Adventures / Wild Hikes

Kayak, Hike and Tree Camp the Hidden Rainforests of Costa Rica

Trek through lush jungle teeming with exotic wildlife, paddle vivid coastline and fall asleep in the trees

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Trip Ref #10335

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Kayak, Hike and Tree Camp the Hidden Rainforests of Costa Rica

Trek through lush jungle teeming with exotic wildlife, paddle vivid coastline and fall asleep in the trees

DURATION

6 nights

LOCATION

Costa Rica

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Mar, Jun-Jul, Nov-Dec

GROUP SIZE

Up to 7 people

MEETING POINT

Golfito Airport, Costa Rica

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Campsite · Wild camping

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

No previous hiking or paddling experience is required but the fitter you are, the more enjoyable the experience will be

Sea kayak tropical shores and tangled mangroves, and snorkel amidst coral reefs and colourful fish

Hike through mountainous jungle and virgin rainforest in one of the country's most remote corners

Fall asleep to the calls of monkeys, toucans and frogs while in your tent suspended among the trees

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Grant, November 2022

    This trip is amazing and I’d recommend it to everyone! The hosts; Javier, Randy and Fernando are great people and make the experience so enjoyable and special. They cater for everyones needs, are extremely knowledgeable and are so easy to get on with and have good chat! Costa Rica is a stunning place and this trip let’s you explore beautiful places. The trip itinerary is perfect- a good mix of fun activities and time to relax as well. The food and accommodation are Brilliant and enhance the experience even more. Also met lovely people and new friends. I loved every minute of it and wish I was still there! Pura Vida!!

    Claire, November 2022

    From start to finish I felt well looked after on this trip. Javier was beyond helpful and very quick to respond to all my questions, putting me immediately at ease. The trip itself was an incredible experience; the mix of activities and rest was perfect and everything was expertly planned. One element that isn’t mentioned is the amazing food you will experience on this trip, having three-course restaurant standard dinners and cocktails in the jungle was not something I was expecting! To choose a highlight is too difficult as I have so many amazing memories, thanks to the fun team dynamic, excellent leadership from Randall and the opportunity to connect with the beautiful country of Costa Rica in such an authentic way, words aren’t enough :)

    William, November 2022

    Incredible trip!! A great balance of jungle trekking and sea kayaking with also time to enjoy your beautiful surroundings! Top marks from me, and a special shout out to the incredible team and guides. Golfito and Piedras Blancas are hidden gems. Natural beauty that holds its own against, or beat, any national parks in Costa Rica - without the tourists!

    Christina, December 2021

    This trip was a knockout! Pristine natural access and multi-sport adventure with a team that takes care of things so you can focus on your experience. Local team are serious pros and perfect combo of detail-orientation and people-friendliness. The brother team works well - Javier was extremely fast responding and offered to chat with my niece and I beforehand. We did a 1-hour call and it calmed any fears I had about a new company, first int'l trip since covid, and bringing a dependent. He helped us with our pack list a lot. Eric obviously has tons of experience guiding. Perfect vibe - low key and personable but aware of risks and on-top of the plan. I felt lucky we had such a pro for our small group. Beyond his guiding, his cooking was amazing! It created the space each meal that allowed for group chill and connection time. As for the location, we had incredible access to a unique and pristine part of the country that's least visited. Seeing spider monkeys, coati and anteater were highlights. Kayaking the coastline allowed a unique view and bird sightings. Hard to convey everything in one review, so my suggestion... talk to Javier directly and he'll tell you honestly what to expect and how to prepare. Anything else you'd like to add? Our first chill afternoon, we played Banana Grams and enjoying an afternoon rain storm, then Eric made other stellar meal - this time fajitas with chicken, steak, fresh avos and all. He followed up with bananas flambe, lighting the rum on fire and everything. We loved it! Wrapped up that great day with karaoke and a night swim. A great way to wrap 4 days of hike/kayak adventuring together. // One awesome thing Eric did was tell us all to pick 5 songs and add to a playlist. We spent one night during dinner and after listening and guessing who added the song. We had a great time and ended up with a sweet mix as a souvenir that we will all for sure listen to and remember the trip.

    Included

    Guides

    Expert, English-speaking local guides

    Accommodation

    3 nights in a hotel, 1 night ground camping and 2 nights tree camping

    Meals

    Most meals with the exception of a few dinners

    Transfers

    Transfers within the trip and to and from Golfito airport

    Equipment

    All your kayaking and camping equipment

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Some meals as described

    Personal expenses

    Tips for your guides

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Golfito International Airport, Costa Rica

    12pm on Day 1

    Ends

    Golfito International Airport, Costa Rica

    Anytime on Day 8

    Transfers

    Your international flight will arrive into San Jose, where you will transfer to the domestic airport. It is a short and easy walk of 4 blocks. The airport transfers from Golfito are included on arrival and departure days from the airport to your accommodation. Just let your host know your flight details. If you arrive and depart outside of the set days, you'll have to make your own airport transfer arrangements. Taxi's are available to and from the airport and are inexpensive.

    Travel options

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

    The domestic airline flying between San Jose and Golfito is Sansa Airlines (www.flysansa.com). You can book your domestic flight 8 weeks in advance. There are 3 daily flights available, they take 55 minutes and cost around USD140. The total travel time including getting to and from airports is around 4 hours. If you are planning to arrive on Day 1, please book one of the flights leaving San Jose before lunchtime.

    Another option would be to travel by public bus from San Jose with Tracopa Bus (www.tracopacr.com). The journey takes 6 hours and costs around USD14.

    If you are considering to organise a private transfer from San Jose to Golfito, please contact your host. If you are planning to spend a night in San Jose, you can book a hotel with your host. Please check Optional Services for more info!

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3

    Campsite · Twin tent

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 4 – Day 5

    Wild camping · Twin tent

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 6

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 7

    Departure day

    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 beans 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 the coast you’ll find Pipa Fria: a whole, cold fresh coconut.

    Vegetarians and some other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form. Unfortunately due to limited produce options in this part of Costa Rica, it is not possible to accommodate vegan diets.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Golfito

    You'll stay at the Hotel Mar y Luna, a 3-star hotel located at the beach of Golfito. The hotel has a restaurant that serves international cuisine and there's also an on-site bar. The bathrooms are private and come with a shower.

    Zamia Forest Reserve Camping

    You'll camp at Cacao Beach for one night amidst the Zamia forest reserve. The campsite has access to flushing toilets, an outdoor shower, and electricity.

    Rainforest Tree Camping

    You’ll camp at Tico-Amazonia camp for two nights in the trees in same-sex, twin-share tents using certified climbing and camping gear and the assistance of a professional climber by your side. The remote camp has showers, flushing toilets and a dining area protected from the rain. The tree-tents are set up at 1.5 metres (5 feet) above the ground.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers wanting their own space, there is the option to upgrade to a private room and tent if you would like to do so, subject to availability. See Optional Extras for prices.

    Day 1

    Welcome to Costa Rica

    Kayaking

    2-3 hrs · 2km

    Fly into beautiful Costa Rica and head to your hotel in Golfito, the most southern port town and located across from the Osa Peninsula on the Golfo Dulce. Meet your guides and fellow travellers for your introduction to sea kayaking session in the afternoon, where you will learn how to use your tandem sea kayaks.

    Day 2

    Head into the jungle

    Hiking

    4hrs · 8km · 480m up · 480m down

    After breakfast, you'll take a quick transfer to the trailhead at the base of Cerro Adams, the highest mountain in the area. You’ll follow a trail that winds up through mountainous jungle, keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way. Head back down along a path which winds through a different part of the mountain range, stopping along the way to take in the beautiful views and for a picnic lunch. A full day of trekking will take you back to your hotel for a relaxing evening.

    Day 3

    Another day in paradise

    Kayaking

    5km

    Hiking

    3-4hrs · 4km · 140m up · 140m down

    Fuel up with some fresh fruit and coffee before heading off for your first taste of kayaking in Golfito waters. Begin paddling by the mangroves along the coast, stopping after a short while at the Zamia Forest. Enjoy a traditional Costa Rican lunch before swapping your kayak for hiking boots and head into the jungled reserve to learn about the Golfo Dulce and its wildlife. Get back in your kayaks and continue on to the Cacao Beach camp, where you’ll find your ground tents ready.

    Day 4

    Kayak deep into Golfo Dulce

    Kayaking

    14km

    A full day of kayaking will take you deeper into the magnificent Golfo Dulce, uniquely lined by coastal rainforest. Explore along the way, stopping for lunch in Bajo Nancito bay, until you reach your remote camping area in the Piedras Blancas National Park, right on the beach. Enjoy a well-earned dinner before sleeping in the trees.

    Day 5

    Snorkel Golfo Dulce

    Hiking

    1-2hrs

    Kayaking

    2-3hrs

    Snorkelling

    1hr

    With the ocean on one side and the thick rainforest on the other, you'll get to explore both worlds today by kayak and on foot. Enjoy the morning paddling the coastline while capturing stunning views of the shoreline with its magnificent mountainous backdrop. Snorkel amidst the colourful coral reef and tropical fish and you might see a pod of dolphins or a sea turtle or two. Once back on land explore some of the nearby trails close to camp and enjoy your night in the jungle.

    Day 6

    Piedras Blancas National Park

    Hiking

    14km · 470m up · 470m down

    An early breakfast will fuel your final and most challenging day, hiking inside the magnificent Piedras Blancas National Park. Head into the Tico-Amazonia mountains along a steep trail through primary rainforest, and then hike down into the flatlands, keeping your eyes peeled for the local flora and fauna of this region. In the evening, celebrate the end of this wild adventure with a farewell feast.

    Day 7

    Goodbye Costa Rica

    After breakfast with an ocean view and final goodbyes with your team, you'll be returned to the airport in time for your flight home.

    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 and Runner's Need.

    What's Included

    Ground tent
    Tree hanging tent
    Sleeping bag and mat
    Climbing gear
    Kayak, paddle, and life jacket

    What do I need to bring?

    BAGS
    Soft duffel bag or rucksack
    Daypack 20+ litres
    20 litre drybag

    FOOTWEAR
    Hiking shoes or boots (worn in)
    Strap sandals
    Footwear for around camp

    CLOTHES
    Waterproof, breathable jacket
    Waterproof gaiters
    Rainhat with chin strap
    Bandana/buff
    Sythentic hiking trousers
    Synthetic shorts
    Synthetic T-shirts
    Lightweight base layers
    Underwear and socks
    Swimsuit
    Sunglasses with strap
    Sunhat
    Something to sleep in

    OTHER
    Snorkel and mask
    Trekking poles
    Stuff sacks
    Pocket knife or multi tool
    Universal travel plug adapter
    Power bank or solar charger
    Passports (and visas)
    Travel insurance documents
    Suncream
    Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
    Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
    Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
    Quick-dry towel
    Sleeping bag liner
    Alcohol hand-gel
    Headlamp
    Reusable water bottle (x2 litre)
    Water treatment - see our guide to the best water filters for adventurers

    OPTIONAL
    Earplugs
    Energy bars and snacks
    Camera

    Mask and snorkel for two days

    Payable Before Departure

    Mask and snorkel for two days

    Per Person

    Pre/Post-trip accommodation in Golfito (Single, Twin/Double)

    Payable Before Departure

    Pre/Post-trip accommodation in Golfito (Single, Twin/Double)

    Per Person

    Private tree tent

    Payable Before Departure

    Private tree tent

    Per Person

    Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

    Per Person

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 92kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    Tree camping is becoming the new camping craze where instead of sleeping on the ground, you'll spend the night suspended in the air from a tree using certified climbing gear and the assistance of a professional climber. Your fully set up tree tent will be about 1.5m above the ground and you'll have a sleeping and mat for extra comfort. As you will be sleeping in the rainforest, there is always a chance to experience some humidity in your tree tent. Make sure to bring a change of clothes and good dose of adventure for this wonderful experience of sleeping amongst nature!

    The hiking can be a bit of a slog uphill and through thick forest at times but there will be plenty of breaks and time to take in the surrounding views, wildlife and enjoy the rainforest. You should however feel comfortable hiking through streams and on uneven terrain.

    You really do not need any kayaking experience. Your guide will give you full instructions and a safety briefing at the start. You’ll just need reasonable levels of fitness to handle approx 15km of relaxed paddling on Day 7 but the hours listed include breaks, so there is no rush and plenty of time to rest.

    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.

    Average temperatures in and around Golfito vary very little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel hot all year with a fair chance of precipitation about half of the year. The warmest time of year is generally early to mid-March where highs are regularly around 34.7°C (94.4°F) and temperatures rarely dropping below 23.2°C (73.7°F) at night.

    Absolutely. Anything you don't need can be left with your host at Golfito and collected when the trip is finished.

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

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

    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.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    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.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

    You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

    Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

    Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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