Costa Rica Explorer

Itinerary in Brief: An amazing combination of nature and adventures

  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Active Arenal Volcano
  • Lush Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Classic Pacuare river rafting
  • Outstanding small hotels
  • Can be customized

Day by Day Itinerary

Included meals are indicated in parentheses: (B,L,D)

Day 1      Arrive San Jose

Fly into San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, where you’ll be staying in a beautiful first class hotel; enjoy dinner out at one of the city’s restaurants.
Grano de Oro

Day 2       Tortuguero

You will be picked up at your hotel to begin your trip to the Caribbean coast and Tortuguero National Park. You’ll do the last part of the journey by a small boat that will take you to your lodge in the heart of this unique coastal jungle environment. For the next two days you’ll explore this fantastic nature viewing region. Tortuguero is famous for its wildlife, particularly the giant sea turtles that nest on the nearby beaches. The area teems with a wide variety of monkeys, tropical birds, and many other creatures, including the rare and elusive jaguar.
Tortuga Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 3       Tortuguero

In the morning enjoy a two or three hour boat ride with a local guide as you travel through some of the backwater canals in Tortuguero National Park, viewing some of the diverse flora and fauna. You have the afternoon free to simply relax or do any number of excursions offered through the lodge.
Tortuga Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4       Arenal Volcano

Today you will be transferred from the Tortuga Lodge to the area of Arenal Volcano stopping along the way to see the handmade crafts of Sarchi and the topiary gardens of Zarcero. You’ll be staying in the same comfortable lodge used by the Smithsonian Institute staff to monitor the volcano’s activity.
Arenal Observatory Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5       Arenal Volcano

Today you’ll join your guide and a small group of other travelers (max 6 people) from the lodge to take a morning hike around the base of the volcano, where you’ll observe the lava flow and enjoy spectacular views up to the smoldering crater (weather permitting). In the afternoon you will visit the Arenal Vida Campesina organic farm and learn about common Costa Rican crops such as coffee, bananas and plantains. You will enjoy a lunch prepared with freshly harvested vegetables. After lunch you will visit the 200 feet tall La Fortuna Waterfall. After walking down a steep but short path you will have the chance to swim in the cool water of the lagoon fed by the fall. This and the following excursions can also be done with a private guide for an additional cost.
Arenal Observatory Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6        Monteverde Cloud Forest

Today you will visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges. This is a complex of suspension bridges and trails through the rainforest where you will likely be able to spot local fauna such as toucans and capuchin monkeys. In the afternoon you will travel to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. (If you prefer, you can hike from Arenal over to Monteverde at a small extra cost, a strenuous hike that is for able-bodied travelers but provides spectacular views of the volcano and rainforest). You’ll be staying in one of the finest and most charming lodges in the area.
Hotel Fonda Vela (B,L,D)

Day 7       Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde is a uniquely beautiful, mountainous cloud forest environment, and if you appreciate nature you can’t help but be captivated by the place. In the morning you’ll start out on the Selvatura’s Canopy zip line, one of the longest zip lines of its kind, taking you through the virgin cloud forest canopy. For those who wish to have a bit more stable footing they can opt for the “skywalk canopy tour,” where you walk along a series of suspended bridges from which you can observe the jungle canopy. In the afternoon you have a guided walk through the forest allowing you to appreciate the dense jungle from below the canopy.
Hotel Fonda Vela (B,L,D)

Day 8       Return to San Jose

After breakfast it is time to say good bye to the Monteverde Rainforest and transfer back to San Jose. You will arrive to San Jose in the late afternoon and be dropped off at your hotel where you can relax and talk about all you have been able to see in the last 8 days.
Grano de Oro (B)

Day 9       Return Home

Today is your final day in Costa Rica. You will be picked up at your hotel approximately 3 hours prior to your international flight’s departure and transferred to the airport.