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Costa Rica self-drive tour

13 days from £3,800pp

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Tour highlights

  • Explore the lesser visited Tenorio Volcano, abundant in beautiful rivers, hot springs, lakes and waterfalls.

  • Hike through Tenorio National Park visiting Rio Celeste, one of Costa Rica’s hidden gems.

  • Wander cloudforest canopy walkways in search of a variety of birdlife.

  • Enjoy the scenic drive from the tropical forest area of Tenorio to the beautiful coastlines of Dominical and Uvita.

  • Explore the Osa Peninsula, home to the highest concentration of wildlife in Costa Rica.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international and domestic flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

With international flights from a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to San José & Central Valley. On arrival in Costa Rica's capital city you'll be met at the airport and driven to your hotel by private transfer with an English-speaking guide who will accompany you.

  • This morning your hire car will be delivered to you at your hotel before you drive for around three-and-a-half hours to Tenorio, an area rich in flora and fauna and abundant in beautiful rivers, hot springs, lakes and waterfalls. After settling into your accommodation, spend the rest of the day exploring.

  • Today you'll hike through Tenorio National Park, up to Rio Celeste, one of Costa Rica's hidden gems and most striking sights.

  • Today you will drive south from the lodge to the Pan American Highway before turning off and ascending up into the mountains to Santa Elena and the cloudforests of Monteverde. The road up to Santa Elena from the highway is unsealed so it is a bumpy ride, but very scenic. The drive from Tenorio is approximately four-and-a-half hours.

  • Your private hanging bridges tour offers a detailed and unique perspective on the flora and fauna of the tropical primary forest through a series of trails and bridges with a specialist local guide.

  • Today's journey begins with a dramatic descent from the cool, cloudforest highlands toward the warmer Pacific coast. The initial road is a little bumpy but the stunning views across to the Pacific coast and the Nicoya Peninsula make up for this. This is a long day of driving (approximately four-and-a-half hours) with some stops along the way, so we recommend setting off early to give you plenty of time. The lengthy journey is worth it for the beautiful views of the Central Pacific Coast along the way. The rest of the day is at leisure.

  • Today you will embark on a three-hour guided hike through the Marino Ballena National Park, an area rich in wildlife, where you may be lucky enough to see howler, capuchin and squirrel monkeys, bats, raccoons, and a variety of marine and forest birds. Within the park there are several habitats including coral reef, rainforest and beach, making it one of the most biologically diverse areas in Costa Rica. The tour will begin at the entrance of the Marino Ballena National Park, where you will walk along Playa Uvita Beach and then follow the trail near to Punta Uvita Tombolo, where rock reef stretches out forming the shape of a whale's tail. Your guide will show you the unique features of the park and explain the importance of this unique ecosystem.

  • Enjoy a day at leisure around Dominical. Dominical has a laid-back village atmosphere and the town has some souvenir stores and simple restaurants where you can sample local and international food. Playa Dominical is a hot spot for surfers and is an impressive stretch of deserted black sand framed by the Talamanca Mountains. Hacienda Baru is a protected coastal reserve which can easily be visited, with well-maintained forest trails, a canopy tour and another wild but beautiful beach.

  • Continue driving south to Puerto Jimenez, the gateway to Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, which will take just over two hours. Here you'll drop your car off at the airport before being met by your hotel representative who will organise the shared transfer to your lodge. It will take at least 45 minutes and can take over an hour depending on road conditions and wildlife spotting opportunities along the way. On arrival, you will meet the guides at the hotel, and they will talk you through the options for activities during your stay and when might be best to do certain things, dependent on the weather.

  • A day at leisure. To make the most of your time in the wildlife-rich Osa Peninsula, we recommend spending as much time as possible on the forest trails with your lodge's specialist naturalist guides. They will help you to spot toucans, macaws, squirrel monkeys and the many local species of butterfly. Enthusiastic birders with a head for heights can take a zip-line to a special birdwatching platform, allowing you to immerse yourself in the canopy.

  • Another day at leisure in the Osa Peninsula. In addition to wildlife walks, we can also help you arrange horse riding, surfing lessons and sea kayaking, or even waterfall rappelling for the more adventurous. Dolphin watching, tree climbing and yoga sessions are also on offer.

  • Take a shared 4x4 transfer back to Puerto Jimenez where you'll catch a domestic flight back to San José, in time for your international flight home.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

What our clients say about us

Audley Travel specialist Chris

Contact a Costa Rica specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Costa Rica will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
San José & Central Valley
Tenorio Volcano
Monteverde Cloud Forest

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