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Untamed Costa Rica

Raft your way to a remote rainforest eco-lodge and sail the Pacific on a private catamaran

What's Included

  • 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.

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 your secluded boutique eco-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 abseiled down waterfalls into pristine jungle pools, and that you did it all with a group of people that were just like you.

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A taste of San José
  • Touch down in San José where a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting at the airport to whisk you to your boutique hotel
  • Get to know your group over a traditional Costa Rican welcome dinner and prepare for tomorrow’s rafting adventure – the first of many rainforest thrills to come
River rafting to a rainforest lodge
  • Visit an organic cacao farm to learn all about Costa Rica’s food of the gods: chocolate. See how the artisanal products are made and indulge in some delicious tastings.
  • Tackle class III and IV rapids on the Pacuare River as you raft to a remote riverside lodge; you’ll be spending the next two nights here, living off-grid deep in the rainforest
  • Grab your torch for a night hike through the jungle in search of tree frogs and other nocturnal wildlife; navigating the dense foliage by dark is an exhilarating experience
Remote rainforest living
  • Wake up to the sounds of bird calls and monkeys, and prepare for total immersion in nature: with no WiFi, your digital detox will take you back to the beauty of simplicity
  • Enjoy a free day to enjoy the lodge and take part in optional activities; dare yourself to ride the Tarzan swing before hiking to a nearby waterfall to bathe in a jungle pool
Back to civilisation
  • Make your way back to civilisation the way you came in: by paddling down the river to your rafting exit point, with thrills, spills and a delicious picnic lunch along the way
  • Travel by minibus to Arenal Volcano National Park, an activity hub famed for its smoking volcano and natural hot springs, where your beautiful hotel awaits
Canyoning adventure
  • Spend your morning basking in the comforts of your hotel, before a half-day canyoning adventure; expect to rappel down waterfalls, clamber up cliffs and freefall into a pool
  • Tonight, visit a local Costa Rican home, where you’ll experience some true Tico hospitality and share a traditional home-cooked meal with your group
Free time in La Fortuna
  • Choose your own activities today: from birdwatching to sloth tours, horseback rides to volcano hikes, ziplining to ATV excursions, ask your Pack Leader for inspiration
Rum making & tasting
  • Travel to Palo Verde National Park, a spectacular wild world of marshlands and mangroves, where you’ll take a private boat ride in search of birds, crocs and monkeys
  • Visit the working sugar mill at remote Hacienda el Viejo, tracing the steps of traditional rum-making before enjoying some tastings with your group
  • Check into your boutique lodge on the Gulf of Papagayo, an area of sweeping beaches backed with lush tropical forest, where there’s a little surprise in store tonight
Private catamaran on the Pacific
  • Spend your last day on a private catamaran cruise, stopping off at small islands, secret coves and snorkelling spots, with a barefoot barbecue on the beach
  • Head out tonight for a farewell dinner with your group; raise a toast to the adventures you’ve shared as you sip cocktails beneath a blanket of tropical stars
Hasta la vista, Costa Rica
  • Say adios to your new Flash Pack friends and make your own way to the airport; your Pack Leader will be on hand to help you arrange a taxi
  • Back home it might feel strange not waking up to feelings of awe and adrenaline each day, but that’s ok. You’ve achieved, and seen, so much – returning with an undoubtable feeling of pride. Sure, your everyday may not be bursting with personal firsts, snorkelling beauty and epic hikes – but that’s what your next adventure is for

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.

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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?

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POC LODGE

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.

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EL MANGROOVE

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.

Important Notes

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.

Are tips included?

Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:

  • Pack Leader: 7-10 USD per day
  • Drivers: 3 USD per day
  • Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.

However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.

Do I need a visa?

Up-to-date visa and entry information can be found using our official partner, Sherpa, who can help you arrange a visa if needed.

You can also find essential travel advice – including security and local laws, as well as passport and visa information – on the government website of your home country:

Please be aware that passport and visa requirements can change before departure, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest information.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalised medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

What fitness levels do I need for this trip?

Overall, this 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.

Is there a weight limit for the treetop activities?

For safety reasons, there is a weight limit of 240 pounds for ‘sky’ activities, including ziplines and tarzan swings. Where required, harnesses are designed to fit up to a 43″ waist.

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.

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 (two 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.

Baggage

  • 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.

Clothing

  • 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.

Shoes

  • 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.

Accessories

  • 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.

Toiletries/medical

  • High SPF factor sun cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Anti-bacterial gel
  • Painkillers
  • 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.

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