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Rivers and Rainforest

11 day moderate canoe and walking rustic lodge and camping trip. Talamanca trips meet at the Hotel San Gildar in Escazu, just outside of San Jose Costa Rica, and are offered on:

This trip is currently on hiatus, but is available as a FIT Custom Departure





Rainforest & Rivers of Costa Rica

 Hiking, rivers, indigenous people combine
for a memorable experience

There is no better way to immerse yourself in the cultures of the people and cultures of Talamanca than on this canoeing and hiking adventure. In conjunction with the Bribri Association, we offer a rare opportunity to go where few organized groups have traveled. Until the late 1970's, it was very difficult to get to the densely forested and sparsely populated region of Talamanca. Today, the journey is easier, but the quiet beaches, mountains and rainforests have retained their charm and remain refreshingly unspoiled.

The people are a melting pot of Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean and Spanish cultures. The wildlife features a fascinating variety of howler monkeys, exotic birds, sloths, catamounts and sea turtles. The flora offers up a pharmacy of medicinal plants and a cornucopia of wild fruits and vegetables. The rivers give us a back-door look at life in a timeless agricultural valley as we float by a mosaic of lush primary forests, small farms, plantain crops and remote villages. We will also have enough time for hiking and relaxation.

Accommodations are a mix of rustic lodges and a safari-style base camp.
Our first five days will be spent as guests of the Bribri Indians. During this time we will have an opportunity to visit with the local people and learn about their customs and way of life. We are especially proud to be the first touring organization to work cooperatively with the Bribri Association. The president of the Bribri Association will join us for dinner one evening providing an informal setting where we can exchange ideas and learn more about this special culture. River choices abound in this area and include the Uren, Coen, Telrie and Yorkin. For two evenings we will be guests of a small village community on the Yorkin River. Camp is set up at the women's cooperative which is encircled by towering trees and lush vegetation.

Our journey continues as we leave the reserve and head for Asacode, a grassroots organization of local farmers. Their goal is to work together to learn about indigenous trees and plants and to reforest the area for future generations. Association President Jose Luis and his family greet us like old friends. The haunting and mystical calls of the night are a perfect way to end the day.
We enjoy two days at Asacode, giving us time to explore our new surroundings. We may choose to paddle in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and spend some time at the Caribbean coast. Or we may opt to take a day walk at Asacode learning about the many ongoing projects and studies. We are quite certain that your Talamanca adventure with BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. will quickly become one of your most memorable traveling experiences.

Talamanca Trip Notes
Where and when to go . . . and how to get there

Day 1:
Leave the States and fly to San Jose, Costa Rica. Our airline desk is able to assist you in making your airline reservations, and we are pleased to do so. We can book with all the major carriers and would be happy to assist you with your travel plans.
While airport transfers are not included in your trip price we will attempt to meet all arriving flights on Day 1 of your trip. Transfers are based on the availability of our staff and van at that time. If you are arriving prior to Day 1 of the trip, we will make every effort to meet your flight; again this will be dependent on staffing and van availability. Transfers can be confirmed by our Vermont office prior to your departure. Upon arrival, you will be met by a member of our staff who will greet you outside the customs and immigration area. Our first evening will be at the Hotel San Gildar in Escazu. Located just outside the capital city of San Jose, Escazu offers a quiet and relaxed setting. The Hotel San Gildar is open and airy with a refreshing swimming pool and within easy walking distance of the center of Escazu. After dinner we will gather for a brief trip orientation and welcome.
Lodging - Hotel San Gildar
Day 2:
We anticipate an early morning departure from San Jose to begin our journey. Our travels will take us through Braulio Carrillo National Park, a truly breathtaking experience. As we work our way to the Caribbean Coast, we plan a stop at the Rainforest Aerial Tram.
The aerial tram is just one of Costa Rica's many sustainable ecotourism projects. Here we will be guided through the rainforest first by foot and then on a unique tram. The tram takes us high into the forest canopy giving us a bird's-eye view of the forest and a better understanding of how all of life is interconnected -- a great way to begin our journey. While this is an optional activity, most groups choose to do it. The aerial tram is approximately $48.00 per person and is not included in the trip price.
We plan a late afternoon arrival at Aviarios near the coastal village of Cahuita. Here we will enjoy well-tended gardens and a wide array of birds. The lodge is situated along the canals of the Sixaola river where we can enjoy a paddle and birdwatching at dusk. We plan to go into Cahuita for dinner where you can choose from a wide variety of village restaurants that specialize in fresh seafood and Caribbean fare.
Lodging - Aviarios

Note: Dinner is on your own tonight. The Aerial tram is an optional activity that is not included in the trip price.
Day 3:
An early morning paddle on the canals and out to the ocean is a wonderful way to start the day. The birds are very active around sunrise and it is a wonderful opportunity to view them as they begin their day also. After breakfast we continue our journey to the Bribri Indigenous Reserve and the small village of Suretka.
We plan to arrive in the village of Bribri early enough to visit the Artisani shop where we will find local crafts of baskets and carved gourds. This evening we will be staying in the village of Suretka where we will find simple accommodations at Se Yamipa. We begin to get a sense of our new surroundings and look forward to meeting and learning about the local people.
Lodging - Se Yamipa
Day 4:
Today we meet our boatman and local guides, who along with their motorized dugout canoes will transport us to one of the many tributaries of the Sixaola River. We usually choose the Uren for our first day of paddling.
The river is sweet and lively. Panoramic views abound of majestic mountains, lush rainforest, and bird life. As we paddle our way back to Suretka, we marvel at the landscape and the simplicity of life in this corner of the country.
This evening we will enjoy a simple meal while telling stories of the day and anticipating the events of tomorrow. Joining us for dinner will be the President of the Bribri Association. He will enlighten us on the people, traditions and progress of the Reserve. The interaction and exchange of ideas tends to lead to an exciting evening.
Lodging - Se Yamipa
Day 5:
After a filling breakfast, we meet our boatman down by the river for another day of exploring and paddling. Perhaps we will choose the Rio Coen which is another finger of the Sixaola River and it takes us deep into the countryside. After traveling upstream with our canoes, we may opt for a short hike near the village of Coroma before enjoying lunch in the shade of a Ceiba tree.
The Coen provides lively water as we paddle back to Suretka. We may stop along the way to enjoy a refreshing swim and soak in our surroundings. We return to Se Yampia for our final evening where Jose promises to cook up a special treat for us to enjoy.
Lodging - Se Yamipa
Day 6:
After breakfast and farewells to our host, we take a short paddle down the Sixaola to meet our boatmen from the village of Big Current on the Rio Yorkin. They will transport us, our canoes and gear up the Yorkin to their small village. The Yorkin makes up the border of Panama and Costa Rica and provides us with spectacular scenery. Steep mountains and lush vegetation tumble right down to the riverbank with open sweeping valleys occasionally mixed in. It is easy to see why rivers are the lifeblood of this area.
Once at the village we are warmly welcomed and escorted to the community house where we will settle in for the next two days. We will set up our tents in an open meadow surrounded by lush forest. We may have time for a short hike before sharing dinner at the community house.
A dinner of special fare, conversation with new friends, and a breathtaking sunset is the perfect way to end the day.
Lodging - Yorkin Village
Day 7:
Today we have some wonderful choices as we have the whole day to explore this region. Some may choose to relax down by the river, while others may enjoy a hike through the mountains to the remote thermal hot springs.
Whatever we choose, we will immerse ourselves in our surroundings and begin to understand how life is lived in this corner of the world. While enjoying our evening and visiting with village members, we are able to exchange experiences and learn firsthand about daily life in this remote village.
Lodging - Yorkin
Day 8:
This morning we find ourselves up early and ready to begin our trek back down the Yorkin. The scenery is spectacular and our senses delighted as we paddle down the river, enjoy a riverside lunch and perhaps a refreshing swim during our journey.
The Yorkin joins the Sixaola River and we will continue to paddle downriver toward the village of Chase where we will find our van awaiting us, and continue our journey to San Miguel. We will be staying at the Asacode Experimental Farm Forest Research Station. Here we will learn about the project and how it relates to the local environment and community.
The research station is located well within the forest and to get there we enjoy a walk beneath the densely wooded canopy -- a wonderful introduction to this new place.
Lodging - Asacode
Day 9:
We will spend another evening at Asacode tonight, so today is filled with choices. Some may choose to enjoy a relaxing morning at Asacode and then take a walk with a guide to learn about the different projects that are going on. Others may choose to leave early after breakfast for a day at the beach near the small village of Gandoca. Here the Caribbean is a smooth, wide sweep of isolated beach. Resting in the shade of a beach almond tree on the deserted sand is the perfect way to let the cares of the world drift away.
If we choose to get the canoes wet today, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place. It encompasses 5,013 hectares of land plus 4,436 hectares of sea. It beholds the country's largest and most interesting reef. Nearby is the only red mangrove swamp protecting a natural oyster bank. The variety of natural vegetation and the remote location attract many tropical birds and makes for a wonderful area to quietly paddle through and discover.
Whatever our choice during the day, we all gather back at Asacode in the evening for a simple dinner and shared stories of today's adventures. As night falls we enjoy relaxing on the open deck, being lulled by a cool breeze and enjoying a symphony of forest music. The quiet and isolation of this research station is truly both a gift and a rewarding experience.
Lodging - Asacode
Day 10:
Today we leave Asacode and begin our journey back to San Jose and another world. Along the way we may choose to stop at the Iguana Farm, another economically sustainable project undertaken by the local people. We may also decide to get the canoes wet one final time on one of the many small rivers we pass on our way back to the central valley.
Upon our return to Hotel San Gildar, we can gather in the bar for a drink and our final group dinner where we share stories of the trip and begin to prepare for our next adventure.
Lodging - Hotel San Gildar
Day 11:
Today we say our farewells and depart from San Jose to home. Or for those who want to do some exploring on their own, we can suggest/arrange some extension trips.

Talamanca Trip Notes Supplement

Travel in a foreign country requires one to be flexible and patient. BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. (BCL) trips are designed for flexible, energetic people who have a healthy dose of curiosity and enthusiasm about our world and who like to be active. The most important requirements are a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude!
This trip will be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in natural history and the outdoors. Although this is not a strenuous trip, it is very active and we suggest that you be in good physical shape to better enjoy it.

Emergency Contact
For emergency contact during the trip, please call our office in Arlington at 802.362.2800. They will contact the guides in Costa Rica as quickly as possible. Phone service in some parts of the country is limited; however, we will attempt to return the call as soon as possible.

General Information
If you have any questions or need special arrangements, please call our office. Regular office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in season. We are open Saturday and Sunday for day trip rentals, but our office staff is limited on weekends. We are generally closed Saturday through Tuesday November through April, although you may catch us in by chance at other times.
Trip prices include lodging, all meals (except when noted), guide services and accompanying support van. Trips generally meet mid to late afternoon of the first day, and disband mid to late afternoon of the last day. We may be compelled to increase or decrease trip prices due to matters beyond our control, such as currency exchange, airfare, taxes or price increases. Gratuities for BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. guides and other staff are appreciated, but are left entirely to your discretion.

Reservations and Confirmation
Often it is easier to call our office to check for availability and to make reservations. We request a deposit of $350.00. Immediate confirmation is possible using your credit card for the deposit.
On receipt of your deposit, we prepare a complete confirmation packet, including a full itinerary, personal equipment list, meeting location with directions, and an application for short term trip cancellation insurance. We strongly recommend that you obtain this cancellation insurance, which reimburses you for nonrefundable costs and deposits should you have to cancel your trip due to a personal emergency.

Final payment
Your balance is due 60 days prior to the departure date and can be paid by credit card or personal check. Please refer to your confirmation letter for the exact amount due. BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. reserves the right to regard reservations for these tours as canceled when the payment balance is not received when due.

Cancellation and Refunds
Notification must be received by BATTENKILL CANOE LTD. in writing. If you must cancel, but wish to reschedule for another trip, we will do our best to accommodate you. If you must cancel more than 60 days prior to departure, a refund of 50% of the per person deposit, OR a 100% credit of the per person deposit valid for another trip will be held in your name. There are no refunds possible with less than 60 days notice or for leaving a trip early or arriving late.

As a general rule, we are able to follow through with our entire trip schedule. However, we must reserve the right to cancel a trip or to make changes to the itinerary, if necessary, due to weather and/or water conditions, insufficient reservations or other factors beyond our control. Although it is unlikely, if we must cancel your trip, you may choose between: 1) a 100% refund of all monies paid; or 2) a 150% credit of your original deposit for a future trip with BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. This constitutes full settlement, and BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. cannot be held responsible for other costs incurred.

Guaranteed Dates & Small Trip Charge
Since you plan your vacation around our trip, it is our responsibility to run every trip scheduled if four or more persons are on the roster. A number of fixed costs make it more expensive to operate a trip with six members than one with 12. We budget our trips with a nearly full sign up, to enable us to price them at the lowest possible cost.
We will still run your trip if four or more guests are on the roster. However, we will be obliged to add a small trip surcharge if there is a low sign up of between four (4) and seven (7) participants. The small trip surcharge is ten (10) percent of the published price.
If you make your reservations 6 months prior to departure, you will qualify for our Earlybird Discount which guarantees your departure regardless of the number of people on the roster.

Value Vouchers
In the event that we discount a trip on which you are booked, we will automatically extend to you a courtesy voucher representing the value of the promotional discount. You may apply the discount certificate to any future BattenKill trip. You may combine discounts, however the maximum is 20% off any one trip.

Accommodations & Meals
Our standard accommodation is two per room, generally with a private bath. Usually singles and triples are available. BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. provides three meals per day, beginning with dinner on the first evening and ending with lunch on the last day (except where noted).

Solo Travelers
If you are traveling alone and would like to assure yourself of a private room, there is a single supplement surcharge of $45.00 per evening. Singles willing to share will be matched with a roommate. If this option is unavailable, a forced single supplement of 50% of the full supplement will be charged.

Bringing the Kids
We believe that sharing an adventure with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience. Children twelve years of age or older are welcomed on all trips. Special arrangements must be made for all children 7-12. Regular discount is 25% off the trip price for folks under 18 years old.

You must understand that river trips involve some risk and you have the responsibility to select a trip appropriate for your ability and interest. We will be happy to discuss our trips with you, as well as provide names of past participants who can describe their experience of the trip in which you are interested. You will be asked to sign a Hold Harmless and Release of Liability form prior to your trip.
BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. reserves the right to substitute lodges, leaders and to alter the itinerary when deemed necessary or advisable. BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. shall not be liable, directly or indirectly for any delay, cancellation, mishap, inconvenience, expense, personal injury, death, or damage of property for any reason whatsoever, including acts of God. BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. reserves the right to decline, accept, retain, or ask any person to leave whose actions or deportment impede trip operation, or the rights, welfare and enjoyment of other trip members. No refund is possible under these circumstances.
Payment of deposit represents your acceptance of these terms and conditions. All disputes shall be settled by binding arbitration in Bennington County, Vermont.

Airline Reservations
Our airline desk is able to assist you in making your airline reservations, and we are pleased to do so. We can book with all the major carriers and would be happy to assist you with your travel plans.
While airport transfers are not included in your trip price, we will attempt to meet all arriving flights on Day 1 of your trip. Transfers are based on the availability of our staff and van at that time. If you are arriving prior to Day 1 of the trip, we will make every effort to meet your flight; again this will be dependent on staffing and van availability. Transfers can be confirmed by our Vermont office prior to your departure. Airport pickups will be coordinated by BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. a day or so before your trip.

  • What's Included
    · Services of BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. for pre-departure information and guide services to help you get the most out of your expedition.
    · All ground transportation within Costa Rica.
    · Lodging accommodations and all meals beginning with dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 11. Where noted, they will be on your own.
    · Fully escorted, BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. exclusive tour of Costa Rica.
  • Not Included
    · Round trip transportation from hometown to gateway city.
    · Airport transfers in Costa Rica.
    · Tips to drivers and guides.
    · Departure taxes and other government fees.
    · Items of personal nature such as laundry, phone calls and beverages.
    · Cost of delays including delays due to bad weather, canceled or delayed flights or delays on other modes of transport, sickness or other situations for which BATTENKILL CANOE, LTD. or its agents cannot make provisions.

Travel Documents
A U.S. passport valid beyond your anticipated date of return to the U.S. is essential. Holders of foreign passports must check with the Embassy of Costa Rica for details. Our office may be able to assist you.

Health Requirements
No immunizations are required at this time. We recommend that you contact your personal physician or local health board for their advice, and make your own decisions. Potable water will be provided at all lodging locations.
Malaria and hepatitis are concerns when traveling in any Central American country. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend taking malaria medication when traveling to a country with known cases of malaria. We suggest you contact your personal physician, a clinic that specializes in foreign travel medicine or the CDC website at We are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with regard to health requirements while traveling with us.

The currency unit is the Colon. Prices in Costa Rica are quoted in colones and money may be exchanged after arrival. We may be compelled to increase or decrease trip prices due to matters beyond our control, such as currency exchange, airfare, taxes or price increases

Suggested Guidebooks
New Key to Costa Rica -- Beatrice Blake & Anne Becher
The only guidebook of Costa Rica printed in San Jose, and is updated yearly so the information is current. The section on "Do It Yourself Planning" is very helpful when planning a trip.
Lonely Planet Guide to Costa Rica -- Michael Rachowiecki
A guidebook written by a guide for Wilderness Travel. The country is broken down into sections, and Rachowiecki is not afraid to offer his opinion regarding hotel, lodging and restaurant listings.
Costa Rica Traveler -- Ellen Searby
Searby definitely has a feel for the country, and you will enjoy the environmental and ecological outlook she provides.
Birds of Costa Rica -- Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch
A big technical book of the birds of Costa Rica, designed for the serious birdwatcher, but it is invaluable for the novice who wants detailed information.

Trip Extensions

Costa Rica is a diverse and unique country. If your timetable permits, we encourage you to extend your stay and discover more of this beautiful area. Listed below are a few suggestions for trip extensions. Our staff will be happy to answer your questions and help you set up your trip. Extensions are generally three to five days in length, although some may be longer if desired.
A separate deposit is requested when you make your reservation for an extension. Please forward $100.00 per person for two to three-day extensions, and $250.00 for four-day and longer extensions. When arrangements have been confirmed, full payment is requested 60 days prior, or immediately if less than 60 days.
MONTEVERDE -- A privately owned preserve atop the Continental Divide, Monteverde protects six different wildlife communities on both the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. Among the over 400 bird species found here, the Resplendent Quetzal is considered to be the most beautiful bird in the world.
The cloud forest is characterized by dense vegetation, with majestic trees, ferns, bromeliads, vines mosses and a side array of orchids.
MANUEL ANTONIO -- This is the most popular national park in Costa Rica. Manuel Antonio offers dense rainforests spilling down onto spectacular white sand beaches. Wide ranges of activities are available during your stay including hiking through the park trails, sunbathing on the beach, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding and sea kayaking.
RARA AVIS -- Rara Avis is designed to show that rainforests are a valuable economic resource that should not be destroyed and that they can produce substantial economic benefits for the surrounding communities.
This remote private rainforest provides a true immersion into the flourishing web of life in a magnificent tropical forest. A nature guide leads you on a rainforest hike to the base of a 180-foot three-tiered waterfall where you can take a swim in the clear pools.
TORTUGUERO -- Meaning "place of the turtles" in Spanish, it is one of the most important nesting sites for the Caribbean green sea turtles. This magical place is located in a series of canals that provides hours of exploration by canoe or foot.
RIVER RAFTING - Whitewater rafting is available on man of the rivers in Cost Rica. Two of the most popular are the Rio Reventazon and the Rio Pacuare, the latter of which is one of Costa Rica's most pristine rivers. The rich rainforest that cradles its banks is home to thousands of birds and mammals.
MUSEUMS & MARKETS OF SAN JOSE -- A busy metropolis, San Jose is a city rich in diversity. Open-air markets and street vendors are a shopper's paradise. Many of the city's parks and plazas are gathering places for jugglers, magicians, and marimba bands.
The museums of San Jose allow you to get a feel for the country. They include the National Museum, the Museum of Costa Rican Art, the Jade Museum, and the Gold Museum.

What To Bring For Talamanca Rivers and Rainforests

  • · Passport (carrying a photocopy of your passport is also a good idea -- just in case)
    · Three changes of lightweight cotton or cotton mix clothing -- pants and short sleeve tops -- for off river and evenings
    · Lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants for cool evenings and/or sun protection
    · Lightweight sweater or pile top
    · Lightweight rain jacket for cool evenings and the occasional rain shower
    · One pair of comfortable walking shoes
    · Wide brimmed hat
    · Sunglasses with security strap
    · Sunscreen
    · Insect repellent
    · Lip balm or chapstick
    · Water bottle
    · Personal toiletries
    · Personal medications
    · Personal first aid kit
    · Flashlight with extra batteries and bulb
    · Small hand towel
    · Bandana
    · Camera and film
    · Binoculars
    · Day use backpack
    Additional Clothes for Paddling
    · 2-3 pairs of shorts
    · 2-3 T-shirts or comfortable paddling tops
    · Swimsuit
    · Lightweight paddle jacket and rain pants for rain and/or sun protection, preferably nylon or other fast drying material.
    · Canoe shoes that can get wet for paddling, such as sandals or booties. Avoid sandals that have velcro straps. The velcro straps do not do well in muddy conditions.
    Optional Gear
    · Pocketknife
    · Collapsible umbrella
    · Field guides, bird books, and travel books
    · Journal notebook, pen and a good book to read
    · Extra eyeglasses, sunglasses and security straps
    · Earplugs

This list is intended to be skeletal, and we anticipate that you will have your own ideas of what is "necessary." In general, bring half the clothes you think you will need and twice the film.
Getting wet is always a possibility when canoeing, and river clothing has to keep you warm even when wet. Try to avoid cotton. The problem with cotton is that once it is wet, it absorbs water and does not dry out quickly. During our travels we will be staying at places where casual clothing is acceptable. Long pants, short sleeve shirt or blouse and shoes or sandals are our common form of dress.





Contact Us
BattenKill Canoe, Ltd.
800.421.5268 or 802.362.2800 fax--802.362.0159

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