Here’s a bit of a different Costa Rica vacation for you: Travel the entire country from coast to coast and north to south, but only under your own steam on mountain bikes, kayaks, rafts, zipline cables, and your feet. Sleep under the stars wherever you may be – mud, sand, grass field, rocky stream bed – but only for a few hours at a time. Brave the thrills of mosquitoes, venomous snakes, crocodiles, rain, boiling sun, and sweltering rainforest. Do that for about six days straight with three of your friends, but with the added adrenaline surge of trying to outrace 64 other groups like you all trying to get to the same final destination first.
Sound like fun? Maybe not for the average person, but if you are one of the world’s best endurance athletes, it’s right up your alley … or trail, as it were.
This unforgettable “vacation” is actually the 2013 Adventure Race World Championships (ARWC), coming to Costa Rica from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12. Sixty-five teams from 26 countries will compete for more or less 140 hours non-stop on adventure challenges, covering over 700 km from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and across Costa Rica border-to-border from Nicaragua to Panama. Teams of four competitors will traverse a wide variety of terrain, from long beach walks to high ascents over rugged mountains. They will raft, kayak (ocean and river), mountain bike, trek, climb and rappel, and cross canopy ziplines, among other events. Race organizers estimate that it will take the winning team approximately 120 hours in five to six days to finish. The race will be open a total of nine days (216 hours).
The epic adventure is also the fourth Adventure Race Costa Rica (ARCR), which joined the Adventure Race World Series (ARWS) in 2010. The AR World Series is an international circuit of premier adventure races that since 2001 culminate every year in the AR World Championships. To get to the ARWC, teams have competed all year long in eight adventure races in different countries, leading up to the finals in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is known for its beautiful beaches and rainforests, and is also gaining international fame for endurance sports. The “La Ruta de los Conquistadores” (The Route of the Conquistadors) top world endurance mountain bike race celebrated its 20th anniversary Oct. 24-26 in Costa Rica. Hundreds of the best mountain bikers and endurance racers have been crossing 192 miles (310 km) from the Pacific to the Caribbean over these three days.
In June, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín, at the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Costa Rica’s northern Guanacaste region, hosted the international North Face Endurance Challenge. Competitors ran 80k, 50k, 21k and 10k races over rugged ground at the volcano. The eco-hotel then staged the 100-mile (160 km) Rincón de la Vieja Challenge mountain bike race in August. The adventure race was the first of its kind in Costa Rica and Latin America to circumnavigate an active volcano.
Not an endurance athlete, but still looking for an adventure vacation in Costa Rica? Hacienda Guachipelín, a first-class eco-lodge, is a prime destination for adventure and nature lovers – offering canopy ziplines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, and thermal springs – all on a working horse and cattle ranch. Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín is located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s principal city of Liberia.
Article by Shannon Farley
Costa Rica is a popular, easy and fun destination for Friends’ Trips, especially for adventure travel enthusiasts. Planning a bachelor or bachelorette party? A guys’ trip? Girlfriends getaway? Or simply looking for some place different to go with your group of friends? Costa Rica delivers all you could want for a no-stress exotic vacation.
Get your friends, get your tickets, and escape to Costa Rica!
Top 5 Adventure Tours for a Costa Rica Friends’ Trip
1. Canopy Zip-Lines
2. Rafting Trip
3. Waterfall Rappelling / Canyoning
4. Jungle Hiking
All five of Costa Rica’s top adventure tours can be enjoyed at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Only 15.5 miles northeast of Guanacaste’s principal city of Liberia, the first-class ecotourism lodge is a leading adventure and nature tours vacation destination.
Article by Shannon Farley
Rincon de la vieja volcano is one of several active volcanoes in Costa Rica. This volcano reaches more than 6000 feet above sea level and it’s the third most active volcano in the country.
The first time I tried to hike up this volcano there was a storm that prevented us from going to the top. This second time we were determined to reach the crater. I did this hike together with Mel, a friendly guy from the UK and our guide Oscar. We started our hike early in the morning to make sure that we had enough time. The trail is well marked and easy to follow and because it’s in the National park you have a good chance of spotting some wildlife. On our way up we saw some spider monkeys, tapirs and many birds.
I would be lying if I said it was easy, this hike is no joke. It takes a lot of energy to get to the top. The trail is eight kilometers long and when you get to the final two kilometers it gets really steep. The amazing views you get on a clear day makes it all worth it though. From here you can see the Pacific Ocean and all the way to the Caribbean Sea. We reached the top but our goal was the crater so we had to keep walking further, now on a very narrow trail. By this time a cloud covered the top of the volcano so the weather changed quickly, from sunny to wet. The view of the crater was majestic even though it was cloudy, with its bright blue almost turquoise color. It was definitely bigger than I thought and we could see some activity. We stopped for lunch and then it was time to head back down. We ended up back at the car tired, happy and proud that we got to experience this highlight of Guanacaste.