Depart to San Jose. Upon arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day free to relax and enjoy San Jose. Overnight in San Jose.
Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio
See Costa Rica from coast to coast in this tour of the country’s most popular destinations. Spot abundant wildlife while boating through Tortuguero’s jungle canals and witness turtle nesting on its Caribbean beach. Observe lava flowing from Arenal Volcano, and relax in a thermal hot spring. Appreciate the unique micro climate of Monteverde’s cloud forest, and view it from above on a canopy tour. Awake to the sound of Howler Monkeys in Manuel Antonio, and explore its popular national park.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 9 nights (1 night in San Jose, 2 nights in Tortuguero, 2 nights in Arenal, 2 nights in Monteverde, and 2 nights in Manuel Antonio) and 16 meals (9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 3 dinners).
Best Time to Go: December-April.
Early morning transfer by minibus to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast. On the way to Tortuguero, you will drive through Braulio Carrillo National Park, and stop along the way for a typical Costa Rican breakfast. You will also visit a banana processing plant before arriving at Cano Blanco, the launching point for the scenic boat ride to Tortuguero. Tortuguero is one of the best parks in Costa Rica for wildlife observation, and Its black sand beach is a major nesting area for the green sea turtle. The park is also home to over 300 species of birds, including herons and kingfishers, monkeys (howler, spider, and white-faced capuchin), sloths, caiman, iguanas, frogs, and butterflies.
Check-in at the Lodge followed by lunch. Afternoon visit to the Sea Museum of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation in the small village of Tortuguero. Overnight in Tortuguero. (B,L,D)
Visit the canals within the national park to observe and learn about the amazing variety of flora and fauna of the area. Overnight in Tortuguero. (B,L,D)
After breakfast at the lodge, depart by boat to Cano Blanco, and then by minibus to Guapiles, where you will have lunch. You will then be taken to Arenal and your hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Arenal. (B,L)
In the morning, you have a choice of two (included) half-day excursions: Arenal Hanging Bridges (a private, 250 hectare tropical rain forest reserve located near Arenal Volcano. The tour consists of two miles of trails crossing 15 bridges from 16 to 330 feet long, suspended above the primary rain forest. A wide variety of rain forest plants and animals can be observed) or Horseback Ride to La Fortuna Waterfall (a scenic ride through pastures and rainforest, where wildlife can be observed. At the end of the ride, you will hike down to La Fortuna Waterfall, an impressive 200 foot cascade of rainforest water).
Mid-afternoon, you will have a guided hiking tour of El Silencio Trail in close proximity to the volcano. Your naturalist guide will point out indigenous rain forest plants and inform you of their medicinal properties. Frequent wildlife sightings include monkeys, toucans, White-Nosed Coatis, Oro Pendulas, Golden Eyelash Vipers, Boa Constrictors, White-Tailed Deer, and Great Curassows. Before dark, you will stop at the observation point, which offers the closest, most direct view of the Volcano’s lava flow. The day finishes at the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort for a relaxing mineral bath followed by dinner at the restaurant. Overnight in Arenal. (B,D)
You will be taken to the Arenal Lake Dam dock for a scenic 30 minute boat ride across the lake. Disembark at the Rio Chiquito dock on the other side of the lake, where a 4 x 4 vehicle will be waiting to take you by gravel road to Monteverde (+/- two hours). Monteverde was founded about 40 years ago by a small group of conservation-minded Quakers who were looking for a peaceful place to live. Its Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most outstanding wild life sanctuaries in the New World.
After checking in at your hotel, and lunch, you will visit the Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Reserve, a 10,500 hectare privately owned reserve that straddles the continental divide. The reserve has several well-marked hiking trails, and is popular with bird watchers, who come to see the Reserve’s more than 400 bird species, including the resplendent Quetzal (the Mayan bird of paradise). The reserve also contains over 3,000 plant species (including 500 orchid species), and a wide variety of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Overnight in Monteverde. (B)
Selvatura is a cloud forest conservation project located in the Monteverde area. You will have a guided Treetop Walkways tour through the cloud forest on eight different bridges of various lengths from 150-510 feet up. Each of the bridges are five feet wide, and are suitable for people of all ages. The tour also includes a Butterfly Farm, Hummingbird Garden, and a zip-line Canopy Tour. Lunch at Selvatura. Overnight in Monteverde. (B,L)
Morning transfer to Manuel Antonio. You will have the rest of the afternoon free to enjoy the area. Overnight in Manuel Antonio. (B)
In the morning, you will have a half-day guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. This 1,685 acre park is one of the last remaining tropical lowland wet forests in Costa Rica. It is very popular with the native Costa Ricans due to its unspoiled beaches, and also features several hiking trails, spectacular natural scenery, and the possibility of seeing over 350 species of birds, and a wide variety of animals, including sloths, monkeys, white-nosed coatis, agoutis, iguanas, and jesus christ lizards. After the tour, you will be returned to your hotel, and have the afternoon free to enjoy the area. Overnight in Manuel Antonio. (B)
Note: Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays
Transfer to San Jose International Airport for your return flight to your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel and other transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- Excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Meals as indicated on the itinerary.
- English-speaking tour and naturalist guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- International airport departure tax ($29).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of international airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group Private: All transfers are private except for San Jose to Tortuguero, and all excursions are provided on a group basis.
Elevations: San Jose is 3,700 feet above sea level, Arenal is 1,600 feet, and Monteverde is 4,600 feet.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Costa Rican embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: We require a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person plus the cost of the international airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.