Costa Rica: Raft, Surf and Kayak

Explore the verdant rainforest & Caribbean seas of Costa Rica from the water. Join us on a guided roundtrip journey from San José. We will enjoy two days of whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River–spending a night at the gorgeous Pacuare River Lodge. Pacuare is rated among the top five rivers in the world for whitewater rafting! Next we will take surf lessons and explore Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, with opportunities to see monkeys, reptiles, toucans, macaws, sea turtles, barracuda, sea urchins, dolphins, and 125+ species of fish. We will then spend two days kayaking and enjoying Tortuguero National Park, home to sloths, monkeys, caiman, jaguars, and lizards. Finally, we will return to San José and have time to explore the city: its historic buildings, artisan markets, and nightlife. This trip balances planned activities with free time to explore or relax as you wish.

Whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River (photo by Intrepid Travel)

Why Intrepid Travel? Founded in 1989, Intrepid is a leader in world travel that is environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, and geared toward adventure & exploration. Below are some factors that make Intrepid Travel stand out. For more details you can check out their website.

  • 30+ years of experience on all 7 continents
  • Small group adventures
  • World’s largest certified travel B Corporation –> increased accountability
  • Carbon-neutral since 2010
  • Animal welfare: making sure tourism does not negatively impact animals such as elephants, camels, lions, etc.
  • Community involvement: focus on local partners to ensure tourism benefits destination communities
  • Diversity & inclusion: protecting children, human rights, gender equality, porter welfare, accessible travel, etc.
  • Partnerships: World Wildlife Fund, UN Global Compact, ReThink Orphanages, Australian Volunteers Intl., etc.
  • The nonprofit Intrepid Foundation supports local projects & campaigns

Costa Rica: Raft, Surf, & Kayak – Small group (min 10, max 16 guests)

Departing USA August 22, 2022 to arrive in San José in time for 6pm welcome meeting.

Highlights: Pacuare River / Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge / Tortuguero National Park / San José / Class 3 & 4 whitewater rafting / surf lessons / kayaking / wildlife / local culture

This trip includes:

  • 7 nights accommodations (hotel or lodge)
  • Local tour guide
  • Trip leader (Kristen, MGA Travel)
  • Complimentary group airport transfers (separate airport transfers of 1-3 people are $45)
  • Transfers from site to site (via air-conditioned vehicle, public bus, or boat)
  • 15 meals (7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners)
  • Pacuare River whitewater rafting Class 3
  • Pacuare River whitewater rafting Class 3 & 4
  • Beginner surf lesson or independent surfboard rental
  • Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge – Leader-led walk (entrance fee & transport)
  • Roundtrip boat ride to Tortuguero National Park
  • Tortuguero – Canals kayak trip
  • Tortuguero – National Park (entrance fee)
  • Laguna Lodge – town walk


$2,140 per person* (includes everything listed above) based on double occupancy**. Not included: flights, travel insurance (we will offer group pricing through Allianz), meals not mentioned in itinerary, optional activities, and tips.

*Pay by check and save $70 per person (cost is reduced to $2,070)
**There is no single supplement if you are willing to room with someone else and we have an even number of guests. Otherwise a single supplement of $390 will be charged for single occupancy (single rooms may not be available at all accommodations).

DEPOSIT of $400 per person due by 22 March 2022 to reserve a spot. We need at least 10 travelers in order for this trip to go.

FINAL PAYMENT of $1,740 per person due 15 May 2022.

To sign up you can fill out our Secure Payment Form and authorize your deposit. We will also need you to complete our Secure Passport Form for each person (if we don’t already have it on file). If you have questions please contact us at 843.279.0310 or

Airfare: While not included, we are happy to book air for you. In order to take advantage of the included group airport transfers, we will need to book the same flights or similar arrival/departure times; otherwise individual airport transfers (1-3 people) cost $45. Flights out of MYR are currently quoting between $500-$700. We are also happy to book flights for residents of other states who wish to participate.

Travel Insurance: We always highly recommend travel insurance. It is also required by Intrepid Travel, and must include coverage for personal accident, death, medical expenses, and emergency repatriation. We offer competitive group pricing with Allianz’s Group Advantage Plan or we can assist you in purchasing an individual plan that is right for you. With an estimated air cost of $550 added to the trip, the Allianz group insurance would be $205 per person (subject to change).



We will be joined by an Intrepid Travel tour leader who will have knowledge of activities to do and things to see, local restaurants, and other pertinent information. Kristen Trevey, of MGA Travel, will also be leading this group to help make sure everyone has a great time. She has a lot of experience with kayaking and outdoor activities, and is more than happy to answer questions or concerns, and will be available throughout the trip.

MEALS (see inclusions above & detailed itinerary below)


For your convenience, we offer airfare for purchase with all vacation packages. Your rates are subject to change until paid in full. Preassigned seats are limited and may not be available on every flight or departure date. **We recommend coordinating with us to ensure you can take advantage of the included group airport transfers.** Air estimates will include all government-imposed taxes and fees applicable at the time of booking and will be shown as a total amount. Additional airline fees for baggage may apply. For more information please check our website, the carrier’s website, or for up-to-date baggage pricing/restrictions.


Expect 3-star accommodations on average. The hotels provided will be of similar quality to those listed. Hotel taxes, service charges, and state and local taxes are all included in the tour price. Intrepid Travel’s Original-style trips take you off the beaten path and seek to immerse you in the environment & culture of the chosen destination: “These are the trips we built our reputation on! They’re the perfect choice for those after a great mix of included activities and insights from a local leader or guide, as well as free time to explore a destination on their own. Original trips use centrally located, locally run accommodations and include some meals.

San José – KC Hotel or similar
Pacuare River – Pacuare Lodge or similar
Pacuara River – La Isla Inn or similar
Manzanillo/Puerto Viejo – La Isla Inn or similar
Tortuguero/Puerto Viejo – Laguna Lodge or similar


Air-conditioned vehicles throughout: may include private vehicles and public buses. Boat transfers in some cases.


One group airport transfer on arrival and departure. Must coordinate arrival/departure times with group to take advantage of complimentary airport transfers.


While this tour includes pre-planned activities, it still allows for downtime to explore & relax on your own. Optional activities include a turtle-watching night tour in Tortuguero National Park, enjoying the nightlife in San Jose, Manzanillo town, and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and exploring San Jose’s Gold Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, Central Market, and more.


Tips for guides & drivers are not included. We are happy to provide information on what is customary for this destination.


  • This trip involves outdoor activities, and guests may need to deal with insects and rustic conditions. It’s all a part of the adventure! Several mosquito-born illnesses (Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya virus) are present in Costa Rica. It is advised to bring & use mosquito-repellant containing DEET or Picaridin. You may also pre-treat clothing & shoes with 0.5% permethrin, which repels & kills mosquitos on contact. For Zika virus, protection is especially important for women who are pregnant or attempting to conceive. In this case, please consult with your doctor prior to booking this trip. You may check CDC website for more information.
  • Costa Rica is hot year-round, and it can be rainy as well. It is recommended to bring sunscreen and clothes that will dry quickly.
  • We will share helpful information on planning, what to wear and bring along, what to expect, etc.
  • This trip is “active” but you don’t have to be an Olympian to participate! It is rated a 3/5 on the “physical rating” scale. Intrepid Travel defines this as: “This trip will raise your heart rate. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.”
  • The minimum age for this trip is 15 (at the time of travel). All minors must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or appointed adult escort.


Safety Protocols: Intrepid Travel requires that all guests be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for this trip. All Intrepid leaders and staff must either have been vaccinated, or have tested negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before the start of a trip. All leaders and crew have been trained in COVID-19 safe protocols, including hygiene, sanitation, health screening, and crisis management. Every trip has been thoroughly audited to ensure health and safety standards are met. In many cases, itineraries have been adjusted to avoid crowded locations or peak times.

Mask Mandates: Intrepid follows all government and local authority requirements around the use of masks. This depends on your location, mode of transport, and other factors. Travelers are required to travel with their own masks and to wear one when required. Vaccinated travelers are not exempt from wearing masks unless this is specified in local regulations. Costa Rica is currently requiring masks in public places and on public transportation.

Costa Rica Entry Requirements: As of May 1, 2021, travelers must complete the digital Health Pass at within 72 hours of arrival in Costa Rica. Each traveler’s vaccination record can be uploaded to the Health Pass. Requirements may change but you may check them any time here.

United States Entry Requirements: As of 13 Sep, 2021, travelers returning to the U.S. must present negative PCR or antigen COVID test results taken within the previous 72 hours. Juan Santamarìa International Airport is offering rapid antigen tests for $65. Tests should be scheduled four hours prior to departing flights.

Kayak Tortuguero National Park (Photo by Pedro Paulo Ferreira)


2 nights San Jose / 1 night Pacuare River / 2 nights Puerto Viejo / 2 nights Tortuguero National Park

August 22, 2022 Depart the USA and arrive in San José, Costa Rica

Day 1: August 22 (Mon) – Arrive in San José, Costa Rica

Complimentary group transfer from airport to hotel. Welcome meeting at 6pm.

With over half the country’s population living within its parameters, San José is a city with colorful markets, intriguing museums, and a dynamic atmosphere. If you do happen to arrive early, a good place to start exploring is the main plaza. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there’ll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping, head to the outdoor markets in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.

Day 2: August 23 (Tue) – Pacuare River

Leave the city and head to the river. Enjoy White Water Rafting Class 3. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

The next 48 hours are full of exhilarating white water rafting in Pacuare River with a nights’ stay in an eco-lodge. Today will be an approximately 2-hour adventure down the river covering 12 kilometers of rapids, ranging up to Class 3. In the afternoon, arrive at your lodge, where you can either chill out around the gardens or walk through the self-guided trails around the lush canopies of the Turrialba Valley.

Day 3: August 24 (Wed) – Pacuare River – Puerto Viejo

White water Rafting Class 3 & 4. Travel by private vehicle (~2.5hrs) to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hit the river again as you leave the eco-lodge by raft for more unforgettable rapids on the Pacuare River, and potentially stopping for some wildlife-spotting along the way. You’ll ride the Class 3 and 4 rapids for around 2 hours, or 14 kilometers.

Day 4: August 25 (Thu) – Puerto Viejo – Manzanillo

Breakfast included. Take public bus on 20 min ride to Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, and spend ~2 hours exploring with your group leader. Free time for lunch in Manzanillo town, and then surf lessons/rental on the beach at 2pm.

Manzanillo is an area that encompasses several rare habitats, including a lowland forest, a wetland, a coral reef and a mangrove swamp. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, reptiles, toucans, and macaws. The Refuge is also the nesting area for several species of turtles, manatees, crocodiles, caimans, tarpons, and dolphins.

Day 5: August 26 (Fri) – Puerto Viejo – Tortuguero National Park

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included. Transfer to Limón and travel by boat to Tortuguero. Spend the day kayaking the canals to take in the scenery and spot wildlife. Optional activity: turtle watching night tour.

Tortuguero is a network of canals and waterways on Costa Rica’s north Caribbean coast, surrounded by native jungle and full of exotic plants and wildlife species, including turtles, caimans, monkeys, and various bird species.

Day 6: August 27 (Sat) – Tortuguero National Park

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included. Enjoy 2-hour kayak journey through the park and a town walk.

Search for monkeys, sloths, caiman, jaguars, lizards, bats and a vast selection of birdlife. Along the way, learn from a local tour leader about how the jungle’s islets, lagoons, wetlands and palm forests function as a thriving ecosystem.

Day 7: August 28 (Sun) – Tortuguero National Park – San José

Breakfast and lunch included. Enjoy your last morning in Tortuguero-you may wish to explore the trails and beach around the lodge. Travel by boat & vehicle to return to San José. Explore the city.

Day 8: August 29 (Mon) – Departure

Breakfast included. No activities planned. Group transfer will take guests to Juan Santamaría International Airport.

Note: Group needs to depart on the same flights or departure windows in order to utilize the included group transfer. Individual transports can be arranged and paid separately.

Additional Information


 The U.S. State Department issues periodic travel warnings and alerts for U.S. citizens traveling to Costa Rica. The state department currently has a travel advisory for Costa Rica. Please review the current information on travel and security when making plans to travel to Costa Rica.
 Visit or call 1.888.407.4747 for travel information.
 All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Check visa and entry/exit requirements with your local consulate/s. Responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.


Passports must comply with immigration regulations. These may include, but are not limited to, the following: must have at least 2 blank pages when entering a country and must have no less than 6 months before expiring.

U.S. citizens do not need a VISA to enter Costa Rica. However, they must have a current passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica within 90 days.

**We recommend that our clients traveling abroad take a photocopy of their passport and other important documents (COVID vaccination card, driver’s license, credit cards, etc). Copies should be packed separately from your actual passport, VISA, etc. We also recommend leaving copies at home with your emergency contact person.

Cancellation Charges for this Trip


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