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8-Day Lodge-to-Lodge Golfo Dulce Sea Kayaking Trip

An Epic lodge-to-Lodge Adventure Circumnavigating Costa Rica´s Tropical Fjord

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica
Sea Kayaking Costa Rica
Sea Kayaking Costa Rica
Sea Kayaking Costa Rica
AVAILABLE:
ACTIVITY:
ACCOMMODATIONS:
GROUP SIZE:

November through May, + July & August

Beginner- Intermediate

Comfortable Hotels & Ecolodges (all featuring en suite bathrooms)

4-14 Guests,
Min Age: 12

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica

AVAILABLE:

November through May, + July & August

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica

ACTIVITY:

Beginner- Intermediate

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Comfortable Hotels & Ecolodges (all featuring en suite bathrooms)

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica

GROUP SIZE:

4-14 Guests,
Min Age: 12

Our 8-Day Lodge-to-Lodge Sea Kayaking Adventure is the premier sea kayak adventure in Costa Rica. You’ll be circumnavigating the northern region of the Golfo Dulce,  a paddler’s dream world of dramatic contrasts where emerald green peaks meet turquoise waters.  Our 8-Day Lodge-to-Lodge Sea Kayaking Adventure is all-inclusive and takes care of you from when you arrive in Costa Rica to when you depart.  Join one of our trips and enjoy one of the world’s best sea kayaking and wildlife-watching destinations. Start & End Location: San Jose International Airport (SJO).

Highlights

  • Off-the-beaten-path nature-destination, teeming with wildlife & breathtaking scenery.
  • Paddle protected ocean waters with dolphins and turtles.
  • Explore deserted beaches, isles, lush rainforests and ancient mangrove forests.
  • You’ll stay at a comfortable and conveniently located hotel in San Jose (for your arrival and evening before departure) and two unique waterfront, family-run ecolodges. Each property serves tasteful meals made with fresh, natural ingredients.
  • Start: San José, Costa Rica  End: San José, Costa Rica 

Kayaking route for the 8-Day Lodge-to-Lodge Golfo Dulce Sea Kayaking Trip. Click here to view full screen map.

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Itinerary

DAY 1. A SEA KAYAKING COSTA RICA REP WILL MEET YOU AT SJO AIRPORT

Today has been designated as your arrival day! You may arrive at any time on this day. A Sea Kayaking Costa Rica representative will meet you at San Jose International Airport (S.J.O.) and take you to a conveniently located hotel only a 10-minute from the airport. Here, you'll have the chance to relax and unwind from your international travels.

Accommodation: Country Inn and Suites by Radisson

No meals included today

DAY 2. SEA KAYAKING ORIENTATION AND PADDLE

The day begins with a traditional Costa Rican breakfast, including fresh fruit, rice and beans, and excellent local coffee. Your guide-driver will meet you this morning and sweep you away on a beautiful drive from the Central Valley highlands down to the Osa Peninsula, along the Pacific coastline and the country's best and newest road. We will drive by villages, rainforests, stunning coastlines, and traditional plantations. After a morning of travel, we will reach El Chontal Ecolodge, located right on the banks of the Golfo Dulce. After settling into your wooden jungle cabin, we will serve a delicious lunch. Following lunch and a brief rest, we'll meet for the kayak orientation & gear fitting, followed by our first paddle of the trip, exploring the nearby mangrove forest and coast. Dinner is served after sunset in the lodge's family's house.

Accommodation: El Chontal Ecolodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3. EXPLORING THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GULF

It is yet another beautiful morning on the Golfo Dulce, with its many tropical birds and sunrise over the water just a few steps from your cabin. Today, you will explore the Esquinas River on the other side of the Gulf. Our motorboat will take us up the river and drop us off. Then, with the help of the gentle currents, you'll float/paddle out again to the river mouth, from where we ride the motorboat back to the lodge.

After this full day, we will enjoy well-deserved cold drinks on the boat ride. This afternoon, you'll visit a local family's forest property, famous for its abundance of sloths. We will walk for 2 hours on their forest trails, looking for these iconic creatures and other wildlife. This evening, we will have a delicious dinner after sunset.

Accomodation: El Chontal Ecolodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4. PADDLE TO OUR NEXT LODGE, STOPPING ALONG THE WAY

After another glorious breakfast at our host's home this morning, we'll pack up to circumnavigate the northwest portion of the Sweet Gulf, the calmest and most beautiful of this body of water. We will put on the water paddling out of Rincon Bay, following the coast south around Punta Palmas, and reach the village of Playa Blanca. This 12 Km (7 miles) paddle will take us by the Mangroves Forest of the Rincon River. Along our route, we will stop on deserted beaches for a rest, snack, or swim. This water trail is perfect for observing sea turtles and avian wildlife, mainly vast colonies of beach-dwelling scarlet macaws. At Playa Blanca, we'll stay at Lapamar Ecolodge, a family-owned and operated property offering spacious wooden cabins, each with a private bathroom. Our host will serve our meals at the centrally located open rancho, starting with a freshly prepared lunch. Depending on the tides, we'll paddle out again in the afternoon, visiting the nearby mangrove of Barrigones Creek. This is a prime location for spotting wildlife, including coatis, monkeys, squirrels, and sloths. If the tide is not right, we will walk in the nearby rainforest and village. Dinner is prepared with fresh local ingredients and is served right after sunset.

Accommodation: Lapamar Ecolodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5. DAY VISIT TO CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK

On this special day, we will take a break from paddling and embark on a unique journey to Corcovado National Park, the crown jewel of the Costa Rican National Park System. After a 20-minute drive to Puerto Jimenes, we will embark on a 25-minute boat ride that will have us exit the Golfo Dulce. Upon entering the open Pacific Ocean, you will travel another excellent hour along the shores of the Osa Peninsula until we reach the heart of Corcovado National Park. Once at the Sirena Ranger Station, your knowledgeable naturalist guide will lead you on one of the six wildlife trails surrounding Sirena Station. Your guide's expertise will help you spot as much flora & fauna as possible while explaining about the animals, plants, and trees you see. At noon, you'll return to the station for a delicious lunch and rest on the beautiful wooden deck looking over grassy fields, the jungle, and the ocean in the background. After lunch, you will continue the guided hiking, exploring the other trails for more natural encounters. We will head to Sirena Beach in the early afternoon to board our boat, ride back to Puerto Jimenez, and then drive back to Lapamar Lodge. Enjoy the beach late afternoon or relax in your private cabin; dinner is served after sunset.

Accommodation: Lapamar Ecolodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

6. SET OFF IN OUR KAYAKS TO REACH THE MOGOS ISLES

Early this morning, our host, Don Alvaro, will brew fresh coffee for us and prepare a hearty breakfast to fuel our 15 km-long (9-mile) stretch to the Mogos Isles. This journey is one of the prime opportunities to spot dolphins and other marine life. This is also the final and longest paddling stretch of the trip. On this journey, you will paddle emerald-green waters along a rainforest-lined coast. On route, you will stop on beautiful deserted beaches. After a well-deserved break at the Isles, we'll continue crossing the Golfo Dulce, surrounding Punta Rincón, and reaching the familiar El Chontal Ecolodge. After today's amazing last and longest paddling stretch, we'll wash up and enjoy the last homemade lunch at El Chontal.

After lunch, we will visit a local organic farm to learn about their sustainable practices and crops. The visit, however, will focus on the farm's organic cacao crop, and we will learn about the stages of the traditional production of delicious high-percentage chocolate. The best part of the tour is tasting the organic fruit and chocolate fondue!

Accommodation: El Chontal Ecolodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7. TAKE A SCENIC FLIGHT BACK TO SAN JOSE

This morning, after breakfast, we will head for the airstrip in Puerto Jimenez, where your pilot will fly back to the Central Valley on a 50-minute scenic flight along the Pacific Coast. Upon landing in San Jose, a Sea Kayaking Costa Rica representative will meet you at the airport and provide transportation to a nearby hotel. The rest of the afternoon is designated for leisure, where you can relax, take advantage of the hotel's amenities and nearby restaurants, or explore downtown San Jose on your own.

Accommodation: Country Inn and Suites by Radisson
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8. DEPARTURE DAY OR EXTEND YOUR STAY IN COSTA RICA

We have arranged for your transportation to the airport in time for your flight home. Alternatively, you can continue to enjoy more of Costa Rica with one of our trip extensions

Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Activity Level

No previous experience is necessary but is preferred. If the guest has no experience, they are expected to be is good physical condition. 

Activity Snapshot

DAY 2 1.5 hours/ 5 km (3 miles) of sea kayaking
DAY 3 2-4 hours/ 6-12 km (3.7-7.5 miles) of sea kayaking
DAY 4 3.5 hours/ 12km (7.5 miles) of sea kayaking
DAY 5 optional 2-4 hours/ 5-10 km (3.1-6.2 miles) of hiking on mostly level terrain
DAY 6 5 hours/ 20 km (12.5 miles) of sea kayaking

Accommodations

For your arrival day and the day before departure, this trip features a 4-star hotel near the International Airport in San Jose. The remainder of the nights are in comfortable ecolodges that make the most of their rainforest locations featuring beautiful views and lush settings.

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica

Country Inn & Suites

This comfortable 4-star boutique hotel is conveniently located only a few minutes away from San Jose International Airport and is an ideal location to unwind from your travels. Relax and recharge by the hotel swimming pool or in your room with air conditioning, in-room coffeemaker & Wi-Fi. The hotel features a restaurant and bar, and just a short walk from the hotel is a shopping plaza that offers a wide variety of cuisines from Japanese to Mexican to Italian to juices to bar food. There is also a mini-mart grocery store where you can buy drinks, groceries, and ready-to-eat foods. Purchase souvenirs from a nearby store, head to Plaza Real Cariari Shopping Mall, or take a taxi downtown to enjoy parks, museums, people-watching, and many entertainment venues.

El Chontal Ecolodge

El Chontal’s cabins are literally carved out from the surrounding mangrove forest, using fallen trees and sustainable wood species. Their rustic and unique architecture is rich in design and ingenuity and favors ventilation. The cabins are spotlessly clean and well-kept. The beds are firm and comfortable, and the bathrooms are impeccable. A cool breeze and rich jungle sounds from the surrounding forest enter the room at night. In addition to the cabins and gardens, the centrally located spacious

Sea Kayaking Costa Rica

Lapamar Ecolodge

Located in the tiny community of Playa Blanca, this family-owned beachfront property offers spacious, basic wooden cabins with a private bathroom and porch. Meals are served only steps away from your cabin in the cozy, quiet rancho. The property is surrounded by several species of fruit trees, attracting all sorts of exotic birds like the Yellow-throated Toucan. The beach right in front of the property is ideal for swimming and spotting Scarlet Macaws as they feed off the Beach Almond trees sca

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Weather

For San Jose, you can expect daytime temperatures in the 70°s and 80°s Fahrenheit (low 20°s – high 20°s Celsius), with evening lows in the 60°s (15°-21 °Celsius). While in Golfo Dulce, daytime temperatures are in the 80°s and 90°s Fahrenheit (high 20°s – low 30°s Celsius), with evenings anywhere in the 70°s (low 20°s Celsius). February and March are consistently the driest months; some rain can be expected during December, April, and May.

Jan Feb March April May
High Low
High Low
High Low
High Low
High Low
San Jose
77 66
78 66
78 68
77 67
77 67
Golfo Dulce
85 75
85 75
95 80
100 80
85 75
Jan
High Low
San Jose
77 66
Golfo Dulce
85 75
Feb
High Low
San Jose
78 66
Golfo Dulce
85 75
March
High Low
San Jose
78 68
Golfo Dulce
95 80
April
High Low
San Jose
77 67
Golfo Dulce
100 80
May
High Low
San Jose
77 67
Golfo Dulce
85 75

FAQ's

The best time is during the dry season, January to April. December & May are also good options, with only occasional showers.

Golfo Dulce is renowned for its calm paddling conditions, which make it easy for the most part. Paddlers are expected to calm glassy waters and a light breeze of 0.5-3 mph (0.5-3 knots/1-5kph). Water is warm, as it averages 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) on the surface.

Because we are circumnavigating the Golfo, we must only carry personal dunnage for two nights away from the lodge we set out from and return to (without backtracking). 

We supply dry bags which can be safely stored on the kayaks 

Potable water is accessible to you throughout the trip

People from all walks of life and all ages join our tours. We get a mix of couples, singles, families, and friends, usually between 45 and 65 years of age. Though not often, we’ve previously had families with children as young as 12 (minimum age), and we’ve taken many guests well into their 80s. A few have never been sea kayaking before, but most are active kayakers with extensive paddling experience. Without exception, everyone comes to have a good time, and the variety of people and interests found on each trip makes it all the more fun. 

Yes, lots, both terrestrial and marine. There is a high probability of seeing sea turtles, reef fish, rays, dolphins, macaws, tanagers, monkeys, toucans, and sloths.

Insects are generally fine if you bring long pants and insect repellant (a thorough packing list is provided).

Our fleet comprises 14.5 and 15-foot sit-inside sea kayaks and 18-foot double kayaks.

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