9 days

Amazing Costa Rica

Amazing Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Manuel Antonio National Park's beaches

Trip rating
  • The tropical wet and dry forests of Manuel Antonio National Park make it a unique haven for 270 species of bird life. Expect forest walks to be accompanied by busy hummingbirds, majestic toucans and screeching flocks of parakeets. Be sure to stop at fruiting trees to watch feeding euphonias (blue-grey and golden-hooded are common) and a variety of tanager.

    Why we love it

    • The stunning national parks of Costa Rica are endowed with some of the greatest diversity of flora and fauna in the world.
    • Depart for La Fortuna where we can explore the base of the mighty Arenal Volcano and its unique surrounds.
    • At Monteverde we discover large areas of untouched forest considered by many to be one of the world's most outstanding tropical cloudforest and wildlife sanctuaries.
    • Finally we come to the Manuel Antonio National Park which features some of Costa rica's finest beaches, with long stretches of beautiful white sand backed by lush jungle.


    Day 1 - San Jose

    • On arrival at San Jose airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in the heart of the city. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and the other members of the group for a pre-tour briefing. This is normally held at 6pm but please check the notice board at reception to confirm the time and place. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents along with you. Following the briefing there is generally an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.
    • Costa Rica’s capital sits in the centre of a lush, wide valley which has a comfortable subtropical climate. The streets of the town are laid out along a grid iron pattern, with avenidas running east to west and callés running north to south. Many of the most interesting buildings are in the region of Avenida Central – the Teatro Nacional is an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors.
    • There are a number of interesting museums in the city; the Museo de Oro has a good collection of golden pre-Columbian figurines. The Mercado Central is the main market which dates back to 1881 – there are some good food stalls here as well as countless artefacts for sale.
    • Elsewhere in San Jose there are some good restaurants – you can dine out on Chinese, Indian, Italian or the more traditional variations on the theme of rice and beans.
    Hotel Plaza Real or similar

    Day 2-3 - La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano

    • An approximately four-and-a-half hour drive will take you to La Fortuna, your base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds. Vulcan Arenal lay dormant for 400 years until finally erupting in 1968.
    • The volcano's almost perfect cone, which soars 1,633 metres above sea level, has a crater 140 metres deep formed over an ancient Caldera. Huddled in the shadow of the looming Vulcan Arenal the small town of La Fortuna is an ideal location from which to explore the surrounding region.
    • During your stay there will be time for some optional activities including a visit to the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, an excursion to the Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Resort Hot Springs, fishing in Lake Arenal, as well as opportunities for adventure activities such as mountain biking.
    • In the evening you will visit hot springs in the area, surrounded by lush foliage and naturally heated by the volcano, the springs are the perfect way to relax.
    Casa Luna Lodge or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 4-5 - Monteverde

    • You will travel by minibus and boat to the cool cloud forests of Monteverde (approximately 4 hours). Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park.
    • In addition, you can choose from some great optional activities. There is the Skywalk, a combination of suspension bridges and platforms built in the cloud forest, that allow you to explore the forest canopy in a safe and easy manner. You can also venture away from the Monteverde Reserve to the Children's Eternal Rainforest, the first international children's rainforest in the world.
    • Then there is the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and the Hummingbird Gallery, a must for those with a penchant for these winged, colored jewels of the forest.
    • At night you will enjoy a night hike in Monteverde, hiking at dusk in the forest. Some of the wildlife you might see include porcupines, toucans and other sleeping birds, owls, agoutis, coatimundis, snakes, walking sticks, tarantulas, katydids, and an array of other cool insects.
    • Of course, there are no guaranteed sightings, so don't expect all these creatures to be waiting just for you! Typically though this time of transition into night offers a good opportunity to view nocturnal mammals as well as diurnal animals as they prepare for night. Look out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
    Historias Lodge or similar

    Day 6-7 - Manuel Antonio National Park

    • It is a four to five hour drive to Manuel Antonio National Park. Situated on the Pacific Coast 132km from San Jose, the area of mangrove swamps and beaches now known as the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio was first documented by Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon in 1519 during his (unsuccessful) search for the Fountain of Youth.
    • Long, white beaches extending around the headland of Punta Catedral are set against evergreen forest backdrops that grow up right up to the high tide line. Incorporating 12 small islands scattered just off the coast where migrating whales can sometimes be observed, the park is home to 109 mammal and 184 bird species in a region of lagoons and fertile mangrove swamps.
    • Your time here is your own to enjoy some of Costa Rica's finest beaches or you can take to the many fine hiking trails through the tropical forest.
    Los Almendros or similar

    Day 8-9 - San Jose

    • You will spend the morning in Manuel Antonio before returning to San Jose and your centrally located hotel. You can enjoy one last night out to celebrate the end of your journey.
    • The trip will come to an end on Day 9 after breakfast.
    Hotel Plaza Real or similar
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour.
    • Park fees.
    • Arrival transfer.
    • Accommodation: Hotel (8 nts)
    • Meals: 8 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
    • Transport: Minibus, Shuttle Bus, Boat
    • La Fortuna - Baldi Hot Springs
    • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure tax
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips and items of a personal nature

    Safety Information

    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Amazing Costa Rica

    Catherine - , 15 Dec, 2011
    Overall Rating

    Do it, respect the locals and wildlife and be considerate of the need to save the eco system.

    We were delighted with our tour guide, Ricardo Bolanos, from caramba Tours, he went above and beyond the call of duty, arranging birdwatching at 6am every morning and ensuring where possible we avoided crowds of tourists.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSAR
Group size 1 - 16
Start City: San Jose
End City: San Jose

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