|Costa Rica, Nicaragua
From the bat caves of Masaya to the petroglyphs and twin volcanoes of Ometepe Island, discover some of Central America’s true treasures on this short trip through Nicaragua. Begin your journey on the vivacious streets of Granada and end it in the lively markets and museums of San Jose, Costa Rica, dipping your toes into the cool streams of Rincon de la Vieja along the way.
Why we love it:
- This short trip packs in many of Costa Rica’s most impressive natural highlights.
- Steaming volcanoes and pristine cloud forests, alabaster beaches and staggering biodiversity all await – for its size, this is a country that offers unparalleled variety and scope for adventure.
- From following trails in remote Monteverde Cloud Forest, to getting up close with the majestic Arenal Volcano, or being bowled over by birdlife and mammals at Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica is a wild wonderland.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1-2: Granada
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Colon or similar, Granada
- An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
- Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
- You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
- Oozing with colonial charm, Granada is the oldest city of the 'New World', having been founded in 1524. The city resides on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and its appearance is a mixture of Moorish and Andalusian.
- The following day we have an included tour to Masaya Market, the active Masaya volcano, and the bat cave.
- The rest of our time here is free to bargain hard in the markets, hike, cruise and explore the neighbouring landscapes. Explore the cobblestone streets surrounded by colourful buildings or tour the 'islets' on Lake Nicaragua by boat, take an evening stroll through the streets and witness Granada's national sport: chatting with neighbours across the street from their open front room.
Day 3-4: Ometepe
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Accommodation: Omaja Hotel or similar, Ometepe
- Today we have a short drive (approx 1.5 hours) to the town of San Jorge.
- From San Jorge it's a relaxing 1-hour boat trip to Ometepe Island, and the views of its twin volcanoes (Concepcion and Maderas) are spectacular.
- Beautifully located within Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe Island is formed by two volcanoes which rise from the lake. In fact 'Ometepe' literally means two volcanoes in the Nahuatl language. The island's hourglass shape is home to great beaches and a deep jungle.
- We have a full free day here, and you might want to take an optional hike to Volcano Maderas, which at 1340m (4395 ft), is no walk in the park. Otherwise check out the petroglyphs or chill out on the beach. A great experience is sitting on the shore of the lake when the fishermen come back from their long day bringing in what they have caught.
Day 5-6: Rincon de la Vieja
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Buena Vista Lodge or similar, Rincon de la Vieja
- Today we return to the mainland by ferry, and travel by private minibus to Rincon de la Vieja, crossing into Costa Rica on the way.
- Meaning literally ‘old lady’s corner’, Rincon de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex with at least nine eruptive vents within a 15 kilometre-wide caldera. The region is characterised by dramatic scenery, boiling mud pools, gleaming, clear water rivers and crashing waterfalls, perfect for swimming.
Day 7-8: San Jose
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Presidente Hotel or similar, San Jose
- Today we travel by private minibus to Costa Rica's capital city, San Jose.
- With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping head to the outdoor market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
- There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour.
- Park fees.
- Arrival transfer.
- Accommodation: Hotel (7 nts)
- Meals: 7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch
- Transport: Minibus, ferry
- Rincon de la Vieja - Hot springs
Some meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
- International flights
- Airport departure tax
- Visas where required
- Meals not included in the itinerary
- Any optional tours or activities during free time
- Tips and items of a personal nature
- Daily budget
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
- Granada - Bicycle rental (per day)
- Granada - Kayak hire
- Granada - Mombacho Volcano hike
- Ometepe - Maderas Volcano hike (approx 10 hours)
- Ometepe - Ojo de Agua natural spring
- Ometepe - Volcan Concepcion hike (Approx 11 hrs)
- San Jose - Butterfly Farm
- San Jose - National Museum
What to know
No particular level of fitness is required however a certain degree of agility is best and you should be in good health.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region. We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.
Visas and Permits
Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Costa Rica. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
Please note that Costa Rican authorities require a Yellow Fever Certificate for visitors arriving from some countries in South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela).
Passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival for all visitors to Nicaragua. For Australians and New Zealanders, visas are required, they can be obtained upon arrival at a cost of USD$25.00. Canadians, Americans and Brits do not require a visa.
Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans and British citizens must all hold documents and tickets required for onward travel and at least USD$200.00. They must also buy a Tourist Card on arrival for a fee of USD$5.00
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.
Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
Exploring Costa Rica-The Tico Times Costa Rica The Ecotravellers-Les Beletsky Wildlife Guide
Sandino’s Daughters: Testimonies of Nicaraguan Women in Struggle – Margaret Randall
Culture and Politics in Nicaragua – Steven White
The Naturalist in Nicaragua – Thomas Belt
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Ocassionally sights such as museums and churches are closed to tourists on public holidays.
Please note that Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
Costa Rica Tourism Industry:
Costa Rica has done a great job of looking after its natural wonders yet maximising their potential as tourist attractions. As a result, you should expect to pay for nearly every optional activity available. This allows everyone to individually have the choice of deciding on which activities they particularly want to participate in - from white water rafting to hiking. This also means high standards of service, well maintained gear, clear paths and signalling and well trained local guides that allow you to make the most of every activity.
Emergency Contact: Viaventure
24 Hour Emergency:+502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
4 July 2014
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Peregrine