Costa Rica tour from the UK

Classic Costa Rica

The Cloud Forest to the Caribbean

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Our Classic Costa Rica Tour

11 days enjoying Costa Rica from £1595pp

This great 11-day trip will introduce to everything that makes Costa Rica such a wonderful holiday destination. From Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast, to the cloud forests of Monteverde and the Arenal volcano, you'll find a country packed with adventure, amazing wildlife, and tropical beauty.

Outline Itinerary

  • Day One: Arrival in San Jose
  • Day Two: On to Tortuguero
  • Day Three: Tour of Tortuguero NP
  • Day Four: Travel to Arenal
  • Day Five: Waterfalls and Hot Springs
  • Day Six: Hanging Bridges Park
  • Day Seven: On to Monteverde
  • Day Eight: Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Day Nine: Canopy Walkway
  • Day Ten: Back to San Jose
  • Day Eleven: Overnight flight back to the UK

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Detailed Itinerary

Day One – Arrival in San Jose

Your Costa Rica tour begins today, as you touch down in one of the world’s most beautiful and peaceful countries, Costa Rica! Most international flights arrive in the evening, and we’ll take you straight to your hotel so you can freshen up and head out for dinner.

Day Two - On to Tortuguero

It’s an early start this morning, as we pick you up from your hotel and head to the north-eastern coast of the country, to the national park surrounding Tortuguero. Most of Costa Rica is covered with dense jungle, and you’ll begin to see how wild and tropical the scenery is here, as we leave the city behind and drive through the cloud forests of the Braulio Carrillo National Park. We’ll stop en-route for a traditional breakfast, before continuing on through the banana plantations, Costa Rica’s main industry. We’ll arrive at the Caño Blanco pier just before lunch, and board a small boat which will take us along the canals and through the rainforest. Upon arrival at your hotel, we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch and a refreshing cocktail to help you get into the holiday spirit! This afternoon we’ll take another boat ride to the friendly and colourful town of Tortuguero, on the banks of the river. This area is a real haven for a variety a turtle species, which you may have already spotted during your journey along the jungle canals, so we’ll visit the turtle conservation centre to learn a little more about these fascinating creatures. Tortuguero hosts the largest green turtle rookery in the Western Hemisphere and is also an important nesting site for populations of leatherback and hawksbill turtles. The Costa Rican legislature declared Tortuguero National Park in 1975 to protect the nesting turtles, the beach and the adjacent terrestrial habitats. You’ll return to your hotel in time for dinner this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)

Day Three - Tour of Tortuguero National Park

After breakfast this morning we’ll board our open boat again for some more time on the canals of the national park. The wide canals allow close wildlife viewing, and silent approaches on the water permit unusually close contact with the fauna. River otters, caimans, and howler, spider, and white-faced monkeys are easily sighted, as are birds such as oropendolas, toucans, and jacamars and other waterfowl. After lunch in a local restaurant we’ll take to the canals again for some more time in the national park. (B/L/D)

Day Four - Travel to Arenal

After breakfast this morning we’ll leave the jungle behind as we board the boat to take us Caño Blanco, so we can continue by land to the active volcano of Arenal. Your hotel for the next few days is at the base of the volcano, close to La Fortuna, so you’re perfectly placed to explore the area. (B/L)

Day Five – Waterfalls and Hot Springs

You’ll have some free time today to relax and enjoy the hotel, before we pick you up and take you into the national park to get a little closer to the volcano. Rising up at over 1,600 metres high, Arenal is a major part of the landscape here in Costa Rica, and has been active since the 1960s. We will follow a trail through the forest for approximately 500 metres which leads up to a 70 metre-high waterfall. We will then continue on to the lovely Baldi Hot Springs for a rejuvenating evening. Here, you can spend a few hours soaking in one of the 25 thermal pools, surrounded by tropical trees and waterfalls. We will be having dinner here too, so you can enjoy a sunset dip as steam rises from the glowing pools, which are lit up on a night. (B/D)

  • There are some fantastic hiking trails around Arenal, and one of our favourite takes you to the stunningly beautiful Rio Celeste and waterfall. It’s a fairly challenging 7km hike, but you are rewarded with an ice-cold dip in the clear turquoise waters at the end, plus, if you’re lucky you might meet a monkey or two along the way!

Day Six - Hanging Bridges Park

Today you will have some more free time at your hotel, and this afternoon we will visit the Hanging Bridges Park, which is located in the corridor followed by birds migrating between North and South America. The trails and bridges of this project will bring the visitor as close as any person could ever imagine observing the birds, the flowers and the lush vegetation of the primary rainforest. The park covers 250 hectares, and is made of paths and bridges built to maintain the utmost harmony between man-made structures and nature. The area has impressive views to Arenal Volcano and to the lake that feeds the largest hydroelectric plant in Costa Rica. While walking along the trails, the fascinating world of the tropical forest will open to you. Along these three kilometres of trails, visitors will be immersed in the diverse fauna and flora of this rainforest admiring colourful birds and tropical plant species. More than 50 species of birds can be count at this site that offers one of the most productive bird watching walks of the region. (B)

  • There are plenty of alternative tours on offer around Arenal, especially for the adventurous! So why not explore the area by quad, horseback, raft, kayak, zip-wire, boat, or bike? Just ask us for more information!

Day Seven - On to Monteverde

We’ll pick you up after breakfast this morning and begin the short drive to the dam, where we’ll board a comfortable pontoon boat in order to cross Arenal Lake to Río Chiquita. The lake was manmade in 1974 to provide hydroelectric power for the country, but it has become a home for many different species of resident and migratory birds, as well as mammals such as monkeys and sloths. In addition, on a clear day there are fantastic views of the Volcano. From Río Chiquito we’ll continue on to your lodge in Monteverde. (B)

Day Eight - Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, having 4% of all the known species of plants and animals in only 0.04% the earth's surface! Due to its altitudinal variation and its exposure climatic factors that vary between the Pacific and Caribbean slopes, Monteverde is perhaps one of the richest regions in the country, where there are over 3,000 known species. One of the main attractions of Monteverde Reserve is its 13-kilometre network of trails (of course we won’t be covering them all today!). There are over 500 bird species here, including the majestic quetzal and the three-wattle bellbird, 120 species of reptiles and amphibians and more than 3,000 plants, among them the highest diversity of orchids in the world. Our naturalist guide will be on hand to point out the many smaller species we might otherwise miss, so don’t forget to bring your camera! (B)

  • Many of Costa Rica’s most impressive (and dangerous!) species are nocturnal, so if you would like to add-on a night tour in the hidden valley, a privately owned protected forest, just let us know!

Day Nine - Selvatura Canopy Walk

Selvatura Park is a conservation project within the cloud forest, featuring zip lines and treetop walkways on hanging bridges, as well as a beautiful butterfly and hummingbird garden. Today’s tour will begin with a short safety briefing, before we are kitted-out for a thrilling zip-line ride through the forest canopy. It’s an incredible and exhilarating experience, and a unique way to explore the forest. We’ll then have a guided treetop walk along the 2 miles of suspended trails and bridges, before returning to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. (B)

  • Perhaps you’d like to see a different side of Costa Rica today? The country is a big exporter of coffee, and a tour of a coffee plantation, to learn about every stage of the production process, makes for an interesting morning.

Day Ten - Back to San Jose

After some free time this morning for one last nature walk, we’ll pick you up and take you back to your hotel in San Jose for one final night here in Costa Rica. (B)

Day Eleven - Last Day of your Costa Rica Tour

Unfortunately, today marks the end of your adventure in Costa Rica! We’ll pick you up this afternoon and make sure your trip ends perfectly by getting you to the airport in plenty of time for your international departure. (B)

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What's Included?

Our standard price for this Costa Rica tour is £1595 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels and lodge.

That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides and entrance fees, plus all the specified meals.

We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2020.

International flights

So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.

We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.

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