This Costa Rica Spring Break Trip is the perfect combination of excitement that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping and relaxation that is sure to blow your cares away. Costa Rica is easily among the world’s top 10 countries for outdoor adventure. Here you find an impressive combination of pristine beaches, protected rainforest, rugged mountains and clean tropical rivers. On this particular tour, we have packed a number of the best natural areas, activities, and guides into a shorter time frame to fit your spring break schedule.
On your trip you will experience many of the ecosystems that Costa Rica is famous for – primal rainforest, secluded beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, and the wilds of a beautiful river. You’ll zip across the rainforest canopy, rappel down waterfalls, swim volcanic hot springs and have some down time at the beach for sunbathing or surfing. With beauty, warmth, adventure, and ecological wonders Costa Rica offers all aspects of a magnificent excursion.
- Costa Rica is slightly smaller than West Virginia.
- In 1502, on his fourth and last voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus made the first European landfall in the area.
- Tourism has overtaken bananas as Costa Rica’s leading foreign exchange earner. Boasting a wide diversity of eco-climates and settings, Costa Rica is attractive to travelers seeking beaches, tropical forests, active volcanoes, mountain settings, and a wide array of activities. Surfing, canopy zip-lining, hiking, bird watching, and fishing are some of the most popular draws.
- Costa Rica protects 23% of its national territory within the Protected Areas system. It also possesses the greatest density of species in the world.
- Costa Rica means “Rich Coast”.
- Costa Rica is ranked 5th in the world in terms of Environmental Performance Index. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021.
- Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index (measures how much of the Earth’s resources a nation uses and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy as a result) and is the greenest country in the world.
- There are about 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, making Costa Rica a true North American hummingbird capitol. The Costa Rican hummingbirds are most often found in the rain forest, as they pollinate flowers in the area where bees cannot travel.
- Monkeys are one of the most common mammals in Costa Rica – next to bats. There are about four common species of monkeys in Costa Rica, including the Howler money, Spider money, white-faced capuchin, and the squirrel monkey. Most monkeys live in groups of 10 to 40 with other animals.
Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface.
- Instead of saying “she gave birth”, Costa Rican’s say “Ella dio a luz” or “She gave light.”
- At 7:00 am in the morning every radio station forecast a national anthem and then the most important news and announcements for the day. If somebody dies, they are usually buried the same day (no embalming). The obituaries are run on TV several times a day so everyone can learn if they lost any relatives and make it to the funeral on time
- Driving is a challenging undertaking in Costa Rica. Bridges are usually one way, there are no signs and not a lot of street lights. Even if there is a light and it is red, don’t assume that every driver will obey and stop. If somebody dies in a traffic accident, there will be a big yellow heart with a crack in it painted on the road. If you see too many of those designs while driving be more careful and drive very cautiously.
Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica where you are met at the international airport and transferred to your San Jose hotel. You are welcome to arrive anytime today. (Meals: NA)
After an early morning pickup from your San Jose hotel, you will drive by private, comfortable bus to the rafting operations center for a delicious Costa Rican breakfast. After breakfast and changing into rafting gear, we will drive to our private rafting put-in on the banks of the Pacuare River. Spend the day rafting the pristing Pacuare with its incredible rapids and stunning views. Finish your day by arriving at a 2000 acre private reserve at the mouth of the Pacuare Gorge and within the Pacuare Protected Zone. The private reserve borders the indigenous Indian Reserve and contains more than 40 miles of hiking trails and numerous waterfalls, streams, and natural pools. Here, you will find your lodge for the night. Your lodge is located deep in the rainforest with beautiful tropical gardens framing native wood lodge rooms, open air gathering pavilions with thatched roofs and comfortable hammocks swinging in a gentle breeze, ample viewing decks for watching the toucans fly overhead and the river dance along its rapids. It is the first eco-lodge built on the Pacuare River banks and the only one powered with hydro-generated electricity for a clean sustainable energy source. (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, go for a morning Canopy Tour. Enjoy an incredible zip-line course through the canopy, high above the nearby Lodge complex. Multiple tree platforms and zip lines make this a thrilling, must-do experience. After the zip line, enjoy fun, fast Class IV rafting on lower Pacuare. A snack stop by the riverside lets you explore more waterfalls and natural water slides. An adrenaline-packed afternoon running rapids like Upper and Lower Huacas, Cimarron, Dos Montañas and many more, will have you smiling!!
At the river take out, a van will wait to take you on your onward journey to Arenal Volcano. At the end of the day end, one can relax in an area resort that offers soothing thermal waters heated by the volcano. The Arenal Observatory Lodge offers guests spacious rooms with large picture windows that enable them to admire the impressive and unequaled vision of an active steaming volcano rising out of the wilderness forest looming large in front. (Meals: B, L)
This 2 to 3 hour guided hike in Arenal Volcano National Park brings you through rainforest and onto the top of a blocky lava flow. Now cooled and motionless, the flow rises above the surrounding forest giving visitors a panoramic view of mountains, Arenal lake and Arenal Volcano. Today it is being covered by vegetation as the forest reclaims its former territory. During the walk you may see monkeys, toucans, parrots and other wildlife. (Meals: B)
After breakfast, we begin our drive to the central Pacific coast. Today we’ll drive approximately 4 hours (plus some time for any stops on the way) to the northwestern corner of the country. Rincon de la Vieja is a region of national parks and volcanoes on the north east section of Costa Rica. The national park has one of 5 active volcanoes of Costa Rica and is known for its stunning diversity of flora and fauna, fantastic scenery, beautiful waterfalls, soothing hot springs, boiling mud pots and a fresh river waters.
Blue River Resort and Hot Springs features new, spacious 720 square foot cabins. The hotels hot springs have spectacular natural mineral green hot spring pools a large fresh water pool and bullet slide, a spa, botanical gardens, butterfly farm, iguanas and frog pond and much more. Tours offered include visits to gorgeous blue volcanic rivers and waterfalls by horseback, nature walks, rappelling waterfalls and much more. (Meals: B)
After breakfast, we’ll embark on a Penjamo River hike this morning. Here we begin our hike through a breathtaking private park through the rainforest. While hiking, you will have a chance to see colorful highland birds which are difficult to see elsewhere. We will be visiting the astonishing blue river Penjamos, along with it’s many cascading waterfalls and natural waterslides. You will also see first-hand where minerals leach through the river bottom and into the water, causing the water color to turn blue. There will be plenty opportunities to soak and swim in the relaxing pools. (Meals: B)
Today, transfer from Blue River Lodge to Playa Panama. Playa Panamá has the Blue Flag certification and categorized as one of the most sanitary beaches in the country. Spend the next 2 nights at the all-inclusive Casa Conde del Mar, a pleasant 4-star hotel on the beach. Hotel Casa Conde del Mar offers comfort and relaxation in a welcoming environment. Clear waters with a soft current bath the 1-mile extension of taupe sand beach. Many water sports can be enjoyed including fishing, swimming, and windsurfing, among others, from a beach surrounded by the exuberant vegetation after which the beach was named. (Meals: B, L, D)
Free day at your all-inclusive beach resort! (Meals: B, L, D)
About 3 to 3.5 hours before your flight, you will be picked up and transferred to the Liberia International Airport for your departure. (Meals: B)
The best way to stay comfortable on any active adventure is going lightweight. Wearing the right versatile layers will insure a system with great ventilation and maximum protection in any conditions. The items on this list are just suggestions, however traveling with these items will give you the best chance for comfort and protection while in the tropics against any and all conditions. Your local Backwoods employee would be glad to help determine which product is right for you!
✓ Large Duffel bag
✓ Luggage tags and luggage locks.
✓ Passport pouch or money pouch.Travel
✓ Casual clothing – lightweight, comfortable items for travel.
✓ Valid passport
✓ Airline tickets
✓ Electrical adapter plug.
✓ Rain jacket/pants – waterproof and breathable
✓ Hiking shorts, quick drying
✓ Light fleece
✓ Long-sleeve shirts-for evening or for extra sun/insect protection.
✓ Lightweight pants, quick drying
✓ Sun hat or visorFootwear
✓ Casual, comfortable shoes for evenings.
✓ Lightweight hiking boots or trail shoes.
✓ Water sandals/shoes
✓ Hiking socksOther
✓ Water bottles and/or Hydration Resevoir (2-3)
✓ Headlamp and/or flashlight.
✓ Sunglasses and strap.
✓ Money ($800-$1,000 in cash, including some small US or Costa Rican bills)
✓ Camera, film, tripod.
✓ Batteries-extra for headlamp and camera
✓ Small binoculars.
✓ Notebook, journal, pencil and pen
✓ Pocket knife or multi-tool.
✓ Energy bars, hard candy, snacks and comfort foods
✓ Personal first-aid kit
✓ Insect repellent
✓ Several Ziploc plastic bags
✓ Heavy duty trash bag.Toiletries
✓ Small Towel
✓ Toothbrush and toothpaste
✓ Handi-wipes (moist towels for cleaning)
✓ Hand sanitizer
✓ Personal toiletry items
- All accommodations per itinerary
- Meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- All tours and entrance fee per itinerary
- All transportation and transfers per itinerary
- All national park and entrance fees
- All taxes on included land arrangements
- International and domestic flights
- Personal gear and clothing
- Meals not listed in itinerary
- Beverages and alcohol (except days 7-8, at the all-inclusive hotel)
- Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
- Optional tours
- Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
- Airport departure tax ($29/person)
- Optional travel insurance
Here are a few examples of the meals that may be included:
Breakfast: Traditional Costa Rican breakfast generally consists of eggs, rice, black beans, natural juices, coffee and fruit.
Lunch: Meat, chicken, or seafood will be the main dish with rice & beans, vegetables, fruits and salad for side dishes.
Dinner: Seafood, chicken, steak, or fajitas with salad, vegetables, or rice & beans. Coffee and desserts to follow.
1 night – Park Inn (Standard room)
1 night – Rios Tropicales Eco-Lodge (Standard room)
2 nights – Arenal Observatory Lodge (Smithsonian room)
2 nights – Blue River Lodge (Standard room)
2 nights – Casa Conde del Mar (Standard Double Suite)
No tourist visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in Costa Rica. US residents must have a current passport that is valid for 6 months beyond entry and a pre-paid airline ticket to exit Costa Rica.
Some of the activities that you may choose to participate in while in Costa Rica are strenuous and should not be undertaken if you have any health conditions which may put you at risk. You are strongly advised to consult your physician for a thorough medical check-up and clearance before attempting the trip. If you are over 50 years old, talk to your doctor about doing a “stress EKG”. Should you require any medication whatsoever, you must provide your own and be able to administer it yourself. Medical supplies in Costa Rica are not reliable or guaranteed though we will have a fully stocked medical kit on the trip.
Talk to your doctor about appropriate vaccinations as well as prescriptions you are currently taking, or should take in case you get sick.
FROM OUR TRAVELERS
“Thanks for being the best guide ever. Your encouragement, concern, and professionalism has made this trip a truly wonderful experience. I wish you all he very best in all that you do and hope to see you soon. “
“I hope this weekend goes as well as last week. You, Joe and Billy were excellent hosts and instructors. I had a wonderful time. Thanks again for all your patient coaching and kind words. “
“Thank you for offering such an amazing life experience. From the beginning with Joe and Mike’s emails, to the store’s support on outfitting, to the actual trip, it was an overall very positive experience. I highly recommend this trip to those with a passion for wanting the challenge of this mountain.”