Surfing in Playa Tamarindo Playa Tamarindo is a world famous tropical beach destination and the heart of Costa Rica’s ‘Gold Coast’. Year round sunshine and the least yearly rainfall in the country make this a great place to visit, no matter the season. For the first two days of the camp we will be surfing on the long white sand beach in front of town. This a great place for surfers of all levels, from abject beginner to seasoned pro. Those student who have never surfed before will be given lessons from local surf professionals who will teach you all of the ins and outs of how to surf. Those with more ability will go out is local pros and begin surfing right away. The beach is over a mile long and there are a number of different breaks of varying degrees of size and difficulty, with both lefts and rights.
Beach Tour with Snorkeling and Swimming The beaches along Guanacaste’s Golden Coast are not only some of the most beautiful in all of Costa Rica, they are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the entire world. We will spend an entire day visiting four different beaches, all of which show different aspects of this stunning coast. We will have snorkeling gear with us as well as inner tubes and boogie boards. We will be back in Tamarindo in time to see another fantastic sunset.
Rincon de la Vieja Adventure Tour This two day adventure tour includes four different activities over two days: horseback riding, rafting/tubing, zip lining and a visit to the hot/mud springs. The horseback riding tour takes us up in the National Park to a hidden waterfall where we can swim and jump into the refreshing mountain spring water. The zip lining tour is like no other in Costa Rica. The lines are hung throughout the length of a narrow river canyon with the platforms attached to the walls of the gorge. For the rafting tour, we snake down the class 3 Rio Colorado in large, individual inner tubes. It is a fast and fun way to cool off during a hot tropical afternoon. The last tour is a visit to the local hot springs and mud bath. The area has a number of volcanos and there is a great deal of hot water bubbling up from the ground. We will have time to relax and enjoy the warm to hot springs while coving ourselves with healing and therapeutic volcanic mud.
San Jose City Tour San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and the metropolitan area have over 2 million inhabitants, or about half the population of the entire country. It is a vibrant and crowded city that is the cultural and financial as well as geographical heart of the country. We will spend two days and two nights here and see all of the main sites. We will visit the National Museum, which pre-Columbian artifacts as well as the Gold Museum, with one of best collections of ancient gold carvings and jewelry. We will also visit the following: San Jose Cathedral, National Theater, Grand Hotel, Central Park and the cultural plaza. We will see the city both by foot and by public bus. We will also go out at night and see a show in a local theater and eat at some of the best restaurants in town.
Canyoning Tour with Repelling & Zip Lining Just outside the town of Turrialba is the beautiful Puente Vigas Canyon. It is here that we have our canyoning course which guarantees a memorable, safe, and thrilling afternoon of rappelling down waterfalls, zip-lining through the treetops, and climbing into the tropical canopy. We start the tour at the first waterfall where a guide will give safety instructions. After this, you are off...rappelling down four waterfalls, zip lining down four canopy cables, descending down two tall trees and walking across a 132 foot hanging bridge all giving you an unforgettable and exciting experience!
La Marta Preserve La Marta Wildlife Refuge is located near Pejibaye Valley, about an hour or so from Turrialba. The reserve covers 1,500 hectares (3200 acres) that include primary and secondary forest, a number of rivers, waterfalls and hills. It is a remote part of Costa Rica and one seldom visited by tourists.
In the mid-1800s a group of European adventurers purchased much of the land that now makes up the preserve. They created a community with a sawmill, dairy farm and small hydroelectric plant. They also planted a coffee and sugarcane plantation and built mills to process them. The site was utilized at least until the early 1900s, but soon after was abandoned. What happened to the original settlement and why it was deserted is not known, as no records survive.
In the early 1990s, ULACIT, The Latin American University of Science and Technology, was put in charge and the area was defined as a protected site. They started a program of reforestation, boundary surveying and the tracking of poachers. Later on they began to catalog all of the flora and fauna in and around the preserve. Today, La Marta houses a research station, where scientists and students in the fields of biology, history, land forestry, and traditional medicine live and work.
Night Hike in La Marta
Part of the work conducted by ULACIT is the cataloging of plants, animals and insects in La Marta Preserve. As is true in much of the tropical forest, new species are being found all of the time. After dinner we will depart our camp site in two groups, each lead by a local naturalist. During our hikes we will collect and analyze plants and insects to add to the catalog. In this way we will help with the university’s ongoing project to better understand and maintain the delicate ecosystem of the preserve.
Day Hikes in La Marta Because of La Marta’s varied topography there are a great many different aspects of the tropical rainforest to explore. We will have a full day in the preserve and will do different hikes in the morning and afternoon. We will be accompanied on these hikes by a local naturalist who will show us the biodiversity of the area.
In the morning we will do a jungle hike where we will explore the ruins left behind by the original settlers of the 1800s. Much of the technology used by these settlers was years ahead of anything else in Costa Rica at the time. Located at the confluence of two of the preserve’s rivers, the hydroelectric plant is in a perfect position to harness the energy of the rushing waters. We will also visit some of the area’s waterfalls before returning to camp for lunch.
In the afternoon, we will head in another direction up into the hills to the Mirador scenic overlook. Along the way we will stop along the Rio Gato and swim in the naturally formed swimming holes surrounded by pristine rainforest. Along the hike we will see plenty of birds and other animals. Once at the Mirador, we will have amazing views of the different valleys that make up the area of the preserve.
Rock Climbing & Mountaineering Tour
La Piedra de Cachi is one of Costa Rica’s most famous rock climbing destinations. It is an 80 foot high protrusion of rock that juts out of the surrounding rainforest. The face of the wall has six established climbs that vary in degree of difficulty. Qualified instructors will train our students in the proper use of the equipment and safety procedures. After practicing climbing techniques on small ascents we will begin to climb in earnest.
The first route is a 5.6, which is good for warming up and getting used to the rock face. Once a student reaches the top they will repel down and have some time to rest. We will continue down the line choosing routes that get increasingly difficult. For those students who have never rock climbed before, this is a great place to start. For those that are experienced, the more difficult routes will challenge and test you.
River Rafting on Rio Pacuare, Class III & IV
The Pacuare River is the preeminent rafting destination is all of Central America. The kayaking world championship was held there in 2013. It is also one of the most picturesque rivers in all of the world. With rapids up to Class IV it is a challenging and exhilarating one day adventure tour. The headwaters of the Rio Pejibaye are located in the mountains above La Marta Preserve. Once we arrive at the river we will meet our experienced bi-lingual guides who will introduce us to the rafting equipment and explain every rafting and safety command used on the river.
From the put in, students will have some time to practice while going down the first few small rapids. As the rapids increase in size, so does the adrenaline. We will stop part way down to leap off giant rocks into deep pools of water before continuing on. We will have lunch on the side of the river before heading down back down again. After a couple more hours on the river, we will meet back up with our transportation at the takeout point. From there we will head up to our Student Guesthouse near the airport for our last night in country.