• 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!

If you love water sports, this is the trip for you! Our unique, water-based, multisport adventure under Costa Rica’s warm tropical sun awaits you.

Mountain Travel Sobek was the forerunner of adventure travel in Costa Rica back in the late ’70s, and we’re especially known for our river and kayaking programs. This journey is designed to include the most exciting elements of Costa Rica, along with phenomenal leadership, a seamless itinerary, comfortable accommodations, and super-fun activities. Our years of experience and deep, in-country relationships allow us both flexibility and full control of the journey, and we can offer this tour at far less cost (and trouble) than organizing it yourself.

You’ll start off in Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast, a major spawning ground for many varieties of sea turtles during the summer months. Here you’ll explore its jungle waterways and hidden lagoons by sea kayak, an adventurous and unique way to discover rainforest denizens such as howler monkeys, basilisk lizards, morpho butterflies, and tropical birds. Our silent, easy-to-maneuver watercraft are a wonderful way to approach jungle areas inaccessible by any other means, and see wildlife other travelers would surely miss. Accommodations are at a beautiful resort right at the beach and Tortuguero Lagoon, where you can view early morning sea turtle hatchings and spend the afternoons relaxing at the pool. The lodge also supports a red-eyed tree frog rehabilitation project—a great way to learn about this icon of the Costa Rica wilderness.

More paddling adventures are in store on the Río Pacuare, Costa Rica’s most remarkable river corridor. Pounding its way from one whitewater rapid to another, the Pacuare serves up one of the world’s best rollercoaster rides (a bonus: cascading waterfalls that drench you as you pass!). It’s no wonder the Pacuare is ranked among the top ten rivers in the world. Your guides are not only experts in whitewater rafting but great naturalists, too, and provide insight into the marvels of nature’s rainforest masterpiece. Between exhilarating rafting trips, you’ll enjoy a full day of nature hikes and zip Line tours at the rustic Rios Tropicales jungle lodge, the ideal setting for a back-to-nature experience.

Then, go kayaking in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. Paddle across the mystic waters of Arenal Lake, Costa Ricas’s largest and most breathtaking lake, while enjoying a spectacular view of the famous volcano. Afterward, soothe your paddling muscles in a mineral hot springs set deep in the jungle. Hike the trails surrounding Arenal, looking for monkeys, sloths, and toucans in the primary and secondary forests here. And enjoy the highlight of the Arenal area: a spectacular twilight safari on the Peñas Blancas River, watching as Costa Rica’s nighttime residents awaken (over 60% of Costa Rica’s mammals are nocturnal.)

Filled with non-stop adventure and close-up natural encounters, this tour is the very essence of Pura Vida!, the ubiquitous Costa Rican catchphrase that—literally translated—means “pure life,” but in the local vernacular, means “what could be better than this?”

Note—This trip is great for families with kids 10 and up. Private departures can be operated anytime of the year. Call for details.


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
  • Cra_day1_bgtk_macaws
    Day 1 : Arrive in San José, Costa Rica.

    Arrive in San José, Costa Rica.

  • Cra23_free
    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.


  • Cra03_rfs
    Day 3 : Tortuguero National Park

    Morning kayak trip 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.

  • Cra18_mts
    Day 4 : Pacuare River

    Early morning sea turtle viewing, followed by a rafting trip on the beautiful Pacuare River, whose survival as a wild river is threatened by a proposed hydroelectric plant. We'll paddle downstream, passing through a landscape full of unique rainforest wildlife, to our rustic, thatched-roof riverside jungle lodge.

  • Cra_day5_istk_zipline
    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.

  • Cra01_mts
    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.

  • Cra_day7_istk_sloth
    Day 7 : Arenal and the Peñas Blancas River

    Morning hike near Arenal Volcano, with the rest of the morning and early afternoon free to relax. Late afternoon twilight river safari to experience the transition of the jungle from dusk to darkness, followed by a traditional Costa Rican dinner at the home of a local family.

  • Cra21_free
    Day 8 : Arenal

    Morning kayak paddle on the calm waters of Lake Arenal, with the beautiful volcano as a backdrop. Afternoon drive back to San José. Farewell dinner in the evening.

  • Cra19_mts
    Day 9 : Depart

    Depart San José, or join one of our great extensions in Corcovado National Park or Manuel Antonio National Park.

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!

In order to view/download a detailed itinerary for "Pura Vida in Costa Rica!" please fill out the short form below.

We look forward to having you travel with us!


Mountain Travel Sobek

1-510-594-6000 1266 66th Street, Suite 4 Emeryville, CA 94608 From:
My Message:
Hello, my name is
and I am interested in a detailed view of the adventure to be had on "Pura Vida in Costa Rica!".
Thank you.

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!

Generate Final Itinerary

To create a final itinerary please select a departure date.

preview itinerary generate itinerary

Request your FREE catalog today!

Want to download your catalog in PDF form right now?
Get it here!

(Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

*Required Information

  • /system/covers/10/content/MTS2014.JPG?1381472229
PLEASE NOTE: We currently only mail catalogs to addresses in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. For other international requests, please contact us directly via phone (1-888-831-7526) or email Loading

Don't Get Left Behind! Sign up for our popular E-mail newsletters

  • Featuring a new destination every month
  • Beautiful slideshows and videos
  • Fascinating facts and tales from the field
  • Special offers, programs and more

Mountain Travel Sobek values your privacy and doesn't share your personal information. Please review our Privacy Policy for more details.


Contact Us!

format: 555-555-5555

Ask a Question or Describe the Trip You're Interested In

*Required Information Loading

Mountain Travel Sobek

1266 66th Street, Suite 4

Emeryville, California 94608

Toll Free:1-888-831-7526


Contact Our Regional Specialist!

format: 555-555-5555

Ask a Question or Describe the Trip You're Interested In

*Required Information Loading

Mountain Travel Sobek

1266 66th Street, Suite 4

Emeryville, California 94608

Toll Free:1-888-831-7526