Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

250km Self-Powered Coast to Coast Expedition through Costa Rica

Paddle, hike and bike on an epic self-powered journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea

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Trip Ref #10042

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

250km Self-Powered Coast to Coast Expedition through Costa Rica

Paddle, hike and bike on an epic self-powered journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea

DURATION
11 nights
LOCATION
Costa Rica
ANNUAL LEAVE
10 days off work
SEASON
Nov—Mar
GROUP SIZE
Up to 16 people
MEETING POINT
Juan Santamaria International Airport, Costa Rica
ACCOMMODATION
Hotel · Campsite
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

Crossing 250km coast-to-coast is a challenge, so strong fitness and a sense of adventure are vital.

Embark on an epic, 100% human-powered adventure – no motors, no engines and no animals to help you out!

Hike through the cloud forest, cross virgin rainforests teeming with life and trek over the Continental Divide, with some glorious downhill riding waiting for you on the other side

Explore cascades and swimming holes with water so clean you can drink straight from them and visit mountain villages, coffee plantations and remote riverside communities

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking local guides

Accommodation

5 nights camping, 5 nights in a hotel and 1 night in a cabin

Meals

Most meals with the exception of a few dinners and a couple of lunches

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Equipment

All your biking, rafting, kayaking and camping equipment

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

The Area

Logistics

Starts

San José International Airport, Costa Rica

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

San José International Airport, Costa Rica

Anytime on Day 12

Transfers

Airport transfers are included on arrival and departure days. Just let your host know your flight details. If you arrive and depart outside of the set days, your host can arrange an airport transfer for you for an extra cost. See Optional Extras for the price.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Costa Rica from major airports across the UK and Europe.

What about all the carbon?

We mitigate 4x the carbon generated by all our customer flights annually through our partnership with Cool Earth.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6 – Day 9

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 12

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

A classic plate of Costa Rican food traditionally includes rice and beans, salad, fried sweet plantains and either fish, chicken, pork or beef. Some will also have cheese, French fries or grilled vegetables. Gallo Pinto is another classic Costa Rican staple: slow cooked rice and bean with onions, peppers and coriander (cilantro). This is often part of the Costa Rican breakfast, Gallo Pinto - eggs, fried cheese, sweet plantains and homemade corn tortillas. There'll be plenty of other Latin American and tropical foods available and on both coasts you’ll find Pipa Fria: a whole, cold fresh coconut.

What is the accommodation like?

San Jose

You'll stay at the Hotel Paseo Las Damas, a 3 star hotel in an excellent location opposite España Park and the Modern Art Museum.

The Pacific Coast

You'll stay at Kamuk Hotel and Spa in Quepos, just minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park and steps from the Pacific Ocean.

The Expedition

You'll stay at campsites and rustic cabinas. Highlights include El Nido Del Tigre, an authentic Costa Rican camp that’s passionate about sustainability in the Bajo Tigre rainforest.

The Caribbean

You'll celebrate the end of your journney with a night at the boutique Hotel de las Flores in Cahuita National Park. The hotel is close to the beach and surrounded by an area renowned for its invaluable biodiversity where you're likely to see White Face Capuchin and Howler monkeys, Iguanas, Toucans, Sloths and a variety of birds and butterflies.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Costa Rica

Fly into beautiful Costa Rica and head to your hotel in San José. Depending on what time you land, explore, or just relax and get ready for the start of your adventure.

Day 2

The Pacific Coast

Hop on a bus bound for the Pacific Coast - the starting point for your coast-to-coast adventure. This will be your last motorised vehicle for the next 10 days! Spend the night in the quiet fishing village of Quepos, next door to Manuel Antonio National Park. Relax on the beach, visit the park, famous for its abundant wildlife and then have dinner and a group briefing with the rest of your team.

Day 3

The adventure begins

Hiking

13km

Fuel up with some fresh fruit and coffee and set off on your bike. Be warned, there are some steep sections straight away, although you'll be instantly rewarded with some sweeping views of the Pacific coastline. Reach the small town of Esquipulas and have a bigger, second breakfast before swapping your bike for hiking boots and heading deep into the cool mountains of Central Costa Rica. Camp for the night in the valley of Naranjillo and listen to the sound of nature uninterrupted.

Day 4

Santa Maria Village

Hiking

11km

Cycling

14km

Start with a hike towards the Continental Divide before tackling the infamous 'Cemetery Hill' - a challenging 13km climb. From the pueblo of San Lorenzo, grab your mountain bike and set off for the quaint village of Santa Maria. Load up on some typical Costa Rican food and then rest up in a comfortable cabin for the night.

Day 5

Over the divide

Cycling

42km · 1300m up

Time to tackle the toughest and steepest climb - a 14 km uphill stretch to the Continental Divide. At 2330 meters it's also the highest point of your journey. Luckily, what goes up must come down, so the remainder of the day is mountain biking at its very best – downhill and scenic along dirt roads and single-track trails. Finish the day in the beautiful Orosi Valley, where rich pastures and dark green forests of coffee carpet the land.

Day 6

Tapantí cloud forest

Hiking

14km

Cycling

14km

Mountain bike beside the river and then into the vast Tapantí National Wildlife Refuge. Take a break from the bike and head deeper into the mountains on foot – far from where wheels could ever take you. Trek through the cloud forest and feel tiny beneath thousands of trees covered with ferns, bromeliads and mosses. After reaching flatter ground, camp near the small settlement of Taus and have a big dinner under the stars.

Day 7

The Pacuare River

Cycling

4hrs · 40km

Rafting

2hrs

Continue cycling towards La Cruz - gateway to the raging Pacuare River. Eat lunch on the shore and then load up your raft and paddle through pristine rainforest, canyon cliffs and past deafening waterfalls. Set up camp at El Nido del Tigre, named after the giant indigenous ginger plants that carpet the area, nestled between the sounds of the rainforest and the river There will be some free time to explore this lush environment - be sure to look out for toucans, boa constrictors and sloths - or just relax in a hammock.

Day 8

Rest day

Enjoy some well-earned downtime at this gorgeous location. Explore the primary forest, swim in the river, visit some nearby waterfalls and swimming holes where the water is so pure you can drink from them, or just put in some more hammock time. The area of rainforest around your camp is in a pristine state and rarely visited – perfect for a peaceful day.

Day 9

White water

Rafting

4-6hrs

Continue along the Pacuare, passing through river carved canyons. There are also some exhilarating rapids to manoeuvre as well as gentler sections where you can peer into the rainforest and spot wildlife. Take a break from rafting and hike to some cascading waterfalls and have lunch on the shore. Stop for the night as the forest gives way to the banana plantations at Finca Pacuarito and enjoy the rapidly changing scenery.

Day 10

The Caribbean Sea

Cycling

2hrs

Kayaking

2hrs

Jump back on your bike and ride through the plantations to the town of Freeman and board your kayak for the final leg of the journey. Leave the rapids of the highlands behind and paddle into the tropical lowlands, before finally drifting into the Caribbean Sea. Celebrate with a drink in the surf and some beach time - you've earned it!

Day 11

Final beach time and back to San José

Enjoy some final downtime on the sand and then drive back to San José through the cloud forest and misty mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park. Toast your epic coast-to-coast achievement. Not everyone can say they've crossed an entire country!

Day 12

Goodbye Costa Rica

After breakfast, head back to the airport in time for your flight home, or explore a little more of this incredible country.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Runner's Need, and Cycle Surgery.

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (25+ litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag/rucksack or drybags

Clothes

  • Padded shorts for cycling segments
  • Trainers or specific cycling shoes (for flat pedals unless you bring your own clip in pedals)
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts / skirts
  • T-shirts, underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

Other

  • Sunglasses + keeper strap (don't want to lose your sunnies in the river)
  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Earplugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch

When you finish a section – rafting, hiking, kayaking etc, the support vehicle will be strategically waiting ready with your next equipment. Everything is organised and supported so that you simply need to power yourself from coast to coast, rather than think about the logistics!

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion. Of course, you are free to tip as much or little as you like and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Crossing 250km coast-to-coast in 10 days is a challenge, so strong fitness and a sense of adventure is vital. You'll also need to be happy swapping from bike, to hiking boots, to a multi-person raft, to a single person kayak. You do not need kayaking experience although upper body strength is useful. And the mountain biking is not technical so you should be able to ride a bike but there is no need to have prior experience of trails etc.

The bikes used will be front suspension mountain bikes with disk brakes. You are welcome to bring your own pedals, seats and accessories, although it's also perfectly fine to just turn up with comfortable active shoes and start riding.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

The water in Costa Rica is generally safe to drink except for that found in remote and rural areas where there's little to no infrastructure. The support vehicle carries large containers of water from which you can fill your bottle at the start of each stage. There will also be drinking water available at each night’s accommodation.

Costa Rica's dry season, considered summer by the locals, runs from mid-November to April and temperatures vary significantly depending on the region and elevation. Along the coast and the Caribbean flatlands, temperatures average 25–34˚C (77–93˚F). At the mid-level elevations temperatures average between 17–26˚C (63–79˚F).

The expedition has a support vehicle that transfers all luggage and equipment from stage to stage. You just need to carry a day pack with water, snacks, camera, waterproof jacket etc.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

For current advice about travelling in Costa Rica, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.

"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

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Transferrable Deposits

Cancel up to 60 days before departure and we'll transfer your deposit into credit for a future booking.

Free Date Changes

Free date changes up to 60 days before departure.

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