Overview

Rapids, Waterfalls, and Surf: Visit some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful hidden treasures in this off-the-beaten-path package.  You’ll see for yourself why Pacuare River is known as one of the most scenic rafting rivers in the world as you float through canyons lined with tropical rainforest while toucans fly overhead.  A candlelit evening in your open-air bungalow is the perfect way to end a day of adventure on the rapids.  Next you’ll head to the enchanting Tenorio National Park and stay alongside the vibrant blue waters of Rio Celeste River.  Hike along the river banks to discover a picturesque turquoise waterfall along with natural hot spring pools.  Keep a watchful eye out for different monkeys and birds that call this fairytale forest home.  You’ll feel revitalized after your stay at Casa Chameleon where surf, yoga, gourmet dining, and spectacular sunsets are just a few of the secrets of the long life expectancy of local residents of Mal Pais.

Destinations: San Jose, Pacuare River, Rio Celeste, Mal Pais

Duration: 10 days

*Price Range: $$$

*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare).  Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.

$$$: At or under $1,200 per person.

$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person.

$$$: $1,800+ per person

  1. DAY 1
  2. Fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) where one of our local airport representatives will meet you before immigration holding a sign with your name on it.  They will guide you through an expedited immigration process and to baggage claim.  Outside the airport you’ll find your private transfer that will be waiting to help you with your luggage.  You’ll transfer 15 minutes into the heart of San Jose for your stay at the award-winning Grano de Oro.  Have dinner at Grano de Oro’s award-winning restaurant, ranked as one of the best dining experiences in San Jose.  After a delicious meal, soak in the rooftop jacuzzis under a sky full of stars.  

     

  3. DAY 2
  4. Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you whitewater raft the Pacuare River.  Your transfer to and from Pacuare Lodge is one of the main highlights since you’ll be rafting class III-IV rapids on one of the world’s most scenic rivers.  Once you arrive to the eco-lodge, you’ll check into your open-air bungalow along the pristine Pacuare River.  With no electricity at the lodge, you’ll have dinner within the rainforest canopy by candlelight and then head back to your bungalow for a candlelit evening.

     

  5. DAY 3
  6. Moderate to challenging hikes along the Cabecar Indian trails will guide you through untamed rainforest and to sparkling waterfalls.  Visit one of the Cabecar Indian villages to see first-hand how these indigenous people have lived off the rainforest for generations.  For those looking for another day of adrenaline, swing from the trees on a canopy zip-line or rappel down waterfalls.  The Jawa Juu Spa provides a blissfully pampering experience utilizing natural rainforest ingredients with their treatments.

     

  7. DAY 4
  8. Whitewater raft from Pacuare Lodge to your next destination, Rio Celeste, a Costa Rica hidden treasure.  Check into your room at Rio Celeste Hideaway, sister property to one of the top hotels in the world, Arenal Nayara.  After dinner at Kantala, enjoy a glass of wine by the lobby’s fireplace or hop into one of the jacuzzis under a sky full of stars.

     

  9. DAY 5

  10. Rio Celeste is an enchanting, fairytale river whose waters are a beautiful sky-blue.  Hike along the winding river to discover magical wonders within the river and along its banks – waterfalls, natural hot spring pools, and wildlife to name a few!

     

  11. DAY 6

  12. Tube down the turquoise waters of Rio Celeste for a leisurely and scenic experience.  Or, spend a full-day exploring the many tour options around Arenal Volcano, an hour’s drive from Rio Celeste Hideaway.  At Arenal Volcano, you can enjoy hot springs, hanging bridges, rafting, zip-lines, rappelling and more.

     

  13. DAY 7
  14. Say goodbye to Tenorio National Park and hello to the shores of Nicoya Peninsula!  This off-the-beaten path (and bumpy) road leads to one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.  These small beach towns are known for their long-stretching coastline, volcanic mountain side, tropical rainforest, and great surf.  Populated with the perfect blend of locals, surfers, and yogis, it’s known as one of the world’s seven Blue Zones, one of the healthiest places on earth.  Check into your villa at the exclusive Casa Chameleon overlooking the blue Pacific horizon.  Your villa can be easily converted into an open-air room complete with a private infinity plunge pool overlooking the ocean.  It’s the perfect place to take in panoramic sunsets after a day in the sun.  If you’ve come to surf the waves while staying at Casa Chameleon, make sure to rent a board in town before checking in.  Head out just before sunset to enjoy the surf or sign up for surf lessons for the following morning.

     

  15. DAY 8
  16. Wake up just before sunrise to catch the surf.  Mal Pais is home to some of the best surfing swells in the world.  Return to your villa to rinse off and enjoy an en suite breakfast of freshly squeezed juices, tropical smoothies, and gallo pinto.  For those guests not as interested in surfing, there are numerous activities and excursions available from Casa Chameleon, including the fine art of relaxing by the pool with a cold beverage!  Some of our favorite excursions in the area include a day trip to snorkel off the white sand beach of Isla Tortuga followed by a visit to Curú Wildlife Refuge or a day trip to Montezuma to climb a series of cascading waterfalls with an optional canopy zip-line.  

     

  17. DAY 9
  18. Enjoy your last full day in paradise surfing the waves, paddleboarding, walking the beach for miles, or relaxing by the pool.  Splurge on an in suite massage or a private cooking lesson with the chef using only produce from local farmers and fisherman.  Watch the vibrant sunset from the privacy of your plunge pool and enjoy an evening of stargazing.

     

  19. DAY 10

Take a private ground transfer to Liberia for your international flight home or take a domestic flight from Tambor back to San Jose for your international flight home.

Itinerary Highlights:

  • Whitewater raft class III-V rapids on one of the world’s top ten scenic rivers, Pacuare River
  • Visit a Cabecar Indian village to learn how they’ve lived off the rainforest for generations
  • Snap a picture in front of Rio Celeste’s turquoise waterfall
  • Surf the waves of Mal Pais during a vibrant sunset
  • Snorkel off the white sand beach of Isla Tortuga and then look for monkeys and macaws in Curú Wildlife Refuge

 

Best for: Couple, Wellness/Spa, Romance, Honeymoon, Eco-Tourism, Luxury

Bucket list experiences: whitewater rafting, rainforest, wildlife, waterfalls, indigenous culture, Rio Celeste, Tenorio National Park, beach, surf, yoga, Isla Tortuga

Accommodations & Location:

  • Grano de Oro, San Jose
  • Pacuare Lodge, Pacuare River
  • Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, Rio Celeste
  • Casa Chameleon, Mal Pais

Every Central America Vacation itinerary includes 24/7 in-country support.  We’re here with you every step of the way to insure the best experience possible, from the initial planning stages to the moment you’re on your flight home!