Latin America Vacations
Costa Rica | Unique Holiday | Tortuguero to Cahuita National Park
Escape to Costa Rica over the holiday season, where over one-fourth of the country is designated National Park or wildlife refuge
9 days / 8 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
With adventures on both land and sea, this Costa Rica excursion is sure to entice any traveler young or old, and is a perfect way to celebrate the holidays! Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of two National Parks, Cahuita and Tortuguero, and learn about the wildlife that lives within the lush rainforests. There’s plenty to see, learn, hear, and taste in Costa Rica, a land rich in not just vistas and animals, but authentic cuisine and the beautiful Spanish language. Enjoy the tropical paradise that is Costa Rica!
- Kayak the canals of Tortuguero National Park to a natural soundtrack of exotic birdsong, watching for manatees, caimans, crocodiles, and turtles
- Visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Center, home to the largest green turtle rookery in the western hemisphere
- Paddle the exhilarating class III-IV rapids of the Pacuare River, ranked one of the Top 10 Rivers to Raft in the World by National Geographic
- Rappel down thundering waterfalls and sail through the treetops on an adrenaline-inducing canyoning and zip line adventure
- Marvel at the colorful corals, sea fans, and countless species of tropical reef fish on a snorkeling tour of Cahuita National Park
- Saddle up for a bike ride along the beach in Puerta Viejo
- Relax at the end of the day with a cold drink and a delectable local meal in the comfort of your eco-lodge
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The memorable accommodations: Paddling into and out of a remote, backcountry riverside lodge that is only accessible by water and air is an adventurer’s dream
The learning opportunities: Gain some familiarity of the active volcanoes, world-class rivers, and diverse types of mammals and birds (there are more species in Costa Rica than in the United States and Canada combined!)
The monkeys: See if you can spy the three different species of monkeys, White-Faced Capuchin, Howler, and Spider, in Tortuguero National Park
San Jose, Costa Rica SJO
San Jose, Costa Rica SJO
Arrive at the José International Airport and transfer to your hotel for the evening. Once you arrive, you are free to explore San José and enjoy a delectable local meal on your own.
About the Bougainvillea Hotel
Set among 10 acres of lush gardens, the unique and comfortable Hotel Bougainvillea is a place where guests can truly experience the world-famous beauty of Costa Rica.
Original pieces of Costa Rican art complement the stunning landscaped tropical gardens dominated by tall trees, plentiful flowers, ponds, and mountain views.
After breakfast and a brief trip orientation with your guide, we’ll make our way to Tortuguero. After a private transfer through the Costa Rican countryside to San José to La Pavona Dock (3h) we will continue by boat to Tortuguero and our accommodations for the next two nights. After lunch at the lodge, kayak the canals of Tortuguero National Park to a soundtrack of exotic birdsong, watching for manatees, caimans, crocodiles, and turtles. Return to the lodge where a buffet dinner will be waiting in the lodge’s restaurant.
About Evergreen Lodge
Evergreen is located in the northeastern corner of Tortuguero, 5 minutes by boat from the main entrance to Tortuguero National Park, and accessible only by air and water. Evergreen Lodge is the ideal location from which to explore this unique and magical area, surrounded by towering trees and exuberant vegetation, and is adorned with tropical designs.
Opt to start the day bright and early with a birding walk. If you’re more inclined to sleep in, meet your traveling companions for breakfast at the lodge. Today is all about Tortuguero National Park, beginning with a private boat tour. Visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Center, home to the largest green turtle rookery in the western hemisphere. Break for lunch at Miss Junnie’s restaurant and take in the authentic Caribbean atmosphere and entrées while watching a variety of birds in the adjacent gardens. Wander the streets of the village, taking in the brightly painted buildings, and grab a cup of freshly made juice while checking out the shops. The rest of the day will be taken up by a boat tour through the canals of Tortuguero National park before returning to our lodgings for another delectable dinner.
Enjoy a quick breakfast at the Lodge before beginning our boat and then road transfer to Rios Tropicales. Our afternoon will be spent paddling the exhilarating class III-IV rapids of the Pacuare River, ranked one of the Top 10 Rivers to Raft in the World by National Geographic. Check into the Rios Tropicales Lodge, our accommodation for the next two nights, and meet for dinner in the restaurant.
About Rios Tropicales
At our ecolodge, you can relax, explore and enjoy all that Costa Rica offers on our 2,000-acre private reserve at the mouth of the Pacuare Gorge. We have more than 40 miles of hiking trails and numerous waterfalls, streams, and pools. Our open-air dining pavilion and lounge let you watch the local wildlife and listen to the sounds only found in a tropical paradise.
Today boasts another beautiful morning of bird watching while sipping a cup of coffee. The pace quickly picks up from there, as our day is filled with sailing through the treetops on an adrenaline-inducing canyoning and zip line adventure. We’ll break for lunch at the Rios Tropicales Lodge before beginning our afternoon hike to a nearby waterfall. After our adventure-filled day, return to Rios Tropicales for a relaxing dinner.
Today takes us on another invigorating white water rafting excursion, the best way to experience Costa Rica. Wind down from an exciting morning on our transfer to the Caribbean coast. Check in to our accommodations for the evening and then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Cariblue Beach & Jungle Resort
The Cariblue Beach & Jungle Resort faces the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea in the southern part of Costa Rica and reaches out over five acres of earth inside of a pristine forest. The resort’s modern rooms are inspired by the surrounding nature; technological comforts harmonize with local wood and stone furniture reflecting on the wonders of the land.
Cahuita National Park
Explore Cahuita National Park and all it has to offer. Marvel at the colorful corals, sea fans, and countless species of tropical reef fish on a snorkeling tour and hike through Cahuita National Park. After lunch in town, kick back and relax at the resort before enjoying a local cooking class and dinner tonight.
Today is all about enjoying the town of Puerto Viejo and squeezing in one last day of relaxation in paradise. A morning bike ride brings us to a scenic beach and afterward we’ll enjoy lunch in town. This afternoon, spend time relaxing at the resort pool or take advantage of the walkable beach access from the hotel. Tonight, we get together for a farewell dinner and toast to a wonderful trip: Pura Vida!
Depart Puerto Viejo and drive to Limon (1 hour) for your forty-minute charter flight back to San José. You will be dropped off at the San José Airport at least 3 hours prior to your international flight.
* Talk to your Adventure Consultant if you are interested in adding an extra night(s) at Xandari Resort & Spa near the San José International Airport for the ultimate way to end your vacation.
**Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, trail, weather, and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Your trip begins with your arrival in San José at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport. After passing through Immigration, take the right-hand side exit door and look for the Sun Tours representative who will direct you to customs. When you leave the building after clearing customs, look for a Sun Tours representative, who will be holding a sign that says “Costa Rica Sun Tours” with your name on it. Your guide will take you to the Hotel Bougainvillea. On Day 9, you will transfer one hour from your hotel to Limon Airport for a short charter flight to San José where you may choose to extend your stay in Costa Rica or fly out of the international airport in the afternoon.
Hiking: Easy to moderately strenuous hikes ranging from 1 to 5 miles (1 to 4 hours) on birding excursions, village/city tours, national park treks, and more.
River rafting: Class III and IV rapids on the Pacuare River. You will raft into the Rios Tropicales Lodge on Day 4 (1.5-hour trip) and raft out on Day 6 (3-hour trip).
Kayaking: Calm waters through Tortuguero canals, no experience necessary.
Canyoning: Rappelling down waterfalls. No experience necessary, guides inspect all equipment and provide detailed instruction.
Zip Line: No experience necessary, gear and instruction provided.
Snorkeling: No experience necessary, gear and instruction provided.
Biking: Easygoing ride with cruiser bikes on the roads near Puerto Viejo.
Sun Tours guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Costa Rica, a tiny country that forms the land bridge between North and South America, is almost too good to believe. Although slightly smaller than West Virginia, it boasts a world-famous National Park system, unmatched flora (including over 3,000 species of wild orchids), world-class rivers, active volcanoes, and more species of mammals and birds than the continental United States and Canada combined! Explore the gardens of Hotel Bougainvillea in search of over 50 species of bromeliads, Costa Rican native trees, and numerous species of orchids, herb, and cacti gardens; and radiant hummingbirds typical of the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Did you know that the area protected by Tortuguero National Park was an archipelago of volcanic islands until alluvial sediments from the interior mountains, filled in the spaces and formed a network of marshy islands? Raft the Pacuare River spanning some of the country’s most diverse terrain, passing through densely vegetated primary rainforest, lowland tropical rainforest, and towering waterfalls. Come discover “The Crossroads of the Americas!”
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire, and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners as indicated by itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- The local flight on Day 9.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities, and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Meals as not indicated by the detailed daily itinerary.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Costa Rica Expert
Jorge first got the travel bug as a toddler, traveling to Ecuador almost every summer to visit family; this instilled a lifelong curiosity that persists to this day. Exploring different cultures, religions, foods, & languages is a passion that led him to work in travel. With over 10 years of travel experience Jorge has helped curate personalized and group tours to destinations all over the world. He’s traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and South America and is fluent in Spanish. Hobbies include; running, swimming, reading, hiking with his wife, kids, and chocolate lab, Thor.