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 travel onto the green landscapes and farm towns surrounding Turrialba Volcano. Next head to the Caribbean Coast of the country to explore the beaches and rainforest, before returning to the higher slopes with a naturalist’s view of Sarapiqui. From volcanic hot springs in La Fortuna to the cloud forests of Monteverde, nature abounds. Complete the vacation on the Pacific Coast’s beach town of Tamarindo. 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.
- 14 nights lodging (at hotel detailed here or hotels of similar standard)
- Daily breakfast (days 2-15)
- 2 lunches and 3 dinners
- Transportation in modern buses
Included Activity Package
- San Jose City Tour
- Irazu Volcano National Park
- Orosi Valley Tour
- Turrialba Volcano National Park
- Pejibaye Rural Tourism
- Naturalist Guided Walk
- Sarapiqui River Boating
- Ecotermales Hot Springs
- Hanging Bridges
- Taxi-Boat-Taxi Arenal to Santa Elena
- Santa Elena Reserve
- Hummingbird Observatory
|Puerto Viejo de Talamanca||2|
|Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí||1|
Arrive at SJO airport and be transferred to the hotel in a modern, air-conditioned coach. After Check-in, relax and enjoy the swimming pool or the other excellent facilities, depending on arrival time. Costa Rica’s capital is located in the Central Valley and above sea level, so is pleasantly warm during the day, but can be cooler in the evening.
The hotel’s proximity to San José makes it an ideal base location for exploring the points of interest and cultural activities available in this small country’s largest city. Discover the must-sees of the capital city in an afternoon city tour.
San José – Turrialba
Board the bus to travel in air-conditioned comfort to the mountainous region of the Turriabla Volcano. Irazu Volcano is the first stop and an incredible sight with its green crater lake (2 hours). The national park boasts incredible vegetation like the huge Poor Man’s Umbrella. Then it’s onto the green valleys of Orosi (2 hours). The fertile slopes of farmland leading to the Orosi Valley grow sugarcane and coffee in the volcanic soil. Orosi’s church was constructed in 1793 and is the oldest in the country still in use today. This show the area’s history as one of the first places settled by the Spanish colonists, who were drawn to the rich land and more temperate climate than sea level offered.
After Check-in at the hotel, take a walk around the grounds to appreciate the views across the Turrialba Volcano slopes often cloaked in cloud or mists.
After breakfast at the hotel, head off to explore the Turrialba Volcano National Park (2 hours). The volcano has shown recent activity letting off steam and ash onto the surrounding dairy farmland. The park is one of the country’s least visited despite its fine examples of montane and rain forest. It remains fairly inaccessible to visitors allowing those lucky enough to explore an almost exclusive tour. Pejibaye is the next destination on the itinerary and is featured as part of a rural tourism initiative, allowing visitors to experience the ‘real’ Costa Rica that tourists usually don’t see (1 hour). This small community was established to farm coffee and sugarcane, but with both product prices declining, the town is redirecting its energies into tourism.
Relax at the hotel in the afternoon, or take today’s Add-on activity:
*Guayabo National Monument
Turrialba – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Board the bus to travel in air-conditioned comfort from the cooler hills of Turrialba to the tropical climate of the Caribbean coast. The journey passes through the volcanic farmland slopes down to pineapple and banana plantations before reaching the historical port city of Limon. For the last hour and a half, the road winds through lush, green rainforest, crossing rivers and running alongside the beaches and Caribbean Sea.
This coast was settled by Jamaicans at the turn of the twentieth century and was also a last stronghold for the country’s indigenous people, making for a unique cultural mix. The road enters and leaves Puerto Viejo to head down to the far South Caribbean beaches which are less visited and even more tranquil. After Check-in, guests can cool off in the hotel’s waterfall fed swimming pool, or walk through the tropical gardens—look out for the huge Ceiba tree that is a property landmark.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Wake up to the sounds of Howler monkeys just in time for a hotel breakfast. Playa Chiquita is a quiet, laid-back stretch of coastline, compared to the busier nearby town of Puerto Viejo. The beach town of Puerto Viejo or Old Harbor in English retains much of its Caribbean influence evident in the spicy dishes, the Jamaican lilt to the English spoken and the reggae beats on the air. The town’s white and black sand beaches are a great place to relax, surf and snorkel.
Take time to unwind from everyday life at the hotel’s jungle pool, complete with waterfalls, or explore the nearby beaches of Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva (Grape Point). Stay alert for the sights and sounds of the jungle; sloths, both white-faced and howler monkeys, and toucans are all commonly seen in the area.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – La Fortuna
After another hotel breakfast in the forest, it’s time to move off to the next location in the comfort of the air-conditioned bus to discover the natural wonders of another ‘old harbor’ – Sarapiqui. Returning to the port of Limon, cruise ships and containers can be seen entering and leaving the docks. Further out to sea is the island of Uvita, which was the first piece of Costa Rica that Columbus saw on his arrival in 1502.
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 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.
Sarapiquí – La Fortuna
After eating breakfast at the hotel, the day begins boating on the Sarapiqui River (2-3 hours). 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. When the boat tour has finished, the air-conditioned bus transfer will set off to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano.
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.
After the hotel breakfast, the day begins with a walk above and through the rainforest canopy (2 hours). 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:
*Safari River Float
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 *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 eco-system is uniquely located on the divide between the Pacific and Caribbean and so as well as views over both coasts on a clear day; species from both regions are found.
This delicate habitat is under constant threat from climate change and is a refuge for many endangered species. Next is the Selvatura Park (1 hour) to see some of the 30 species of hummingbirds flitting around with a myriad of colors. Either relax in the afternoon, or take the afternoon ‘Add-on’ activities:
Monteverde — Tamarindo
Enjoy a hotel breakfast overlooking the cloud forest, before boarding the air-conditioned bus to travel down from the mountain heights to sea level. The route is into the drier northwest region of Costa Rica, through the authentic town of Nicoya, and onto the Pacific Coastline in Guanacaste. Weather is hot and sunny like the rest of the country but less humid. Langosta Beach is a little off the usual tourist trail and so is a quiet get-away-from-it-all location.
After Check-in at the hotel, the time to relax truly begins. Meals and drinks are available at the buffet restaurant or snack bar as part of the all-inclusive package, so ‘buen provecho!’
Enjoy the meals and leisure time at hand with the many activities available at the Barceló Langosta Beach today. Alternatively, Langosta lies just over a mile from Tamarindo which is a popular tourist town with an exciting nightlife, international restaurants and a number of bars and discos. The town grew up around its surf culture and its waves still pull surfers here today. The grey volcanic sand beach is long and lined by palm trees with clear waters for swimming.
Visit in the day for souvenir shopping, and to enjoy the beach, or a night to party. Fun activities in Tamarindo include sports fishing, ATV riding, horseback riding, kite- and wind-surfing and snorkeling and diving. A magical experience is a sunset catamaran cruise into the ocean.
The day is free to spend at the hotel, or to explore the nearby coastline. Nearby Playa Grande forms part of the Marino Las Baulas National Park which was established in 1990. It’s an important nesting ground for Leather Back turtles between October and May when beach access is restricted for their protection. The long beach has picture perfect white sands leading down from the surrounding forest and mangrove swamps. This is another popular surf spot but much quieter than nearby Tamarindo.
After exploring the beach and national park, the hotel’s pool and fresh fruit drinks will be so appealing.
Tamarindo – San Jose
After a relaxed breakfast overlooking the beach, it’s time to return to the city. Journey through the rustic countryside of Guanacaste and into Nicoya with its typical villages to join the modern highways and return to the capital.
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 largest city and shop for souvenirs.
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 & 13: Hotel Presidente
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 02 & 03: Guayabo Lodge, Turrialba
This cosy mountain eco-lodge has just 24 rooms, each with its own décor and color scheme based on local folk art for an authentic atmosphere for visitors. Wall murals through the property similarly echo the style of the region’s artists and illustrate the wildlife found in the area.
The temperature is ideal and rooms require neither fan or air conditioning, due to the lodge’s location on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano. The volcano and valley can be viewed from the hotel.
Day 04 & 05: Hotel Shawandha, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Accommodation is provided by 14 eco-friendly wooden bungalows nestled into the rainforest of the 5 acres of tropical gardens and jungle. The grounds provide a habitat for an array of bird and animal life. Take the forest paths to the white sand beach of Playa Chiquita, just 200 meters away from the hotel.
Explore the hotel grounds, the nearby beaches or relax poolside with waterfalls flowing into the water. The hotel’s restaurant is a popular choice with locals and visitors alike due to its fine cuisine. Combine the best of jungle and beach life for the perfect taste of Costa Rica’s Caribbean hospitality and culture.
Day 06: Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui
The eco-lodge is situated in a protected nature reserve where wildlife is abundant. Take advantage of the ample grounds and the well-laid out trails to explore the jungle at your doorstep—don’t miss the hanging bridge over the river! Visitors are amazed by the sheer abundance of wildlife around the property with armadillos, sloths and
Accommodation is provided in one of the 4 room wooden River Lodges near the Sarapiqui River with chairs and hammocks ideally positioned to view the animal and plant life that surrounds this special resort. Sleep to the soothing sound of the river flow.
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 07 & 08: Arenal Montechiari Hotel, La Fortuna
Montechiari’s cabins are nestled in tropical gardens, in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. The 21 wooden cabins are fronted by terrace so that guests can sit outside to enjoy the nature around them—Toucans, sloths and lizards are often seen here. Air-conditioning, coffee maker and cable television in each cabin for guest convenience and comfort.
A typical buffet breakfast is served daily for a healthy and filling start to the morning. The well=placed bird table provides an opportunity to bird spot while eating.
The hotel also boasts two pools and a wet bar, just nice for cooling off after an active day! The nearby town of La Fortuna offers restaurants and shops.
Day 09 & 10: 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 11-13 Barceló Langosta Beach
This exclusive five star all-inclusive beach resort is located on Langosta Beach and is the ideal spot to end a vacation in Costa Rica.
The hotel’s 198 rooms were recently renovated. Offering views over the lush tropical gardens and the Marino Baula National Park, these spacious and light rooms are designed for comfort as well as style.
All Inclusive guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the La Langosta buffet restaurant without restriction. The poolside bar provides guests with snacks and fast food. And don’t miss out on a sundowner cocktail at the La Tortuga Lobby Bar.
Live music and entertainment are on show nightly.
Feeling active? The resort has a range of facilities open to guests:
Gym, aerobics and dance classes
Hydro massage bath
Sand courts for volleyball and football.
Giant chess, archery and darts
Table tennis table
The long white sand beach is just a stroll away and is much quieter than the neighboring Tamarindo just over a mile from Langosta. Surfers can catch great waves at the estuary mouth. Beach walkers are rewarded by tiny rock pools full of colorful, fish and shells. Catch an incredible sunset over the ocean!
The hotel also has an A la carte restaurant and two other bars should guests wish for a change of scene and menu.**
The order and logistics of the itinerary may change depending on weather conditions.
*Not included in the AI package
Day 01 San Jose
Doka State Coffee Tour Learn the coffee process from the bean to the cup in this tour around a working coffee plantation.
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 03 Turrialba
The Guayabo National Monument This monument is the archaeological remains of a mysterious Pre-Columbian city that was once a thriving and sophisticated infrastructure complete with paved roads and aqueducts from as early at 1,000 B.C. However, no one knows what led to its abandonment.
Day 05 Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Snorkelling at Cahuita National Park Catch a glimpse of the colorful aquatic life that inhabits the protected coral reefs within this beautiful national park. Dive off a boat into the ocean to snorkel above the reefs too far to swim out to from the shore, and maybe even see the canon from an ancient shipwreck.
Day 08 La Fortuna
Safari River Float Launched into the calm river waters in a rubber tube, there’s few things more relaxing than going with the flow of the water while observing the wildlife on the riverbanks and jungle.
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.
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. $25 p.p.
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.