Journeys worth taking

Costa Rica

Journey across the Continental Divide

Epic journeys

A multi-sport adventure from coast to coast

Lodging

Hotels, Cabins & Tents

Nights

11

Trip Details

Group (private on request)

Price

from 2,285 USD

Transport

Trekking, Biking, Rafting, Kayak

Pygmy miles

3,601

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

From the Pacific to the Caribbean, across the continental divide, using only the power of your body and nature, you will traverse 160 miles (234 km) of rugged terrain.

This expedition is a true physical challenge, but rewarding and fun as well.

Your expedition starts in Manuel Antonio, a paradise beach on the Pacific. From there, you will trek and mountain bike through the Talamanca and Central Mountain Ranges, going from sea level to over 7,000 vertical feet. You will have the opportunity to handle some good single track along the way - nothing too technical as adventurous beginners can handle the terrain (with perhaps a few cuts and bruises).

Next trade in your bike pedals for paddles and roar down the whitewater of the Pacuare River. If your eyes weren’t so fixated on the rapids, you might have glimpsed the abundant wildlife in the area including jaguars, monkeys and ocelots.

Your last day of the journey consists of mountain biking through a banana plantation and a leisured afternoon kayaking down the Pacuare river to the Caribbean lowlands.

Pop the cork on some bubbly. You’ve earned it.

Activities

Trekking

Trek through the Talamanca and Central Mountain Ranges

Mountain biking

Mountain bike through the Talamanca and Central Mountain Ranges

Kayaking

Kayak down the Pacuare river to the Caribbean lowlands

Rafting

Roar down the whitewater of the Pacuare River

And also

Starting in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast, you will hike through undulating terrain, mountain bike on single track, raft class IV whitewater and kayak serenely onto the Caribbean coast.

  • Spend one day preparing for your journey in paradise on Manuel Antonio beach.
  • Challenge yourself to complete 160 miles of rugged terrain without the use of a motor.
  • Stay in mountain villages, trek through coffee plantations and discover the diverse culture of the area
  • Explore Tapantí National Wildlife Refuge and its abundant wildlife
  • Take in the rich pastures, dark green forests and fields of coffee in the Orasi valley.

Place

Costa Rica is an adventurer's paradise. Due to strong conservation efforts by the government, national parks retain the biodiversity that has brought intrepid travelers here in the first place. Costa Rica has some of the highest density of wildlife in the world. There are over 615 different species per 10,000 square meters. For comparison, the US averages only 104. Along the journey, you will be passing through cloudforest, rainforest and caribbean lowlands.

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

Day-1

Arrival

You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in San Jose.

Day-2

San Jose to Queopos

Our challenge starts on the Pacific Coast so this morning we transfer from San Jose to the fishing village of Quepos which is also linked to Manuel Antonio. There is time to relax, chill out on the beach or visit Manuel Antonio National Park, which is famous for its abundant wildlife. We will set aside a little time to check out and set up bikes as it is an early start tomorrow morning. The official trip briefing is scheduled for just after dinner this evening. (B, D).

Day-3

Pacific Coast to Naranjillo - Mountain Biking (25 km)/Trekking (14km)

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS... We awake early and enjoy a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit and coffee as we set off on our bikes and climb into the steep mountains and beautiful valleys of the sparsely populated Pacific Coast. In the small town of Esquipulas we have a snack, rest up and prepare our day packs for the next leg of the day’s journey. Trading our wheels for hiking boots, we continue by trekking into the cool mountains of Central Costa Rica. We camp overnight in the valley of Naranjillo. (B, L, D)

Day-4

Naranjillo to Santa Maria – Trekking (13km)/Mountain Biking (13km)

Our day begins with a trek towards the Continental Divide and challenging the infamous “Cemetery Hill” - a strenuous 13 kilometer climb. We then head for the pueblo of San Lorenzo switching to mountain bikes along the way. The day finishes in the quaint village of Santa Maria where we refortify with some typical Costa Rican fare and rest up in comfortable local cabins. (B, L, D).

Day-5

Day 5 – Continental Divide – Mountain Biking (46km)

Today we tackle the hardest, steepest climb of our adventure. The challenge before breakfast is mountain biking a 14-kilometer up-hill stretch to the Continental Divide, bringing us to an altitude of 2,330 meters - the highest peak of our journey. Following the rule that everything that goes up must come down, the remainder of the day is mountain biking at its best - mostly downhill on dirt roads and single-track trails. We finish the afternoon in the beautiful Orosi Valley where rich pastures and dark green forests of coffee carpet the land and we rest for the night in the town of Orosi. (B, L).

Day-6

Reventazon Valley – Mountain Biking (13km) / Trekking (13km)

After breakfast, we mountain bike along a river to the Tapantí National Wildlife Refuge. This is an area of vast rugged terrain covered with dense primary rainforest. Leaving our bikes, we take to the mountains trekking amongst thousands of trees covered with ferns, bromeliads, mosses and other epiphytes. The end of the day finds us on flatter ground, camping near the small settlement of Taus. (B, L, D).

Day-7

Pacuare River – Mountain Biking (46km)/Whitewater Rafting (10km).

After breakfast we continue mountain biking towards the whitewater rafting “put-in” at La Cruz, which is the gateway to the raging Pacuare River. Here we have lunch and embark on a whitewater rafting journey through pristine rainforest spotted with waterfalls. The rapids section of the river is approximately 30 kilometers of Class II- IV rapids. By afternoon we arrive at our comfortable riverside camp, El Nido del Tigre. Nestled between the sounds of the rainforest and the hum of the river, take time to explore this lush environment first hand, looking out for toucans overhead or simply relaxing in a hammock to the sounds of the river. (B, L, D).

Day-8

Day 8 – El Nido del Tigre – HIking

Today we spend some quality time at this unique location on the banks of the Pacuare River. This area of rainforest is maintained as much as possible in its natural state. The camp takes its name from the giant patches of ginger plants that carpet the floor of the main area. From the center of the camp, trails radiate out to secreted areas of rainforest, waterfalls and swimming holes. (B, L, D).

Day-9

Day 9 – Pacuare River – Whitewater Rafting (3-5 hours, 17km)

Today the Pacuare takes us through virgin rainforest, cascading waterfalls and river carved canyons. We maneuver through the exhilarating rapids and point out the intricacies of the rainforest at the river’s edge. Along the way we take time out to do some hiking to spectacular waterfalls and have lunch on the shore. We take-out in the heart of banana plantation country at Finca Pacuarito, where we rest for the night before an early start in the morning. (B, L, D).

Day-10

Pacuare River – Mountain Biking (20km) / Sea Kayaking (15km)

THE SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS...This morning we jump on our bikes for a short ride through banana plantations to the town of Freeman where we begin the final leg of the traverse in kayaks down the Pacuare leaving the rapids behind as the river eases into the Caribbean lowlands where banana plantations gradually swallow the receding rainforest. The river slows to a tranquil pace as we are rafting the last mile of the river, completing the mosaic of the landscapes we have experienced. At the end of the adventure, we reach the mouth of the Pacuare as it meets the Caribbean Sea, celebrating our passage with bubbly in the surf, while enjoying a well-deserved rest. After some time on the beach we are picked up by a motorboat and transferred to Moin from where we travel by vehicle to the beach. (B, L).

Day-11

Caribbean/Return to San Jose

The morning is free to relax around the hotel or on the beach. After lunch we head back to San Jose taking time to appreciate the breathtaking views as we pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park. (B).

Day-12

Departure

You will be picked up at your hotel in time for your departure from the airport. (B)

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Motorized Vehicle
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
2285pygmy miles

Base Miles

We give you one Pygmy Mile for every dollar you spend.

250pygmy miles

Hiking Distance

You will hike approximately 25 miles on this trip. We give you 10 Pygmy Miles for every mile that you hike.

225pygmy miles

Mountain Biking distance

You will bike approximately 75 miles on this trip. We give you 3 Pygmy Miles for every mile you bike.

170pygmy miles

Rafting Distance

You will raft approximately 17 miles on this trip. We give you 10 Pygmy Miles for every mile you raft.

100pygmy miles

Kayaking Distance

You will kayak approximately 10 miles on this trip. We give you 10 Pygmy Miles for every mile that you kayak.

571pygmy miles

Challenge Bonus

This epic journey requires fortitude and physical fitness. If you can complete the traverse, we will reward you with 571 Pygmy Miles (25% bonus on base miles).

Total Pygmy Miles

3601pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Mix of hotels, cabins and camping

Costa Rica

In this itinerary, you will overnight in a mix of hotels, cabins and camping.

The Tiger's Nest

Pacuare River

El Nido del Tigre or The Tiger's Nest receives its name from the giant patches of ginger plants which fall and create the shape of a tiger’s nest. From the center of the nest, trails radiate throughout the rainforest and along the river. Sustainability is a key word at El Nido del Tigre as they strive to achieve the perfect harmony between rainforest and tourism. The camp has captured the imagination of the local people, many of whom we thank for their assistance and patience in building this unusual environment and a number of them who remain with us on our continuing journey to develop the dream.

Finca Pacuarito

Pacuare River

As the Pacuare River levels and the rapids give way to the gentle current of the beckoning Caribbean Ocean, Finca Pacuarito sits on the side of the river nestled amongst banana plantations. Host to all clients who raft on the Pacuare River as this is the take out, Finca Pacuarito and its warm welcome at the end of what is a challenging rafting section, firmly stays in the hearts and minds of our clients. Located amidst banana plantations and bordering the Pacuare River as it slows its pace, the camp is either a brief visit to enjoy natural showers and a refreshing drink after rafting, or an overnight stay.

Practical info

When

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec
not available
average
optimal

2016
Sep 3 - Sep 14

Nov 19 - Nov 30 

Dec 21 - Jan 1

NOTE: All dates are guaranteed departures.

How

Join a guided tour

This trip is typically done by joining a scheduled group tour. Other tailor made itineraries similar to this one are available, so inquire with Pygmy Elephant if you are interested in creating a private tour.

Service categories

Consult & Book

PRICE per person based on double occupancy:
(1st Nov 2015 - 31st Oct 2016)
$2,285 USD
Single Supplement = $475

PEAK SEASON PRICE:
(Christmas 2015 and Easter 2016)
$2,535 USD
Single Supplement = $530

PRICE INCLUDES:
Accommodation, airport transfers, meals where indicated, group equipment (bikes, rafts, camping gear, etc.), support vehicle and experienced, bilingual & fun guides throughout the trip.
NOTE: Single supplement is only applicable if you do not wish to share a twin room.

If you do not want to bring a sleeping bag and pad, our partner has a few to rent for $40.

Challenge Level

Technical Ability

Level : Low

Mental Strength

Level : Low

Physical Conditioning

Level : High

This is one of the more challenging journeys we offer at Pygmy Elephant. A good level of fitness is required to complete the itinerary, however technical proficiency is not required as long as you bring along an adventurous spirit.

From our local partner: You need to be reasonably fit and have good stamina as the Coast to Coast Trip is a real challenge. Good understanding and experience of mountain biking will make the trip more enjoyable and keep the pace even. Experience of whitewater rafting is not necessary but you will be paddling all the time you are on the raft so fitness and stamina are a must.

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.