Costa Rica Panama Trip: 10 Days
This chilled out 10-day trip is all about the Caribbean vibe: white-sand beaches, reggae music, hammock siestas, and serene turquoise water. We journey down to the Rastafarian town of Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica by rafting down the extravagant Rio Pacuare, named 1 of the 5 most beautiful rivers in the world by National Geographic!
We then settle in the wonderland of Bocas del Toro in Panama to experience everything that the Caribbean has to offer. There's a very cool mixture of Latin and Creole culture present in this region and English-speaking locals give you a break from practicing your Spanish to joke about with the people here.
There’s also some stellar diving and snorkeling in the unbelievably clear water, as well as very underrated waves for surfing on the picturesque Caribbean beaches. And no trip through the Caribbean is complete without hopping on a yacht and gliding across the crystal waters with a beverage of your choice in hand and your entire Free & Easy group around you!
Just got back from the Costa Rica/Panama 10-day trip and it was amazing! It was my first time traveling solo and I can’t wait to do another Free & Easy trip soon. The group was awesome and the activities were well-planned and so much fun. White water rafting (included in the trip cost) was incredible and the leaders went out of their way to set up a zip-lining excursion for a few of us even though it wasn’t on the original itinerary. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to experience somewhere new, make new friends and enjoy the culture and beautiful beaches of Central America.
- Lindsey, March 2018
Day 1 (Alajuela, San José)
Group flights arrive in San Jose, stay at nearby Alajuela Backpacker’s and get to know your new travel family over cold beers and pizza!
Day 2-5 (Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica)
Early morning departure for white water rafting on Costa Rica’s infamous Rio Pacuare (includes buffet breakfast and lunch in the jungle, the whole trip covered by FnEZ).
Continue on a coaster bus (with AC) and arrive in the late afternoon into the rasta Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo. Spend the following days with optional activities like our FnEZ beach bicycle parade, waterfall day trip, Jaguar Rescue Centre tour and the infamous Tasty Tuesday Party with our good friends at Tasty Waves Cantina!
Day 6-8 (Bocas del Toro, Panama)
Take a short shuttle to the Costa Rica border and cross into Panama! Take another shuttle and then a speedboat to the islands of Bocas Del Toro and stay overtop the water at our guesthouse.
Spend the following days with optional activities like coral surfing (under sea deep boarding), snorkeling, surfing, fishing, a catamaran booze cruise, or exploring and shopping around the funky vibes of Bocas Town.
Day 9-10 (Alajuela, San José)
Take a speedboat back to the mainland, shuttle to the Costa Rica border and shuttle to a lunch spot along the Caribbean coastline.
Continue on via a coaster bus (AC) to Alajuela Backpackers where you can laugh about your adventure with your new best friends over cold beer, rum, and pizza! Pura Vida!
Please note: The above itinerary is subject to change. A confirmed Free & Easy trip itinerary with exact routing will be provided at least 30 days prior to trip departure.
IMPORTANT: If you are doing a combo trip and booking your own flights, please contact us to confirm the start and end point of your trip.
Accommodation (Central Trips)
- Accommodation for the duration of your Free & Easy experience
- Rooms will be a mixture of 2-6 person rooms throughout the trip
- All group travel between destinations
- If you are doing multiple trips, all travel & accommodations between combo trips is included in the price listed
- Return international flights and airport transfers*** (No surprise extra flight surcharges)
***Land Package prices do not include your international flight, airport taxes or transfers
- Knowledgeable and fun Free & Easy leaders
- 17 years of trip leading experience
- No commissions or gratuities required or accepted... ever!
- Preparations guidebook
- Trip Experience guidebook
Activities: Costa Rica & Panama (10 Days)
- White Water Rafting down the Pacuare River
- Underwater surfing session
- Jaguar rescue centre tour
- Tasty waves party
- Sunset beach BBQ
Meals: Costa Rica & Panama (10 Days)
- Buffet breakfast and lunch during White Water Rafting day trip
- Sunset beach BBQ
Optional Activities: Costa Rica & Panama (10 Days)
- Caribbean bicycle tour
- Scuba Diving
- Waterfall tour
- Catamaran booze cruise
- All meals and drinks (except those mentioned above)
- Activities outside of the ones listed above (optional activities are not included)
- Any Visa or Visa fees
Sail through the Caribbean
The Caribbean Sea is famed for its calm, tropical waters and its thousands of pristine islands that have come to be known as the picture of paradise. And the best way to explore this beautiful sea and its many islands is by gliding along it smoothly and calmly on a sailboat.
You can pretty much take your pick for where to begin and where to drop anchor when sailing though the Caribbean but our chosen spot for this experience is Bocas del Toro in Panama, an archipelago made up of several islands that provide plenty of beauty to be explored in and around each one.
Loading up on a sailboat with your group, a fully stocked cooler, snorkel gear, fishing rods and any other necessary supplies is one of, if not the best way to spend your days here and we definitely do plenty of sailing when we are in Bocas del Toro.
Fly Under Water
It's called Coral Surfing and it's a wicked new experience that seems to have been pulled right from a video game or some kind of virtual simulator, but it's real and it's unbelievably cool and fun! You hold onto a set of carbon fins that is pulled by a boat, the fins act as wings under the water and allow you to dive up and down with speed simply by tilting your wrist.
Ever wonder what it would be like to be able to swim underwater like a dolphin or a shark, moving at high speed, gliding up and down and moving with ease and being able to see all the splendour of life in the sea? Well, you can!
Catch a Fish and Eat It, Too
We get so many people who come on our trips that say they don't like seafood and won't eat it - usually, they're not from a coastal town. So when we serve up a fresh barracuda or tuna or some other tasty fish that the fisherman caught that morning and we convince them to give it a try, the first thing they say (with a satisfied smile) is that this doesn't taste like the seafood they've tried.
There's just no getting around it, fish is meant to be eaten fresh! And the only thing tastier than a fresh fish is one that you caught, too! Catching the fish that you eat used to be a part of life and still is in many parts of the world, however, more and more people are buying from the commercial fishing industry which is unsustainable and is destroying the ocean's eco-system.
We offer the option to go fishing on nearly all of our trips with friendly, local fisherman that show you their tricks - it's an experience that not only teaches you the importance of fishing but is also a hell of a good time: on a boat, with friends, with beer, in the sun, drifting down a tropical coastline… 'nuff said!
Snorkelling is a great alternative for those looking to save a little money on diving costs or those who can’t dive for medical reasons. Floating along the surface of the water at any one of our incredible destinations around the world will give you a peek into a magical underwater world.
More confident snorkelers can even dive down to get a closer look at the fauna and flora found in our oceans. From glittering fish, to colourful anemone, and super cool sharks (don’t worry, the non-carnivorous ones), snorkelling is a wonderful experience for the non-diver. So snap on a mask and grab your flippers (and DON’T inhale while diving) and you’ll be all set for a little adventure under the sea.
Practice Yoga on the Beach
Practicing yoga on the beach in warm, tropical weather provides you with the perfect environment to learn how to find a calm within yourself and feel your mind truly relax.
Listening to the sounds of the jungle and the crashing of the waves onshore only adds to the bliss of this experience. You can experience practicing yoga in a beautiful and isolated setting under the expert guidance of yoga instructors on several of our our trips.
So take an hour or so out of your day to stretch, breathe and enjoy one of the best yoga sessions of your life in paradise!
Whitewater Raft Down the Rio Pacuare
Caribbean Bicycle Parade
What better way to beach-hop than cruising with 20 of your new best friends on a retro bicycle along the Caribbean coast?
Throw in a couple bar stops scattered along the palm tree-dotted coastline of Puerto Viejo with its chill reggae vibes and you’ll see why our infamous Free & Easy Caribbean Bicycle Parade has been a staple and highlight on our Costa Rica/Panama trip since we started it!
Don’t forget some pirate gear! (It's only $5 a day for a bicycle rental - don’t forget to hold onto your bike an extra day if you’re wanting to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center!)
Puerto Viejo Waterfall Tour
Tasty Tuesday Fiesta at Tasty Waves Cantina!
It’s the most notorious party in the Caribbean, and Free & Easy Traveler has been teaming up with Tasty Waves Cantina since its inception! Get ready for some serious tropical vibes, reggaeton music, and partying with the local rastas all Tuesday night.
Complete with a massive bonfire, street food, Free & Easy drink discounts and the best surprise to ring in midnight… it’s the best party in Puerto Viejo! (Transportation covered by your trip leaders.) *** We always try and schedule our trips to make it to this party. However, it's not always possible. If we can't make the Tasty Tuesday Fiesta we replace it with the epic Saturday Karaoke party.
Our Trash Hero beach cleanups are a great way to do good, feel good, and get some beach all at the same time. With thousands of tons of trash swirling around the oceans, the unfortunate reality is that some of it washes up onto the beautiful beaches we fall in love with around the world. So we thought ‘Let’s do something about this!’
Our partnership with Trash Hero began in Koh Lipe, Thailand, where they regularly organized beach cleanup days. Today, Trash Hero has gone viral and can be found operating in Thailand and Indonesia, and is spreading into dozens of more countries at a rapid pace. On our end, beach cleanup day quickly became one of the most fun and rewarding days on our Thailand trip. So we decided to spread the love, and have instituted a beach cleanup day into our regular itineraries across the world.
Through our sponsorship and partnership with Trash Hero, our travelers and others like them have since collected tens of thousands of kilograms of trash from the beaches we travel to… and really, there’s nothing more epic than saving the world! ** We will always strive to make a beach cleanup happen, but sometimes we may not be able to make it happen **
Go Scuba Diving
Life under the water is silent and peaceful, everything is flowing and moving in a way that we land creatures are unaccustomed to. Despite all of our high tech equipment, we are extremely out of our element in the water and it is a humbling experience to watch and observe what life is like under the sea.
Fish come in all shapes, sizes, and colours and move together in a harmonious unison through beautiful coral and twisted sunlight. On our trips, scuba diving is a huge activity as we travel to countries that offer some of the best diving in the world. The Caribbean in Central America possesses the second largest reef in the world, the warm waters of the South Pacific in Southeast Asia are home to the largest diversity of sea-life in the world and the seas of the Mediterranean are full of rich history and beauty.
There is a whole universe under the ocean and experiencing what it's like to be in it is a must at least once in your life!