Discover some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful locations in exploring this biodiverse Central American country. Begin in the nation’s vibrant capital city, then become immersed in nature in the rainforest of Sarapiqui. From volcanic hot springs in La Fortuna to the cloud forests of Monteverde, wonder abounds. Complete the vacation in the Pacific Coast’s beach resort and famous national park of Manual Antonio. Journey in comfort, stay in high-quality accommodation, and be personally guided through the natural wonders of Costa Rica for the vacation experience of a lifetime.
- 10 nights lodging (at hotel detailed here or hotels of similar standard)
- Daily breakfast (days 3-9)
- Transportation in modern buses
- Bilingual guide (days 1-7, and 11)*
Included Activity Package
- Guided Natural History Walk
- Sarapiqui River Boating
- Ecotermales Hot Springs
- Hanging Bridges
- Taxi-Boat-Taxi Arenal to Santa Elena
- Santa Elena Reserve
- Hummingbird Observatory
|Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí||2|
San José – Sarapiquí
Arrive at SJO airport and be transferred to the hotel in a modern, air-conditioned coach. Descend from the relative cool of the Central Valley to sea level’s tropical temperatures. Sarapiqui is one of the areas of the country that has successfully preserved primary rain forest. After Check-in at the hotel, it’s onto a guided naturalist tour (2 hours) to fully appreciate the myriad of creatures and plants that call this humid jungle home. One of Costa Rica’s best places for bird spotting, visitors should be on the look out for Toucans, Trogons, kingfishers and hummingbirds. After the walking tour through the forest trails, relax on a chair or hammock outside your room to see more wildlife, or cool off in the pool.
After eating breakfast at the hotel, the day begins boating on the Sarapiqui River. The modern boat is designed for minimum environmental impact and comfort. The river is calm at this point, unlike the rapids for rafting in other sections of the river. Look out for crocodiles, alligators and otters in the waters during the 2 hour excursion. Howler monkeys and their rarer cousins, Spider Monkeys may be seen in the overhanging branches as well as Green Iguanas, and of course an array of river birds. This area is inhabited by over half of the country’s species of birds and five of the six cat species that are found in Costa Rica, although these remain elusive.
Use the afternoon to relax or to spot more of the diverse wildlife that inhabits the área on the trails that cross the hotel grounds, or from the balcony.
Sarapiquí –La Fortuna
When the hotel breakfast has finished, the air-conditioned bus transfer will set off to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano. Enjoy the farmland scenery as the bus journeys through the cattle lands of the region which is green and humid at sea level.
With its iconic cone shape, the volcano is a distinctive landmark in the area. Once a very active volcano, the main crater still spews forth steam and vapor on occasions. Following Check-in, it’s time to relax in Ecothermales hot springs, the exclusive resort with limited visitor numbers(1-2 hours). The springs are heated by the volcano and contain many minerals believed to be therapeutic, while gazing up at the volcano itself. What better way to relax?
After the hotel breakfast, the day begins with a walk above and through the rainforest canopy. The hanging bridges allow visitors a unique birds’ eye view of the jungle roof, and views across the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Arenal Volcano. The area around the volcano is forested, and the roaring of howler monkeys can be heard, as well as the birdsongs from dawn.. The volcano’s last big eruption was in 1948 and its activity was intense until 2010. These days, the region remains popular for its natural beauty and the range of activities available.
Either relax in the afternoon or take the ‘Add-on’ activity available for today:
*La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna – Monteverde
The journey begins after a hotel breakfast, the day begins with a taxi transfer to the shores of Lake Arenal for a 30 minute boat ride across its waters to rejoin the taxi at Santa Elena on the way to Monteverde. Arenal Lake has been a popular spot for fishing and watersports, like windsurfing and SUP, since it was enlarged to improve hydro-electric production. Less strenuous is a gentle boat ride on the lake’s waters which is magical at sunset. The climb up to the ‘Green Mountain’ rewards the traveler with stunning views and a change of climate from the humidity of Arenal to the cooler, fresher temperatures of the mountains. This tiny town was settled by Quakers in the 1940s and their influence is still strong. After Check-in to the hotel, relax or take one or both of today’s ‘Add-on’ activities: *El Trapiche Coffee Tour or *Wildlife Night walk
After the hotel breakfast, explore the mysterious forest in the Santa Elena Reserve, shrouded in clouds and home to wildlife such as the sought-after Quetzal, monkeys, big cats and over a 1,000 species of amphibians and reptiles (2-3 hours). This delicate habitat is under constant threat from climate change and is a refuge for many endangered species. Next is the Selvatura Park to see some of the 30 species of hummingbirds flitting around with a myriad of colors. Either relax in the afternoon or take one of the afternoon ‘Add-on’ activities:
Monteverde – Manual Antonio
After eating breakfast at the hotel, the descent from the clouds in the air-conditioned comfort of the bus begins. Beach bound for Manuel Antonio, the temperature at sea level is hot and the weather is sunny with sea breezes.
After Check-in to the hotel, enjoy relaxing poolside or head out to explore the town of Quepos or downhill to Manuel Antonio itself. Quepos was once a tiny fishing village, but has expanded into a buzzing beach town with international restaurants, trendy coffee shops, and a buzzing nightlife. Contrastingly, the cliff road down to Manuel Antonio and the tiny village itself at the bottom of the hill, is quiet and home to the more exclusive accommodation options that the area offers.
Manuel Antonio is the jewel of the Central Pacific Coast. The wide white sand beaches are picturesque; leading into clear blue ocean. The waves are popular for water sports, like snorkeling, surfing and stand up paddle-boarding.
Manuel Antonio National Park has been described as one of the most beautiful national parks in the world which isn’t surprising at all, as the park encompasses rainforest, coral reefs, and white sand beaches. Created in 1972, the park is one of the country’s smallest and most popular for visitors. As a result of its popularity, the gates stay closed on Mondays to help maintain the facilities and to reduce stress on the wildlife. The park’s limited area can’t support a monkey population, and so the troops can be seen entering and leaving the park over specially constructed bridges.
Monkeys and sloths are a common sight if hiking the trails. Large green iguanas take to the beaches to sunbathe and nod their heads at each other. The park supports 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds.
The distinctive tombola feature of the park, describes the once-island now joined the rest of the park by a thin strip of sand bank to produce its eye-catching whale tail appearance of Cathedral Point. This geographical feature separates the two beaches of Espadilla Sur and Manuel Antonio. Walk further to be treated to the less visited Puerto Escondido beach away from the crowds.
Manuel Antonio has much to offer visitors whether participating in the various activities, such as water sports, or as an opportunity to truly relax and unwind.
Manuel Antonio – San José
After a relaxed breakfast overlooking the beach, it’s time to return to the city. From there, the transfer to San José is comfortable along modern highways.
Check-in at the hotel, and afterwards, there’s free time to relax and enjoy the facilities provided or an opportunity to explore Costa Rica’s bustling capital city and shop for souvenirs.
Eat breakfast at the hotel and, depending on the flight time, be transferred to the airport in comfort, ready for your departure.
Wave Adios to Costa Rica — we know you’ll be back!
Day 01 & 02: Selva Verde Lodge
The eco-lodge is situated in a protected nature reserve where wildlife is abundant. Accommodation is provided in one of the 4 room River Lodges near the Sarapiqui River with chairs and hammocks ideally positioned to view the animal and plant life that surrounds this special resort.
The pool is a refreshing dip with a rainforest backdrop. The pizza restaurant is a favorite with guests with its open air design. The main restaurant overlooks the Sarapiqui River for a spectacular view to accompany any meal.
Day 03 & 04: Volcano Lodge and Springs, La Fortuna
The lodge offers spectacular volcano views and the thermal hot springs for the exclusive use of hotel guests. Rooms are equipped with mod cons and a terrace for comfort and convenience. The grounds encompass tropical gardens—don’t miss the nature trail winding through the plants for glimpse of local wildlife!
Begin the day with a hearty buffet breakfast in the open plan restaurant enjoying the aromas from the gardens, and end the day with cocktails at the Wet Bar or Lobby Bar.
Day 05 & 06: Heliconia Hotel, Monteverde
Set on the slopes of Monteverde, the hotel offers guests wonderful views of the cloud forest that makes the area so popular. This mountain retreat has 50 rooms decorated in vibrant colors and styles, contrasting with the wood panelling for a chalet-feel.
The temperature here is cool enough to make a dip in one of the Jacuzzis dotted around the six acres of grounds appealing. A Mediterranean restaurant and bar are located onsite.
Days 7-10: Casitas Eclipse, Manuel Antonio
This Mediterranean-style boutique hotel is located on the clifftops leading down to the beaches of Manuel Antonio, just half a mile away. The lush tropical gardens often allow guests to see iguanas, hummingbirds, sloths and monkeys right here on the property.
The 30 elegantly decorated rooms are air-conditioned. They offer either a balcony or terrace for guests to enjoy the views over the ocean or gardens. The rooms center around a swimming pool.
The Gato Negro or Black Cat Restaurant is light and breezy with colorful décor. The ocean views are fabulous and this is a great place for a sundowner cocktail.
Day 11: Hotel Presidente, San Jose
This modern boutique hotel in the heart of the country’s capital, combines the best of urban chic and comfort for the perfect introduction to Costa Rica. The family-owned hotel is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of San Jose while remaining within a short walk of all the well-known landmarks of this thriving city.
Shared areas are decorated in harmony with the building’s past. The exposed bricks and metal beams are softened with symbols of Costa Rica’s past for stunning effect. Rooms are spacious and airy with the white linens only adding to the effect. With free Wi-Fi, gym and buffet breakfast, served in the bright restaurant, every need is catered for during the overnight stay.
Day 01 San Jose
Poas Volcano National Park See the incredible aquamarine crater lake of this semi-active volcano which owes its color to the minerals within its waters. Take the trail through the dwarf cloud forest to the eerily quiet second crater lake with its acidic waters.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens These tropical gardens are a pleasant walk with abundant vegetation and of course, waterfalls. There’s a number of animal attractions too – butterflies, reptiles and even wild cats.
Day 08 La Fortuna
La Fortuna Waterfalls Take the pleasant walk down (and up!) the 471 steps to the refreshing pool at the base of the waterfall. The spray from the power of the falls creates a mist that nourishes plant life and cools off the walking visitor.
Day 09 Monteverde
El Trapiche Coffee Tour Learn the coffee process from the bean to the cup in this tour around a working coffee plantation.
Wildlife Night Walk Take a guided tour to discover the nocturnal animals that begin their day after dusk: frogs, bats and maybe even a wild cat.
Day 10 Monteverde
Canopy Tour Feeling brave? Zip-lining along cables through the cloud forest canopy is the ultimate adrenalin rush.
The order and logistics of the itinerary may change depending on weather conditions.