Thank you for expressing interest in El Camino de Costa Rica trail. This is a new world-class hiking trail that just opened in 2018, so you will be a pioneer! Where else in the world can you hike across a continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific (or vice versa) in just a couple of weeks?
El Camino de Costa Rica is a 280 km (174 mile) trek primarily composed of rural roads, footpaths and trails through tropical forests. It has a wide variety of terrain, altitudes and microclimates, and affords an up-close and personal view of many different rural subcultures.
This website is brought to you by Mar-a-Mar, a non-profit association whose mission is to promote rural development in Costa Rica. For you, our goal is to help you build a journey full of adventures and let you experience the nature, culture and cuisine of Costa Rica from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The time it will take to complete the entire trail really depends on you. The full trail is 280 kilometres (174 miles). But don't feel that you need to complete the full distance in one trip. You may choose to come back several times to walk the trail one section at a time, or you may choose a tour that lets you hike through the most interesting segments but take ground transportation through other areas. It is all up to you. The type of journey you wish to complete will dictate a lot about the tour guide you'll want to select. In order to get the most out of your El Camino adventure it is highly recommended that you engage the services of a accredited guide.
Mar-a-Mar does not operate tours. We are a non-government organization (NGO), run by volunteers that promotes the trail and helps the villages and rural families develop their services to meet the needs of hikers. We serve as an advisory service to connect hikers with the guide and operator that best fits their needs.
A custom-made expedition for a small group of friends is the ideal. You set your own dates and we match you up with the best guide or operator for your particular requirements and preferences. A larger group of up to ten people will lower the price per person since you share the cost of transport, guide and other expenses. If you are solo or a couple we can match you up with other adventuresome individuals. Email us to learn more at elCaminoDeCostaRica@gmail.com.
All the outfitters working with Mar-a-Mar are based in Costa Rica and have extensive experience with hikers on El Camino. Some guides may have additional expertise in unique areas such as multilingual skills that facilitate international groups or they may specialize in national hikers from Costa Rica. Some may have a focus on flora & fauna or on birding, and others may be more active so that you can traverse Costa Rica faster. Whatever your adventure, we know the person to guide you.
The usual time of year for hiking the trail is December through to the end of April, but May through August has its advantages: it tends to rain in the afternoons, it is greener and you will see more animals. September and October are particularly beautiful in the Atlantic side, but the weather may not be ideal. Only November is very challenging because of the rains and we do not recommend it.
The cost varies depending on the ability of the hiker and the services the group requires, the quality of lodging they choose, and the number in your party. Even with minimal service options, the logistics support is intense. A rough estimate is from about $95 US per person per day all inclusive with most meals, to $220 per person per day. The group size and number of days are the biggest factors in cost.
As of March 2021, operators have started again to offer expeditions on El Camino de Costa Rica, following all the rules of the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica.
The trail can be studied by looking it up on the free app Wikiloc.com and by searching for El Camino de Costa Rica: Atantico (Mar Caribe) al Pacifico via Tsiobata or just click this link.
To learn more about what you can expect from this hike, please take some time and tour around this website. Check out a map of the route you'll be travelling. Have a look at the villages through which you'll be passing. Get some more details on tour package options you may wish to consider. There are lots of other resources out there on the Internet. For example, have a look at this slide show of photos that hikers sent us in 2018 on YouTube. Check out our Facebook page to see all the excitement going on and get some recent photos and also some of the local day or weekend offers.
If you're ready for your next adventure, let us introduce you to a tour guide who will best suit the type of hiking vacation you have in mind.
Here is what we need to know:
How many people in your party?
What country are you from?
What language(s) do you speak?
Do you want to do the whole trail or a segment?
Do you want to hike the most interesting parts every day and then get driven to the start of your next segment?
In what are you most interested about hiking this trail? Local culture/cuisine? Birds? History? Physical challenge? Something else?
How many kilometres or miles per day (taking into account that this is not a flat route) do you want to hike, on average?