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Classic Costa Rica

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Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
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Americas, Costa Rica | 16 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Bus, boat

Accommodation - Hotel (12 nts), Lodge (2 nts)

Meals - 5 breakfasts

Trip Highlights: 
Explore the jungle in Tortuguero |NP
Sky walk in the clouds in Monteverde
Views of the Arenal Volcano
White sandy beaches of Quepos
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Holidays in Costa Rica
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Itinerary for Classic Costa Rica

(Departures in 2013-15)
  • Day 1/2 - San José
  • Day 3-4 - Tortuguero National Park
  • Day 5-6 - Sarapiqui
  • Day 7-8 - La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano
  • Day 9-11 - Monteverde
  • Day 12-13 - Quepos
  • Day 14-16 - San José
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »

San José

Fly to San Jose. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica.

There is a welcome meeting tonight.  After the group meeting there is the option of joining the group for dinner.

On day 2 your leader will take you on an orientation walk and show the best known and not so known highlights of San Jose.

San Jose sits in the middle of the fertile Meseta Central, ringed by volcanoes and jagged mountains just begging to be explored. The city itself has all the sights and modern conveniences you would expect from a capital city. The main plaza is a good place to start exploring, get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping, head to the outdoor market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can pick up some handicrafts, boots or even fish.

Arriving in Costa Rica be sure to drink plenty of water (tap water is safe to drink in Costa Rica) and try not to do too much in any one day; you'll soon adjust to the heat and humidity.

Included Activities

  • Orientation walk

Optional Activities

  • San Jose - Batterfly farm - USD27
  • Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley, Lankester garden full day tour - USD80
  • Poas National Park half day tour - USD46
  • Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour, La Paz waterfalls full day tour - USD96
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD7


Hotel (2 nts)


Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park

You leave San Jose and descend to the Caribbean lowlands by bus and boat to Tortuguero National Park (approx. 5 hours).

Established in the 1960s, Tortuguero stretches out over 189 square km (117 square miles) and is filled with thick forests, waterways and beaches. The park is best known as a nesting ground for the green and leatherback turtles who can be seen between July and October.

On day 4, your leader will lead you on a walk around the park's main paths. Keep your eyes peeled to spot monkeys, birds, frogs and perhaps a sloth or two.

Included Activities

  • Walking tour of National Park

Optional Activities

  • Tortuguero - Turtle watching night tour - USD20
  • Tortuguero - Sunrise canoe trip round Tortuguero canals - USD25


Lodge (2 nts)




Early in the morning you travel to Sarapiqui in the heart of Costa Rica's banana growing region.

The budding town is surrounded by virgin forests, banana and pineapple plantations and several key biological reserves including La Selva Biological Station. There is plenty of free time to explore the jungle that surrounds the town by mountain bike or horse, or find a comfy spot to watch the colourful birdlife glide by. Alternatively you may wish to satisfy your sweet tooth on a chocolate tour.

Optional Activities

  • Sarapiqui - Mountain bike hire - USD45
  • Sarapiqui - La Selva Biological Station hike - USD35
  • Sarapiqui - Bird watching - USD20
  • Sarapiqui - Chocolate tour at Tirimbina - USD25


Hotel (2 nts)   

La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano

La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano

A 2 hour trip takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds.

Set in the plains of Costa Rica, the volcano sits on the shores of Lake Arenal, a large artificial lake.

From La Fortuna, the views are spectacular and the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Optional activities include a dip in the chilly La Fortuna waterfall, canyoneering for a wet and wild view of the forest or a full day of adrenaline pumping white water rafting. Otherwise, head out into the beautiful surrounds and explore by bike or horse. At the end of a long day of exploring you can ease into the Baldi Hot Springs and hope the clouds part long enough for the ultimate bathing view, the Arenal Volcano.

Optional Activities

  • Fortuna waterfall - USD10
  • Hanging bridges - USD57
  • Baldi Hot Springs - USD45
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - USD99


Hotel (2 nts)



Grab a warm jacket because today you travel for about 4 hours along rutted dirt roads, through the mountains, to reach the cool and windy cloud-forests of Monteverde.

These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. The surrounding pastures were once covered in dense forest, but now only a small protected section remains; known as the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, it is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise.

On day 9 your leader will take you on a walking tour of the park's main sights. The following two days are at your leisure.

Monteverde is the ideal opportunity for a ride over the rainforest canopy on a zipline. For more easy going adventures, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk, learn about Costa Rica's renowned coffee on a coffee tour, or watch butterflies at play in the specially created butterfly garden. Local guides are very knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation; local communities have several cooperatives worth visiting. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Included Activities

  • Cloud Forest walking tour

Optional Activities

  • Night walk - USD25
  • Monteverde - Coffee tour - USD30
  • Butterfly garden and insects farm - USD10
  • Serpentarium - USD10


Hotel (3 nts)



After a 5 hour travel day, you arrive in Quepos.

The town is laid back but has a vibrant nightlife. Spend your time here enjoying the best of the park. If you have jungle on the brain, head straight to the park for a hike along its many trails. Keep one eye on the great views and the other looking out for the abundant wildlife. Spot monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches; it would be easy to spend the whole time here in or by the water. Go swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing.

Optional Activities

  • Quepos - Dolphin watch / sunset sail (seasonal) - USD75
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD80
  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
  • Quepos - Locally guided tour - USD25


Hotel (2 nts)

San José

San José

A 4 hour journey takes us back to San Jose in time for you to pick up an last minute souvenirs at the city's colourful and vibrant markets. Then you can head out for an optional dinner and a final night on the town sampling the huge variety of nightlife, the perfect way to end our adventure.

You return to our comfortable hotel in San Jose for our final night.

Tour ends on day 15 and you will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight home.


Hotel (1 nt)