This itinerary for the active traveler will take you on a whirlwind tour through Costa Rica's natural highlights. From Monteverde, to Arenal, and the pristine beaches of Manuel Antonio. This route through Costa Rica is classic, and designed to introduce you to the reasons why this is the birthplace of ecotourism. The natural world is the main attraction here, and locals have worked hard to keep it pristine. Manuel Antonio National Park is not only a perfect beach destination, but an ecological preserve thick with verdant jungle.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: San Jose Arrival - Monteverde

San Jose Arrival - Monteverde
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: Hotel Fonda Vela

In the morning, you will be picked up at the airport in San Jose and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Monteverde Cloud Forest

This biological reserve has been a source of inspiration since it was first colonized, and has continued to be advocated for by different conservation groups through the 19th and 20th centuries. Only 160 tourists are allowed within its borders at a time, insuring that the healthy rivers, blooming trees, and intense biodiversity remains protected. Though it does rain often (bring your raincoat), and the trails do get a bit muddy (don't forget your boots), this is a chance to witness the wilderness for which Costa Rica is famous, and maybe even learn a thing or two about the importance of conservation of beauty, and the value of nature.

Day 2: Monteverde

Monteverde
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Sky Trek Zipline
  • Accommodation: Hotel Fonda Vela
  • Meals: B

Sky Trek Zipline

Early this morning after breakfast, you’ll be met and transferred to the start of your zip line excursion. After the tour you will be transfer back to you hotel or you can stay downtown. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore the town of Santa Elena, Monteverde, and the different array of attractions they offer.

Sky Trek is a system of trails, suspension bridges, and zip lines that offers visitors the opportunity to observe, and appreciate tropical vegetation from different vantage points above the canopy. Experience an adrenaline rush as you glide along zip line cables high above the treetops.

The tour includes two suspended bridges – 60 and 80 meters—three platforms above the canopy, connected by zip lines, an eight-story high canopy observation tower, 10 cables system up to 427 meters long (1,400 feet) long, with a total stretch of 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) of cables. Tours last between 2.5 and 3 hours. Please note weight restriction of 275 pounds or 125 kg.

Day 3: Monteverde - Arenal

Monteverde - Arenal
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Monteverde - Arenal
  • Accommodation: Hotel Arenal Manoa
  • Meals: B

Monteverde - Arenal

This morning after breakfast you'll take a boat transfer across the lake where you will be met by your driver and transferred to your accommodations in Arenal (shared transfer). (Travel time is approximately 2.5 hours) (This service is on a private basis.)

Arenal Volcano National Park

Though it has remained dormant since 1968, Arenal Volcano is the highlight of one of Costa Rica's most popular national parks. Beautiful trails, volcanic hot springs, and ample adventure activities abound, all interspersed with rare rumblings from the sleeping mountain. Plenty of lodges and hotels are built into the countryside with views of Arenal Volcano, and one can see why. Through rain clouds and clear skies, it's a beautiful site to behold.

Day 4: Arenal

Arenal
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Half Day Canyoning Tour
  • Accommodation: Hotel Arenal Manoa
  • Meals: B, L

Half Day Canyoning Tour

Today, after breakfast, you will be picked up and transferred to the start of your half day canyoning tour in a rain forest slot canyon (group basis). The tour consists of rappelling down 4 waterfalls and 1 canyon wall while hiking beautiful trails between each rappel. You'll have the services of professional trained English speaking guide. We encourage you to bring fast drying clothes, adventure sandals, tennis shoes or hiking boots and a towel. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 5: Arenal

Arenal
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Balsa River White Water Rafting
  • Accommodation: Hotel Arenal Manoa
  • Meals: B, L

Balsa River White Water Rafting

The northern zone of Costa Rica is blessed with the most beautiful landscapes and incredible rivers for rafting. With an excellent level of water throughout the year, “Balsa River" will allow you to enjoy the best rafting experience thanks to its beautiful surroundings, challenging rapids and good waves that may require a good maneuver from time to time.

Our experienced, professional bilingual guides will give a safety speech and instruction for adventure on the river, and then we will equip you with life jackets, helmets! There are many possibilities to see wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, sloths and many tropical birds such as ospreys, hawks, kingfishers, orioles and toucans. Definitely a unique day to combine adventure and nature! (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 6: Arenal

Arenal
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Hanging Bridges, Sky Tram & Hot Springs
  • Accommodation: Hotel Arenal Manoa
  • Meals: B

Hanging Bridges, Sky Tram & Hot Springs

This morning you will be met at your hotel lobby by your guide who will take you on a tour of the hanging bridges overlooking the abundant biodiversity existent in the natural reserve. Your naturalist guide will open the doors to you into the fascinating and colorful tropical rain forest world through his knowledge of natural history. This tour is a fun and educative way to learn about the surrounding natural environment. Its purpose is to offer you, in a safe and sustainable way, a tiny passage into the kindness of nature, and in this way, take care of it for the future generations.

You'll also enjoy a trip on the Sky Tram. The Sky Tram is an aerial tram with 6 cabins offering stunning views of the Arenal Lake and Volcano. The tour begins with a 1.2-km ascent to an observation platform, from which you can look out over the far-reaching rain forest, the peaceful lake, and the majestic volcano.

In the afternoon you'll be met at your hotel and transferred to a Hot Springs Resort to relax in the therapeutic volcanic heated waters of the different pools. Return to your hotel for overnight.

Day 7: Arenal - Manuel Antonio

Arenal - Manuel Antonio
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Internal Transfer
  • Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Yara
  • Meals: B

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Arenal and transferred to your accommodations in Manuel Antonio National Park. (Duration: 5 hours 30 mins.) (This service is on a private basis.)

Manuel Antonio

If there is a heaven for beach lovers, it must take some queues from Manuel Antonio. There's a reason this ragged coast of small bays and smaller beaches is one of Central America's most popular destinations. Dense jungle sits directly adjacent to beautiful beaches in this national park, forming unique, funky coves that each offer their own photo opportunities. If perfect landscapes aren't enough for you, then you might enjoy the wildlife viewing. Iguanas, howler monkeys, sloths and tons of birds parade through here daily.

Day 8: Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Guided Tour
  • Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Yara
  • Meals: B

Guided Tour

This morning, you'll enjoy a group guided visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, arguably the country's most beautiful and popular protected coastal area. The national park contains pristine white-sand beaches, hidden coves ideal for snorkeling, trails through tropical forest filled with wildlife and the landmark Punta Catedral, towering high above the deep blue Pacific Ocean.

This afternoon, you'll be transferred back to your accommodation in Manuel Antonio to enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 9: Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Yara
  • Meals: B

Enjoy this free time at your leisure.

Day 10: Manuel Antonio - San Jose Departure

Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)

Accommodation

Hotel Fonda Vela

Hotel Fonda Vela

The Hotel Fonda Vela is located in beautiful Monteverde, famous for its rare and gorgeous cloud forest and friendly community. The climate is refreshing, often referred to as "eternal spring". The views of the Gulf of Nicoya from the hotel's 1,400 meter (4,200 foot) elevation are spectacular. Monteverde is an ideal destination for relaxing and enjoying the wonders of the tropics. A visit of at least two nights or more in Monteverde is recommended.

Hotel Arenal Manoa

Hotel Arenal Manoa

Hotel Arenal Manoa is a beautiful property offering marvellous views of the Arenal Volcano. Surrounded by gardens, lush pasture and animals, rooms have been designed so that each offers a panoramic view of the volcano. Guests can take advantage of the spacious gardens for walking and meditation as well as the opportunities to see the daily operations of a typical Costa Rican farm.

Hotel Plaza Yara

Hotel Plaza Yara

Hotel Plaza Yara offers casual elegance in harmony with nature and the beautiful surroundings. Relax by the pool, explore the famous beaches, spend a day at Manuel Antonio National Park or book your adventure tour with the concierge. Hotel Plaza Yara offers a restaurant serving seafood specialties. Hotel Plaza Yara offers spacious suites which feature custom made furniture, queen size beds, kitchenettes, spacious baths and large terraces with jungle views. Relax on the balcony and enjoy the variety of wildlife which passes daily including monkeys, sloths, toucans and iguanas.

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While we have sample itineraries to help you create the perfect trip, we encourage you to travel at your own pace with a custom itinerary ‐ or simply book accommodation and excursions to travel with full flexibility. We also give you access to an amazing product line that would be very difficult to find otherwise.
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Our trips directly benefit local communities through a variety of educational, environmental, and cultural initiatives. Additionally, all of our partners have been qualified as upholding a level of service that we truly stand behind. We strive to work exclusively with like‐minded partners who are committed to making sure tourism does not have a negative impact on destinations.

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