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Costa Rica Self Drive Adventure


A unique mix of freedom & adventure
11 days starting at $2,345/Person

Why you'll love this Costa Rica self drive tour!

A unique mix of freedom & adventure

11 days 1 country(ies)

Costa Rica is one of the best countries in Latin America to explore with your own vehicle. The distances are relatively small, the roads in general in good conditions and very safe. You can make stops and explore hidden waterfalls, picnics on the beach and spend the time however you wish. Our self-drive takes you from San Jose to the volcano of Arenal, through the cloudforests of Monteverde and hotsprings & canyons of Guanacaste to end the journey it in the hidden ‘off the beaten track’ Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula.

From

$2,345 USD

Per person
What you can expect in every tour:
  • Choose any date, all tours have daily departures
  • Hand picked guides specialized for every excursion
  • 7 regional offices with 24/7 in country support
  • Transfers with English guide to/from all airports
  • Local specialists who live and guide the destination
  • Personal dining recommendations for food lovers
  • Incredibly comfortable authentic accommodations

12 Day Travel Itinerary

Our tours depart any day of the year, there are no fixed departure dates. It’s really simple, we’ve designed some of the best experiences that cover your “bucket list” must see stuff in each destination. You can trust in our 20 years of experience, that everything will run just like clockwork.

1
Day 1 - San Jose

ARRIVAL TO COSTA RICA

Once you’ve touched down to San Jose, you’ll be warmly welcomed by your driver and taken to your accommodation. Having settled in, you’ll be able to spend some time with one of our local specialists who are always happy and excited to hear about your travel plans in Costa Rica and beyond – now’s the time to make the most of their many years of local know-how and ask questions until your heart’s content!

After arrival to your comfortable and intimate lodge located in the Central Valley, just outside of Alajuela, relaxation starts. You are relatively close to San Jose Airport, however here you will feel completely in a relaxing and natural environment. The boutique style lodge offers comfortable rooms surrounded by picturesque gardens with native plants and exotic birds, an outdoor pool and an on-site a-la-carte restaurant and bar. It is a favorite among honeymooners, couples as well as families.
In the evening we recommend you treat yourself to a candlelit dinner and fall asleep with the sounds and smells of nature.
Included: Private transfer from San Jose airport to hotel around Alajuela, Accommodation around Alajuela (Meals – None).

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Once you’ve touched down to San Jose, you’ll be warmly welcomed by your driver and taken to your accommodation. Having settled in, you’ll be able to spend some time with one of our local specialists who are always happy and ...

2
Day 2 - Arenal

Journey to the Arenal Volcano

View Travel Guide for Arenal
Today you will start your self-drive through Costa Rica! After breakfast and an aromatic fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee, your rental car will be delivered at your hotel to start your journey to the Arenal Volcano area. The drive is approximately 4 hours long.

Along the way, you might like to optionally visit the Poas Volcano National Park
(not included – entrance tickets should be purchased on-line prior to your visit). The Poas Volcano is considered one of the largest active craters in the world, about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 1,050 ft. (320 m.) deep, with frequent geyser-like eruptions.
Another optional visit (not included) you might like to consider on your way to Arenal, is a visit to the famous La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Here you can walk along the numerous nature trails through this nature park and all of which lead you to hidden waterfalls. Inside the park you can also visit the largest butterfly observatory in the country that is known as the House of Collections of Tropical Jewels.
As you approach the town of La Fortuna, one of the first things you’ll see is the Arenal Volcano. Although it is no longer spewing out hot lava your first sighting of the sleeping giant will always be the most memorable as it rises up high above the surrounding landscape.
Included: Rental car from outskirts Alajuela to La Fortuna / Arenal; Accommodation around La Fortuna / Arenal (Meals – Breakfast).

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View Travel Guide for Arenal Today you will start your self-drive through Costa Rica! After breakfast and an aromatic fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee, your rental car will be delivered at your hotel to start your journey to the Arenal ...

3
Day 3 - Arenal

Arenal Hanging Bridges Hike

This morning you will be picked up from your hotel to embark on an unforgettable Sky Hike. As the name suggests, the hike will take you high up into the verdant forest surrounding the Arenal Volcano at the Arenal Reserve. As you climb higher and higher, going deeper and deeper into the rainforest, you’ll have great views of the rainforest canopy, the huge Arenal Volcano, the glistening Arenal Lake as well as Arenal’s surrounding mountain range.
Accompanied by a nature guide you’ll gain a unique insight into the native flora and fauna that you’ll hopefully be seeing today. If you’re not afraid of heights, during the Sky Walk make sure to look down as you walk across the hanging metal bridges as you’ll get incredible views down into the rainforest below. One of the most unique features of the hanging bridges is that many take you right alongside the canopy of tall rainforest trees. Some of the bridges have even been colonized by the neighboring trees that drape their woody lianas over the ramparts. Today is the perfect day to bring your binoculars, for here’s your chance to spot birds and howler monkeys which will be at your own eye level!
Arriving back in the town of La Fortuna, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax or take an optional excursion. After a morning hike, we recommend taking a soak at the hot springs warmed by the heart of the Arenal Volcano.
Included: Half Day Guided Waterfalls Sky Walk in Group service with transfers and Entrance fee, Accommodation around La Fortuna / Arenal (Meals – Breakfast).

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This morning you will be picked up from your hotel to embark on an unforgettable Sky Hike. As the name suggests, the hike will take you high up into the verdant forest surrounding the Arenal Volcano at the Arenal Reserve. ...

4
Day 4 - Monteverde

The road to Monteverde

View Travel Guide for Monteverde
Leaving the Arenal Volcano behind, you will continue your self-drive to Monteverde, the drive is approximately 5 hours long. Located on the Pacific highlands, the small town of Santa Elena sits as the gateway to the beautiful Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. The area is known as one of the most outstanding wildlife refuges in the New World Tropics. Santa Elena is slightly reminiscent of a tropical Switzerland, with its charming wooden houses and alpine climate.
This environment creates a constant game of drizzle and warm sunshine; a combination that makes Monteverde the most famous cloud forest in the world. It is called a cloud forest rather than a rain forest because of its altitude: as the high-altitude forest juts up through the clouds.
Depending on the time of your arrival in Santa Elena and having settled in to your accommodation, the rest of the day is free to explore or relax.
Included: Rental car from La Fortuna / Arenal to Santa Elena / Monteverde; Accommodation in Monteverde (Meals – Breakfast).

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View Travel Guide for Monteverde Leaving the Arenal Volcano behind, you will continue your self-drive to Monteverde, the drive is approximately 5 hours long. Located on the Pacific highlands, the small town of Santa Elena sits as the gateway to the ...

5
Day 5 - Monteverde

Private Cloud Forest Walk

View Travel Guide for Monteverde
Today you will explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest during a private custom-guided nature hike. As the Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena Reserve and Curicancha Reserve are all located in this area, you will be picked up from your hotel by your expert nature guide and taken to the Reserve of your choice. Your private naturalist guide will make sure to gear the tour to your needs and interests, while they show you and explain to you in detail the intricate interactions of the different species of flora and fauna
in this unique ecosystem. Tropical forests are some of the most biodiverse and least studied and understood in the world. There are 2,500 species of plants in Monteverde, including moss, bromelia and fern and 420 kinds of orchid, as well as monkeys, sloths and more than 400 bird species such as the endangered three-wattled bellbird, the famous resplendent quetzal, tanagers and hummingbirds of which there are 30 kinds in this area alone!
The afternoon is free to spend at leisure either relaxing in your accommodation or going out to explore some more of the Cloud Forest of Monteverde and Santa Elena. One of our favorite optional activities (not included) is the Sky Walk where you can explore the flora and fauna of the forest canopy, walking along trails and suspension bridges. For the more adventurous, we recommend an optional Sky Zip Line excursion or taking the Sky Tram open-air gondola with a guide will give you an unforgettable view out across the verdant green landscape.
Included: Half Day Monteverde nature Walk in Private service with Transfer and Entrance fee; Accommodation in Monteverde (Meals – Breakfast).

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View Travel Guide for Monteverde Today you will explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest during a private custom-guided nature hike. As the Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena Reserve and Curicancha Reserve are all located in this area, you will be picked up from ...

6
Day 6 - Rio Perdido

Road to the Rio Perdido Eco Lodge

Leaving the Monteverde Cloud forest behind, you will continue your self-drive to Rio Perdido, the drive is approximately 3 hours long. Located in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica’s Bagaces County is the aptly named Rio Perdido (Lost River). Looking down at the carved riverbeds in the Rio Perdido Canyon is simply incredible. Surrounded by a dwarf forest that is almost completely dry in summer time the forest is transformed during the wet season as its foliage forms a dense, green cover.
This amazing canyon where the cool Rio Blanco meets the hot waters of Rio Perdido was during the times of the Chorotega an important gathering place, and the beauty of this destination has kept people coming back to this region ever since.
The Eco-Lodge site is just north of the amazing convergence point result in the property being flanked by two deep canyons. One canyon is a completely vertical gorge carrying cool waters with a peculiar white tint and the other is the thermo-mineral Rio Perdido. The owners of the Rio Perdido Eco-Lodge have done a great job making this treasure accessible to visitors in a sustainable way that doesn’t compromise its beauty.
Having settled into your accommodation, the rest of the day is free to explore and take in your magical surroundings. We are certain that you will immediately feel at peace at your forest bungalow surrounded by the sounds and aromas of the rare and quintessential dwarf forest. At Rio Perdido, an experience has been created; allowing you to get the most out of a beautiful and historic place that has been naturally formed over time.
Included: Rental car from Santa Elena / Monteverde to Rio Perdido; Accommodation at Rio Perdido (Meals – Breakfast).

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Leaving the Monteverde Cloud forest behind, you will continue your self-drive to Rio Perdido, the drive is approximately 3 hours long. Located in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica’s Bagaces County is the aptly named Rio Perdido (Lost River). Looking ...

7
Day 7 - Rio Perdido

Thermal Canyon & Adventure

It´s a good idea to head out early so you can enjoy the freshness of the morning and get the most out of your day. Staying at Rio Perdido, there are many activities to enjoy. We have included for you the one we find most exciting; a great Canyon Adventure surrounded by the beautiful nature of the tropical dry-forest at Rio Perdido. While there are hundreds of zip-line tours throughout the country, the Canyon Adventure at Rio Perdido is truly innovative.
Under the guidance of renowned adventure designers, at Rio Perdido they have created a sequence that will please and surprise. The inspiring Rio Blanco canyon that runs through the property, is the main stage for this awesome cable-based adventure. You will rappel down for the thrill of a lifetime. Make your way along the river bed by down-climbing and rappelling rock based as well as suspended platforms. Enjoy the amazing pendulum cable as well as 5 zip wires.
The rest of the day is at leisure. If you are in for some more activity and immersion into Costa Rica’s flora and fauna, you could optionally explore the area on a walking tour to hidden waterfalls, a tubing adventure down the river, or simply enjoy the hotsprings and thermals pools.
Included: Half Day Rio Perdido Canyon Adventure in Group service, Complimentary Access to Nature trails, Thermal River, 3 Thermo-mineral Pools and Volcanic Mud bath; Accommodation ay Rio Perdido (Meals – Breakfast).

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It´s a good idea to head out early so you can enjoy the freshness of the morning and get the most out of your day. Staying at Rio Perdido, there are many activities to enjoy. We have included for you ...

8
Day 8 - Santa Teresa

The road to the Southern Nicoya Peninsula

View Travel Guide for Nicoya Peninsula
Today you’ll set out on your self-drive to the breathtaking Pacific beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa on Costa Rica’s heavenly Nicoya Peninsula. The drive is approximately 5.5 hours long. To reach the Peninsula you will either get there by ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya or take the road across the Tempisque River over the Bridge of Friendship. The ferry crossing over from Puntarenas takes a little over an hour and is a scenic and relaxing trip dotted with small islands inhabited by colonies of birds.
After the crossing, you’ll continue by road to the southern tip of the Peninsula, passing through the mountainous and sparsely populated interior. The real pull of Nicoya is its spectacular coastline – the beautiful beaches and dramatic coastal scenery will win you over the moment you set eyes on it.
Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are two adjacent fishing villages, both with a lovely relaxed and elegant atmosphere that sort of blend together as one, since there is only one main road that runs along the coast. It is easy to see why these beaches were named the Top Ten Most Pristine Beaches in the World by Forbes magazine. The small, picturesque, sleepy seaside town of Mal Pais with its jagged, rocky coastline and volcanic formations is surrounded by unspoiled nature. The slightly larger Santa Teresa is busier with a scattering of surf shops, cafes and some great restaurants. Tip! Playa Sueca, also known as the secret beach’ (although it´s a little less secret nowadays) on the far end of Mal Pais, has a small, white sand cove surrounded by a rocky outcrop which at low tide is great for swimming and snorkeling.
Included: Rental car from Rio Perdido to Santa Teresa / Mal Pais; Accommodation around Mal Pais or Santa Teresa (Meals – Breakfast).

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View Travel Guide for Nicoya Peninsula Today you’ll set out on your self-drive to the breathtaking Pacific beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa on Costa Rica’s heavenly Nicoya Peninsula. The drive is approximately 5.5 hours long. To reach the Peninsula ...

9
Day 9 - Santa Teresa

Pacific beaches & nature

We are pretty much certain that, just like everyone else who visits the stunning Pacific beaches of Southern Nicoya, the first thing you’ll want to do today is head straight to the beach and stay there. This coastline is breathtaking and we were bowled over by just how pristine and wild the region is. As you gaze along the jungle backed coastline across endless stretches of white sand and rolling waves, it really does feel like a true retreat from the modern world. There are various water sports you can do if you’d like a little more action, such as fishing, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding or surfing.
This idyllic spot is one in a million with its combination of white sand beaches fringed by miles with palm trees and continuous waves with breakers coming from right and left all year round. At low tide you can relax in numerous tidal pools, snorkel and swim in calm waters. We recommend a full day of doing nothing…sunbathing all morning, taking a dip in the ocean then wandering up the beach collecting sea shells in the afternoon. In the evening stop off at one of the great beachfront bars and sit back to enjoy a spectacular sunset.
Included: Accommodation around Mal Pais or Santa Teresa (Meals – Breakfast).

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We are pretty much certain that, just like everyone else who visits the stunning Pacific beaches of Southern Nicoya, the first thing you’ll want to do today is head straight to the beach and stay there. This coastline is breathtaking ...

10
Day 10 - Santa Teresa

Exploring Southern Nicoya

Today is left free so you can spend the day at the beach or head inland to explore the Cabo Blanco National Park to the south of Mal Pais. Established in 1963, this was the first official protected area in Costa Rica and it covers the whole tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, including miles and miles of tropical forest, ocean, islands and beaches. The Park is alive with wildlife, including pelicans, frigate birds, parrots, monkeys, deer, wild cats and snakes.
To get there you take a scenic 5-mile (8 km) route through a lush river valley, before climbing up into the hills. The road is not in the best of shape, so ask at your hotel before you head off. In the nearby hippie town of Montezuma, you can visit beaches and beautiful waterfalls, or try canopy zip lining with a refreshing dip at the waterfalls at the end.
Included: Accommodation around Mal Pais or Santa Teresa (Meals – Breakfast).

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Today is left free so you can spend the day at the beach or head inland to explore the Cabo Blanco National Park to the south of Mal Pais. Established in 1963, this was the first official protected area in ...

11
Day 11 - San Jose

Back to San Jose

Today you will travel back to the Central Valley for your stay at Hotel Alta. The drive is approximately 5 hours long. At Paquera take the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to Puntarenas. The ferry crossing takes a little over an hour and is a scenic and relaxing trip dotted with small islands inhabited by colonies of birds. After the crossing, you’ll continue by road to the outskirts of San Jose. Having settled into your hotel, you will be able to relax and enjoy the facilities of your hotel. At the end of the day, your rental car will be picked up at your hotel by the car rental company.

After arrival to the comfortable and intimate Hotel Alta located in the Central Valley, clinging to the hills of Alto de las Palomas, in the outskirts of San Jose, you have the rest of the day at leisure. The hotel is conveniently located at just 8 km from the airport, however here you will feel completely in a relaxing and natural environment.
In the evening we recommend you treat yourself to a candlelit dinner while enjoying the amazing views over the illuminated city in the distance.
Included: Rental car from Santa Teresa / Mal Pais to outskirts San Jose; Accommodation at outskirts San Jose (Meals – Breakfast).

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Today you will travel back to the Central Valley for your stay at Hotel Alta. The drive is approximately 5 hours long. At Paquera take the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to Puntarenas. The ferry crossing takes a little ...

12
Day 12 - San Jose

homeward Bound

After breakfast you have the morning to enjoy the pool, gardens and amazing views over San Jose and volcanoes in the distance at Hotel Alta. We recommend taking a leisurely stroll through the hotel’s gardens. In the backyard you can see a thriving Guanacaste tree, one of the oldest and largest in all of Costa Rica. Upon departure, your private transfer will pick you up from your hotel and take you to San Jose’s International Airport, where you will board your flight back home. We wish you a pleasant flight and great memories of Costa Rica.

Included: Private transfer from outskirts San Jose hotel to the San Jose Airport (Meals – Breakfast (depending on your flight)

After breakfast you have the morning to enjoy the pool, gardens and amazing views over San Jose and volcanoes in the distance at Hotel Alta. We recommend taking a leisurely stroll through the hotel’s gardens. In the backyard you can ...

TOUR DETAILS “Costa Rica Self Drive Adventure”

What’s included

10 NIGHTS

11 MEALS

11 x Breakfast,

TRANSPORTATION

Car rental Mitsubishi Outlander or similar Automatic 4x4


Wow experiences

EXPERIENCES INCLUDED

Hanging bridges Arenal, Monteverde nature Walk, Rio Perdido Canyon Adventure, Rio Perdido thermal river & pools


Highlights

Arena volcano & Monteverde cloudforest

Rio perdió adventure & Santa Teresa secluded beaches

ACCOMMODATION & PRICING

(Price estimate for 2 people traveling together)

View Comfort Accommodation
Option 1

Comfort

Travel On A Budget With Style & Comfort


$2,345

Per person
View Superior Accommodation
Option 2

Superior

Travel On A Budget With Style & Superior


$3,180

Per person
View Luxury Accommodation
Option 3

Luxury

Travel On A Budget With Style & Luxury


$3,650

Per person