During this holiday you travel from one highlight to the other. You stay in beautiful places, both on the coast and in the varied interior of Costa Rica. Discover the Arenal and Rincon de la Vieja volcanoes, with bubbling mud pools and natural hot springs. In addition, explore the jungle around Tortuguero and spot monkeys, crocodiles, toucans and other beautiful bird species. Last but not least, go and try a canopy tour in Monteverde and experience the rainforest while ziplining from one treetop to another.
A journey around Costa Rica is not complete without a visit to one of the beautiful, tropical beaches of the country. During this trip, you can relax for a few days on the beach of Samara, located in the northeast of Costa Rica. Snorkelling fans can explore the beautiful underwater world of this area. Furthermore, you will visit the Manuel Antonio National Park. This area is known for its many sloths and monkeys and there are beautiful beaches near the park. During this three-week journey, you’ll be amazed by Costa Rica’s vibrant nature and wildlife.
San José is the capital of Costa Rica and also the starting point of tour around this beautiful country.
The centre of the city is a mix of busy shopping streets, market stalls selling all kinds of exotic fruit, small restaurants where you can taste the local “gallo pinto” and beautiful, historical sights such as the Teatro Nacional.
If you want to see highlights of the city, a guided tour is recommended. There are free options, check out the video for a nice impression.
In the past years, San José worked hard to become a more attractive travel destination. Now, neighbourhoods like Barrio Escalante are full of nice bars and restaurants. Here you can order typical Costa Rican fare, but also Indian and Italian food, vegan dishes or fusion. It is of course optional, this itinerary can be adapted to your needs and one night San Jose or near the airport can also be chosen.
Looking for other great insider tips? Read Renee’s blog about the hip neighborhoods of San José.
Tortuguero has become one of Costa Rica’s best-known nature reserves, but can only be reached by boat. Therefore, you experience the jungle from the water which makes your visit extra special.
You’ll stay in a beautiful lodge and will go on a guided tour in the reserve. Chances are you will see sloths, toucans, monkeys, crocodiles, caimans and turtles.
In the past, turtle poaching was the main source of income for the inhabitants of the village of the same name Tortuguero. Now the turtles are well protected and people largely live off tourism.
Yet the village has remained small and exudes a relaxed, Caribbean atmosphere.
If you want to see more? Then go on a so-called wake-up tour in the canals of Tortuguero to spot the animals in the early morning in the jungle.
Today you will travel by boat and bus from Tortuguero to the town of Guapiles. You will receive your rental car here and after all the paperwork is finalized, you’re off to the Caribbean coast.
Playa Cocles is a small coastal town, popular with surfers and backpackers. The region exudes a relaxed Afro-Caribbean atmosphere with its brightly coloured houses. You yourself stay in a beautiful wooden bungalow near the sea, but there’s also a beautiful swimming pool at the hotel.
You can easily explore the area by bike or by car. A visit to Cahuita National Park is highly recommended. This nature reserve offers beautiful jungle, but you can also go snorkeling and explore the impressive underwater world. With a bit of luck you can also see dolphins! In the park you can spot monkeys, birds, raccoons, iguanas and sloths.
In the nearby town of Puerto Viejo there’s plenty of nice restaurants and bars to enjoy a bit of the Caribbean nightlife.
Your next destination is Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, originally a small harbor along the Sarapiqui river, now an adventurous travel destination.
You hotel is a beautiful hacienda and the charming Belgian owner is a great host. He used his anthropological background to create a great cacao tour during which you’ll learn about the history of the plants, use of cacao and much more. In the end you can taste the cocoa drink that Christopher Columbus was presented here when he discovered the country.
Do you like action and adventure? Then go rafting on the Sarapiqui River or Rio Pacuare. You can also explore the region on horseback or by mountainbike.
Besides, a visit to Frog’s Heaven, is a must. The passionate owner Jose tells you all about frogs, birds and other animals that live on his land and will help you to take the best pictures.
A lot of pineapple is produced in the region. Therefore a visit to an organic pineapple farm is also highly recommended.
In the past years, La Fortuna, a village at the foot of the famous Arenal volcano, has developed into an important tourist destination.
And for good reason, there are many things to do in the vicinity of the volcano and Lake Arenal. If you are an active traveller, you can go mountain biking, horse riding, wake boarding or even bungee jumping!
We recommend the Volcano Valley Hike, a beautiful guided day hike that takes you through the jungle and along the Arenal volcano. At the end of the day, you’ll relax in natural hotsprings at the foot of the volcano.
Another nice day trip is a visit to the wetlands of the Caño Negro National Park, a must for bird lovers! Some travelers choose to make a day visit to the beautiful Rio Celeste from La Fortuna, but it is also a nice option to stay overnight nearby.
Sámara is a charming coastal town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is located in the northern province of Guanacaste. Enjoy the sun and the sea in Sámara itself or drive on the beautiful bay Playa Carillo.
When you’re done relaxing and looking for more action, you might want to take surf lessons or join a dolphin and whale watching tour.
If the time is right and you are lucky, you might see large groups of turtles nesting in Playa Ostional (a 1,5 hour drive from your hotel).
In the evening, there are many nice restaurants and bars in the town centre to have dinner. Your hotel is small and comfortable and located just outside the center of the village. When you’re lucky, monkeys will wake you up for breakfast in the morning!
Monteverde became the home of a group of American Quakers in the 1950’s. Therefore the village developed into a rather special community. Its inhabitants respect nature and have been strong advocates of environmental protection and Monteverde is on its way to become a fully sustainable community.
The natural environment with its cloud forest and special fauna (be sure to look for the quetzal here, a now endangered specie) invites you to adventure.
Discover the jungle from above, by doing a zipline tour or walk via hanging bridges from treetop to treetop.
Monteverde offers great food and drink. There’s excellent coffee and local restaurants like Stella’s Bakery and La Cuchara de Abuela come highly recommended.
Manuel Antonio is a small, but beautiful national park. Its location near the beach invites you to explore the jungle first and afterwards relax on the beach, enjoying great views of the ocean. Be aware that iguanas and monkeys can keep you company on the beach and Manuel Antonio is famous for the many sloths you can spot here.
Manuel Antonio, both the park and the village with the same name, has become increasingly popular in recent years. It has grown into a major travel destination and now offers a wide variety of hotels, bars and restaurants.
From Manuel Antonio it is possible to book different tours. For instance a relaxed sailing trip along the coast. Good chance you will be accompanied by dolphins. Other options in the region are rafting, horseback riding or quad biking.
Do you prefer to stay in a quieter place? Then Playa Matapalo might suit you better! From here you can easily make a day tour to Manuel Antonio.
Before you fly back home, you’ll spend your last night in a charming little hotel near the airport in Alajuela.
Your holiday in Costa Rica is coming to an end. Take a last dive in the pool or spot hummingbirds butterflies before you step on the plane.
If your flight only leaves in the late afternoon or evening, you may want to visit the Poás or Irazu volcanoes.
Tortuguero was one of the nicest destinations of our holiday. You see a lot of beautiful animals there. Macaws flying over your pool, turtles, sloths, monkeys and many more beautiful birds. Our guide Carlos did a great job. The food was also very good.
We very much liked our stay in Samara, a nice village by the sea. Here we have a few quiet days: relaxing on the beach, great swimming and delicious food for dinner in the evenings.
The zipline in Monteverde was fantastic!! To us it was one of the highlights of our holiday. In addition we book a nocturnal jungle walk with a great guide, that was great too!
Our hotel in Manuel Antonio was great, especially the location, within walking distance of a beautiful, quiet beach. Our hotel staff was very friendly and we really relaxed to the max here!