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14 Nights Best of Costa Rica, Volcanoes and Pacific Coast 26th December 2023

14 Nights / 15 Days

Private Group of 5

14 Nights Best of Costa Rica, Volcanoes and Pacific Coast 26th December 2023

£3755 pp

What You'll Do

Explore Costa Rica uncovering pristine coastline, lush, tangled jungle, characterful towns, see amazing natural landscapes and wildlife, get off the beaten track, meet the locals and immerse yourself in the Costa Rican way of life.

Tour summary

Day 1 San Ramon

Day 2 – 5  Arenal Volcano National Park

Day 6 & 7 Monteverde

Day 8 – 10 Drake Bay

Day 11 – 14 Manuel Antonio

Day 15 Departure from San Jose

You’ll start your adventure from San Ramon, and head straight for the the spectacular volcanoes and waterfalls of Arenal Volcano National Park. The country prides itself on eco-friendly and socially sustainable tourism, and this will be the focus of your tour as you visit some amazing less visited areas which are real hidden gems as well as experiencing Costa Rica’s famous highlights. You will hike through the rainforest, see the amazing flora and fauna and the spectacular waterfalls and be amazed by the huge array of flowers, butterflies, orchids and hummingbirds.

You’ll take a guided cloud forest night tour in Monteverde, and visit local communities where you’ll be immersed in rural Costa Rican culture, learning how to cook real, authentic Costa Rican cuisine. You’ll take a forest canopy tour, including hanging bridges and zip lines and hope to spot the Resplendent Quetzal!

As part of the wildlife excursions on your Costa Rican adventure, you’ll sail through the protected mangrove swamps and perhaps glimpse iguanas, turtles, and crocodiles in the water; on land monkeys, sloths, coatimundi and raccoons can be seen. In Manuel Antonio you will experience river rafting on the Sevegre River, stopping for a refreshing swim at a spectacular waterfall.

As well as the adrenaline-pumping activities, incredible food and stunning scenery that you’ll experience, this tour offers an opportunity to really get under the skin of Costa Rica and see the hidden gems, off the tourist trail, that you would otherwise miss.

Thanks to your local drivers and guides, you’ll meet and interact with local people, get to know their way of life and create long-lasting memories.

Experience
Highlights

Get off the beaten track and see the local side to Costa Rica most tourists miss

Discover incredible wild spaces, dense jungles and pristine beaches

Thrilling adventures, zip-lining, river rafting, horse riding

Your Local Host:

Roberto

I was born and raised in Costa Rica and have lived here my entire life. And ever since I could, I’ve been travelling the world. Soon after I left school, I travelled around Costa Rica and discovered every single part of it! Although, we do have a fairly small country, there’s an insane amount to explore, and I’m still exploring Read More

Experience Itinerary

Arrive in Costa Rica

Arrive in San Jose airport, where you will be picked up and driven to your first accommodation Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve, located in the Alajuela Province. The laid-back colonial city of San Ramon has been dubbed the ‘City of Presidents and Poets’. It has played an important role in Costa Rica’s history as it has been home to many local literary heroes and political leaders and is surrounded by lush rainforest, coffee and sugar cane fields.

Relax and enjoy the wonderful location and facilities of your hotel before your adventure begins tomorrow!

Accommodation

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve

Superior Casita x 2

 

Meals

Breakfast

 

Volcanoes and Hot springs

Today you will set off on your Costa Rican adventure making your way towards La Fortuna you will first stop at the Poás Volcano, an active volcano with a crater over a mile across and 1050 feet deep.  It has erupted 40 times in the last 200 years and you will have time to enjoy the impressive main crater with its sulphur fumaroles.

You will then continue to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and enjoy an amazing traditional buffet lunch. You will hike the trails surrounded by lush tropical rain forest and see the flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies, monkeys, and hummingbirds.  This is definitely a tour for nature lovers of all ages.

Then you will drive to La Fortuna and to Costa Rica’s best known volcano.  Until 2010 Arenal volcano was very active, erupting and spewing lava and ash on a regular basis, however it has now become dormant. It is a tall and imposing mountain with a perfectly symmetrical shape, a sightseer’s dream! The verdant lands surrounding it are home to abundant wildlife and you are likely to spot deer, tapir, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys and birds such as parrots, orioles and brown magpies.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a privately owned ecological area featuring fantastic hiking, famous waterfalls and many species of rescued wildlife. Here you can see over 100 species of animals, as well as numerous birds and butterflies, and learn about their environmental education program. There are five waterfalls within the cloud forest and rainforest and  abundant hiking trails and you will enjoy a picnic lunch here with fresh local produce.

The geothermal activity in the area produces the natural hot springs  and this afternoon and evening you will have chance to relax and enjoy the famous hot springs of the Arenal volcano.

After your hike you will be transferred to you hotel in San Carlos.

Arenal Roca Suites have an amazing view of the Arenal Volcano, and are close to the Arenal Lake Dam. There are seven suites, each with queen size bed and an extra sofa bed, fully equipped kitchens, TVs, air-conditioning and terraces offering impressive views of the Arenal Volcano. Guests can enjoy delicious breakfasts served daily.

Accommodation

Arenal Roca Suites

Meals

Breakfast

 

Tenario Volcano Hike and Celeste Waterfall

Today you will explore the area around Tenario Volcano National Park  and visit the Celeste Waterfall

The area is best known for the beautiful Río Celeste meandering through the forest, whose turquoise waters are caused by the emanation of suphur and the precipitation of calcium carbonates. Primary cloud forest and rainforest covers the park, which abounds with flora and fauna species, rivers, waterfalls and thermal hot springs.

There is the opportunity to climb through the cloud forest along the Crater Trail to the top of the volcano to view the steaming Lago Dante. The excursion of the day is a hike to one of the highlights of the park: the magnificent Celeste Waterfall, known for its stunning blue waters.

This tour takes visitors over the many suspension bridges in the rainforest, and a visit to the Blue Lagoon. Hikers are likely to spot a variety of wildlife, possibly even the shy tapir and puma and sloth. Along the trail you will walk through the rainforest and along the Celeste River, where you can observe one of nature’s most intriguing phenomena, where the clear water  turns into a bright turquiose in the Rio Celeste.

 

Accommodation

Arenal Roca Suites

 

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

 

Arenal Volcano National Parkand La Fortuna Waterfall

Today you will explore the area around Arenal Volcano. A visit to La Fortuna Waterfall and The Volcano hike is a great combo for the day.

The day will start late in the morning, at 11am so you can have enough time to enjoy a nice breakfast, explore the surroundings of the hotel and relax a little before your pick up. We recommend you to wear your swimming suit for the waterfall visit.

The excursion starts with a slow paced hike down through 500 steps that open the way to the magnificent waterfall. On the way down your guide will point out the various species that will be found among birds and mammals. Go easy, no rush, and take in the gorgeous views you have ahead of you. Once downstairs you can refresh and swim in the pond of the great waterfall in front of you.

For lunch you will meet the Rodriguez Family. They will cook a traditional lunch that you will not forget. Served by the side of a river, you will enjoy a tasteful meal and experience some of our culture, followed by a delicious and freshly brewed cup of coffee.

After lunch you will visit the imposing Arenal Volcano National Park.  The hike takes you around its base while you will be learning everything about the eruptions and the old lava flows, and you will see the transition of the rainforest growing in them.  If you are lucky, you can see some rainforest animals too!

 

Accommodation

Arenal Roca Suites

 

Meals 

Breakfast

 

Free day ( Optional Visit Juanilama: Cheese Tour and Waterfall Hike)

 

Today is a free day – there is an optional activity if you would like to include it please let us know.

After a delicious breakfast, you’ll visit Juanilama, a small rural town where you will the chance to live the daily life of a rural community. You will experience a tour of the village and activities designed to show true Costa Rican culture, the traditions of the people, and their respect for nature. This visit is led by a small group of empowered women who lead this incredible community project.

Your guide, a traditional dairy farmer, will take you on the first tour of the day. After a brief introduction to the area, you will visit the cows and help bring the cows from the yard pasture to prepare them for milking.You will learn how to make cheese and other dairy products like sour cream and yogurt, from the dairy farmers themselves.

You will then hike the Juanilama Reserve, two miles of nature trails that lead you to the beautiful La Leona Waterfall. Here you will have the opportunity to enjoy its scenic beauty and swim in the fresh pure water of the river. Throughout the walk your guide will tell you all about the plant and animal life of the area.

After your visit to Juanilama, you’ll then return to La Fortuna to continue your Costa Rican adventure.

Accommodation

Arenal Roca Suites

 

Meals 

Breakfast

Arenal Lake Crossing to Monteverde

Today you will travel between Rio Celeste and Monteverde by crossing the Arenal Lake. You will be driven to the lake, where you will board a boat and sail for approximately one hour to take you across to Monteverde. This service is not only the fastest, but also the most scenic way to travel, where you can admire the beautiful views of all of the mountains, sky and the colossal Arenal volcano during the crossing. When you reach the other side of the lake, you will be picked up and driven to your hotel in Monteverde.

It will take you less than three hours to arrive at a height of 1440 m above sea level, on top of Costa Rica’s continental divide, and the much cooler weather of Monteverde and Santa Elena.

This afternoon, you have free time to visit the shops, ice cream parlours, cheese factories or coffee houses of Monteverde.

 

 

Accommodation

El Establo Mountain Hotel  Monteverde

1x Junior Suite

1x Family Suite

Meals

Breakfast

Explore Monteverde: Canopy and Coffee Tour

You will have the entire day to enjoy the area, including the small and quaint town of Santa Elena, filled with tasty restaurants and independent artisan shops. The nearby forest hosts a remarkable amount of biodiversity: a walk through a cloud forest in Monteverde reveals a lush garden of mosses, ferns, flowers and epiphytes growing thickly on every tree. Clouds drift in and settle among the slopes, providing the plants with the continuous moisture that they require. Dangling roots and vines sweep across the trails, while the sounds of birds and other creatures echo throughout the forest.

In the morning you will take part in an thrilling canopy tour where you’ll have the adrenaline rush of swinging from platform to platform attached to a harness as you zip line on the longest and highest cables to be found in the area. At the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy the awe inspiring panoramic views that can only to be seen from high above. If you’d rather take a more sedentary route you can walk the high hanging bridges above of the canopy of the forest.

In the afternoon, you’ll have a coffee, chocolate and sugar cane tour! The coffee tour begins with the wonderful history of coffee in the world, and importance in Costa Rica’s development. You will see all the stages of coffee growing and harvesting to the delicious final product, the cup of coffee. The second part of this tour is the delicious chocolate tour, which is not only the perfect complement for coffee, but has influenced the traditions and culture of Costa Rica through the ages. Then you will learn about the sugar cane, its history, plantations, different types of harvest, and processing. You’ll live the experience of creating refreshing sugar cane juice.

 

Accommodation

El Establo Mountain Hotel

Meals

Breakfast

Ferry to Drake Bay

Today you will see many different ecosystems as we leave the Dry Forest of the north, drive through the transition forest, arrive on Lowland Rainforest, and pass the Mangrove swamps of Sierpe before getting to the Pacific coastline.

In Sierpe you board a boat that will finally take you to your next destination, Drake Bay.

You take a boat through the Mangrove out to sea and sail down the Southern coastline to reach the bay. You’ll be met by your local guide and travel to one of the less visited areas of Costa Rica, and the hotel Aquila de Osa where you’ll stay for the the next three nights.

Nestled amid jungle covered hillside overlooking the tranquil waters of Drake Bay, Aguila de Osa is a jungle Eco Lodge close to  the beautiful Corcovado National Park and Caño Island Biological Marine Reserve.

There are amazing wildlife spotting opportunities and many water and land based activities on offer. The large thatched wooden cabins are simply furnished and very comfortable with views of the surrounding lush jungle.

There is an open air restaurant serving delicious local dishes and there is a bar on site. The hotel works closely with the local community and to protect the environment, using water from its on site well, and composting food waste to use in the organic gardens.

Drake Bay is famous for it’s lush rainforests and colourful sea life, and legend has it that it’s namesake, Sir Francis Drake, hid his treasures somewhere in the bay!

There are many great places to visit around the bay, and local shops where you can support the local community.

Accommodation

Aguila de Osa

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Corcovado National Park

 

Today you will visit the Osa Península and Corcovado National Park.

These are considered the most biologically diverse places on Earth and the jewel on the crown of Costa Rica’s national parks! A must see for wildlife and nature lovers, Corcovado is one of the less accessible parks in Costa Rica, and this means less tourists visit this area, making it all the more appealing.

This wild, untamed region is home to the only tropical primary lowland rainforest in the world and is a sanctuary for many endangered flora and fauna. It protects over 140 different mammal species, 400 bird species, 20 of which are endemic, 116 amphibian and reptile species, 40 species of fish and at least 500 species of trees in its amazing and diverse habitats of beaches, mangroves, swamps, forest and palm groves.

Your guide will show you some of the best spots to admire the abundant biodiversity of Corcovado, and see animals like the tamandua, the tapir or the peccary.

Accommodation

Aguila de Osa

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Sail to Cano Island

Today you’ll take a boat trip to the wonderful, untouched Caño Island, the gem of the South Pacific of Costa Rica! The waters around Cano island are renowned as one of the worlds best snorkelling and diving areas, with amazing coral reefs and some of the most abundant and varied marine life in the world.

The island itself has Pre Columbian architectural remains and it is believed to have once been a pirate hideout and some say it was the inspiration for Robert Stevenson’s book ”Treasure Island”

As you sail to the island you have the opportunity to see dolphins, whales, sea turtles, rays and other magnificent marine animals and take the chance to snorkel amongst them if you wish!

Accommodation

Aguila de Osa

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Sierpe River Mangrove cruise and on to Manuel Antonio

Today you will visit the Sierpe Mangrove either by boat, or by kayak if you prefer.

Then you will head to the Central Pacific area of the country and Manuel Antoni. Its beaches are beautiful and the National park is well known for its biodiversity in a small area you can easily spot monkeys, sloths, coatis and others, so there is an optional visit for those who want to explore its trails.  However, the white sand beach and the warm ocean will give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the tropics at its fullest extent!

Free afternoon to enjoy the beach and the hotel.

Your hotel for the next four nights is the Hotel Villas Lirio

Located in the beautiful mountains of the National Park Manuel Antonio Casa  The Villas Lirio hotel  has 12  beautiful rooms surrounded by exquisite tropical gardens and two swimming pools.

Each Garden Room each features one queen-size bed, ceiling fans and air conditioning, ensuite bathroom and a beautiful porch. Some facing towards the swimming pool and others with sofa arrangements and view onto the lush gardens; specially designed to enjoy the rainforest environment.

Afternoon free to enjoy the beach or relax at the hotel

Accommodation

Hotel Villas Lirio

Meals

Breakfast

White Water Rafting and 'Tico Style' Lunch

Today you will enjoy a white water river rafting trip.You and your fellow rafters, together with your guide, will work as a team and build your way up to a breathtaking yet manageable adventure – teamwork makes the dreamwork!  Starting with a 4×4 ride into the tropical rainforest, you will arrive at  the village of Silencio, and to a typical Tico restaurant, where you will pre-order the food you want for lunch. Then you will go to the starting point of your white water river rafting adventure in the Savegre River.

The River provides Class II, III, and IV rapids. On the way, you will make a stop by a magnificent and powerful waterfall, where you can have a quick dip in the cool refreshing water, and enjoy some delicious local fruit.After a steady 13 mile trip down the river, you will arrive at the finish line invigorated and ready for lunch. You’ll make your way back to Silencio Tico restaurant where your hot lunch “Tico Style” is waiting for you.

Take the afternoon to relax at your hotel in Manuel Antonio.

Accommodation

Hotel Villas Lirio

Meals

Breakfast

Today you will enjoy a morning of deep sea fishing off shore try your hand at catching Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin & Sailfish, you could even be in with a shot at a Billfish Grand Slam!

Accommodation

Hotel Villas Lirio

 

Meals

Breakfast

Horse riding on the beach

Today you can relax and enjoy the hotel.

Either in the morning or the afternoon you will have the opportunity to horse ride along the beach in a two hour magical experience. You don’t need to be an experienced rider, the instructors and guides will tailor the activity to your experience level.

Your guide will collect you from the hotel and you’ll begin your beach horse ride on Esterillos beach. Depending on your experience, you will be able to trot, gallop and even swim with horses, water conditions permitting.

The day includes a safety briefing, all of the riding equipment, snacks and soft drinks.

Accommodation Villas Lirio

 

Meals

Breakfast

Local Cooking Class

This morning you will check out and it will be time to depart for the airport for your flight home.

You’ll take home amazing memories of the best of Costa Rica- its forests, volcanoes, rivers, waterfalls and beaches but most of all the warmth of the local people you have met here and friends you have made.

Meals

Breakfast

Location Information

The tour begins in San Ramon, heading first north to Arenal, west towards Monteverde, and down to the remote and beautiful Drake Bay, you’ll then come back up the pacific coast and stay in picturesque Manuel Antonio.

All transport is provided, including all ferries and transfers from accommodation to accommodation, and all your guided activities are included so you can simply relax and enjoy the stunning scenery unfold before you.

On your final day, you will be driven back to the airport in San Jose.

1 San Ramon

2 Arenal

3 Monteverde

5 Drake Bay

6 Manuel Antonio

  • All transfers from San Jose airport and ferries
  • 1 Night Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve BB
  • 4 Nights El Establo Mountain Hotel BB
  • 3 Nights Eco Lodge Aguila de Osa FB
  • 4 Nights Villas Lirio BB
  • Visit to Poas Volcano
  • Arenal Volcano & La Fortuna Waterfall with lunch
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park with lunch
  • Selvatura Park hanging bridges and zip lining
  • Don Juan Coffee Farm Monteverde
  • Drake Bay Bioluminescence tour
  • Corcovado National Park with lunch
  • Isla del Caño with lunch
  • Rio Sierpe mangrove tour
  • Savegre River Rafting with lunch
  • Horseback riding on the beach
  • Off shore fishing trip

FAQs

Lightweight cotton and linen clothing is recommended for most of the year, with warmer clothes for cooler evenings. Waterproofing is necessary during the rainy season. Loose-fitting clothing is best. Wear neutral browns and greens for bird and wildlife viewing. Always bring mosquito repellent for both day and night.