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Hiker surrounded by lush, green forest, Costa Rica
Brand New!

Trek the Camino de Costa Rica

Tackle a pioneering new trail across the planet's most biodiverse country, from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean

Duration

9 nights

Annual Leave

6 days off work

Group Size

Up to 14 people

Season

Year Round

Location

Costa Rica

Meeting Point

Juan Santamaría International Airport, San José

Classic Accommodation

Hotel · Wild camping · Campsite

Customer Reviews

This trip is brand new

Difficulty

Challenging

From

From

What's it like?

Hiker surrounded by lush, green forest, Costa Rica
Hiker crossing a river in Costa Rica.
Trekkers on a trail along the Camino de Costa Rica
Hikers looking up to the forest canopy in Costa Rica.
Sloth hanging from a branch in Costa Rica.
Woman swimming in a natural pool backed by a waterfall and rocks, Costa Rica.
Green, forest hills in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica.

Be one of the first to tackle Costa Rica's new long-distance trekking route – completed in 2019, it’s a truly trailblazing adventure

Tread a path far removed from the tourist crowds, exploring remote regions, indigenous heartlands and five different microclimates

Trek through cloud forests in the volcanic foothills, jungles teeming with wildlife, navigate river crossings and meander through coffee plantations

Bunk down at community camp spots along the Camino, tuck into traditional food and cool off with swims at secret waterfalls

Day 1

Welcome to Costa Rica

https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEFiPtuBRU-looking-over-the-rooftops-in-san-jose-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, which kicks off in the morning.

Day 2

To the Caribbean Coast

Playa Chiquita, beach close to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Hiking

2hrs · 5km · 50m up · 10m down

Head out of the capital aiming for the Caribbean Coast, with a journey through the Braulio Carrillo National Park – one of Costa Rica’s largest primary forests and protected areas. Reaching the port at Cano Blanco, you will be transferred by boat for short ride to the start point of the trek, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Warm up your legs on the first 5km of the trail, steadily making your way to the first overnight camp spot at Finca Pacuarito.

Day 3

Ascend into the mountains

Trekkers ascending into the hills along the Camino de Costa Rica

Hiking

6-7hrs · 18km · 800m up · 300m down

Unzip your tent and grab breakfast and coffee to fuel up for the first full day of trekking on the Camino de Costa Rica. Start with an ascent to the small community of Las Brisas, with the ocean behind you as you climb from the Caribbean lowlands and into the mountains. There are amazing views form here and you’ll get your first taste of Costa Rica’s famous wildlife, with plenty of tropical bird life ever-present. Tonight, you’ll be welcomed for an overnight camp with an indigenous community at Tsiobata, home to the Cabecar people – one of the most isolated indigenous tribes in Costa Rica. In a country that prides itself on ecotourism, Tsiobata is a shining example of tourism bringing revenue to local communities. The Cabecar people are custodians of this wild part of the world and they'll be hosting you tonight and guiding you further into the jungle tomorrow.

Day 4

Take me to the river

Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Hiking

9-10hrs · 13km · 700m up · 500m down

Today, your group will be joined by an indigenous guide from the community, who will show the way along an old trail still used today by local indigenous peoples to traverse the dense jungle in this area. This trail meanders deep into the tropical forest, up and down ridges and crosses several creeks making for an incredible day of hiking. The day culminates with a descent to the Pacuare River, a stunning channel of water that makes its way from the highlands all the way to the Caribbean. You’ll set up camp at El Nido del Tigre campsite, where you can grab a swim in the river and settle in for a cracking evening in this beautiful spot.

Day 5

Through the jungle

Hikers on a trail in Costa Rica.

Hiking

7-8hrs · 15km · 600m up · 400m down

Wake up to the sound of the rushing Pacuare River, the chorus of tropical birdlife and howler monkeys in the forest canopy in the distance. Set off for a full day on a variety of trails en route to Tres Equis. The route skirts the edge of the river throughout the day in a constantly picturesque river valley of glistening azure waters and lush, verdant rainforest. The trail is technical, with roots, rocks and dense foliage to contend with. Wind up today’s section of the Camino at Tres Equis, where you’ll bunk down at a local farm which produces organic cocoa, sugar cane and coffee.

Day 6

Deep dive into real, rural Costa Rica

Farmer holding fruits in their hands, Costa Rica

Hiking

5-6hrs · 12km · 400m up · 300m down

Tuck into coffee grown metres from where you laid your head last night, kicking off the day in style and fuelling up for the next section. Today’s trail is less technical and instead follows a series of gravel tracks, allowing you to take in the surroundings and spot wildlife along the way. As well as hiking through an incredible landscape packed with wildlife and natural wonders, part of the lure of the Camino is the insight into remote, rural Costa Rican communities that see few tourists other than trekkers from this trail. Today’s lighter day allows some time to get closer to everyday life when you reach the town of Mollejones. Your guide will link up with the area's residents to offer a glimpse into local food with a Tican cooking class, followed by dancing classes to get those hips moving. You are in Latin America after all; food and dancing is a second religion here.

Day 7

Getting closer to the Pacific

A group of smiling Camino de Costa Rica hikers in the forest, Costa Rica.

Driving

3hrs · 119km

Hiking

4-5hrs · 10km · 200m up · 800m down

Bid farewell to this part of the Camino as you hop in the support vehicle to skip out a chunk of the trail en route to the Pacific side. We've kept in the best bits and taken out some of the more unremarkable sections of tarmac road through farmland, which make up a portion of the central section of the Camino. Officially reaching the Pacific section of the Camino, you'll get back on the trail to hike through coffee plantations with a chance to learn about the processes, history and importance of coffee for the country.

Day 8

Waterfall wild swims and first glimpses of the Pacific

Man swimming in a pool backed by a waterfall, Costa Rica.

Hiking

5-7hrs · 13km · 100m up · 800m down

Trek along old plantation trails today to reach the town of Naranjillo. Half way through the hike you’ll reach a beautiful waterfall for swims and a cracking lunch spot. Late in the afternoon you’ll start to get your first glimpses of the Pacific Ocean in the distance as the Camino begins its descent from the central mountain ranges towards the coast. The final section today is a steep descent down to the Rio Naranjo – a serene place where you can soak up yet more of Costa Rica's natural splendours.

Day 9

Finish line at the Pacific

View through a gap in the trees of Costa Rica's Pacific coastline, with forest in the foreground.

Hiking

5-6hrs · 15km · 200m up · 750m down

One last push is needed today to reach the Pacific. The feeling of a long beautiful descent to the finish line is ever-present, all the way to the small community of Esquipulas on the banks of the Naranjo River. Another dreamy wild swim spot awaits you here beneath a waterfall, before you hike the final parts of your traverse of Costa Rica. The van will be waiting to transfer you down the coast to Manuel Antonio, with its stunning beaches and national park. After eight consecutive days on the trail, seeing more hummingbirds than humans, you’ll be able to lap up some creature comforts and toast the completion of an epic trek with cold drinks overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Day 10

Beach times and farewells

Beach backed by verdant forest in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Driving

3hrs · 170km

Enjoy a lie in and some well-earned downtime, with the whole morning to do as you please in Manuel Antonio. Kick back on the beach, swim or surf in the Pacific, or explore the wider area under your own steam, before meeting back up with your host for the drive back to San José in the afternoon, where the adventure comes to an end at the airport. You'll be able to take any flight departing from 18:00 onwards, or you can be dropped off in central San José if you plan to stay longer in Costa Rica (you also have the option to remain on the Pacific Coast for longer rather, than heading back to San José with your host).

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking trekking guides

Accommodation

7 nights camping, 2 nights in hotels

Meals

9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between, including a support vehicle through the trek

Equipment

Tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Tips for your guides

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Wild camping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 8

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

GettyImages-1342276815

You'll tuck into three hearty meals a day along the trail, whipped up by your guides at the community campgrounds where you'll be staying. You'll also get to sample traditional, local foods all the way along the route as you pass through farming regions and coffee plantations. A classic plate of Costa Rican food 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 dish often forms part of the Costa Rican breakfast: gallo pinto with 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.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for – please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Twin room, Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas, San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose

On arrival in Costa Rica you'll stay one night in a 3-star hotel in the centre of town, for example the Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas which is opposite España Park and the Modern Art Museum. The exact hotel will be confirmed by your local host in your pre-departure information.

Camping at El Nido del Tigre, Costa Rica
Along the Camino

You'll camp at sites along the Camino – a mixture of private and community-run campgrounds – staying in same-sex, twin-share tents with sleeping mats and sleeping bags included. There are shared toilet and shower facilities at each of the campgrounds. The Camino de Costa Rica brings a lot of economic benefits to local communities as trekkers pass through along the trail. Highlights include El Nido Del Tigre, an authentic Costa Rican camp that’s passionate about sustainability in the Bajo Tigre rainforest; and a stay at an indigenous village at Tsiobata, home to the Cabecar people. One of the most isolated Indigenous tribes in the country, they will host you for the night and guide you along the trail the following day.

Kamuk Hotel and Spa, Quepos, Costa Rica
The Pacific Coast

After reaching the Pacific on the final day of the trek, you'll stay overnight at the Kamuk Hotel and Spa in Quepos. It's located just minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll be enjoying some downtime on the final day before heading back to San Jose to finish up the trip. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

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).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Juan Santamaría International Airport, San José

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Juan Santamaría International Airport, San José

16:00 on Day 10

Transfers

Your host will meet you on Day 1 at Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José and transfer you to your hotel in the Costa Rican capital. At around lunchtime on Day 10 you'll leave the Pacific Coast, as your host transfers you to the airport in San José to arrive by 16:00. You'll be able to take any flight that departs from 18:00 onwards. Alternatively, you can be dropped off in central San José if you are staying on longer in Costa Rica, or you can even remain on the Pacific Coast and bid your host farewell there at lunchtime on Day 10. If you intend to spend longer on the Pacific Coast and travel independently after the trip, you can catch a private shuttle from Manuel Antonio and other spots on the Pacific to San José for around $60USD/£50, or a local bus for around $15USD/£12.

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, Europe and North America.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Twin-share expedition tents
  • All-season sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat

What do I need to bring?

SLEEPING

  • Sleeping bag liner (optional)

BAGS

  • Hiking backpack (30-40+ litres)
  • Rain cover for your hiking pack
  • Dry bags or similar, to keep essentials dry in case of rain on the trek

FOOTWEAR

  • Waterproof hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Lightweight, fast drying hiking socks
  • Sandals or trainers for evenings at the camp spots

CLOTHES

  • Lightweight rain jacket and rain pants (Gortex, nylon or similar)
  • Lightweight comfortable pants
  • Shorts/skirts (quick dry)
  • Medium weight wool or fleece jacket
  • Shirts: short sleeve and long sleeve for sun protection
  • Buff or bandana
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Sarong (optional, works as towel or quick cover-up)

OTHER

  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Sunglasses (UVA & UVB resistant)
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Spare batteries (camera, torch, etc)
  • 2-3 reusable water bottles and/or water bladder
  • Passports, visas and a copy of your passport
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Insect repellent
  • Waterproof sunscreen (30+ SPF)
  • Earplugs
  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Pre/Post trip accommodation in San Jose (per room, per night)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post trip accommodation in San Jose (per room, per night)

Single/Twin/Double at Best Western Kamuk Hotel in Quepos

Payable Before Departure

Single/Twin/Double at Best Western Kamuk Hotel in Quepos

Per Night

Single/Twin/Double at Hotel El Faro in Manuel Antonio

Payable Before Departure

Single/Twin/Double at Hotel El Faro in Manuel Antonio

Per Night

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Airport Transfer One Way (San Jose Airport to San Jose accommodation)

Payable Before Departure

Airport Transfer One Way (San Jose Airport to San Jose accommodation)

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 128kg 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 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. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

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.

The Camino de Costa Rica is a 280-kilometre (170-mile) long hiking trail across the entire width of Costa Rica. From the start point on the Caribbean Coast, it meanders through the Tortuguero canals, ascending into the mountains and through indigenous territory near the Barbilla National Park, through the valleys and mountain ranges of the central region of the country, just south of the Turrialba and Irazu volcanoes and through the Los Santos coffee region, eventually winding up at the Pacific Coast in the town of Quepos. The Camino passes through more than 100 rural communities, protected reserves, National Parks and indigenous communities.

The Camino was completed in 2019, with the aim of establishing a world-class long-distance trail, bringing hikers and trekkers from around the world to improve the economic situation in the rural areas of Costa Rica. The rural populations of Costa Rica have been in steep decline, with stubbornly high levels of poverty affecting these areas. Despite being one of the world’s tourism and conservation success stories, Costa Rica still has many areas which are far less visited – the Camino connects these areas, allowing trekkers to benefit the communities and the custodians of the wild landscapes along the route.

A multi-day trek along the Camino provides a glimpse into rural Costa Rica, its cuisine, its people, and a direct experience with the locals, which is harder to find on the more classic tourist routes.

No – this trip is a condensed version of the Camino. Tackling the full 280 kilometres would take 16-18 days from the start point on the coast. There are various condensed versions available, which skip out some of the less remarkable sections which pass through farmland and involve some hiking on tarmac roads. We’ve kept in the wildest and most fascinating parts to immerse you in Costa Rica’s lush green rainforests, misty cloud forests in the volcanic foothills, and the coffee region – giving you an insight into the isolated indigenous communities along the route.

Trekking for seven consecutive days, covering 100km in total on a variety of terrain means you'll need strong fitness levels and a sense of adventure. The elevation gain on the trip is moderate for the most part, but Day 3 to Day 6 sees you tackling up to 800m of gain in a single day, while the Pacific section of the Camino is more downhill. There are sections of dense jungle which adds to the challenge, plus humidity and wet trails playing a factor, and you'll also need to cross several rivers. These are not dangerous nor technical, but you'll need to be happy getting wet and wild on some sections of the Camino. You won't need to carry a full trekking backpack with all your gear, just a daypack is needed – with that in mind, you won't need any prior experience of a classic multi-day trek, provided that your fitness is up to the job of hiking for most of the day for seven days in a row.

No, you'll only need to hike with a daypack on this trek. There is a support vehicle throughout the trip which will transfer the group's main luggage from one overnight spot to the next, along the trail. You'll need to bring along a daypack of 30-40L to carry personal items, waterproofs, snacks and water.

Along the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean flatlands, temperatures average 25–34˚C (77–93˚F). At the mid-level elevations along the Camino, temperatures average between 17–26˚C (63–79˚F). The Camino de Costa Rica can be completed at any time of year – you'll be trekking through five different microclimates, so expect everything from clear sunny skies to tropical rainfall, depending on which part of the trail you are on at which time of year. The jungle sections of the trail can be humid throughout the year, but there are ample opportunities to cool off at swim spots.

The trek has a support vehicle that transfers all luggage and equipment from stage to stage. Your excess luggage can remain in the vehicle for whenever you don't need access to it.

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.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion. We recommend budgeting approx 8-10 USD per person, per day for the trip leader, and 6-8 USD for support staff. 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.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

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

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

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

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 always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Our team of Adventure Hunters create exclusive adventures with highly vetted, specialist hosts. We only work with independent, local in-destination experts who know the very best places to explore and how to stay safe. See here for more info about the local teams we partner with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

October 2024

Saturday • 19th October 2024

to Monday • 28th October 2024
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Saturday • 30th November 2024

to Monday • 9th December 2024
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Saturday • 21st December 2024

to Monday • 30th December 2024
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Saturday • 4th January 2025

to Monday • 13th January 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 22nd February 2025

to Monday • 3rd March 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 22nd March 2025

to Monday • 31st March 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 19th April 2025

to Monday • 28th April 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 17th May 2025

to Monday • 26th May 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 14th June 2025

to Monday • 23rd June 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 12th July 2025

to Monday • 21st July 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 9th August 2025

to Monday • 18th August 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 13th September 2025

to Monday • 22nd September 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 11th October 2025

to Monday • 20th October 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 8th November 2025

to Monday • 17th November 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 22nd November 2025

to Monday • 1st December 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 20th December 2025

to Monday • 29th December 2025
Guaranteed to run
Private trip

Go private and split the bill with ease.

Forget complex logistics, we've taken care of all the details to ensure a hassle-free get together. All of the adventure, none of the faff.

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