Overview & Highlights
Costa Rica, with a comprehensive road network is ideal for independent exploration by self-drive 4WD car hire. This action-packed holiday visits off-the-beaten-track national parks with a backdrop of volcanoes, mangroves or jungle. Your hotels are pre-booked.
- Explore the waterways of Tortuguero National Park
- Discover off the beaten track rainforests and beaches
- Zipline or hike through lush jungles
Much of the enjoyment of self-drive in Costa Rica is getting off the beaten track and onto the dirt tracks and rural roads where you can stop to explore at leisure. Begin your adventure among the mangrove forests of the wildlife-filled Tortuguero reserve. Discover the mysterious bird-filled cloud forest with its misty landscape of ferns and orchids, scramble over hanging bridges suspended over waterfalls and forest in the shadow of Arenal volcano and end your visit on a Pacific beach.
Costa Rica is a peaceful and stable country and its people are among the friendliest in Latin America. The comprehensive network of roads means that the national parks with their extensive trails are always accessible and self-drive is the perfect way for independent-minded, confident drivers and companions to explore.
In line with its respect for the great outdoors, Costa Rica has been at the vanguard of adventure tourism, with lots of activities on offer from zip-lining to white-water rafting. The tiny country is bursting with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna.
Arrive in San José and transfer to your hotel.
Drive and boat to Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast.
Wildlife spotting excursions from your lodge.
Drive to Sarapiqui.
Explore Tirimbina Reserve. Drive to Monteverde in the cloud forest.
At leisure to discover forest trails and ride on a zip line.
Drive from Monteverde to Arenal volcano area.
Visit La Fortuna Falls and the hanging bridges.
Discover Caño Negro wildlife.
Drive to Rincón de la Vieja.
At leisure to raft, hike or go horse-riding.
Drive to Guanacaste on the Pacific coast.
At leisure on the beach.
Drop off car at Liberia airport and take international flight home.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Costa Rica / Caribbean coast
Turtle Beach Lodge
Costa Rica / Arenal and the north
Costa Rica / Nicoya Peninsula
Casa Conde Beach Front
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
La Quinta de Sarapiquí Country Inn
Costa Rica / Arenal and the north
Costa Rica / Monteverde and the cloud forest
Cloud Forest Lodge
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
We were extremely satisfied with our Sandpiper Journey which provided us with a broad view of the Countries visited and the cultures, history, wild life etc. All in all, a great experience and a wonderful holiday.PH, Farnham
The overall experience was friendly and efficient, seeing the most amazing places from high up in the desert to the wilds of Patagonia.CB, Beckenham
The holiday was really terrific - one to be remembered for ever. It really met all our hopes, and offered even more than anticipated - in particular, with all the wildlife that we saw. (And much better weather than expected!) Many thanks to JLA, our 3 lovely fellow travellers, and to tour leader in particular.NB, Keswick
Please describe the most memorable experience/aspect of your trip? "In Galapagos; swimming with a playful Sea Lion, having a penguin swim right under my tummy and watching white tipped sharks cruise by all in the same snorkel session!"
"Journey Latin America came highly recommended to us, in turn we highly recommend them to you."DM, Marlborough
Cartagena - perfect mix of history, culture, nightlife and beach lazing. Colombian people very friendly and genuinely seemed delighted that we visited their country.NG, Leyland
The Bolivian deserts and salt flats, I found a new favourite country in South America. Outstanding scenery, the night sky with a full and clear sight of the Milky Way, several planets and a myriad of stars, friendly people and an area which I had little prior knowledge of.BD, Hartlepool
The Eagle tour was one of the best trips I have had. Thank you all!HC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Most of the vary varied scenery was spectacular, and the pace of the trip and exercise involved was just right.JH, Sevenoaks
One of the most memorable moments was walking up to Machu Picchu and revealed itself in front of us!!! The places we went to eat at were advised by the tour leader and local guides with really good local dishes and good quality. We were unlikely to have found them otherwise.MN, Wantage
A really interesting, varied and contrasting tour encapsulating the spirit and culture of the region. Excellent value and made even more enjoyable by a fantastic tour guide.RG, Bishopton
This was a wonderful holiday which exceeded our expectations. The scenery was magnificent, the hotels were always welcoming and comfortable, the tours were all exciting and informative and our tour leader was always helpful and accommodating.WG, Pinner
Jacana was a fascinating, very well organised 3 week tour through Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Lima taking in the highlights of each country. Every day gave us a new experience which will stay in our memories for a long time to come.VT, London
There were many wonderful memories. Iguacu was amazing and Machu Picchu was intriguing. Landscapes were fascinating & the people were friendly. Lovely to see the colourful costumes & markets.JP, Nottingham
This was my first tour with JLA, and I would certainly have it as my first choice for tours in South America in the future.
The two journeys from Cajamarca to Leymebamba and Arequipa to Chivay had such spectacular scenery.MK, Hassocks
Overall a very enjoyable trip - some long days and early starts but was easily do-able for a group mainly consisting of people in their 50s and 60s. Saw many amazing sights. Excellent organisation - everything worked - buses, flights, pick ups, minibuses, coaches, boats, trains etc! Never arrived anywhere and there was no-one to meet us. Had a great holiday!LB, New Malden
Surpassed expectation. The excellent itinerary was enhanced by the tour leaders excellent knowledge and company.PM, Corsham
If anything, Tropicbird was undersold: it is a vibrant, colourful & exhilarating tour. It would appeal to those who visited and loved countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, as well as South America, for their people's capacity for optimism, looking forward, valuing their heritage and welcoming curious travellers, regardless of the ravages of recent wars or current poverty. Just go!!FP, Edinburgh
This is our 3rd trip with JLA and we look forward to our 4th. The best place to start planning holiday in South America, incredible wealth of knowledge and experience.LG, Richmond
The Central American trip was excellent - really interesting to see the contrast in the countries. Could have spent longer in each country, but then that would have made the trip much longer!PG, Winchester
The brilliant weather from start to finish. Blue sky and sunshine at Moreno glacier, and of course the various animals. Truly lovely group of people and the tour leader was excellent.JM, Minehead
I found the trip most enjoyable and very thoughtfully arranged to maximise our experience - I have no complaints at all about the trip and found it extremely enjoyable. Our Guide was excellent - very friendly and informative and looked after us all very well. Overall an extremely enjoyable holiday.CW, Newcastle
So many things - wonderful birds, Leon was very interesting, Copan was fascinating. This is our 4th trip with JLA and we have never been disappointed.LP, Honiton
"It was a magical experience, a well organized trip that gave me piece of mind, which is what a holiday should be. Well done Journey Latin America."LM, Arbroath
I can't think of anything to improve on the itinerary. As I had an extra five nights at the beginning and three nights at the end, I was able to do many extra things and visit many extra places, which I'm really glad I did.JC, Birmingham
Jam packed itinerary with so many great places and sights in such a short time! Iguacu Falls, Rio, La Paz, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu- it really had it all. We had a great tour guide; informative, knowledgeable and extremely personable, with a wealth of knowledge and a genuine passion for South America. Logistics were seamless- first time travelling to South America, first time travelling solo- highly recommend it!LM, London
A well planned trip covering all the highlights we wanted to see.
A great trip, thoroughly enjoyed by a good group (of 8) that gelled well. We saw so much, did so much and and our expectations were well exceeded.GP, Woking
Every day was a highlight - loved the train from Puno to Cusco, and then there is Machu Picchu.RK, Dorchester
BM, Milton Keynes
Overall an excellent trip with many wonderful memories, lived up to all expectations.
Tour was very well planned with excellent local Guides and the tour leader was brilliant.MBG, Malta
The tour makes you realise how diverse Peruvian history is, and is more than just the Incas and Spanish Conquistadors.JDC, Sheffield
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.