Costa Rica: The Highlights
Costa Rica is sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America” because of its comfortable lifestyle, peaceful democracy and overwhelming natural beauty. The country’s cast of creatures – ranging from howler monkeys to toucans – are populous and relatively easy to spot throughout this 12 day tour.
Dates available throughout the year
Suggested itinerary by Air
Fly to San Jose
Fly from your chosen UK airport to San Jose where you will be met and transferred to your hotel accommodation.
Poas Volcano National Park & Doka Estate
This morning, the tour will take you to Poas Volcano, one of the most visited volcanoes in Costa Rica, because of its proximity to San Jose and because of the extensive forest that surrounds the two craters. The park measures 5600 hectares, with an altitude of 2708 metres above sea level. The enormous crater is one of the largest in the world. The National Park offers four different habitats: scarce vegetation, a stunted forest, a cloud forest, and an area of arrayan. There are well-kept but short trails around the craters and into the forest. Afterwards, you will travel to the Doka Estate where you will hear about the history of the coffee farm, it’s owners and its traditional coffee producing methods. Lunch is included at the Doka Estate.
Following breakfast, transfer from the hotel to La Pavona docks where you will take a boat transfer to the Tortuguero area. The Caribbean coast is home to the beautiful town of Tortuguero and its National Park. This sun drenched zone with its sparsely spaced coastal villages offers a completely laid back and relaxed atmosphere. The culture is vastly different on this coast compared to the rest of the country with its prominent Afro-Caribbean influence notable as well in the delicious cuisine which can be sampled here.
Afternoon Boat Tour of Tortuguero National Park Water Canals
Located on the North Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, the Tortuguero National Park is the third most visited in the country and is home to an incredible biological variety, with different habitats, including rainforests, swamps, beaches and lagoons. The beach areas are key nesting grounds for endangered sea Green turtles during the months of July to September. The rivers in the park are home to sensitive populations of manatees, as well as caimans and crocodiles. The forests are home to jaguars, three toed sloths, three species of monkey, Basilisk lizards and frogs also inhabit the area as well as 375 species of bird. There are also more than 400 species of tree and approximately 2200 species of other plant and flower.
Boat transfer from Tortuguero to Cano Blanco or Pavona docks where you will be transferred onwards by bus to the Arenal area.
Místico Park Hanging Bridges & Arenal Volcano National Park
Visit the Hanging Bridges of Arenal which are located within the corridor followed by birds migrating between North and South America. These trails and bridges will bring closer than ever to the birds, the flowers and the lush vegetation of the primary rain forest. You will be able to walk right into the forest, thanks to the imposing hanging bridges and the beautiful trails.
Before the active period of 1968, a lavish canopy of vegetation covered the Arenal Volcano. People that climbed Arenal’ s summit related that inside the crater there were big trees and at night, they slept in places where there was some heat due to small steam outlets. Right now the green area is located at the east side of the Mountain, and other little green parts can be seen on the north and the south of the volcano. Enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano on a gentle Hike along the base of this marvelous “Mountain of Fire”. The Hike begins in one the trails close to the volcano, this trail will take you through the forest over recent lava flows and the area destroyed in 1968 now in the process of regeneration. You are going to be on this trail for about 2 ½ hours.
After breakfast transfer from Arenal to journey to Monteverde where you will check in at your hotel and have the remaining of the day at leisure.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, is one of the most famous conservation areas in Central America. It is a tropical rain forest but because of its altitude (1400 meters or 4.600 feet), it’s called a Cloud Forest. A cloud forest is a highland forest characterized by nearly 100% humidity throughout the year. Here in Monteverde, warm north-easterly trade winds, filled with moisture, blow in from the Atlantic. As the winds sweep up to the Continental Divide, they cool and condense to form clouds, bathing the forest in a constant soft mist. The cloud forest receives an incredible four meters of rain every year- over twelve feet! It is home to rare and unusual wildlife, such as jaguars and pumas, and over 450 species of birds including the world’s largest population of quetzal birds.
Transfer to Manuel Antonio which is set high above the enchanting National Park, boasting amazing views of white sandy beaches, shimmering blue waters and the fresh ocean breeze. Afternoon at leisure and overnight in Manuel Antonio.
Two full days at leisure to enjoy the hotel’s facilities or to visit the neighboring Manuel Antonio National Park.
Return back to the UK
Morning transfer to San Jose International Airport for your return flight back to the UK.
The best time to visit Costa Rica is from mid-December to April (the dry season). This peak tourist season boasts plenty of sunshine making it an ideal time for exploring rainforests and lounging on beaches. That said, the dry season is the most popular (and expensive) time to visit.
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