1 flight by light aircraft , 4 road journeys, 2 boat transfers.
This trip combines friendly mid-range hotels with well-equipped rooms with private bathroom and comfortable but not luxurious wildlife and beach lodges. Throughout Costa Rica accommodation is of a high standard.
Breakfast daily, full board days 2, 3, lunch or dinner on day 7.
We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return.
• Half day guided canal tour in Tortuguero National Park.
• Guided excursions to the hanging bridges at Arenal.
• The hot springs at Ecotermales.
Summary of nights
12 days, 11 nights: San José 1; Tortuguero 2; San José 1; Monteverde 2; Arenal 2; Pacific Coast 3.
Included in the journey price
• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights from the UK.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.
The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the colón.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in San José taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip and in many shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency in San José and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are increasingly falling out of use. (American Express cheques are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can exchange sterling but the rate may be unfavourable and there are fewer outlets providing this service
Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.
Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors, including families with children.
Transport is by regular fixed-route and fixed-time shared minibus, which will nevertheless collect you from and deliver you to your hotels.
Bear in mind it is a relatively active trip. On the whole trails are good, and paths are linear, so you can turn back if you feel that you do not want to carry on.
The trip covers climates ranging from tropical lowland to more temperate zones in the highlands. Those travelling between May and October journeys should encounter high temperatures (around 35°C) and high humidity in the lowlands. The ‘official’ rainy (green) season is May to November.
December to April visitors will still encounter high temperatures in lowland areas, but cool evenings around Arenal and San José with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be much lower at this time.
For your beach wind-down on the Pacific coast good weather is a priority, so most visits are in the dry season December to April when there is plenty of sun. It’s hot all year round (often over 30°C). The busy times for visitors are the dry season months, especially weekends and Easter week. The green (i.e. rainy) season is much quieter.
Clothing and special equipment
Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A waterproof jacket and/or umbrella are also advisable. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper, and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos may be lurking. Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers. Although guides carry binoculars we recommend you take your own if you have them.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to, or via, the USA, you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online. This costs $14 per person, and must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.