Activities offered in and around Mastatal include rainforest hikes, swimming in pristine forest rivers, soaking in hidden hot springs, wildlife viewing and birdwatching, horseback riding, and more. The area is a paradise for water lovers, as numerous rivers and waterfalls are accessed from the area with the Pacific Ocean only 15 miles to the south (though it takes over an hour to get there in a car). For those more interested in taking it a bit slower, Rancho Mastatal is the perfect place for kicking back, reading a good book and taking in the beautiful surroundings.
Below is a list of activities that you might be interested in participating in during your stay in the area. Guides are either needed or recommended for many of the below activities, and often times only speak Spanish. This provides you with an excellent opportunity to work on your Spanish while helping the local economy. For some activities, especially the horseback rides, we will need a day or two advance notice so that we can make arrangements with the local community members that we work with.
La Iguana Chocolate Tour: Visit La Iguana Chocolate for a fabulous 2-hour tour of this locally owned and operated organic farm and chocolate making facility. Learn how cacao is harvested, fermented and turned into chocolate. Eat lots of chocolate goodies at the end of the tour!
Wear long pants and sturdy shoes and bring lots of water and a snack (when not included in the price of the trip). All horses are locally trained and owned. We need 2 days notice to organize horseback rides. All rides are guided.
"Trapiche" and Río Turbio Waterfall: ¾ day trip. Ride from Rancho Mastatal to the town of San Miguel and then down an old road past an antique sugar mill ("trapiche") powered by oxen. Then continue through pastures before walking to an enormous waterfall on the Río Turbio. Great swimming opportunities.
Zapatón Indigenous Reserve: Ride along our country roads to the small town of Zapatón. On the way, catch great views to the La Cangreja National Park and the Pacific Ocean. This is a great trip for beginners.
Wear closed shoes or boots and long pants on all hikes. Carry at least 2 liters of water and some snacks, be prepared to get wet and take precautions against the sun. We strongly recommend hiring a guide for these hikes and can arrange one for you. All durations given are for round-trips.
La Cangreja National Park to Rancho Mastatal: 5 hours. Hike from La Cangreja National Park to Rancho Mastatal (or vice versa). Experience primary and secondary tropical forests, beautiful rivers, great swimming holes and wildlife. Three stream crossings. Guide necessary. Moderate.
Rancho Mastatal Circuit: 3 hours. Hike Rancho Mastatal’s 7-kilometer circuit. Mountain views, primary and secondary forests, river, waterfalls, swimming holes and wildlife. Two stream crossings. Moderate.
Hidden Falls and Big Trees: Visit primary forest on the Ranch’s land and discover small, hidden waterfalls. Approximately 4-hours with time for discovering. Nice pools for swimming. No path. Walk up river. Wildlife. Guide necessary. Easy to moderate.
Río Rey Waterfalls: 5 hours. Walk through town and then down an old road before hiking down an extremely steep hillside to the Río Rey. Then walk upstream to some beautiful waterfalls. Nice swimming opportunities along the way. Guide necessary. Moderate to strenuous.
Cerro Cangreja Summit: 5 hours. Climb to the summit of Cerro Cangreja, the highest point in the area, for wonderful views to the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding countryside. Bring extra water. Guide necessary. Moderate to strenuous.
Quepos/Manuel Antonio Area
Río Savegre: Outside of Quepos. Class III-III+. Includes breakfast and lunch, hikes to spectacular waterfalls and guide. Does not include transportation from Mastatal to Quepos. Full day. Jungle trip. Beautiful. Getting to the put-in is an adventure in itself. There is also a half-day option on the Rio Naranjo. Class III-IV. Beautiful river. Arranged or public transportation from Ranch is extra.
Quepos/Manuel Antonio Area
Damas Island Estuary or Manuel Antonio’s Coast: Visit mangroves or the beautiful Central Pacific Coast near Manuel Antonio National Park. Coastal option is a bit more challenging with some open ocean but still OK for beginners.
OTHER POSSIBILITIES WITH LOCAL GUIDES
There are a number of other local activities that you may be able to organize with local guides. These include:
"Trapiche" Visit: Visit a local sugar mill where they still use oxen to press the sugar cane. Drink fresh sugar cane juice and help the local family make “tapa dulce”. Sample the finished product and share conversation with the local owners.
Night fishing for “langostinas”: Go out after dark with a local guide to hunt for freshwater shrimp. Going out into the forest at night presents certain risks so please talk with us in detail about this option before making your decision.
Basketweaving in Zapatón Indigenous Reserve: Share stories, make baskets and eat a typical lunch with a family in Zapatón.