Explore Costa Rica: The Avid Explorer Itinerary

Explore Costa Rica’s Jungles, Rivers, Volcanoes, Wildlife, Coffee Lands & Beaches

The name of the Avid Explorer Itinerary says it all! This is the ideal trip for travelers who are eager to explore Costa Rica with an itinerary that includes as many adventures as possible. On this itinerary, you will travel via road, air, water and land, and get up-close experience with jungles, rivers, volcanoes, national parks, Costa Rican wildlife, underwater marine life, coffee lands, and, of course…beaches. Our goal with this itinerary is for you to return from your trip saying you’ve seen it all! Though, as with most of our guests, we are sure it will also whet your appetite to come back and see it again!

Turrialba Volcano: Avid Explorer Vacation
Up close with Arenal Volcano, a highlight of our Avid Explorer Costa Rica vacation itinerary

The trip begins at the base of the active Turrialba Volcano. There, you and your group will go on a two-day whitewater rafting adventure on what many of the pros consider to be one of the best adventure rivers in the world. From there you will be privately transported to the hot springs of Volcano Arenal where you can choose to soak in the geothermal pools for a couple of days or choose your own adventures from among canyoning, hiking, rafting, or visiting waterfalls.

The Avid Explorer itinerary continues with an in-country flight to one of the most preserved areas of Costa Rica – the Osa Peninsula. There at your eco-friendly resort in Drake Bay, a naturalist guide will accompany you to the majestic and untouched Corcovado National Park and you can go snorkeling along the Caño Island.

Due to the remote and somewhat underdeveloped nature of some of the locations on the Avid Explorer Itinerary, this trip is ideal for active couples, honeymooners, families, or groups with previous travel experience and lots of energy. Children love this itinerary because it’s full of adventure, but some activities require that guests be twelve years or older – though, as with all of our itinerary details, we will customize the trip to each group. If your group is looking for entirely unique Costa Rica experience, this vacation itinerary is a great choice.

The Avid Explorer’s Top 3 Highlights

  • Hiking in Corcovado Park & Unforgettable Snorkeling in Drake Bay – Experience Costa Rica’s most magical natural wonders both on land and in the sea. We will arrange for a naturalist tour guide to show you all the secrets of this gorgeous area.
  • Air Travel In & Out of Drake Bay – From 6,000 feet above Costa Rica’s rainforest, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view majestic waterfalls, follow winding rivers through wild canyons, and see smoking volcanoes.
  • Raft the Rio Pacuare & Spend the Night in the Rainforest – Rafting Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare is a whitewater adventure that you will never forget. It’s among the greatest outdoor activities that families, couples and friends can do together in this country. It’s considered one of the top five international rivers for a reason!

Suggested 9-Day Itinerary to Explore Costa Rica in Full

Day #1: Arrival – Sleep Majestically in Boutique Lodging at the Base of Turrialba Volcano

To start your Avid Explorer itinerary, you will be escorted from the San Jose Airport (SJO) in a private vehicle (equipped with AC!) to the valley of Turrialba where mountains and rivers welcome you into this beautiful country. You and your family (or group) will enjoy gazing out the window at a rich farm culture consisting of coffee and sugar cane plantations. You’ll pass through quaint and rustic towns on your way to a cozy bed and breakfast on the eastern side of Turrialba. The sunset over the volcano will be to die for!

Day #2: Exhilarating Whitewater Rafting & Overnight Stay

Rafting the Rio Pacuare on your 2nd day in Costa Rica is sure to give you the thrill of a lifetime! You and your family (or group) will safely carve through the river canyon with professional rafting guides who have rafted this river more than anyone. Your destination after the first day of rafting will be a riverside lodge wedged deep in the jungle, but don’t worry…there will be all the amenities you need (water faucets, showers, toilets, and a fully-equipped kitchen). Oh, and comfy hammocks to lie in as you gaze at the stars! Life couldn’t get any better. You and your family will be fed a delicious meal prepared by the staff, have time to relax and even go on a waterfall or zip-line canopy tour with the river guides.

Costa Rica Rafting Adventure Vacation
Rafting in Costa Rica is like nothing else…the water is warm and the rapids are big!

Day #3: More Rafting & Evening Soak in the Hot Springs

Today your whitewater rafting trip continues as you snake through the Dos Montañas (Two Mountains) river canyon amongst majestic waterfalls, lively wildlife and exotic flora. Class III and IV rapids will give the entire group a splash and remind you what it means to be alive! This river draws rafting aficionados from every corner of the world, so feel lucky to have such an experience! Once the rafting trip concludes, your group will be escorted (with your luggage) by a private driver to the Arenal Volcano area where you’ll unwind at a hot springs resort. Tonight marks the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a while. Just wait.

Day #4: Adventure Day at Arenal Volcano

Given the diversity of incredible adventures available in the Arenal region, Costa Rica Escapes leaves this day open for you and your family to choose your own adventure. Of course, all arrangements and costs for the adventure you choose are included in the Avid Explorer Itinerary package. Canyoning is an excellent choice and it’s a welcome thrill for those who have never tried it. You will experience jungle waterfalls like you could never imagine. Your professional guides (who speak English & Spanish) keep your safety a priority the entire time, so you can really let it go!

Costa Rica Waterfalls in the Jungle
Waterfalls…in the middle of the jungle…just like the movies…let’s sign you up

Alternatively, you can spend this day of your itinerary on a guided hike through the rainforest of the Tenorio Volcano National Park where you can see a breathtaking waterfall as you hike along the river. Furthermore, you and your group can also head to the Arenal Volcano National Park for a guided hiking or horseback experience if you want to get up close and personal with a volcano. Exotic bird life and foliage will be discovered as you hike amongst this incredible wonder of nature. You will even have the opportunity to see lava flows!

Day #5: Soar over the jungle on your flight to Drake Bay – Afternoon to Explore

Today, your morning will start with a traditional Costa Rican breakfast as you gaze at the majestic volcano in the background. Shortly after, it will be time to catch your flight to the famous Drake Bay within the Osa Peninsula, which is considered to be one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. Once on land, an off-road vehicle will transport you and your group over rivers and hills toward your final destination: an eco-lodge high up in the hills amongst the sounds of the local wildlife. Pura vida! A welcomed (included) lunch will fill the bellies of everyone in your group in preparation for an afternoon of beach and jungle explorations. Dinner and tomorrow’s meals will be included in your itinerary so you can focus your time and energy on exploring this Costa Rican wonderland.

Day #6: Underwater Exploration on a snorkel or scuba tour of Isla del Caño

Today, the gorgeous island of Isla del Caño, a short boat ride from Drake Bay, awaits your group after a delicious breakfast. This large biological reserve is filled with marine life, warm ocean waters, and artifacts from a pre-Colombian indigenous tribe who called this secluded island “home” in ancient times. Get ready for the snorkeling adventure of a lifetime as you swim amongst larger marine animals than you might see on the eastern (Caribbean) side of Costa Rica. Your evening will conclude with with a boat ride back to the eco-lodge for dinner, sunset viewing and story telling.

Costa Rica Sunset - Adventure Vacation
Costa Rica sunsets offer a chance to soak in the beauty and share memories from your explorations in Costa Rica

Day #7: Explore the wonders of Corcovado National Park on a guided rainforest hike

Get ready today, because your destination is one of the most renowned parks in this entire region of the world. Another boat ride awaits after a filling morning meal, this time to transport your group south to Corcovado National Park where you’ll take a guided rainforest hike in this country’s biggest preservation area. In fact, Corcovado National Park comprises much of the biodiversity in Costa Rica. It accounts for over 25% of the entire Osa Peninsula. It’s HUGE! So big, that a tenth of all mammals found in the Western hemisphere are located in this park. If you love animals, today is for you!

Day #8: One Last Adventure (La Paz Waterfalls)

Take a moment to relax this morning. Have a nice stroll on the beach to reflect on your adventures and what a beautiful place you’ve been able to enjoy during your trip. You’ll soon take a short flight back to central Costa Rica where your group can have one more last adventure. Not far from SJO airport, La Paz Waterfalls are a beautiful sight. The nearby Peace Lodge is tucked away in the hills of the rainforest. This will provide a peaceful time for final reflection and relaxation before it’s time to go home tomorrow.

Day #9: Time to Fly Home!

Wake up to a tropical morning meal and have one last cup of Costa Rican coffee today. You’re heading home! We will arrange for your (private) transport to SJO airport from your hotel. Sleep well on your flight! Dream of all the wonderful adventures you had and prepare to share them with your friends and family when you return.

Things to Know When Exploring Costa Rica on this Itinerary

  • The Avid Explorer itinerary is best-suited to the San Jose (SJO) airport, however we can modify this itinerary (at additional cost and travel days) to accommodate travelers who wish to fly in/out of the Liberia (LIR) airport.
  • The whitewater rafting trip requires rafters be 12 years of age or older. For families with younger children, this itinerary can be modified as needed. Seasonality can also affect the recommended ages for this itinerary.
  • Guided tours are not included on any days of leisure or optional activities. However, they can be supplemented to this itinerary should your family wish to include more guided tour activities.

Costs for the Costa Rica Avid Explorer Itinerary

Please keep in mind that costs may change depending on seasonality and resource availability.


9-Day Avid Explorer Vacation Itinerary – as described in above trip

Itinerary costs are determined individually for each group itinerary due to the amount of customization available with the Avid Explorer itinerary. We request a short phone call (after submitting your information in the form below) in order to provide a quote for your family or group.

8-Day Avid Explorer Vacation Itinerary

Based on past experience with this itinerary, a minimum of 9 days (8 nights) are strongly recommended to properly execute this itinerary. Exceptions can be made based on flight schedules. If you only have 7 or 8 nights, we’d recommend the Remote Adventure Itinerary. In this scenario, you could choose between visiting Arenal or doing the Pacuare River overnight trip in conjunction with visiting Drake Bay.

11-Day Avid Explorer Vacation Itinerary

The Avid Explorer itinerary can be extended to include more time in Arenal and Drake Bay. This will extend the trip by two days (total of 11 days).


What Our Clients Say:

You set up an incredible adventure vacation that my boys will never forget. I don’t think you missed a detail. I can not thank you enough. It was the greatest family adventure trip we have ever done. Thank you! — Matt

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  • Planning Tip: Please include your phone number. We want to respect your time. A quick 5-minute phone call is a mutually beneficial way to start planning your dream trip to Costa Rica!