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.

San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
194kg pp per trip


  • 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


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

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.

Following the meeting, there is generally an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Costa Rica’s capital sits in the centre of a lush, wide valley which has a comfortable subtropical climate. The streets of the town are laid out along a grid iron pattern, with avenidas running east to west and callés running north to south. Many of the most interesting buildings are in the region of Avenida Central – the Teatro Nacional is an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors.

There are a number of interesting museums in the city; the Museo de Oro has a good collection of golden pre-Columbian figurines. The Mercado Central is the main market which dates back to 1881 – there are some good food stalls here as well as countless artefacts for sale.
A scenic drive by private minibus takes us to La Fortuna (approx 4-5 hrs).

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.
Today is free for optional activities. Take a trip to the volcano, visit La Fortuna waterfall or take a canopy tour for a bird's eye view of the forest. 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. Surrounded by lush foliage and naturally heated by the volcano, the springs are the perfect way to relax.
Travel by shared minibus and boat to the cool cloud forests of Monteverde (approx 4 hrs).

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 Cloud Forest Reserve. 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. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a walking tour through the protected reserve.
Today you can choose from some great optional activities. Explore the forest canopy on a combination of suspension bridges and platforms built in the cloud forest. Another option is the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and the Hummingbird Gallery, a must for those with a penchant for these winged, coloured jewels of the forest.

At night you can choose to enjoy a night hike in Monteverde, hiking at dusk in the forest. Some of the wildlife you might see include porcupines, toucans and other sleeping birds, owls, agoutis, coatimundis, snakes, walking sticks, tarantulas, katydids, and an array of other cool insects. Of course, there are no guaranteed sightings, so don't expect all these creatures to be waiting just for you! Typically though this time of transition into night offers a good opportunity to view nocturnal mammals as well as diurnal animals as they prepare for night.
Travel by private minibus to Manuel Antonio National Park (approx 4-5 hrs). Situated on the Pacific Coast, the area of mangrove swamps and beaches now known as the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio was first documented by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon in 1519 during his (unsuccessful) search for the Fountain of Youth.

Long, white beaches extending around the headland of Punta Catedral are set against an evergreen forest backdrop that grows right up to the high-tide line. Incorporating 12 small islands scattered just off the coast where migrating whales can sometimes be observed, the park is home to hundreds of mammal and bird species in a region of lagoons and fertile mangrove swamps.
Your time here is your own to enjoy some of Costa Rica's finest beaches or you can enjoy some of the fine hiking trails through the tropical forest.
We'll spend the morning in Manuel Antonio before returning to San Jose and your centrally located hotel. You can enjoy one last night out to celebrate the end of your journey.
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


8 breakfasts
Private minibus, Shared minibus, Boat
Hotel (8 nights)
Included activities
  • Orientation walk
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • La Fortuna - Hot springs
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - entrance


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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
2. 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


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