Costa Rica Tony Test

Highlights

  • See Costa Rica from Coast to Coast
  • Spot sea turtles, monkeys, hummingbirds and more in a country of richly diverse wildlife
  • Swim under waterfalls and in a geothermal lagoon in the jungle
  • Ride the longest zipline in Latin America above the cloud forest
£3095 pp
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16 Nights/17 Days

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What you'll do

Arrival Day

Arrive at San Jose International Airport and meet your driver, who will take you straight to your accommodation to relax, refresh, and get ready fro your Costa Rican Adventure.

 

 

 

Accommodation

Parque del Lago Boutique Hotel

Located 20 minutes from the Juan Santamaria International Airport and in close proximity to San Jose city. Your comfortable room will include air-conditioning and free Wifi, there is also a restaurant on site.

San Jose Afternoon and Night Tour

Activity – Local market and city tour with fine dining local dinner

Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the city. Starting in the Central Market, which is the only way to learn about the city’s food. Stroll the market with your local guide and get to know about uses of the roots, herbs, and fruit common in local cuisines, including ingredients that will play a role in your authentic Costa Rican dinner.

After the market, we’ll make our way learning about the city’s history and anecdotes, as well as visiting one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings, the National Theatre, then with a walk through Morazán Park and we will visit Mr Sloth Coffee Shop to make el Morenito, one delicious coffee cocktail.

We’ll continue to charm Barrio Amon, one the oldest neighborhoods. We’ll be spending the rest of the evening at the best private home for a special local dinner. This cozy establishment offer the best in Costa Rican cuisine, a unique space that offers art, culture, history as well as fine dining.

Accommodation

Parque del Lago Boutique Hotel

Journey to Tortuguero National Park

Activity – River boat ride through the canals of Tortuguero National Park


Today you’ll have an early start at 6am, diving straight into your once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Costa Rica.

After just twenty minutes of driving out from San José towards the Caribbean lowlands, you will have an early introduction to Costa Rica’s natural highlights, as you pass by the magnificent Braulio Carrillo National Park, with a rich variety of wildlife and through agricultural farmland with pineapple and banana plantations.

After another half hour, you will descend into the lowlands, and you’ll be able to notice the transition between two of Costa Rica’s key climates, the Cloud and the Rainforest.

Breakfast will be taken in a restaurant during your drive through the countryside. At around mid-morning, you’ll arrive at the pier to board a river boat taking you along the beautiful canals of the Tortuguero National Park,  one of the most important nesting sites in the world for the green sea turtle. Its territories protect not only the turtle-nesting beach, but also the surrounding forests, canals and lagoons. There is a  peaceful atmosphere which attracts nature lovers, yet the area never has the feeling of being touristy. It is the ideal place to start a trip to Costa Rica, with early opportunities to spot some of the most famous wildlife.

Along the way, your guide will talk you through the delicate eco-system of the area, giving you insight into how the waterways, the forest and the wildlife coexist so that you have an in-depth understanding of the environment you are experiencing.

Your accommodation tonight is in an Eco-lodge  built on a narrow strip of land 650 feet wide, between Tortuguero´s main lagoon and the Caribbean Sea, the Laguna Lodge rooms, reception, restaurants, bars and swimming pools are located in 15 acres of trees and exotic plants which are home to numerous birds and butterflies. There are amazing views of the lagoon and direct access to the beach.

 

Accommodation

Laguna Lodge Tortuguero, Standard Room

 

Meals

Half Board+ (Dinner, Bed & Breakfast plus tea/coffee & soft drinks included)

Explore Tortuguero National Park

Activity – Day 4 – Guided Boat trip

Day 5 Free day

Today you have a full day to explore the Tortuguero area, you will take guided boat trip  the  jungle-fringed waterways behind the beach are teeming with bird, animal and insect life. More than half of Costa Rica’s bird species can be found here along with monkeys, sloths and for the lucky alligators, tapirs, ocelots, peccaries and ant-eaters.

You will have free time to hike to Tortuguero Hill for a spectacular view of the area – the walk is a short but sharp climb, with a serious reward at the top.

Or paddle out  on a canoe, exploring the canals to really get in touch with the incredible nature the park boasts. Visit the little town of Tortuguero with its museum dedicated to the green turtle, and explore the miles of pristine Caribbean beaches to see-when in season- nesting green turtles, the world’s second largest sea turtle. The turtles nest here between July and October.( Turtle nesting tour can be arranged locally at extra charge from 1 July – 31 October only) )

Accommodation

Laguna Lodge Tortuguero

Meals

Half board+ (Dinner, Bed & Breakfast plus tea/coffee & soft drinks included)

Volcanoes and Hot Springs

Transfer to Arenal Volcano

After breakfast today you will leave the beautiful Caribbean coast via the beautiful rivers of the North Caribbean, and arrive back at the pier to jump into the bus for your drive to the northern plains.

In 1968 the Arenal Volcano, which until then was unassuming and dormant, erupted and the lava and ash completely buried the community of Pueblo Nuevo.

Little by little, the spectacular eruption attracted tourists and La Fortuna has transformed from a simple agricultural area to a tourist hot spot. Arenal is a large symmetrical volcano built upon layers of ash, rock and lava and is almost 1700 metres high.

Although it is now dormant, the underground heat from the volcano produces natural hot springs – perfect for swimming in and enjoying the gorgeous warm waters.

Spend the afternoon basking in the waters, drinking in the spectacular landscape around you – before heading to your accommodation for the evening, the resort village of Arenal Manoa with its extensive gardens and marvellous views of the Arenal Volcano, located on a working dairy farm.

Surrounded by gardens, pastures and animals, this is a wonderful place to relax, and enjoy the peaceful gardens, take a tour of the farm for an insight into the daily operations of a traditional Costa Rican farm.

There are 80 comfortable and spacious bungalows all with bright tropical décor, a small garden and private terrace. Nestled in the tropical gardens, the bungalows all feel very private and offer panoramic views of the volcano. Its large swimming pool is made up of 3 connected pools, and there a jacuzzi and a swim-up bar.

 

Accommodation

Hotel Arenal Manoa (Junior Suite )

Featuring extensive gardens and marvellous views of the Arenal volcano, the resort village of Arenal Manoa sits on a working dairy farm.

Surrounded by gardens, pastures and animals, Arenal Manoa is a delightful place to relax, guests are encouraged to enjoy the peaceful gardens which are full of insects, lizards and abundant birdlife. Take advantage of the daily tour of the dairy farm for an insight into the operations of a traditional Costa Rican farm, and even get chance to help with the milking!

There are 80 comfortable and spacious bungalows all with bright tropical décor, a small garden and most have private terrace. Nestled in the tropical gardens, the bungalows all feel private and offer panoramic views of the volcano. Its large swimming pool is made up of 3 connected pools, a jacuzzi and a swim-up bar.

With Costa Rican owners and authentic Costa Rican hospitality, Hotel Arenal Manoa is the eco destination with no artificial ingredients!

Meals 

Breakfast

Waterfalls and Local Lunches

Activities – La Fortuna Waterfall Guided Visit & Arenal Hike 

On Day 7 you will explore the area around Arenal Volcano – a La Fortuna waterfall visit and a volcano hike is on the itinerary, and is one of the most memorable days of the entire adventure.

The day starts late in the morning at 11am, so you have time to enjoy a nice breakfast, explore the surroundings of the hotel and relax a little before your pick up.

Wear your swimming gear and take a leisurely hike down 500 steps that lead the way to a magnificent waterfall. On the way down, your guide will point out the various examples of the stunning wildlife that can be found, as you stroll easily, taking you time to drink in the gorgeous views ahead of you.

At the bottom of the steps, enjoy a refreshing dip in the lagoon, splash under the waterfall and enjoy one of the most beautiful swimming experiences of your life.

After you’ve dried off, your lunch will be a truly authentic experience with the Rodriguez Family. They will host and cook you an unforgettable, traditional lunch that you can enjoy relaxing on the riverside, experiencing local culture and of course a delicious and freshly brewed cup of Costa Rican coffee.

Round off the day by visiting the imposing Arenal Volcano National Park, where you will set off on a stunning guided hike around its base while learning everything there is to know about the iconic Costa Rican landmark, from the eruptions and the old lava flows.

Take in the bizarre sight of the rainforest reclaiming the old, dried-up lava flows, and try to spot some of the rainforest wildlife, before being driven back to your accommodation.

Accommodation

Hotel Arenal Manoa (Junior Suite)

Meals

Breakfast & Lunch

Tenorio Volcano National Park hike

Activity – Tenorio Volcano National Park Guided hike

Set in the north of Costa Rica, Tenorio Volcano National Park is home to a magnificent volcano from which it received its name, best known for the beautiful Río Celeste, whose light blue waters are caused by a reaction between sulphur and calcium carbonate in the river. The park is covered in natural tropical forests and decorated with rivers and waterfalls. One of the many highlights here is a hike to the magnificent Celeste Waterfall, known for its stunning blue waters. Visitors can also enjoy walking over the many suspension bridges in the rainforest, visiting the Blue Lagoon, and climbing through the cloud forest along the Crater Trail to the top of the volcano to view the steaming Lago Dante. You are likely to spot a variety of wildlife here, possibly even the shy tapir and puma. The park also provides the opportunity to bathe in wonderful natural hot springs, and afterwards we will stop for a typical local lunch.

 

Accommodation

Hotel Arenal Manoa ( Junior Suite)

Meals

Breakfast and Lunch

Lake Cruise and Travel to Montverde

Activity – Transfer to Monteverde with Lake Crossing

 

Today you will travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde, crossing the Arenal Lake. First you’ll travel by land to the lake, where you’ll board a boat for a one-hour cruise to Monteverde.

This is the fastest way to travel, but it is also an incredibly scenic journey where you can admire beautiful views of mountains, sky and the colossal Arenal volcano.

When you reach the other side of the lake, you will be picked up and driven to your hotel in Monteverde. It might be a transfer, but it’s also an adventure!

Your hotel is the Eco Lodge Koora, a luxury ecolodge in the heart of the cloud forest, with just 10 cosy suites and bungalows the  boutique hotel is the perfect nature retreat.

With stunning treetop views only the natural beauty of Monteverde can provide, you will feel the magic of the cloud forest as you sip coffee or enjoy a late-night drink on your private balcony.

You will sleep in the treetops, literally! The suites and bungalows seamlessly integrate with the surroundings and you’ll be able to gaze at this natural oasis from the floor to ceiling windows with the chirping and singing of birds as the soundtrack. The rooms have handcrafted furniture made by local artisans, comfortable beds, and  hot showers and some have kitchenette.

After an action-packed day, you can dine at the Restaurant Kiré with its delicious fresh local produce and amazing views.

 

Accommodation

Koora Hotel ( Junior Suite)

 

Meals 

Breakfast

Forest Canopies Zip line and Cuisine

Activity – Day 10 – Canopy tour, zip-line adventure, coffee & chocolate tour

Day 11 Free day

In the morning, you will have the experience a canopy tour with an added adrenaline rush as you swing from platform to platform on the longest zipline in Latin America!

Enjoy the unique, spectacular panoramic views that can only to be seen from this lofty perch.

A walk through a cloud forest in Monteverde reveals a lush garden of mosses, ferns, flowers and epiphytes growing thickly on every tree. Clouds drift in and settle among the slopes, providing the plants with the continuous moisture that they require. Dangling roots and vines sweep across the trails, while the sounds of birds and other creatures echo throughout the forest, this is the magical cloud forest experience on foot and in the air!

Today you will visit the small and charming town of Santa Elena, filled with tasty restaurants and folksy artisan shops,

The afternoon will begin with a coffee – you will learn all about the wonderful history of coffee in the world, and in Costa Rica, how coffee influenced the development of the country, you see all the processes involved in the production of coffee, from the seed to the delicious final product. You will also learn about chocolate production in Costa Rica, and the traditions surrounding it, and then you’ll learn about the less familiar sugar cane; growing, harvesting and production through the centuries.

Of course, there will be delicious tastings of all the products!

Accommodation

Koora Hotel ( Junior Suite )

Meals 

Breakfast

Local Crafts and Cooking

Activity – Transfer to Nosara with visit to local community and local cooking experience

Today, you’ll transfer to Nosara, on the Nicoya Peninsula known as the land of yoga and surf.

The pacific beaches are wide and sandy with long surf breaks, it has a calm and relaxed atmosphere.

Enjoy wandering the small, quaint towns of Nosara and Guiones, take a dip in the amazing waves of the protected beach, and spot the wildlife in the forest and perhaps even the nesting Olive Ridley turtles on Ostional Beach between July and February.

Today you will be visiting the community of Guanacaste, and the village of Santa Barbara in Santa Cruz, where there is a traditional house which has become a museum. It is a  ‘casona’, a type of building that has been in existence for over 100 years.

There is a workshop here, where you will see how the famous Guaitil ceramics of the area have been produced for centuries, and how the Pre columbian Chorotega tribe used to make their utensils.

There will be a cooking class with a local cook, to learn how to make local dishes of the region, and you will learn about the local musical instrument the Marimba and the traditional music of the area.

Tonight you will be staying at the Olas Verdes hotel, a small Costa Rican boutique hotel  dedicated to preserving the natural environment and supporting the local community.

Located in Nosara, a world class surfing destination, with Playa Guiones featuring 4 miles of beach break that catches any swell direction year-round. There is a flourishing wellness community of local artists, organic farmers, an array of renowned yoga studios and an abundance of adventure and ecotourism activities in the area, to help you achieve the ‘pura vida’

The accommodation is in buildings each  named after a different region of Costa Rica, and each suite is decorated with authentic crafts from the designated areas. All suites have a living room, bedroom, and bathroom.

Olas Verdes’ restaurant, El Manglar, serves your favorite Tico or fusion dishes prepared with freshly harvested seasonal ingredients, including a variety of seafood caught by artisanal fishermen, dishes are always cooked to order and accompanied by in house made bread, and dressings, fresh herbs and vegetables from local farms.

The hotel has a yoga deck and a salt water pool. The beach is accessed via a path and is about a 5 minute stroll

 

Accommodation

Olas Verdes Hotel ( Pool side Suite)

 

 

Meals

Breakfast

Relax on the Beach

For the last few days of your holiday, enjoy a relaxing time at the beach!

Fill your time surfing, practicing yoga, or perhaps visit the village of  Ostional.

Located on the western coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small fishing village of Ostional is known for its unspoilt nature and fascinating nesting turtles.

Enjoy the crystal-clear waters lapping at the beautiful beaches, creating the perfect habitat for these protected animals. The beach of the Ostional Wildlife Reserve is a rare natural wonder, with thousands of sea turtles coming to lay their eggs in the black, volcanic sand between July and February. Three types of turtles inhabit the waters here; leatherbacks, green turtles, and most famously, the Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Accommodation

Olas Verdes Hotel ( Pool side Suite)

Meals

Breakfast

Optional activities include La Paz waterfalls and Butterfly farm (not included)

Today, you’ll say goodbye to the coast and head back to the Central Valley, and your final stay is at Xandari

Transfer back to the Central Valley to experience authentic Costa Rica, in a combination of a sustainable forested coffee farm, and cuisine that creatively honors the culinary traditions of the coffee highlands. The richness of the local culture, steaming volcanoes, cloud forests and the splendor of the abundant nature surrounding!

You have 2 days at Xandari with the option to have the first day on a guided adventure through waterfalls, visiting a butterfly farm and humming bird sanctuary.  This is to be confirmed nearer the time.

Accommodation

Xandari

 

 

Departure Day

Today, the time has come to fly home. You’ll be transferred to the airport and waved off by your driver.

We hope you’ve had an amazing time in Costa Rica, and really felt as if you know the country, its culture and its people intimately, and haven’t simply been a tourist, but have travelled like a local.

What's included

Included

  • Private transfers from and to the airport
  • 2 night at Parque del Lago Boutique Hotel BB
  • 3 nights at Laguna Eco-Lodge HB+ (dinner, bed & breakfast & tea/coffee/soft drinks included)
  • 3 nights at Arenal Manoa Village Resort BB
  • 3 nights at Koora Hotel Monteverde BB
  • 2 nights at Olas Verde Hotel BB
  • 2 nights at Xandari
  • All meals in Tortuguero
  • Shared bus from/to Tortuguero
  • San Jose by night tour
  • Tortuguero Village Tour
  • Tortuguero Canals (includes National Park entrance)
  • Arenal Volcano National Park guided hike and entrance fee
  • La Fortuna Waterfall guided visit and entrance fee
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park guided tour and entrance fee
  • Zip lining experience
  • Guided Coffee/Coco/Sugar Cane Farm visit in Monteverde
  • Authentic community experience: ceramic and cooking classes in a house-museum
Your local host

Roberto

I was born and raised in Costa Rica and have lived here my entire life. And ever since I could, I’ve been travelling the world. Soon after I left school, I travelled around Costa Rica and discovered every single part of it! Although, we do have a fairly small country, there’s an insane amount to explore, and I’m still exploring it today, seeking out new hiking trails, new lagoons, different viewpoints, that take you to places you hadn’t even knew existed before, it really is fascinating.

My deep knowledge of countries extends far beyond just Costa Rica as well, I’ve been lucky enough to have a broad knowledge of most of the other Central American countries, as well as, a lot of the South American countries, allowing me to extend tours over there as well.

You might be surprised to know that I started out in a completely different field altogether, I studied engineering at university and worked in this industry for a little while. But, a little while later, due that passion for discovery and exploring new places eating away at me, I started my immersive travel company with a friend (14 years ago to be exact) and began having way too much fun helping people discover my wonderful country and the countries around it, so as soon as the possibility came around I just grabbed it, decided to leave engineering behind and have worked in the industry ever since.

What inspired you to work in travel?

As I’ve mentioned, I do have a bit of an obsession when it comes to showing people the beauty of Costa Rica. But apart from this, I’ve always been very much pro environment and have a keen interest in conservation. One of the best things about travel is that it can have a large component of conservation, at some point before I started working in travel, I thought I would work within conservation. So travel is a great bridge between my passions of discovery and conservation. Because if tourism is done right can help change both people’s lives and the world, and that’s really powerful.

What makes your experiences special?

Firstly, supplier and destination selection is key for us when choosing our experiences. If you get these right, you have a pretty good shot of having a truly authentic experience. So, we choose destinations that are not the same as all the other tour companies out there, those that are emerging or have something special about them, that most people don’t know about. An example would be, Drake Bay in Costa Rica, there’s a few things that everybody does e.g. the Corcovado National Park, a must visit for this area. But the difference between us and the other companies is that we use the local companies, that employ real locals, so this gives smaller companies a chance to compete with the large companies. When we choose hotels, we choose those that are sustainable, away from the normal ones.

And we always ensure the places/people we work with are committed to sustainability, it’s our mission to spread the wealth of toursim, to make sure money just doesn’t go to all the large companies, we think it should be shared equally to everyone in the country. So our suppliers are always real local people, that truly love their country and are trying to make an honest living out of it.

 

Roberto image

Location

You’ll be picked up from Juan Santamaria International Airport, before embarking on an incredible itinerary that takes in both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, the jungle interior of Montverde, and the mountains and villages of La Fortuna.

At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off back at the airport, and all transfers are taken care of.

1. San Jose
2. Torteguero
3, La Fortuna
4. Monteverde
5. Nosara
6. San Jose

FAQs

What clothes should I pack?

Lightweight cotton and linen clothing is recommended for most of the year with warmer clothes for cooler evenings. Waterproofing is necessary during the rainy season. Loose-fitting clothing is best. Wear neutral browns and greens for birding and wildlife viewing. Always bring mosquito repellent for both day and night.

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