Classic Costa Rica trip: cloud forests & monkeys

Tailor-made holidays
Duration (in days): 13

From: UK

To: Costa Rica



Inc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Enjoy this classic Costa Rica trip, exploring the highlights of the country including volcanoes, rainforests, mangroves and wildlife. Start at the Paos Volcano, where you can marvel at the blue sulphuric water and steaming vents before heading to Tortuguero National Park. This maze of canals and mangroves is best explored by boat, as well as an amazing spot to see nesting turtles in the summer months. Heading back inland, you’ll hike along the lower slopes of Arenal volcano and cross the lake to look for hummingbirds in Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve. Finish your trip on the vast sands of Tamarindo Beach, where lazy days in hammocks await.               

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

This holiday includes

  • International flights
  • All transfers
  • All accommodation in Costa Rica              
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary        


You’ll remember…

  • Gliding through the canals in Tortuguero
  • Hiking the forest foothills of Arenal         
  • Tasting fresh local coffee in lush plantations        
  • Looking for butterflies in Monteverde Cloudforest           
  • Wandering along the golden sands at Tamarindo Beach 



Itinerary in brief:

  • 2 nights San Jose
  • 2 nights Tortuguero National Park
  • 2 nights Arenal
  • 2 nights Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • 3 nights Tamarindo
  • 1 night San Jose

Day 1: UK to Costa Rica

Depart the UK from your chosen airport. You’ll arrive in Costa Rica later the same day, before being picked up from the airport and taken to your hotel in San Jose, where you will stay for two nights.

Included: International flights, transfers, 4* hotel   

Day 2: Poas Volcano & Coffee tour

After breakfast, you’ll head off on a tour to Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee Plantation and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Stop in at a lush coffee plantation, tasting fresh cups of local specialities while learning how coffee is picked, milled, ground and roasted.

Head on towards the volcano – you’ll notice a change in temperature and vegetation as you drive past ferns, flowers and strawberry farms along the way. Poas is one of the most spectacular volcanoes in the country, with its enormous crater measuring one kilometer in diameter. The blue sulphur pools are beautiful, framed by steam rising from the volcanic vents. You’ll also hike to the pretty Botos Lagoon. Finish your day at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where you can see butterflies, hummingbirds and of course the gushing waterfalls.

Included: Breakfast, touring, 4* hotel  

Day 3: Travel to Tortuguero National Park

Today, you’ll be up bright and early, leaving San Jose to drive through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, stopping in at Rio Danta for a delicious breakfast. Your journey will take you through leafy banana plantations to the pier. A two-hour boat ride through the canals of Tortuguero will take you to Mawamba Lodge. Spend your afternoon relaxing at the beach by the lodge or swinging in a hammock by the pool. Depending on the season, you could also head out on a night tour to observe the turtles nesting – if you want to add this tour, just ask!

Included: Breakfast, lunch, touring, dinner, 4* lodge      

Day 4: Tortuguero National Park

After breakfast, you’ll head off on a guided tour of Mawamba Park’s private trails, visiting the butterfly gardens and spotting iguanas. In the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a canal boat tour through Tortuguero National Park.

Tortuguero is essentially a series of canals and waterways that run through an extraordinarily biodiverse region on the Caribbean coast. It is home to the largest population of green turtles in the Western Hemisphere and is an important nesting point for leatherbacks. Take a walking tour through some of the nearby trails in the morning today, exploring flora and fauna and on the look-out for monkeys, birds, sloths and caimans.

Included: All meals, touring, 4* lodge    

Day 5: Travel to Arenal

After breakfast, you’ll take a boat back to the pier before heading towards Arenal, in the middle of the country. Here you’ll check into your hotel for two nights.

Included: Breakfast, transfers, 4* hotel                 

Day 6: Arenal

We have included a morning tour today, perfect for nature lovers. You will be collected from the hotel to  join a group tour heading out to Sky Adventure, located in the Arenal Rainforest. Here you will combine a hike through the lush rainforest with walks along the suspended bridges. Built to help biologists learn more about the rainforest these bridges get you up close to the ecosystem that exists in the canopy. Away from the dark rainforest floor here you can witness an abundance of leaves, fruit and seeds that attract various local wildlife.

Arenal Volcano is currently in a resting phase but continues to be Costa Rica’s most active volcano, at 5437 feet this imposing natural phenomenon sits in the midst of pastured green hillsides. In the afternoon, you’ll be able to take in the spectacular views on a gentle 2-hour hike, taking you along the lower slopes of the volcano.

Included: Breakfast, touring, transfers, 4* hotel               

Day 7: Travel to Monteverde Cloud Forest

After breakfast at the hotel, you will join a shared boat transfer via Arenal Lake to Monteverde, this boat ride is the quickest and most picturesque way to travel. Arenal Lake is the largest lake in Costa Rica and was manmade to provide hydroelectric energy for the country. It is a great place to spot many resident and migratory birds as well as the odd monkey and sloth! The journey takes around 30 to 40 minutes after which you will arrive at Rio Chiquito, a small town on the other side of the lake.

On arrival, you will be met and taken by bus to your hotel in Monteverde, where you will check in for a 2 night stay.

Included: Breakfast, touring, transfers, 4* hotel                

Day 8: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Your morning will be spent on an adventure tour in Selvatura, a cloud forest conservation project. You can glide through cables and ziplines through the cloud forest or take the Treetop Walkway covering a 3km trail. The park is home to a butterfly and hummingbird garden as well as an education centre with large private insect selection, learn about the natural history of Monteverde and the cloud forest ecosystem during your tour, transportation is included.

The afternoon is yours to explore at your leisure.

Included: Breakfast, touring, 4* hotel   

Day 9: Travel to Tamarindo

Today you will be driven to the coast, where you’ll check into your beachfront hotel on the vast sands of Tamarindo Beach. This lovely area is great for surfing, exploring the nearby wildlife reserve or simply wandering along the beach at sunset.

Included: Breakfast, transfers, 4* hotel                 

Days 10 & 11: Tamarindo

Tamarindo Beach is located on the Pacific Coast and is part of a bay. Two wide beaches are separated by a large mangrove estuary, Estero de Tamarindo and are part of the Las Baulas National Park. It’s the perfect place to combine relaxation and exploration.

Included: Breakfast, 4* hotel                     

Day 12: Depart Costa Rica

After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel and taken back to the airport in San Jose, in time for your flight back to the UK.

Included: Breakfast, transfers, international flights        

Day 13: Arrive UK


Costa Rica enjoys their summer season from December through to April.  The obvious attraction at this time is the great weather!  Another plus is the ocean swells, which mean bigger surf for all you surfers out there.  It is peak season however so bear this in mind as accommodation may be tight on availability and prices will be higher.

Winter runs May to November and is when the rains fall, hence the nickname the ‘Green Season’; prices can as much as half though and the crowds have dispersed so it can be a great time to visit.  Note travel in some areas may slow right down or not be possible so it’s worth checking your route before booking flights       

This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.           

What's included: 

  • International flights
  • Return airport transfers
  • Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary   
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary

Not included: 

  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities               
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