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Best of Costa Rica: Pure nature and white-water rafting

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Combine two of the Caribbean’s best Costa Rica trips in this 3 day/2 night trip. A visit to Tortuguero National Park, an overnight stay in the Lodge in the park, an overnight stay off the beaten path near Siquirres at Finca Maquengue and a whitewater rafting trip on the world famous Pacuare River!

Included is transportation from Puerto Viejo, San José or Arenal to Tortuguero and return transportation to your choice of San José, Puerto Viejo or Arenal. 2 nights accommodations, 8 great meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners), all-day thrilling whitewater rafting trip on the Pacuare River and awesome activities in Tortuguero.


Tortuguero National Park is located in the Limón Province of northeastern Costa Rica. It is the third-most visited park in Costa Rica, despite the fact that it can only be reached by airplane or boat. The park has incredible biological diversity due to the existence within the reserve of 11 different habitats including rainforest, swamps, beaches and lagoons. Tortuguero National Park has a humid and tropical climate receiving up to 250 inches of rain a year.

Its beaches are key nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles, such as tortuguero_walkway_233Hawksbill, Loggerheads, Green, and Leatherbacks. The rivers within the park are home to sensitive populations of manatees, as well as caimans, crocodiles, and Tropical Gar, which are considered to be a living fossil. The forests are home to jaguars, three species of monkeys (spider, howler, and white-faced Capuchin), and three-toed sloths. Basilisk lizards and poisonous frogs also inhabit the area, along with 375 species of birds including kingfishers, toucans, blue herons, peacocks, and parrots. There are more than 400 species of trees and approximately 2,200 species of plants.cariblanca_monkeys

This is one of the best places in Costa Rica to spot wildlife. Monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, toucans and many colorful frogs and insects are all common sights. Visiting during the turtle-nesting season from July to October is one of Costa Rica’s highlights!

We have daily departures from San José, the Caribbean coast, and the Arenal Volcano, providing you the choice to start and end this tour at the place of your convenience.

This trip gives you the ultimate blend of wilderness exposure and invigorating excitement. The Pacuare River is world famous for its pristine beauty. A true river gorge, it is flanked by steep, green walls. Waterfalls cascade into the river from both sides as colorful, tropical birds fly overhead. There’s a chance you may even see sloths, monkeys or the elusive jaguar! Amazing views of this virgin tropical rainforest appear before your eyes as you make your descent down the river.

The whitewater is equally exciting; the amount of rapids covered on this outstanding trip makes it one of the most memorable river trips you will ever experience.

Upon arrival to the river, we will gear you up with a life jacket, helmet, and paddle and then brief you with a full safety orientation. Finally, it is time to take off down the rapids!

Pacuare_1d_lunchThe first four miles consist of fun class II-III rapids. This is the perfect time to test your new river skills and gain confidence in your team. Here you can find pockets of secondary growth forest that are incredibly beautiful. After about 40 minutes, we will enter the famous Pacuare River Gorge, which is made up of five miles of some of the best whitewater Costa Rica has to offer. The rapids here are Terciopelo Snake, Double Drop, Upper and Lower Huacas, and Pinball to name a few. You will also see the Huacas waterfall, a 150-ft dramatic drop into the river.

Just a little over halfway through the trip, you stop for lunch at a site with bathroom facilities. After a delicious and well-deserved meal on the beach (vegetarian options are available), the next section of river opens up to a five-mile stretch on the Valle del Pacuare. The main rapids here are Cimarrones, The Play Hole, El Indio and Magnetic Rock. The forest remains just as lush and the rapids just as fun.

We finish in Siquirres, at our own private Exploration Center. Here you can take a shower, change and enjoy the gardens and terrace while having refreshments and reflecting with your new friends about the great adventure you just shared.

At the end of your tour (on the evening of the third day), you are dropped off at your hotel in San José, the Caribbean coast or the Arenal Volcano area. This is a great trip to do on your way to or from the Caribbean coast or Arenal as it includes your transportation!

Accommodation while in Tortuguero is at La Baula Lodge. gp_1040_baula_lodge

La Baula Lodge is a hotel that features 40 cozy, rustic rooms of varying sizes. Each room has a private bathroom, hot water, a ceiling fan, and views to the gardens, with all meals included. The lodge is located in front of the Tortuguero Lagoon, and it’s a 5-minute boat ride from Tortuguero National Park. The lodge features an authentic Caribbean style painted with bright colors that identify the culture of the area, lush and exotic gardens, swimming pool and a large bar, Internet, WiFi, laundry service and experienced guides. On-site there is a restaurant, rental boats, canoes and 24-hour Internet café.

There are many animals that visit La Baula Lodge, like the famous howler monkey with its natural wake-up call every morning! The red frog lives in the lush gardens, and the blue morpho butterfly flutters around the many green areas found on the property.

gp_1246_finca_maquenge_villas_1Accommodations in Santa Marta de Siquirres are at Finca Maquengue. This is a great place to spend the night well off the tourist path!

Finca Maquengue is located a short drive (25 minutes) from the rafting exploration center and has beautiful views of unspoiled nature, including the active Turrialba volcano. The property offers five scenic waterfalls, and there is a well-marked trail with a couple of small hanging bridges that connect them. You can see all of them and even go for a swim.

This is for the 3 day/2 night option and this is the typical order, but rafting and Tortuguero may be swapped to create an equivalent itinerary depending on space and river conditions.

Day 1 Early a.m. pickup at your hotel in San Jose, Arenal or Puerto Viejo. Breakfast en route. Transport to Tortuguero, Check in at your lodge. Tortuguero activities.
Day 2 Tortuguero activities. Afternoon transport to Finca Maquengue.
Day 3 Morning pickup at Finca Maquengue. All day rafting trip. Luggage stored securely while you are on the river. Transport to your hotel in San Jose, Arenal or Puerto Viejo.

Package Information:

Duration: 3 days/2 nights; additional nights on request
Cost per person: $354.00
Includes: • Transportation from Puerto Viejo, San Jose or Arenal with drop-off in your choice again of San Jose, Puerto Viejo or Arenal.
• One night of lodging in Tortuguero at La Baula Lodge
• One night of lodging near Siquirres at Finca Maquengue
• Full day rafting trip on the Pacuare River
• All meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners)
• Activities in Tortuguero: 2 canal tours, a tour of Tortuguero town, 1 guided hike
• Taxes
Not included: • National park entrance fees
• Optional night turtle tour (July-October)
• Alcoholic beverages
• Additional charge for pickup or drop-off at Arenal hotels which are further from La Fortuna than Tabacon Resort such as Arenal Observatory Lodge or Arenal Lodge may apply
What to bring: Long pants, all your valuables like passport, plane tickets, credit cards, light clothes (2 shirts, 2 pair of shorts and 2 pairs of socks), swimsuit, sunscreen, hut, camera, comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, binoculars and raincoat. For the optional/seasonal night turtle tour in Tortuguero please wear dark clothes. (For rafting, you must wear footwear in the boat but they will get wet)
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