The ultimate Costa Rica family adventure. Discover mighty volcanos, lush cloud forest, incredible wildlife, stunning beaches and many, many local hidden gems and quirky cultural experiences as you get under the skin of this unique country. Thanks to your local hosts and guides, you'll come away having not just seen Costa Rica, but having experienced it like a local.
Once you land in San Jose, relax and allow our expert local hosts take care of everything, from transfers to accommodation, and simply drink in one of the most exciting travel destinations on earth.
From hiking at the base of Arenal volcano and bathing in the hot springs, to watching nesting turtles on the black sand beaches on the coast, cooking traditional cuisine with the locals to ziplining with tropical birds in the cloud forest canopy, it’s an action-packed two weeks with just a couple of days to relax on the beach as your time comes to an end.
For lovers of outdoor activities there is canoeing on the ‘Costa Rican Amazonia’ the opportunity to surf on the wild Pacific coast, and wild swimming in crystal clear lagoons in the jungle.
Animal enthusiasts can spot exotic birds, sea turtles, sloths, monkeys, tapirs and more, all in their natural habitat whether it be the steamy jungle, the beautiful cloud forest or the tropical beaches.
This is a Costa Rican adventure with a difference. As well as the natural highlights, you’ll get to properly know the cuisine, the culture, and the people of the country. Visit traditional workshops and try your hand at craftsmanship, learn to master Costa Rican cuisine with the locals, and explore rural villages and meet the people who make Costa Rica, Costa Rica.
By the time you leave, the memories of the magical landscapes will certainly remain, but the thing that will stick with you the most is the incredible warmth and generosity of the locals people.
Get to know the Costa Rican people on local cooking, craft and cultural experiences
Drink in views of volcanoes, cloud-forest, jungles and black sand beaches
Spot sea turtles, monkeys, hummingbirds and more in a country of richly diverse wildlife
Swim under waterfalls and in geothermally heated lagoons in the jungle
Your Local Host:
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
Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport and meet your driver, who will take you straight to your accommodation to relax, refresh, and get over any jetlag from your flight.
The next day is an early start so this is your chance to recover from any travel tiredness, and simply get excited for your Costa Rican adventure – you’ve arrived!
Parque del Lago Boutique Hotel
Located 20 minutes from the Juan Santamaria International Airport and in close proximity to San Jose. Accommodation includes air-conditioning, cable TV, hairdryer, iron, ironing board, security box and free Wi-Fi. The hotel offers 24-hour front desk, free parking, concierge, laundry and dry cleaning. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
Journey to Tortuguero National Park
Today you’ll have an early start at 6am, diving straight into your once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Costa Rica.
After just twenty minutes of driving out from San José towards the Caribbean lowlands, you will reach the magnificent Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of the largest national parks in the country with a hugely rich variety of wildlife.
After another half hour, you will descend into the lowlands, and you’ll be able to notice the transition between two of Costa Rica’s key climates, the Cloud and the Rainforest.
Breakfast will be taken in a restaurant during your drive through the countryside. At around mid-morning, you’ll arrive at a port where you’ll jump on board on a river boat.
Your destination for your river cruise is the north coast along the beautiful canals of the Tortuguero National Park, considered the Costa Rican Amazonia.
Your boat will take you right up to the national park through the labyrinth of canals to the lodge where you will spend the night. Along the way, your guide will talk you through the delicate eco-system of the area, giving you insight into how the waterways, the forest and the wildlife coexist so that you have an in-depth understanding of the environment.
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero
An eco-tourist lodge, located in Tortuguero in the northern Caribbean of Costa Rica. The area has amazing rivers, lakes, and wetlands that shelter a lush jungle of primary forests and exotic plants. The lodge was built on a narrow strip of land, 650 feet wide, between Tortuguero´s main lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. It’s rooms, reception, restaurants, bars and swimming pools are distributed midst 6 acres of wonderful gardens with amazing views of the lagoon and direct access to the beach.
Explore Tortuguero National Park
Today you have a full day to explore the Tortuguero area: a float along the canals is a great way to spot a huge variety of exotic birds, reptiles, monkeys, and butterflies.
If it takes your fancy, you could hike to Tortuguero Hill for a spectacular view of the area – the walk is a short but sharp climb, with a serious reward at the top.
Otherwise, relax and cruise out on a canoe, exploring the canals to really get in touch with the incredible nature the park boasts. Visit the little town of Tortuguero and a museum dedicated to the green turtle in the afternoon, before exploring the miles of pristine Caribbean beaches to see (when in season) nesting green turtles, the world’s second largest sea turtle.
Laguna Lodge Tortuguero
Volcanoes and Hot Springs
After breakfast, leave the beautiful Caribbean coast via the beautiful rivers of the North Caribbean, and arrive back to the pier to jump into the bus to drive to the northern plains.
In 1968 the Arenal Volcano, which until then was an unassuming, inoffensive hill, erupted and buried the community of Pueblo Nuevo. At the time the district lost a lot of value as a result of the eruption and many of the residents left.
However, little by little, the spectacular eruptions attracted tourists and La Fortuna transformed from a simple agricultural area to a tourist hot spot. Arenal is a large symmetrical volcano built upon layers of ash, rock and lava that climb up to almost 1700 meters above sea level.
Although it went into a dormant phase in 2010, the internal rumblings of the volcano produce natural hot springs – perfect for swimming in and enjoying the gorgeous warm waters.
Spend the afternoon basking in the waters, drinking in the spectacular landscape around you – before heading to your accommodation for the evening.
Hotel Arenal Manoa
A beautiful place to rest, relax and enjoy the marvelous view of the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Surrounded by gardens, pastures and animals in addition to two springs pools, the 96 Jr. Suites and 6 Premium Suites have been designed so that each one offers you a panoramic view of the volcano. Visitors can take advantage of our spacious gardens for walking and meditation as well as the opportunities to see the daily operations of a typical Costa Rican farm.
Tours of the hotel grounds and dairy farm will take you through a secondary forest along wonderful trails, where you will observe cows, horses, many kind of birds, sheep, chickens and pigs. You will finish this delightful experience by observing the milking process every morning. At what other hotel in Costa Rica can you say you milked a real, live cow?
With Costa Rican owners and authentic Costa Rican hospitality, Hotel Arenal Manoa is the eco destination with no artificial ingredients!
Waterfalls and Local Lunches
Today you will explore the area around Arenal Volcano – a La Fortuna waterfall visit and a volcano hike is on the itinerary, and is one of the most memorable days of the entire adventure.
The day starts late in the morning at 11am, so you have time to enjoy a nice breakfast, explore the surroundings of the hotel and relax a little before your pick up.
Wear your swimming gear and take a leisurely hike down 500 steps that lead the way to a magnificent waterfall. On the way down, your guide will point out the various examples of the stunning wildlife that can be found, as you stroll easily, taking you time to drink in the gorgeous views ahead of you.
At the bottom of the steps, enjoy a refreshing dip in the lagoon, splash under the waterfall and enjoy one of the most beautiful swimming experiences of your life.
After you’ve dried off, your lunch will be a truly authentic experience with the Rodriguez Family. They will host and cook you an unforgettable, traditional lunch that you can enjoy relaxing on the riverside, experiencing local culture and of course a delicious and freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Round off the day by visiting the imposing Arenal Volcano National Park, where you will set off on a stunning hike around its base while learning everything there is to know about the iconic Costa Rican landmark, from the eruptions and the old lava flows.
Take in the bizarre sight of the rainforest reclaiming the old, dried-up lava flows, and try to spot some of the rainforest wildlife, before being driven back t your accommodation.
Hotel Arenal Manoa
Local Costa Rica
Today you’ll visit Monterrey of San Carlos, near La Fortuna where the Arenal Volcano is located. This is a “city tour” with a difference, where you’ll explore the community with a local, who can give you an insiders view of the area.
The “city” you’ll be touring is actually just a small village, but like many villages in Costa Rica, it’s often overlooked by tourists who are missing out on such a vital part of visiting Costa Rica.
The walk will take you through the small community to visit the locals, the people that keep life running in rural Costa Rica. You’ll meet the guy that fixes shoes, the guys that works leather (for belts, hats, etc), you’ll visit the school, the plaza, the bakery, the pulperías (small convenience stores), the bar or cantina, and active members of the community manufacturing souvenirs and recycling products.
At the end of your tour, head to a small local hotel to have one of the most delicious coffees you’ve ever tasted with a local snack.
Your adventure through Costa Rica continues as you drive to Tenorio Volcano National Park, best known for the beautiful Río Celeste, whose light blue waters are caused by a reaction between sulfur and the calcium carbonates in the river.
Primary cloud forest and rainforest covers the park, all incredibly rich with flora and fauna, and you can actually ontice the chance in the multiple “life zones”, all whilst taking in the gorgeous rivers, waterfalls and thermal hot springs.
Hotel Arenal Manoa
Lake Cruise and Travel to Montverde
Today you will travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde, crossing the Arenal Lake. First you’ll travel by land to the lake, where you’ll board a boat for a one-hour cruise to Monteverde.
The service is actually the fastest way to travel, it just so happens it’s also an incredibly scenic journey where you can admire beautiful views of mountains, sky and the colossal Arenal volcano itself .
When you reach the other side, you will be picked up and driven to your hotel in Monteverde. It might be a transfer, but it’s also an adventure!
An idyllic location overlooking the mighty Gulf of Nicoya, amidst Costa Rica’s flourishing green landscapes. It rests within easy reach of the magical Aguti Wildlife Reserve and the bustling centre of Monteverde.
The hotel offers welcoming accommodation types to suit the needs and comfort levels of all travellers. Guests have the choice between suites and bungalows, all of which feature bright interiors and are equipped with the modern amenities needed to ensure a comfortable stay, as well as includes a delicious breakfast each morning. Facilities include a coffee shop, restaurant and bar, while services include Wi-Fi and a tour desk.
Forest Canopies and Cuisine
This is a day dedicated to enjoying the small and quaint town of Santa Elena, filled with tasty restaurants and folksy artisan shops, and the nearby forest, which boasts an incredible richness of life and 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, experience a canopy tour with an added adrenaline rush as you swing from platform to platform attached, to a harness as you zipline on the longest and highest cables to be found in the area. Don’t forget to enjoy the unique, spectacular panoramic views that can only to be seen from this lofty perch.
In the afternoon, you will get three tours in one! Begin with the coffee tour, which includes engaging talks about the wonderful history of coffee in the world, followed by its history in Costa Rica and its importance in Costa Rica’s development.
During this part of the tour, you will get to see all the processes involved in the production of coffee, from the seed to the delicious final product.
Your second part of the afternoon is the famous chocolate tour. Not just the perfect complement for coffee, it’s also a contributor to rescuing the traditions and culture Costa Rica.
The third part of the tour will be about sugar cane, where you’ll learn about its history, plantations, different types of harvest, processing, and you’ll be able to live the experience of handcrafting sugar cane juice.
Of course, throughout all the tours, there will be delicious tastings of all the products.
Local Crafts and Cooking
Today, you’ll transfer to Nosara, the land of yoga and surf. Enjoy wandering the small, quaint town of Nosara and Guiones, take a dip in the amazing waves of the protected beach, and spot the wildlife in the forest (including the nesting olive ridley turtles on the nearby beach of Ostional).
Visit the idyllic community of Guanacaste, a place that perfectly represents the old culture, traditions, cuisine, music and architecture of Costa Rica.
The name of the community is Santa Barbara of Santa Cruz. Visit an old house, that also happens to be a museum, to see a typical example of a ‘casona’, a type of building that has been in existence for over 100 years.
One of the most essential activities when visiting the area is witnessing the craftsmanship of ceramics, the famous Guaitil ceramic work. Here, there will be a great workshop for all visitors to get a grasp on how the pre-columbean tribe ‘chorotega’ used to produce their utensils.
Then, deep dive into Costa Rican cuisine on a cooking class where you’ll learn to prepare the classic dishes from the North Pacific of Costa Rica.
To round off all the senses, you’ll also learn about the ‘marimba’, one of the traditional music instruments of Guanacaste.
Olas Verdes Hotel
Set back from the coastline by a jungle forever preserved, Olas Verdes is a small Costa Rican boutique hotel that provides immediate access to the serenity you crave. Pour your coffee and head down their private trail to Playa Guiones to catch a sunrise surf session for a different kind of pick-me-up. As you strengthen your practice on the private yoga deck, clear your mind while taking in the tranquil soundtrack of the canopy. Rehydrate with a fruit smoothie picked from their orchard and prepared poolside or indulge at the locally-owned restaurant and bar, El Manglar. After a family siesta in your casita, grab the kids and play in the beach-style saltwater pool, then why not finish the day by heading down to the beach to watch the sunset.
Relax on the Beach
For the last days of your itinerary, enjoy some lazy days at the beach! Fill your time surfing, practicing yoga, or visiting Ostional.
Located on the western coast of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, the small fishing village of Ostional is known for its unspoilt nature and fascinating nesting turtles.
Enjoy the crystal-clear waters lapping at the beautiful beaches, which create the perfect habitat for these protected animals. The beach of the Ostional Wildlife Reserve is a rare natural wonder, with thousands of sea turtles coming to lay their eggs in the black, volcanic sand. Three types of turtles inhabit the waters here, namely leatherbacks, green turtles, and most famously, the Olive Ridley sea turtles.
Olas Verdes Hotel
Transfer back to San Jose
Today, you’ll say goodbye to the coast and head back to the Central Valley and San Jose – where you’ll spend your last night in Costa Rica.
This is a chance for you to reflect on an incredible two weeks in Central America – and relive everything you’ve seen, from the jungles to the volcanoes, the cloud forest to the beaches.
The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton
Ideally situated in the Central Valley, home of San José, the capital and largest city in Costa Rica.
Today, the time has come to fly home. You’ll be transferred to the airport and waved off by your driver.
We hope you’ve had an amazing time in Costa Rica, and really felt as if you know the country, its culture and its people intimately, and haven’t simply been a tourist, but have travelled like a local.
You’ll be picked up from Juan Santamaria International Airport, before embarking on an incredible itinerary that takes in both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, the jungle interior of Montverde, and the mountains and villages at La Fortuna.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off back at the airport, and all transfers are taken care of.
1. San Jose
3, La Fortuna
6. San Jose
Tortuguero Canals (includes National Park entrance)
Arenal Volcano National Park guided hike and entrance fee
La Fortuna Waterfall guided visit and entrance fee
Tenorio Volcano National Park guided tour and entrance fee
Authentic community experience: a walk on a typical small Costa Rican village
Zip lining experience
Coffee/Coco/Sugar Cane Farm Monteverde
Authentic community experience: ceramic and cooking classes in a house-museum
Extras at the hotels
Sea turtle tour in Tortuguero (booked on site)
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 birding and wildlife viewing. Always bring mosquito repellent for both day and night.