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Essential Costa Rica

Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,314

From toucans to arrow frogs, Central America’s rainforest is rich with colourful treasures. Our Essential Costa Rica tour features Tortuguero National Park, the Arenal Volcano area, and Monteverde Cloud Forest.


This 11 day trip covers three distinct regions of Costa Rica, offering the perfect introduction to a country unmatched for biodiversity.

From the attractive, modern capital of San Jose, you’ll be transferred past banana plantations and sweeping rainforest areas to Tortuguero National Park. Covering over 21 miles of coastline, Tortuguero is famous for numerous species of beach-resting turtles, as well as manatees, crocodiles and 30 species of freshwater fish. Further inland, caimans, sloths, jaguars, three species of monkey and 375 species of birds are also known to inhabit the park. The option of a canal tour lets you meet the wildlife up close.

Your hotel at Arenal Volcano National Park sits on 11 spectacular hectares. In addition to being Costa Rica’s adrenaline capital, this is another great wildlife area, particularly for birdwatchers, as most of Costa Rica’s 850 species can be found here. Amateur (and indeed professional) botanists will also find much to enjoy with a truly staggering variety of orchids, ferns, palms, bromeliads and other life on show.

On the other side of the mountain, the cloud forests of Monteverde await. Enjoy a hike through this stunning wilderness, where over 100 species of mammals, over 400 birds and 120 amphibians and reptiles make their home.

End your journey with a little relaxation at Tamarindo Diria Beach and Golf Resort. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this world-class property offers all the facilities of a modern resort while retaining the sense of being surrounded by the rainforest. Consider renting a car if you wish to see more of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.


 

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Duration
11 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,314

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

San Jose

On arrival into San Jose you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Costa Rica's "Valle Central" and surrounding highlands form the cultural and geographical base of the country. It consists of a fertile upland basin inhabited by approximately two-thirds of the country's population. It is also home to the four most important cities in the country: San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, and the provincial capitals of Cartago, Heredia and Alajuela, each with its own character and sense of identity, together providing the most economically productive region.

The average temperature in the valley is 24 degrees celsius and the altitude oscillates from 2000 to 5000 feet (600 to 1500 m). Mountains and volcanoes enclose this land, and are, in turn, some of the main attractions. In just 20-40 minutes you can find yourself in the uplands, enjoying the beautiful view of San Jose and the fresh mountain breezes. Volcanoes are also well worth visiting: Poas and Barva in the northwest, Irazu in the southeast, and Turrialba in the east.

Due to its strategic location in the middle of the country, the Central Valley allows you to choose from a variety of activities, such as visiting the National Theatre, and museums (Gold Museum, Jade Museum, National Museum), white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, rain and cloud forest hiking and mountain biking, as well as visits to butterfly farms, botanical gardens, picturesque towns, and coffee plantations. Besides all this, the city also provides a good opportunity for shopping, sightseeing and enjoying the nightlife. Without a doubt, it is the perfect "base" for exploring the rest of the country.

The evening is free to explore.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Presidente

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    Hotel Presidente



    In the heart of Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, the Hotel Presidente is located on the corner of the Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard and Seventh Street, just 20 minutes from the San Jose, Costa Rica International Airport.

    In the heart of Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, the Hotel Presidente is located on the corner of the Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard and Seventh Street, just 20 minutes from the San Jose, Costa Rica International Airport.

    Facilities

    • Concierge
    • Currency Exchange
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Lounge(s)
    • Mail and Postal Facilities
    • Massage Treatments
    • Parking
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa

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Day 2

San Jose to Tortuguero

Depart early in the morning from the hotel in San Jose to the northern Caribbean lowlands, to the Tortuguero town, crossing the impressive Braulio Carrillo National Park. Breakfast will take place at El Ceibo Restaurant in Guapiles, on the way to La Pavona dock located in Cariari. By boat you will travel first on the river and then through the canals that run parallel to the coast until Tortuguero National Park. The ride provides an excellent chance to take a closer look to wildlife. Upon arrival, lunch will take place at the hotel's Restaurant.

In the afternoon visit the village of Tortuguero which lies in the northeastern corner of the park, on a thin strip of land between the sea and the main canal, the beach and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation's visitor center and turtle museum.

Dinner included at the hotel's Restaurant.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Pachira Lodge

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    Pachira Lodge



    Located on a 34 acre property just five minutes from Tortuguero National Park is Pachira Lodge. The lodge is surrounded by a stunning network of canals which are home to a diverse mix of flora and fauna. The lodge has 88 comfortable guest rooms all …

    Located on a 34 acre property just five minutes from Tortuguero National Park is Pachira Lodge. The lodge is surrounded by a stunning network of canals which are home to a diverse mix of flora and fauna. The lodge has 88 comfortable guest rooms all equipped with private ensuite, hot water and ceiling fans.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Restaurant
    • Spa
    • Swimming Pool

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Day 3

Tortuguero

In the initial tour, you will participate in a boat outing first thing in the morning. From Pachira Lodge, you will head to the docks and take a boat ride through Tortuguero's canals. These north to south waterways were engineered to connect the meandering rivers and the lagoons of the area. The canals are teeming with fauna and early morning is the perfect time for wildlife spotting, especially bird watching.

In the afternoon there will be a boat tour along the Tortuguero Canals. Tortuguero is one of the most important nesting sites in the western half of the Caribbean for the green turtle from June to September each year. The park is formed by a navigable network of lakes and canals with a large variety of wildlife, including monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, sloths, turtles and more than 300 species of birds.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included at the hotel's Restaurant.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Tortuguero to Arenal

Breakfast will be at the hotel's Restaurant, then transfer by boat and then by bus to Guapiles, where lunch will be served at El Ceibo Restaurant. After lunch, you will meet a representative of Camino Travel, who will provide the Transfer from Guapiles to Arenal.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel Arenal Manoa

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    Hotel Arenal Manoa



    Hotel Arenal Manoa is a beautiful hotel to relax and enjoy the marvelous view of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Surrounded by gardens, pastures and animals, the rooms have been designed so that each one offers you a panoramic view of the Arenal Volcano. Arenal …

    Hotel Arenal Manoa is a beautiful hotel to relax and enjoy the marvelous view of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Surrounded by gardens, pastures and animals, the rooms have been designed so that each one offers you a panoramic view of the Arenal Volcano. Arenal visitors can take advantage of the spacious gardens for walking and meditation as well as the opportunities to see the daily operations of a typical Costa Rican farm.

    Facilities

    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Massage Treatments
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Spa
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

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    Preferred Hotel
Day 5

Arenal

At present, the volcano's green area is located mainly on its eastern side; other small green segments can be found on the north and the south. During this gentle hike, you will be able to enjoy the most extraordinary view of the colossus, walking around its base. The hike begins on a trail close to the volcano, a path that will take you through the forest and the area destroyed by the 1969 eruption (now in regeneration process). The whole hike takes around 2.5 hours.

After the walk, participants can enjoy a healthy and relaxing soak at Ecotermales. This place guarantees your visit will be unforgettable from the moment you arrive. You will immerse yourself in the energy generated by the natural beauty of the surrounding rainforest and the natural volcanic thermal springs. Ecotermales has created 6 elegant areas, with pools of differing temperature (37 degree Celsius/99 degree Fahrenheit to 108 degree Fahrenheit /41 degree Celsius) and one fresh waterfall. These combine to create a natural spa of endless comfort.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 6

Arenal Volcano to Monteverde

This service, half tour/half transfer, is a scenic and fast way to go or come from La Fortuna to Monteverde. You will be picked up at your hotel at La Fortuna around 7:30am and take a 30mins drive to Arenal Lake. There you will board a very comfortable and safe pontoon boat for a 30 to 40min journey to Rio Chiquito, a little town on the other side of the lake.

Arenal Lake is the largest and most important lake in Costa Rica. It was man-made, in 1974, in order to provide hydroelectric energy for the country. It is the home of different kinds of resident and migratory birds. On clear days, the views of the volcano seen from the lake are spectacular.

Once at Río Chiquito, you will leave the boat and stretch your legs for a bit. Afterwards, you will ride a microbus for 1.5 hours to your hotel in Monteverde. During the rainy season, this last leg of the journey can take longer.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Trapp Family Lodge

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    Trapp Family Lodge



    The Trapp Family Lodge is built on a private reserve in Monteverde. The lodge is the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

    The Trapp Family Lodge is built on a private reserve in Monteverde. The lodge is the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Restaurant

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Day 7

Monteverde Reserve

Created in 1972, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the most famous in the world. It is one of the most important private reserves in Costa Rica, with a total of 3,500 hectares of land. In 2007, it was chosen as one Costa Rica's 7 Wonders.

It's geographic, topographic, and climatic conditions have allowed for the surprising biodiversity found within the reserve. In this forest we can find four ecological ''Live Zones'' that harbor different ecosystems for hundreds of species of mammals, birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, insects and arachnids; a variety of mosses, vines, other plants, and typical trees of the Cloud Forest.

Enjoy a four hour nature tour through the reserve where a local professional naturalist guide will show and give you explanations concerning all the different macro/micro flora and fauna. Visit the Golden Toad's unique habitat; see birds like the resplendent quetzal (the most beautiful bird of the Americas), the three-wattled Bell Bird, and the Black Faced Solitaire. Trees like Strangler Figs, Avocados, and Cecropias as well as epiphytes like Bromeliads, Orchids, and Mosses are common. A wide array of insects, mammals, and reptiles can also be spotted.

El Trapiche tour is a project run by a Costa Rican family and it consists in a 2 hour long guided visit around their property. It begins with a walk through the farm, giving you the chance to observe the different crops; also, you will cross a small area of forest where you can occasionally spot wildlife. You will get to see the farm's tilapia (a kind of fish) project, banana plantation, arracache, macadamia nuts, oranges, sugar cane, and coffee crops.

During the walk, your guide will show you the process involved in growing sugar cane and inform you about its natural history. They will also give you the chance to taste the sugar cane and its various derivatives. Following you will learn about the coffee production process, starting from the planting and continued with the crushing, peeling, and machine roasting.

Additionally, enjoy a quick oxcart trip (you have the option of walking as well), from the sugar cane plantation to the mill. Once at the mill, you will witness the extraction of the sugar cane's juice and learn the artisan's way of processing sugar cane and its different products. The tour continues with an exhibit and explanation of some traditional Costa Rican artefacts, such as a wood stove, the marimba (musical instrument), and the pylon. You will also see the manufacturing of the 'Saca de Guaro' (a liquor distilled with pure water).

The tour ends with an opportunity to eat some 'arracache' served with a drink (lemonade, coffee or aguadulce - hot drink made from sugarcane). You will be given a small 'tapa dulce' (sweet made from sugar cane) as a souvenir.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Monteverde Reserve to Tamarindo Beach

After breakfast, transfer to Tamarindo Beach, a super sun location on the North-Pacific coast about 4 hours drive from Arenal. Tamarindo has all the amenities of a Costa Rican beach town: surf, sand and sun, sun, sun. But it offers much more. It is the ideal place for honeymoons and weddings, couples, and families, and wonderfully suited to eco-adventures.

Tamarindo offers first class sport fishing, sailing, surfing, golf, ATV tours, turtle watching, diving, horseback riding, canopy tours, jungle boat rides, beauty spa, an art gallery and crafts and pottery stores. A multi-cultural community, Tamarindo boats several bakeries, an outdoor vegetable market and more than 40 restaurants. Whether you like to eat Vegetarian, 'Tipico' Costa Rican, Italian or Sea Food, it is all here.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort

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    Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort



    Tamarindo Diria Beach and Golf Resort is the only hotel located on the white sands of the world famous Tamarindo Beach. Spread out over 5 acres and featuring a large outdoor swimming pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Tamarindo Diria Beach and Golf Resort offers the …

    Tamarindo Diria Beach and Golf Resort is the only hotel located on the white sands of the world famous Tamarindo Beach. Spread out over 5 acres and featuring a large outdoor swimming pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Tamarindo Diria Beach and Golf Resort offers the best of Costa Rica's natural beauty. This large resort has 3 restaurants, a spa and a casino. Playa Conchal and Playa Flamingo are within a 25 minute drive of the hotel.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Children's Activities
    • Gift Shop
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

    Preferred Hotel
Day 9

Tamarindo Beach

Spend two full days at leisure in Tamarindo for optional activities such as fishing, diving, horseback riding, hiking or just relaxing on the beach.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Days
Day 10

Day at Leisure

Today is totally free and at leisure. You can take advantage of any optional activities available or simply relax.

Day 11

Tamarindo Beach to Liberia

You will be transferred to Liberia airport for your onward travels.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration0 Days

Other Information

DEPARTURES

Daily

PRICE INCLUDES

  • All accommodation based on level selected,
  • 3 Days/2 Nights Tortuguero Package car rental if this option chosen
  • All tours as listed
  • All transfers - private or shared - based on choice

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Self-Drive Option;
    • Full insurance on Car rental
    • GPS for Rental Car 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire

TB CAMINOTSAN0720SG: ECRP 2
9 Nov 2020
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