Day 1: Poas
Home to half of the country’s population and its four largest cities, the Central Valley is also home to four volcanoes. Two stand guard over the northern Valley— Irazu and Poas. One of the most desired locales in Costa Rica, the Poas Volcano features one of the biggest craters on Earth, and no journey to the park is complete without an easy trek to the neighboring lagoon.
No tour of the Poas Volcano National Park/Cloud Forest region is complete without exploring some of the additional activities in the area. Some of our favorites include: A visit to the Doka Coffee Estate, a jaunt down the Sarapiqui River’s Class II and III rapids (birthed from Poas itself), a hike through La Paz Waterfall Gardens Park or a ride on the Rainforest Aerial Tram.
The Poas region offers an enticing alternative to travelers who want to stay near San Jose but are seeking something just a bit more serene. Although Poas is accessible by day trip from San Jose, there are a handful of wonderful eco lodges and luxury hotels in the Poas/Cloud Forest area. One of the region’s most exclusive boutique hotels, The Peace Lodge, is an award-winning rainforest retreat on the grounds of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, offering a truly immersive experience.
Today, you’ll arrive in Costa Rica and check into Peace Lodge following a private transfer from San Jose to the hotel, but get ready to stop by Doka Coffee Estate along the way for a firsthand look at Costa Rican coffee and a quick pick-me-up.
Day 2: Poas
Why settle for the busy city life in San Jose on your first night in paradise when you can escape to the jungle? At Peace Lodge, you’ll find the proprietors have brought the outside in for a unique experiential adventure on the grounds of the privately-owned La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and less than an hour from the airport.
The Peace Lodge provides an award-winning awakening of your senses and creates long-lasting memories in a distinctive mountain lodge environment. Witness the natural wonders of the rainforest and its native wildlife from the upscale tranquility of one of the country’s most special boutique hotels. Guests are welcome to enjoy the surrounding park for free and also after hours to avoid the crowds.
Each room at Peace Lodge boasts picture-perfect vistas of the La Paz River Valley and soaring Poas Volcano, as well as the neighboring cloud and rain forests, which you can enjoy from your oversized private balcony complete with hammocks and rocking chairs. Inside each romantic guest room, you’ll find a stone fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, canopy bed, waterfall showers, illustrated art work, fine quality linens, original stained glass and an array of aromatherapy products.
Recently showcased on the Travel Channel’s Honeymoon Hotspots International, Peace Lodge is widely recognized as one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations on the planet.
Spend your morning strolling through Costa Rica’s most visited national park— Poas— before breaking for lunch and heading back to the scenic Peace Lodge for a restful afternoon. Of course, should you desire more activity, we’re happy to add on another adventure!
After a full day of exploring this magnificent region, you’re sure to be hungry, and Peace Lodge offers numerous options for satiation. For newlyweds (and anyone else who wants some quiet time), private dining is available in room, or guests can enjoy a meal on the patio overlooking the Poas Volcano. ICT Four Forks rated Colibries Restaurant is available for lunch, and guests are invited to the Big Trout Bar each afternoon to watch the sunset and enjoy freshly made drinks lakeside. Other features include: Vista Poas Restaurant, Las Tucas Lounge.
After dinner, why not avail yourself of the after hours access to La Paz and it’s many hiking trails and waterfalls. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is the most visited privately-owned wildlife attraction in Costa Rica. Here, you’ll find the most famous waterfalls and the best hiking amidst a wildlife preserve with more than 100 rescued species. You’ll see lush tropical forest, five spectacular waterfalls, butterflies, birds, monkeys, sloths, jaguars and more. And, you won’t even have to fight the crowds!
Day 3: Siquirres
On Day 3, you’ll make the short (and fun) transfer to Siquirres and Pacuare Lodge via rafting excursion. That’s right, the best way in and out of Pacuare Lodge is by boat, and you’ll continue your dream Costa Rican adventure at one of National Geographic’s Top 24 Unique Lodges of the World! Believe us, getting to Pacuare Lodge is half the fun as you raft deep into the heart of the Pacuare Protected Zone! It is possible to take a ground transfer (over a very rough road), but why would you when you can raft there instead?! We’ll pick you up at Peace Lodge for a private early ground transfer to the river put in and make sure you enjoy a tasty breakfast on the road.
Just about as remote as you can get and settled amongst a private rainforest reserve overlooking the river lies the singular Pacuare Lodge. Not only is the Lodge in its own private reserve, it also is in the middle of a huge protected area with one of the world’s best rafting rivers as its centerpiece! This magnificent eco-lodge hosts sustainable tourism and a casual ambiance promoted by staff hailing from nearby communities (including, of course, the kitchen team that is inspired by a deep love of simple, great food made from local ingredients).
The enchanting jungle hideaway was built with a minimum impact on the bordering river and forest, but that doesn’t mean rooms at the Lodge aren’t spacious and luxurious. King-sized beds are finely appointed with 300 thread count linens and a Simmons Beautyrest mattress, while private decks and heated outdoor showers will help you enjoy the primordial rainforest that shelters monkeys, sloths, jaguars, ocelots and many species of other mammals and birds.
After you’ve checked into the Pacuare Lodge and gotten settled, the afternoon is yours to enjoy and the Lodge staff is at your service. Whether you’d like to go zip lining, hike to a local waterfall or a number of other excursions, the team at Pacuare Lodge will ensure your afternoon is just how you want it to be. Then, get ready for a truly lovely candlelight dinner to put a romantic and delicious cap on your day.
Day 4: Siquirres
It’s your last day in Siquirres before we head to one of the most renowned natural attractions in all of Costa Rica— the Arenal Volcano. But before you head out choose from one of the Lodge’s amazing morning adventures:
Enjoy a leisurely trek through the Pacuare Protected Zone to embark on a canopy and zip line adventure.
Paddle the Pacuare River in an inflatable kayak along Class II rapids and enjoy amazing scenery.
Hike, climb and rappel through the tropics with a bit of canyoning.
Join the Day Break or Cabecar Indigenous hikes to see the forest awaken or learn about the area’s traditional customs, respectively.
Visit some of the local villages to learn more about local customs, language and culture.
After lunch, why not spend your free afternoon at the spa to recharge those batteries before the second half of your trip? Pacuare Lodge is home to Jawa Juu Spa, which is so named for the Cabecar Indian’s “house of the shaman.” Like the shaman who treats patients with medicinal plants, the spa uses the healing power of the rainforest, including local, natural products, in each of its treatments.
After dinner, turn in early for a good night’s rest, as you’re off to Arenal and La Fortuna early in the morning. The scenic private transfer takes between three and four hours, but we’ll be making a stop along the way!
Day 5: Arenal
After a tasty breakfast at at Pacuare Lodge, you’ll head out on a transfer to Monteverde in the Fortuna region and the Nayara Hotel & Gardens. Although the highlight of this region is Arenal National Park, there is a bounty of Costa Rican wonders awaiting you.
On day five of your Costa Rica Rainforest Romance tour, you’re heading for the spectacular Fortuna region. You’ll check out of Peace Lodge, transfer to Arenal and check into Arenal Nayara Hotel, where breakfast is included during your stay.
Rising from the rich, flat lands of San Carlos, the Arenal Volcano ascends from the rainforest like a living monument. One of many incredible attractions in the area, this mountain of fire symbolizes the mysticism and adventure of the region. Recognized as Costa Rica’s adventure capital, the Arenal/Fortuna region offers abundant activities, ranging from leisurely hikes through the rainforest and soothing swims in hot springs to more highly charged white water rafting, canyoning and caving. Popular highlights are Arenal National Park, the Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve, the Fortuna River Waterfall and numerous adventure tours in the rainforest. With its farms, rolling hills, rainforest and the country’s largest lake, the this region’s verdant landscape is a bounty of bio-diversity.
After you get settled at the hotel and the temperatures begin to fall just a bit, we can take you to the Tabacon thermal pools for a little R&R or you can enjoy the hotel’s very own hot springs on property. It’s a perfectly relaxing way to break up your remarkable rainforest adventure!
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens is a luxury, multi-award-winning boutique hotel situated in stunning tropical gardens and exuberant rainforest. Accommodations overlook the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano and are secluded bungalows with plenty of space and packed with amenities. Each boasts outdoor showers, as well as private gardens and balconies. Nayara is a 5-Star member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group and is repeatedly lauded as among the most romantic places on Earth. Its impeccable service, heartfelt hospitality, outstanding spa, fine cuisine, amazing excursions and eco-experiences make Nayara a sought-after destination in Costa Rica.
Day 6: Arenal
During the remainder of your stay in the Arenal/Fortuna region, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a sampling of the area’s plentiful activities. Choose from these full-day included activities while in Arenal:
Relax at the Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica’s top hot springs resorts, featuring breath-taking volcano views, lush tropical gardens and lunch. Some of Costa Rica’s top spas and therapists make Arenal their home.
Get a bird’s eye view of the region on the Sky Tram & Sky Trek Tour. The Sky Tram is a gondola used to go up the mountain to start a zipline tour. Sky Trek is the name for the canopy or zipline tour from this company.
Visit one of the most remote areas of Costa Rica on a tour of the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge via Rio Frio safari cruise. Near the Nicaragua border, these wetlands are home to a truly mind boggling array of wildlife, including the Jesus Christ lizard, freshwater sharks and some 350 species of bird.
Take a night hike for a fresh outlook on local wildlife.
Birders and wildlife lovers won’t want to miss Cano Negro Wildlife Preserve.
Set off on a horseback or bike tour of Arenal Park.
Explore a local farm and spend time with a family to learn about how Costa Rica’s farmers live.
This will be your last night in the Fortuna area, and you’ll be heading to the northern department of Guanacaste in the morning. Once your activities have wound to a close, you’ll want to rest up for the tomorrow’s transfer.
Day 7: Guanacaste
You’ll arise today and begin the trip to the northern department of Guanacaste. The breathtaking journey is a stunning 4-5—hour private ground transfer before checkin at Hotel Punta Islita beachfront resort.
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.
It may be tempting to spend the rest of your dream Costa Rica getaway lounging on the beaches of Guanacaste and Papagayo, but be sure to rest up tonight because there’s plenty to do during your two full days in Guanacaste.
Tonight, you may be inclined to try the stylish 1492 Restaurant, which 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. 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 and leave you ready for a ton of fun the next two days!
Day 8: Guanacaste
Today, choose between a jungle or underwater adventure!
You can either head to the national park for a day of zip lining, rock climbing, horseback riding, river tubing and a trek to the hot springs and mud baths— a wonderful way to spend your first full day in Guanacaste— or set sail on the high seas. as you snorkel the scenic Catalina Islands before embarking on a sunset cruise of the Gulf of Papagayo.
Should you choose the latter, you’ll 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.
If you would prefer to dive this amazing destination, 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.
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 9: 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.
Day 10: 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.