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Explore and Relax in Costa Rica: Volcanoes to the beach

12 days from £3093pp

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Explore and Relax in Costa Rica: Volcanoes to the beach

12 days from £3093pp

Private Journey


Day 1

Arrive in San José and transfer to hotel.

You will be met at the airport by our local representative who will take you to your hotel in the modern capital.

Day 2

By road and boat to Tortuguero Jungle Reserve.

You will be driven past forested hills and banana plantations to the Caribbean lowlands to Caño Blanco dock. It is then an hour’s boat ride along the shore hugged by mangrove swamps before you arrive in the small, ramshackle village of Tortuguero, which gives you an insight into the way of life in this remote region.Tortuguero National Park was originally intended to conserve a major nesting beach of the Atlantic green sea turtle.

Now it is one of the last protected areas of tropical rainforest in Central America, with 11 different natural habitats. 3 species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three-toed sloths, and River otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caimans, iguanas, river turtles, basilisk lizards and poison-dart frogs inhabit the area, along with more than 320 species of birds including all 6 species of kingfishers found in the New World, 3 species of toucans, 8 species of parrot, and other neo-tropical species such as the Slate-tailed trogon, White-collared manakin, Purple-throated fruit crow, and White-fronted nun bird. Arrive at your coastal jungle lodge, 8km from the village, accessible only by boat.

Canal to Tortuguero

Day 3

Wildlife spotting in Tortuguero National Park.

The remaining time can be spent relaxing in your lodge or participating in some of the many activities available. Explore more of the jungle trails and waterways with a naturalist guide, or rent one of the kayaks and investigate the canals at your leisure; gliding silently through these waters you are likely to spot all kinds of wildlife on the banks. Visit the nearby turtle museum to gather some information about the nesting cycle of these ancient reptiles. In season, take a night-time walk along the moonlit beach, and search for turtles and their eggs.

Wildlife spotting from a Kayak , Costa Rica

Day 4

Fly to San José, transfer to Monteverde.

Fly back to San Jose on light aircraft and travel inland by road into highlands mantled by the woodland of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which lies in the rugged, rolling hills northwest of San José. You'll be driven for a couple of hours through the Central Valley along the Pan American Highway, a decent paved road.

After 150km you take the turn off for Monteverde, and here the adventure begins - for up to 90mins the dirt road is bumpy with volcanic rocks, winding up through the hills to the cloud forest at 1,400m. You can expect it to be dusty in the dry season and muddy in the wet. However you should be diverted by wildlife you spot along the way - sloth, monkeys and tropical birds - keep your binoculars handy.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries in the Americas; it protects more than 400 species of bird and 100 species of mammal. Walking along the well-marked trails, amidst dense, dripping foliage, you are likely to encounter the resplendent quetzal, with its vivid red belly and long green tail, as well as the endangered bellbird and the emerald toucanet. 30 species of hummingbird also reside in the park.

Day 5

Half day excursion to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

You’ll have a private guided tour in the reserve. Explore this magical forest from the vantage point of a number of suspended bridges and walkways, which give a unique perspective across the canopy and take a twilight hike along one of its many nature trails, an excellent time to spot the indigenous fauna. You may also opt to view it from a different, thrilling perspective as you speed along zip lines hung throughout the forest.

3 toed sloth , Costa rica

Day 6

Transfer to Arenal volcano area.
It's a 136 km, 2-3 hr downhill drive by 4WD vehicle from Monteverde to Arenal volcano and your countryside hotel. There is no direct route and the road condition on the first segment of the journey is rough and bumpy but you can look out for wildlife. The road trip is followed by a boat trip across Lake Arenal, which provides a magnificent first glimpse of this imposing volcano, reflected in the lake’s sparkling waters (2.5hrs).

As the sun begins to set, you can hike across a barren landscape dotted with rocks and shrubs, from which you may see the flows of molten lava being discharged from Arenal’s fiery cone (although the volcano can be dormant for months so there is no guarantee of its activity and there hasn’t been any for some years). As evening falls, relax in the hot springs; the bubbling water is naturally heated by the volcano.
Arenal Volcano

Day 7

Excursions to the hanging bridges and the hot springs at Ecotermales.

Guided excursion to the hanging bridges located in the vicinity of the volcano. The 3km long trail takes you through primary forest. Along with the region’s diverse wildlife and plants you can expect good views of the volcano and reservoir which feeds the country's largest hydroelectric plant.

The trail is linked by 6 hanging bridges and 8 fixed bridges, some measuring up to 22m in length and constructed from galvanized steel and aluminium in order to 'blend with the natural environment.'

In the afternoon there’s an excursion to the hot springs at Ecotermales. These waters provide a more off-the-beaten-track experience than their better known and more overcrowded cousins. Set well back from the road that runs between the lake and the town of La Fortuna the farm has only recently been opened to the general public. The springs, five free-flowing pools, set in a natural river gorge vary in temperature from 38ºC to 43ºC depending on the pool.

Hanging bridges , Arenal , Costa Rica

Day 8

Transfer to hotel on the Nicoya Peninsula, Pacific coast.

Travel by road (5hrs) to the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific coast. Equally denuded of forest as the adjoining mainland, it is culturally and physically cut off from the rest of the country: inland, dotted with small, modest towns far removed from the beach resorts on the bay-pocked coastline. You’ll be staying one of these, within reach of yawning beaches attacked by crashing Pacific rollers.

Many activities can be arranged form the resort if you don’t want to spend all your time sunning yourself beside the pool or watching tangerine sunsets over the ocean with a cold beer in your hand. Golf and hiking, horse-riding, snorkelling and mountain biking expeditions are all available.

Day 9-11

At leisure on the beach.
Surfer, Pacific Coast Mexico

Day 12

Transfer to airport for international flight home.

12 days from £3093pp

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