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Costa Rica: From the Caribbean to the Pacific

So much to discover

  • Discover the unique eco-system in Tortuguero National Park
  • Explore the area around the still-active Arenal Volcano
  • Travel to the remote Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, renowned for its incredible birdlife
  • See the extraordinary Monteverde Cloud Forest from above on hanging bridges
  • Enjoy a fascinating tour of a coffee estate
  • Option to try out an exhilarating ‘zip-line’ tour through the rainforest
  • Stay three nights in a five-star resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Departures available exclusively for solo travellers

Relax, it's included in the price
3 to 5-star accommodation
Return flights & transfers
Programme of daily tours & visits
22 meals: 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 5 dinners
Expert tour manager
Checked luggage
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9.0 out of 10  
Read 44 Reviews

"Our local guide Mariela was amazing with her keen eye spotting all manner of wildlife."

- Corinne & Paul

"The biodiversity smacks you between the eyes - rich and dense flora and extraordinary wildlife at every turn of the head. "

- Geoff & Lyn
Read more reviews

Overview

In Costa Rica every road seems to lead to another waterfall, a coffee plantation, a volcano, a lush rainforest or a stunning tropical beach. Everywhere you look, you are greeted by smiling faces who are immensely proud to live in a country whose happy motto is ‘pura vida’ - pure life!

Costa Rica was named as the ‘rich coast’ by Spanish conquistadors who, as always, hoped to find gold and silver. Ironically, the opposite was true – not only were there no precious metals of any description, but the impenetrable jungles and lack of local inhabitants made it virtually impossible to farm the land. This why Costa Rica is not superbly endowed with the huge cathedrals, grand architecture and all the trappings of colonial administration. The Costa Ricans, or Ticos, were not conquered like the Aztecs to the north or the Incas in Peru and the Spanish ruled in a more benevolent manner till 1821 when the country gained its independence. The long hoped-for riches finally came to pass when the country became the first one to export coffee directly to Europe and was also the first to farm and export bananas on a large scale. Nowadays, Costa Rica is one of the few counties in the world not to have any armed forces and is rated one of the happiest countries on the planet.

Costa Rica has realised that its real riches come from its immensely fertile volcanic soils which have created a biodiversity of incredible range, variety and complexity – a veritable natural paradise! With more than 25% of the country designated as protected reserves or national parks, what can you expect to see here? One of its most well-known and likeable inhabitants is the three-toed sloth, but this is not even close to the tip of the iceberg. There are green iguanas, hundreds of varieties of brightly-coloured tree frogs, howler and capuchin monkeys, tapirs, elusive jaguars, toucans, scarlet macaws, hummingbirds a-plenty, crocodiles, leatherback turtles, whales – the list just goes on and on! One particularly extraordinary animal is the quetzal, the most breathtakingly stunning bird in Central America.

Our tour starts from the country's capital of San José before striking out for the Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s eastern Caribbean coast, a labyrinth of canals, rivers and lagoons covered in thick forest and mangroves. Tortuguero means ‘turtle catcher’ and the many species of turtles which lay their eggs on these beaches came close to extinction until the area was declared a national park. You can also expect to see caimans, several types of monkeys and a huge number of endemic and migratory bird species, including toucans, macaws and raptors. More rarely seen inhabitants include tapirs, jaguars and manatees.

We continue cross-country towards the Arenal volcano. With a perfect cone, numerous hot springs and surrounded by its own national park, roughly half the species of Costa Rica can be found here. We'll take an easy walk along one of the many trails nearby and see some attractive views of the peak. From our comfortable base we will also visit the Caño Negro reserve, close to the border with Nicaragua. The main access route here is along the Rio Frio and the best way to spot wildlife is our boat safari which gives you uninterrupted views along its banks. More than 300 bird species have been identified here, including kingfishers, ibis, toucans, storks and even a type of vulture, plus you are also likely to see caimans and monkeys.

Our next port of call is the renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest, a unique ecosystem created by the warm Pacific winds being pushed up and condensing on the mountain slopes. The trees here are covered in mist and mossy vines, bromeliads, ferns and the greatest diversity of orchids on the planet. We explore via system of hanging bridges so as to look down on the thick vegetation below. There's plenty of hummingbirds here and you may be lucky enough to spot a quetzal. You may also choose to experience the incredible thrill of zip-wiring through the forest - this is one of the best places in the country to try this (at extra charge).

Our final stay for three nights is at a five-star resort in Guanacaste on the Pacific coast. Known for its beautiful palm-fringed beaches, this is the perfect spot to take some time off, relax, find a nice restaurant or bar and watch the sun slowly sink into the mighty Pacific Ocean.

With the new direct flights from London Gatwick to San José, we are sure you will come back from this surprising, amazing country with a real burning desire to go back. Pura vida!



Your itinerary


DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN SAN JOSÉ

Morning

Depart from London Gatwick on your direct British Airways flight to San Jose. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the four-star Crowne Plaza Corobici Hotel where we stay for one night with breakfast.

Afternoon

The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Crown Plaza Corobici San José lounge

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4* Crowne Plaza Corobici - San José

Conveniently located in downtown San José.

  • Choice of restaurants
  • Central location
  • Large swimming pool

DAY 2 - TORTUGUERO

Beach in Tortuguero

Morning

After an early start, we leave the city behind, on our way to Tortuguero, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, passing by coffee and banana plantations and small farming communities. We arrive at the dock where we transfer on to our boat for the final part of our journey through the complex maze of natural canals to our home for the next two nights, either the Aninga, Evergreen or Pachira eco-lodges, on full board basis.

Afternoon

After lunch we visit the nearby small picturesque town of Tortuguero and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation museum dedicated to studying the thousands of Atlantic Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles who come to lay their eggs on the protected beaches here between July to October every year.

As the sun sets and the sounds of the tropical forest fill the air, you may look forward to sampling some typical Costa Rican cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant.

Pachira Eco-Lodge

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Pachira Eco-Lodge - Tortuguero

Situated within the rainforest.

  • Set inside Tortuguero National Park
  • Environmental policies
  • Wonderful cocktails
Evergreen Eco-Lodge

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Evergreen Eco-Lodge - Tortuguero

Wonderfully positioned in the rainforest.

  • Environmental policies
  • Complimentary tea & coffee
  • Delicious cocktails
Aninga Eco Lodge | pool

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Aninga Eco-Lodge - Tortuguero

DAY 3 - TORTUGUERO

DAY 4 - ARENAL

DAY 5 - CAÑO NEGRO RESERVE

DAY 6 - ARENAL FREE DAY

DAY 7 - MONTEVERDE

DAY 8 - MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

DAY 9 - GUANACASTE

DAY 10 - PALO VERDE NATIONAL PARK

DAY 11 - FREE DAY IN GUANACASTE

DAY 12 - SAN JOSE AND RETURN FLIGHT

DAY 13 - ARRIVE HOME

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN SAN JOSE

Depart from London Gatwick on your direct British Airways service. We arrive in San Jose in the afternoon and transfer to the four-star Holiday Inn Escazu for one night. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Hotel location is in an upscale area of the city with a variety of restaurants within a minute walk from the entrance of the hotel.

DAY 2 - BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast we depart the hotel and drive to Braulio Carrillo National Park for a private sightseeing tour. Braulio Carrillo National park is part of the Central Volcanic Conservation Area. This virgin forest is home to more than 500 species of birds, including the colorful resplendent quetzals together with 150 species of mammals. Our scenic route reaches an altitude of 2000 meters, before descending the Caribbean slopes and lowlands to the coast.

After descending the mountains, we stop for lunch in the wondrous 3,400-acre Veragua Rainforest Mountain Reserve, which National Geographic Traveler called “The Cream of the Cream of the Rainforest”. Surrounded by 100% rainforest, the private reserve borders the spectacular La Amistad International Park (“Friendship International Park”), the largest nature reserve in Central America.

Our hotel for the night is the 4* Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel on the coast where we stay 2 nights with breakfast. Dinner is included tonight.

DAY 3 - JAGUAR AND WILDLIFE CENTRE

DAY 4 - ARENAL VOLCANO

DAY 5 - CAÑO NEGRO RESERVE

DAY 6 - ARENAL FREE DAY

DAY 7 - GUANACASTE AND NORTH PACIFIC COAST

DAY 8 - PALO VERDE NATIONAL PARK

DAY 9 - MONTEVERDE

DAY 10 - MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

DAY 11 - RETURN FLIGHT

DAY 12 - ARRIVE HOME

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN SAN JOSE

Depart from London Gatwick on your direct British Airways service. We arrive in San Jose in the afternoon and transfer to the four-star Crowne Plaza Corobici for one night with breakfast. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

DAY 2 - BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast we depart the hotel and drive to Braulio Carrillo National Park for a private sightseeing tour. Braulio Carrillo National park is part of the Central Volcanic Conservation Area. This virgin forest is home to more than 500 species of birds, including the colorful resplendent quetzals together with 150 species of mammals. Our scenic route reaches an altitude of 2000 meters, before descending the Caribbean slopes and lowlands to the coast.

After descending the mountains, we stop for lunch in the wondrous 3,400-acre Veragua Rainforest Mountain Reserve, which National Geographic Traveler called “The Cream of the Cream of the Rainforest”. Surrounded by 100% rainforest, the private reserve borders the spectacular La Amistad International Park (“Friendship International Park”), the largest nature reserve in Central America.

Our hotel for the night is the three-star Almonds & Corals on the coast where we stay 2 nights with breakfast. Dinner is included tonight.

DAY 3 - JAGUAR AND WILDLIFE CENTRE

DAY 4 - ARENAL VOLCANO

DAY 5 - CAÑO NEGRO RESERVE

DAY 6 - ARENAL FREE DAY

DAY 7 - MONTEVERDE

DAY 8 - MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

DAY 9 - GUANACASTE & NORTH PACIFIC COAST

DAY 10 - PALO VERDE NATIONAL PARK

DAY 11 - RETURN FLIGHT

DAY 12 - ARRIVE HOME

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Tour Manager Karen on Southern Africa & Costa Rica

Personalise Your Holiday

Woman on zip-line through forest
 

Take a zip-line tour through the Rainforest

See the extraordinary Monteverde Cloud Forest from a different perspective with a thrilling zip-line tour!

Much of the flora and fauna in Costa Rica’s rainforests thrives in the upper levels.  Explore this magnificent world, largely unseen by humans, by taking an exhilarating zip-line tour through the extraordinary Monteverde Cloud Forest.  You’ll be rewarded with unrivalled panoramic views.

This experience is bookable locally with the tour manager.

Transfer Times

All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us

Arrival airport First hotel location Transfer time Final hotel location Departure airport Transfer time
San Jose - Juan Santamaría International Airport San Jose 30 mins Guanacaste San Jose - Juan Santamaría International Airport 4 hrs 30 mins

FAQs

Why should I choose Riviera Travel?

We care deeply about our customers and the holiday experience they have. We’re passionate about travel and we want all aspects to be perfect, with personal service and attention at every step of the way. Our world-class holidays include everything you need, with no detail overlooked. We carefully curate every aspect of your trip based on our own first-hand experience and expertise built up over decades in the travel industry.

What is included in the price?

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room and includes:

  • Eleven nights’ accommodation with breakfast and eleven meals
  • Scheduled flights to/from San Jose 
  • All transfers 
  • Guided tours of Tortuguero and Cano Negro
  • Walking tour at Arenal, Monteverde hanging bridges, Coffee farm, Palo Verde national park
  • All local transport as described
  • Hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person
  • The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager

We guarantee there are never any hidden costs or surcharges, inflated prices or artificial discounts.

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Tour essential facts