No escort, freedom to explore at your own pace
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from October – December 2015|
|Departs||Miami (MIA); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||San Jose, Tortuguero, Montverde. Arenal Volcano, Tobacon Hot Springs, & Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Optional Extension to Manuel Antonio|
|Themes||Active, Family Friendly, Nature & Wildlife|
|What to Expect||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. This tour does not include a tour guide or escort.|
|As Seen in|
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 Costa Rica tour package, 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!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Wed||Aug 19||2015||Thu||Aug 27||2015||$1699||Departed|
|Wed||Sep 2||2015||Thu||Sep 10||2015||$1699||Closed|
|Wed||Sep 16||2015||Thu||Sep 24||2015||$1699||Closed|
|Wed||Sep 30||2015||Thu||Oct 8||2015||$1699||Closed|
|Wed||Oct 14||2015||Thu||Oct 22||2015||$1999||$1699||Closed|
|Wed||Oct 28||2015||Thu||Nov 5||2015||$1999||$1699||Available|
|Wed||Nov 11||2015||Thu||Nov 19||2015||$1999||$1699||Available|
|Wed||Nov 25||2015||Thu||Dec 3||2015||$1999||$1699||Available|
|Wed||Dec 9||2015||Thu||Dec 17||2015||$1999||$1699||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
HEALTH REQUIREMENTS/PRECAUTIONS: Costa Rica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry for passengers arriving from Yellow Fever Endemic Countries, such as, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador & Colombia. If your flight makes a stop in one of these countries you may be asked to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival in Costa Rica. Click here to find a local vaccination center.
Children up to age 11 save $600 or more off the prices above on family-friendly departures.
|Costa Rica Pura Vida|
|Manuel Antonio Post-Tour Extension1|
|Manuel Antonio Extension|
|All other departures||+$459|
|All other departures||+$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.
|Separately Paid Taxes|
|Costa Rica Departure Tax1 (paid separately)||+$29|
1. To be paid locally prior to departure
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? 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 reservation.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
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 other activities. You can take a short hike to the foothills of the volcano in the Arenal Volcano National Park. Also available are some optional excursions 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: El Establo Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Monteverde. Spend the day relaxing or enjoy optional excursions 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 air-conditioned 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 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.
Manuel Antonio is a small biological island surrounded by farms and is one of the most beautiful and scenic national parks in Costa Rica. Your resort is set in the coastal rainforest overlooking the Manuel Antonio National Park. Accommodations: Parador Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: 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 excursions which allow you to participate in other activities including kayaking, snorkling, and horseback riding. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Manuel Antonio. Continue to enjoy Manuel Antonio at your own pace. 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.
The following optional excursions are available for purchase locally and can be arranged through your hotel. Most excursions require a minimum of 2 passengers to operate. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
Arenal Volcano Hiking: $56. The Arenal Volcano Hiking tour transports guests to the northwest side of the volcano. The tour begins with a hike to either the Arenal National Park or the Mirador El Silencio Nature Reserve, depending on volcanic conditions. Along the way guests have the opportunity to see a variety of plants, wildlife, magnificent lava rock formations, and breathtaking views of Lake Arenal. During the tour, experienced guides will provide interesting and educational information regarding the history of the Arenal Volcano and its National Park. The tour concludes with an optional stop at a mineral hot springs. Note: Entrance fee to hot springs is at additional cost (see below).
with Tabacon Hot Springs and dinner included: add $86
with The Springs Resort and dinner included: add $80
with EcoTermales Hot Springs and dinner included: add $68
Departs: 8:00am or 3:00pm
Includes: Comfortable transportation, bilingual naturalist guide, park fee and cold beverages
Bring: Shorts, swimsuit, camera and insect repellent
Vendado Caves: $75. For those who do not mind getting a little wet and muddy, this fascinating underground adventure is located only 45 minutes from La Fortuna. This subterranean tour will take guests through narrow passages, incredible labyrinths and chambers for a view of the famous rock formation named La Papaya, and other stalagmites and stalactites that are sure to astonish.
Includes: Comfortable transportation, bilingual guide, flash light, helmet, and cold drinks
Bring: Comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes, insect repellent, extra clothes
Arenal Night Walk: $70. The night walk takes place at the Ecocentro Danaus a small reserve whose focus is conservation and education. A visit to the center at night gives guests the opportunity to see some of the areas most prominent nocturnal animals in action such as sloths, caimans, spiders, frogs, bats, butterflies and the way these species interact with each other.
Includes: Transportation, guides, entrance fee and drinks
Bring: Hiking boots, insect repellent and long pants
Horseback Riding to Arenal Volcano: $44. This is the perfect tour to discover the majestic surroundings of the Arenal area. The majority of the journey is through private property which will take you through primary and secondary rainforests, as well as lovely cattle farms; all the while giving you incredible views of the mighty Arenal Volcano. The horseback ride takes approximately 2 hours.
Departs: 8:30am or 1:30pm
Includes: Guide, bottled water, horses and safety gear
Bring: Long pants, hiking shoes, towel, hat, sunscreen, camera
Arenal Hanging Bridges: $62. The Arenal Hanging Bridges tour takes place on a 600 acre reserve filled with lush vegetation and a variety of birds and animals which an experienced guide will help point out. The trail itself is about 2 miles in length, crossing nine fixed bridges and 6 suspension bridges and is laid out at a maximum grade of seven degrees so that anyone can walk it.
Departs: 8:00am or 1:00pm
Includes: Transportation, naturalist guide and drinks
Bring: Comfortable clothing, hiking shoes, insect repellent, camera, binoculars, sunscreen (sunny days) or rain gear (rainy days)
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge by Boat: $88. The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is considered one of the best sites on the continent for bird watching. Beside an abundance of birds, Caño Negro is also refuge to many other animals like sloths, monkeys, caimans, lizards, and bats. The tour to this beautiful region leaves from La Fortuna, driving for about an hour and a half to Los Chiles, a rustic town near the border of Nicaragua. From here, a three hour boatride down the Río Frío will take guests through the heart of this wildlife refuge. The naturalist guide will explain each one of sites seen along the way, as well as the beautiful flora and fauna of the region.
Departs: 7:30 am
Includes: Comfortable transportation, bilingual naturalist guide, lunch, and cold drinks
Bring: Fresh and comfortable clothes, tennis shoes or sandals, camera, hat, binoculars, sunscreen
Hot Springs Entrance with Lunch or Dinner: from $90. Transfer from the hotel to the hot springs, to relax and enjoy the thermal waters. Lunch or dinner will be served in the restaurant. At the scheduled time, transfer back to the hotel.
with Tabacon Hot Springs and lunch or dinner: $102
with The Springs Resort and lunch or dinner: $100
with EcoTermales Hot Springs and lunch or dinner: $90
Duration: 4:00 hrs
Includes: Round transportation, entrance fees, lunch or dinner
Bring: Sandals, hat, towels, bathing suit, sun block, repellent and camera
Hiking to the Celeste River: $126. Depart early en route to the Celeste River. Arrive at the Tenorio Volcano National Park, for a 5 mile hike (approximately 4 hours) through the tropical rain forest ending at "Los Teñideros", the confluence of two streams of crystalline water that form the heavenly turquoise color that gives the Celeste River its "sky-blue" name. Continue through trails rich with ecological wonders ending at the Celeste River waterfall. The final reward is lunch at the end of the journey.
Included: Transportation, naturalist guide, beverages, lunch and entrance fee to park
Bring: Long pants, hiking shoes, insect repellent, camera and binoculars
Canopy Zipline at Arenal Paraiso: $42. This canopy is more than an adventure, it is a marvelous chance to learn about the flora and fauna of the region. Expert guides will take you from tree to tree across 12 platforms and 11 cables at a height of 80 meters, and ranging in lengths up to 350 meters. The trip ends in the beautiful rainforest at the border of the Arenal River where you will take a tractor ride through the forest back to the reception area.
Departs: 8:00am or 10:30am or 1:00pm or 3:00pm
Included: Transportation, guide and equipment
Bring: Long pants, closed toe shoes, rain jacket, insect repellent, camera and sunscreen
Peñas Blancas River Safari Float: $51. Experience the peaceful forest while floating on the Peñas Blancas River. Enjoy the opportunity to observe many animals like monkeys, sloths, iguanas, tortoises, crocodiles, and several species of birds. The float doesn't have a motor, so the journey can be experienced quietly rowing and taking photos. An experienced naturalist will explain many fascinating details about trees, plants, birds and other animals as guests float down the river.
Departs: 8:00am or 1:00pm
Includes: Comfortable transport, bilingual naturalist guide, snacks and cold drinks
Bring: Short pants, swimsuit, camera, binoculars, sunscreen, insect repellent
Monteverde Cloud Forest Hiking: $64. Enjoy a four hour nature tour through the renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve where a local professional naturalist guide will explain all of the different flora and fauna that surrounds. Visit the Golden Toad's unique habitat, and see birds like the Resplendent Quetzal, Three-Wattled Bell Bird, and the Black Faced Solitaire; trees like Strangler Figs, Avocados, and Cecropias; epiphytes like Bromeliads, Orchids and Mosses; and a wide variety of insects, mammals and reptiles.
Includes: Entrance fee, bilingual naturalist guide and comfortable transportation
Bring: Comfortable clothes, hiking shoes, sweater or rain jacket, binocular and camera
Monteverde Night Walk Tour $25. This tour starts at sunset. At this time, all the animals are very active, because all the diurnal animals are looking for a place to sleep; and the nocturnal animals are becoming active. This is great experience to hear and see animals very different than during the day time. The most common animals guests will see are sloths, coatis, agoutis, porcupines, foxes, tarantulas, frogs, insects and sleeping birds.
Includes: Transportation, entrance fees, professional and bilingual guide and flashlight.
Bring: Hiking shoes, rain coat and camera
San Luis Waterfall Horseback Riding: $88. Enjoy spectacular flora, fauna and views on this unforgettable horseback tour. Ride through impressive forest and farms. Then, take a swim in pure waterfall river water. This tour last approximately 4 hours.
Includes: Transportation, horse, entrance fees and guide
Bring: Hiking shoes, long pants, rain jacket, swimsuit, sunscreen, insect repellent and camera
Monteverde Cheese Factory: $34. During this tour three rooms are visited as well as the laboratory to see the process of cheese elaboration. Enjoy a slide show demonstration of the history of the Monteverde Cheese Factory and when the tour is over guests can have a taste of six products, including five types of cheese and caramel unique to Monteverde.
Departs: 8:30am or 1:30pm (Closed Sundays)
Includes: Visit to three different rooms for observation of the process and elaboration of the cheese, slide show and taste of six different products
Selvatura Canopy Tour: $43. Canopy Tour guides start by harnessing guests with all the appropriate equipment and giving a safety lecture on all the procedures to enjoy this amazing adventure with a "Safety First" motto. Then fly through 15 cables and 18 platforms with an optional Tarzan Swing at the end of the adventure. Selvatura Park is one of the longest Canopy Tours in Costa Rica and the only canopy tour located inside the Monteverde Cloud Forest. The tour usually takes between 2.5 and 3 hours and can be done by adventurers age 4 and up (some restrictions may apply).
Departs: 8:30am or 11:00am or 1:00pm or 2:30pm
Includes: Comfortable transportation, guide, entrance and equipment
Bring: Comfortable clothing, hiking shoes and camera
Treetop Walkways at Selvatura: $28. This self-guided walking trail crosses almost 2 miles through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Here visitors will walk on eight different bridges with various lengths ranging between 150 feet up to 510 feet and heights ranging between 36 feet up to 180 feet. Each bridge has a width of five feet, the widest bridges in Costa Rica, and also a capacity of up to 80 people per bridge making them both the longest and strongest bridge systems in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Departs: 8:30am or 11:00am or 1:00pm or 2:30pm
Includes: Comfortable transportation, entrance and equipment
Bring: Comfortable clothing, hiking shoes and camera
Manuel Antonio Kayaking & Snorkeling: $60. This adventure begins near the developing Pez Vela (Sail Fish) Marina in Quepos and winds along the Manuel Antonio coastline. Guests can indulge at a secluded beach for a refreshing swim and delicious local snacks. The naturalist guide will direct guests to the best snorkeling spots to experience a small but growing coral reef nestled close to the shore of Biesanz Bay. After an unforgettable experience at Biesanz, continue paddling towards Manuel Antonio National Park and wonder the nearby nesting islands where exotic boobies and frigates call home. The adventure finally ends with lunch in a typical Costa Rican restaurant before returning to the hotel.
Departs: Depends on tides
Includes: Round trip transportation, bilingual guides, kayaks, snorkel equipment, security, lunch, snacks and drinks
Bring: Comfortable clothes, bathing suit, towel, shoes that can get wet, hat, waterproof camera and bug spray
Naranjo Whitewater Rafting: $60. For experienced rafters, the Naranjo River runs from April to December and is a consistently adrenaline-pumping Class III and IV rapids. The wild and ever-changing Naranjo River White Water Rafting challenge is recommended for physically fit adventure seekers and experienced rafters who are familiar with Class III and IV rapids. On this high-octane, half-day adventure, the trip begins when the Naranjo River drops steeply from the Costa Rican mountains and charges though pristine jungle gorges, then winds around rocky curves on a wild, adventurous ride back to sea level waters.
Departs: 7:00am or 1:00pm (April to December)
Includes: transportation, bilingual guide, snacks and drinks
Bring: shorts, bathing suit, tennis or sandals suitable for rafting, small towel, waterproof camera, sun screen and bug spray
Manuel Antonio National Park: $52. Enjoy a leisurely hike with a highly trained, well-educated Costa Rican naturalist guide through the exotic tropical rainforest and 34 year old national treasure, the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Departs: 7:00am or 12:00pm
Includes: Transportation, bilingual guides and certified naturalists, en-trance fee, snacks and refreshments after the tour right near the beach
Bring: water, sun screen, camera, binoculars, and a towel
Horseback Riding to Tocori Waterfalls: $65. Enjoy learning about Costa Rica's exotic plants, rare wildlife and the history of Manuel Antonio while horseback riding through a private, family-owned ecological reserve at Tocori, just minutes away from Manuel Antonio. Take a relaxing ride to the Tocori Waterfalls to relax and swim in its pristine waters. Continue through the meandering Tocori streams to the family ranch for homemade meal.
Departs: 8:00am or 1:00pm
Includes: Round trip transportation, bilingual guides, all equipment needed, a hot lunch or dinner, snacks and refreshments.
Bring: comfortable clothes, long pants, bathing suit, towel, hat, camera, bug spray, sun screen
Manuel Antonio Ecological Canopy Tour: $60. This ecologically and educationally focused canopy experience is geared towards a mix of adventure, nature and safety. It is excellent for individuals, families, or large groups, people of all ages will enjoy this adventure tour because of its variety, options and biodiversity.
Departs: 7:00am or 10:00am or 2:00 pm
Includes: Round trip transportation, bilingual guides and naturalists, all equipment needed, security, great snacks and refreshments
Bring: Comfortable clothes, wear good hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes, hat, camera, bug spray, sun screen, and binoculars
We took this trip Aug. 15th and totally enjoyed every minute of it. The country has everything going for it! Don't be afraid of the rainy season. It rains and then the sun comes out. We traveled in a van - a total of 6 of us. The rooms were beyond nice- absolutely beautiful. Trip was partially escorted and partially "you choose" your activities. Transfers were always on time. Included food was good. A Green turtle giving birth to eggs the size of golf balls - priceless!
Susannah Starkweather, Bala Cynwyd, PA