COSTA RICA / PANAMA – 14 DAYS
Get ready to experience Costa Rica and Panama through the eyes of The Wild Traveler. On our teen tour we’ll visit La Fortuna, home of Volcan Arenal, whitewater raft down the Pacuare River, and SCUBA dive in the Bocas Del Toro archipelago. We’ll travel through mountains, quintessential Costa Rican villages, soak in hot springs, practice Spanish, learn how to salsa dance, and more. No experience required.
EXPLORE LA FORTUNA AND VOLCAN ARENAL
Arenal was erupting almost daily from 1968 until it ended in 2010. Arenal has retained its picture-perfect conical shape despite its volcanic activity. We’ll take a day hike near the volcano, check out waterfalls, relax in Baldi hot springs, get un-relaxed on Baldi’s awesome watersides, take salsa dance lessons (Costa Rican’s love salsa!), and prepare for our raft trip!
WHITEWATER RAFT THE PACUARE RIVER
Our 3 day whitewater raft trip takes us down Costa Rica’s Pacuare River. This portion of our Costa Rican teen tour will teach us how to work as a team and learn how to read the river as we navigate the class III rapids of this truly marvelous river. We’ll spend two nights at our riverside eco jungle lodge – complete with zip lines, swimming holes, and waterfalls.
SCUBA DIVE BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA
Bocas Del Toro is a lush archipelago off western Panama’s Caribbean coastline, near the Costa Rican border and holds Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site statuses for its rich ecosystems. Beginner teen divers will get SCUBA open water certifications. Already certified teen divers will have a choice between getting an advanced SCUBA certification OR taking boat dives around the island.
After our SCUBA sessions on Isla Colon, we’ll take a quick 10 minute boat ride to our hostel resort on our favorite island, Isla Bastimentos. We will spend one full day exploring Isla Bastimentos hiking through lush jungle, swimming on some of Bocca’s best beaches and a trip to one of Bastimentos’ most fascinating natural wonders, the Nivida caverns. The Nivida caverns is a massive cave system complete with with a subterranean lake. Half the fun of the place is getting there via motorboat through a channel of lush vegetation. In the evenings we’ll cook and eat food bought at the local markets, sing songs around beach bonfires, play fun group games, and enjoy a movie in the movie room.
SAN JOSE STREET MARKET
Costa Rica’s capital city has it all. We’ll visit the anthropology museum, colorful street markets, people watch on the pedestrian promenade, and eat dinner at the Wild Traveler’s favorite pizza place in all of Central America. Our last night will be spent eating, giving out awards, and reminiscing about our adventures from our Costa Rican / Panamanian teen tour.
COSTA RICA / PANAMA TEEN TOURS ITINERARY
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL DAY
You have the option to fly from the USA to and from Costa Rica with one of your Wild Traveler leaders from Los Angeles International Airport. If you choose to fly by yourself, your leaders will meet you at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Once we have our group we’ll load our microbus where our Costa Rican driver will take us La Fortuna, home of famous Volcan Arenal.
DAY 2 – 4 – LA FORTUNA / ARENAL
Arenal was erupting almost daily from 1968 until it ended in 2010. Arenal has retained its picture-perfect conical shape despite its volcanic activity. We’ll have time to explore this unique town, visit museums, and take evening salsa lessons (Costa Rican’s love salsa!). We’ll take a day hike near the volcano, check out waterfalls, relax in Baldi hot springs, get un-relaxed on Baldi’s awesome watersides, and prepare for our raft trip!
DAY 5 – 7 – RAFT THE PACURE RIVER
The Pacuare River (class III-IV whitewater) is located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean slope, home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including parrots, toucans, deer, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, butterflies, and more. It’s rated in the world’s top 5 commercial rafting runs by National Geographic Magazine (I personally rate it #1). We’ll complete a 19 mile stretch in 3 days. We’ll spend two nights and a day at our riverside eco lodge surrounded by jungle. We have the opportunity to visit a local village and volunteer with on an ongoing reforestation project. OR we can take a day hike, zip on the lodges zip lines, swim in some awesome swimming holes, and relax with our group. On the last day, we’ll raft the other half of the river to the take out. In the afternoon we’ll take a shuttle from take out to Manzanillo on the coast in southeastern Costa Rica.
DAY 8 – TRAVEL DAY
We’ll start early and take a bus to the Panamanian border, cross the border by foot (that’s how they do it), take a 30 minute boat ride through narrow meandering river channels to Bocas Town in the Bocas Del Toro. We’ll have time to check out town and resupply food, snacks, and supplies at the local markets. In the afternoon, we’ll take a 10 minute boat ride to our hostel resort on the amazing Isla Bastimentos. Buses, boats, and foot – that’s the way to travel!
DAY 9 – 12 – BOCAS DEL TORO ARCHIPELAGO
The next 4 days will be spent earning SCUBA Open Water certifications. Already open water certified divers will earn their Advanced Open Water certification and dive around the islands. Bocas Del Toro (meaning mouth of the bull) is made up of 9 main islands. Christopher Columbus and his crew first visited the area in 1502. The reefs of Bocas Del Toro in Panama have some of the best preserved hard and soft coral in the world. Bocas del Toro is home to 95% of the coral species found in the Caribbean Sea, with many unique and endemic species to the area. When you dive in Bocas del Toro, besides all the species of colorful tropical coral, you may see snapper, sea horses, moray eels, nurse sharks, sea turtles, rays, vase sponges, starfish, lobster, and so much more!
Each afternoon we’ll take a quick 10 minute boat ride to our hostel on another island, Isla Bastimentos. We’ll have the afternoon to go on jungle hikes, hang out on some of Bocca’s best beaches, watch movies in the hostel’s movie room, make awesome dinners, and relax.
DAY 13 – SAN JOSE
We’ll take an early flight from Isla Colon to San Jose (Costa Rica). We’ll spend our last full day in Costa Rica by soaking in San Jose’s latin american vibes. Costa Rica’s capital city has it all. We’ll visit colorful street markets, people watch on the pedestrian promenade, shop for souvenirs and eat dinner at Train Tracks, your Wild Traveler leader’s favorite pizza place in all of Central America.
DAY 14 – DEPARTURE DAY
After breakfast, we will debrief our trip, exchange instas and take our shuttle to San Jose’s International airport for our flight back to the states. Participants are welcome to fly back with their leaders to Los Angeles International Airport. If you choose to fly by yourself your Wild Traveler leaders will check you into your flight.
Costa Rica / Panama Teen Tours
Getting your gear together (either borrowing/renting/buying) is a fun and exciting time. All of the items listed below are important and will be used sometime during our summer teen tours, so please pack EVERYTHING on the list. With that in mind please limit additional items -space is limited. Everything must fit in your large backpacking pack and your day pack. If you have any questions about gear or clothing, email or give us a call, we can help!
- 1 backpacking backpack
- 1 day pack
- 1 breathable, waterproof rain jacket
- 2 pair shorts
- 5-7 t-shirts
- 5-7 pair underwear
- 5 sports bras
- 1 pair athletic shoes
- 1 pair hiking sandal (eg. Tevas, Chacos, must have heal strap)
- 1 pair flip flops
- 3-4 pair jeans or other cotton pants
- 4 pair socks
- 2 swimsuits
- 1 light jacket/ fleece/ sweatshirt
- 2 bandanas
- 2 one liter water bottles
- 2 large tubes sunscreen (SPF 25 minimum)
- 1 pair sunglasses – dark lens, UVA/UVB protected
- 1 sunglass strap (eg. Croakies, Chums)
- 1 toiletry set (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene items)
- 1 bath towel
- 1 wash cloth
- 1 laundry bag
- 1 small insect repellent
- 1 journal w/ pens
- 1 bowl
- 1 hot/ cold cup
- 1 fork, spoon, knife (Lexan is best)
- 1 headlamp w/ extra batteries
- 1 large brimmed hat/ baseball hat to block sun
- 4 trash bags
- 5 zip-lock bags (1 gallon)
- 1-2 waterproof cameras
- 1 watch
- 1 set stationary, envelopes, stamps
- 1 paperback
- 1 musical instrument
COSTA RICA // PANAMA TEEN TOURS
Find out what you can expect with a trip with The Wild Traveler. Below are some of the more commonly asked questions regarding different aspects of our trips. Have more questions? Give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
WHERE DO WE SLEEP?
We will be staying in hotels, eco lodges, and youth hostels for the entire trip.
WHEN WILL I SHOWER?
Whenever you want. There are showers at each eco lodge, hotel, and hostel.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
The Wild Traveler provides all of your gear except for a backpack and a day pack. Check out your gear and clothing list specific to your trip. Please pack only the items on the list. Everything must be able to fit into your backpack and daypack. Space is limited.
WILL I BE ABLE TO CALL FAMILY DURING THE TRIP?
HOW IS THE FOOD?
Our participants and staff really like the food. We have no problem accommodating vegetarian diets. Any other dietary restrictions need to be approved by our office staff prior to your trip.
HOW WILL WE TRAVEL?
WILL I MAKE FRIENDS?
WHAT WILL GROUPS BE LIKE?
WHAT WILL OUR DAYS BE LIKE?
THE WILD TRAVELER REVIEWS
Check out our Wild Traveler’s trip reviews. We have references available. Give us a call and we can get you in contact with the parents of past participants.
What did your child gain or take away from their experience with The Wild Traveler?
“Our daughter gained more confidence within herself to socialize and deal with others especially within a group.”
“Independence and a real sense of accomplishment. He loved the scuba diving, and also hiking volcanoes. And of course, the warm water!”
From talking with child, what do you feel was the highlight of their experience?
“The scuba diving and surfing were the most fun when we asked. Then it was the beautiful views and atmosphere of the whole experience.”
“It is so hard to say! She loved it all! One day I ask her her favorite part and she says Volcanoes National Park, the next she says scuba, the next surfing.”
“She made great new friends and had an awesome adventure! She learned that she can navigate through an airport on her own. She learned how to become a team with a bunch of people that she had never met before.”
“She gained some new skills and happy memories”
How was The Wild Traveler at preparing you and your child for our program?
“We were very prepared for the experience that was about to come our way.”
“Everything was very well laid on on the web site!”
“Great, we would do it again in a minute!”
“Great, anytime I would call or email I would promptly get a reply!”
How was The Wild Traveler at answering your questions and addressing your concerns before and during our trip?
“I could not have been happier with the info I needed to make me feel at ease.”
“Ryan was fantastic, kept me at ease from day one all the way through.”
What did you think about our travel journal?
“I looked forward to it and was very thankful it was in place. As a parent it made me feel that my child was safe and in good hands. I loved to actually see what they were doing.”
“I checked it often and really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about the days!”
“Fun! Loved it, kept me feeling good about it all, especially being so far away.”
“Awesome! I felt like I knew what was going on all of the time! The trip log was so helpful! I must have checked it five times a day just waiting for new updates”
Why did you choose “The Wild Traveler” over another outdoor company?
“Olivia found the site and convinced us it was the best fit for her.”
“Great value as well as the variety of activities. Most of the places I looked had a scuba trip, or a hiking trip, or a community service trip. Your trip was the only one that had a great mix of different activities.”
“Looked like fun, Ryan was reassuring and I trust him.”
“We really liked the choices of activities!”
Any comments or suggestions?
“You have exceeded our expectations! Thank you for taking care of our daughter and sharing such a wonderful time with her.”
“The trip was everything I hoped it would be for him.”
“I am so happy with the whole trip, Anna had the most awesome time, she lights up when she shares her experiences, its has given her so much confidence, and she loved all the different aspects of the trip, from scuba diving, surfing, hiking to beautiful waterfalls, seeing lava light up the night sky, camping on awesome beaches, Ryan did an awesome job choosing many great places to visit and stay!”
“Just keep doing what you are doing! It was a great trip. Aspen was happy to be home for about a day. Then she wanted to go back! 🙂 ”
Read The Wild Traveler reviews. Would you like to get more reviews? Give us a call and we can put you in contact with parents from all over the country (and other parts of the world) who have sent their children on one of our teen tours! Click to contact us.
DESTINATION: COSTA RICA AND PANAMA
LENGTH: 14 DAYS
ARRIVE / DEPART: SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
TUITION: $5495 – ALL INCLUSIVE
AGES: 14 – 17
DATES: AUGUST 15 – AUGUST 28, 2017
INTRODUCTION TO SPANISH LANGUAGE
TRAVEL TO TWO COUNTRIES – COSTA RICA AND PANAMA
3 DAY RAFT TRIP DOWN THE PACUARE RIVER
SCUBA DIVE BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA
EXPLORE THE NIVIDA CAVERNS
SLOTH AND MONKEY WATCH IN MANZANILLO
VISIT SAN JOSE’S STREET MARKETS
SLIDE INTO LA FORTUNA’S HOT SPRINGS
LEARN HOW TO SALSA DANCE
IT’S ALL INCLUDED
Ground transportation (private shuttle and bus)
2 experienced Wild Traveler trip leaders with 24 hour supervision
Hotels and hostels
National Park entrance fees
All meals and snacks
All equipment (whitewater rafting, SCUBA, spelunking, etc)