Amazing Costa Rica Trip Notes
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 : PSAR
Trip length : 9
Trip starts in : San Jose
Trip ends in : San Jose
Maximum group size : maximum 15
- Manuel Antonio National Park's beaches
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. Whether it’s following the trails in remote Monteverde Cloud Forest, getting up close with majestic Arenal Volcano, or being bowled over by birdlife and mammals at Manuel Antonio National Park, at every turn Costa Rica is a wild, natural wonderland that never fails to inspire and excite.
- 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.
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. Today it is the most active volcano in Costa Rica and with some luck you might be able to observe the red lava.
- 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 and to witness the volcano’s dramatic fireworks display.
- 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 mountain biking, caving and horseback riding.
- In the evening you will visit hot springs in the area, surrounded by lush foliage and naturally heated by lava from the volcano, teh springs are the perfct way to relax. If you are lucky you may also witness a spectacular pyrotechnic display from the volcano.
- 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, coati mundis, 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.
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.
- 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.
While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
On some trips we’ll push you out of your comfort zone to ensure an authentic experience, on other trips you will stay in amazing places where there is no ‘roughing it’ involved. There is plenty of choice so you can select a trip with as much activity or as little as you wish. Our small groups ensure a more intimate experience and that the impact on the local environment and community is kept to a minimum. Extra Comfort tours offer rich and rewarding adventures and are stress-free, safe and, most importantly, fun!
- Innovative itineraries offering authentic travel encounters
- A mix of active adventure, culture, wildlife, sightseeing and relaxation
- Well appointed, quality hotels in central locations
- Arrival transfers, transport (mostly private) and accommodation included
- Many meals and adventure activities also included
- Fully trained and experienced local leaders
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.
- The services ofour expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour.
- 2 days in Monteverde Cloud Forest including a night hike.
- 2 days in Manuel Antonio National Park.
- Free time to explore San Jose and La Fortuna.
- Park fees.
- Arrival transfer.
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.
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.
Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.