quite literally, through the canopy on a ‘superman-style’ zipline, and that you did it all with a group of people that were just like you.
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
- Stay in hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
- Minibus & catamaran
- We offset your carbon emissions
- Arrival airport transfer
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 A taste of San José
Pura vida – you’re in Costa Rica. A private transfer at San José Airport will take you directly to your boutique hotel, where you’ll have the chance to freshen up before meeting your guide and group. Initial introductions over, you’ll be taken to your welcome dinner. In an atmospheric set-up, you’ll enjoy traditional Costa Rican dishes and drinks (think rich black bean soup, fresh ceviche and plantain). An early-ish night will be preferable this evening, as you’ll be up early for the first of many rainforest thrills.
Day 02 River rafting to a rainforest lodge
Today’s adventure is as unique and off-grid as it sounds: rafting down class III and IV rapids to a remote jungle lodge. You’ll stop off at a cacao farm to learn all about Costa Rica’s food of the gods: chocolate. Then it’s time to take to the river, on a journey that will be equal parts thrilling and beautiful – when you’re not soaring over crashing waters there’ll be plenty of chances to sit back and appreciate the dense, untouched rainforest and the exotic wildlife all around you. Eventually you’ll pull up alongside your boutique cabins, where lunch will be waiting for you. This evening, you’ll take a nocturnal walk to spot rainforest frogs (and hopefully other nocturnal wildlife), learning all about the weird and wonderful creatures.
Day 03 Rainforest living
Waking up to the sounds of the rainforest, your immersion in secluded jungle living continues. Prepare for total disconnection from the real world here: with no signal and no WiFi, the whole experience will be a digital detox that will take you back to the beauty of simplicity. Yet, you can still expect certain luxuries, such as hot showers, flush toilets and comfy soft beds. You’ll have the day free to enjoy the lodge’s lush surroundings and take advantage of the many activities on offer. Your rafting guide can show you the way to some local waterfalls where you can bathe in a natural pool surrounded by untouched wilderness.
Day 04 Back to civilisation
This morning you’ll make your way back to civilisation the way you came in: by paddling down the river to your rafting exit point. Expect plenty of thrills and spills along the way. You’ll be picked up for a road trip towards the Arenal Volcano National Park and your beautiful hotel a few miles outside of La Fortuna town. The volcano may be dormant but the area around its base is a hub for adventure activities. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you choose. Explore the town, enjoy some local walks or simply spend the afternoon basking in creature comforts after your time in the middle of the rainforest.
Day 05 Aerial adventures
It’s back to adrenaline-seeking today as you head up the mountain via aerial tram to its highest point. From here, with views out to the lake and the nearby volcano, you’ll tackle an adventure course of truly epic proportions. Your journey back down will involve conquering ziplines, hanging bridges, waterfall abseiling, canyoning, a tarzan swing…the list goes on. Of everything, be sure to give the superman zipline a go. Bundled into a secure suit that’s connected horizontally to a zipwire, you’ll have the chance to feel what it would be like to fly like superman through lush rainforest canopies. Still buzzing, tonight you’ll enjoy a traditional family-style meal cooked at a local restaurant.
Day 06 Jungle time
After the intense adrenaline of yesterday, you’ll be looking forward to a relaxing day of slow living in the Rincon De La Vieja National Park. Upon arrival, you’ll be checked into your hotel, then it’s up to you how to spend your afternoon. Perhaps a forest therapy session will tempt you, or a day of therapeutic hot springs, working your way from the coolest natural pool to the hottest. Or there’s horseback riding, birdwatching and waterfall hikes on offer – even a jungle waterslide. With sustainability, adventure, nature, culture and wellness all in one place… this is what you came to Costa Rica for.
Day 07 Wild wetlands & on to the coast
Palo Verde National Park is calling today. A spectacular wild world of rivers, marshlands and mangroves; you’ll have the chance to go deep into its wonders on a private boat along the Tempisque River. Look out for an abundance of bird life, crocodiles and monkeys as you journey further into this wildlife refuge before hopping back onto dry land to explore Hacienda el Viejo. On this tour, you’ll be taken to a working sugar mill as you trace the steps of rum making. Taste the sugar cane before moving on to real rum tasting, a completely unique experience in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Before you leave for your first night on the coast in the sparkling Gulf of Papagayo, there’ll be a little surprise in store – but that’s all we’ll say for now…
Day 08 Private catamaran on the Pacific
Your last full day, and you’ll be going out in true, paradise island style. After a morning relaxing on the sand of Panama Beach or at the pool, you’ll be picked up by your own private catamaran. Your luxurious vessel will be taking you off for an afternoon of cruising to small islands, secret coves, snorkelling spots and hard-to-reach beaches. Everywhere you look will feel like the best photo opportunity of your life – crystal waters, white sands, vibrant coral and secluded bays where you’ll anchor up for a private beach BBQ. Enjoy drinks overlooking the Pacific and, as you sail back to your hotel, watch the sun fire up the horizon before you. Back on dry land, it’ll be time for one last meal as a group beneath a blanket of stars.
Day 09 Hasta la vista, Costa Rica
After breakfast, it’ll sadly be time for goodbyes – never easy when you’ve had such a memorable adventure amongst untouched natural beauty. Our tip: it’s best to fly out of nearby Liberia Airport. Or…never leave?
Our Favourite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
ARENAL SPRINGS HOTEL
Set close to the Arenal Volcano and thus brimming with hot springs, the real draw of this resort has to be its abundance of attractive landscaped thermal pools boasting views out to the volcano. And who doesn’t like a swim-up bar?
Accessed by rafting down the scenic Rio Pacuare, you’ll be surrounded by tropical gardens and awaken to the sound of bird calls and monkeys. The cabins are beautifully designed – and with no electricity or Wi-Fi, plus an open wall out into the rainforest, it’s a true back-to-nature experience.
This is a four-star boutique beauty. Chic, sumptuous rooms, a long pool framed by day beds, an enviable position on the beach and endless activities like kayaking, yoga and paddleboarding. It’s a wonder anyone ever checks out.
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into San Jose Airport (SJO) and fly out of Liberia Airport (LIR).
- What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?
At 5 pm you will meet your guide and and the other Flashpackers before our welcome dinner at a top local restaurant. We recommend arriving no later than 3 pm.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There are no activities planned for the last day, so you can leave any time you wish. We end at an amazing beach property so you might want to leave late and spend the day enjoying the facilities. The airport is approximately 20 minutes away from your final hotel.
- Are airport transfers included?
If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.
Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.
We don’t offer a departure transfer as Flashpackers leave at different times of the day and many stay for extra nights. We will offer you support with finding a local taxi.
- Do I need a visa?
You do not need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa.
Alternatively, you can check the requirements here: https://migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Visas.aspx
We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
Overall, Costa Rica is one of our more active adventures with a few hikes and rafting. We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.
- Do I need to be able to swim?
Whilst it’s not compulsory that you’re able to swim in order to book this adventure, we can only let competent swimmers take part in the rafting activity due to health and safety requirements. If you can’t swim or simply don’t want to do the rafting, that’s no problem – we’ll be able to arrange other means of transport for you.
- Do I have to take part in the whitewater rafting?
None of the activities on this trip are compulsory and if you don’t feel comfortable taking part in the rafting, you can travel by 4×4 to the rainforest lodge. Please note that there won’t be an alternative activity provided instead of the rafting, but the lodge itself is a lovely place to relax in the rainforest.
- What sort of travel insurance do I need?
Please bear in mind that this trip includes adventurous activities, such as canyoning and rafting. Your travel/medical insurance should cover you to raft up to and including class IV rapids.
- Will the itinerary change?
These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
- What are the Covid-19 requirements for visiting Costa Rica?
Due to the changeable nature of Covid-19 entry requirements, we strongly advise Flashpackers to consult the travel advice issued by your local consular services well in advance of your departure date. Some countries do still require travellers to comply with pre-arrival testing and/or vaccination requirements. Links to the key consular services can be found on our Safety page.
- What other vaccinations and medication will I need?
We recommend checking with your local travel clinic six to eight weeks before your trip to see if any medications or vaccinations are required.
- Are there any other special requirements?
As you’ll be rafting to your remote lodge on Day 2 and leaving your main luggage behind (which you’ll be reunited with on Day 4 in Arenal), we ask that you bring a separate smaller bag with you to Costa Rica. You’ll use this to pack everything you’ll need for the few days you’re in the rainforest (2 full days, one morning).
- What should I pack?
Your Costa Rican adventure involves a huge variety of activities, so you’ll need to pack a range of clothes. Generally, we recommend loose-fitting and light casual wear to keep you cool in the tropical heat, but one warmer layer may be required for the evenings and rooms with strong air-conditioning. Rain can occur at any time of the year, so it’s definitely worth bringing a lightweight rain jacket.
What you pack is personal to you and our list is certainly not exhaustive. If you have any questions about what to pack for your trip to Costa Rica, please get in touch with one of our friendly Trip Experts.
- A large backpack or suitcase. It’s up to you whether you bring a backpack or a suitcase, but either way, a soft-sided bag is best for packing into transfer vehicles.
- A smaller luggage bag big enough to hold two or three days’ worth of essentials and clothes. This will be used when you raft to your remote rainforest lodge on day two. You’ll be reunited with your main luggage on day four in Arenal.
- A day bag. This will need to be big enough to fit your daily essentials in, such as water and your camera.
- Lightweight clothes. T-shirts and shorts are perfect in Costa Rica’s tropical climate.
- Activewear. Breathable and lightweight materials will help you stay comfortable during the more energetic activities, such as hiking.
- Swimwear. You’ll have plenty of chances to get in the water, so it’s worth bringing two pairs of swimwear so that one can dry.
- Sunglasses/sunhat. The sun is likely to be very strong during the day, so protecting yourself with sunglasses and a sunhat is vital.
- A light waterproof jacket. Rain showers can occur at any time of the year, so it’s worth packing a light waterproof jacket or a poncho.
- Light jumper/sweater. It’s unlikely to get cold, but you may want to bring a light jumper/sweater for any rooms with strong air-conditioning and for the plane.
- Linen trousers. Always handy for keeping the sun off of your legs.
- An evening outfit. Whether or not you bring evening wear is up to you, but you may want one set of nicer clothes for the bars and restaurants in San José.
- Hiking boots/shoes. Some of the hiking you’ll be doing will be on muddy, slippery terrain. If you plan on hiking in sneakers, please make sure they are breathable and sturdy, with a good amount of tread on the soles.
- Comfortable trainers/sneakers. You’ll need a comfortable pair of breathable shoes for day-to-day activities.
- Sandals/flip-flops. It’s a good idea to bring a comfortable pair of shoes for relaxing in.
- Electricals, chargers and accessories.
- Plug socket adaptor. Costa Rica uses the same plugs as the USA. They have 2 flat prongs and are known as type A.
- Refillable water bottle. This will reduce your group’s plastic footprint.
- Head torch/torch
- Book or music. For transfers and any relaxed evenings, you may want a book or some music.
- Eye mask and earplugs. If you’re a light sleeper, you may feel more comfortable bringing an eye mask and earplugs.
- Beach towel. You will need a towel for the beach. A travel towel is a good alternative if you want to save space in your bag.
- High SPF factor sun cream.
- Lip balm with SPF.
- Insect repellent.
- Anti-bacterial gel.
- Shampoo and conditioner. Most hotels will be able to provide these, but we recommend bringing your own as small plastic bottles aren’t environmentally friendly.
- Personal toiletries including a toothbrush, deodorant, razors, hairbrush etc.
As captured on Instagram
The latest from Flashpackers in Costa Rica on #picsworthsharing
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