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Highlights Of Costa Rica

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highlights
  • Nature and wildlife - The opportunity to see sloths, monkeys and brightly coloured frogs, together with some of Costa Rica's spectacular birdlife
  • Monteverde - Search for the beautiful quetzal in this remarkable cloudforest reserve
  • Volcanoes - Admire the classic cone-shape of Arenal and the vastness of Poas
  • Manuel Antonio - Share the stunning white-sand beaches with sun-bathing iguanas and Capuchin monkeys
The Highlights of Costa Rica tour starts and ends in San Jose. The Highlights of Costa Rica is a walking tour that takes 9 days taking you through San Jose, Costa Rica and other destinations in Costa Rica.

A perfect week's getaway for travellers in search of Costa Rica's natural beauty. From brightly coloured toucans to slow-moving sloths, the tropical forests of this tiny country teem with life. Volcanoes loom over wild rivers, and white-sand beaches nestle beneath a vivid green background, providing a wealth of rich and varied ecosystems for the wildlife lover. Monteverde - Explore the forest trails of this cloud forest reserve, a biodiverse paradise for nature enthusiasts Adventure - Whitewater raft, fly through the canopy on a zip wire or hike on volcanoes Manuel Antonio - Share the stunning white-sand beaches of this national park with sun-bathing iguanas and capuchin monkeys
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After arriving in San Jose, we will check-in to our conveniently-located hotel. San Jose lies in a fertile valley at an altitude of 1150 metres. Coffee and sugar cane are big industries here and coffee is even planted between new buildings and along the roadside on the outskirts of the city.
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
This morning, an hour's drive will take us to Volcan Poas National Park, where the smoke from one of Costa Rica's most active volcanos rises majestically from the tropical rainforest. At almost a mile in diameter, the main crater is one of the largest in the world. Due to recent volcanic activity, time at the crater viewpoint is restricted to 20 minutes. If activity increases again the authorities may choose to close the park, and in that case you'll visit the Doka coffee estate instead.

Then we will travel to Arenal (approximately 2.5 hours) where we will catch sight of the famous Arenal Volcano. This classic cone, which rises to 1633 metres, is covered by a tangled mass of vegetation on one side, while the other is starkly barren. Having remained dormant for hundreds of years, it erupted unexpectedly in 1968, destroying the small towns of Tabacon and Pueblo Nuevo on its west side. After this, it was known for its regular explosions, which became a huge spectacle at night. However, since 2010, the volcano has gone quiet once more.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is in La Fortuna. The town was renamed after the 1968 eruption, when it was seen as being 'fortunate' that its location, on the volcano's eastern side, saved it from decimation. This evening, we can make the most of the local geothermal activity by enjoying an optional bathe in nearby hot springs.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
Today has been left free to explore the area as you choose. There are local treks to waterfalls and along lava trails whilst those keen to relax can enjoy spa treatments with volcanic mud, for the more active you may wish to go White Water rafting. Your Tour Leader will be able to provide information on all the options.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
This morning we will explore the Arenal Volcano National Park, home to one of the most majestic volcanoes in Costa Rica. We will take a walk on the flanks of the volcano where your leader will point out interesting flora and fauna and provide more information about the science and history of the volcano. We will walk to a viewpoint for a closer view of the volcano. Following this we will travel around Arenal Lake up into the cloud forest region of Monteverde - one of the most well-known places in Costa Rica to see wildlife. The last part of our journey is on bumpy roads, but we are rewarded with a two-night stay here to enjoy all that this area has to offer.

Perched on the Continental Divide between the Pacific and the Caribbean, it is thought that there has been indigenous habitation in Monteverde since 3000 BC. However, the turning point in its recent history came in 1950, when a group of pacifist Quakers from Alabama moved here to avoid subscription in the Korean War. They sought a lifestyle in a country in which they could embrace their peaceful beliefs and continue to cultivate their dairy farms. These families went on to establish the community of Monteverde and some of its famed cloudforest reserves.

Monteverde is regarded as offering some of the best canopy experiences in the world. This afternoon, you may choose to 'fly' through the dramatic scenery on a zipwire, or take a more sedate walk through the canopy on treetop walkways.

This evening, there is the opportunity to go on a guided night walk in search of nocturnal species, such as pacas and tarantulas.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
This morning, we will have a guided tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, walking the paths that wind their way through gigantic ferns, ducking underneath the lichen and moss that hangs from the giant trees. The jungle floor is often littered with blossoms that fall from the high canopy providing a carpet of colour amidst the endless green. The famous, but now very rare, resplendent quetzal is fairly commonly seen in this area, one of the last remaining places in Central America where its habitat has been preserved. Sacred to the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples, it is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world and the best time to see it is during its breeding months of March and April.

This morning, we will have a guided tour of the Monteverde Cloudforest, walking the paths that wind their way through gigantic ferns, giant ferns and giant trees dripping with lichen and moss. The jungle floor is often littered with blossoms that fall from the high canopy providing a carpet of colour amidst the endless green.

The rest of the day has been left free to enjoy one or several of the many optional activities available in the area. You may choose to visit the local butterfly or orchid garden. Alternatively, you may choose to enjoy a trek in one of the other reserves. Your Tour Leader will be able to offer advice on the options available.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
Leaving the cloudforest behind us this morning, we descend to the Pacific Coast, enjoying staggering views over the Gulf and Peninsula of Nicoya. Heading south, we cross the Rio Tarcoles Bridge from which huge crocodiles are regularly seen. We then pause at Carara Biological Reserve, famed for the scarlet macaws and abundant birdlife which populate this transitional forest. Finally, we continue along the Pacific Coast to Manuel Antonio National Park, where we will spend the next two nights.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
This morning, we explore the Manuel Antonio National Park, famed for its beautiful beaches and rich wildlife. During our time in the park, we are likely to see white-faced capuchin monkeys, coatimundi (part of the racoon family) and the tiny squirrel monkeys. This is also one of the best places in Costa Rica to see sloths. The majority of a sloth's diet comes from buds and leaves. As leaves provide little energy, sloths move only when necessary and even then very slowly so they are easy to spot.

The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing on the white sandy beaches, enjoying a swim in the warm azure waters. The sunsets from this coast are spectacular and have to be seen to be believed.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
After a morning relaxing on the beach, we leave the Pacific Ocean at about midday. Our journey back to Costa Rica's capital will take about four hours.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Tour Ends San Jose
Meals
  • Breakfast
what’s included
Meals
  • 8 Breakfast
Accommodation
  • 2 nights premium hotel
  • 6 nights standard hotel
Transport
  • Bus
Guide
  • Explore Tour Leader / Driver
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from San Jose are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Highlights of Costa Rica tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Duration 9 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 17 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends San Jose, Costa Rica/ San Jose, Costa Rica
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Highlights of Costa Rica
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Payment

A deposit of 128 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 59 days before departure. For any departures within 19 September 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Highlights of Costa Rica tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Highlights of Costa Rica tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Highlights of Costa Rica tour. You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 59 days of departure.
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