Day 1: Cloud Forest & Poas Volcano
Costa Rica’s central mountain range surrounds a large valley home to the country’s four largest cities and approximately half of the population. Climate conditions in the Central Valley make this an extremely pleasant place to live, with moderate temperatures year-round, beautiful mountain views and many interesting places to visit. Four volcanoes stand guard over the northern valley. The Poas Volcano in the renowned La Paz Waterfall Park, with its large butterfly farm. To the west is the town of Sarchi, home to the country’s best-known crafts and souvenir shops. To the east of the Central Valley lie the towns of Orosi and Cartago, which feature intriguing ruins and the country’s largest Catholic Church, built to honor the Virgin of Los Angeles, Costa Rica’s patron saint. The area is also famous for its white water rafting on Reventazon and Pacuare.
During your time in the Cloud Forest and Poas area, you’ll feel right at home at the Peace Lodge, located on the grounds of La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and only one hour from the San Jose International Airport. Peace Lodge encompasses the rustic past and natural beauty of the rainforest and the essence of Costa Rica. Every room boasts a Jacuzzi tub and stone fireplace along with showers that transform into waterfalls with a turn of the knob. Picture perfect views of the La Paz River Valley complete the experience. Other features include a full zoo on the grounds, two waterfalls, frog exhibit and massage services. The Peace Lodge was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s Honeymoon Hotspots as one of the eight most romantic destinations worldwide for honeymooners. While the rooms do not have A/C, the hotel sits in the Cloud Forest Region at more than 7,000 feet above sea level, and temperatures are quite comfortable.
Today, you’ll arrive to Costa Rica and check into Peace Lodge following a private transfer from San Jose to the hotel.
Day 2: Cloud Forest & Poas Volcano
You’ll awake refreshed, invigorated and ready to explore the picturesque landscape of Costa Rica’s Central Mountain Region. Today, is an open day to explore the Central Valley at your leisure. Some optional activities (not included) are:
Take full advantage of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Park. Enjoy the magnificent hikes, view the spectacular waterfalls, and visit the hummingbird gallery and butterfly farm.
Visit the Poas Volcano National Park and hike up to the crater’s edge, one of the largest on earth. Complete your visit with a 30-minute hike to the lagoon, located near the crater.
On the way down from the mountains, visit the Doka Coffee Plantation to learn about the process that produces the world’s best coffee.
Day 3: Rainforest & Arenal Volcano
On day three of your Wild Costa Rica Tour, you’re heading for the scenic Fortuna region of Costa Rica. You’ll check out of Peace Lodge, transfer to Arenal and check into Arenal Nayara Hotel, where breakfast is included during your stay.
Nestled within the flat, rich lands of San Carlos, the Arenal Volcano rises up from the rainforest like a natural monument. One of many remarkable sights in the area, this mountain of fire symbolizes the adventure and mysticism of the region. Known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano/Fortuna area offers numerous activities, ranging from highly charged white water rafting, canyoning and caving to more leisurely hikes through the rainforest and soothing swims in hot springs. The region’s attractions include the Arenal National Park, the Fortuna River Waterfall, Tabacon Hot Springs and numerous adventure tours in the rainforest. With its rolling hills, cattle farms, rainforest and Costa Rica’s largest lake, the Arenal area’s verdant landscape is a cornucopia of bio-diversity.
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens is a multi-award-winning luxury boutique hotel nestled in beautiful tropical gardens and lush rainforest— it even has it’s very own hot springs that are best visited in the evenings when temperatures drop. Rooms are spacious, luxurious, secluded bungalows overlooking the majestic Arenal Volcano, all with private gardens, outdoor showers and balconies. A 5-Star member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Nayara has been acclaimed as one of the most romantic places in the world. Its heartfelt hospitality, impeccable service, fine cuisine, outstanding spa, amazing excursions and eco-experiences make Nayara the premier destination in Costa Rica.
Day 4 & 5: Rainforest & Arenal Volcano
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. Included activities while in Arenal:
Go white water rafting on the Class I-IV Sarapiqui River. Choose from a more high paced tour designed especially for adventure aficionados or a more leisurely float for slower paced, nature lovers. Both are excellent tours featuring amazing scenery, interesting wildlife, thrilling adventure and lunch.
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. Be sure to head to the hot springs when temperatures begin to dip in the late afternoons and evenings.
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.
Take a night hike for a totally new perspective on local wildlife.
Really into wildlife and birding? You won’t want to miss Cano Negro.
Set off on a bike or horseback tour of the surrounding preserves and parks.
Embark on a cultural journey to a local farm, where you’ll spend time with a family and learn about how Costa Rican farmers live.
Day 6: Tamarindo - The Pacific Coast
After a few days exploring all the Fortuna area has to offer, you’ll check out of the hotel, take a private transfer to Tamarindo and check into your beachfront retreat, Capitan Suizo, for the remainder of your Costa Rica journey. Here, you’ll spend the next five days with your toes in the sand experiencing a completely different and unique side of Costa Rica. The drive time today is close to five hours, so we’ll be sure you have an amazing lunch along the way.
Separated from Tamarindo by the Río Matapalo is Playa Grande, an unassuming crop of pebble-rock seashore dotted with numerous tide pools exposed at low tides. Surfing along Playa Grande is ideal—regardless of skill level. The town hosts several international surf competitions, a testament to the quality of surf available. Visitors seeking luxurious accommodations can do so south of Playa Grande at Playa Langosta, a pristine white-sand beach near the Río San Francisco. As a regional hub, Tamarindo offers a wide-range of extensive activities to visitors, including sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and horseback riding.
Your home base while in Tamarindo will be the environmentally-conscious and future-oriented beach Hotel, Capitan Suizo (or a similar hotel should it be booked). It is an ideal place for relaxation that carries a tropical ambience and lies amongst a lush garden. With a discreet elegance and a touch of Swiss quality that blends with an informal and joyful atmosphere, Capitan Suizo is an oasis where it is implicit that nature and animals are integrated with love and respect. Capitan Suizo is located directly on the beach in a privileged area 1 km outside of town at the end of the bay. Breakfast in included each morning.
Days 7-10: Tamarindo - Pacific Coast
Whether you’re ready to relax and unwind, get swept up in the adventure of Tamarindo’s outdoor lifestyle or a little bit of both, the Pacific Coast region is the ideal locale to spend your last four days in Costa Rica.
Here, you can choose from an abundance of offerings (not included). Some of our favorites include:
Heed the call of the waves at Islita Surf School where experienced instructors will teach you basic techniques or guide you to the area’s best surfing spots. All levels welcome. Schedule varies according to the tide chart.
Hit the green at a par 3 Executive 9-Hole Golf Course.
Experience an unforgettable adventure for all ages on a nighttime sea turtle watching expedition, and witness the fascinating egg-laying ritual of endangered sea turtles.
Charter a boat for a bit of sport fishing.
Discover the picturesque rural landscapes and secluded beaches dotting the Pacific Coast.
Enjoy a little shopping for fun local crafts and sample flavorful regional dishes.
Go on a monkey quest and see who will be the first to spot the raucous howler monkey— among the largest monkey species in the Americas. Its whooping growl can be heard over considerable distances, securing its status as the loudest land animal. Best monkey-watching times are either early morning or after 2pm.
Observe and photograph up to 35 bird species in their natural habitat on a bird watching hike.
If you visit from May through December, paddle through a pristine swath of exciting tropical jungle over the gentle Ora River as you enjoy exotic plant and animal species from the comfort of a river kayak.
From December through April, take that kayak oceanside to take advantage of the area’s exciting network of pristine coastline and mangroves dotted with brilliant bird species and other wildlife.
Whether you’re an experienced horseback riding enthusiast or novice, there is a tour for you on the Pacific Coast. Numerous riding trails allow beginners and intermediate riders to canter through rugged surroundings over exciting terrain including open fields, thick tropical dry forest, and exotic black sand beaches, while seasoned riders can trek through river crossings and rugged mountain rails with spectacular ocean cove views. Plus, anyone will enjoy a sunset ride along the beaches here, as you enjoy the ocean breeze and the sound of hooves pounding the sand.
Day 11: Departure from Guanacaste
After your last breakfast in the breathtaking Costa Rican Pacific Coast, you’ll take a private transfer to for the return flight home.