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Dream Trip: Costa Rica Volcanoes, Rivers, and Beaches Tour

Costa Rica(Photo/57hours)
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Beach, jungle, and volcanic landscapes offer an immersion in adventure, with Costa Rica fully back for 2023.

Smoke rises from a volcanic peak. Mist hovers below. You shift into gear, a trail disappearing into the lush green ahead.

It’s day two of your Costa Rican adventure trip. Mountain biking the Irazú Volcano is a lunar-like experience. But the crater soon surrenders to the jungle, with your crew ready to roll to a distant camp.

Over an 8-day itinerary, you will bike, raft, hike, swim, and explore. The aptly named Volcanoes, Rivers, and Beaches Multisport Tour gives a glimpse of the lifetime of adventure Costa Rica can provide.

Mountain biking in Costa Rica
Misty single-track mountain biking on the Turrialba Volcano trail; (photo/57hours)

Coast to Coast Adventures in Costa Rica

As far as “dream trips” go, this one checks boxes for people hoping to experience a swath of activities and a huge diversity of nature. Trips start this month (December 2022) and go through May 2023, with the outfitter and guide company Coast to Coast Adventures.

With 25 years of experience, Coast to Coast touts “life-changing, inspirational journeys.” Indeed, the company’s founder, Mike Lapcevic, had his whole life altered when he arrived in Costa Rica by motorcycle three decades ago.

“I came for the World Cup,” he said. “My plan was to work a bit, watch the games, and then continue to South America.”

Costa Rica map

The planned few months turned into more than 30 years. Lapcevic never left.

Today, Coast to Coast employs a team of 20 in Costa Rica. Trip options range from family-oriented to extreme.

The Volcanoes, Rivers, and Beaches Multisport Tour has options to rappel waterfalls, swim and dive in the ocean, and whitewater raft a jungle river.

The Itinerary

The Coast to Coast itinerary starts near the country’s highest volcano. You’ll ride past the active cone of Turrialba.

After 2 days around the town and Turrialba area, the group paddles down the Pacuare River. It’s a world-class rafting trip on a section with Class IV rapids and pristine, flowing water.

Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica
Welcome to the jungle! Paddlers brace for rapids on a guided rafting trip down the Pacuare River; (photo/57hours)

After camping at El Nido del Tigre, the trip heads to the coast and finishes at the Caribbean, where the guides bring groups hiking at Cahuita National Park to look for wildlife and explore.

Christopher Lapcevic, Mike’s son, said the Volcanoes, Rivers, and Beaches trip has had a few changes over the years, but the itinerary starting near the Irazú Volcano remains.

For 2023, Christopher noted that the company is focusing on maintaining connections to the communities on and near the Pacuare River, the Nicoya Peninsula, and the Caribbean coast.

“The country itself is trying to recuperate still after the pandemic,” he said, referencing the pause in adventure travel seen in Costa Rica and around the world since 2020. “The communities and areas of the country that were really affected by COVID are where tourism can really help quickly.”

Horseback riding is an option on the Coast to Coast adventure trip; (photo/57hours)

Volcanoes, Rivers, and Beaches Multisport Tour

  • The trip: Multisport adventure (bike, hike, swim, raft)
  • Guide: Coast to Coast Adventures
  • Dates: December 2022 – May 2023
  • Cost: $1,770 per person
  • Learn more: 57hours.com
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1: Arrive in Costa Rica, hotel night in San José
    • Day 2: Mountain biking (Irazú and Turrialba volcano trails)
    • Day 3: Bike, swim, zipline (Turrialba area)
    • Day 4: Whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River (Class II-III sections)
    • Day 5: Whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River (Class III-IV sections)
    • Day 6: Swim, scuba, or snorkel (Caribbean coast)
    • Day 7: Braulio Carrillo National Park on return to San José
    • Day 8: Hasta luego! Final breakfast, guide drives you to the airport
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