• Traverse from coast to coast under your own steam - the ultimate challenge
  • Trekking & biking in the highlands
  • Meet remote indigenous communities & exotic wildlife
  • Sea Kayaking to the tidal mouth of the Caribbean Coast
  • Experiential learning about cloud forest & pristine rainforest
  • Whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River
  • Explore pristine rainforest
  • Relax on the Caribbean coast
  • San Jose

This is a true experiential adventure to take on the challenge of traversing Costa Rica under students' own steam. This epic crossing takes school groups on bike, foot, raft and kayak across Costa Rica's spectacular natural wilderness. Learn about farmlands, foothills and mountainous regions while reaching the peaks of the Central Highlands. The trails are often slippery and poorly defined, with several river crossings. We meet and interact with indigenous settlements deep in the cloud forest and get educated about rare wildlife and birdlife in this pristine tropical rainforest. The views and terrain vary greatly as we traverse the mountainous backbone of Costa Rica. Journey into the depths of the Pacuare River on one of the world's classic whitewater experiences, and undertake an exhilarating rafting trip with class 2-4 rapids through a series of spectacular canyons. In between the powerful rapids there is time for experiential learning about the superb surroundings and the tropical rainforest. We leave the rapids and gorges behind as we ease our way by sea kayak along a much slower moving section of the river, through banana plantations to our final goal, the Caribbean coast.


Starting Point:

San Jose


Grading:Moderate to Challenging   

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

Depart Edinburgh at 06.00, Arrive in San Jose at 17.20

Day 2

San Jose - Pacific Coast

Day 3

Pacific Coast to Naranjillo – Mountain Biking (22km) & Trekking (15km)

Day 4

Naranjillo to Santa Maria – Trekking (11km) & Mountain Biking (12km)

Day 5

Trek to the Continental Divide at 2330m – Trekking (16km)

Day 6

Bike to Orosi - Mountain bike 42km

Day 7

Reventazon Valley to Taus – Mountain Biking (9km) & Trekking (13km)

Day 8

Cycling to Mollejones - Mountain bike 31km

Day 9

Bike to Pacuare River and raft to El Nido - Mountain bike (13km) & Raft (9km)

Day 10

Rest day at El Nido del Tigre on the Pacuare River

Day 11

Rafting on the Pacuare River to Finca Pacuarito - Raft (23km)

Day 12

Sea kayak to the Caribbean Sea - Kayak (35km)

Day 13

Free day in Cahuita

Day 14

Relax on the beach & afternoon transfer to San Jose Airport for departure at 19.10

Day 15

Arrive Edinburgh at 16.15

Learning outcomes for students

A World Expeditions Schools adventure is a unique learning experience. Our journeys are designed to encourage thriving and positive youth development along with leaving the communities and environments where we travel in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to enhance the following life skills that will help you grow as an individual:
• the confidence to lead a group and make decisions
• the value of working together as a cohesive team to achieve a common objective
• the ability to face mental and physical challenges
• the ability to adapt to new environments outside of their 'comfort zone'
• to appreciate and care for the natural environment. The environments we trek through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers and also the local peoples
• basic outdoor skills obtained on trek such as personal hygiene, pitching a tent, helping to prepare meals
Importantly our adventures help increase general well-being and build resilience in young citizens to help them deal with adverse situations in life.


Moderate to Challenging

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, rafting or cycling as well as the altitude, the number of passes crossed and the length of the trek. The Costa Rica Traverse trip is graded moderate to challenging as some days will certainly be very demanding. This is primarily due to the terrain and demanding nature of the trail which will test your resolve on some stages. Whilst walking in the jungle the trails are often poorly marked and often very slippery, with lots of hills. There is very little flat terrain on this trip! The rafting is also a factor of this grading with up to class IV rapids. In order to complete the trip we advise that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling and jogging, for at least one hour three or four times a week for at least three-six months prior to your departure. As this trip involves multi activity, we recommend you undertake the necessary cross training to feel comfortable and prepared for the rigours of rafting and sea kayaking (i.e. some upper body workout is advisable). This trip is often underestimated by participants and should be considered a true expedition. Although prior experience is not necessary, it is important for all participants to be comfortable hiking for up to 8 hours per day, biking on steep tracks and comfortable in water. Please ensure you have read all the documentation (trip notes and pre departure information) thoroughly in order to understand exactly what this trip entails. Costa Rica is in the tropics, and is prone to wet/cool conditions at higher elevations and wet/humid conditions at lower elevations. Fitness is an important aspect of our trips. The fitter you are the more easily you will adjust and enjoy yourself. Resistance to cold and illness is also increased.

Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.


Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

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