13 days from £2660pp plus international flights.
This holiday offers you chances to explore the rich diversity of Costa Rica's wildlife and scenery and indulge your penchant for adventure to the full, as you tear down ziplines, enjoy the thrills of white water rafting, hike in the foothills of a volcano, swing through the forest on a rope swing and go kaykaing in the ocean. You'll see why Costa Rica is sometimes regarded as one big adventure playground!
Throughout the trip you'll see different aspects of this biodiverse country. You'll start on the Caribbean coast exploring the canals and wildlife of Tortuguero, before heading inland through lush rainforest to the foothills of Arenal Volcano, one of the best known sites in the country. Continuing the journey you'll have the time of your life on the canyon adventure at Rio Perdido, before completing the crossing of the country at Playa Hermosa on the north west Pacific coast for some beach downtime.
We've selected lovely lodges and hotels along the way, where you'll be able to unwind on your private terrace, relax with a spa treatment, chill by the pool, enjoy some tasty food and experience genuine hospitality from local Tico staff.
This is a full-on activity and adventure holiday, making the very best of your time in this fascinating country, and will leave you dazzled and thrilled by all your see and experience along the way.
Having flown in to San Jose airport you'll be met and transferred to your city hotel, the lovely Grano de Oro. With nothing else planned for the day you'll have time to unwind after your journey. The hotel has a lovely rooftop garden with sun loungers and twin jacuzzis, ideal for resting and enjoying the warm sun. If you feel more energetic, San Jose's main street is just a few minutes walk away, with its shops, restaurants and museums.
You'll leave the capital behind as you drive north by Braulio Carrillo National Park, stopping en-route for breakfast and local coffee. Time permitting you'll visit a banana processing plant to learn about one of the country's prime products. At the port you'll board a boat to cruise along the wide Tortuguero canals, keeping your eyes open for movement on the banks and in the water, indicating the presence of monkeys, birds and crocodiles. You'll arrive at the lodge in time for lunch, after which you'll head into Tortuguero town to tour the museum and spend time at the beach. You'll return to the lodge for dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning you'll have the option of a dawn cruise on the canals of Tortuguero National Park, looking for crocodiles, manatees, monkeys and some of the 405 species of birds recorded here. On your return to the lodge you'll enjoy a delicious breakfast. During the day you'll be able to explore walking trails in the forest and take boat rides, accompanied by an expert guide, as well as relaxing by the pool. If you're travelling between July and September you'll have the chance to visit the beach at night to see the green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
You'll have breakfast at the lodge before beginning the journey south to Pacuare Lodge, enjoying lunch en-route. You'll travel through dense jungle and along the banks of the Pacuare River, where you'll climb into a hanging gondola to cross the water - quite an adventure! It's then just a 300 metre hike to the lodge, where staff will welcome you with a refreshing drink. You'll have the afternoon free to rest on your terrace or chat to other guests in the lounge. Dinner is eaten by candlelight, and afterwards you can enjoy a nightcap before turning in for the night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
You have a free day to enjoy the pristine rainforest by Pacuare Lodge, and the Pacuare River, named one of the world's top 10 scenic rivers by National Geographic. Colourful birds and butterflies, a variety of animals and exotic plants add to the riches of the rainforest. If you feel energetic there's an optional 4 to 5 hour hike into the rainforest mountains. Otherwise you're free to explore at your own pace. You an round off the day with a special dinner in The Nest, above the rainforest canopy. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Having had breakfast you'll embark on your next adventure, as you take to the water for some rafting. The next 3-4 hours are action packed, speeding along the river through class III-IV rapids, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch. You'll be met on conclusion of the river adventure and transferred to your next accommodation, Arenal Springs Hotel. Your junior suite overlooks the gardens, and the hotel is within sight of the impressive mass of Arenal Volcano. Breakfast, lunch
You can have an easy morning, maybe enjoying a lie-in and late breakfast. In the afternoon you'll join a guided hike at the base of Arenal. The trail leads through lush forest and across a lava flow that destroyed much of the area as recently as 1968. You'll see evidence of regeneration, as the recovering plant life begins to thrive once more. The thermal hot springs offer a chance for a healthy soak, just the ticket to ease your muscles after the walk. Breakfast, dinner
Leaving Arenal behind you'll be transferred to Rio Perdido Lodge, dramatically perched above two converging rivers. This afternoon you'll have a chance to follow walking trails in the forest, visit the thermal mineral pools, or relax with a massage at the spa. Tonight you can opt to take a guided walk to the thermal river before returning to your cosy bungalow. Breakfast
Today will be a blast! It's your chance to take on the canyon adventure with its mix of wall-mounted platforms, ladders or via ferratas, Tarzan and pendulum swings and zip lines. It's high octane adventure, guaranteed to set the pulse racing and leave you feeling exhilarated. You'll also have time to enjoy the thermal pools, hot springs and relaxation decks. After this you'll be ready to head back to the lodge, enjoying a well-earned drink at the bar and replaying the day's highlights in your mind as you regale fellow guests with your stories. Breakfast
Your journey across Costa Rica continues as you reach the Pacific coast. Hotel Bosque del Mar is on Playa Hermosa in the Gulf of Papagayo. Take time to settle in to your suite as you'll spend the next 3 nights here. Sit back on the terrace watching monkeys in the trees, refresh yourself with a swim in the pool or enjoy a reviving treatment at the spa. The lounge bar is a great place to enjoy conversation with other guests, and Niromi restaurant serves meals and snacks till 10pm, all within sight of the beach. Breakfast
Today you are free to do as you wish. A popular activity (payable locally) is a full day excursion to Palo Verde National Park. With 12 different habitats including mangrove, lagoon, grassland, marsh and swamp, this is an area rich in wildlife where there are good chances of seeing howler and white-faced monkeys, crocodiles, reptiles and many birds such as storks, egrets, spoonbills, toucans and macaws. After lunch, you could visit the village of Guaitil where you can watch skilled Chorotega Indian craftsmen making pottery as they have for centuries, and learn about their pre-Columbian heritage before returning to the hotel for dinner. Breakfast
The day has been left free for you to chose how to spend your time. You might want to take a break from the action, soak up some sun and enjoy a day lazing by the pool or on the beach. Alternatively you can opt for action, with activities such as snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding and horse riding. Your day can be as active, or inactive, as you wish. Breakfast
It's time for the adventure to conclude. Following breakfast by the beach you'll be transferred the 30 minutes to Tamarindo airport where you will take a flight to San Jose to connect with your onward flight. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £2660 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2017 guide price pp sharing: Jan-April and July-August £2935. May-June £2715. Sept-Oct £2660. Please note that holiday periods such as Easter will attract a supplement on the above prices.
Accommodation on a twin-share basis; transfers as per the itinerary; meals as indicated; canal tour in Tortuguero National Park; visit to Tortuguero village; white water rafting in Pacuare; group hike at Arenal Volcano and visit to the hot springs; canyon adventure and visit to thermal pools at Rio Perdido.
International flights and taxes; meals not shown; drinks; optional excursions and activities; tips; items of a personal nature
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends in San Jose. International return flights from the UK will cost from around £600 per person, depending on season, route and availability. We can book these flights for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice, subject to availability.
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Find the best time to visit Costa Rica
Time: GMT -6
Flight time: The flying time is about 12 hours from the UK. There are now direct flights from the UK using British Airways. We work with all the major airlines and can offer flights from the UK or via the USA, Panama or a European hub. With the connection times you are looking at around 15 or 16 hours.
Language: Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken throughout Costa Rica
Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.