|Itinerary at a Glance
Costa Rica Pura Vida
|2||San José & Tortuguero|
|4||Tortuguero & Arenal|
|6||Arenal & Monteverde|
|8||Monteverde & San José|
|Manuel Antonio Extension|
|8||Monteverde & Manuel Antonio|
|11||Manuel Antonio & San José|
|Departures||July – October 2013|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Miami (MIA), Washington Dulles (IAD), Philadelphia (PHL), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Atlanta (ATL), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), Logan (BOS); other gateways on request|
|Highlights||San Jose, Tortuguero, Montverde. Arenal Volcano, Tobacon Hot Springs, & Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Optional Extension to Manuel Antonio.|
|Travel Style||This leisurely-paced, independent tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
Costa Rica is truly one of Central America's jewels. In this small tropical country, you'll find a stunning collection of landscapes and ecosystems, including tropical rainforests and jungles, cloud forests, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, and coasts on both the Caribbean and Pacific. It's also home to an amazing array of plant and animal species, containing 5% of the planet's total biodiversity. You'll fall in love with the Costa Rican people, known as "Ticos," who are so cheerful and easy-going that a recent Gallup poll named Costa Rica as one of the happiest places on earth.
Experience the "pura vida" (pure life) of Costa Rica on this 9-day tour, designed for the independent traveler, but without worrying about getting from one place to another. Start in the capital city of San José, a bustling metropolis surrounded by mountains. Travel to Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast, where you'll explore the lush rainforest by boat on a series of canals and see the secluded beaches where endangered turtles nest. Head north to Arenal to see one of the world's most active volcanoes, then explore the cloud forests of Monteverde. Want even more? Take advantage of a 3-night extension to lovely Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast, where you can watch Capuchin monkeys skip across the tropical beaches and iguanas sunning themselves. All for a price that is almost as stunning as the country itself!
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All prices, fees and deposits are per person, subject to change at any time, and not guaranteed until we receive your final payment.
|Departures & Prices*|
|Wed||May 15||2013||Thu||May 23||2013||$1479||Departed|
|Wed||May 29||2013||Thu||Jun 6||2013||$1479||Closed|
|Wed||Jun 12||2013||Thu||Jun 20||2013||$1479||Closed|
|Wed||Jun 26||2013||Thu||Jul 4||2013||$1479||Closed|
|Wed||Jul 10||2013||Thu||Jul 18||2013||$1499||Closed|
|Wed||Jul 24||2013||Thu||Aug 1||2013||$1499||Available|
|Wed||Aug 7||2013||Thu||Aug 15||2013||$1499||Available|
|Wed||Aug 21||2013||Thu||Aug 29||2013||$1499||Available|
|Wed||Sep 4||2013||Thu||Sep 12||2013||$1499||Available|
|Wed||Sep 18||2013||Thu||Sep 26||2013||$1499||Available|
|Wed||Oct 2||2013||Thu||Oct 10||2013||$1499||Available|
|Wed||Oct 16||2013||Thu||Oct 24||2013||$1499||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.
|Separately Paid Taxes|
|Costa Rica Departure Tax1 (paid separately)||+$29|
1. To be paid locally prior to departure
|Costa Rica Pura Vida|
|Manuel Antonio Post-Tour Extension1|
|Manuel Antonio Extension||+$459|
1. Subject to availability. The Manuel Antonio extension requires that your flights be confirmed separately by the airlines. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm your extension flights with the airline, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of the flights. This extension also requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
|Washington Dulles (IAD)||+$145|
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||+$155|
|Chicago O'Hare (ORD)||+$200|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||+$300|
|Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)||+$315|
|San Francisco (SFO)||+$375|
Departure airport prices subject to availability and may cost more based on flight availability at the time of booking.
Coming from somewhere else? Before you book, ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities. Additional charges for flights from other cities are due within 24 hours of your booking.
To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, check or money order. Your final payment is due 75 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.
Ticketing: Airline tickets for this tour are usually issued within 24 hours of your booking, and once issued, cannot be changed, refunded or transferred. To issue tickets, we must receive photocopies of the signature and picture pages of your passport(s) within 24 hours of your booking, or your reservation may be subject to a higher airfare or cancellation.
Day 1: USA/San José. Your exciting trip to Costa Rica begins today as you depart for San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Upon arrival, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. San José is nestled in a green valley, surrounded by picturesque mountains. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Corobici.
Day 2: San José & Tortuguero. Depart San José very early this morning for the Caribbean coastal area and Tortuguero. The trip takes you up and over the Continental Divide between the Pacific and Caribbean watersheds and through the spectacular Braulio Carrillo National Park. You will see changes in the landscapes and vegetation as you approach the lowlands, arriving at El Ceibo (about 2 hours). Enjoy a typical Costa Rican breakfast, then continue your drive through villages and plantations of pineapples and bananas to the dock.
The "roads" in Tortuguero are a system of rivers and canals, accessible only by boat. Continue via motor launch through the canals parallel to the coast to reach your eco-lodge, located on the main canal (about 1.5 hours). Check into your rooms and have some time to relax in the peaceful surroundings of the rainforest.
After a buffet lunch, head out across the canal to the village of Tortuguero, where you'll enjoy a guided walk through the village and along the beach. Tortuguero ('land of turtles') takes its name from several varieties of endangered turtles which come ashore every year on these beaches to lay their eggs in nests in the sand. If you like, you can visit the turtle museum. Buffet dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant. (The nesting season for giant turtles is from July to September, sightings of any wildlife are not guaranteed.) Accommodations: Pachira Lodge. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 3: Tortuguero. You'll receive an early morning wake-up call. After some coffee and crackers, depart on small boats for a tour through the many secondary canals of Tortuguero National Park. You will have a close-up view of rainforest vegetation and wildlife. The area is home to Capuchin, Howler and Spider Monkeys and many species of birds. You may even see a crocodile basking in the sun. Return to the lodge for breakfast.
Later this morning, your guide will take you on a walking tour of the rainforest. After lunch, the afternoon is yours to relax by the pool or the decks along the waterfront. There are also optional activities such as fishing, kayaking or even a canopy zip-line. Buffet dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: Tortuguero & Arenal. After breakfast, depart via motor-launch to the main dock. Board your coach for the drive though the villages and plantations to El Ceibo for lunch. Your air-conditioned mini-van will be waiting to drive you to Arenal and your hotel located near the town of La Fortuna, on the road that leads to the foot of the volcano (about 2.5 hours).
Arenal's cone has two peaks which rise to 5360 feet. After being inactive for 500 years, the volcano erupted in 1968, and it has since become one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You may see the smoke rising from the cone, or on a rare occasion there is the possibility of lava flows, which are particularly impressive at night. The volcano has also created natural hot springs in the area. Your hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens, where you can relax by the pool or enjoy the spa. (Volcanic activity is a natural process and sightings of smoke and/or lava are not guaranteed.) Accommodations: Mountain Paradise Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Arenal. Enjoy the day at leisure to relax at your hotel and enjoy the view or take advantage of some optional tours. You can take a short hike to the foothills of the volcano in the Arenal Volcano National Park. Also available are some optional tours which allow you to see the forest up close: horseback riding to La Fortuna Waterfall; a walk on the hanging bridges suspended in the treetops; a canopy tour complete with zip lines; plus kayaking on the Arenal Lake and more.
In the evening, take advantage of an optional visit to the Tabacón Hot Springs, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim and dinner. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Arenal & Monteverde. This morning, transfer via air-conditioned mini-van to Monteverde, driving around Lake Arenal (about 3 hours).
The Monteverde Reserve is covered with dense and humid foliage on the continental divide between the Caribbean and Pacific watersheds. The Reserve is home to over 300 species of birds and mammals as well as many varieties of orchids.
In the early 1950s, the area of Santa Elena and Monteverde (Green Mountain) was settled by Quakers from the USA, in pursuit of a peaceful lifestyle. Many of the settlers bought farms and raised dairy cows. Your hotel is located on these former farms and is still owned by the same family. Accommodations: Fonda Vela on 2012 departures, El Establo Hotel on 2013 departures. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Monteverde. Spend the day relaxing or enjoy optional tours which offer other activities in the area. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which is part of the growing network of protected areas in Costa Rica. This Reserve attracts bird watchers from around the world. You can also visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest, with beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano. You can tour the suspension bridges, spanning mountaintop to mountaintop, which allow you the walk through the top of the canopy of the cloud forest. You can also do a canopy tour complete with zip lines, visit the hummingbird gardens or ride horses. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Monteverde & San José. In the morning, transfer via mini-van back to San José (about 4 hours). Spend the afternoon at leisure at your hotel, or explore the city and do some last-minute shopping. We recommend a stop at El Pueblo, an assortment of more than 50 bars, clubs, and shops, plus a visit to the beautiful National Theater and Edificio Correos buildings, two of San José's landmarks. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Corobici. Breakfast provided.
Or, take advantage of your already included airfare and continue for a 3 night extension in Manuel Antonio, on the Pacific coast.
Day 9: San José/USA. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Breakfast provided.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare and spend three more relaxing days in Costa Rica in the lush coastal area of Manuel Antonio, indulging yourself at a luxurious resort and spa.Parador Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 9 & 10: Manuel Antonio. Enjoy two full days at leisure at your hotel, whose décor is inspired by the comfort of historic Spanish paradors. Relax by the pool, take in a spa treatment or play miniature golf. Descend a winding staircase to the tropical beach. Or take a walk through the national park, where you will almost certainly see frolicking capuchin monkeys or even a slow-moving sloth. Also available are some optional tours which allow you to participate in other activities including kayaking, snorkling, and horseback riding. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Manuel Antonio & San José. This morning, transfer via mini-van to San José (about 3 hours). Spend the afternoon at leisure at your hotel. You may decide to visit the San José downtown area for some last minute shopping. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Corobici. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: San José/USA. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA.
Our tours may look similar to others you've seen, but we invite you to shop & compare. There are important differences that make Friendly Planet tours the best you can find.
No Compromise on Quality: Despite our extraordinary prices, there are no compromises on Costa Rica package. You'll stay in superior class hotels with all amenities and comforts.
Included Features: All your transfers, in air-conditioned chauffeur driven mini-vans, are included. There is no need to worry about navigating unfamiliar roads that are not always in perfect condition.
Just wanted to thank Friendly Planet for a great trip to Costa Rica. We will definitely be planning more trips using FP...Thank you!
— Pam Walker