Arrival at the airport. You will be received at the airport and transferred to your city hotel in San José.
At the hotel, you receive the rental car and drive through the former capital Cartago to the Orosi Valley. You may spend the night in Orosi or in Turrialba, ubicated further east. On the way, it’s worthwhile to visit the church of pilgrimage Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles at the centre of Cartago. Your way will lead you through Paraíso, close to the Lankester Botanical Gardens which are a highlight for plant lovers.
To visit Costa Rica’s highest volcano, the volcano Irazú with 3´432, you should start in the morning. At this time of the day, chances are best to see the crater lake cloudlessly.
Both the small village of Orosi and the small town of Turrialba are authentic centres of life outside the Greater San José area. Here we recommend exploring the centre on foot and to get to know the daily lives of the locals. In addition, the following excursions are possible:
Orosi: Hike in the Tapantí National Park, tour around the Cachí Reservoir, ruins of Ujarrás, visit of the local Thermal Springs.
Turrialba: Rafting in various categories on the rivers Pejibaye (rather leisurely) or Pacuare (rather strong), hike in the private reserve La Martha, hike and/or Canopytour in the park "Paraíso entre volcanes". Close to this you may find a frequented Paraglider launching site, the possibility to visit a cheese dairy or to visit of the Agricultural University CATIE with its botanical garden.
Then you continue on the Pan-American Highway until kilometre 80, where you turn right into the high valley San Gerardo de Dota. Here you have different possibilities of accommodation.
Here in the cloud forest, it is worth getting up early to experience the awakening of nature and the singing of the birds. Not only the Quetzal but many other colourful birds can be spotted here. Furthermore, the region is ideal for hiking and many of the lodges offer their own trails on the hotel grounds. There’s nothing better than to try fresh river trout, the speciality of the place, after a walk.
The journey continues to the southern Pacific Ocean, which offers a lot of adventures in addition to beautiful wild beaches.
Swim in the pool of stunningly refreshing waterfalls, watch whales and dolphins on a boat tour through the Marino Ballena National Park, or swim in one or more of the beautifully rugged beaches protected by this National Marine Park, discover the native Costarrican tribe Borucas or take photos The "whale fin" that the beach in Uvita (at low tide and from above).
If you want to visit the peninsula Osa, you can park the car in Sierpe and continue to Drake Bay by boat (the pick up of the various providers usually takes place at about 10:30 clock). Alternatively you can drive over Chaquarita around the Golfo Dulce to Puerto Jiménez (ubicated west of the Corcovado National Park).
On the coastal road La Costanera you can reach the Central Pacific at Quepos / Manuel Antonio or Jacó / Tárcoles, located a little further north, fastly.
The beaches of the Central Pacific are more easily accessible than those of the South Pacific, but also more frequently visited. The region’s highlight is undoubtedly the Manuel Antonio National Park, which you should visit early, as access is limited and demand is relatively high, especially at weekends and during national school holidays. The park is closed on Tuesdays. There are also surf spots in the region! The red macaw Macao parrot can be spotted here, and a boat or kayak tour through the mangrove forests is highly recommended.
Today you drive to the sunny side of the country, to Guanacaste. There you continue to the northern region of Guanacaste, specifically to the foot of the Rincón de la Vieja National Park. In this dry forest, you can experience the volcanic phenomena of the colossus up close.
On the circuit at the sector Las Pailas of the National Park, you will pass by bubbling mud holes and sulfur smelling fumaroles. Enjoy cool river or hot pools, filled with thermal water and relax after the hike.
Next stop - cloud forest. You drive through Liberia and Cañas to Las Juntas, where you turn off towards Monteverde and take the winding road into the cloud forest paradise. On the way, there are beautiful views of the Gulf of Nicoya. The cool mountain climate creates a magical magic forest that you can discover these days.
Alternatively, if you prefer to visit a less travelled destination instead of Monteverde and want to experience the enchanting "Celeste", the turquoise-blue river in the Tenorio National Park, you can visit the town of Bijagua and plan a hike in the Tenorio National Park the next day. In this case, you would not be in the cloud forest, but in the lower dry forest.
You can expect colourful and diverse epiphytes, moss and ferns, as well as colourful birdlife and cool temperatures. Experience Costa Rica from a different perspective, e.g. from above, on the hanging bridges in Selvatura Park!
Departure to Tilarán. From here you drive around the artificially created Arenal lake until you reach the dam at the foot of the volcano. Between the dam and the village of La Fortuna, there are already some of the hotels that we offer. Afterwards, you’ll reach La Fortuna at the foot of the Arenal Volcano.
In the area around the volcano, which is currently in a resting phase, there are plenty of activities you can enjoy today: hiking, cycling, horse riding, kayaking, ziplining and much more. Have fun!
The journey continues to Sarapiquí or further north to Boca Tapada. Both worthwhile stops to get to know the rainforest in authentic surroundings.
In Sarapiquí we recommend visiting the Tirimbina natural reserve or the biological station La Selva. Additionally, a chocolate tour or a boat trip on the Sarapiquí River provide exciting insights into the culture and nature of the country.
In Boca Tapada the hotels are already ubicated in the protected area. Here you can do hiking, kayaking and observe birds and other animals in their natural environment.
Your journey continues to the port city of Limón, and from there to the southern Caribbean coast to the village Bananito. The jungle lodge Selva Bananito is located nearby. You should contact the lodge beforehand and check if rooms are available and if direct access by 4x4 car is possible or if you need to be picked up in Bananito at "Salón Delia". Experience a pure adventure in the sustainable lodge!
Be enchanted by the nature that surrounds you, be active and learn about the lodge's efforts for sustainable tourism and its active contribution to the conservation of biodiversity in this natural corridor between Costa Rica and Panama. For a surcharge, you can even stay on a platform in the middle of the jungle if you wish.
The journey continues from Bananito to the southern Caribbean coast. Discover the wonderful Caribbean Sea in the afternoon. On the way, you can visit the Cahuita National Park, where you can perfectly enjoy both, hiking and swimming.
Beach day, e.g. in the Cahuita National Park or at one of the other numerous dream beaches.
Return to the Central Valley via the Braulio Carrillo National Park, where you can drop off your rental car at the airport and start your journey home. Tip: Plan plenty of time for the return journey. Sometimes delays occur in the Braulio Carrillo National Park. If you prefer to take it easy or have a morning flight, we recommend spending the last night in San José.
Apdo 799 – 1007
San José, Costa Rica
Licenced by the Costa Rican Tourist Board: Lic ICT OT 294
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