8 days from £1015pp plus international flights.
Be your own boss on this holiday as you drive between 3 contrasting destinations, gaining first-hand insights into Costa Rica's amazing biodiversity. With your own 4x4 vehicle, you'll be free to travel in your own time, pausing to admire views and stopping to visit local villages and sites of interest. This is a personal journey of discovery.
Your first days are spent within sight of the superbly symmertical cone of Arenal Volcano. The peak is often shrouded in cloud, adding an air of mystery, and although there have been no eruptions since 2010, the volcano is still active, a reminder of the power of nature. While here you have the chance to ascend to an obeservation deck at an elevation of 1250 metres for some fabulous photos, before a pulse-quickening descent via a series of ziplines, leaving you exhilarated and elated. That's hard to follow, but your next destination certainly meaures up. Monteverde Cloudforest is an other-worldly place of mists, mosses, ferns, tall trees, orchids and waterfalls. It's a landscape that might have come straight out of myth or fable. You have a guided walk through this atmospheric cloud forest, observing the many birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects that have made this their home. Finally you head to the coast. Tamarindo is on the western edge of the Nicoya Peninsula facing the Pacific Ocean. Here your time is your own, so you can take advantage of the many activities or opt for some relaxed beach time, as you wish. Round off the holiday with a drink at the bar as you watch the sun sink below the ocean, and maybe make yourself a promise to return to Costa Rica one day!
Welcome to Costa Rica. On arrival at San Jose international airport a representative is waiting to welcome you to Costa Rica. You’ll be handed all the necessary documentation for your holiday and then a private, guided transfer will take you to your overnight accommodation in the city, Studio Hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure so you can rest after your flight and look forward to the holiday to come.
After a hearty breakfast you will collect a 4x4 vehicle which will be yours for the next 7 days. From San Jose it's a straightforward drive of about 3½ hours to your first hotel, Arenal Springs, within sight of the well-known volcano. On arrival you'll be shown to your junior suite. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the hotel facilities which include a swimming pool and hot thermal springs, and you can have a relaxing soak in the healing waters to help you get into holiday mood. Breakfast.
After a generous buffet breakfast you'll set off for your morning adventure. Take the sky tram for a 1,250 metre, 20 minute ride to the start of the Sky Trek. This is where the thrills really begin! The trek consists of a series of ziplines that stretch for 1.7 miles high above the treetops, and with breath-taking views of Arenal volcano and lake. In the afternoon you can stretch your legs with a guided hike at the base of the volcano (extra cost), through forest and past a recent lava flow. The walk will take about 2½ hours, and then you'll be taken back to the hotel. Breakfast
It's time to continue your journey, with a 3 hour drive to the Trapp Family Lodge in Monteverde cloudforest. This is an enchanting land of lush forests, exotic flowers and hummingbirds. This family-owned and run hotel is set in lush gardens and is just a 15 minute walk from the Monteverde Forest Trails. It also has a private reserve, a mini-Monteverde if you like. You'll have a cosy chalet with mod cons including TV. You can enjoy meals in the restaurant where large picture windows showcase the views. Breakfast
This morning you'll join a guide for a walk along trails in the cloudforest. Your route will take in waterfalls, rivers and viewpoints, and all the time you'll be on the look out for wildlife. If you're lucky you may see a quetzal with its iridescent green plumage. The foliage is lush and you should spot some of the hundreds of species of orchids that thrive here. You'll spend the afternoon at the hotel, perhaps enjoying a stroll through the gardens. Breakfast
Following breakfast you'll be back on the road, heading towards the Pacific coast. The drive should take around 3½ hours, and you'll have some lovely sea views towards the end of the journey. Hotel Capitan Suizo is at one end of Tamarindo Beach, which extends for some 4 kilometres. Your room, cooled by air conditioning, has a terrace where you can unwind and bask in the warmth of the sun's rays. When you feel the pangs of hunger head down to the open air restaurant by the beach to sample the chef's fine culinary creations as you dine by candlelight. Breakfast
The whole day is free for you to do just as you wish. You can have a lazy day on the beach, topping up your tan, going for a walk along the sand, swimming in the warm sea and treating yourself to a massage as you listen to the ocean breeze in the trees. You could take a catamaran cruise or, if feeling more energetic, go surfing, kayaking or diving. On land you can explore by bike or horseback. Tonight you can toast your Costa Rican holiday as you enjoy a cocktail at the ocean-front sunset bar. Breakfast
Having breakfasted and packed your bags it's ime to leave. Liberia International Airport is less than an hour's drive away, and soon you'll be on your way back home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £1015 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2018 guide price pp sharing: Jan-April £1,170. May-June £1,275 Nov-10 Dec £1,445. July-Aug £1,460. Please note that holiday periods such as Easter will attract a supplement on the above prices.
7 nights twin share accommodation; transfer from the airport to San Jose hotel on day 1; 7 days' hire of a 4x4 manual SUV compact vehicle with unlimited mileage, car insurance and sat nav; meals as specified; entrance to Arenal hot springs; Arenal Sky Trek tour; morning group walk in Monteverde Cloudforest
International flights and departure taxes; visas; travel insurance; meals not specified; drinks; optional activities and excursions; personal expenses; tips
Getting there: This holiday starts in San Jose and ends in Liberia. International return flights from the UK will cost from around £600 per person, depending on season, route and availability. We usually 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.
Comfortable, air conditioned accommodation, a choice of restaurants, pool and hot springs all set in lush gardens near Arenal Volcano.
A welcoming beach-front hotel with spacious rooms, an open air restaurant, pool and gardens filled with flowers and wildlife.
Close to the international airport, Studio Hotel is a comfortable and convenient stopover in a quiet neighborhood.
Stay close to the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve in this family friendly, family run hotel. Explore the private trails at your leisure.
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Time: GMT -6 hours
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.