This 14 day holiday combines the Costa Rican capital San Jose, the fantastic jungle of Tortuguero, the beautiful cloud forest of Monteverde, the active Arenal volcano and the stunning Manuel Antonio.
Best of Costa Rica + Manuel Antonio
Day 1 (Thursday) - Fly from the UK to San Jose Meal included on the transatlantic flight.
Fly from the UK to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica and a bustling and lively city. On arrival you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Day 2 (Friday) - Take the optional La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Coffee Plantation excursion Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the La Paz Waterfall Gardens excursion.
Spend the day exploring San Jose, or escape the city on our optional full-day La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Coffee Plantation excursion. Enjoy a tour of the Doka plantation, and see how some of the best coffee in the world is grown and produced. After lunch visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, to explore the cloud and rainforest. Day 3 (Saturday) - Transfer to Tortuguero and visit the community of Tortuguero Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and dinner at the lodge.
Begin the day with a beautiful four-hour coach journey, partly on an unpaved road, through the Braulio Carillo National Park. Then take a two-hour boat ride to your jungle lodge in Tortuguero, cruising down jungle waterways inhabited by monkeys and varied birdlife. Located on the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero is a beautiful national park, thriving with all kinds of wildlife. After lunch and some time to settle at the lodge, visit the community of Tortuguero and learn about the extraordinary efforts made locally to protect the sea turtles, which nest here at certain times of the year. Day 4 (Sunday) - Take jungle excursions at Tortuguero All meals included at the lodge.
Explore the secondary canals of the jungle by boat, from where you will hopefully be able to spot some of Tortuguero’s amazing wildlife, including sloths, caimans, spider and howler monkeys and a huge variety of birds. From April to November, it may be possible to arrange a turtle-watching tour to see sea turtles arriving to lay eggs at night. Day 5 (Monday) - Take a scenic transfer by boat and road to Arenal Breakfast at the lodge. Lunch on route to Arenal.
Enjoy a morning boat ride back along the canals to Caño Blanco. After lunch, take a scenic road journey to Arenal, arriving in the late afternoon. Arenal is famous for its active and picture-perfect volcano and the many hot springs. Day 6 (Tuesday) - Take the optional Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion Breakfast at the hotel. Dinner is included on the Arenal Volcano & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion and the Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion.
On the optional Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursions, in the afternoon you visit a network of suspension bridges, which are positioned at different heights, providing a glimpse of the forest and its wildlife from different levels. Your naturalist guide is on hand to explain the various forest ecosystems. Afterwards continue onto the Tabacon Hot Springs in the early evening. These very beautiful springs consist of many large and small pools of mineral waters heated by Arenal Volcano, set in tropical gardens. Hot water rivers, between 27ºC and 42ºC, run throughout the grounds, forming natural waterfalls and pools, some secluded, where you can bathe. A buffet dinner is included. Don’t forget your swimwear.
Day 7 (Wednesday) - Take the optional Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike excursion. Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch is included on the Rio Celeste waterfall excursion.
On the optional Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike excursion, the day begins with a morning transfer to the entrance to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. From the entrance, hike approximately two kilometres to the viewpoint overlooking the stunning turquoise waters of the Rio Celeste waterfall. The prominent explanation for the blue waters is the volcanic-mineral coated rocks at the bottom of the river, which interact with the sunlight to give the impression of such vibrantly coloured water. Walk back to the park entrance and travel onwards to a nearby scenic restaurant for lunch, before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon. Day 8 (Thursday) - Transfer to the Villa Blanca cloud forest and take part one of the optional Villa Blanca Day and Night excursion. Breakfast at the hotel.
Take a two hour transfer to the Villa Blanca cloud forest hotel. Situated within the larger Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve, the forest here sits at an altitude between 700 and 1770 metres, which creates a unique cloud forest habitat that supports myriad species. The hotel here is the only one around, so this cloud forest is extremely well-preserved. Numerous endemic flora can be found on the reserve, such as bromeliads and orchids, while there are over 280 bird species to spot, and a range of amphibians and mammals like howler monkeys and sloths. Arrive in time for lunch and in the evening take part one of the optional Villa Blanca Day and Night excursion. At this time of day the monkeys and birds go to sleep, and nocturnal species take to the stage, along with fascinating nocturnal plants. Alternatively enjoy a free afternoon and evening. Day 9 (Friday) - Take part two of the optional Villa Blanca Day and Night excursion. Breakfast at the hotel.
On part two of the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Day and Night excursion, set off in the morning on a two hour walk along established trails in the reserve. Thanks to the hotel’s isolation, you will have the forest to yourself. Spot species like toucans, quetzals, hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths and a variety of flora too. Take note of how the forest changes from night to day, with different plants and animals taking the stage at different times, along with a different soundtrack. Return to the hotel mid-morning and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.On part two of the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Day and Night excursion, set off in the morning on a two hour walk along established trails in the reserve. Thanks to the hotel’s isolation, you will have the forest to yourself. Spot species like toucans, quetzals, hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths and a variety of flora too. Take note of how the forest changes from night to day, with different plants and animals taking the stage at different times, along with a different soundtrack. Return to the hotel mid-morning and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Day 10 (Saturday) - Transfer to Manuel Antonio. Breakfast at the hotel.
The day begins with a four-hour journey to Manuel Antonio, a small, but stunningly beautiful national park on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. The park has several wonderful jungle-fringed beaches, and the warm Pacific waters are perfect for swimming. The area also has many adventure activities on offer, including kayaking, white water rafting and horse riding. Spend a relaxing afternoon and evening settling into your hotel or sunbathing on the beach.
Day 11 (Sunday) - A full day to explore Manuel Antonio at your leisure, perhaps relax on the beach. Breakfast at the hotel.
During your stay in Manuel Antonio you are entirely at your leisure. Perhaps visit one of the many lovely white sandy beaches, where the verdant hills roll into the ocean and the warm waters are perfect for swimming. Taxis are readily available and the hotel runs free shuttle buses in the morning and the afternoon to the national park, where the best beaches are (entrance fee payable). There are also many beaches close to your hotel. The closest is a beautiful sandy cove five minutes’ walk down (and back up!) a track. Most of the beaches are safe for swimming, but some have strong currents, so ask if you are unsure as there are no lifeguards on duty. Day 12 (Monday) - A further day to explore Manuel Antonio at your leisure, perhaps explore the jungle. Breakfast at the hotel.
Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, at only six square miles, and the lush jungle has a large concentration of wildlife, including sloths, coatis, monkeys, toucans and macaws. The trails are well maintained, and guided tours are available locally, or you can wander on your own. If you are interested in something more active, you can arrange sports fishing tours in the nearby town of Quepos. Snorkelling excursions, ocean kayaking, mangrove tours and canopy tours are also available. Day 13 (Tuesday) - Transfer to San Jose for your flight to the UK. Breakfast at the hotel.
After breakfast take the three-hour road journey to San Jose to catch your flight to the UK. Please note that if your flight departs in the morning you will need an extra night in San Jose. Please ask us for details. Day 14 (Wednesday) - Arrival in the UK