• Trek to Continental divide
  • Explore the vibrant city of San Jose
  • Mountain Biking & Whitewater Rafting to El Nido in rapids class II-III
  • Mountain Bike to Orosi
  • Explore Cahuita National Park hiking & snorkeling
  • Mountain Biking & Trekking to Humo
  • Raft the exhilarating Pacuare River through spectacular canyons
  • Undertake a sea kayak adventure to the tidal mouth of the Caribbean Coast
  • Mountain Biking to Mollejones
  • Mountain Biking & Trekking Pacific coast to Naranjillo

An adventure high on the wish list of active adventurers keen to take on the challenge of traversing Costa Rica under their own steam. Our crossing takes us on bike, foot, raft and kayak across this spectacular natural wilderness through farmlands, foothills and mountainous regions reaching the peaks of the Central Highlands. The trails are often slippery and with several river crossings. We encounter indigenous settlements deep in the cloud forest and hope to glimpse rare wildlife and birdlife in this pristine tropical rainforest. The views and terrain vary greatly as we traverse the mountainous backbone of Costa Rica. Our journey will take us into the depths of the Pacuare River on one of the world's classic whitewater experiences, where we undertake an exhilarating rafting trip with class 2-4 rapids through a series of spectacular canyons. In between the powerful rapids there is time to absorb your 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.


Start and Finishing Point:

San Jose


Grading:Introductory to Moderate   

Welcome to the land of pura vida! After arriving at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José you will meet your guide and driver and head to your hotel for some much needed rest after your long flight.

Meals:  D

We transfer from San Jose to the town of Quepos on the Pacific Coast. The drive takes us along the Pan American highway reaching heights of over 3000 m (9000 ft) before turning west to the coast. Upon arrival we have a chance to relax either at the pool or on the beach. In the late afternoon, we will meet for a bike fitting and a short warm up ride. After dinner the trip briefing will be held and your guide will outline the plans for the coming days.

Meals:  B,L,D

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.

Meals:  B,L,D

Our day begins with a trek towards the Continental Divide and challenging the infamous “Cemetery Hill” - a strenuous 11 km (7 mi) climb. At just over 1300 m (3900 ft), the forest opens up to our first glimpse of Costa Rica’s abundant coffee industry. From here we continue trekking through coffee plantations for several hours. 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 at camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we tackle the hardest, steepest climb of our adventure. The challenge is a 16km uphill stretch to the Continental Divide, bringing us to an altitude of 2330 m (6990 ft) - the highest point of our journey. Whilst a challenging ascent, we’ll be rewarded by magnificent views and hopefully spot some wildlife. After about 5 or 6 hours we’ll arrive at our camp at the divide.

Meals:  B,L,D

Following the rule that everything that goes up must come down, today 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 at our camp near the town of Orosi after our exhilarating ride.

Meals:  B,L,D

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... a primary cloud forest ecology. The end of the day finds us on flatter ground, camping near the small settlement of Humo.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we take our time and enjoy the tranquility of rural Costa Rica. The morning we follow an undulating track before we climb 500m over a pass before heading down to our camp near Mollejones.

Meals:  B,L,D

We begin the day’s bike ride 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. The rapids section of the river is approximately 30 km (19 mi) of Class II-IV rapids. The Pacuare is the most scenic rafting river in Costa Rica and one the world’s classic whitewater experiences. 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 we take time to explore this lush environment and look out for wildlife such as Toucans overhead. Spacious tents on fixed platforms board the edge of the river and nestle in the surrounding forest. The camp is fully functional with its own supply of pure spring water, shower and sanitary facilities. The name of the camp, El Nido del Tigre, comes from the giant patches of ginger plants that carpet the main floor of the main area of the camp. When the ginger reaches a certain height it falls over creating flattened areas in the shape of a tiger’s paw - hence its name, which translates to “the nest of the tiger”. From the centre of the nest, trails radiate throughout the forest and along the river. There is an open area for those who like the odd game of ball or Frisbee. If this is too much after a day on the river, seek out one of our quiet reading areas, set yourself down with a refreshing drink and just ‘be’ for a while.

Meals:  B,L,D

This a well earned rest day although you can make it as active as you like. Your guides will be with you and so make the most of this free day at the camp by spending it enjoying El Nido del Tigre and the surrounding area. Hiking through the rainforest to a waterfall, floating down a rapid with just a life jacket, or relaxing in a hammock around the camp, are all possible activities.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the Pacuare takes us through virgin rainforest, cascading waterfalls and river carved canyons. We manoeuver through the exhilarating Class III and IV rapids and point out the intricacies of the rainforest at the river’s edge. The Class IV rapids are exciting and separated by calm stretches which enable you to stare at the near vertical green walls towering hundreds of metres above the river, which makes this a magnificent and unique river trip. Along the way we take time out to do some hiking to spectacular waterfalls and have lunch on the shore. Tonight’s camp marks the end of the rapids and the beginning of the banana lined slow moving waters of the Pacuare River. 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.

Meals:  B,L,D

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.

Meals:  B,L,D

After the challenge of the last two weeks, today will be a welcome break and give us a chance to relax at the coast in Cahuita this morning. In the afternoon we take the transfer back to San Jose for our final group dinner.

Meals:  B,L,D

The trip concludes after breakfast today and you will be transferred to the airport in time for your international flight home.

Meals:  B

Learning outcomes for students

World Expeditions Schools journeys are designed to encourage positive personal development and the learning of life skills, while leaving the communities and environments we travel to, in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to:
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers, their teachers, and the local people they meet.
• increase the confidence to engage with new people, and collaboratively make informed decisions.
• discover the benefits of working cooperatively together as a cohesive team, to achieve a common objective.
• Increase the ability to face, and cope with, mental and physical challenges and therefore increase resilience.
• give students a chance to appreciate and care for the natural world. The environments we travel 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.
• Learn personal skills i.e., time management, personal hygiene, responsibility for personal gear, patience, tolerance, and public speaking.
We help encourage students to learn what it means to be a true global citizen.


  • Accommodation on a twin-share basis throughout
  • Teachers accompanying the students
  • All meals as per itinerary, breakfast, lunches and dinners
  • All internal transport in private vehicles
  • All guide fees and entrance costs in itinerary
  • An expert bilingual guide accompanying the group throughout
  • Naturalists and specialist guides joining the group for hikes and at research centres

  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Departure Tax USD $29 per person


Introductory to Moderate

These trips involve trekking or walking, cycling, rafting or sea kayaking for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace and should never be misinterpreted to mean they are easy trips. These trips do not spend time at altitudes above 4000m and are usually a week in duration. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health.

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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