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Amazing Costa Rica – Independent Journey

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StartsSan Jose, Costa Rica
EndsSan Jose, Costa Rica
RegionSouth America & Central America
Duration9 days
Tour OperatorPeregrine
Tour Map
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Itinerary

Day 1 - Starting: San Jose & Finishing: San Jose

On arrival at San Jose airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in the heart of the city. In the evening you will meet your tour leader for a pre-tour briefing. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents along with you. You'll be accompanied by the same leader throughout your tour. 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. Elsewhere in San Jose there are some good restaurants – you can dine out on Chinese, Indian, Italian or the more traditional variations on the theme of rice and beans.

Day 2-3 - Starting: La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano & Finishing: La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano

An approximately four-and-a-half hour drive will take you to La Fortuna, your base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds. Vulcan Arenal lay dormant for 400 years until finally erupting in 1968. The volcano's almost perfect cone, which soars 1633 metres above sea level, has a crater 140 metres deep formed over an ancient caldera. Huddled in the shadow of the looming Vulcan Arenal the small town of La Fortuna is an ideal location from which to explore the surrounding region. During your stay there will be time for some optional activities including a visit to the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, an excursion to the Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Resort Hot Springs, fishing in Lake Arenal, as well as opportunities for adventure activities such as mountain biking. In the evening you will visit hot springs in the area, surrounded by lush foliage and naturally heated by the volcano, the springs are the perfect way to relax.

Day 4-5 - Starting: Monteverde & Finishing: Monteverde

You will travel by minibus and boat to the cool cloud forests of Monteverde (approximately 4 hours). Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. In addition, you can choose from some great optional activities. There is the Skywalk, a combination of suspension bridges and platforms built in the cloud forest, that allow you to explore the forest canopy in a safe and easy manner. You can also venture away from the Monteverde Reserve to the Children's Eternal Rainforest, the first international children's rainforest in the world. Another option is the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and the Hummingbird Gallery, a must for those with a penchant for these winged, colored 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. Look out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Day 6-7 - Starting: Manuel Antonio National Park & Finishing: Manuel Antonio National Park

It is a four to five hour drive to Manuel Antonio National Park. Situated on the Pacific Coast 132km from San Jose, 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 evergreen forest backdrops that grow up 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 109 mammal and 184 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 take to the many fine hiking trails through the tropical forest.

Day 8-9 - Starting: San Jose & Finishing: San Jose

You will 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. The trip will come to an end on Day 9 after breakfast.

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More Information

When Arenal Volcano erupted to the west in 1968, the resident of the town of what was then El Burio (located in the east) changed the name of the town to La Fortuna, as it suffered no damage during the eruption – while three villages in the west were destroyed.

Highlights

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Manuel Antonio National Park’s beaches

Included

– The services of expert English-speaking local guides.- 2 days in Monteverde Cloud Forest.- 2 days in Manuel Antonio National Park.- Free time to explore San Jose, La Fortuna.- Park fees.- Arrival transfer.

Additional Accommodation

Extend your holiday by booking some pre or post tour accommodation – ask us or your travel agent.

Day 1 Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer

Day 1 Accommodation

Hotel Plaza Real or similar (1 nights)

Day 1 Optional Activities

  • San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley & Lankester Botanical Garden (full-day tour) - USD 90
  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - USD 27
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - USD 11
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - USD 10
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD 12
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park (half-day tour) - USD 55
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls (full-day tour) - USD 120

Day 2-3 Included Activities

  • La Fortuna - Hot springs

Day 2-3 Accommodation

Casa Luna Lodge or similar (2 nights)

Day 2-3 Optional Activities

  • La Fortuna - Arenal hanging bridges - USD 65
  • La Fortuna - Rio Celeste Safari Float tour - USD 70
  • La Fortuna - Nature hike around Arenal Volcano - USD 50
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - USD 99
  • La Fortuna - Canyoneering - USD 55
  • La Fortuna - La Fortuna Waterfall - USD 10

Day 4-5 Included Activities

  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike

Day 4-5 Accommodation

Historias Lodge or similar (2 nights)

Day 4-5 Optional Activities

  • Monteverde - Serpentarium - USD 15
  • Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm - USD 30
  • Monteverde - Night walk - USD 35
  • Monteverde - Coffee tour - USD 30
  • Monteverde - Suspension bridges tour - USD 35
  • Monteverde - Zip lining - USD 45

Day 6-7 Included Activities

  • Manuel Antonio National Park - entrance

Day 6-7 Accommodation

Los Almendros or similar (2 nights)

Day 6-7 Optional Activities

  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD 10
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD 80
  • Manuel Antonio- Sunset sail - USD 75

Day 8-9 Accommodation

Hotel Plaza Real or similar (1 nights)

Included Meals

Breakfast: 8

Dinner: 1

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