Step back in time to the crumbling yet elegant city of Havana on this Cuba & Costa Rica Discovery holiday. Explore the sights and savour the sounds of this uniquely different UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the dilapidated charm as you meander the cobbled streets in the balmy city air.
Costa Rica in comparison is modern and sleek with a wealth of natural wonders. From the pefect conical cone of Arenal Volcano to the verdant, dense cloud forest of Monteverde every corner of this magical country is waiting to be explored. In Arenal trails take you around the base of the majestic volcano before relaxing in the naturally heated thermal pools. Monteverde is the prime destination to spot the most beautiful birds of the Americas including the famous Resplendant Quetzal.
End your adventure on the rugged Pacific Coast with its white sand beaches, waves lapping gently on the shore with tropical palms trees swaying in the breeze. Manuel Antonio National Park packs a huge diversity of wildlife in the countries smallest park with easy to navigate trails and more wonderful relaxed beaches.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your daytime flight to Havana. Explore the sights and savour the sounds of Havana from the colonial styled Parque Central hotel. Set on Central Square in the old city the hotel offers a perfect blend of colonial style and modern facilities. The Parque Central features a wonderful rooftop swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and offering spectacular views of the city. After a day of sightseeing relax in the glass roofed atrium bar with a cool Cuba Libre or Mojito.
Day 2 Spend the day exploring this crumbling yet elegant city. The old quarter of Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to 1515. Like stepping back in time, the city has escaped the modern consumer trappings. Visit the Capitol Building, the Gran Teatro and Bacardi Building. Venture along the famous Malecon, passing the famous Hotel Nacional. At Revolution Square admire the portrait of Che Guevara, a revolutionary icon.
Day 3 A pedestrianised centre is ideal for strolling around to admire the dilapidated charm of the city. An open air museum of history lost in time savour the unique Latin Atmosphere. Stroll around the city to the main attractions such as the Museum Of The Revolution and Cathedral Square. The balmy tropical air saturated with the rhythms of salsa make a wonderful backdrop to kick back and soak up atmosphere.
Day 4 Depart Havana in Cuba for the Costa Rican capital of San Jose. A few hours north-west lies the small town of La Fortuna, overlooked by majestic Arenal Volcano. A picture-perfect conical shape despite it volcanic activity with lower slopes adorned in lush forest. Clouds often shroud her adding to the mystical appearance. Arenal was made a national park in 1995 with a rugged and varied terrain and a high level of biodiversity. Look out for a birds such as trogons, rufous motmots, fruitcrows and lancebills.
Day 5 At the base of Arenal Volcano, take a short hike through the many trails. Meander through the lush forest. Aside from the chattering birds, commonly sighted mammals include howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins and coatis. As the sunsets, relax at the Tabacon hot springs for a soothing soak in the thermal waters of varying temperatures. Sip a cooling cocktail as you listen to waterfalls.
Day 6 Take the opportunity to relax in the shadow on Arenal Volcano or venture out for one of the host of activities. Ride the gushing rapids by raft on the Toro River, kayak the smooth Rio Arenal, zip-line through the lush green canopy or rappel down a 50m waterfall. Explore the local area on horseback, mountain-bike or a more energetic hike to the 1100m high volcanic Cerro Chato lake. A more leisurely option is the butterfly conservatory, with its array of frogs, insects and medicinal herb garden.
Day 7 The quickest way to travel to Monteverde is a combination of land and boat across Lake Arenal. A tour in itself this is a superbly scenic way to see the landscape. Lake Arenal is the largest lake in the country, man made in 1974 to provide hydroelectric energy for the country. Monteverde is a Quaker settlement with an immensely unique landscape billed as one of the best place to spot the famous resplendent quetzal. Be inspired by a world of organic farming, alternative energy sources and old world charm
Day 8 With your local guide take a tour of Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve and learn about the different macro/micro flora and fauna. Visit the Golden Toad's unique habitat, see birds like the Resplendent Quetzal (the most beautiful bird of the Americas), the 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 array of insects, mammals and reptiles.
Day 9 Leave the swirling clouds of Monteverde behind as you descend to the balmy Pacific Coast and the Manuel Antonio area. One of the country’s top national parks, Manuel Antonio is a hotspot for beach, rainforest and an abundance of monkeys jumping through the canopy. Parador Resort & Spa is perched high above the sweeping coastline of the Pacific Ocean on 12 acres of rainforest teeming with wildlife. Relax by the swimming pools in the heat of the tropical Costa Rican sun.
Day 10 Take the opportunity to simply relax or explore the local area. Descend from the hotel to the perfect sand beaches , turquiose waves gently lapping the shore. Gaze across the Pacific Ocean towards rainforest-backed beaches and rocky headlands with islands dotted in the background. In Manuel Antonio National Park, venture off the main trails to a peaceful spot, relax and sip cold coconut wáter.
Day 12 Transfer from the coast to San Jose for your return, overnight flight to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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