Whitewater rafting, hiking, cycling, and kayaking await on this action-packed six-day adventure around Costa Rica. The start of the trip features a two-day rafting excursion down the Río Pacuare on Class III-IV whitewater. You'll explore Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on a bicycle, then see Cahuita National Park on a guided hike. Kayak around the lush jungle waterways around Punta Uva before the journey ends.


  • Go rafting on Class III-IV whitewater on the Río Pacuare
  • Kayak around Punta Uva's ocean and jungle waterways
  • Explore Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on a bicycle
  • Discover the natural beauty of Cahuita National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Explore Downtown San José
Day 2 Whitewater Raft Río Pacuare Río Pacuare
Day 3 Continue to Siquirres, Puerto Viejo Bike Tour Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 4 Tour Cahuita National Park Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 5 Kayak Adventure & Rainforest Hike in Punta Uva Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 6 Return to San José, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in San José, Explore Downtown

The National Theater
The National Theater in San José

Welcome to Costa Rica! A driver will transfer you from the airport to your hotel in San José. After settling in, go for a self-guided walking tour of downtown. Depending on your hotel's location, you can walk or take a taxi to your first destination: Mercado Central (Central Market), featuring over 200 shops, food stalls, and sodas (traditional restaurants). It's a short walk to Central Park, a small plaza always bustling with activity. Pass various outdoor sculptures as you walk through the park toward Catedral Metropolitana and continue walking down Central Avenue until you reach the 19th-century Teatro Nacional.

Your first museum stop is the Museo del Oro Precolumbino, accessible from beneath the Plaza de la Cultura and holds the most extensive Pre-Columbian gold collection in Latin America. Next, head to the Museo del Jade, the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian jade artifacts. As you wander among thousands of unique jade pieces, you'll gain an even deeper appreciation for Costa Rica's rich history. 

Read this article about where to eat in San José.

Day 2: Whitewater Raft Río Pacuare

Rafting fun on the Pacuare
Rafting on the Pacuare River

The 67-mile (108-km) Río Pacuare is one of the best rivers in Central America for whitewater rafting. Starting today, you'll be rafting 22 miles (36 km) over two days. The first day covers 8 miles (13 km) of continuous Class III rapids. Your destination is a wilderness lodge, only accessible by water, with safari-style facilities that include comfortable walk-in tents.

After you arrive at the lodge and settle in, you'll have the option to go on a hike or try river fishing. The lodge's dining area, where you eat dinner tonight, has a beautiful river view. Make sure you get a good night's sleep in preparation for a long day of rafting tomorrow!

You might like to check out this Best Adventure Activities in Costa Rica article.

Day 3: Continue Rafting to Siquirres, Puerto Viejo Bike Tour

Another day of whitewater adventures 

Start the day with breakfast and a cup of Costa Rica's legendary coffee. Read The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rican Coffee to learn more about the country's coffee traditions.

Today, on your second day of rafting, you'll encounter exciting Class IV rapids on a 14-mile (23-km) paddle. You'll make two stops along the way, one for a hike and another for a well-deserved lunch! Your final destination for today's rafting trip is the city of Siquirres. Once on dry land, you'll be transferred to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. After getting settled at your hotel, you'll go for a bike tour. Highlights include The Cliff, a hidden natural attraction with great photo opportunities, Punta Uva beach, and a breathtaking viewpoint over the bay.

See the Ultimate Guide to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for more.

Plan your trip to Costa Rica
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Tour Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park
Cahuita National Park

Take a short drive to Cahuita National Park this morning. You'll start at the beach, climbing on board a boat for a scenic 20-minute cruise to Cahuita Point. If the sea conditions allow, you'll have the opportunity to have two snorkeling sessions near the most extensive coral reefs. The seafloor off the coast is as much a jungle as the rainforest, with tropical fish, stingrays, octopus, and nurse sharks on view. The best time for snorkeling is from July to October, as the sea is typically too rough between December and March. Still, regardless of the time of year, the boat ride is a great way to approach Cahuita Point.

Fuel up with a spread of tropical fruit on the beach before heading out on a guided hike through the coastal rainforest. You'll head onto land and enter the national park from the boat. Since the region is home to an abundance and diversity of wildlife, the chances are good that you'll see monkeys, tropical birds, sloths, iguanas, poisonous dart frogs, and more. After your hike, head back to Puerto Viejo with your guide.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out Best Things to Do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Day 5: Kayak Adventure & Rainforest Hike in Punta Uva

Kayaking Peñas Blancas
Kayak around Rio Punta Uva

Hike in the rainforest and kayak at one of the most beautiful beaches on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast, Punta Uva. This quiet beach is known for its calm reef-protected water and white sand. During this adventure, you'll enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica from land, ocean, and river. First, you'll embark on a magical ocean kayaking journey paralleling a coast full of cliffs, caves, and rainforest.

After the ocean kayak, you'll head to Río Punta Uva, where you'll have a more leisurely kayak along the river. As you paddle through the rainforest, you can expect to spot monkeys, sloths, colorful birds, river turtles, bats, and iguanas, generally close to your kayak! Return to the beach, where you can either relax on the sand or join your naturalist guide for a short hike into the rainforest. 

Read more about the experience of kayaking around Punta Uva here.

Day 6: Return to San José, Depart

Take in a Costa Rica sunset 
The trip ends today. You'll transfer to the airport to catch your flight out. Safe travels!

More Great Costa Rica Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other Costa Rica itineraries, explore different ways to spend six days in Costa Rica, or discover the best time to visit Costa Rica.


Map of Active Adventure on Costa Rica's Rivers & Caribbean Coast - 6 Days
Map of Active Adventure on Costa Rica's Rivers & Caribbean Coast - 6 Days