Experience the best of Costa Rica with this 8-Day/7-Night Volcano-Jungle-Beach vacation in Costa Rica! Spend time in the three most sought-after areas of this diverse country! Get your adrenaline pumping at the Arenal Volcano with rafting and canyoning. Then, see the Monteverde cloud forest and finish off your vacation with a fun visit to the beach at Playa Samara having plenty of time to try ocean activities like stand up paddling and snorkeling!
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Costa Rica Weekend Warrior in Arenal
San Jose - Arenal Volcano
Starting at $599
Do the best adventures in Costa Rica every waking moment of these 4 days and 3 nights in Costa Rica on the Weekend Warrior Escape! Explore the wilderness of Arenal Costa Rica on this unforgettable all-inclusive Costa Rica vacation package! Spend your days white water rafting, rappelling down tropical waterfalls, hiking, kayaking and soaking in relaxing hot springs heated by the volcano! The perfect vacation for couples, groups of friends - and even adventurous families!
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Costa Rica Pure Adrenaline Tour
Arenal - Monteverde - Playa Samara
Starting at $975
Get your adrenaline pumping in tropical paradise! Costa Rica is a natural playground because of its rushing rivers, vast coastlines, lush rainforest, tropical waterfalls and fascinating volcanoes. Rappel down waterfalls and mountain bike through rough & tough terrain at the Arenal Volcano. Head to the Monteverde Cloud Forest by boat to experience a zipline adventure of a lifetime! Finish off this exciting vacation with a few days at the beach with opportunities to try stand up paddling or ocean kayaking!
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The First Adventure Alone as a New Parent! by Tui Frye, Events Planner
I have a soon-to-be three year old daughter and I also have a confession to make. We have never really left her with anyone. There have been a few occasions that we have left her with friends or family for very brief bits of time, but other than that she has always either been with me, her Dad or both of us. And it was time. Most kids her age are in regular day care and/or accustomed to being away from their parents for at least a few hours at a time. I think about all those mom things – like she needs to learn to follow instructions, take turns and be independent. Honestly we never made the opportunity. That is until a few weeks ago…
Hubby and I were given the chance to go white water rafting. Together! Yes, we thought. It had been a long time since we had been together. At least without a toddler along. Oh, but wait… the toddler. She probably couldn't go? What would we do with her? As it turns out Desafio offers a free art class on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for kids of employees. It is taught by another Desafio employee, Selina who studied art and is artist herself. Seriously? We didn't have an excuse or reason not to go? And she would be in a class setting, expanding her horizons? And she would come home with an art project? No more convincing was necessary. We were in.
On the morning of our tour, I was admittedly getting pretty nervous. We went to the Desafio headquarters in downtown La Fortuna and we were picked up with our fellow rafters to travel to the Rio Balsa. We had a 10 am tour time and by 10:04 we were on the road. It was about a 45 minute drive through some really quaint little Costa Rican towns and acres of farmlands, plantations and jungle. All of it still takes my breath away!
We reached the launch point and found a few other vans had arrived before us and people already geared up in life jackets and helmets and ready to go. There were actually bathrooms (thank goodness!) and I changed into my bathing suit. Then we got into our life jackets and joined the group as they were starting the safety talk and instructions. I must say, I felt much better after the talk as they gave us very clear and concise instructions. I figured I would be able to remember all of it. We were then grouped off by who we came with into groups of 4-5 people and each assigned a guide.
We were paired with a really cool couple from California. They had rafting experience so I was very happy to have them along in our boat. We were first into the boat and our guide gave us a few minutes to get used to the raft and our paddles and how to move together. He was fun and that immediately calmed me down a bit. We all seemed to get the hang of paddling together and we were off.
I was impressed with the fact that they also had several safety kayakers along. That made me feel better too. I surprised myself as I was actually amazingly confident as we started paddling down the river and quickly met our first set of rapids. It was such a blast!! It was more adrenaline than I had experienced in a long time - and I loved it!
What I really liked about the river is that we got breaks in between the rapids to really look around and take in the amazing surroundings. Along the river we saw sloths, birds, grazing cows, swimming families and pure, unadulterated rain forest.
After a bit we stopped at a rocky beach and the guides cut up fresh pineapple and watermelon. It was just the break we needed, at just the right time and totally delicious! We climbed back in the boats and headed back down the river. After a few more excellent rapids, we made our way to another rocky beach and all climbed out of out rafts. We showered and dried off (I loved that they provided towels!) and all loaded back up into our vans. We then drove about 30 minutes back toward the town of La Fortuna to a little treasure called La Casona for lunch.
The day was already great, but this portion of the tour, we were not expecting and turned out to be a highlight for us! It is the country estate of a former Costa Rican president and is a totally authentic Costa Rican experience. We were greeted with little shots of home-made moonshine with fresh tropical fruit that was yummy. Hola! We then headed over to a full buffet of totally traditional home-cooked Costa Rican food (on wood burning stoves I might add). I didn't realize how hungry I was but I devoured every bite on my plate. While we ate we sat on a large deck that overlooked another amazing river and grazing horses and watched dozens of colorful tropical birds coming to eat from the feeders nearby. We also really enjoyed getting to know our fellow rafters. It was all just magical.
After lunch we were treated to little pieces of cajeta (which I liken to Costa Rican fudge) and fresh made coffee and more little shots of home-made coffee liquor. It was so fulfilling after the rafting. The icing on the cake was after that we got to go and see how sugar cane was pressed and taste fresh cane juice. It was really authentic from beginning to end and we thoroughly enjoyed the last part of the tour!
Now, I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't beginning to desperately miss the little one at this point in the day. The whole day was very busy and kept my mind off the fact that we had left her. But I wasn't sure what we would find when we got home and if she would ever forgive us... We were pleasantly surprised when we walked in and she barely looked up from what she was doing. Once she realized we were there, she proudly presented us with a beautiful bottle she had made. I would say the day was a total success as we all went home happy and exhausted. Thanks Desafio!
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Canyoning in Costa Rica: The Perspective of a Professional Canyoneerby Eliomar Durán Vargas, Canyon Leader for Desafío Adventure CompanyLost Canyon Adventures Canyoning: A Multi-Sport Tour with Rappelling, Guided Zip Line Rappels, Down Climbing, Jumping and Hiking -- The Lost Canyon has it all!The other day, Christine and Suresh, the owners of Desafio, asked me to write a super-detailed description of our Costa Rica Canyoning tour at our Lost Canyon - they said "please give us your perspective of the Lost Canyon Canyoning near Arenal Costa Rica that explains every single step... everything you enjoy about the canyon and about doing canyoning in Costa Rica... everything you know clients have fun doing in the Lost Canyon... don't miss a beat!"I am the Canyon Leader for Desafío Adventure Company and I am pretty sure I could do the Lost Canyon with my eyes closed because I have been guiding the canyon for more than 5 years. I knew it would be easy for me to write about my canyoning experience especially because my team and I have invented a lot of fun, new things for clients to do while they are with us canyoning near the Arenal Volcano.For me, any canyoning trip in Costa Rica is considered an #EnviableExperience. But let me tell you about the Lost Canyon.This Costa Rica canyoning trip starts off by having one of the entertaining bus guides from my team picking up clients at their hotels. Along the way, he explains the dynamics of the tour and answering client questions. Sometimes our clients are a little nervous and pretty excited about the tour, and ask questions about canyoning in Costa Rica:Q: How long is the Lost Canyon canyoning tour in Arenal Costa Rica?A: About 4 hours including transport, gearing up, time in the canyon and lunch.Q: How long does it take to get to the Lost Canyon Base Camp from La Fortuna?A: About 30 minutes. We travel up the side of the mountain in our cool "Jungle Limos!"Q: How high are the canyoning waterfall rappels?A: We have the highest rappels of any commercial canyoning site in Costa Rica. Two of our Costa Rica waterfalls in the Lost Canyon are over 50-meters or 150 ft high each.Q: What are the general logistics of the Lost Canyon Canyoning tour?A: After we pick you up at your hotel and then change from the minivan to our famous Desafío "Jungle Limos" for a fun 15 minute ride up the side of the mountain. Then we get our gear at our Lost Canyon Ops Center (we call it our Canyon House) and head into the Lost Canyon. The tour takes about 2 hours and then after the tour, we end up hiking back up to the Lost Canyon Ops Center that has showers and changing rooms.Q: Where will we eat and what kind of food is served? What if I have special dietary needs?A: You'll have a delicious homecooked meal called the "Warrior's Buffet" back at the Lost Canyon Ops Center. It's home-made, fresh, all-you-can-eat, traditional Costa Rican food - perfect for Vegetarians and those looking for Gluten Free options!So... Once customers get to the Lost Canyon Ops Center, the guide directs tourists to the locker room area where clients can leave personal belongings, get to know the rest of the guide team and use the restrooms. We then proceed to get clients geared up in high-quality equipment: helmets, carabiners, harnesses, and Figure 8s. When the group is ready, we jump back on the Jungle Limos again to reach the top of the mountain, where the tour begins. Once on top of the mountain, your instructor will discuss Deafio's two most important rules: 1) Be Safe! and 2) Have Serious Fun!Our canyoning team has added another rule: 3) GET WET!They will explain step-by-step, the how-to of canyoning and take a photo of you and your canyon crew getting psyched up for your adventure.Here is how your Costa Rica canyoning trip will unfold: we start with our smallest rappel of about 25 feet - you will be assisted by two guides - one at the top to help you ease your way down the rappel and one at the bottom doing the belay (holding the "brake" rope.)This first rappel called "The Baby" gives you the opportunity to get a feel for your equipment and learn how to slow and stop and proper foot positioning, etcYou'll feel a bit of an adrenaline rush once you finish that first easy rappel and then we walk about 5 minutes to finally arrive at the second rappel we call "The Big Boy" waterfall in the Lost Canyon.This second rappel is about 150-feet high and is combined with a technique called a guided or assisted abseil (a diagonal rappel that zips you down 30-50 meters away from the base of the waterfall.)This waterfall rappel is divided into 2 sections: First, rappel half-way down the waterfall wall and then let go of the ropes and zip down to the bottom of the canyon. People love this exhilarating drop.This Arenal canyoning tour is not just rappelling down waterfalls, it is a full-body workout. You will need to use your whole body to climb your way through the canyon.After each rappel we get to walk through this jungle obstacle course and use our entire body to help us through. There are large rocks, small waterfalls, and pools of water, all surrounded by pristine rainforest.One of the best parts is the trail is called "The Matrix," a two meter drop into a pool of fresh crystalline water. If you are not wet already...prepare to get wet here! We then reach Surprise #2: our famous "Tsunami!" I won't go into too much detail - you'll have to experience this fun water feature for yourself!Get ready for another 3 minute-walk or so to reach the third rappel which is about 22 feet high called the "Big Mama" waterfall.After finishing the third rappel, we walk again through the canyon for a few more minutes taking in the incredible natural surroundings before finally arriving at fourth and final rappel called the "Big Daddy."This is the highest waterfall of about 220 feet in height. This rappel will also combine rappelling the rock wall in the waterfall for about 20 feet and then finish off with the guided-rappel zipline -- tourists will be zipping through the air for most of the descent and have the opportunity to have a panoramic view of the canyon and the waterfall.You've made it!Once we finish the last rappel, we will walk about 25 minutes to make our way out of the canyon. Don't rush during your hike back up; relax and enjoy the challenge of this pretty steep hike and take in the beauty of the surrounding jungle.When we reach our Canyon House, we will give you a towel, a plastic bag to put your wet clothes in and opportunity to use the rustic outdoor showers and change your clothes.Once you've freshened up, you've probably worked up quite an appetite. You'll appreciate our Warrior Buffet, an all-you-can-eat natural, home-cooked meal! During your meal, the Canyon Paparrazzi team will show you the photos they took of you during your tour and you'll have a chance to purchase photos to show everyone back home.Finally when you are done eating, and you're ready to go back to your hotel, be sure to grab all of your belongings and a guide will drop you off. This is where you say "good-bye" to the rest of the guides! You descend down the side of the mountain on our Jungle Limos and then change to our minivan with FREE WiFi so you can immediately share your #EnviableExperience with your friends and family back home on your favorite social media (don't forget to #DesafioCR!!)And speaking of more Desafío Adventures... after you've done the Lost Canyon, next time you will have to try our new Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Canyoning Tour in the Arenal area - Gravity Falls is Costa Rica's MOST Extreme tour!I look forward to being your guide!Eliomar rappelling in the Lost Canyon.
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Carlos plants a tree, falls in love with rafting
by Carlos Oviedo – Desafio Finance Manager
The first Desafio tour I did was the Rio Balsa right after I started working with the company in 2009. I was supposed to go out with the normal rafting tour that most of our clients go out on each morning, but I accidentally slept late that day!
I got lucky and found out that there was a community group of high school students from the local La Fortuna school going out for day of rafting and tree planting that I could go with instead.
I went out with a group of about 20 students and we stopped about half way in Santa Clara for some fresh fruit and do the tree planting. It was really funny because some of the Costa Rican high school students tried to ride some of the cows in the nearby field. I also remember one of my shoes fell apart and I had to spend the rest of the day with no shoes! We went to the river house for lunch after and the food was delicious.
I remember that my guide that day was Cuca and he was a lot of fun. He even let me try to guide the raft at a calm spot in the river. It was that day that I fell in love with both the company and the sport of rafting. After that, I really turned my attention to practicing the sport and have enjoyed learning how to both raft and even kayak the river solo. In fact, to this day, when we are really busy or don't have enough guides, I have gone out to cover the safety kayaks on the rafting tours! It is a nice break from the office sometimes.
To learn more about the Balsa River click here. And if you are interested in community activities and tree planting, be sure to contact our office here.
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