Travel to a jungle-clad and beach-lined natural paradise.

Discover a region of natural diversity, cultural riches and laidback vibes on a nine-day jungle jaunt through Costa Rica. Thanks to a longstanding tradition of preserving its natural assets, much of the country’s primary rainforest still stands, opportunities for nature-based adventures are endless and the beaches on both coasts are nothing short of picturesque. Kick back in the rustic beach town of Quepos, explore the steamy cloud forests of Monteverde, and get to know the locals by lending a hand on a rural farmstay near Santa Rosa de Pocosol. Explore the depths of this colourful and vibrant country with plenty of time to make this trip your own.


Start
San Jose, Costa Rica
Finish
San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination
Costa Rica
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
QVSS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • San Jose is Costa Rica’s cultural heart. Spend time wandering through the artisan stalls of the main Plaza de la Cultura, with plenty of time to stop for a refresco (smoothie) and to do some people watching.

  • Lend a hand at a farmstay outside of Santa Rosa de Pocosol, and learn some home-cooked recipes and techniques from the locals on a visit to the Juanilama agricultural community.

  • Marvel at the size and stature of the Arenal Volcano on the horizon, perhaps taking a soak and relaxing in La Fortuna’s lava-heated thermal springs.

  • Try to spot the elusive resplendent quetzal when you’re exploring Monteverde’s steamy cloud forests. Better yet, why not consider a jungle zip-line to get high in the sky?

  • With plenty of time to chill out at your own pace, Quepos’ surf vibe is ideal for catching some waves, lazing on the white-sand beaches or hiking the lush trails of Manuel Antonio with your travel pals.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Many of the activities (both included and optional) on this trip take place in the great outdoors. This means you'll need to be prepared to deal with insects and occasionally rustic conditions. It's all part of immersing yourself in this natural paradise.

  • Costa Rica is generally hot year-round, and from May to October can be pretty wet too. Of course, you wouldn't get that gorgeous, emerald-green rainforest without the rain, but please carefully consider which time of the year you'll feel most comfortable travelling.

  • There are many opportunities to get active on this adventure. Some of the optional activities require a moderate level of fitness and sturdy walking shoes. If you'd prefer to take it easy, however, there are plenty of other things you can do instead.

  • The homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness everyday local life. A hearty homecooked dinner and breakfast will be served during your stay, which can be a lot more basic than what you're used to.

  • With so much to see and do, Costa Rica can sometimes be expensive. Expect to pay more than you would in other Central American countries for a lot of things.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. 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. If you arrive with time to spare, a good place to start exploring is the main plaza – perfect for 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 outdoor market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market – stocking anything from handicrafts to seafood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - Cartago Bike & Train Tour - Urban Adventures - USD63
  • San Jose - Pura Vida Experience: Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visite - Urban Adventures - USD65
  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD36
  • San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Orosi Valley & Lankester Botanical Garden (full-day tour) - CRC36740
  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - CRC11020
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - CRC4490
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - CRC4080
  • San Jose - National Museum - CRC4890
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting 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).

Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have continue travelling to Panama City on the Costa Rica & Panama Experience (QBSPC). Please contact our sales team if you wish to book or know more information on these longer combination trips.
Travel by private vehicle to Santa Rosa de Pocosol (approximately 3 hours) where you’ll spend the night in a homestay. Just down the road is the Juanilama agricultural community, where you have the opportunity to get to know the locals, help with farm chores, or take a cooking lesson. Several villagers have built comfortable rooms for guests next to their homes, and you will stay in one of them this evening. Please note that these rooms use shared facilities. In order to make the most of this homestay experience, it may take a bit of effort from your side to break the ice first. Learn as many Spanish words as you can and get ready for some serious hand language signals. The reward for your efforts? An authentic slice of life in the Costa Rican countryside.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Agricultural tour
Optional Activities
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Cooking class - USD10
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Soap-making workshop - USD10
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Waterfall hike - USD10
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Today, continue towards La Fortuna – a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano (driving time approximately 2 hours). Besides its 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 water-based activities on the lake. The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has a number of thermal springs where lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been sculpted into a number of pools and waterfalls, making them the ideal place to relax. Spend the rest of the day as you please in this exciting town, perhaps getting active on a stand-up paddleboard or looking for monkeys and caimans during a boat tour of the Cano Negro area.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • La Fortuna - Hot springs - CRC18380
  • La Fortuna - La Fortuna Waterfall - CRC6130
  • La Fortuna - Arenal hanging bridges - CRC22870
  • La Fortuna - Cano Negro boat tour - CRC27360
  • La Fortuna - Stand up paddle board - CRC26260
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - CRC34720
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take the scenic route to Monteverde (approximately 4 hours in total). Travel by shared minibus to Lake Arenal, then cross the water by boat. On the other side of the lake, re-board a minibus and continue on to our destination. 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 Cloudforest Biological Preserve. Perhaps start your exploration with a tour of the suspension bridges that hang in the trees, or head to the Serpentarium to see some crawly critters. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest (Entrance fee & Transport)
Optional Activities
  • Monteverde - Suspension bridges tour - CRC19200
  • Monteverde - Zip lining - CRC36780
  • Monteverde - Coffee & Chocolate tour - CRC13480
  • Monteverde - Night walk through Cloud Forest - CRC21240
  • Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm - CRC6130
  • Monteverde - Serpentarium - CRC6130
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Choose how you'd like to spend today in this beautiful area. Watch butterflies at play in the specially created garden, hire a local guide to show you around the area, visit a community cooperative or zip-line through the lush canopy! Whatever you do, be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal – one of the most elusive birds in the world.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel through the mountains to Quepos by private minibus (around 5 hours). Located close to the beautiful Pacific beaches and exotic wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos is a laidback town with a vibrant nightlife. Perhaps get into the spirit with a sunset sail around the glorious coast, looking out for dolphins and whales which sometimes swim close by. Once the sun goes down, why not grab a spot at a waterfront restaurant and sink your teeth into some fresh seafood with your travel crew – this is the life.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Manuel Antonio - Sunset sail - USD80
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD80
  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
  • Quepos - Local guided tour - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend your time enjoying all that Manuel Antonio National Park has to offer. Perhaps head out for a hike along one of the many trails on offer, 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, sailing and fishing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - (Entrance fee)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a local bus back to San Jose (around 4 hours). The buses in this region of the country are a little more basic than you may be used to, but this is a great opportunity to mix with Costa Ricans and get a feel for local life. Arrive back in time for you to pick up some last-minute souvenirs at the city's colourful and vibrant markets. Then, head out for an optional dinner and a night on the town, getting a taste of the huge variety of nightlife on offer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time following check out. If you're not flying out today, why not check out the town with a local guide and sample some of the choicest drops from the city's growing craft beer scene. Check out The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose and other Urban Adventures at urbanadventures.com/destination/San-Jose-tours. If you would like to spend more time in San Jose, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - San Jose By Night: Food and Culture - Urban Adventures - USD79
  • Home Cooked San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD39
  • San Jose - Tropical Rainforest and Chocolate Adventure - Urban Adventures - USD150
  • San Jose - The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD74
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Shared vehicle, Public bus, Shared boat

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Homestay (1 night)

Included activities

  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Agricultural tour
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - (Entrance fee)

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Costa Rica Experience trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Please be careful when booking flights to/from San Jose; make sure you fly into/out of Juan Santamaria International Airport [SJO]. Please do not book flights to/from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport [SJC] as this is located in California, United States.

Essential trip information

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