Costa Rica Ultimate Adventure

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4-16
Activity level
Starting from
$3,999 for REI Members
$4,399 for non-members
Departures Mar 2020-Dec 2021

Spend eight days reveling in all the adventure this eco-paradise has to offer.

Costa Rica is an adventure-lover?s dream. Everywhere we look, we are greeted with peaceful waterfalls, tropical rainforests and stretches of ocean surf. These are the perfect conditions for zip lining, rafting, canyoning, cycling and hiking. A leader in wildlife and sustainability initiatives, Costa Rica is rich with interesting creatures. Our guides use their training as naturalists to point out white-faced capuchins, howler monkeys and maybe even a sloth camouflaged in a tree.

Our journey begins at Arenal Volcano National Park, where we spend three days hiking volcanoes, canyoning deep in the tropical rainforest and zip lining high above the jungle canopy. Get a glimpse of the majestic Arenal volcano and then soak up natural thermal hot springs with fellow adventurers after the day?s explorations. Take in the wild and beautiful Rio Pacuare for two days of heart-pounding whitewater rafting. Spend our final day cycling through the quaint towns and fertile slopes of the Turrialba region.

This is a great trip for adults and fit, older teens. If you're traveling with younger children, check out our Costa Rica Family Adventure.

See more trips in Costa Rica.

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Trip Highlights

  • Hike, bike, and raft through Costa Rica's beautiful jungles and rivers
  • Enjoy a thrilling two-day whitewater rafting trip and relax at a river camp
  • Explore high and low while rappelling waterfalls and zip lining through forests
  • Visit Arenal Volcano National Park, thermal hot springs, Turrialba and more


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should be able to hike up to 8 miles without major discomfort over varied terrain with some elevation change, ride a bike for 25 miles, and be competent swimmers.

Activities include hiking, cycling, rafting, zip lining, canyoning, and swimming. The biking portion includes a long climb, some flat and some downhill sections. Biking is van supported, but if you choose to ride in the support van you will not have the option to return to the hotel since the van must stay with the group.

  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Zip lining
  • Canyoning
  • Cycling

What's Included

All accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; airport transfers on days 1 and 8; transportation within Costa Rica; local English-speaking guides; zip line canopy tour and canyoning tour; entrance to hot springs near Arenal; all rafting gear (life vests, helmets, etc.) and mountain bikes.


Hotels/lodges, 6 nights; River camp, 1 night

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Pura Vida! Our ultimate adventure begins in San Jose.

Our trip begins today in San Jose, Costa Rica. Arrive into San Jose by 5pm and transfer to our hotel (airport to hotel transfer is included). Depending on your arrival time, you can opt to explore the city or just relax near the hotel. A group orientation is held at 6pm in the hotel lobby. Meals on your own.

Day 2

Visit a farm and hike in Arenal Volcano National Park.

It?s an early breakfast followed by a three hour drive to our first outing where we?ll visit a small farm and learn of local farming techniques and tour a sugar mill. After our tour, lunch will be served and we?ll have a chance to taste the bounty of country living with a typical farm meal. Then we?re off to Arenal Volcano National Park to hike on a trail that takes us to an old lava flow. If it?s a clear day we?ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Arenal Volcano. In addition to the volcano, the park encompasses thousands of acres of pristine rain forest and teems with tropical birds and wildlife. After the hike we head to our lodge, our home for the next three nights, and have time to relax or enjoy a dip in the pool before dinner. All meals included.

Driving: 4.5?5 hours; Hiking: 2.5 miles, 2?2.5 hours.

Day 3

Waterfall rappelling and relaxing hot springs.

Adrenaline-pumping rappelling from spectacular waterfalls starts the day. Not only will we get a chance to see waterfalls from a new perspective, but we?ll enjoy spectacular scenery and beautiful trails along the way. Next we hike to La Fortuna Waterfall (500 steps down and back) where we?ll have a chance to cool off and possibly swim in the chilly water at the base of the falls. Later our day finds us at the famous natural hot springs of Arenal where water heated in the core of the earth travels through layers of rock, rising to the surface to form steaming hot-spring-fed pools. The remainder of the afternoon is spent in this luxuriant tropical setting, soaking in these restful natural hot springs. All meals included.

Driving: 2.5 hours. Canyoneering: 2 hours. Hiking: 2 hours.

Day 4

Hike among trees alive with birds and zip line through a rainforest.

This morning after a short transfer we board the Sky Tram for a bird?s-eye view of the jungle on a canopy tour ending in a thrilling zip line trip through the forest. We?ll soar from platform to platform on a series of cables spanning distances from 100'?2,640'; a clear day will provide panoramic views of Arenal Lake and Volcano. Afterward, we hike along trails and a series of suspension bridges for a more relaxing view of the flora and fauna of the forest canopy. We explore the tropical forest from ground to treetops, giving us two completely different perspectives. After lunch at our lodge we?ll set out and explore the expansive trail system around our accommodation. From here we?re afforded excellent views of Arenal Volcano. This area is home to more than 400 species of birds and an impressive number of monkeys. All meals included.

Driving: .5 hour. Hiking: 5.5 miles. Tram/zip line tour: 2 hours.

Day 5

Begin a jungle rafting adventure on the Rio Pacuare.

We?ll spend the next two days paddling 21 miles through one of the country?s most impressive landscapes as we run the world-renowned Rio Pacuare. Here 100' waterfalls cascade from the canyon rim directly into the river before us. Wildlife abounds and we revel in the thrill of running the warm rapids until we reach our accommodations for the night. This remarkable eco-lodge features beautiful tropical gardens, open air pavilions with thatched roofs, and viewing decks where we can observe toucans flying overhead. This afternoon we?ll have a chance to explore the streams and pools and numerous waterfalls while hiking this 2400-acre private reserve. Our accommodations are rustic but comfortable, built from reclaimed lumber with beds and linens. Note: actual times on the water may vary greatly depending on the water level. All meals included.

Driving: 4.5 hours; Rafting: Class II?III whitewater: 8 miles, 2 hours.

Day 6

Enjoy another day of great whitewater rafting adventure.

Rise and shine to some of Costa Rica?s best coffee and a delicious breakfast. It is another day of heart-pounding whitewater as we resume our journey down the Rio Pacuare. Some of the river?s most exciting rapids await today, as we run Upper and Lower Huacas rapids, Cimarron, Dos Montanas and many more, whose names have become synonymous with adrenaline! We?ll also watch the riverbank for monkeys, sloths, ocelots and an incredible variety of birds and insects. After enjoying our final exhilarating day on the river, we take-out in the afternoon and set off for the lovely Turrialba Valley, filled with coffee and sugar cane plantations and the location of this evening?s accommodations. The evening is on your own to explore the grounds, enjoy dinner at your leisure and soak in the hotel?s beautiful setting. Breakfast and lunch included, dinner on your own.

Driving: 1.5 hours; Rafting: Class III?IV whitewater: 13 miles, 3.5 hours.

Day 7

Mountain bike through quaint Costa Rican towns.

Today we leave our hotel on bikes. Our ride takes us through the green and agricultural area of Turria lba. The landscape is filled with coffee plantations, fields of sugar cane and pastoral farmland. With cycling options for all abilities, we pedal our way to the small town of Tucurrique where we stop for lunch with a local family or at a small restaurant. After this tasty lunch, we continue our ride through the relatively flat but scenic countryside back to our hotel. Tonight we enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner and relive our week's adventure with our traveling companions and newfound friends. Note: Optional activities are available through the lodge (additional cost applies) for those not wanting to cycle. All meals included.

Biking: 25 miles, 4?5 hours; fully van-supported.

Day 8

Our Costa Rica Ultimate Adventure ends in San Jose.

After an early breakfast, we transfer back to the San Jose Airport for homeward-bound flights. Trip members should schedule flights departing 2:30pm or later. Breakfast included.

Driving: 3?3.5 hours.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose your clothing and gear for this trip. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.