Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica

13 days from £4347pp

Book Holiday Enquire online

Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica:
Trip Dossier

The tropical republics of Costa Rica and Nicaragua share gorgeous landscapes of volcanoes, lakes, palm-fringed beaches, citrus plantations, fertile slopes smothered in coffee bushes, and a huge diversity of flora and fauna. Costa Rica has long had a network of accessible national parks with extensive hiking trails, as well as adventure activities from zip-lining to white-water rafting. Nicaragua is new to this kind of development but is gaining a reputation for responsible tourism with top-end wellbeing-focused eco-lodges opening all over the country.

This holiday will suit romantic couples and honeymooners looking for a slow-paced itinerary combining exquisite natural locations, with plenty of time for relaxation. Spend a few days at a luxury rainforest lodge on the Pacific’s Osa Peninsula. Move on into Nicaragua to a boutique lodge on one of over 300 islets. Later, move on to a renowned upmarket lodge and working farm enveloped in jungle on a cliff overlooking a long soft-sand beach. In each place there are opportunities to take excursions into the countryside, engage in outdoor activities or laze by the pool.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in San José. Transfer to your hotel in the countryside outside the city.

Day 2

Tour of Doka Estate coffee farm.

Day 3

Fly to Pacific coast Puerto Jiménez, transfer to rainforest lodge.

Days 4-6

At leisure or enjoy one of the many activities on offer.

Day 7

Fly to San José, connect with flight to Managua; transfer to Granada.

Day 8

Granada guided city tour and visit to Masaya volcano.

Day 9

At leisure in Granada area.

Day 10

By boat and road to a lodge on the Pacific coast.

Days 11-12

At leisure on the Pacific coast.

Day 13

Return to Managua and connect with your international flight home.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in San José. Transfer to your hotel in the countryside outside the city.
 

You will be met at the airport by our local representative who will take you to your hotel on a working coffee plantation in the Central Valley.

Day 2

Tour of Doka Estate coffee farm.
 

Costa Rican coffee is among the best in the world. But how is it produced? You will be driven to Doka Coffee Estate in Sabanilla, Alajuela. The farm belongs to the Vargas Ruíz family, pioneers of coffee production in Costa Rica for more than 70 years. Your guide will explain the traditional techniques used to produce one of the best coffees in Costa Rica.

Learn about the careful process involved on the cultivation, harvesting and roasting the beans. The tour takes you through all stages, beginning with the seed bed and ending in the Coffee House with the finished product.

Doka Coffee Estate in Costa Rica

Day 3

Fly to Pacific coast Puerto Jiménez, transfer to rainforest lodge.
 

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Jiménez (50mins) on the Pacific coast Osa Peninsula. The verdant peninsula is famed for its profusion of wildlife; it is sanctuary to many of the country’s endangered species such as pumas, Scarlet macaws and the great Harpy eagle.

From the airstrip it is a 45-minute drive along a bumpy road to Lapa Rios Eco-Lodge. This is an exclusive and seamlessly run lodge sitting on a high ridge in the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve amidst lush rainforest, above the Pacific Ocean.

Wild Osa Peninsular coast in the South of Costa Rica

Days 4-6

At leisure or enjoy one of the many activities on offer.
 

At leisure at the lodge. There are optional excursions available such as horse riding along a deserted beach, kayaking, fishing and guided walks, surfing and sunrise and sunset bird-watching. Take a twilight hike along one of the many rainforest nature trails, an excellent time to spot the indigenous fauna. Feeling like a spot of adventure? Get a taste for waterfall rappelling (abseiling) or whiz through the forest canopy on a zip-line.

Wild-life enthusiasts? Go dolphin spotting while snorkelling in Golfo Dulce. Three species of these beguiling creatures visit the area, along with whales and turtles. Alternatively sit by the pool overlooking the ocean, a fresh fruit cocktail in your hand and your binoculars in your lap.

Wildlife spotting from a Kayak , Costa Rica

Day 7

Fly to San José, connect with flight to Managua; transfer to Granada.
 

Fly back to San José and transfer to the international airport to fly to Managua, Nicaragua. From there it’s an hour’s drive to the colonial city of Granada. Founded in 1524, Granada is the oldest city in the New World and lies at the foot of Volcán Mombacho. At its height the city became very prosperous on the back of the gold trade; it was regularly plundered by pirates and completely razed by American mercenary William Walker at the beginning of the 19th century.

However, Granada has since been wonderfully restored and its colourful colonial houses and cobbled streets that run down to the shores of Lake Nicaragua are a delight. The pace of life is in keeping with the atmosphere of history and tranquillity, and you transfer in a horse-drawn carriage to the marina on Lake Nicaragua for the 10min speedboat crossing to Jicaro island, one of over300 volcanic outcrops on this part of the lake, where you’ll be spending 3 days.  The vast freshwater lake resembles an inland sea and shelters a variety of eco-systems, including cloud forest.

 

Cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua

Day 8

Granada guided city tour and visit to Masaya volcano.
 

Return to Granada for a guided tour of the city, with its colonial churches, narrow streets and colonial mansions and convents. The historic core is so compact that much of the experience is on foot, with many of the sites within the vicinity of the main square. Later, continue to Lake Nicaragua for a relaxing boat ride around some of the islets formed by eruptions of the looming bulk of the waterside Mombacho volcano.

The vast lake, more like an inland sea, with surf-tipped waves and reflecting fiery sunsets, is the largest body of freshwater in the Americas after the Great Lakes. Climb by vehicle to the summit of the cone-shaped Masaya volcano. Walk a few steps to the sizzling, steamy Santiago crater, active since 1946, and explore the surrounding area, dotted with other volcanic formations. Visit the nearby Masaya arts and crafts market which specialises in ceramics, leatherwork, wooden furniture, and hammocks, before you head back to Granada and your island accommodation.

Masaya Volcano , Nicaragua

Day 9

At leisure in Granada area.
 

At leisure on the islet. Within the property there are many ways you can relax, including yoga sessions and massage. Slightly more adventurous activities include wildlife-spotting expeditions: you can go kayaking at sunrise or sunset to observe the birds: they are especially abundant around the islands and islets. Wading birds like egrets and herons often graciously stand on the waterside, and large groups of cormorants can be seen hunting for fish or standing in the sun, drying their plumage.

Or go horse-riding along the skirts of the volcano, through the tropical plantations heavy with citrus fruit, cocoa and bananas. Zip-lining, hiking, and biking along traffic free roads and tracks are also among the various exhilarating activities offered from the lodge.

For loving couples a romantic way to end your day is with a candlelight dinner on the lake atop the lodge’s floating deck...

Granada , Nicaragua

Day 10

By boat and road to a lodge on the Pacific coast.
 

It’s a short boat-ride followed by a drive to your eco-lodge overlooking a sweeping bay on the Pacific coast. Here you find a clutch of crescent shaped bays harbouring soft golden sand, slapped by surf-tipped rollers and backed by rugged hills and cliffs smothered in emerald rainforest.

The lodge is at the forefront of sustainable tourism in Nicaragua, preserving primary forest, protecting and re-introducing endangered wildlife. Most of the beautifully crafted hardwood cottages are nestled into the heavily-forested hillside. The semi-open thatched restaurant serves regional, French and Asian cuisine, much of the ingredients taken from plants and animals grown or reared on premises. There is also a marvellous decent-sized swimming pool, alongside which, once again, you can relax with a cool drink.

Days 11-12

At leisure on the Pacific coast.
 

At leisure based at the lodge. Wildlife is abundant, and the area can be explored independently or guided on foot, by kayak, mountain bike or on horseback. You can accompany the lodge's own fishermen as they set out to sea, and visit its farm, sugar mill or butterfly collection.

In season (Aug-Jan), sea turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs.  Snorkelling, diving, surfing and sports fishing can be organised on the glorious stretch of sandy beach, where you’ll find shady palapas with sun loungers.

Pacific Coast Nicaragua

Day 13

Return to Managua and connect with your international flight home.
 

Essential information

Transport

3 domestic flights; 3 road journeys.

Accommodation

This trip combines luxurious eco-friendly lodges in spectacular rural locations.

Meals

Breakfast daily, full board days 3-6

Guides

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 the latter on their return.

Included excursions

  •  Guided excursion of Doka coffee estate
  •  Guided tour of Granada and Masaya volcano
  •  On-site tours from days 3-6 including sunset birdwatching, Osa trail and nightwalk

Summary of nights

13 days, 12 nights: San José 2; Costa Rica Pacific coast 4; Granada area 3; Nicaragua 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.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions.

Currency

The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the colón. In Nicaragua it is the córdoba.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in San José and Managua airport, and in Granada: 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 at the beginning of your trip, and in Granada; 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. US dollars are accepted as payment in many places.

Tipping

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.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.            

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit couples and honeymooners. If you have a disability which we should be aware of, please contact us.

Climate

This itinerary takes you to tropical climes where the sun is strong and temperatures high – often over 30°C. Those travelling between May and October journeys should encounter higher temperatures (around 35°C) and high humidity. The ‘official’ rainy season is May to October.

Clothing and special equipment

Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A waterproof jacket is also necessary. 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.

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.

Vaccinations

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.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Clients with a different nationality should refer to our Briefing Dossier and check with the Costa Rican and Nicaraguan consulates.

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.

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/costa-rica/holidays/luxury-nicaragua-and-costa-rica/trip-dossier

Page ID: {63522394-0F43-4591-B1CB-89BE226A5720}

Page Name: trip-dossier

Page Display Name: Trip Dossier

Page Template Name: T054-TripDossier

Page Template ID: {4B17EDBB-85D2-4A79-B178-A0CE05055C05}

Parent ID: {37B54643-E6CD-4ACC-94F8-2F73BFF08FC5}

Parent Name: luxury-nicaragua-and-costa-rica

Parent Display Name: Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Parent Template Name: T013-Tour

Parent Template ID: {9701B79C-85FD-4A45-8072-3FFF55338F72}