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Costa Rica self-drive family adventure

16 days from £3,370pp

What is tailor made? Customised itinerary | Every trip is unique | Flexible accommodation options | Designed to your budget

Itinerary highlights

  • Explore Tortuguero National Park, an ecological treasure trove consisting of a maze of canals and rivers teaming with all sorts of wildlife.

  • Drive through some of Costa Rica’s most spectacular landscapes.

  • Explore Arenal Volcano, an activity hub that's home to hanging bridges, rainforest walks and lake kayaking.

  • Spend a couple of days in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui for great white-water rafting.

  • Relax in the thermal river of Rio Perdido.

  • Enjoy time on the beach, or take a surf lesson instead.

Price includes

Scheduled international flights
Fully insured vehicle hire
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  • San José & Central Valley
  • Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast
  • Guapiles
  • Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Rio Perdido
  • Playa Potrero

Itinerary idea in detail

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

Day 1 San José & Central Valley

International outbound flight , San José & Central Valley

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to San José & Central Valley. On arrival in Costa Rica's capital city, San José, you're met at the airport and driven to your hotel by private transfer with an English-speaking guide accompanying you. Relax after your flight in preparation for your early start tomorrow.

Day 2 Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast

San José & Central Valley , Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast

Your shared coach transfer will pick you up between 6am and 7am for the journey to Tortuguero National Park, stopping for a hearty breakfast on the way. The journey takes all morning but the route is a scenic one, passing through primary forest. The roads eventually peter out: you'll take a shared motor-driven canoe transfer to your lodge in time for lunch. In the afternoon you might go on a guided jungle hike as part of a small group, or take a guided visit to tiny Tortuguero Village.

Day 3 Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast

Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast

Enjoy a second day of guided small-group trips, exploring the landscape of Tortuguero. Today you might take a boat trip through the flooded forest connected by a series of waterways. Your guide will help you spot wildlife, such as caimans, tropical water birds, and howler and capuchin monkeys. Look out for iguanas sitting on tree branches and macaws winging their way over your head.

Day 4 Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast

Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast

Enjoy a free day in your Tortuguero lodge to relax by the pool, explore the gardens or undertake optional additional tours of the canals.

Day 5 Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast , Guapiles , Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Today you'll travel to Guapiles with your group. After a spot of lunch your guide will assist you with your rental car collection in Guapiles. After completing formalities you can hit the road and drive to Sarapiqui, a drive of around one hour.

Day 6 Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Enjoy an adrenaline-filled morning of rafting along the Rio Sarapiqui. In the afternoon you'll have some free time to perhaps undertake a chocolate or coffee tour or hike some of the nearby nature trails.

Day 7 Arenal Volcano

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui , Arenal Volcano

Today you'll drive from Sarapiqui to the highlands and Arenal Volcano.

Day 8 Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Enjoy one of Costa Rica's most thrilling zip-line and canopy tours. Afternoon at leisure to further explore the area.

Day 9 Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

A day at leisure to relax or spend as you wish. Relax by the hotel pool and (if it's a clear day), take in the views of Arenal's volcanic cone. If you're looking for something more energetic, we suggest going kayaking on Lake Arenal, zip-lining or white-water rafting. Alternatively, visit Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, take a trip to the Rio Celeste waterfalls, or hike one of the national park's trails.

Day 10 Rio Perdido

Arenal Volcano , Rio Perdido

Leaving Arenal today you'll head to the secluded dry forest area around Rio Perdido in Guanacaste province. You have the option of taking the scenic route around Lake Arenal or driving via Tenorio National Park and visiting the Río Celeste waterfall.


Day 11 Rio Perdido

Rio Perdido

Free time in Rio Perdido to relax in Costa Rica's only thermal river. Alternatively, zip-line through the Rio Blanco canyon, try river tubing or mountain bike around the extensive trail network.


Day 12 Playa Potrero

Rio Perdido , Playa Potrero

Descend from the tropical dry forest to the Guanacaste plains and your Pacific beach resort. A drive of around 90 minutes.


Day 13 Playa Potrero

Playa Potrero

A day at leisure on the beach. This hotel, situated right on the beachfront, is ideal for just kicking back and relaxing. Stroll along the beach to watch the sunset, relax by the swimming pool, or swim in the sea — the waters are calm here.


Day 14 Playa Potrero

Playa Potrero

Another day relaxing in your hotel. You might wish to visit the spa.


Day 15 International return flight

Playa Potrero , International return flight

Today you'll drive back to San José in time for you international flight home. The drive will take around four and a half hours.

Day 16 International return flight

International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Audley Travel Specialist Tessa
Audley Travel specialist Jack

Contact a 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. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

Watch our tailor-made process ›

When to go

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
San José & Central Valley
Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast
Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
Arenal Volcano
Playa Potrero

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