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Nature & Volcanoes, Secret Escape to the Pacific Beaches


Perfect mix of nature, sand and sunshine!
10 days starting at $1,699/Person
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Why you'll love this Best of Costa Rica tour!

This Costa Rican adventure takes you from the volcanoes and coffee region surrounding San Jose to the volcanic landscape of Arenal before discovering the country’s best kept secret as you explore Tenorio. Top all this off with the tropical beaches of Tamarindo and you’ll soon come to experience the sheer beauty, magic and wonders of Costa Rica.

Our local specialists and tour guides have designed and dialed in all the secret stops that any local would approve of.

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
Your tour starts here!

10 Day Travel Itinerary

Our tours depart any day of the year, there are no fixed departure dates. It’s really simply, 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.

Itinerary
1
DAY 1 - La Fortuna/Arenal

Journey to the Arenal Volcano

Once you’ve touched down to San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR), you’ll be warmly welcomed by your driver and taken onwards to your accommodation at the Arenal Volcano area. The journey takes approximately 4 hours. 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 high above the surrounding landscape. Depending on the time of your arrival to the town of La Fortuna, situated at the foot of the Arenal Volcano and having settled in to your accommodation, the rest of the day is free to explore or relax.

Included: Private Transfer from San Jose airport to Arenal, Accommodation around La Fortuna / Arenal (Meals – None).

Once you’ve touched down to San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR), you’ll be warmly welcomed by your driver and taken onwards to your accommodation at the Arenal Volcano area. The journey takes approximately 4 hours. As you approach the town ...

2
DAY 2 - La Fortuna/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 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. Many of the area’s best hot springs are situated just at the foot of the Arenal Volcano which means that you can enjoy looking up at the mighty volcano while soaking in the warm waters rich in minerals while listening to the calls of the rainforest around you this is truly a heavenly experience!

Included: Half Day Guided Waterfalls Sky Walk in Group service with transfers and Entrance fee, Accommodation around La Fortuna / Arenal (Meals – Breakfast).

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. ...

3
DAY 3 - La Fortuna/Arenal to Santa Elena

Lake Crossing, Coffee Tour, and Twilight Walk

Leaving Arenal and La Fortuna behind, you will continue your journey across the lovely Lake Arenal before heading up into the lush, green cloud forest high of Monteverde. The total duration of this adventure connection is approximately 4 hours long and this is the fastest way to get from Arenal up into the Cloud Forest of Monteverde. The first leg of the connection takes you by transfer to Lake Arenal where you will board a boat that will take you across to the other side of the lake, during which you may have the opportunity to see the Arenal Volcano as well as some beautiful tropical birds. After the lake crossing, you will continue the journey by land in shared transportation for the last 38-kilometer drive of scenic dirt roads into the mountains, to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Upon arrival you will be taken to your hotel.

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. If you’re feeling a little hungry or like cheese, then the Monteverde Cheese Factory is where you should head to. Opened in 1953 by the area’s original Quaker settlers, you can taste some nice cheese and ice-cream here, especially the Monte Rico which is famous throughout Costa Rica.

As the sun begins to go down and the light mystically disappears from the sky, you’ll be picked up from your accommodation to start your Coffee Tour with a Twilight Nature Walk. With around 90% of its 26,000 acres completely untouched by man, more than 100 species of mammals live in the Monteverde Reserve but, you better watch your step as 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles can also be found here, both venomous and non-venomous! Experiencing the peaceful darkness of the Cloud Forest is both an eerie yet thrilling experience as more than 60% of the Cloud Forest life awakens at this time. You’ll also see the change of guard as the daytime wildlife rushes through the forest to find a final snack before going off to bed. Guided by an expert nature guide, they’ll take you to the best places on the property to spot the different types of mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles. One of the highlights of tonight’s nature walk will be seeing the dart frogs waking up and observe them as they go about their nightly business with their bright colors and night chants. As you’ll be in relative darkness your senses will become attuned to the sounds and scents of the jungle, giving you a true encounter with nature while allowing you to see different endemic species of Monteverde.

After your evening nature hike, you will be guided to the on-site coffee farm of Don Juan to learn about the secrets of planting, harvesting, washing and drying the world-renowned coffee beans of Monteverde into a delicate cup of coffee. Sown into every Costa Rican, coffee is a very important product for both the economy and culture of Costa Rica. The owners of the Don Juan Coffee Farm were one of the first families to settle in Monteverde and the tour will give you a great understanding of the unique bond between the age-old authentic coffee production process and how it turned Costa Rica into a country known for its peace, stability and progress. At the end of the tour, you will be able to enjoy the freshly roasted coffee accompanied by some traditional snacks before being transferred back to your accommodation.

Included: Adventure connection from Arenal to Monteverde in Shared service with Lake Crossing Road-boat-Road, Don Juan Coffee tour and Twilight Walk in Group service with Transfer and Entrance fee, Accommodation in Monteverde (Meals – Breakfast).

Leaving Arenal and La Fortuna behind, you will continue your journey across the lovely Lake Arenal before heading up into the lush, green cloud forest high of Monteverde. The total duration of this adventure connection is approximately 4 hours long ...

4
DAY 4 - Santa Elena / Monteverde

Private Cloud Forest Walk

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. Along the way to the reserve your private guide will point out interesting facts about the natural environment as well as provide you with some of the history and culture of Monteverde which was founded in 1950 by 12 American Quaker families, who began farming dairy cattle in the area and protected the local environment. This way you will already have some interesting insights before starting your 3-hour hike through the Cloud Forest. 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. A lot of the scientific work is only shared by some and deprived from most of us, but your guide will reveal its secrets to you on this tour using his special magnifying scope that will get you even closer to the hardest to reach and see nature. 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! It will be a fantastic experience you’ll be sure to remember for years to come! Following the tour, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel in time for the afternoon.

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, whizzing high above the ground from lofty platform to platform via a construction of cables. These experiences allow you to have a unique perspective of the Cloud Forest and the wildlife that live in the treetops of this wildlife-filled region. Taking the Sky Tram open-air gondola with a guide will give you an unforgettable view out across the verdant green landscape. Once you’re at the highest point you can get back down either by hiking on the suspension bridges, or zipping along 1.7 miles (2.7km) of cables slung between towering trees, stretching across canyons and between treetops on what is one of the longest zip lines in Costa Rica. You’ll go from lofty platform to platform via horizontal traverse cables, ultimately returning you back to where you started this afternoon’s optional adventure.

Note: For your Cloud Forest Hike, choose from the Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena Reserve or the Curi Cancha Reserve.

Included: Half Day Monteverde nature Walk in Private service with Transfer and Entrance fee, Accommodation in Monteverde (Meals – Breakfast).

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 ...

5
Day 5 - Santa Elena to Rio Perdido / Bagaces

Road to the Rio Perdido Eco Lodge

Leaving the Monteverde Cloud forest behind, you will continue your journey 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). When recently rediscovered, traces of the Chorotega civilization that dates back hundreds of years were found and adds to the magic of this beautiful and ancient destination. Looking down at the carved riverbeds in the Rio Perdido Canyon is like looking into a basket of snakes with the serpentine twists curving throughout the canyon floor. Surrounded by a dwarf forest that is almost completely dry in summertime 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, 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: Private transfer from Monteverde to Rio Perdido, Accommodation at Rio Perdido (Meals – Breakfast).

Leaving the Monteverde Cloud forest behind, you will continue your journey 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). When recently ...

6
Day 6 - Rio Perdido / Bagaces

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. Rio Perdido is quite out of the way, so wildlife is given free rein here – we’ve rarely seen so much nature in one place! Butterflies, monkeys, and iguanas are all over the place and you’ll often see rare purple orchids and strangler figs.

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. For some great refreshments, enjoy the water station in the middle of the circuit. To continue enjoying with the amazing Tarzan Swing and 27-meter Challenge Bridge that all make for a great adventure activity with the Rio Blanco canyon in the leading role.

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, medicinal springs, and panoramic viewpoints. Mountain biking is another great way to get to know the area and the Rio Perdido Eco-Lodge offers an eclectic circuit, which offers solid rock segments, sand, raw earth bridges, ramps, banks, and even a few downhill sections in the advanced circuit. If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience, you could go river tubing (only available in summer) down the Rio Blanco; a great way to soak up the canyon.

Whatever you choose, we highly recommend relaxing in the natural volcanic mud pools, the thermal river, and the on-site three thermo-mineral pools where you can make the most of the natural sauna and massages. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, insect repellant, and plenty of water and snacks when you go hiking. Once the sun goes down, we recommend that you go on a night walk to the thermal river were surrounded by the silence of the forest you’ll be able to enjoy a spot of stargazing and soak up the undisturbed natural beauty of Rio Perdido under the moonlight.

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).

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. Rio Perdido is quite out of the way, so wildlife is given free rein here ...

7
Day 7 - Rio Perdido / Bagaces to Tamarindo

Journey to Tamarindo beach and town

Leaving Rio Perdido behind, you will continue your journey to Tamarindo, the drive is approximately 4 hours long.

Now’s the time to unleash the Beach Boys playlist as you arrive in the vibrant beach town of Tamarindo on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Tamarindo has some of the best beaches on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, and especially so if you’re into surfing, or are at least game for a go. Most people’s instinctive reaction upon reaching Tamarindo is to run straight for the beach. All we ask is that you check into your hotel first, and from then on, the rest of your day is free to spend at leisure and enjoy the pure beach life.

The long, golden sands of Tamarindo are separated from the neighboring beach of Playa Grande in the north, by the Matapalo River which is part of the Tamarindo Wildlife Reserve. This neighboring beach is also a protected nesting ground for the endangered Leatherback turtle, and during the breeding season (Nov – Feb) you can take a guided moonlight walk to see the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.

Included: Shared transfer from Rio Perdido to Tamarindo, Accommodation in Tamarindo (Meals – Breakfast).

Leaving Rio Perdido behind, you will continue your journey to Tamarindo, the drive is approximately 4 hours long.

Now’s the time to unleash the Beach Boys playlist as you arrive in the vibrant beach town of Tamarindo on Costa Rica’s Pacific ...

8
Day 8 - Tamarindo

Kayaking in the Reserve

Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and head towards the protected reserve of the Tamarindo Mangrove and Estuary. You will board either a single or double seat ocean kayak to paddle through this natural paradise. Quietly paddling through the mangroves and not using a motor, will give you the chance to observe the different species of animals without disturbing them and allowing you to take even better photos. Keep your eye out for brown pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, ibis and ospreys, as well as two types of monkeys, iguanas and American crocodiles!

After paddling for about an hour, you’ll climb out of your kayak to enjoy some fresh fruits that will give you all the natural energy and hydration you need, to continue enjoying this beautiful environment. Once the tour is over you will be transferred back to your accommodation in Tamarindo where the rest of the afternoon and evening is free to spend on the beach, enjoying a tropical cocktail while watching the sun go down.

Tip! Don’t forget to bring strap sandals, mosquito repellent, sun block, hat and sunglasses.

Included: Half Day Mangrove & Estuary Tour on Kayak in Group service with Transfer and Entrance fee, Accommodation in Tamarindo (Meals – Breakfast).

Note: Departure time depends on tide.

Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and head towards the protected reserve of the Tamarindo Mangrove and Estuary. You will board either a single or double seat ocean kayak to paddle through this natural paradise. Quietly paddling ...

9
Day 9 - Tamarindo

Leisure day in Tamarindo

Today is left free for you to relax at the beach, stroll through the beach town or explore more of the natural beauty around Tamarindo. One of our favorite optional excursions (not included) is to go on a gentle horseback ride through the dry-tropical forest of the Guanacaste lowlands where you’ll arrive at a number of beautiful viewpoints and secluded beaches. If you’d rather take to the water, you can try your hand or perfect your style at surfing with a professional teacher. Tamarindo is the perfect place to learn how to surf and is a safe, fun and easy-going experience. Another of our recommended activities is to set sail and enjoy a day snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters off the coast of Tamarindo or simply relaxing on the boat. Sailing back to Tamarindo just in time to watch the sunset from the boat.

After a day on the beach, or a fun day out with one of the optional activities, head back to your accommodation to freshen up before going out to enjoy freshly caught seafood at one of the local restaurants in Tamarindo.

Included: Accommodation in Tamarindo (Meals – Breakfast).

Today is left free for you to relax at the beach, stroll through the beach town or explore more of the natural beauty around Tamarindo. One of our favorite optional excursions (not included) is to go on a gentle horseback ...

10
Tamarindo

Homeward bound

Enjoy one last walk along Tamarindo’s beach and then it’s time to say goodbye to this tropical country with its wide diversity in ecosystems and natural beauty. You will continue your journey to the International Airport for your flight out. We wish you a pleasant flight and great memories of Costa Rica!

Note: It is 5 hrs. drive to San Jose Airport (SJO) and you would need to be at the airport 3 hrs. prior to your flight.

Included: Private transfer from Tamarindo to San Jose Airport (Meals – Breakfast, depending on your departure time).

Enjoy one last walk along Tamarindo’s beach and then it’s time to say goodbye to this tropical country with its wide diversity in ecosystems and natural beauty. You will continue your journey to the International Airport for your flight out. ...

Exceptional Experiences in Best of Costa Rica

We have over 20 years experience building relationships with a short list of some of the best hotels and guides in Central & South America, from 7 regional offices in Latin America. We always aim to offer our tour packages with as little impact with the culture, by using shared transportation and/or private “like a local” excursions using public transportation. Let us know your travel dates and destination preferences, and we’ll match you with YOUR PERFECT Latin America experience. 

Hotels & Pricing

(Price estimate for 2 people traveling together)

Option 1: Comfort
$2,129 /person
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Option 2: Superior
$2,459 /person
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Option 3: Luxury
$2,799 /person
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