What’s included & what to pack for Costa Rica
We take care of the details—to keep your planning easy.
As you prepare, if you have questions at all, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’re here to help.
- Your professional guides are always available
- Maximum 3:1 guest to guide ratio. Your guides are what make this trip possible. They are knowledgeable, experienced, organized, and friendly.
- All ground transportation: we’ll be waiting for you to pick you up at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) on day 1, and we’ll bring you back there on day 9. All transport throughout the trip is included in a professionally-driven passenger vehicle.
- 2 nights (first and last) at a 4-star hotel in San Jose, double occupancy. If you are travelling alone, we’ll pair you with another traveler of the same gender. If you would prefer your own room, the single supplement is $260 USD.
- 2 nights (night 5 and 6) at Nido Del Tigre Eco Camp – you get your own platform tent including mattress and bedding. We stop at this amazing rainforest camp along our river expedition and stay for a layover day.
- 4 nights guided camping (3 riverside on the Pacuare expedition and 1 at the Turrialba Volcano Base Camp)
- All group camping gear (kitchen, tarps, water filters, etc.), safety equipment, (first aid kits, sat phone, inReach device) and repair kits
- All amazing meals and snacks are included from day-2 breakfast through day-9 breakfast
- Breakfasts day 2 and 9: full spreads at 4-star hotel
- Dinner day 8: great restaurant in San Jose for our farewell dinner
- All expedition meals and snacks throughout the trip: you’ll eat well!
- At the three camps operated by our Costa Rican partners, Coast to Coast Adventures—Turrialba Volcano Base Camp, El Nido Del Tigre Eco-Camp, and Finca Pacuarito (lunch at end of river trip on day 8)—you’ll eat delicious and fresh Costa Rican food prepared by camp staff and your guides.
- On days when we’re doing self-supported packrafting, you take part in the cooking and we’ll show you how to pack and plan for expedition meals.
- Alcohol: We pack some beer and wine (enough for 2 drinks per person per dinner) for the 2 nights at the Nido del Tigre Eco Camp and the 1 night at the Turrialba Volcano Base Camp. Other than that, if you’d like something special or extra, we’ll stop at a super market on our way out of San Jose where you can buy beverages.
- We’ll ask you to let us know about your food preferences and needs on your pre-trip questionnaire.
What’s not included?
- Travel between your home and San Jose, Costa Rica
- Personal clothing and some camping gear; see below for what you need to bring
- Day 1 dinner in town: sample the local fare—you’ll have options from fine dining to fast food within walking distance of the hotel
- Travel Medical insurance and Trip Cancellation insurance
- Any costs associated with your emergency evacuation from the trip
- Optional: Guide gratuities – we recommend $12 to $24 USD per day that can be split amongst the guide team.
Equipment provided by Boreal River
If you have any of these items and prefer to bring your own, you can do that. Just let us know and we’ll discuss with you to make sure it’s right for this trip. Remember, everything needs to be expedition-worthy and lightweight.
- Expedition packraft and break-down paddle
- Whitewater helmet and flotation device
- Wind and waterproof splash jacket
- 50L Drybag for you to line your backpack with
- Hennessy Hammock, or lightweight expedition tent —you decide
- All group camping equipment such as cooking and eating utensils, dishes, group shelters, repair kits, maps, etc.
- All group safety equipment including first aid kits, satellite phone, and InReach device
What and how to pack
- A packing list is included with your Trip InfoPack (emailed to you when you book)
- You’ll be able to leave items like your personal travel clothes in secure storage during the expedition.
The Pacuare River is in the tropical rainforest on the Caribbean side of the continental divide. Being so close to the equator, temperatures don’t fluctuate too much throughout the year. The average daily high is 28°C / 82.4°F and the average nightly low is 19°C / 66.2°F.
Synthetic materials such as polyester, polypro, and nylon are great as they dry quickly. Merino wool is a natural fiber that dries quickly and works well too. Avoid cotton and down—once they get wet they won’t ever dry on this trip.
Bring two sets of clothes and footwear: one for on the water and hiking, the other for evenings at camp.
For hiking and paddling:
- Sunscreen and lip protection
- Water bottle, 1 litre
- Sunglasses with strap
- Prescription glasses with strap or contacts (bring an extra pair of glasses & a copy of your eyeglass prescription)
- A suspension backpack like this one. We recommend 100L or even more, so you can fit all your camping gear, food, and packrafting gear. Rent from us for $115.
- Several small stuff sacs, mesh bags, or lightweight drybags to organize your gear inside your backpack
- Small (10L or less) drybag to have accessible in your packraft—so you can have quick access to items while paddling (like snacks, which we’ll provide). Something like this or this or if you want to get fancy and have something totally dry, most of our guides have something like this
- Nice to have: 3 or 4 locking carabiners like these to clip things into your packraft or onto your backpack—carabiners with locking gates are much safer for using in and around whitewater
- Optional: insulated drink bottle like this one for keeping your coffee or tea with you on the river or trail. Must have 100% leakproof screw-on lid if you want this to work for you on the river 🙂
- An inflatable sleeping mattress* – high quality and lightweight like this. Rent for $35.
*You’ll need a sleeping mattress if you opt for a tent. If you opt for one of our Hennessey Hammocks, you don’t need a mattress.
- Expedition (lightweight) sleeping bag. Rent from us for $85 or make sure yours:
- is rated to 10 to 15°c (50 – 60°F)
- weighs under 900g (2 lbs) and is highly compressible
- is filled with synthetic material, not down.
Here’s an example of an appropriate sleeping bag for this trip.
- 1 pair of shoes (old running shoes or closed toe clogs—something to keep your feet safe and dry)
- 2 pairs of sports socks (Merino wool or synthetic)
- Undergarments (Merino wool or synthetic)
- Lightweight t-shirt (Merino wool or synthetic)
- Lightweight quick-drying long-sleeve shirt
- Lightweight ‘quick dry’ long pants
- Rain jacket
- Sun hat
- Small quick-dry pack towel
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Toiletry kit with biodegradable soap and shampoo as well as personal medications – pack everything into small spill-proof containers
- Large ziploc bags
- Optional: reading material, journal, binoculars
- Optional: camera (waterproof or with waterproof case)
- Optional: sandals or flip flops (these need to be in addition to closed shoes)
- Optional: sarong
For the river
- 1 pair of closed-toe shoes for the river. The ideal river shoe is lightweight and draining yet supportive enough for walking on portages, hiking on trails in the jungle, and scouting rapids, with a grippy sole. These can be lightweight running shoes or trail running shoes. There are some special models out there made for water use that drain well and dry quickly, just make sure they have a supportive and grippy sole.
Should you bring hiking boots? We’ll be hiking with heavy packs so some people prefer to bring hiking boots. Hiking boots are too heavy and clunky to wear in the river, so you’ll have to find a way to fit them in your backpack while paddling and switch to your river shoes. Most of the guides for this trip find that hiking in the jungle (on trails) with their closed-toe river shoes, rather than boots, works really well—but they are used to it.
Before the trip, you should try out hiking with a heavy pack with shoes and see how you feel about it. If you decide not to bring hiking boots, please train to strengthen your ankles—and get used to walking technical terrain in shoes.
- 2 pairs of thermal socks for the river (medium or lightweight, not too thick): wool, fleece, or synthetic
- Synthetic undergarments / swimwear / sports bra
- Bathing suit / surf shorts
- Lightweight synthetic t-shirt
- Top and bottom medium-weight synthetic or wool long underwear
- Long-sleeved neoprene ‘surf’ top or long-sleeved medium-weight fleece top
- Clothes for the trip home and a warm sweater / hoody for evenings in San Jose (we’ll store these securely while you’re on the expedition)
- Passport and travel documents
- Medical insurance cards or policies.
Your trip itinerary9 days of tropical nature, whitewater, and fun
What’s Included & What to PackYour planning is easy. We take care of all the details
Safety, Camping, Food & ActivitiesFind out what to expect about life in Costa Rica
Planning your TravelBook your adventure. Here’s your planning checklist
Trip Details at a Glance$4,575 USD tax included
9 days of tropical nature, culture, and whitewater adventure on the Rio Pacuare
Departs fromSan Jose, Costa Rica
Group size4 to 8 participants
- Feb. 20-28, 2021
- Mar. 6-14, 2021