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Woman trekking in Costa Rica on a trail to a volcano on the horizon

Trek Costa Rica 2023

Challenge level: 3 out of 5

When can I go?

16 November - 25 November 2023 On Sale
Duration 10 days

What does it cost?

Registration fee (payable today) Info $449
Remaining amount
Total commitment Info

Trek Costa Rica 2023

Experience Costa Rica in all its beauty, from the high mountains and volcanoes to the tropical cloud rainforests and rushing waterfalls to the remarkable Whale's Tail and the sparkling Pacific Coast. 

This unique trekking challenge immerses you in the most remote and beautiful parts of Costa Rica and gives you a chance to capture the island's true nature and culture, whilst conquering the feat of a lifetime.

Starting with a climb up the Turrialba Volcano, we'll cool off in a waterfall and gain insight into the local lifestyle as we trek through tiny farming communities.

Then, we'll enter the tropical rainforest on a remote trail shared with the Cabécar indigenous people. We'll cross swing bridges over deep canyons and valleys, and look and listen out for a variety of wildlife, including toucans, frogs and sloths.

Eager for more, we'll head to the Talamanca Mountain Range and embark on climbing one of its highest peaks. The trek may be tough, but with a stunning trail through the cloud forest that bursts with wildlife and gives us sublime panoramas, we’ll be well rewarded for the ache in our legs.

Our challenge finishes at the turquoise shores of the Pacific Ocean, where we'll trek to another stunning waterfall and walk a stretch of the coast to the Whale’s Tail. This extraordinary strip of land not only resembles a whale's tail — it also gives us a chance to look out for humpback whales! Here, we celebrate our awesome achievement and watch the sunset over the ocean.

Want more time to prepare? Join our group for Trek Costa Rica 2024.

Your itinerary

Days 1&2
UK – San José

Our adventure begins at the airport in London, where we meet as a group and catch our flight to Costa Rica. Touching down in San José on Day 2, we’ll meet our awesome local Challenge Leader and transfer to our hotel.

The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish, kicking back at the hotel or taking a stroll in the local area.

In the evening, we reunite at the hotel and our Challenge Leader gives us an exciting briefing on the trek ahead. Then, we tuck into our first group dinner of delicious local cuisine.

Day 3
San José – Turrialba Volcano National Park | approx. 8km (+170m)

Rising to a fresh breakfast at the hotel, we have an approx. two-hour transfer in our comfortable private coach, to the slopes of the magnificent Turrialba Volcano National Park. Our short but tough trek undulates through a variety of local farms and gives us a feel for the Costa Rican culture.

Rich, fertile soil gives life to lush fields with expansive views of the 3,328m volcano looming ahead. Hiking on steep terrain off the beaten tourist track, we stop for a tasty, packed lunch along the way.

We finish our trek at a beautiful waterfall, deep in a river-carved canyon. Having no doubt worked up a sweat from our trek, you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the fresh water and make the most of the photo opportunity. Then, we meet our coach and transfer down the volcano to our accommodation. Once checked in, you have time to freshen up and relax before our group dinner this evening.

Day 4
Turrialba Volcano National Park – Santubal – San Joaquin - Turrialba Volcano National Park | approx. 10km (+350m)

After breakfast at the hotel, we begin our day with an approx. one-hour transfer to the sleepy, farming community of Santubal. Then, we set off along a 4x4 track, which quickly turns into a slow-going trail through the rainforest.

Although our trek is tough, the spectacular rainforest flora and impressive views of the Pacuare River Valley below are well worth the ache. We also share the trail with the Cabécar indigenous people travelling between settlements, so it’s an excellent chance to gain insight into their harmonious lifestyle.

Looking out for wildlife as we go, we can hear and spot all sorts of animals and insects, including toucans, poison-arrow frogs, and tarantulas! We stop for a picnic lunch in the rainforest and finally, reach a sturdy swing bridge over the Pacuare River.

Meeting our coach on the other side, we transfer to our accommodation and settle down with a group dinner and a great night’s rest.

Day 5
Providencia – San Gerardo | approx. 12km (+650m)

Wrapping up in warmer clothes this morning, we transfer after an early breakfast to a new location, high in the Talamanca Mountain Range. We’ll soon be glad for the cooler climate zone here as we embark on a challenging climb up the mountain.

From the secluded community of Providencia, we trek along quiet county roads that get smaller and wilder as they turn into trails through the cloud forest. Roaming deeper into the forest, we hear the rush of a river and cross a swing bridge over one of the raging torrents.

This leads to a gentle 600m ascent on more picturesque forest tracks that take us all the way to our accommodation in the small village of San Gerardo.

After another rewarding day’s hike, we satisfy our appetites with dinner before retiring for the night.

Day 6
San Gerardo – Cerro Frio – South Pacific Coast | approx. 10km (+1,330m)

Prepare for our toughest day’s trek! Fuelling up with a fresh breakfast at our hotel, we climb from the valley as the cool sun rises overhead. Before long, we enter the cloud forest, which bursts with tropical. Along with toucans, snakes, frogs and butterflies, we may glimpse brightly coloured hummingbirds and quetzals.

Already a fair way up the mountain, today’s hike will take us to the summit of Cerro Frio at a whopping 3,440m, one of the highest peaks in the area. We ascend on steep trails through the rainforest and take plenty of breaks to rehydrate.

As we draw closer to the top, the cloud forest shrinks and gives way to the much smaller vegetation and open spaces of the Costa Rican paramo. Also known as the Talamanca paramo, this vast region of grassland and shrubland can only be found above 3,000m–3100m and with fewer trees around us, we’re treated to spectacular panoramas across the mountain range and the forested valleys below. On a clear day, we can see the Pacific Ocean.

At such a high altitude, it can be quite windy and cold here, so after taking some triumphant pictures, we give our legs a well-deserved rest on an approx. two-hour transfer to the coast. We end the day in much warmer temperatures with a well-deserved group dinner and a night at our accommodation on the Pacific Coast, as we settle in for a sunset dinner at the beautiful Cuna del Angel hotel.

Day 7
South Pacific Coast – Nauyaca Waterfalls – The Whale’s Tale

After yesterday’s climb, you’ll be pleased to know that our final day is much gentler, with two shorter treks at the balmy South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Rising to a fresh breakfast, we set off on a trek to the Nauyaca Waterfalls.

Nestled in a well-preserved Nature Park owned by the Don Lulo family, the area also gives us fantastic wildlife-spotting opportunities. Watch out for sloths and monkeys! We walk along sweet-smelling trails lined with mango and guava trees and enjoy the warm air of the South Pacific.

Soon, we can hear the roar of three waterfalls, and we visit the most spectacular of the three, boasting deep swimming holes and plenty of space to sit and admire the view. After a picnic lunch, we head to the beach for our final walk along the white-sand, palm-lined beaches of the Pacific. Sparkling sea views accompany us as we make our way through the Marino Ballena National Park, home to mangroves, rainforest and an area called the Whale’s Tail, our finishing point.

The Whale’s Tail, also known as the Punta Uvita Tombolo, is famous not only for its formation of rocks and sand, which at low tide, resembles a whale’s tail but also for its humpback whale-spotting opportunities. We stop here and keep our eyes peeled for whales as we celebrate our completion of this incredible Costa Rican challenge. This evening, we toast our achievement over a fantastic celebration dinner.

Day 8
South Pacific Coast – Free Day

Today is free for you to spend as you please, relaxing at the hotel and/or exploring the local area and its many palm-lined beaches.

Alternatively, you can jump on one of the awesome optional activities and excursions we’re arranging for a small additional price. We will send you all the exciting details closer to the challenge.

To give you maximum flexibility on your fee day, only breakfast is included, so please take lunch and dinner as chances to try out the wonderful local restaurants.

Days 9 & 10
South Pacific Coast – San José – London

This morning is yours to lie in and relax at the hotel or on the beach before we transfer to the San José airport this afternoon. Here, we bid goodbye to our local challenge leader and catch our overnight flight back to the UK.

Touching down in London on Day 10, we part ways at the airport and you make your own way home.

Book my place

Funding options

Self Funded

Pay the registration fee (£399) and challenge costs (£2,595) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £475).


Pay the balance

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £399, which is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Pay the challenge costs of £2,595 yourself 12 weeks before your challenge starts.
  • The challenge costs cover flights (excluding airport taxes and fuel surcharge, capped at £475), food, accommodation, transfers and luggage transportation, entry fees, guides, and medical support, including a UK-registered doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Please also remember to budget for airport taxes and fuel surcharge. These won't be covered in the challenge costs so you'll need to pay them separately (capped at £475).
  • Choose to fundraise as much as you can for the charity, hospice or animal sanctuary of your choice or make a personal donation.
Book my place


Pay your registration fee (£399) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £475), and fundraise £5,190 or more for your chosen charity.


Minimum sponsorship target

  • Pay a non-refundable registration fee of £399, which is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
  • Fundraise the minimum sponsorship target of £5,190 for a charity or animal sanctuary of your choice at least 12 weeks before your challenge.
  • Providing you have raised the funds, the charity you are supporting will pay the challenge costs of £2,595 on your behalf.
  • The challenge costs (£2,595) cover flights (excluding airport taxes and fuel surcharge, capped at £475), food, accommodation, transfers and luggage transportation, entry fees, guides, and medical support, including a UK-registered doctor with expedition medicine training.
  • Please also remember to budget for airport taxes and fuel surcharge. These won't be covered in the challenge costs so you'll need to pay them separately (capped at £475).
  • Please note that not all charities are happy to commit to the minimum sponsorship option. If you choose this option, we ask you to contact the charity you want to support. If they are not happy with the minimum sponsorship option, you can choose another charity or self fund your challenge.
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Trek Costa Rica 2023

Our five-day charity trek in Costa Rica is not about living in the gym. Loads of people who sign up for our non-competitive charity challenges have low levels of fitness when they register. The point is to train, do your best, and reach your fitness goal while making a big difference for the charity that means the most to you.

That said, we strongly recommend you train for the trekking challenge. We'll face long days trekking in humidity, encounter steep climbs in the mountains and tackle a lot of uneven terrains. Please invest in a pair of quality hiking boots with ankle support to wear during your training and on your trek in Costa Rica, as these are essential for walking on uneven terrain. We also recommend incorporating hills in your training treks.

Our supportive challenge guides and community spirit will help you conquer the trek of a lifetime. You're also likely to improve your mental health and well-being.

Once you register for Trek Costa Rica 2023, we'll send you a realistic training plan. This builds up gradually over time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we depart for Costa Rica. You can also check out our top trekking tips here and our indoor training ideas for the days you don't feel like facing the weather!

Everyone who is 18 years old or over by the departure date is more than welcome to join this trekking challenge in Costa Rica. We'll have adults of all ages taking part to achieve something awesome for charity — one of the many things that make our challenges so special!

If you would like someone under the age of 18 to join you on our Costa Rica trek, please contact us to discuss (01590 646410 or bookings@dream-challenges.com, Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm).

Your non-refundable registration fee of £399 per person is used to administer the challenge.

Your challenge costs of £2,595 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the sponsorship option) cover:

  • Your flights (not including airport taxes and the fuel surcharge, capped at £475).
  • Meals throughout the challenge in Costa Rica.
  • Accommodation.
  • All transfers and luggage transportation in Costa Rica.
  • A team of awesome, outdoor remote first aid trained guides and Dream Challenges staff.
  • Full support from the Dream Challenges office in the lead-up to and during your challenge.
  • Medical support, including a UK doctor with expedition medicine training, who will accompany us throughout the challenge.
  • Your Trek Costa Rica 2023 medal.

The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your charity trek in Costa Rica, and we will support you all the way. We're always on hand to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.

Once you've signed up, we will send you regular email updates with everything you need to know about your overseas challenge, including the itinerary, an example insurance policy, the structure of an average trekking day, a full kit list, and a realistic training plan to help you get fit for the challenge. The training programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.

We'll also send you motivational resources, training advice, and seasonal fundraising ideas.

During the trek, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group at all times, along with a team of outdoor remote first-aid trained challenge guides.

In addition to paying your registration fee (£399) and either paying your challenge costs (£2,595) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target (£5,190), you'll need to budget for your:

  • Tourist visa for Costa Rica.
  • Travel to and from the airport in the UK.
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • Gratuities.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Your lunch on Day 2 and your lunch and dinner on Day 8.

You will need a pair of quality walking boots with ankle support — these are essential for trekking on uneven terrain. Please also bring a 2-litre water bottle.

We'll supply you with a full kit list for your overseas trekking challenge well before we leave for Costa Rica.

Yes of course! If you would like to extend your stay in Costa Rica, please let us know at least 17 weeks before our departure date and we can arrange this for you.

The easiest way to get in touch is by emailing us at bookings@dream-challenges.com or calling us on 01590 646410 (9am - 5pm Monday - Friday)

Our Dream Challenges are renowned for their camaraderie, but we find that the strongest bonds are formed in smaller groups. We'll travel in a group of around 20-30 people and you're likely to make friends for life! 

Travel Insurance
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance upon registering for this challenge, covering health, accident, loss, and repatriation. We advise that you arrange personal travel insurance as soon as you can after you register to ensure you have coverage for your booking as well as the challenge itself.

Dream Challenges has details of n example policy that provides appropriate cover for this type of activity and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19. We will send you the details once you have registered. You can also call us for details on 01590 646410 during our office hours (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday).

You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Costa Rica.

Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your challenge.

It is your responsibility to obtain a visa for Costa Rica if you need one. Ensure that you apply and obtain your visa in plenty of time. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/costa-rica

As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.

We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.

NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home

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