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Costa Rica self-drive family adventure

16 days from £3,370pp

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Tour 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
  • 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, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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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
 
Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast
 
Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
 
Arenal Volcano
 
Playa Potrero
 

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