Classic Costa Rica (IQVSR)

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : IQVSR
  • Trip length : 15 Days
  • Trip starts in : San Jose
  • Trip ends in : San Jose
  • Maximum group size : 12
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Meals :  5 breakfasts
  • Accommodation : Homestay (1 nt), Hotel (11 nts), Lodge (2 nts)
  • Transport : Boat, Bus

daily-itinerary1

Day
1

San Jose

Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica!

Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

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.

The following day your leader will take you on an orientation walk around 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 out door market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

 
Day
2-3

Tortuguero National Park

We leave San Jose and descend to the Caribbean lowlands by bus and boat to Tortuguero National Park (approx. 5 hours).

This area has long been associated with the catching of turtle (tortuguero means turtle-catcher). The original indigenous inhabitants used turtles as a sustainable resource, but the arrival of Europeans led to major exploitation. Tortuguero National Park, established in 1970, is now home to 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals. Among them are manatees, ocelots and jaguars, as well as over 300 bird species. First and foremost, however, it is the nesting ground of the green turtle, which comes ashore between July and October to lay its eggs on the sandy beaches. Lesser numbers of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, plus loggerheads, and giant leatherback turtles also nest within the park at different times of year.

The following day your leader will lead you on a walk around the park's main paths. Keep your eyes peeled to spot monkeys, birds, frogs and perhaps a sloth or two.

Accommodation: Lodge (2 nts)

 
Day
4-5

Sarapiqui

Early in the morning we travel to Sarapiqui in the heart of Costa Rica's banana growing region.

On the banks of the Puerto Viejo River and next to the Braulio Carrillo National Park, this budding town is surrounded by virgin forests, and banana and pineapple plantations. Sarapiqui is also known as one of the richest areas in Costa Rica for bird watching. The diversity of lowland bird life is impressive. A biological research station and several nearby forest lodges have made this undisturbed habitat accessible to scientists and travellers.

There is plenty of free time to explore the jungle that surrounds the town by mountain bike or on foot, or find a comfy spot to watch the colourful birdlife glide by. Alternatively you may wish to satisfy your sweet tooth on a chocolate tour.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

 
Day
6

Santa Rosa de Pocosol

Travel approx 2 hours to Santa Rosa de Pocosol where we spend the night in a homestay. Just down the road is the Juanilama agricultural community where we can get to know the local villagers, help with farm chores, catch fish for dinner, or get a cooking lesson. Several villagers have built comfortable rooms for guests next to their homes. All rooms have private baths.

Accommodation: Homestay (1 nt)

  

Day
7-8

La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano

A 2 hour trip takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds.

La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. The views here are spectacular as the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Besides the panoramic views the town offers a range of other activities such as the 70 metre high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.

The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has a number of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been turned into a number of thermal pools and waterfalls, often surrounded by foliage, an ideal chance to relax.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
9-11

Monteverde

Grab a warm jacket because today we travel for about 4 hours along rutted dirt roads, through the mountains, to reach the cool and windy cloud-forests of Monteverde.

Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. Alternatively, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk or watch butterflies at play in the specially created butterfly garden. The local guides are very knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation and in the local communities there are several cooperatives worth visiting. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers; they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. It is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Accommodation: Hotel (3 nts)

 
Day
12-13

Quepos

After a 5 hour travel day, we arrive in Quepos, where we base ourselves while visiting Manuel Antonio National Park.

Located close to the beautiful Pacific beaches and exotic wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos is a laid-back town with a vibrant nightlife.

Spend your time here enjoying all the park has to offer. Head out for a hike along its many trails, keeping one eye on the great views and the other looking for the abundant wildlife. Monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds are among the species you maybe be able to spot. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches, perfect for swimming, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing, fishing or surfing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts) 

 


included1

  • Orientation walk - San Jose
  • Tortuguero National Park - Walking Tour
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike

optional-extras 

  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - USD27
  • San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley, Lankester garden full day tour - USD80
  • San Jose - Poas National Park half day tour - USD46
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls full day tour - USD96
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD7
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - USD11
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - USD10
  • Tortuguero - Turtle watching night tour - USD20
  • Tortuguero - Sunrise canoe trip around Tortuguero canals - USD25
  • Sarapiqui - Mountain bike hire - USD45
  • Sarapiqui - La Selva Biological Station hike - USD35
  • Sarapiqui - Bird watching - USD20
  • Sarapiqui - Chocolate tour at Tirimbina - USD25
  • La Fortuna - Fortuna Waterfall - USD10
  • La Fortuna - Hanging bridges - USD57
  • La Fortuna - Hot Springs - USD25
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - USD99
  • La Fortuna - Canyoneering - USD55
  • La Fortuna - Cano Negro boat tour - USD65
  • La Fortuna - Stand up paddle board - USD50
  • Monteverde - Night walk - USD35
  • Monteverde - Coffee tour - USD30
  • Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm - USD10
  • Monteverde - Serpentarium - USD10
  • Monteverde - Hanging bridges - USD40
  • Monteverde - Zip lining - USD45
  • Quepos - Dolphin watch/sunset sail (seasonal) - USD75
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD80
  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
  • Quepos - Local guided tour - USD25

not-included1

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

tripgrade1

Standard

For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience.

Style Facts

  • Comfortable tourist class hotels
  • Family Homestays
  • Private and local transport
  • More inclusions than Basic tours
  • Fully trained and experienced leaders

Discovery

Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.

visa1

A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information

health-and-fitness

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Money1

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping.

travel-insurance

You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information

responsible-travel1

Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.

other-important-information

 

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.

Costa Rica is a country which, in parts, is more developed compared to other Latin America countries. A high standard of living means that prices of food and activities can be as high as what you would expect to pay in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc; and you should budget accordingly.

HURRICANE SEASON:

Please note that Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Imaginative Traveller monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

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