Day 1: San Jose
Due to flight schedules, your first night in Costa Rica will be spent in San Jose at the Real Intercontinental, where luxury and comfort abound at a 5-Star resort situated among welcoming gardens and in amazing proximity to the bustling city center. However, we recommend enjoying the hotel amenities this afternoon and evening, as the transfer to the Osa Peninsula tomorrow is an early one.
Amenities include resort-style pool, world-class spa, five restaurants and lounges, fitness center, tennis courts, live entertainment and more.
Day 2: Osa
Pristine, rugged and wild, the Osa Peninsula has been called “one of the most biologically intense places on Earth” by National Geographic Magazine, so it’s easy to understand that it is truly among the most stunning areas in all of Costa Rica. Thanks in large part to its vast biological diversity, this region quickly has become the favorite emerging eco-tourism locale in the country.
An isolated natural wonderland home to most of the country’s indigenous and endangered wildlife, including the jaguar, Harpy Eagle, puma, scarlet macaw and all four species of native monkey, Osa also boasts the single largest expanse of lowland tropical rainforest in Central America and one of the tallest rainforests in the world. Due to the destination’s expansive wilderness and numerous rare animals, a guide is recommended when exploring the destination, and we have the very best in Costa Rica!
While on the Osa Peninsula, you’ll be captivated by the seemingly boundless opportunities for adventures or, alternatively, relaxation on all but abandoned beaches. This is not a standard pre-packaged adventure tour experience. Instead, Osa is a wild and unspoiled wilderness where animals roam free and anything is possible. Perfect for intrepid travelers seeking reconnection with the great wide world, this destination lays it bare. Despite the remote surroundings, there still are a few excellent choices for luxury accommodations and expert tour guides, including the new eco-luxury resort Copa de Arbol.
At Copa de Arbol Beach and Rainforest Resort, you’ll experience the Costa Rica you’ve always dreamed about amidst a brand new eco-luxury resort situated between Corcovado National Park and Drake Bay. Completely remote and accessible only via boat, Copa de Arbol is a magnificent oceanfront eco-resort hidden amongst 70 acres of untouched rainforest reserve. There are only 10 luxury cabanas made using reforested wood and eco-conscious recycled materials. Each cabin blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings and includes rainforest and ocean views, as well as balconies to relax and enjoy them. You’ll stay at Copa de Arbol or similar while in Osa.
Today, you’ll awaken and head to the airport for a local flight to Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay and Corcovado. Once you’ve arrived on the peninsula, you’ll note there are no roads and will be picked up by boat to make your way to the hotel.
Day 3: Osa
After a fresh, locally-sourced breakfast courtesy of Copa de Arbol’s food and beverage team, you can choose from two amazing private full-day tours of the area: Snorkeling Cano Island Biological Reserve or touring Corcovado National Park.
The snorkeling tour of the beautiful Cano Island Biological Reserve, which lies about 10 miles off the coast of Drake Bay, takes you to a tropical paradise boasting palm-lined shores, white sand beaches and, of course, the main attraction— a protected inland coral reef system with year-round visibility of anywhere from 30-100+ feet.
Once a pirate refuge and home to many important Pre-Colombian archeological sites, including an indigenous cemetery, both the island itself and the surrounding marine reserve are important treasures of Costa Rica. Here, you’ll find the largest number of coral-building organisms in Costa Rica’s Pacific waters, including head coral, brain coral, sea fans and more and one of the most bio-diverse arrays of aquatic life found anywhere in the world. Get ready for snapper, puffer, barracuda, parrotfish, barber fish, surgeon fish, manta rays, white tip reef sharks and even occasional dolphin and whale sitings. Sometimes the schools of tropical fish number in the hundreds, making this the most popular snorkel and dive spot in Costa Rica.
After a thrilling morning at Cano Island, you’ll head to nearby Violines Island for a tasty picnic lunch and afternoon spent lazing about on white sand beaches amidst swaying palms and singing tropical birds. If you haven’t yet gotten in enough snorkeling, there also are reefs here for you to enjoy during the dry season. Both the Cano Island Biological Reserve and Violines Island also boast some of the best (and most heavily regulated) SCUBA diving in all of Costa Rica.
If you would prefer to dive these amazing destinations, we can arrange that for an up-charge to the package price. Or, if snorkeling and diving aren’t your cup of tea, we are happy to arrange other tours, including whale and dolphin watching or a variety of specialized guided walks through the surrounding nature preserve.
If you’d prefer to venture out for a full-day tour of the national park National Geographic ranks third best in the entire world— Corcovado Park, this private excursion takes you an hour by boat into the massive 104,000-acre preserve where you’ll encounter an abundance of rare wildlife, including 140 mammal, 116 reptile and 400+ bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for anteaters, sloths, monkeys, jaguars, the endangered Baird’s tapir, and much more. Lunch is provided on the tour, but you’ll enjoy breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
No matter how you choose to spend your day, when the adventure is done and you arrive back at the welcoming luxury of Copa de Arbol, be sure to visit the open air beachfront restaurant and full bar where only the freshest and best local ingredients are used in each of its specialty cocktails and culinary creations. Then, kick back on your balcony with a glass of wine and enjoy the rainforest and beach views before settling onto your pillow top orthopedic mattress for an amazingly restful night’s sleep.
Day 4: Osa
It’s our last day on the Osa Peninsula before we head to the more established but still remote Guanacaste, but there’s still time for one last adventure. We’ll embark on a waterfall journey with romantic private picnic lunch before transferring to the second of our remote beach destinations.
The waterfall journey will take you on an invigorating hike through the rainforest along the Carbonera River, where you’ll enjoy some challenging hiking and climbing, as well as the refreshing chance to swim beneath at least one beautiful waterfall before delighting in a tasty picnic lunch near a romantic freshwater swimming hole.
Once the morning’s activities have wound to a close, we’ll begin the trip to the northern department of Guanacaste. The journey begins with a private chartered flight in a twin engine Seneca to the Hotel Punta Islita beachfront resort airstrip. If a private charter isn’t for you, we can arrange domestic flights instead; however, the trip itinerary will have to be adjusted, as you will have to go back through San Jose for a one-night stay. All roads in Costa Rica lead through San Jose, as they say.
Quickly becoming one of Costa Rica’s foremost beach destinations, Guanacaste-Nicoya is home to the alluring Gulf of Papagayo and many sun-drenched Pacific Coast beaches. More and more vacationers are choosing to call this area home during their Costa Rica dream getaway thanks to its accessibility, luxurious accommodations and varied eco-systems.
Boasting both white and dark sand beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, Papagayo boasts an ideal combination of calm waters and big surf lapping at mangroves and along the shores of dry tropical forest. The region’s exclusive resorts and hotels are among the finest in Costa Rica and offer a little something for everyone— regardless of your personal travel style.
At Punta Islita, surrounded by tropical forest and colorful communities on a hidden Guanacaste beach, inspired travelers will find a posh destination that intensifies life’s greatest experiences, including horseback riding, zip lining, fine dining, golfing or just the fine art of doing nothing at all. The private oceanfront villas include spacious living and dining areas, private plunge pools and full kitchens (even if you have no intention of cooking) are are distinctively decorated with details reflecting the country’s charming people, culture and hospitality.
Day 5: Guanacaste
It may be tempting to spend the rest of your dream Costa Rica getaway lounging on the beaches of Guanacaste and Papagayo, but you won’t want to miss out on all the amazing activities available here!
Today, you’ll set out on a private tour of the national park, including zip lining, rock climbing, horseback riding, river tubing and a trek to the hot springs and mud baths is a wonderful way to spend your first full day in Guanacaste before heading back to Punta Islita to spend your evening relaxing at the resort’s restaurant and spa.
The stylish 1492 Restaurant highlights the spirit of Costa Rica with its vivacious colors, varied textures and, most importantly, bold flavors mirroring the country’s rich culinary traditions. Fresh local and regional dishes are prepared and served in 50-foot thatched-roof dining room inspired by indigenous architecture sure to complete a memorable day in Rincon de la Vieja. After a wonderful meal at 1492, why not visit the hotel’s epicenter of wellness— the Casa Spa— for one of its all natural treatments that will heal you body and soul.
Day 6: Guanacaste
You’ve experienced the stunning natural beauty of Osa’s best snorkel and dive locales, and it wouldn’t be a beach vacation within at least one more day on the water. Today, you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel the scenic Catalina Islands before embarking on a sunset cruise of the Gulf of Papagayo.
Enjoy a picturesque boat ride of 30 minutes to an hour and on the horizon you’ll see another of Costa Rica’s most renowned underwater destinations. This archipelago of uninhabited rocky islets is most famous as the best spot to see Pacific Giant Manta Rays, which frequent the are pretty much year-round, but Catalina also is home to angelfish, eels, jacks, octopus and at least six species of ray besides the Pacific Giant. In season, you’re also likely to see whales and sea turtles and possibly even whale sharks, tiger sharks, humpbacks and orcas. Currents, water temperatures and visibility can vary greatly throughout the year at this location, so this portion of the tour may be moved elsewhere if guides determine it to be necessary. As in Osa, we are happy to change the snorkel tour of Catalina to a dive excursion for an up-charge.
After a quick wardrobe change back at Punta Islita, get ready to see truly spectacular sights during a sunset catamaran cruise of the Gulf of Papagayo. Great for couples, families or groups of friends, the sunset cruise serves up tasty snacks and drinks as you sail serenely along the waters of the Gulf. Pick up and drop off at your hotel.
Day 7: Guanacaste
Whether you’d like to squeeze in another adventure or laze away your last day in Costa Rica with your toes in the sand, you’ll have a full free day to explore all Guanacaste and the shimmering Gulf of Papagayo have to offer. However you choose to spend your day, be sure to embrace the Pura Vida mentality that makes Costa Rica such an exciting and sought after destination. This is a day for you to choose from an abundance of add-on activities (some included in the hotel’s Limitless program and others not included). Some of our most favorite are:
Hit the links with a local golf pro to refine your short game.
Connect with the locals over a pick-up soccer game at the hotel’s own fields.
Relax and energize with morning yoga.
Take a traditional Tico cooking or fun-loving mixology class.
Charter a boat for sport fishing.
Paddle the Ora River via kayak or stand-up paddle board.
Zip through the canopy and get a bird’s eye view suspended from steel cables.
Sneak in some shopping at one of the quaint local townships.
Take a brisk morning hike or horseback ride to explore the rugged surroundings, including mountain trails and breaking waves.
Visit the local Macaw Rescue Mission at The Ara Project.
Create a special wellness beverage from nature’s treasure trove in the hotel’s juicing class.
Day 8: Departure from Guanacaste
After your last breakfast at Punta Islita, you’ll bid a fond farewell to the spectacular Guanacaste region as you’re transferred to Liberia International Airport for the return flight home.