Set off on a wonderful expedition adventure, as you explore Costa Rica with National Geographic. From the thrilling jungle rivers to the sparkling waterfalls, active volcanoes and rainbow of wildlife, experience the magnificence of Costa Rica during this 8-day expedition. Get immersed in this natural wonderland, where you will enjoy white-water rafting through the lush gorges of the Pacuare River, hiking in the jungles of Arenal Volcano National Park or snorkelling in the pristine waters off the coast of Guanacaste.

Trip highlights

Set off on a white-water rafting adventure down the Pacuare River and watch for monkeys, sloths, colourful birds, and more along the way.

Stay in stunning accommodations nestled within a pristine forest, including Finca Rosa Blanca, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World set on an organic coffee plantation just outside San José.

Hike to azure waterfalls, soak in hot springs, and navigate the hanging bridges that crisscross the lush forest canopy surrounding the Arenal Volcano.

Explore the marine wonders of the Pacific coast on a kayaking and snorkelling excursion.

Itinerary - 8 Days

1 San José, Costa Rica

Arrive in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, where our staff awaits to transfer you to our National Geographic Unique Lodge, a bastion of Central America art perched amid coffee and banana trees in the hills overlooking San José. The remainder of the day is free to relax and explore the lodge. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening.
Enjoy a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge, in the hills just outside of San José, this tribute to Costa Rican art and design is set among tropical gardens and shade-grown banana and coffee trees, commanding a panoramic view of the highlands.

Finca Rosa Blanca (D)

2 San José/Pacuare River

This morning, enjoy a guided tour of the lodge’s organic coffee farm. Then embark on a white-water rafting adventure on the Class II and III rapids of the Pacuare River, navigating through lush forests and gorges along one of the world’s top rafting rivers. Break for a picnic lunch, then continue paddling to our thatched-roof eco-lodge perched on the river’s edge. Enjoy some time at leisure before dinner, and opt to plant a tree as part of the lodge’s rainforest restoration project. (4–5 miles rafting on Class II and III rapids, 2 hours)

Rios Tropicales Lodge (B/L/D)

3 Pacuare River

Situated in the middle of a pristine jungle, the lodge offers many opportunities for adventure, and we take the full day to explore. Go on an optional early morning bird-watching hike with guides to see toucans and many other species. Hike to an indigenous village to experience the local culture. Swing through the forest on a zip line to get an up-close perspective of the ecosystem of the canopy. (4–5 miles hiking, 4 hours)

Rios Tropicales Lodge (B/L/D)

4 Pacuare River/Arenal Volcano

Depart the lodge by river raft and spend a morning paddling Class II, III, and IV rapids, enjoying an exhilarating run. After lunch, drive into the northern highlands to Arenal Volcano National Park—named for the 7,000-year-old volcano that rises above the rainforest canopy. Settle into our hotel near the park and enjoy some time to relax before dinner. (6–8 miles rafting on Class II, III, and IV rapids, 3–4 hours)

Hotel Arenal Manoa or Arenal Springs Resort (B/L/D)

5 Arenal Volcano National Park

Head into Arenal Volcano National Park and explore the jungle on foot, watching for monkeys, parrots, and many other species that live at the volcano’s base. Venture along a network of suspension bridges that loop through the treetops. Enjoy lunch on your own in the town of La Fortuna. In the afternoon, visit a stunning waterfall that drops hundreds of feet and swim in its emerald pools. Later, visit thermal hot spring pools owned and operated by a local family and soak in soothing waters heated by the volcano. (5 miles hiking, 5–6 hours)

Hotel Arenal Manoa or Arenal Springs Resort (B/D)

6 Tenorio Volcano National Park/Playa Hermosa

After breakfast, travel north through rolling hills and farmland to Tenorio Volcano National Park, where wildlife-rich rainforest thrives below the cones of Tenorio Volcano. Upon arrival, set off on a moderate trail to encounter one of the park’s highlights: the dazzling waterfall of Río Celeste, which owes its brilliant azure colour to a mixture of minerals from the nearby volcano. Later, transfer to coastal Guanacaste and spend the remainder of the afternoon enjoying the beach or pool at our hotel. (3–4 miles hiking, 4 hours)

Hotel Bosque del Mar (B/L/D)

7 Guanacaste Coast

Discover Guanacaste’s coastal treasures on a guided kayaking excursion with opportunities for snorkelling. Paddle warm, clear waters and venture below the surface to seek out tropical fish, sea turtles, and corals. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, then return to our hotel and relax this afternoon. Join your fellow travellers for a farewell dinner this evening. (6 miles paddling, 4–5 hours)

Hotel Bosque del Mar (B/L/D)

8 Liberia

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Liberia and depart on your flight home. (B)

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