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“Amazing!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Desafio Adventure Company - Day Tours

Desafio Adventure Company - Day Tours
Behind the Central Church, Downtown La Fortuna | Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
+506 2479 0020
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$65*
and up
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Desafio Adventure Company is a family-owned and operated tour outfitter and considered Costa Rica's premier "one-stop-shop" for adventure travel. We offer high-quality rafting tours, canyoning, mountain biking, hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, stand up paddling, horse riding, transfer services, conservation programs, volunteer opportunities and much more. We have two rules at Desafio: 1) Be Safe and 2) Have Serious Fun! Look for us near the Arenal Volcano with centers of operation in Monteverde, Tenorio/Guanacaste, San Jose and Playa Samara! Let us take you to the land of raging, tropical rivers, active volcanoes, deep, jungle canyons and isolated beaches!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Carp, Canada
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

This is the first activity my wife and I booked when we got to La Fortuna de San Carlos. I had read about it, seen the video, and there was no way I was not going to try this. Man, was it ever worth it! It was one of our favorite activities of the trip. We ended up just the 2 of us with 3 guides. They were very enthusiastic, patient, helpful. I felt safe all the time. It took about 10 seconds to feel safe, once our guide had briefed us and explained that we needed to trust the gear. Once you go over the 'trust issues', then it is a rush.

I would recommend a pair of non-slip water shoes. There is a lot of walking on submerged rocks that get very slippery. Also, when the guide says not to touch the cliff wall, listen to him! There may be a tarantula...

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DesafioAdventures, Owner at Desafio Adventure Company - Day Tours, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Hola Rene ~

Thank you for your wonderful review of our Lost Canyon Adventures Canyoneering. The Lost Canyon is one of the most-magical attractions in the Arenal Volcano area and you're right, sometimes it's hard to really understand it until you try it!!

As you know, we only have two rules at Desafío: 10 Be Safe and 2) Have Serious Fun -- we love to see that our guides are following the rules!

We appreciate the time you've taken to write a review and even happier you and your wife took the time to try out the tour! Hope to see you again in Costa Rica!

Your friends at Desafío Adventure Company!
Suresh and Christine Krishnan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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El Dorado Hills, California
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“A thrill ride!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

Desafio's canyoneering tour is the best. You rappel down four waterfalls (including two big ones), and this isn't even the highlight of the tour!! They have two 'wet surprises' (sorry, no spoilers here - you have to do the tour to find out) that are just awesome.

Desafio has top-of-the-line equipment, and the company is very fastidious about safety. The tour starts on time, the guides are fun and helpful, and the food at the end of the tour is delicious. This was the highlight of our stay in Arenal - I'd do this again in a heartbeat!

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Middleboro, Massachusetts
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Simply the best, (helpful, prompt, safe, informative and fun)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We booked almost everything through Desafio. Nine days of transfers, tours and guides. It became quite obvious that they were very polished and professional when it came to booking the trip, arraigning pick-ups and staffing the tours. After using a different company for a couple of tours we quickly realized just how spoiled we were by the gang at Desafio. Don't hesitate to use this company for your trip to Costa Rica, as you will not be disappointed. The staff is enthusiastic and their "stoke" is contagious. The transfers were on time and the vehicles were relatively comfortable. (The Costa Rican Massage is not a myth) You will never take the road surface in the US for granted again.

Pros:
- The Tours are geared for fun and safety. Just about everyone brave enough to try, will have a good time. We sampled: canyoneering, rafting (class 3-4), hikes (day and night), hot-springs, hanging bridges (Arenal and Monteverde), zip-lines (Monteverde and Samara), kayaking/snorkeling, surfing, and Latin America's biggest Bungee Jump. Most of our tours were through Desafio and the ones that were not, well, we could easily see the difference.
- The Desafio booking staff were very helpful and quick to respond to any changes or problems. We booked with them online and found them to be helpful, prompt and accommodating.
- The Tour guides (for the most part) were terrific. These guys are loving their jobs and it shows. This may be the company's strongest asset. Safe and fun, seems to be their motto.
- The Transfers were really not that painful. Although the roads (and one-way bridges) are narrow and bumpy, the drivers were professional and friendly. They are however, long, but made shorter if you split them with a rafting trip or boat taxi. We learned to appreciate Desafio more when we chose others.
- The accommodations, well that's up to you to do your homework. We knew where we wanted to stay before booking and had to reserve our own hotel in Samara. Make sure that you choose wisely if you want to be within walking distance to town. We found our hotels to be clean and safe with most of the expected amenities.

Cons:
- Some of the tours are "tuned down" for safety and insurance purposes. Desafio's Canyoneering was fun for all ages and abilities, but this was a negative for many of us on in my group. If you go expecting "real" canyoning... you will be a little disappointed. There are other companies that will take you rappelling without the zip-line "assist". The owner hinted to me that a more robust canyon experience may be in the works for the future. Having separate "beginner" and "advanced" level tours would be ideal, IMO.
- The rafting is dependent on dam release. You will not be guaranteed a certain river and Desafio is clear to point that out. What we were not told, (beforehand), is that the alternative to the Rio Toro (class 3-4), is a grueling 2 and 1/2 hour drive. We were given the news while we were driving and assured that it was just "20 mins more" about a dozen times. We had no regrets about the excursion, (it was a blast), but they should have been more transparent about dam release and the drive time.
- Don't expect your transfer drivers to be tour guides. We found them to be very friendly but not bilingual. Spending that much time in a van, in a new country, with so many questions... well, it would have been great to be able to converse with the drivers. Selfish American that I am, I will take some of the blame here. :-) But it would be nice.
- Not all guides are created equal. Obviously some are less informed than others. More trained naturalists would be great on the hikes. Especially on those days that the resident vipers, tarantulas, monkeys or sloths are not cooperating. Overall the Desafio guides were very good.
- The further you travel from La Fortuna, the weaker the service from Desafio. They will do all they can to accommodate, but keep in mind that they are centered in the Arenal area and that's where they excel. They will use other companies for tours in Monteverde and Samara and they won't have the same level of control. This was to be expected, and we found ourselves missing the clock-like punctuallity and professionalism of the Desafio group.

Although I spent more time describing the "Cons", keep in mind that these complaints (or suggestions) are far outweighed by the "Pros". I give this company a solid 5 stars without hesitation. If you are looking for a safe and friendly adventure without taking any big risks, then you'll love Desafio's group. We look forward to returning to sample more. I already miss the pineapple and good karma. Pura Vida!

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
28 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“amazing experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Canyoneering was highly recommended to me by a friend who had been to Costa Rica before, and his experience with Desafio made me book a tour for myself and my husband, even though I'm afraid of heights. It rained on and off on our tour, but that actually didn't make much of a difference since we were getting soaked anyways.

The tour has 4 rappels, as well as some "water surprises" in between 2 and 3. The first is 20 ft, just to get used to braking yourself and where to place your feet walking down a small "waterfall". The second is 150 ft, and in my opinion the most fun. Once you get used to being off the platform, you can jump off the rocks/waterfalls and it was pretty easy to learn how to release and brake as you jumped. About halfway down, they tell you to let go of the rope and you fall to the ground, where one of the guides will belay you and catch you. It was pretty controlled and nothing like free-fall, which was the right about of thrill for me. The guides did a great job of making you feel completely safe, while keeping the adventure alive.

Then you do some hiking, which is somewhat strenuous and involves a good amount of coordination. I personally loved it, but was glad that I had already done a hike a couple days prior so I was used to watching where I stepped and thinking about how not to slip.

The third rappel was short like the first one, and the last one is 220 ft. Getting off the platform was the hardest part, and watching everyone drop was pretty scary. For those of us who were afraid of heights, the guides let us brake ourselves down until we were comfortable to let go - everyone else just got off the platform and let go all the way down.

Afterwards, we hiked back to our starting point (this hike is pretty strenuous with a lot of stairs) and there was a delicious meal waiting for us. Rice and beans, salad, yucca, a chicken/potato dish - it was very heart after the excursion. They also have small towels available to dry off with and a couple outdoor showers to rinse off - make sure you bring dry clothes for afterwards!

There's a photographer who takes pictures of your group and they sell them afterwards. As of Dec 2012 it was $15 for one person, $25 for two, and +$5 for each person thereafter in your group. The pictures came out great, and almost everyone got a CD!

Visited December 2012
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TX
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Excellent Company-top of the line”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

Hi, my son (21) and I (42-mom) went on 2 excursions with this company and loved them both, class 3-4 rafting and canyoneering. First, the rafting was one of the more exciting rafting trips that we have ever done. The rapids on this trip were continuous rapids and our guide surfed them with us in the raft. It was very exciting. The guides pulled over about half way down and we swam across the river and walked up the bank and jumped off a 15ft drop back into the river. The food on both excursions was included and very good (not exceptional but traditional, do not be afraid of the fish it was very tasty). So it was a perfect ending to each day. The next day we did the canyoneering tour. You should know that there were only 4 rappels but the hiking and "surprises" and your surroundings in addition to the rappels made this amazing as well. At the end of the last rappel you will have a short 15 minute hike and it is a steady climb up concrete steps. Take your time and you will be fine. I would have booked more excursions with this company but we were moving to another town. I highly recommend Desafio. Many Thanks to Louis Henry our amazing rafting guide and to Sergio, David and Alan our rappelling guides for making this a memory my son and I will never forget.

Visited December 2012
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