Discover the rainforest, volcanoes and coastline of captivating Costa Rica
From rumbling volcanoes to sweeping, sandy beaches, Costa Rica’s beauty is evident in every corner. On this action-packed adventure we try grade III whitewater rafting in Sarapiqui, take bikes around Lake Arenal and have a go at zip-lining through the misty cloud forest of Monteverde. Our adventure ends in the lush Manuel Antonio National Park, where we can appreciate the wildlife and picture-perfect coastline on a catamaran excursion.
All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners included. Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style, with toast, cereal, eggs, fruits and tea/coffee all available. For lunch and dinner, the tour leader will recommend various options in convenient locations, usually booking restaurants and eating with the group. Vegetarians are generally well catered for in Costa Rica 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.
Depart London for an overnight flight to San Jose.
The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this morning. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers. Accommodation: La Rosa de America (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
Heading northeast of San Jose we swap the capital for the Sarapiqui region, an area blessed with abundant vegetation and the beautiful Sarapiqui River. This area is gathering a reputation as a great spot for adventure seekers! We board 6-person rafts and set off for a 1/2 day white water rafting excursion on grade II and III rapids. Starting at a section of the river called La Virgen, travel 11km through exhilarating rapids and clear pools, with rainforest towering over the river banks at either side. There will be a short stop for seasonal fruits and plenty of time for a refreshing swim in one of the calm sections of the river. After lunch, we transfer for around 3 hours to the area surrounding Arenal Volcano. Following a massive eruption in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. As well as the volcano, this region has plenty to offer, with thermal waters, waterfalls and Lake Arenal waiting to be discovered. Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari Hotel (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
There is a guided hike this morning through Arenal Volcano National Park. The park has a great system of trails passing through secondary forest and near lava fields created by previous eruptions. In the afternoon we visit a local organic farm located at the foot of Arenal Volcano, where lunch is provided for us and we can learn how sugar cane and other crops are produced. In the late afternoon we visit Ecotermales Hot Springs as a group to enjoy a hot thermal bath from the volcanic spring water, a refreshing end to the day. Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari Hotel (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
Following yesterday's thermal bath our muscles should be ready for today's mountain bike ride around Lake Arenal! Gear yourself up for a moderate ride this morning, mostly following quiet country roads and gravel trails that border the Arenal Volcano National Park. There are stunning views and travelling by bike is a great way to discover the beauty of the rainforest. Upon request, the tour can end at a different hotsprings nearby (entrance fee not included). The rest of the afternoon is free to sign up for an optional activity, such as the Sky Walk (canopy walk), Sky Trek (zip wire), kayaking tour or the Hanging Bridges excursion. Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari Hotel (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
From the northern lowlands we travel through the Tilaran mountains to reach the cloud forest, passing breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we ascend the hills to Monteverde. The road climbs to this forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. Today's drive is about three and half hours, on some bumpy roads. Monteverde is our location for the next two nights - you'll notice a real difference in the climate of this area; gone is the humidity of the lowlands and in its place is a cool mist, a steady stream of clouds and a much cooler average temperate, given the altitude of 1,440m. In the afternoon, we take a walk around the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, an area chosen as one of Costa Rica's 'Seven Wonders' for its incredible biodiversity. The moisture in the cloud forest supports a fantastic array of plantlife, with ferns and moss growing on every available tree trunk. Hundreds of mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians live in this habitat and we should discover a number of them today. Accommodation: Monteverde Country Lodge (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
This morning we get a completely new perspective on the cloud forest by taking a zip-lining excursion through the forest canopy. 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 through the trees. The afternoon it's possible to join an optional excursion to the Don Juan estate to learn about the process of making coffee. Accommodation: Monteverde Country Lodge (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
We travel southeast along the coast, following the Pan-Am Highway and passing plantations of African oil palms and teak to reach our next destination, Manuel Antonio. It takes around 4 hours to reach Manuel Antonio. The national park is a beautiful spot where the forest meets the sea and iguanas and White-faced monkeys can often be seen on the beach. Entrance into the park is included in our activities tomorrow, but this afternoon there will be some free time to visit the beach or join one of the optional activities available, such as sea kayaking, horse riding or a mangrove boat tour. Accommodation: Playa Espadilla / Villa Bosque (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
This morning we take a guided walk in the park to reach one of the higher elevations for incredible coastal views of dramatic rocky headlands. Inside the park we may see monkeys (White-faced, Squirrel and Howler), iguana, sloths and agouti. Most of the walking trails lead to beautiful beaches within the national park. This afternoon we set sail on a catamaran excursion to discover the coastline of Manuel Antonio. The catamaran charts a picturesque course, starting in Quepos and navigating around the back of Manuel Antonio National Park, passing islands, cliffs and rock formations. There are a number of nesting grounds for birds and marine wildlife here as well as plentiful vegetation. After navigating the coastline we sail to Bisanz beach, where we can don a mask and snorkel to discover the underwater world (parrotfish, angelfish and starfish might be seen). If we are lucky, we may even spot dolphins in the water. Please note that water visibility varies depending on the season and the snorkeling activity is weather permitting. Drinks and snacks are available on board and an early dinner will be served as part of the trip. Accommodation: Playa Espadilla / Villa Bosque (or similar) *Comfortable Hotel*
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 5pm today, as arrival at the airport will be timed to co-incide with the group flight.
Arrive London. **
* All breakfasts 3 lunches and 2 dinners * All accommodation * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
A thoroughly enjoyable and exciting way to see the country - walking, cycling, boat trip, ziplining, white water rafting, and plenty of jungle and wildlife. All with a manageable amount of travelling to see very different parts of the country.
The trip was good with Exodus staff doing a great job. Even our non-English speaking driver, Roberto, always managed a warm "hello". Makes a lot of yards in starting each day and making it into a great day. Costa Rica is geared mainly for the American market - everything in dollars. Sadly all things American includes plastic cheese and processed meat - makes for a lousy omelette! Food was disappointing, largely because I expected some elements of 'spice and fire'. Food was plain on the Caribbean (how does that happen?). Sauces really shouldn't be offered in plastic bottles of 57 - no names! And beer at London prices???? Prevented the group from bonding at the bar on the first night. Some, like me, used the convenience store to stock up and no garden, meant a bedroom snifter before dinner - pity.
Excellent trip. Very busy itinerary with a variety of activities. Eduardo was a great leader and was very knowledgeable about the areas we visited and the country as a whole. His love of his country is very evident!
Stunning scenery, extraordinary and wonderful wildlife, excellent and knowledgable guide in a wonderfully diverse and enchanting country.
I loved the trip, and would highly recommend it for everyone who loves being active, being outdoors, doing different activities during your holiday, and who does not mind being rained on (lots!). The group was fantastic, the tour leader fabulous, nature and wildlife are just amazing! We saw so many birds, reptiles, bugs and butterflies (mostly due to the unbelievably good eyes of our tour guide Ozzy), the nature is breathtaking and we actually didn't mind taking lots and lots of pictures of trees and leaves and other greenery. The activities were well balanced, and you could fill every hour of spare time with additional adventures, which all most of our group did.
A fun filled trip. An amazing country, influenced slightly by USA but it has not lost any of its charm. If you are looking for wildlife then this trip is for you.
This was a great trip, with a brilliant guide and a wonderful group of people. It was a really good way to see and experience the adventures that Costa Rica has to offer. As well as the activities which were included in the price there was also time to do optional extras. It was a really active and enjoyable trip. The food was good and the accommodation very comfortable.
A unique trip to a wonderful country. Costa Rica is beautiful, its flora and fauna are gorgeous. This new itinerary covers northern and north/western areas with the diversity of rainforest, volcanic landscape, cloud forest and Pacific coastline.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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Exodus is an award-winning company built on adventures. It started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments. They continue to discover countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles - exploring this amazing planet we all live on.
At Exodus, they know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, they always remember that they are only guests. So they ensure they travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise their impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved. This is a philosophy they take around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across 90 countries – choose from walking, cycling, culture, wildlife and even polar adventures in guided groups or self-guided, tailor-made for you or a ready-made itinerary in Peru or India, Costa Rica or Italy – the choices are endless. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.
All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure with their combined experiences spanning 171 different countries and in their former lives, some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – all guaranteed to give you the very best adventure possible. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are just some of the ways this expertise comes through in your adventure.
Exodus recognises their obligation to operate their tours in a responsible and sustainable fashion to address the environmental, economic and social impact tourism can have. They are committed to the well-being of the communities that host you and the natural environment that you are there to experience. Key points in their philosophy include small groups which have less impact on local communities and environments, putting money directly into the communities visited by using locally owned and run accommodation and eating locally produced food, ensuring local staff and operators receive a fair rate for their services, encouraging their own staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism and train them accordingly, endeavour to ensure that their practices help in the environmental conservation of the areas visited and provide their clients with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural and religious beliefs of local communities.
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