The Best of Costa Rica in 9 Days

book tourSan José | Tortuguero | Guayabo | Turrialba | Irazu Volcano | La Paz Waterfalls | Poas Volcano | Arenal Volcano | Punta Leona | Tarcoles | Little Villages | San José

A selection of Costa Rica’s most beautiful locations for short vacations

Accommodation in 2-3-star hotels (A), 3-4-star hotels (B) or 3-5-star superior hotels (C)

 

Duration: 8 nights/9 days
Transportation: Rental Car or personal driver

This roundtrip presents Costa Rica’s best destinations: See Tortuguero’s fantastic wildlife and mount the volcanoes Irazu and Poas. Discover the Central Valley and its beautiful villages, the archaeological site of Guayabo and top it with lava-watching and hot-springs by Volcan Arenal. Get to know Costa Rican agriculture as you visit a typical finca (ranch). Dip into this country’s magnificent ecological paradises and conclude your trip with a sunset on a Pacific beach!
The roundtrip can be arranged for 1 or more persons

We guarantee or the same retail prices for hotels, rental cars and activities as direct suppliers. As we only cooperate with approved and reliable partners, the quality of hotels is assured. We assist you in planning, booking and provide English-speaking travel assistance around-the-clock.


Day 1: San José

Arrival at San José airport. Individual transfer.

Accommodation:

Alternative A: Hotel Colonial superior, standard room (B/B)

Alternative B: Hotel Fleur de Lys standard room or Junior Suite (B/B)

Alternative C: charming Gran Hotel Costa Rica superior, Junior Suite (B/B)


Day 2: San José – Tortuguero

120 km road + 40 km boat ride – 6h

Departure by van in the early morning towards Tortuguero National Park – one of the most famous destinations. The trip will lead you through the curvy road of Braulio Carrillo National Park with its cloud-draped forests and wonderful views. You will also pass the mystically two-coloured river Rio Sucio before eating breakfast (incl.) in a restaurant on the road to Puerto Limon.
The trip continues on a track to the Caribbean Sea from Siquirres to Caño Blanco, where you can visit a banana plantation. In Caño Blanco you will change to a motorboat that will bring you through the coastal channels to Tortuguero.

The boat ride leads you through luscious vegetation and dense forests. The fauna consists of monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, sloths, toucans, parrots and numerous sea birds. You will be received around 12.30 with a welcome-cocktail and lunch.
In the afternoon there are guided tours to the Caribbean village Tortuguero where you can visit the small turtle museum. Alternatively, you can rent a kayak and explore the tropical channels individually.

 

Dinner (incl.) and accommodation at:

Alternative A: Flor de Tortuguero Nature Hotel superior, standard room (F/B)

Alternative B: Evergreen Lodge or Pachira Lodge superior, standard room (F/B)

Alternative C: Flor de Tortuguero Nature Hotel superior, Bungalow (F/B)

Note: The specified excursions serve as examples. They will be adapted according to the weather situation and, whenever possible, to customer wishes. The boat excursion through the canals is definitely the best option, as you can spot amazing varieties of animals.


Day 3: Tortuguero – Guayabo – Turrialba Area

200 km – 4.5h

Guided boat excursion in the early morning to explore the wildlife at its awakening, followed by a breakfast(incl.) at the lodge. Return by boat to Caño Blanco and continuation to Siquirres by minibus. Your 4x4 rental car will be delivered to you in Siquirres at the restaurant Caribbean Dish (incl. lunch) around 11.30am (with or without driver, consult the chapter Car Rental).

Departure towards Turrialba to visit the Guayabo National Monument (Guided tours in English and Spanish on request). This is one of the rare archaeological sites discovered in Costa Rica and the country’s most important pre-Columbian excavation site. It is situated on 1000-1300m, about 20 km from Turrialba and was discovered in the late 19th century. The visit consists of a pleasant stroll following the traces of a mysteriously lost civilisation. Calculate 1-2 hours for this visit.

Accommodation:

Alternative A: Guayabo Lodge superior

Alternative B: Hotel Casa Turire standard room (B/B)

Alternative C: Hotel Casa Turire Superior Suite (B/B)

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Day 4: Turrialba – Irazu Volcano – Hacienda Experience - Turrialba

Breakfast (incl.) at the hotel. Suggested morning excursion: Irazu Volcano. The surrounding National Park stretches over an area of over 2400 hectares and features the country’s highest active volcano (3432 m). The peak is accessible by car. On a clear day you can see both oceans, the Pacific to the west and the Atlantic to the east.

Afternoon visit of Finca Tayutic: the finca in the heart of Turrialba valley offers a unique opportunity to get to know biological and traditional Costa Rican agriculture. Visit a macadamia nut plantation; learn the function of a traditional “trapiche” (to extract juice from sugar cane); walk the bromeliad trail and get interesting background information. Eat an organic lunch on the property. The old farm house and the 19th century church are further of the finca’s gems!
A coffee tour can also be done on the property (or in other places of the area). Turrialba is one of the famous coffee growing areas of Costa Rica.

Accommodation:

Alternative A: Guayabo Lodge superior

Alternative B: Hotel Casa Turire standard room (B/B)

Alternative C: Hotel Casa Turire Superior Suite (B/B)


Day 5: Turrialba – La Paz Waterfalls – Vara Blanca

Breakfast (incl.) at the hotel. Departure for the La Paz Waterfalls and the surrounding natural park. Various activities are offered at La Paz Waterfall Gardens: suspension bridges through the forest pass four waterfalls; promenade amid huge ferns; visit the “hummingbird garden” and the botanical garden, the butterfly glasshouse, the orchid collection, the vivarium with snakes and frogs, or the replication of an old farmhouse… You can spend a good part of the day in this area and eat lunch in one of the restaurants on the estate.

Accommodation:

Alternative A: Poas Volcano Lodge superior, standard room (B/B

Alternative B: Poas Volcano Lodge Junior Suite (B/B)

Alternative C: Peace Lodge Eco-Lodge, Luxury Room (B/B), entry to the Waterfall Gardens incl.


Day 6: Vara Blanca – Poas Volcano – La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano)

130 km – 3.5h

Breakfast (incl.) at the lodge. Departure for Poás Volcano (2700 m). Poas is famous for having one of the world’s biggest craters (1.5 km diameter, 300 m deep). Many fumaroles are around the crater and geyserlike eruptions occur frequently (one of the water fountains can rise over 100 m).

Continuation via Venecia and Muelle through the lush San Carlos Valley towards Arenal Volcano (1600 m). Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Since its explosive awakening on July 29 1968, it regularly emits lava streams and volcanologists have been studying it closely for over 25 years. Observe the volcano after dusk and marvel at its glowing lava streams!
Enjoy the evening at one of the various fabulous hot springs of Arenal (open until 10pm): Countless hot pools, tropical gardens and wet bars wait for you!

Accommodation:

Alternative A: rustic Lavas Tacotal standard room (B/B)

Alternative B: Hotel Arenal Linda Vista del Norte superior, Junior Suite (B/B)

Alternative C: Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa superior, standard room (B/B)

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Day 7: La Fortuna (Arenal) – Punta Leona (Pacific Coast)

4h – 200 km

Breakfast (incl.) at the hotel. Activity suggestions: take a walk around the volcano to observe the flora and fauna on a 3 km trail through tropical forest. You can take the bridge trail over 8 fix and 6 suspension bridges, ranging from 48-98 meters of length. Enjoy the view on the birds and jungle canopy!
A further option is the exploration of Arenal National Park with a guide (1.5h): get to know the volcanic ecology and learn details about Arenal. Depending on the activity, close crater zones and petrified lava streams can be explored.
Departure for the Pacific Coast. Visit the animal orphanage "Las Pumas" which shelters pumas, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, etc.
Continuation over the Panamericana towards Orotina to Punta Leona. Swim at a lovely beach and enjoy the sunset in the Pacific Ocean.

Accommodation:

Alternative A: Punta Leona standard room (B)

Alternative B: Hotel Villa Caletas double room (B)

Alternative C: Zephyr Palace Suites (“1920’s”, “New World”, “Oriental” etc.) (B)


Day 8: Punta Leona – “Little Villages” – San José

Optional breakfast. On the way to San José, we warmly recommend the 1½-hour boat trip on the river Tarcoles. The ride will lead you through mangrove forests where you will be able to spot crocodiles (up to 600 kg) at an unbelievably close range. You will also observe several birds around and on the crocodiles…

Continuation through the “little villages” of Naranjo (with a pretty colonial church), Sarchi – which is known for its handicrafts, particularly the hand painted ox-carts (one of Costa Rica’s national symbols) – and Grecia (with its curious church). Rental Car return at the airport or the city (or end of your driver’s service).

Accommodation:

Alternative A: Hotel Colonial superior, standard room (B/B)

Alternative B: Hotel Fleur de Lys standard room or Junior Suite (B/B)

Alternative C: charming Gran Hotel Costa Rica superior, Junior Suite (B/B)

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Day 9: San José

Breakfast (incl.) at the hotel. Guided city tour on foot, if desired: from the Central Market with its colourful fruit and vegetable stands, through pedestrian and shopping areas near the Plaza de la Cultura, to the national theatre and museums. Distances are short and everything is close by.

 

National Theatre (Sunday closed), Gold Museum (Monday closed), Jade Museum (08.30-15.30, Saturday and Sunday closed), National Museum with terraces and view over the city (Monday closed).

 

book tourNote : The itinerary will depend on your airline company. Continental and American Airlines fly in the morning, while Iberia departs in the afternoon. If your flight leaves in the morning we can make some lovely hotel propositions around the countryside of Alajuela (closer to the Airport).

 

 

For this tour you will need to rent a car for 6 days (if returned before 12 p.m.)

Check out our Activity Section to replenish your personal itinerary

 

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