Costa Rica adventure tour

“A 12 day active adventure in Costa Rica, rafting, hiking and exploring its rainforests and remote reserves, staying in atmospheric lodges.”


San José | rafting on the Pacuare River | canopy zipline, hiking, waterfalls and swimming | Manuel Antonio National Park | Los Campesinos reserve | meet local vanilla farmers | guided hike | canopy walk | rainforest lodge only accessible by boat | kayaking, snorkelling and hiking | San Gerardo de Dota | hike trails in the cloud forest

Description of Costa Rica adventure tour

This Costa Rica adventure tour takes you to four beautiful locations, where activities and exploration await. Begin your tour with three days of rafting on the remote Pacuare River. There is some excellent white water here, guaranteeing an exciting rafting experience, and you’ll be based in atmospheric jungle lodges next to the river. Explore the forest on hikes to waterfalls and a canopy zipline and, while here, you will have the opportunity to meet the local communities that live and farm sustainably in this off the beaten track area.

Next, travel to gorgeous Manuel Antonio National Park. You will have free time to explore the tropical forest, trails and beautiful beaches here, looking out for iguanas, white tailed deer and raccoons. In the Los Campesinos reserve, take a guided walk and meet the local farmers who founded the reserve, then walk the 127m long bridge which hangs 40m above the ground, for a new perspective on the forest. From here, spend three nights surrounded by dense primary rainforest, staying in the beautiful Playa Nicuesa Lodge. You can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking and hikes to waterfalls in this unique spot. Finally, head to San Gerardo de Dota, famous for its old growth oak forests, where the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal lives.

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip is only for tailor made departures throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Costa Rica adventure tour

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


This holiday takes you to stunning and ecodiverse areas with some of the most sustainable lodges and adventure companies in Costa Rica. The rafting company we work with set up their own non profit organisation in 1994 to help preserve, protect and restore rivers, streams and watersheds. It focuses on the key recreational rivers used by the tourism industry, which are threatened by massive hydroelectric projects as well as constant contamination and pollution. They provide environmental education for local communities, explaining the benefits of keeping their rivers clean, and also educate other adventure activity providers about the specific damage that irresponsible tourism can inflict. We adhere to “Leave No Trace” ethics and practices on all of our rafting tours and ensure that waste is either recycled, composted or disposed of properly at the end of every trip.

You will also stay at the Los Campasinos reserve, which is comprised of primary and secondary regeneration forest protected by COOPECAMPESINOS, an association formed by the people of Quebrada Arroyo community who live there. COOPECAMPESINOS have constructed a lodge, trails and facilities for nature-based tourism and work together on the conservation and sustainable use of their natural resources, including vanilla, cacao, and cinnamon cultivation, native reforestation, soil regeneration, water and biodiversity.

Also on this itinerary you will visit the amazing Playa Nicuesa Lodge, situated within their own private 165 acre pristine reserve, which has been awarded 4 Sustainable Leaves by the Costa Rica Tourism Board. The lodge itself was built entirely by a local workforce and all of the wood used has fallen naturally and is pulled out of the forest by oxen or is from a farmed environment. Their electricity is provided by solar power and propane is only used on demand when there is not enough solar power to make hot water.


Whilst this is an adventure based itinerary, it also incorporates various ways to benefit the communities in the areas you visit, often tied in with protecting the environment. For example, each of the visits to reserves includes a local guide, in addition to the main guide who accompanies you throughout your holiday.

Since our rafting lodge was established in 1985 it has worked alongside the local communities to develop a range of responsible tourism practices. After consulting local people, staff and customers, the lodge started projects such as health clinics, community wildlife protection and efforts to create ecopreneurs among their staff and community members. These include growing organic coffee and offering training as river guides that are then employed on their rafting tours.

At Los Campesinos Reserve, the Quebrada Arroyo community felt that the reserve not fulfilling its potential for tourism and they also saw no benefit from the little tourism that did exist. With the support of the UN Small Donations Program, the Association built and maintained small shelters for walkers and trails and facilities for ecotourism. However, not all of the members of the community are directly involved in tourism, so the Association also uses the extra revenue to help community members to experiment with ways to sustainably manage their crops, to reforest the area with native species and to protect the forest in the longer term by conserving soil, water and biodiversity.

Playa Nicuesa Lodge employs 98% of their workforce from the nearby area and provides them with ongoing training in English and business development, as well as buying all its produce locally. The lodge has also spent a considerable amount of time developing a relationship with local hunters, who have often been involved in poaching in the private reserve, and runs a programme to retrain and employ them as guides and trackers for the its guests.

1 Reviews of Costa Rica adventure tour

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The wildlife, nature and the stunning diverse scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack well! Bring good hiking/walking boots, lightweight quick drying clothes and repellent for mountain/forest activities.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, our whole trip was extremely educational and we feel it has helped us as a family understand more about what we can do to protect our environment. Everywhere we went all staff including guides, hotel staff, drivers etc were all locals. They were all extremely proud of their country and what it has to offer people. They were keen to tell us how they protect the environment they all live in and what measures they take to ensure that their environment is protected. They respect nature and all that it has to offer us. All trips were sensitively done, keeping our impact to the surroundings to a minimum.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic! A truly memorable holiday for all the family. Our children aged 11
and 14 said it was like walking through a zoo except it was a million times
better as all the animals were free in their own natural habitat. Costa Rica is
beautiful, there is such variation in the landscape from rain forests to volcanic mountains to cloud forests. The range of activities which we did were great. All were expertly organised, totally safe with top class guides who were extremely passionate about their country. Only one discontent disappointment was the beach resort which we went to at the end of the holiday Tamarindo. It was extremely disappointing, it was everything that the rest of Costa Rica wasn't, full of traffic, tacky shops and restaurants and it lacked character and charm. Overall though we would highly recommend Costa Rica to anyone, particularly if you enjoy nature and wildlife. A super family destination.

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