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  • Cloud surrounding the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
  • Walkways through Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica
  • A red eye tree frog, Costa Rica
  • Sea turtle crawling from the beach to the sea in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
  • Exploring the Monteverde Cloud Forest on the walkways up in the canopy, Costa Rica
Route:
San José to San José
Days:
14
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: CER
From:

US$1,359

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.

About this tour

  • Type of Travel: Public Transport
  • Group Size: Average 10-14. Maximum 16.
  • Recommended Age: 18-65
  • Physical Rating: Central 3
  • Country: Costa Rica

What you need to know

  • We will try to run your tour as close to the itinerary as conditions will allow. On very rare occasions, local events may affect the way your itinerary operates. We ask for your flexibility and understanding in these situations.
  • This tour has some long travel days to get you from A to B. We believe these days make the adventure but make sure you pack a book or two.
  • The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. You will meet your Tour Leader at 18.00 for the pre-departure meeting. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive San José

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.

Please note: If you are are travelling into Costa Rica from Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama then you will need a valid yellow fever certificate.

Optional Excursions

Jade Museum – US$15 • Museum National – US$4 • Theatro National – US$5

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Rosa del Paseo Hotel or similar

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 - keep a sharp eye on your belongings, as the monkeys and raccoons are seasoned thieves!

Included Excursions

Entry to Manual Antonio National Park

Optional Excursions

Manuel Antonio National Park Catamaran Tour - from US$75 • Zip Coaster - US$12 • Enjoy the beach – free!

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Manuel Antonio or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 4 to 5 - Santa Elena & Monteverde

We travel to the old town of Quepos, once a very important port for the exportation of bananas. We then ascend a steep and bumpy 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, nestled up in the clouds and 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 you can grab a drink and a slice of cake. Here you can watch dozens of these energetic birds buzz around sipping on nectar. The area around Santa Elena is famous for its ziplines and hosts the longest zip line in the world. Here 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!

Included Excursions

Entry to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Optional Excursions

Bungee jump (the highest in Central America) – US$75 • Wildlife night walk – US$27 • Sugar cane tour - US$36 • Zip Lining - US$54

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Don Taco or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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 and the landscape is truly spectacular. Rolling hills eventually give way to the distant views of Arenal Volcano and we can stop for photos at some of the best lookouts. Stopping by the side of the road a last time, we walk down a dirt path to our boat on the shores of Lake Arenal. The scenery is truly stunning of the lake and we travel for approximately an hour slowly approaching Arenal Volcano. Once 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 was constantly erupting between 1968 and 2010. Although not erupting anymore, the occasional puff of steam can be seen. 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.

Optional Excursions

Paddle Boarding - US$62 • Canyoneering - from US$100 • Mountain Biking - US$134 • Arenal Volcano Walk - US$56 • Hot Springs - US$76 • Horse riding - US$76 • Hanging Bridges - US$73 • Zip Lining - US$92 • Night walk tour - US$46

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Fortuna or similar

Meals

3 Breakfast(s)

Day 9 to 10 - Tortuguero National Park

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. We spend two nights in a remote jungle lodge, surrounded by wildlife 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.

Included Excursions

Entry to Tortuguero National Park

Optional Excursions

Night guided beach walk to spot turtles – US$25 (March-October) • Sunset beach walk to spot baby hatchlings – US$15 (May – December)

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at All Rankin Lodge or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 11 to 12 - Cahuita

We continue on to the small beachside town of Cahuita close to Cahuita National Park. Arriving at lunch time, there is plenty of time to explore one of the Caribbean coasts best national parks. Aside from one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, there is also walkways and trails going out to lookout points. Watch out for monkeys, sloths, lizards, frogs and tonnes of other wildlife. Cahuita is also home to the only coral reefs in the country. The only way to snorkel on the reef is on a guided tour so you can hire a guide locally to take you out onto the reef.

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 and you can hire a bike and cycle to secluded beaches for a spot of sunbathing. From Puerto Viejo you can also visit the Jaguar Centre, a place of rescue and rehabilitation of animals native to Costa Rica. The animals are all nursed back to full health and released back into the wild as soon as possible and depending on what animals they have, you can see sloths, monkeys, birdlife and crocodiles.. From Cahuita we return to San José.

Optional Excursions

Cahuita National Park – US$3 entry and US$20 for a guided walk • Snorkelling tour – From US$27

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Hotel Vaz or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 13 to 13 - San José

We then return to San Jose for a final night.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Rosa del Paseo Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

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.

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

What's Included

Excursions & Activities

  • Entry to Manual Antonio National Park
  • Entry to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Entry to Tortuguero National Park

Accommodation

13 night(s) in hotels

Transportation

Public Bus, Private Vehicle, Boat

Meals

11 Breakfast(s)

Other

Tucan Travel tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Visas and travel insurance
  • 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 - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation

Group

Group Size: Maximum 16. Average 8-12.

Tour Suitability: This tour is recommended for people aged 18-65. For more information on what to expect, click here.

Group Size: Maximum 16. Average 8-12

Tour Suitability: This tour is recommended for people aged 18-65. For more information on what to expect, click here.

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