See forests, fauna and fireworks on this Costa Rican adventure

The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica's environment is world-renowned for being diverse, vibrant and healthy. If you’re short on time but want a taste of this country's unique sights then jump onboard this express trip through San Jose’s colonial streets; La Fortuna’s hot springs and volcano; Monteverde’s cloud forest; and Manuel Antonio’s turquoise seas. With abundant wildlife, intense volcanic landscapes and superb Pacific beaches, this Costa Rican adventure is sure to be a trip to remember.

Start
San Jose, Costa Rica
Finish
San Jose, Costa Rica
Countries
Costa Rica
Themes
Explorer
Code
QVKR
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
194kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Experience the diversity of Costa Rica's environment
  • Lay back and relax in La Fortuna hot springs
  • Spot wildlife in the lush Monteverde cloud forest
  • Swim in the warm waters of Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Catch a show at San Jose's National Theatre

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2014 to 31 May 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 May 2016 - 31 December 2016

Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica!
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
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.
An approximately 4 hour drive takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds.
La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. The views here are spectacular as the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Besides the panoramic views the town offers a range of other activities such as the 70 metre high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.
The following day is free for optional activities. Take a trip to the volcano, visit La Fortuna waterfall, take a canopy tour for a bird's eye view of the forest, or head out on a full day of adrenaline pumping white water rafting. Otherwise head out into the beautiful surrounds and explore by bike.
In the evening we include a visit to one of the hot springs in the area.
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.
We travel by minibus and boat to the cool cloud forests of Monteverde (approx. 4 hours).
These Monteverde 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. The surrounding pastures were once covered in dense forest, but now only a small protected section remains; known as the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, it is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. Alternatively, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk 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 Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
Our hotel is owned by a very personable Costa Rican who grew up in Monteverde - he himself built most of his hotel and keeps expanding it, building rooms with a lot of character and style. Sometime a sloth pays a visit to the trees growing on the hotel property - a very welcome neighbour.
Today we travel to Manuel Antonio (approx. 4-5 hours). The town is laid back but has a vibrant nightlife.
Boasting abundant wildlife, turquoise water and white-sand beaches, Manuel Antonio National Park is a beautiful place to explore by land or sea.
Manuel Antonio NP stands a few kilometres south of Quepos on the shores of the Pacific. During our time in the region, we’ll enjoy a three-hour guided walk along the trails within the park and have plenty of time to relax on one of the idyllic palm-lined bays, with the ocean crashing in on the beach and white-faced capuchin monkeys peering out from the trees.
Spend your time here enjoying all the park 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, boogie boarding, sailing, fishing or surfing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.
We have this morning in Manuel Antonio. About midday we travel back to San Jose (approx. 4 hours) in time for a shower, dinner and a final night on the town. The perfect way to end our adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
8 breakfasts
Transport
Private minibus
Accommodation
Hotel (8 nights)
Included activities
  • Orientation walk
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • La Fortuna - Hot Springs
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - entrance

Dates

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Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip.
3. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Costa Rica Express trips score an average of 4.65 out of 5 based on 17 reviews in the last year.

Costa Rica Express , May 2016

Costa Rica Express , May 2016

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