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HomeTours to Central and South AmericaCosta RicaHighlights of Costa Rica with Beach Holiday in Manuel Antonio
14 days

Highlights of Costa Rica with Beach Holiday in Manuel Antonio

Discover Costa Rica’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife on a visit to Tortuguero National Park, the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest, and relax on Manuel Antonio’s beautiful beaches.

Highlights of Costa Rica with Beach Holiday in Manuel Antonio Highlights of Costa Rica with Beach Holiday in Manuel Antonio
14 days

Highlights of Costa Rica with Beach Holiday in Manuel Antonio

Discover Costa Rica’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife on a visit to Tortuguero National Park, the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest, and relax on Manuel Antonio’s beautiful beaches.

Choose this tour because…

Come with us on an exciting tour to Costa Rica, where you will discover the country’s impressive wildlife and stunning scenery with lush jungle, majestic volcanoes, natural hot springs, mysterious cloud forest and world-class beaches.

The tour begins in the Costa Rican capital San José and heads from here to the lush jungle of Tortuguero National Park. Here, you are surrounded by beautiful nature and exciting wildlife, and all transportation is by boat along Tortuguero’s many canals.

You continue from here to La Fortuna and experience the iconic Arenal volcano and the hot springs.

In Monteverde, you will feel the mystique on a guided walk along hanging bridges in the tree tops of the rainforest.

The exciting tour rounds off in Manuel Antonio, where you can combine a relaxing beach holiday with a visit to Costa Rica’s most famous National Park of the same name.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Return flights from the UK to San José (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Transfer from San José airport to your hotel
  • Minibus: San José – Tortuguero – La Fortuna – Monteverde – Manuel Antonio – San José airport
  • 10 nights at good hotels, including breakfast
  • 2 nights at lodge in Tortuguero with full board
  • 1 x lunch (day 5)
  • 1 x dinner (day 6)
  • Welcome meeting in San José
  • Individual tour, where all excursions take place in small, international groups with local, English-speaking guides. Transfers also take place in smaller international groups
  • ATOL certificate
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Possibility of daily departure

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Excursions in Tortuguero National Park
  • The Arenal volcano and hot springs
  • Treetop walk in Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Admission to all attractions mentioned apart from Tortuguero, which is paid locally
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Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in San José

Today, you leave the UK and head to Costa Rica with connecting flight(s) along the way. You arrive in the capital San José, where you will be picked up by a driver at the airport, who will take you to your hotel – a drive of around 45 minutes.

Situated 1,172 meters above sea level in the central part of the country, San José enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate all year round. The city was established in the early 18th century, and around 50 years later, a tobacco factory was founded, improving access to water, with growth in the city’s population and economy as a result. At the beginning of the 19th century, San José became the capital of Costa Rica, and today it is a modern city with active business life where art and architecture thrive.

Day 2: Welcome meeting in San José

This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to our partner’s office, where you will run through the tour itinerary and other practical issues together.

The rest of the day is yours to do as you please, so you can explore the capital on your own or purchase optional excursions.

You might, for example, like to explore San José’s historic Barrio Amón neighbourhood, where colonial mansions have been converted into contemporary art galleries, and the city’s gastronomic heart, Barrio Escalante. You can also enjoy the great outdoors in Parque Metropolitano La Sabana, Costa Rica’s largest city park, or you can visit the Mercado Central market and shop for souvenirs or try the national dish named “casado”, which consists mainly of rice, beans and meat.

Day 3: San José – Tortuguero National Park

Bright and early this morning, you head to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. On the way, you will pass numerous banana plantations, which are of great importance to the Costa Rican economy, as Costa Rica is one of the world’s largest exporters of bananas.

It isn’t possible to drive all the way to your lodge, so when you reach the end of the road network, you will switch from the bus to a boat and continue down the small canals to your lodge, which is located in Tortuguero’s lush wetlands.

After arrival and check-in, a delicious lunch awaits you in the lodge’s restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit the small village of Tortuguero with a guide. He will show you around the village and tell you what it’s like to live in such a remote town that you can only get to by boat or by plane.

After dinner, when darkness falls, many of the animals and insects of the rainforest wake up, and it’s magical to sit and listen to the sounds of nature from your little veranda.

Day 4: Experiences in Tortuguero National Park

During your stay in Tortuguero, you will go on an exciting boat tour along the national park’s the canals, where a talented guide will help you spot the inhabitants of the rainforest, such as the sloths, tapirs, caimans, iguanas, macaws, toucans and the three fascinating types of monkeys: the spider monkey, the howler monkey and the capuchin monkey. You will also learn about the park’s exotic flora.

In the afternoon you have time on your own to walk along the small paths in the park, relax by the pool at the lodge or stroll along the beach. It is possible to purchase extra excursions at the lodge.

The name of the national park comes from the Spanish word “tortuga”, which means “turtle” or “tortoise” in English, and, as the name suggests, the park is famous for its many turtles. Depending on when you visit the park – and how lucky you are – you may get to see the turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. In the period from February–July, you are in with the greatest chance of seeing the Green Sea Turtle, the loggerhead sea turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle and the leatherback sea turtle.
The turtles usually lay their eggs when the sun has gone down, and after 6 pm, you may only go on the beach with a guide. It is important that you do not disturb or frighten the sea turtles when they come ashore to lay their eggs, so be very quiet and avoid using torches or cameras with flash.

Day 5: Tortuguero National Park – La Fortuna

The time has come to leave Tortuguero National Park, and you head west by boat and then bus to the small town of La Fortuna. Along the way, you make a stop at a restaurant where lunch (included) is served.

La Fortuna is located at the foot of Costa Rica’s most famous volcano, Arenal, which is situated 1,670 metres above sea level. The Arenal volcano was inactive for more than 400 years until a violent eruption in 1968, which caused great destruction and buried several small villages. It is referred to as one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes, but it has been dormant since 2010.

You arrive at La Fortuna in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to do as you please.

Day 6: The Arenal volcano and the hot springs

The morning is yours to spend as you wish. You might like to relax at the hotel or explore the area on your own before going out later in the day.

In the afternoon, you will be picked up from the hotel and driven to a private reserve close to the Arenal volcano. A short path of around 1 kilometre takes you to a lookout point from which you have an excellent view of the volcano, Laguna Verde and Lake Arenal. Your guide provides you with fascinating information about the active volcano.

Afterwards, you will go for a walk in the wooded area at the foot of the volcano. The guide will tell you about the flora and fauna you may be lucky enough to spot, including toucans, peacocks, snakes and monkeys on your short hike.

The next stop is the hot springs of Arenal, which are naturally heated by the volcanic activity of the area. Here, you can relax in the various pools, where the temperature ranges from 37–41 degrees. Remember to bring a bathing suit.

There is also a small pool bar, where you can enjoy a drink before dinner is served. After dinner, you will be driven back to your hotel.

Day 7: La Fortuna on your own

Today is yours to do as you please.

The area around Arenal is popular for horse riding, rafting, ziplining, ATV tours, mountain biking, kayaking and a whole host of other activities.

Not far from Arenal is the famous waterfall La Fortuna, located at the foot of Chato volcano. The waterfall springs from the Tenorio River, which flows through the Arenal mountain range and the rainforest before cascading 70 metres into a lagoon.

You can even take a taxi to the towering waterfall and swim in the lagoon beneath the waterfall. The taxi will drop you off at the car park, from where the walk down to the waterfall takes around 20 minutes via a bridge and steps through the lush rainforest, giving you a good chance of spotting toucans, monkeys and other tropical animals on your way. You can also visit some of the hot springs in the area that you didn’t try yesterday, or you can purchase an optional excursion.

Day 8: La Fortuna – Monteverde Cloud Forest

After breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel and driven to Lake Arenal. A boat will be waiting to sail you and your luggage over to the other side of lake, where you will be picked up and driven south to the town of Monteverde – a drive of around 4 hours. Monteverde is best known for its magical cloud forest of the same name, which you can look forward to visiting tomorrow.

Day 9: Treetop walk in Monteverde Cloud Forest

Today, you will be heading to Monteverde Cloud Forest, a unique area of natural beauty, located 1,440 meters above sea level. The rainforest is also known as the “forest in the clouds” because of its location and the high humidity that “traps” the moisture in the area, giving the rainforest its characteristic mist.

Here, an exciting treetop walk of around 2.5 kilometres awaits you! As you walk along the hanging bridges between the trees, you will feel the very special and mysterious ambience that the mist creates in this enchanting landscape. You will be surrounded by orchids, ferns, mosses, huge trees and countless plant species growing on the trunks of the trees. Chirping in the treetops of the magical forest are colourful birds such as the golden-browed chlorophonia, the coppery-headed emerald, the resplendent quetzal and more than 400 other bird species that make the forest paradise for birdwatchers.

After a couple of hours, you will be driven back to your lodge, and the rest of the day is yours to do as you please. Relax at the lodge, explore the area on your own or purchase an optional excursion.

Day 10: Monteverde – Manuel Antonio

You will be picked up from your lodge and head to Manuel Antonio, where you will be spending three nights. The drive to Manuel Antonio takes around 5 hours.

Manuel Antonio is located in western Costa Rica, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and is especially famous for its national park of the same name. The national park is one of Costa Rica’s smallest yet best-known and most popular of the country’s 27 national parks. The park is hailed as one of the most scenic national parks in the world, as it consists of lush green rainforest extending all the way to the beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise sea, making it truly picturesque. Manuel Antonio National Park is also home to countless different animal species and is one of the most species-rich national parks in the world. You may be lucky enough to see common squirrel monkeys, white-headed capuchin monkeys, mantled howlers, spider monkeys, sloths, white-nosed coatis, iguanas, red-eyed tree frogs, toucans, hummingbirds and colourful butterflies to name but a few species.

After arriving at your hotel, you have the rest of the day to yourself.

Days 11-12: Manuel Antonio on your own

The next few days are yours to do as you please.

It goes without saying that we recommend that you visit the national park on one of the days and experience the park’s impressive flora and fauna. Ideally, you should head off early in the morning, when there are fewest visitors and the greatest chance of seeing wildlife. The park has marked paths and it is easy to find your way around in there. You can also choose to purchase a guided tour if you would like to know more about the nature you are seeing.
Remember to bring swimsuits as the beaches inside the park are amazing. Playa Manuel Antonio Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in the world.
Please note that the national park is closed on Mondays.

Outside the national park is another beautiful beach, Playa Espadilla, where you can sunbathe in the shade of leafy trees and enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean or swim and snorkel in the water and explore the marine life. You can also purchase an optional excursion.

As a town, Manuel Antonio is very small but has several shops and cosy restaurants where you will find both gourmet food and local Costa Rican dishes at all price levels.

Day 13: Manuel Antonio – San José – departure day

It’s time to say goodbye to Costa Rica. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport in San José, from which you will fly to the UK, with connecting flight(s) along the way.

Day 14: Arrival back home

You arrive in the UK after an eventful holiday.

Single room supplement £675
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