San Jose Tortuguero Arenal Monteverde Nicoya Peninsula

A classic sweep through Costa Rica to explore the country’s most famous beaches, volcanoes, cloudforest and wildlife. This itinerary takes in the iconic Tortuguero National Park and Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and culminates with the smoking Arenal Volcano and the palm-fringed beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. Take a boat through mangrove channels, explore the dense jungle canopy, sink into bubbling hot springs and then luxuriate on the golden sands of a sweeping Pacific beach.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Cruise the channels of Tortuguero amidst caiman, spider monkeys and turtles
  • Navigate the hanging bridges of Monteverde for an eagle-eye view of the lush cloud-forest canopy
  • Join a dedicated sloth-spotting tour in the forests of Arenal
  • Take a dip under la Fortuna’s dreamy waterfall
  • Wind down on the golden beaches of Nicoya to the soundtrack of tropical birdsong

What’s included

  • Private tours for most included activities
  • Meet & greet airport service
  • Luxury or boutique accommodation at your chosen level
  • Expert guides in each destination


This is an example itinerary. It is fully flexible; you can add or detract days and include hotels at your chosen budget. It departs daily.



Price Guide

$00 – $00 pp

Our quotes are bespoke for your customised trip. The prices displayed are indicative only, read more

Day 2

Fly to San Jose

plan line
Day 2

San Jose & the Central Highlands

Fly to San Jose and spend a couple of days in the Costa Rican capital recovering from the jet lag. You may like to immerse yourself in the markets, museums and galleries of the city itself or explore the lush central highlands, a stunning area of tumbling waterfalls, coffee plantations and mist covered mountains.

Day 3-5

Tortuguero – the Amazon of Costa Rica

Return to the airport for a small-plane transfer across to Tortuguero in the north-western corner of Costa Rica, a vast area of rainforest, mangrove swamps and sheltered channels that spill onto Costa Rica’s Caribbean. Tortuguero teems with wildlife including over 375 species of birds yet is most famous for the giant sea turtles that comer to nest on its dark sands between July and October every year. Based at a comfortable jungle lodge overlooking the channels, you will enjoy bird-watching, guided boat-trips and nature walks to explore the area.

Day 6-8

Arenal Volcano

Today, you journey by river and road to reach Arenal, Costa Rica’s emblematic volcano and one of the faces of Central America. Arenal sits at the heart of a 7000 hectare national park surrounded by dense rainforest, tumbling waterfalls and crystal clear streams that harbor a dizzying array of wildlife. For adventure enthusiasts, you can hike, paddle, bike or raft to explore the area while wildlife lovers can venture high into the forest canopy along the famous “hanging bridges”, enjoy guided nature trails or take a boat trip through the Caño Negro Reserve further north. In the evening, what better way to round off your stay than by watching the moon rise from some nearby hotsprings and – if you are lucky – admiring the firework display direct from the volcano itself!

Two small toucan Collared Aracari, Pteroglossus torquatus, bird pair with big bill. Bird sitting on the branch in forest, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica. Nature travel in central America. Toucan open bill.
Day 9-10

Monteverde & the resplendent Quetzal!

Crossing Lake Arenal, you are driven on to Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, 10½ thousand hectares of tropical forest that straddles both the Pacific and Caribbean flanks of the Tilarán Mountains, Costa Rica’s great continental divide. Monteverde is world renowned for its birding and home to Central America’s iconic bird, the Resplendent quetzal. A guided nature walk is a wonderful introduction to Monteverde but just the tip of the iceberg as there is so much to see and do from ziplines and tree-top walkways to coffee plantations, butterfly farms and birding (of course!).

Day 11-13

Nicoya’s Tropical Beaches

Costa Rica’s famous beaches await as you drop from the volcanoes, forests and raging rivers of the highlands down onto the sweeping Nicoya Peninsula to finish your trip on the beach. There are resorts dotted along the coastline from isolated, hideaway boltholes to buzzing surfer towns, all framed by tropical forest and golden stretches of sand. Costa Rica’s Pacific has long attracted surfers from far and wide and you may like to take a private lesson or even head out deep-sea fishing. Away from the ocean, the surrounding rainforest offers yet more eco-adventures or you could hire a car for the day (or boat!) and head off to explore the nearby national parks.

dot joiner for itins
Day 14

Fly home

A note on price

The prices outlined above are a rough guide to give you an idea of costs and enable you to budget for your trip.

Guide prices are generally for private arrangements based on twin share, in well located, good quality accommodation (excluding international flights).

Please note costs are indicative and may vary due to a number of factors such as; travel date, hotel choice, room category, number of people travelling and prevailing exchange rates.

Price Guide $00 – $00 per person

When to travel

jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec

Costa Rica enjoys a tropical climate year round which can be divided into a distinct dry and rainy season. The dry “summer” period runs from December to April and is the most popular time to travel. The wet season then corresponds from May to December and coincides with tempestuous downpours. Average temperatures range between 26°-28° throughout the year although it is obviously cooler in the highlands along the spine of the mountains.

Add on’s

North of the border, the colonial town of Granada in Nicaragua provides an ideal extension to Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninusla. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Granada is awash with cobbled streets and charming architecture and offers wonderful boat trips out on Lake Nicaragua as well as excursions to the nearby volcanoes and coast.

Closer to home, you can visit the bubbling hot-springs and crystal-clear waters of Rincon de la Vieja National Park while for wildlife enthusiasts, little compares to the Pacific rain-forest of the Osa Peninsula.

In a wider context, there are direct flights from San Jose throughout Central America including Mexico and Cancun as well as non-stop links to Bogota in Colombia and Lima, Peru.

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