• Pura Vida in Costa Rica!

    A multisport adventure in the jewel of Central America, beautiful Costa Rica—it’s pura vida, MTS style!

    Join us as we raft the beautiful Río Pacuare, kayak jungle waterways in Tortuguero National Park, and hike against the backdrop of picture-perfect Arenal Volcano. This is our most popular Costa Rica family vacation—and for good reason!

    best times to go: January, March - April, June - July, November - December

    departures: 8 scheduled datesview departures

    pricing: from $2,995 see detailed pricing

    Costa Rica

    Easy to Moderate
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

A multisport adventure in the jewel of Central America, beautiful Costa Rica—it’s pura vida, MTS style!

Looking for a larger-than-life multisport adventure in the jewel of Central America? Come to Costa Rica with MTS, the forerunners of adventure travel in the region! We’ll silently sneak up close to wildlife as we paddle the jungle waterways of Tortuguero National Park, home to howler monkeys, basilisk lizards, sea turtles, and tropical birds. We’ll take a rollicking, fun-filled ride down the Río Pacuare (ranked among the world’s top ten rivers for rafting), and spend two magical nights deep in the rainforest at the Rios Tropicales eco-lodge (think Robinson Crusoe!).

Back on kayaks, we’ll explore breathtaking Lake Arenal, in the shadow of famous Arenal Volcano. Then, we’ll kick back and soothe our muscles at a mountain hot springs. We cap it all off with a float down the Peñas Blancas River on a twilight safari, watching for Costa Rica’s nocturnal mammals. This non-stop water park adventure is a great value, ideal for families—and the perfect ticket for the kid in all of us!

Want to create your own ultimate Costa Rica dream trip? Call us for details!

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5 days easy to moderate kayaking (no previous experience required); 2 days rafting (Class III/IV rapids); easy to moderate hikes, Zip lining.


  • Raft the Río Pacuare, considered by many to be one of the top 10 most beautiful whitewater rivers in the world
  • Zip Line from tree to tree in a Rain Forest Private Reserve
  • Kayak in Tortuguero National Park, exploring secluded channels that larger boats can't visit, hike near Arenal Volcano, paddle the mystical waters of Lake Arenal, and enjoy a spectacular twilight safari on the Peñas Blancas River
  • Get up close to a variety of wildlife: monkeys, iguanas, sloths, toucans, caimans, and more
  • Relax and enjoy a seamless, flexible, non-stop water park adventure—a great value and perfect for families

Duration: 9 days Start Location: San José End Location: San José

Download Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1 : Arrive in San José, Costa Rica.

    Arrive in San José, Costa Rica's capital city. Your trip leader (or a Mountain Travel Sobek representative) will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport, where he or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel.

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    Day 2 : Tortuguero National Park

    Take a scenic drive through Braulio Carrillo National Park to the put-in on the Río Suerte for a unique kayaking trip into Tortuguero National Park, which is only accessible by water or by air. We'll arrive at our lodge, located on the beach in Tortuguero National Park, by midafternoon. A walk on the beach or on nature trails, a swim in the pool, and cocktails on the sunset deck await us. You can also walk with a guide to the Caribbean Conservation Center, which was established to protect the local sea turtles.


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    Day 3 : Tortuguero National Park

    After breakfast we take a motorboat loaded with our kayaks and head to a secondary channel in the national park. We'll board the kayaks and paddle through a narrow waterway to look for wildlife. After lunch back at Mawamba, we can paddle to some more areas only accessible by kayak, or simply relax at the pool.

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    Day 4 : Pacuare River

    In the early morning, before breakfast, we'll enjoy sea turtle viewing. After breakfast, we take a boat to Matina (1½-hour ride), then drive about two hours to our put-in on the beautiful but endangered Pacuare River (it’s threatened by a proposed hydroelectric plant). Once at the river we paddle downstream about eight miles to our rustic, thatched-roof riverside jungle lodge. This is a good opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the steep, technical drops typical of the Pacuare. Along its course lie several densely vegetated gorges sheltering numerous mammal species, including sloths, river otters, and anteaters, as well as an incredible variety of birds—toucans, egrets, herons, kingfishers, sunbirds, and trogons.

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    Day 5 : A full day in Paradise

    Enjoy a full day at Rios Tropicales Lodge! Take an optional early morning bird-watching hike with your guides to see toucans, macaws, and a myriad of other spectacular tropical species. Upon return, breakfast will be served and then after a little rest, a full day of adventure awaits! Enjoy a zip line tour through the forest of our private reserve or visit the lodge conservation project, “Plant for the Planet,” where you will plant a native tree and receive a certificate that indicates that you participated in the program, which is part of the United Nations Environmental Program “Billion Tree Campaign.” Or you may choose to hike to "Wake Up" Waterfalls, and a experience the new canyoneering tour where you can rappel down the face of the waterfall.

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    Day 6 : Our Pacuare adventure continues!

    This morning we'll continue our whitewater rafting adventure, entering the lush, magical gorge of the Pacuare. The rapids here become more powerful and technical in nature, and we’ll power through “Bobo,” “Huacas Arriba,” “Huacas Abajo,” “Cimarrones,” and “Dos Montañas” rapids. Gorgeous waterfalls tumble into the river, and we might even be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of some of the exotic birds and animals inhabiting the surrounding jungle. We take out near the town of Siquirres and drive 2½ hours to the beautiful Arenal volcano area. Late in the afternoon, Eco Termales hot springs awaits, where we'll relax and enjoy the hot, mineral pools with temperatures that go from 90-150°F. Dinner tonight will be served at the hot springs' restaurant.

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    Day 7 : Arenal and the Peñas Blancas River

    After breakfast, we’ll hike the surroundings of the Arenal Volcano, enjoying the beauty of primary and secondary forests, where you will be able to see a wide variety of wildlife including howler monkeys, sloths, and toucans. This hike lasts about 3 hours. Afterward we’ll drive to a local restaurant for lunch, followed by a free afternoon to enjoy and relax at the hotel.

    In the late afternoon (around 4:00 p.m.), you will experience the ultimate one-of-a-kind river trip: a twilight river safari on the Peñas Blancas River. As the sun is just starting to set, you will raft and enjoy the mystical way the light disappears from the sky at dusk, leaving you in the peaceful darkness of the jungle. This is one of the best ways to experience Costa Rica, as more than 60% of the mammals here are nocturnal! Our specially designed lighting system will make this a magical journey. At the end of our float, the Hidalgo family will host us for a delicious, traditional Costa Rican dinner at their home.

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    Day 8 : Arenal

    After breakfast you will embark in first class touring kayaks and enjoy a day paddling the calm waters of Lake Arenal, while the beauty and energy of this amazing volcano penetrates your soul. After lunch in town, we’ll say goodbye to this powerfully moving mountain and drive back to San Jose. In the evening we'll enjoy a farewell dinner with the group.

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    Day 9 : Depart

    Transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flights, or join one of our great extensions in Corcovado National Park or Manuel Antonio National Park. Ask our Regional Specialist for details!

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: January, March - April, June - July, November - December Departures: Dec 20 - 28, 2014 Christmas Week. Book early!!!!! Jan 17 - 25, 2015 Feb 14 - 22, 2015 Mar 28, 2015 - Apr 5, 2015 Jun 13 - 21, 2015 Aug 1 - 9, 2015 Dec 19 - 27, 2015 Christmas week. Book early!!! Dec 26, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016 New Year's week. Book early!


2014 Prices

$2,995 per person (4-14 members)
$700 single supplement

2015 Prices

$3,195 per person (4-14 members)
$700 single supplement

  • Mountain Paradise Lodge
    La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park

    The Mountain Paradise Lodge sits at the base of Volcan Arenal, and features spectacular views. If you’re lucky, you may even get a glimpse of lava in the evening! This hotel’s lovely setting, pool, and jacuzzi allow guests to truly enjoy the relaxed pace of the Arenal region.

  • Mawamba Lodge

    Nestled in the lush rainforest, this is the ideal hideaway for nature lovers and the perfect place to discover the wonders of the Tortuguero National Park. The lodge features lush gardens and rustic accommodations, along with regular visits from brightly colored exotic birds.

  • Rios Tropicales Lodge

    Let the sound of the Pacuare River lull you to sleep at this sustainable eco-lodge. This evening’s lodge offers a haven for relaxation and immersion in tropical sights and sounds. The lodge features open air gathering pavilions with thatched roofs and comfortable hammocks swinging in a gentle breeze. Guests enjoy ample viewing decks for watching the toucans fly overhead and the roaring river below.

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

  • Jorge Calderon

    Jorge “Loco” Calderón is a whitewater rafting guide in his thirties who has led trips in Costa Rica for over a decade. He was part of the Costa Rica whitewater rafting team that won the fourth place in the World Championships in Brazil in 1997, and this year he guide sea kayaking trips in Greenland. Jorge loves the outdoors and is eager to share with you the natural beauty of his country.

photo credits: ©MTS Photo File


Itinerary for Pura Vida in Costa Rica!

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Activity Ratings


Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.


More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.


Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.


Departure Dates

Dec 20 - 28, 2014 Christmas Week. Book early!!!!! Jan 17 - 25, 2015 Feb 14 - 22, 2015 Mar 28, 2015 - Apr 5, 2015 Jun 13 - 21, 2015 Aug 1 - 9, 2015 Dec 19 - 27, 2015 Christmas week. Book early!!! Dec 26, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016 New Year's week. Book early!

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1266 66th Street, Suite 4

Emeryville, California 94608

Toll Free:1-888-831-7526