Enjoy the many highlights of Costa Rica on this 12-day itinerary, including volcanoes, lakes, cloud forest and both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Costa Rica is a country of great natural beauty and every highlight has something unique to offer. Whether you are watching the Arenal volcano whilst bathing in hot springs, walking in the canopy of Montverde's cloud forest or relaxing on one of the many beautiful beaches that adorn its coastline, Costa Rica really is a nature lover's paradise.
Day 1 Fly direct to San Jose with British Airways. Upon arrival you are met from the airport and transferred directly to your hotel where you have the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 2 This morning you are picked up early to travel to Tortuguero. On the way you are given an early introduction to the natural highlights on offer in Costa Rica as the road passes the protected Braulio Carrillo National Park, and then on through agricultural farmland, home to many pineapple and banana plantations before arriving at the pier to board your boat onto to Tortuguero. Tortuguero National Park is one of the most important nesting sites in the world for the green sea turtles and its territories protect not only the turtle-nesting beach, but also the surrounding forests, canals and lagoons. Everything in Tortuguero centres on the waterways and access is by boat or air only. Its peaceful atmosphere and the feeling of being in one of the most remote places on Earth attracts nature lovers, yet the area has managed to develop a low-density tourism system. A visit to Tortuguero is the ideal place to start a trip to Costa Rica, with great opportunities to spot some of the highlight wildlife. You stay at your chosen lodge for 2 nights, on a full board basis including all of your meals and excursions.
Day 3 Today is a full day exploring the Tortuguero waterways by boat with your local guide. All excursions are included with your stay at the lodge. The canal of jungle-finged waterways behind the beach are teeming with bird and insect life. At sunrise the rainforest comes alive with wildlife including birds (over half of the species found in Costa Rica), monkeys, sloths and for the lucky alligators, tapirs, ocelots, peccaries and anteaters.
Day 4 Depart Tortuguero this morning for Arenal, and board a boat through the canals to the pier, to continue by road to the pick up point between Tortuguero National Park and San Jose City. You are then collected and driven towards the Arenal Volcano region and your hotel located on the outskirts of La Fortuna town.
Day 5 Today you are taken for a walk along the old lava beds in the Arenal Volcano National Park. You are given some history of the volcano and have a chance to see some of the abundant wildlife that can be seen throughout the trail and in the surrounding tropical forest. At the end of the tour you are taken back towards La Fortuna town, where you then have entry into the local Hot Springs, and you have the chance to bathe in the thermal waters and have dinner with the rumbling of the volcano in the distance.
Day 6 Today take a paddle on Central America’s second largest lake giving you the best views of the Arenal Volcano and Costa Rican wildlife. Designed for both amateur and advanced paddlers the excursion offers and alternative view of the volcano and surrounding wildlife, as you can hope to see a variety of waterbirds and closer to the shore monkeys swing in the canopy tops.
Day 7 Today cross lake Arenal for one of the most scenic ways to get to Monteverde, and the cloudforest region. After a combination of road and boat you arrive into Monteverde later today and have some time to check-in to your hotel before you are then taken on an evening excursion into the forest. You are collected for your night walk as the forest awakes and the nocturnal creatures start to emerge. Your guide helps you spot an array of insects, reptiles, birds and mammals that inhabit the forest at night. some of the highlight species that can be spotted include snakes, spiders (especially tarantulas), sleeping blue crowned mot-mots, tiny tree frogs, coatimundis, agoutis, a sleeping sloth, a wide-eyed kinkajou, an armadillo, or the highly endangered olingo.
Day 8 Today visit the Selvatura Walkways and obtain a bird's eye view of the jungle as you traverse the canopy via a network of suspended bridges. The reserve is mainly primary cloudforest and is shrouded in mist for most of the year. The area is home to more than 400 species of bird, including the famous resplendent quetzal which is best seen in the dry months of January to May. Spot hummingbirds and iridescent morphos butterflies at the butterfly garden.
Day 9 Today head down from the coolness of the cloud forest to the steamier Pacific Coast. You have three nights based at your chosen hotel close to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Spend your days exploring the park, relaxing on the beach or by the pool.
Day 10 Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular in the country thanks to its wide variety of flora and fauna specimens. It is home to 3 of the 4 existing monkey species in Costa Rica. The park itself boasts 3 different trails that vary in grade from flat to very steep. Accompanied by a knowledgeable nature guide explore a trail of approximately 2 miles that is flat and loops through the Park, look out for sloths, birds and reptiles, as well as unusual orchids, butterflies and tropical trees.
Day 11 Today is a free day to relax and to explore the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. As one of Costa Rica's most protected areas, the 683 hectares of mangrove swamps and beaches are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Within the park there is also good hiking for viewing a host of wildlife. Aside from the park other options include sea kayaking, mountain biking, canopy tours, scuba diving and deep sea fishing.
Day 12 Today you are collected from your hotel on the coast and driven approximately 3 hours back towards San Jose City, where you are taken to the airport in good time for your flights back to the UK. Flights back to the UK travel overnight, and you arrive tomorrow.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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