Costa Rica Encompassed
San José to San José
This is the ultimate tour for nature lovers who want to experience Costa Rica’s complete spectrum. From outstanding national parks to volcanoes, exceptional beaches, coral reef and a plethora of wildlife, Costa Rica has it all. Explore the misty cloud forest of Monteverde, hike up Arenal Volcano, then enjoy some amazing underwater scenery at the reefs of Cahuita National Park.
- Entry to Manual Antonio National Park
- Entry to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
- Entry to Tortuguero National Park
13 night(s) in hotels
Public Bus, Private Vehicle, Boat
Staff & Experts
Tucan Travel tour leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on included excursions
What's Not Included
- Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
- International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
- Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
- Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
- Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
Maximum 16. Average 8-12
Day 1 to 1 - Arrive San José
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
The capital city of Costa Rica, San José, is nestled in a fertile valley among coffee and sugar-cane farms. There is not much left of the colonial era architecture, due to the damage done by earthquakes, but it is certainly worth seeing the National Theatre, built in 1897. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch a performance whilst you're here. The Gold, Jade and National Museums are also particularly recommended for a visit
There are plenty of interesting optional day trips that can be undertaken within a close vicinity of San José such as visits to the Poás or Irazú volcano, white water rafting, the Turu BaRi Topical Park or the Rain Forest Aerial Tram.
Day 2 to 3 - Manuel Antonio
We travel from the Central Valley to the Pacific coast, through very lush green countryside to the small village of Manuel Antonio, where we will visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most popular parks in the country. This celebrated park is blessed with beautiful lagoons, palm fringed beaches, a vast array of animals and lush green forests. Some of the many creatures that call Manuel Antonio National Park home include sloths, pelicans, white-faced monkeys, anteaters and huge iguanas. It is also famous for its beaches - although almost deserted on weekdays, keep a sharp eye on your belongings, as the monkeys and raccoons are seasoned thieves!
Day 4 to 5 - Santa Elena
We travel to the old town of Quepos, once a very important port for the exportation of bananas. We then ascend a steep mountain road that offers great views over lush green hills that flatten to meet the Pacific ocean. We reach the small town of Santa Elena, established by American Quakers in the 1950's.
From here we visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in search of the mysterious endangered Quetzal, a very rare and timid bird with incredibly beautiful and unique plumage. There are several paths to explore in this privately owned reserve, one of which takes you to the continental divide. On a clear day both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can be seen! We'll also stop at the Hummingbird Gallery where these energetic birds buzz around sipping on nectar. The area around Santa Elena is famous for its ziplines, where you'll have the option to go flying over the cloud forest on a series of cables strung out between the giant trees. For the less courageous, you may opt for a sky walk along a series of suspension bridges above the forest canopy. Along with the lovely horse treks, nature-spotting twilight walks, visits to coffee and dairy farms, you may find it hard to choose between all of the exciting excursions!
Day 6 to 8 - La Fortuna
Our next journey takes us through the mountains of the cloud forest using a combination of minivans and boats. The first leg to Lake Arenal takes about one hour 30 minutes. After transferring onto a boat, we can admire the stunning scenery of the lake for approximately an hour until we reach the other side, where we board another minibus and travel for thirty minutes to La Fortuna.
The main attraction in La Fortuna is the nearby Arenal Volcano, which has been constantly erupting since 1968 although is not doing so anymore. After settling into our hotel you'll have time for a leisurely lunch and to explore the town. You can visit the luxuriant local hot springs for a relaxing dip.
There is also plenty of free time to partake in a variety of spectacular and exhilarating optional excursions while in La Fortuna; a visit to the some local waterfalls, caving, rappelling, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horse-riding, trekking, biking, and wild-life spotting.
Day 9 to 10 - Tortuguero
We travel by bus to the port of Moin near Limón, where a boat will be waiting to take us along inland jungle canals and into Tortuguero National Park, located on the Atlantic/Caribbean coast. Teaming with wildlife along its banks and hiding in the dense vegetation, we are sure to spot a large variety of animals, possibly including monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, turtles, numerous different bird species, and the 'Jesus Lizard' so named because it can walk on water!
While in Tortuguero, with luck we will observe the Green sea turtles which, between July and October, arrive at the beaches to lay eggs in the sand. During the period seven to ten weeks after nesting the turtles hatch which, to witness, is one of life's most inspiring events. There is an interesting visitor's centre in the tiny village where you can watch videos and learn all about the turtles. During our excursions around Tortuguero we may also have the chance to see the tiny but brightly coloured poison arrow frogs.
Day 11 to 12 - Cahuita
We continue on to the small beachside town of Cahuita. From here, you can take an optional excursion into the magical Cahuita National Park, which boasts beautiful beaches and an off-shore coral reef. You can go for a snorkel or take a glass-bottomed boat tour to see some of the 500 species of fish that live in the area. Enjoy a stroll through the forest, keeping an eye out for the variety of creatures that call this nature reserve home. Bring your swimsuit with you to enjoy a day in the sun at one of the lovely beaches within the park, or lounge at one of the black sand beaches a few minutes from the hotel. The actual town of Cahuita has an impressive selection of restaurants, where you may sample some fruits of the sea, and of course listen to reggae music blaring out to the delight of the local Rastafarians.
From Cahuita you have the option of taking a short bus journey down the coast to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This laid-back Caribbean village has some of the best surf in the country. Nearby is the local 'sloth sanctuary', where you can see sloths up close and personal, including baby orphans and sloths rescued from injuries who can no longer fend for themselves in the wild. From Cahuita we return to San José.
Day 13 to 13 - San José
We then return to San Jose for a final night.
Day 14 to 14 - Depart San José
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
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Guaranteed departure. 10% February Sale Discount
Guaranteed departure. 10% February Sale Discount
10% February Sale Discount