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Classic Costa Rica

From £1070 for 15 days
Trip Overview
Every year thousands of tourists travel to Costa Rica but few get to experience this charismatic country's real way of life. On this Classic Costa Rica trip, stay with a local family in Santa Rosa de Pocosol and get your hands dirty on a nearby farm. Uncover jungle gems in Tortuguero and Sarapiqui; hot springs, waterfalls and a live volcano in La Fortuna; and white sandy beaches at Quepos - all set to a sizzling salsa beat. This adventure into the heart of tropical paradise will surely leave you wanting more.
Essential Info
Starts: San Jose
Ends: San Jose
Ages: Min 15
Theme: Discovery
Trip Code: IQVSR
Countries visited: Costa Rica
What's Included

Meals

5 Breakfasts included
1 Dinners included

Transport

Private minibus,local bus,boat

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights),Lodge (2 nights),Homestay (1 night)

Trip Highlights
-Stroll through lively markets in San Jose
-Explore the jungle in the Tortuguero National Park
-Chill out to the sounds of nature in Sarapiqui
-Soak off the day in La Fortuna hot springs
-Get close to the coalface at Arenal Volcano
-Discover the sultry Monteverde cloud forest
-Shake your booty to the samba soundtrack of Costa Rica
-Experience local life on a homestay in Santa Rosa de Pocosol
Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Direction
Price GBP
Availability
10th December 2016
24th December 2016
San Jose - San Jose
£1,125pp 
G
 
Good
17th December 2016
31st December 2016
San Jose - San Jose
£1,180pp 
G
 
Limited
24th December 2016
7th January 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,205pp 
G
 
Limited
31st December 2016
14th January 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,205pp 
G
 
Limited
2nd January 2017
16th January 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,190pp 
G
 
Limited
7th January 2017
21st January 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,190pp 
G
 
Good
14th January 2017
28th January 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,155pp 
G
 
Good
21st January 2017
4th February 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,155pp 
G
 
Good
28th January 2017
11th February 2017
San Jose - San Jose
£1,200pp 
G
 
Limited
Show more dates
Itinerary & Notes
 
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. 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.

Additional Activities

San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park (half-day tour)
55 USD
San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls (full-day tour)
120 USD
San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley & Lankester Botanical Garden (full-day tour)
90 USD
San Jose - Butterfly farm
27 USD
San Jose - National Museum
7 USD
San Jose - Gold Museum
11 USD
San Jose - Jade Museum
10 USD
Day 2 - Tortuguero National Park
We leave San Jose and descend to the Caribbean lowlands by local bus (approx 4 hours). The final section of our journey to the port at La Pavona is on an unsealed road. Then take a boat to Tortuguero National Park (approx. 1.5 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.

Additional Activities

Walking tour of Tortuguero National Park
Included in Price
Turtle watching night tour
20 USD
Tortuguero - Sunrise canoe trip around Tortuguero canals
25 USD
Day 3 - Tortuguero National Park
Today 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.
Day 4 - Sarapiqui
Early in the morning we travel to Sarapiqui in the heart of Costa Rica's banana growing region. First, transfer back to the port by boat (approx 1.5 hours), then continue to Sarapiqui by private minibus (approx 3 hours). 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.

Additional Activities

Sarapiqui - La Selva Biological Station
35 USD
Sarapiqui - Bird watching
20 USD
Sarapiqui - Chocolate tour at Tirimbina
25 USD
Day 5 - Sarapiqui
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.
Day 6 - Santa Rosa de Pocosol
Travel by private minibus to Santa Rosa de Pocosol (approx 2 hours) where we spend the night in a homestay. Just down the road is the Juanilama agricultural community where we have the option to get to know the local villagers, help with farm chores or take a cooking lesson. Several villagers have built comfortable rooms for guests next to their homes. All rooms have shared facilities. In order to make the most of this homestay experience, it may take a bit of effort from your side to break the ice first. Learn as many Spanish words as you can and get ready for some serious hand language signals.

Additional Activities

Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Agricultural tour
Included in Price
Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Cooking class
10 USD
Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Soap-making workshop
10 USD
Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Waterfall hike
10 USD
Day 7 - La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano
Continue by private minibus to La Fortuna (approx 2 hours). This small town is situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal.

Additional Activities

La Fortuna - Hot springs
25 USD
La Fortuna - Arenal hanging bridges
65 USD
La Fortuna - La Fortuna Waterfall
10 USD
La Fortuna - Cano Negro boat tour
80 USD
La Fortuna - Stand up paddle board
50 USD
La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport)
99 USD
Day 8 - La Fortuna
Besides the spectacular views, La Fortuna offers a range of 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.
Day 9 - Monteverde
Today take the scenic route to Monteverde (approximately 4 hours in total). Travel by shared minibus to Lake Arenal, which we'll cross by boat. On a clear day you'll see fantastic views of the surrounding area. On the other side of the lake, re-board the minibus and continue on to our destination. 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.

Additional Activities

Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike
Included in Price
Monteverde - Suspension bridges tour
35 USD
Monteverde - Zip lining
45 USD
Monteverde - Coffee & Chocolate tour
35 USD
Monteverde - Night walk
35 USD
Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm
30 USD
Monteverde - Serpentarium
15 USD
Day 10 - 11 - Monteverde
Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. Alternatively, walk through the canopy on suspension bridges 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 Monteverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
Day 12 - Quepos
Travel to Quepos by private minibus (approx 5 hours). Located close to the beautiful Pacific beaches and exotic wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos is a laidback town with a vibrant nightlife.

Additional Activities

Manuel Antonio- Sunset sail
75 USD
Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch)
80 USD
Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental
10 USD
Quepos - Local guided tour
25 USD
Day 13 - Quepos/Manuel Antonio NP
Spend your time here enjoying all that Manuel Antonio NP 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, sailing or fishing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.
Day 14 - San Jose
Take a local bus back to San Jose (approx 4 hours). The buses in this region of hte country are a little more basic but this is a great opportunity to mix with Costa Ricans and get a feel for local life. Arrive back in time for you to pick up some last minute souvenirs at the city's colourful and vibrant markets. Then we can head out for an optional dinner and a final night on the town sampling the huge variety of nightlife. The perfect way to end our adventure.
Day 15 - San Jose
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
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