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Classic Costa Rica tour

12 days from $3,995pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

    Places visited:

  • San Jose
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Monteverde Cloudforest
  • Playa Potrero
  • Take a boat trip among the lush network of canals in Tortuguero National Park.

  • Explore Arenal Volcano, an activity hub home to hanging bridges, lake kayaking and hot springs.

  • Visit the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, a mystical temporal forest hiding a myriad of birdlife.

  • Relax on one of Costa Rica's pristine beaches.

Michael, an Audley Travel specialist

What our specialists say...

On this trip you’ll discover the key highlights of Costa Rica before spending a few days relaxing along the coast. Your journey will begin by flying to the country's capital, San Jose, for a night, before moving on to Tortuguero National Park, skimming along its many canals by motorboat to spot wildlife in the jungle. You’ll then have a few days to explore the area around the country's most famous volcano, Arenal, before moving on to experience the wonders of the Costa Rican cloudforest at Monteverde. Finally, you’ll have a couple of days to unwind on a Papagayo Gulf beach.

We recommend this trip for:

  • San Jose
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Monteverde Cloudforest
  • Playa Potrero

Itinerary idea in detail

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Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

Day 1 San Jose

San Jose

On arrival in Costa Rica's capital city, San Jose, 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.

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Day 2 Tortuguero National Park

San Jose , Tortuguero National Park

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 a morning but the route is a scenic one, passing through primary forest. The roads eventually peter out: you'll take a shared motorised 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.

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Day 3 Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park

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

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Day 4 Arenal Volcano

Tortuguero National Park , Arenal Volcano

Today you travel from Tortuguero to Arenal by shared boat and coach transfer. After a stop for lunch in Guápiles, you'll take a three hour private transfer to the Arenal Volcano region, arriving mid-afternoon. Spend the rest of the day relaxing at your hotel: bathe in the hot springs in the hotel's grounds, or take a swim in the pool.

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Day 5 Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

This morning visit the Arenal Hanging bridges with your private guide. On this canopy walkway tour through the rainforest, your guide will point out its distinctive flora and birdlife. In the afternoon, explore Arenal Volcano National Park as part of a small group tour, visiting a lava wall. Your guide will explain about the history of this active volcano. Afterwards, visit a hot springs complex for an evening bathe. A traditional dinner of casado (meat, rice and beans) is included.

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Day 6 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 Arenal lake, 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.

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Day 7 Monteverde Cloudforest

Arenal Volcano , Monteverde Cloudforest

This morning, enjoy some great views of Arenal Lake as you travel four hours to the Monteverde Cloudforest by private transfer and with an accompanying private guide. En route, enjoy views of mountains and cloudforest, but beware that the road is a little bumpy at times. After arriving at your Swiss-style hotel in the cloudforest region, you'll have the rest of the afternoon to relax by the pool or perhaps explore one of the gentle trails in the hotel grounds.

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Day 8 Monteverde Cloudforest

Monteverde Cloudforest

This morning, expect an early morning wake-up call to head out on a nature walk through the cloudforest with your own specialist guide. You'll learn about this biodiverse environment and its flora, from orchids and bromeliads to trees draped in mosses and ferns. In the afternoon, take a 15 minute shared minibus transfer to the Selvatura complex, a cloudforest conservation project. Lunch is included at the on-site restaurant, and you can take an (unguided) visit to the complex's butterfly and hummingbird gardens. .

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Day 9 Playa Potrero

Monteverde Cloudforest , Playa Potrero

Today, experience the dramatic descent from the cool cloudforest highlands towards the warmer Pacific coast in your private transfer. You'll travel along an initially bumpy road before picking up the Pan American Highway to your beach hotel on the Northern Pacific Coast. The journey takes around three and a half hours. Spend the rest of the day relaxing at your hotel or on the beach.

Accommodation

Day 10 Playa Potrero

Playa Potrero

A day at lesure 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.

Accommodation

Day 11 Playa Potrero

Playa Potrero

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

Accommodation

Day 12 Return home

Playa Potrero

Today, you'll take a private transfer for the 90 minute journey to Liberia airport for your onward flight.

Michael, an Audley Travel specialist
Audley Travel specialist Harry

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.

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When to go

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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
 
 
 
Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves
 
 
 
Monteverde Cloud Forest
 
 
 
Playa Potrero
 
 
 

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