This four-day trip combines the thrills of white-water rafting on the scenic Pacuare River and other outdoor adventures with the comfort, service and natural beauty of one of the world’s top eco lodges. It includes exposure to Costa Rica’s rainforests and indigenous heritage, exciting outdoor activities, and such unique experiences as a massage in a jungle spa and a meal in the canopy of a massive tropical tree. It also includes three nights in one of the Pacuare Lodge’s exquisite suites, where the design and decor complement the surrounding nature, and the sights, sounds and scents of the rainforest will tantalize your senses.
You’ll be picked up early in San Jose for the 2½-hour drive to our Pacuare River put-in, a trip that takes you past the country’s original capital of Cartago and verdant farmland, with a stop for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. After basic safety training on the riverbank, you’ll embark on a 60- to 90-minute white-water-rafting adventure down a stretch of one of the most scenic rivers in the world, past lush foliage and through exciting class II & III rapids. You’ll arrive at the Pacuare Lodge – Costa Rica’s premier eco-lodge – just in time for a delicious, farm-to-table lunch with a view of the river and rainforest. After lunch, settle into your exquisite suite: either the Jaguar Villa, Linda Vista or Canopy Suite. The Pacuare Lodge’s suites were designed to let guests experience the surrounding tropical rainforest without sacrificing comfort. Their simple yet elegant decor combines tasteful details such as hardwood floors and teak furniture with ample open areas for admiring the scenery. This afternoon, you can go on a guided walk through the forest to a waterfall and swimming hole, or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking views from your private terrace or spring-fed pool. After a delicious candlelight dinner and, perhaps, a drink at the lodge’s bar, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the soothing sound of the river.
The wake-up call is a symphony of bird songs, which means it’s time to get ready for a short hike to an ancient indigenous culture. Since time immemorial, the Cabecar Indians – Costa Rica’s largest tribe – have lived in harmony with the rainforest in the mountains near the Pacuare River. These indigenous people live in small family groups scattered across the jungle, which has helped them to maintain their customs and language. The Pacuare Lodge offers an opportunity to experience their way of life without invading their privacy. The lodge helped members of a clan in the nearby Nairi Awari Indigenous Reserve build a typical Cabecar Rancho (thatched house) a short hike from the lodge. The son of a local shaman will give you an introduction to his people’s culture and customs while you enjoy a delicious home-made breakfast. You’ll have the rest of the morning free to enjoy your suite and the lodge’s luxuriant grounds. During the afternoon, you can choose from two outdoor adventures: The Canopy Adventure Tour, which takes you sliding along cables between treetop platforms for a dramatic, bird’s-eye view of the rainforest canopy, or the Tropical Canyoning Tour, which includes an exhilarating rappel down a 30-meter (90-foot) rock wall in the lodge’s private rainforest reserve. You’ll be back in your suite with plenty of time to enjoy the colours and sounds of sunset, and get ready for another amazing dinner.
This day is dedicated to rejuvenation, with a ‘jungle renovation’ package at the Pacuare Lodge’s Jawa Juu Spa. The treatment begins with a combination of organic coconut exfoliation and a banana leaf wrap, followed by a 60-minute hot stone massage. As our spa professionals work their magic, the soothing sound of the nearby river will help you let go of any tension in your body. You can savour the resulting serenity with a leisurely day in your suite, or take one of the varied optional tours available, such as a rainforest hike or a visit to a nearby farming community. In the evening, you’ll dine like never before on a platform high in the branches of a massive Ceiba: a tree that was sacred to the ancient Mayans. The culinary adventure begins as you glide down a 130-meter cable to the platform, perched 60 feet (20 meters) above the ground, where your table awaits. You’ll enjoy a delicious meal in an unforgettable setting: candles shimmering like fireflies amidst the branches, the delicate rustle of a breeze in the surrounding foliage, the sound of the river below and the aroma of jungle blossoms.
After another hearty breakfast, you’ll depart by raft for a fun-filled day of white-water rafting (approximately 3½ hours over class III-IV rapids) down the Pacuare River’s most impressive section. Downriver from the lodge, the Pacuare winds its way through lush canyons and pristine rainforest, past crystalline waterfalls, emerald streams and an array of bird life, providing plenty to admire on the quiet stretches between rapids. A tasty picnic lunch will be served on the riverbank along the way, and you’ll be able to change into dry clothes at a private facility at the river take-out, before you’re driven back to San Jose.