Costa Rica Adventure

15 days
from
$3,449 USD
incl. taxes
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Traveller ratings
4 / 5 from 1 review >
Trip code: 
AHS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
New Cultural Holidays
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
16

Escape to vibrant and tropical Costa Rica 

Two weeks to fall in love with Costa Rica's vibrant beauty from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast. Take in Tortuguero's wildlife rich waterways, marvel at the rainforest on a night walk, hike amongst unique vegetation in Arenal Volcano National Park and visit the bubbling mud pools and hot springs of Rincon de la Vieja. We focus on the natural side of Costa Rica and try plenty of activities to discover the heart of this tropical country. Have a go at zip-lining and take a boat trip to see dolphins off Carrillo beach, as well as choosing from multiple optional activities. The holiday ends with a few days on the Pacific coastline, where the sandy bay is shaded by coconut palms and the water perfect for swimming.

Highlights

  • Boat tour of Tortuguero's tranquil waterways 
  • Lunch at an organic farm and visit a pineapple plantation 
  • Zip-lining excursion included - soar above the cloud forest! 
  • Discover Rincon de la Vieja with its bubbling mud pools and hot springs 
  • Choose from included canyoning, tubing or horse-riding 
  • Relax on the Pacific Coast with 3 nights staying in a hotel overlooking Carrillo Beach
  • Boat trip to see dolphins and evening turtle nesting tour  

Key information

  • Travel by minibus and boat 
  • 14 nights comfortable hotels and lodges
  • Turtle nesting season at Tortuguero: July to October
  • Turtle nesting season at Caramonal: all year round but bigger numbers during June to January 
  • Countries visited: Costa Rica

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

San Jose
to
San Jose Airport
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

    The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Meet your fellow travellers and guide who will give you a warm welcome to Costa Rica.  

    Accommodation: Studio Hotel (or similar)

  • Day 2

    To Tortuguero N.P.

    Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's vast network of waterways, canals and swamps are remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is a short distance from the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it’s possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum. Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today's travel time will be in the region of six hours including a break for breakfast.

    Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    Just after sunrise we board a small boat, enabling us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero as we pass serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast near the river. The lodge is a tranquil spot to relax for the rest of the day if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, or alternatively you can join a second boat trip (included but optional) or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To Sarapiqui; night walk to experience the rainforest in the dark!

    We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived, by taking a small boat to the pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Sarapiqui, stopping for lunch en route. The region of Sarapiqui is blessed with abundant vegetation and the beautiful Sarapiqui River. This is one of the main areas of banana production in Costa Rica, although coffee, cardamon, cacao, corn and other fruits are also grown here. In the evening we take a night walk through Tirimbina Biological Reserve, crossing a suspension bridge to have a different perspective on the rainforest and its many inhabitants: see how many eyes you can spot staring back at you! Our guide will focus on nocturnal species, such as insects, frogs and nocturnal mammals, who are active in the dark.  

    Accommodation: La Quinta Sarapiqui (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Pineapple Plantation tour; to La Fortuna near Arenal.

    After breakfast at the hotel, we check out and make our way towards an organic pineapple plantation, located in La Virgen de Sarapiqui. This area is well known for its rich soil and excellent growing conditions. During our morning's tour we have the opportunity to discover the organic philosophy of the farm, learning about crop rotation, companion planting and the concept of rural agri-tourism. This is a great introduction to Costa Rican heritage. Afterwards we transfer to the area of La Fortuna near Arenal arriving around lunchtime. We have some free time to enjoy the hotel's facilities or there are some optional excursions for this afternoon/evening.  

    Accommodation: Las Lagos Spa & Resort (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    La Fortuna Waterfall walk; farm to table culinary experience at an organic farm.

    Arenal was once Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. There is a lot of geo-thermal activity in this area, with natural hot springs, waterfalls and Lake Arenal. This morning we visit La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65 metre cascade of water plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest brings us to a relatively steep set of steps that we must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit - this takes around 20-30 minutes and can be rewarded with a swim in the emerald pool below, if you wish. It is possible to visit the lookout point and wait for the group here if you prefer. Keep an eye out for colourful toucans in the rainforest! 

    Afterwards we have a farm to table culinary tour at an organic farm. This is a fun and interactive experience to discover some of the typical produce grown in this area. On arrival we'll be greeted with fresh fruits and coffee whilst we learn about the farm's history. We usually select some of the produce to be harvested that day (destined for our lunch menu) and have a tour of the greenhouse to see how some of Costa Rica's staples are grown. This is a great experience to see an authentic farm set in wonderful surroundings - look out for the family of sloths living in the neighbouring trees! 

    Accommodation: Los Lagos Spa & Resort (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Hike at Arenal Volcano N.P.; free afternoon for optional activities.

    After lunch we take a short scenic hike within Arenal National Park, walking through secondary rainforest and passing some of the lava fields from past eruptions. Walking on the base and flanks of the volcano gives extraordinary views, as our guide explains about the history, recent activity and points out some of the landmarks that have been left over the years. The high vantage points on this walk also allow great views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the birdlife is plentiful. This afternoon is free to join one of the optional activities available in this region. 

    Accommodation: Los Lagos Spa & Resort (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Boat and transfer to Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains.

    From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands for a taste of the Costa Rican cloud forest. Reaching Monteverde involves a fast boat across Lake Arenal which is incredibly scenic and will take roughly half an hour. Our journey is then completed by private minibus as we ascend the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different varieties here. Our total journey time will be in the region of 3.5 hours, including the lake crossing.

    Accommodation: El Establo Mountain Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Zip-line adventure through the tree tops; visit the hanging bridges and butterfly garden.

    Today we visit Selvatura Park which has 850 acres of protected land dedicated to nature and adventure. We begin with the hanging bridges excursion, which is a system of treetop walkways through the forest designed to let you experience the beauty of the cloud forest and observe its many inhabitants. We’ll also visit the butterfly garden which has one of the largest exhibitions of butterflies in the world, and the hummingbird garden where more than 14 species of hummingbird will amaze you with their aerial manoeuvres. After this it’s time to try out some aerial manoeuvres of our own on a zip line adventure through the tree tops! Before you fly down the zip-lines, guides will teach you the proper technique, including how to position yourself and hold the cable correctly, enabling you to safely embark on this adrenaline pumping adventure suspended above the trees.

    Accommodation: El Establo Mountain Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    To Rincon de la Vieja; choose between a canyon canopy tour, tubing or horse riding.

    After breakfast at the hotel we check out and transfer to Rincon de la Vieja, an area that combines dry forest with enchanting waterfalls and is best known for its bubbling mud pots, steaming vents in the earth, hot springs and a whole host of wildlife. There are three activities to choose between today: a canyon canopy tour, tubing or horse riding. The cost of joining one activity is included, so it is up to you to decide which you would like to do! The canyon canopy tour is a zip line adventure involving rappelling, climbing, a tarzan swing and hanging bridges over a narrow river canyon. Tubing takes place on the Rio Negro, with individual inner tube rafts across 5km of class II and III rapids. The horse riding excursion follows a forest trail leading to a rainforest waterfall. Experience is not needed for any of these activities and you can decide which you prefer once you're in Costa Rica. 

    Accommodation: Hacienda Guachipelin (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Hiking in Rincon de la Vieja N.P.; visit the mud baths and hot springs.

    Today we get to discover Rincon de la Vieja National Park and its network of trails during a hike through the exotic dry tropical forest on the Las Pailas Trail. This loop walk twists through jungle around the base of the volcano, passing natural fumaroles spitting steam, and hopefully encountering wildlife on the way: toucans, Spider monkeys and lizards are found here as well as many bird species. Afterwards we visit a hot springs. Heated naturally by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, these hot springs feed directly from the Rio Negro and are mineral rich with therapeutic properties. There are 10 man-made pools created to capture the steaming mineral water, surrounded by thick forest. Smooth volcanic clay over yourself, let it dry and wash off with a cool shower or jump in the river before soaking again in the hot pools! 

    Accommodation: Hacienda Guachipelin (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Carillo beach on the Pacific Coast; afternoon at leisure to enjoy the beach.

    We travel to the region of Samara on the Pacific Coast, one of the best kept secrets in Costa Rica! The broad, shady bay is backed by coconut palms and the water is calm and safe for swimming thanks to a coral reef just out to sea on which the normally large, Pacific waves break before reaching the beach. There are plenty of facilities in this area but there's a noticeable absense of big resort hotels, which makes for a nice atmosphere. Our hotel faces onto Carrillo beach in the neighbouring bay to Samara. We have a free afternoon here to enjoy the facilities and discover the area.

    Accommodation: Nammbu Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Boat trip to see dolphins offshore from Carrillo beach; have a go at snorkelling.

    Today we take a private boat trip around 2 – 10 nautical miles offshore from Carrillo beach in search of dolphins. You could be lucky enough to see Spotted dolphins, Central American Spinner dolphins or Common Bottlenose dolphins which all inhabit this area year around. Feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the scenery of the coastline as we search for these playful animals who love to swim in the bow wave of the boat! As we make our way back along the coast, we will anchor near the shores of Isla Chora, a delightful white sand beach full of hermit crabs and iguanas. This is a great spot for a refreshing swim and a chance to observe the underwater world by wearing a mask and snorkel. Beneath the surface teems a lively, colourful world with huge marine diversity. In total today’s excursion will last around 4 hours, with the rest of your time at leisure to enjoy the area.

    Accommodation: Nammbu Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Free day to enjoy the Pacific coast; evening turtle nesting tour.

    Today has been left free for you to enjoy the Pacific coast, Carrillo beach and the hotel's facilities.

    This evening we take a turtle nesting tour on nearby Camaronal beach, where an extensive wildlife refuge has been created to protect the Olive ridley, Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles who all lay their eggs in the reserve's sands. These endangered species nest all year round at Caramonal, but in bigger numbers from June to January. This tour takes place at nightime with a ranger and we hope to have the opportunity to visit the beach when turtles are nesting, to see the incredible moment that a turtle digs a hole and starts to lay her eggs. Sometimes you may be lucky and find yourself present during hatchings too, which means baby turtles scrabbling through the sand to get to the water! This unforgettable experience only happens in the dark, so the tour usually starts around 7pm and may last up to 4 hours depending on sightings.  

    Accommodation: Nammbu Hotel (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    To San Jose; end San Jose

    A four hour journey takes us back to San Jose, where those on group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their return flight. Land only clients end in San Jose and are advised not to book a flight leaving San Jose before 4pm today, as arrival at the airport will be timed to co-incide with the group flight.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them. All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners are included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style, and lunches and dinners at Tortuguero are also buffet style. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Costa Rican specialities include 'Gallo Pinto', a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups and stews are also common, and fresh fruit is abundant and will no doubt be one of the highlights of your time in the tropics.

Weather

Costa Rica is located 10º north of the equator and has a tropical climate. The average temperature range is 10ºC - 13ºC in the highlands, and from 22ºC - 26ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to November when there are daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine, so midsummer is not necessarily a bad time to go. December to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).

Driving distances are not very long and most of the roads that we travel on are of good quality. However, the road which leads to the river on the way to and from Tortuguero has a poor surface and this can result in slow driving times, particularly following heavy rain. 

There are some nature walks on the itinerary which occasionally involve walking on rough paths. During times of heavy rain, trails can be muddy and slippery and extra care should be taken. Many of the areas visited on the trip are hot and humid and there is the chance of heavy rain year-round - this is why Costa Rica is so green! 

Please note that in the region of Tortuguero the sea has very strong rip currents and is not suitable for swimming from the beach. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

14 nights spent in hotels and lodges, all with en suite facilities and most with swimming pools. 

In San Jose we stay at the modern 4* Studio Hotel, conveniently located near the airport for an easy arrival transfer at the start of the holiday. 

In Tortuguero we usually stay at Evergreen Lodge, located just a few minutes by boat from the entrance to Tortuguero National Park. This magical area is surrounded by vegetation and our accommodation has a rustic feel with wooden bungalows, comfortable beds and ceiling fans. There is a lovely pool area and the property is set in 2 hectares of jungle. 

In Sarapiqui we usually stay at La Quinta Sarapiqui, a lodge with bungalow style accommodation looking out onto gardens filled with flowers and birdlife. Occasionally we stay at Selva Verde instead. 

In Arenal, our accommodation will normally be at the Los Lagos Spa & Resort Hotel. This property is close to Arenal Volcano and has large natural grounds, with butterflies and frogs regularly seen in the surrounding rainforest. Rooms are comfortable and well equipped. There are several natural pools fed by rainforest spring water to relax in. 

In Monteverde, we normally stay at the 4* El Establo Mountain Hotel which has expansive views of the Gulf of Nicoya and is well located for discovering the misty cloud forest. There is an outdoor swimming pool and spa. 

In Rincon de la Vieja our accommodation is usually the Hacienda Guachapelin, an expansive property with rooms set in lush gardens full of native trees and exotic flowers. The hacienda is set on a 3,400-acre ranch bordering the Rincón de la Vieja National Park.

By the Pacific Coast we plan to stay at the Nammbu Hotel, a beachfront property overlooking Carrillo beach. This family run property has large rooms, wonderful ocean views and a lovely swimming pool. 

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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