12 night 'Costa Rica Family Fun’ itinerary Prices from £1,999 per person (based on 4 sharing).
Price includes return flights from the UK, Bed & Breakfast and Full Board accommodation some excursions and transfers.
This itinerary has been written, and designed, by our chairman Noel Josephides. Here, Noel talks of his relationship with Costa Rica and the lifelong memories his travels with his family in the country have provided.
Day 1 - Day of arrival
The transfer on arrival to the 4 star Bougainvillea Hotel will take 40 minutes. This owner managed hotel of 81 rooms is set in 10 acres of mature, botanical gardens in a quiet, residential area of San Jose and 15 minutes by taxi from the centre. The hotel has a restaurant so it’s easy for a family stay and will be the children’s first experience of the lush vegetation and colourful birds which can be seen in the garden.
Overnight Hotel Bougainvillea on bed and breakfast - San Jose.
Day 2 - Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens
It will probably be the first time the children will have seen a ‘real live’ volcano so the included excursion with guide to the Poas Volcano and its national park is a must. The excursion also includes a visit to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, the most famous falls in Costa Rica. Here you will also visit a wildlife rescue preserve. The volcano is only a short distance (34 km) from San Jose, so the travelling time is minimal.
Overnight Hotel Bougainvillea on bed and breafast - San Jose.
Day 3 - Transfer to Tortuguero
This will be a very exciting day for the children. Initially there is a group transfer north to Guapiles in the banana growing region in the Limon district. This is the gateway between the Caribbean coast and the central highlands where San Jose is located. Then the really exciting part, a one hour transfer by by boat (sometimes longer depending on the water levels) through narrow jungle rivers and canals to the Caribbean coast and the Mawamba Lodge in the heart of the Tortuguero National Park.
Overnight Mawamba Lodge on full board - Tortuguero.
Day 4 - Wildlife Excursion
My children loved the whole experience of Tortuguero. The day will be spent on wildlife excursions. The national park was originally an archipelago of volcanic islands so there is little distinction between water and dry land. The area is a mass of wetlands, canals and beaches, all best explored by boat. You will hear howler monkeys at night and spider monkeys sit amongst the branches of the tall trees. There are 50 fish species that live in the canals as well as the spectacled Caiman and the southern river otter. The Lodge is rather more sophisticated than when we stayed there 25 years ago but there is still no air conditioning, TV or WIFI but the 58 wooden cabins now have their own bathroom. There is a swimming pool. The frog garden and butterfly sanctuary will be a delight for the children, especially when they see the size of the frogs - some tiny some enormous and oh so colourful. In July and August on moonlit nights you can watch the hundreds of Green turtles crawl up the long, deserted beaches fringed by the jungle to bury their eggs in the sand. No child would ever forget that sight. It’s a short walk to the beach and also to the tiny village of Tortuguero.
Overnight Mawamba Lodge on full board - Tortuguero.
Day 5 - Transfer to Arenal
It is a long transfer, close on five hours, from Tortuguero to Arenal but here again the initial part is by boat through the jungle which is always exciting. The Arenal Volcano is a perfect cone and to see it rising from the surrounding jungle - well they could be reliving Jurassic Park. The Manoa Resort is set in lush gardens with a large swimming pool and its setting affords spectacular views of the volcano. All the rooms have a view of the volcano.
Overnight Hotel Manoa on bed and breakfast - Arenal
Day 6 & 7 - Days at leisure
Though the facility did not exist 25 years ago, an excursion is included to the Arenal Hanging Bridges which will be a really exciting experience. This represents a fascinating walk through the tropical rainforest surrounding the volcano using a series of hanging bridges high above the forest floor. There are many activities to be had in this area including walking, horse riding and zip wiring (for the older children). However, what must not be missed is dinner at the nearby Tabacon or Ecotermales hot springs. The Arenal is a stratovolcano rising to 1.633 metres. It may be dormant but it certainly rumbles and flashes and gives firework displays and the ground trembles. At night, while swimming in the floodlit hot springs at Tabacon, to hear and see the volcano represents a unique experience which should certainly not be missed. It would be one of the most memorable evenings for the children - forget bedtime!
Overnights Hotel Manoa bed and breakfast - Arenal.
Day 8 - Transfer to Manuel Antonio
The transfer from Arenal along the Pacific coast to Manuel Antonio takes close on 5 hours. But, like all transfers in Costa Rica the trip is part of the holiday as there is much to see en route. Manuel Antonio and its national park is Costa Rica’s original resort and is set on a beautiful series of beaches. If your family likes water sports (kayaking, snorkelling|) then this is the place to be. You will share the beach with Iguanas that tend to lie on branches or in the jungle undergrowth that fringes the beach. The hotel has a shuttle bus to and from the park and can book guided visits.
Overnight Parador Resort and Spa Hotel on bed and breakfast - Manuel Antonio.
Day 9 to 12 - Days at leisure
The four star Parador Resort and Spa is located amidst the jungle on a cliff above the sea and commands panoramic views of the coast below. With lush gardens, a spa, pools and spacious rooms and several restaurants, the hotel provides a relaxing end for the whole family. A path leads down to a white sand beach and the hotel also provides a minibus service to another beach. Hiking tours, adventure tours, ocean, river and mangrove tours can also be booked. A fitting end to a very exciting family holiday for all.
Overnights Parador Resort and Spa on bed and breakfast - Manuel Antonio.