Essential Costa Rica

From £1650 pp excl flights
14 Days
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Our Essential Costa Rica itinerary showcases two of Costa Rica’s highlights, Monteverde cloud forest and Arenal volcano, then takes you to the beach via the unique Rio Celeste, leaving plenty of time for relaxing on the sands or by the pool. As with so much of Costa Rica, they are exceptional places to see spectacular birdlife and other animals, so we have included a guided walk in each place, but left the rest of the time free for you to explore at your own pace. Unwind and just soak up the tropical beauty or get stuck into some of the many fun activities on offer – it’s up to you!

Day to Day Itinerary

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This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.

14 Days: San Jose - Monteverde - Arenal - Rio Celeste - Nicoya Peninsula - San Jose

Activities: cloud forest, wildlife hikes, birding, hot springs, beachtime, various optional tours and plenty of relaxing!

Day 1: Arrive at San Jose airport, where you will be met and taken to your hotel. Depending on when you arrive, you may have time to do a walking tour around the centre of town.

Day 2: After a tasty breakfast you will be driven to the Monteverde region - a place of cloud forests and coffee plantations, monkeys and mist. You will have your first encounters with friendly Costa Rican people who are known locally as 'ticos'. Your time here will be free to explore the beautiful, world-famous cloud forest of the Monteverde Reserve on a well-marked network of short or long walking trails. (B)

Day 3: An early morning start for a guided wildlife-spotting tour of the forest, then for the rest of the day you can choose to just relax, or take part in some of the numerous optional activities available such as a canopy walk, hanging bridges, hummingbird garden, coffee and sugar mill tour or even a zipline through the treetops! (B)

Day 4: Set out for the majestic Arenal volcano that, when active, erupts and sends up a cloud of smoke several times a day (it is currently dormant). After check in and lunch, the afternoon is free to admire the scenery from the hotel grounds or take a walk into the national park around the volcano. (B)

Day 5: The morning is yours to decide how you would like to spend it... perhaps try the Sky Trek and hanging bridges, a hike to the La Fortuna waterfall or a water safari on the Peñas Blanca River. There are also many more sedate activities like visiting the Ecocentro Danaus, Finca Don Juan or a full day tour to Juanilama reserve and pineapple plantation. After lunch, you will enjoy a private guided hike in the natural splendour of the national park, then a relaxing soak and dinner at the Eco Termales hot springs that night. (B/D)

Rio Celeste

Day 6: The morning is free for you to lie in or explore Arenal a little bit more, before heading north to Tenorio National Park, home to the impressive turquoise blue Rio Celeste river. (B)

Day 7: Today you will enjoy a guided hike into Tenorio National Park (closed Tues) to the gorgeous Rio Celeste waterfall, one of the most unique sights in all of Costa Rica. Along the way, there'll be beautiful flora and fauna including many species of birds, then at the end is the meeting of two rivers, where the calcium carbonate in the rocks reacts with the sulphur emitted by the volcano to create amazing turquoise blue waters. (B/L)

Day 8: After a leisurely breakfast it is time to make your way to the southern Nicoya Peninsula and the Tango Mar beach hotel – a hidden paradise, with a stunning sandy beach all to yourself, ocean view rooms, two pools and the opportunity to try out some more adventurous activities such as snorkelling and horse riding. Don't forget that we have lots of different beach accommodations, just ask us! (B)

Days 9 - 12: Round off your trip with 4 days of pure down time by the sea. Everybody enjoys the beach in different ways so we've left the time free for you to spend however you like, from sunbathing and spa treatments to sea kayaking or biking. (B)

Day 13: Today you bid farewell to the Pacific Ocean and return to San Jose. We will normally organise a shared shuttle bus to bring you back, but let us know if you prefer a private transfer. (B)

Day 14: Adios Costa Rica! Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to Costa Rica and head to the airport in time for your flight home, taking lots of unforgettable memories of this special country. (B)

Prices from: £1650 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!

Best Time To Travel

Best time to visit: December - April
Dec – Apr sunny and dry but cooler than the Summer. Jun – Aug rain showers, hot and humid. Sep & Oct heavier rain, hot and humid.
Nov & May are a mix and great for avoiding crowds

Add a Mini Experience

These unique short trips and one day tours could make your holiday even better! They can be added into any itinerary and are designed to help you further explore the cultural, natural and social diversity of Costa Rica

Glamping & Cloudforests Volcanoes & Rafting Hanging Bridges Southern Caribbean Secret Jungle Adventure