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15d/13n:

Costa Rica incl. Manuel Antonio National Park

Highlights of this tour:

San José, Tortuguero National Park, La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano and the hot springs of Arenal, Monteverde cloud forest, Manuel Antonio.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Return flights from the UK to San José (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Transfer from and to the airport (in small international groups)
  • Bus: San José – Tortuguero – La Fortuna – Monteverde – Manuel Antonio – San José
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3 nights’ accommodation at Mawamba Lodge incl. full board
  • 1 x dinner (day 7)
  • Welcome meeting in San José
  • Individual round trip, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local, English-speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departures

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Boat trip in Tortuguero rain forest
  • Excursion to Arenal volcano and the hot springs
  • Hike through the Monteverde cloud forest on the hanging bridges
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned, excluding Tortuguero National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park (to be paid on site)

Single room supplement: £650

Choose this tour because…

A trip to Costa Rica is like stepping into a dream world. The country is blessed with breath-taking countryside, majestic volcanoes, natural hot springs, roaring rivers and waterfalls, long sandy beaches and almost indescribable wildlife. In fact, Costa Rica is so beautiful, you may have to pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming. Your tour starts in the capital city, San José, and continues to the fertile surroundings of Tortuguero National Park, which is teeming with wildlife. It then takes you to La Fortuna to experience Arenal volcano and the hot springs. In Monteverde – ‘the forest in the clouds’ – you cannot help but notice the special, almost mystical atmosphere as you follow your guide along the hanging bridges between the tree tops, before arriving at the absolute highlight of your trip: the magnificent Manuel Antonio National Park, which features white sandy beaches, coral reefs, waterfalls, lush green rainforest and exotic wildlife. There are all kinds of activities to try both on land and in the water.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Flight to Costa Rica

Departure day, where you will fly to San José with connecting flights along the way. You will land in the capital city, San José, which is located in the central region of the country, 1,150 m above sea level, and enjoys a beautiful spring-like climate all year round. On arrival at the airport in San José, you will be met by a driver who will take you to your hotel – a drive of around 30 min.

Overnight stay Hotel Sleep Inn

Day 2: San José

To start the day, you will be met at your hotel and driven to our partner’s office to review the tour programme and other practical issues. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish, giving you the opportunity to experience the delights of the capital at your own pace.

The centre of San José is not overly large, so it is relatively easy to find your way around. For example, you could visit the local market, call in at the National Museum or take a stroll along the pedestrian street that runs through the centre of the city. Here you will find all kinds of restaurants, shops and charming pavement cafés where you can enjoy a cup of genuine Costa Rican coffee while watching everyday life unfold on and around the delightful squares.

Overnight stay Hotel Sleep Inn

Day 3: San José – Tortuguero National Park

Early in the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel for a trip to the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. You will pass by huge, green banana plantations that are crucial to the Costa Rican economy. After the coach trip, you will board the boat that is to convey you and your luggage to Mawamba Lodge, where you will be spending the coming three nights. The lodge enjoys a magnificent location with Tortuguero’s canals running through the front garden and the Caribbean Sea at the back. The sailing trip to the lodge will take you along rivers and canals bordered by thick rainforest that is home to Tortuguero’s exotic wildlife. After your arrival and check-in, lunch is served. In the afternoon, you visit the small village of Tortuguero with a guide.

Tortuguero National Park covers an area of 77,032 hectares, comprising 35 km of coastline and 11 different habitats, including mangrove swamps, marshes, beaches, lagoons and areas of tropical rainforest containing lakes, rivers and canals. The biological diversity and ecosystems of the national park provide excellent opportunities to experience a rich variety of plants and animals. The region is home to more than 300 species of bird, 30 different types of freshwater fish, three species of ape, tapirs, jaguars, frogs, sloths, manatees, crocodiles and caimans, as well as four of the seven species of turtle indigenous to Costa Rica, after which the national park has been named. The green sea turtle can be seen here between July and October, while the loggerhead turtle visits between May and October – when the hawksbill turtle can also be spotted here – and the leatherback sea turtle frequents the area between March and July.

Overnight stay Mawamba Lodge

Days 4-5: Tortuguero National Park

Your stay here includes a guided walk in the area as well as a boat trip on the canals, which is a great way to experience the life and many sounds of the rainforest. The guide is good at spotting animals, and you will also learn about the flora of the rainforest.

The rest of the time at the lodge is yours to do with as you wish: relax by the pool, stroll through the rainforest, or make your way to the beach where you may well be able to watch sea turtles bury their eggs in the sand before disappearing into the waves – a remarkable sight that you are most likely to encounter between July and September. It is important not to disturb the sea turtles when they emerge from the sea to lay their eggs. So please keep quiet and make sure not to use torches or flash photography, as bright light may startle them.

It is possible to purchase extra excursions at the lodge.

Overnight stay Mawamba Lodge

Day 6: Tortuguero National Park – La Fortuna

The time has come to leave Tortuguero National Park and travel by boat and coach to the small town of La Fortuna. The town itself is not all that well known – but the surroundings are outstanding! La Fortuna is located at the foot of the most famous volcano in Costa Rica: Arenal, which towers to a height of 1,657 metres. Arenal was the most active volcano in Costa Rica until 2010, but has not produced a severe eruption since 1968, when it suddenly erupted and caused extensive destruction. Close by is the La Catarata de la Fortuna waterfall and a number of natural hot springs, and the area is very popular for activities such as riding, rafting, zip-line rides, ATV trips, cycling and kayaking.

Overnight stay Hotel Monte Real

Day 7: Arenal Volcano and the hot springs

The morning is yours to do with as you wish. For example, you can simply relax at the hotel or take a taxi out to the famous waterfall La Catarata de la Fortuna, which is located close to the foot of the dormant volcano Chato. The waterfall stems from the Tenorio River, which runs through the Arenal mountains and rainforest before crashing 70 metres down into a lagoon that is a delight to swim in. The walk from the car park to the waterfall takes around 20 minutes, leading you across a bridge and down steps through the verdant rainforest. As you walk, you may well spot some toucans, monkeys and other tropical animals.

In the afternoon you are picked up at the hotel and driven to a private reserve right up next to the Arenal volcano. A short path, approx. 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 exciting information on the active volcano.

Afterwards, you take a hike in the forest areas at the foot of the volcano. The guide tells 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 different pools, whose temperature is between 37-41 degrees. Remember your swimwear. There is also a small pool bar, where you can enjoy a drink before dinner is served.
After dinner, you are driven back to your hotel.

 

Overnight stay Hotel Monte Real

Day 8: Arenal – Monteverde cloud forest

After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to Arenal Lake. When you arrive, a boat will sail you and your luggage over to the other side of the water, where you will be picked up once more and taken to the town of Monteverde, a drive of around 4 hours. In recent years, Monteverde has transformed into an ‘adventure town’, as there are so many different activities to try in the immediate vicinity. Close to the town lies a stretch of cloud forest of the same name, and this is your destination for the next day.

Overnight stay Hotel Poco a Poco

Day 9: ‘Tree-top hike’ in the cloud forest at Monteverde

After breakfast, you will be picked up at the hotel and driven out to the cloud forest. The forest grows at an altitude of around 1,440 metres and is therefore known as ‘the forest in the clouds’. The warm Caribbean winds blow in from the sea and towards the tall mountains, and when the moist sea air is forced up to these heights it is cooled rapidly, forming low clouds between the tree tops. This also means that the days can be decidedly chilly.

As soon as you arrive, you will head off on a thrilling 3-km hike. You will notice how the mist generates a very special, almost mystical ambience as you make your way along the hanging bridges in the tree tops, negotiating the giant tree trunks that are covered in moss, ferns and orchids. The trees and plants absorb the moisture from the mist, so conditions are perfect for the 2,500 species of plant – including 420 different types of orchid – that grow here. As you walk, you are sure to encounter some of the exotic wildlife, that features 100 species of mammal, 400 species of bird and 10,000 species of insect.

After a few hours here, you will be driven back to the hotel where the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish. Kick back by the hotel pool – with its 30°C water – or explore the local area for yourself.

Overnight stay Hotel Poco a Poco

Day 10: Monteverde – Manuel Antonio

You will be picked up at the hotel for the drive to Manuel Antonio. It is a small town with a few restaurants and shops, but the surroundings and the remarkable climate make it an extraordinary place to visit. Here, you will be spending three nights at the Hotel Costa Verde, which is less than 300 metres from the beach.

Overnight stay Hotel Costa Verde

Days 11-12: Manuel Antonio

The next two days are yours to do with as you wish.

Located on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is probably best known for the nearby national park of the same name, which, although the smallest of the 25 parks in Costa Rica, is the most famous and best visited in the country. It has been named one of the 12 most beautiful national parks in the world, and comprises white sandy beaches, coral reefs, waterfalls and lush green rainforest that runs right down to the beaches – which are some of the finest in the country. The forest itself is home to a host of different plants and 293 species of animal, including squirrel monkeys, white-headed capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, howling monkeys, sloths, raccoons, lizards, toucans, butterflies and many, many more. The animals are generally used to people, so visitors often have the chance to see them right up close.

Manuel Antonio is also a wonderful place to visit if you enjoy diving, snorkelling, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and sailing; and while out on the waves, you may also spot turtles, dolphins and whales.

Please note that the national park is closed on Mondays.

Overnight stay Hotel Costa Verde

Day 13: Manuel Antonio – San José

Today, you will be collected from your hotel and driven to San José, where you will spend one last night in Costa Rica before heading back to the UK.

Overnight stay Hotel Sleep Inn

Day 14: Return flight

The time has now come to bid farewell to Costa Rica. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to the UK, which will include connecting flights along the way.

Day 15: Return trip

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderfully eventful holiday.

Highlights of this tour:

San José, Tortuguero National Park, La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano and the hot springs of Arenal, Monteverde cloud forest, Manuel Antonio.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Return flights from the UK to San José (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Transfer from and to the airport (in small international groups)
  • Bus: San José – Tortuguero – La Fortuna – Monteverde – Manuel Antonio – San José
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3 nights’ accommodation at Mawamba Lodge incl. full board
  • 1 x dinner (day 7)
  • Welcome meeting in San José
  • Individual round trip, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local, English-speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departures

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Boat trip in Tortuguero rain forest
  • Excursion to Arenal volcano and the hot springs
  • Hike through the Monteverde cloud forest on the hanging bridges
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned, excluding Tortuguero National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park (to be paid on site)

Single room supplement: £650