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Costa Rica Holidays

National Parks, Volcanoes, Rainforest and protected beaches

18 Night Itinerary from  £4,865

Hummingbird Tour

Discover six national parks, each with a distinct habitat, trek in the foothills of volcanoes and long mountains and valley, exploring coastal forest with expert local guides.

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Tour Route

Travel Highlights

  • Stay in first class hotels and lodges throughout
  • Observe abundant wildlife and explore lesser-visited national parks and coastline
  • Experience the aerial tram high in the forest canopy
  • Observe Scarlet Macaws in Carara National Park 
  • Stay at Bosque de Paz hidden in the cloud forest
  • Trek in the foothills of Arenal Volcano and admire the crater at Poas Volcano
  • Admire La Cangreja waterfall on a trek in Rincon de la Vieja National Park
  • Relax on protected beaches in Nosara
  • Travel from July to December and observe Olive Ridley Turtles lay their eggs on the beach

This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.

Tour Itinerary

A pair of scarlet macaws

San Jose and Around - 5 Nights

Day 1 - Departure from UK

Day 2 - Poas Volcano and coffee plantation

Day 3 - Irazu Volcano and Orosi Valley

Day 4 - Carara Biological Reserve and Sky Walk 

Day 5 - Atlantic Rainforest and Aerial Tram

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Saturday, 09 December 2023

Departure from UK

Depart on a direct flight to San Jose. On arrival, transfer to the Alta Las Palomas Hotel in the hills above the city for a 5-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis.

Sunday, 10 December 2023

Visit Poás Volcano and coffee plantation

Today we visit nearby Poás Volcano, with its active, smoking crater and emerald green crater-lake. We continue to the Doka coffee plantation where you will learn how coffee is picked, milled, ground and roasted.

Our final stop today is the stunning La Paz Waterfalls Gardens, where walkways lead you past a series of waterfalls which cut through the surrounding lush forest. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax by the hotel pool, enjoy the spa or walk in the extensive grounds.

Lunch is included today.

Monday, 11 December 2023

Irazu Volcano and Orosi Valley

Today, you guide will take you to Cartago, the original capital of Costa Rica. At 3432 metres, the Irazu volcano is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica and it is easy to see why Neil Armstrong said that its desolate landscape looks like the surface of the moon. The gently sloping southern flank with its patchwork pattern of potatoes, cabbages, and other vegetable crops, replaced by bucolic dairy farms at higher elevations, belies the violent past of this volcano that looms above the city of Cartago. We also visit the lush Orosi Valley with its panoramic view of the Reventazon River and the Cachi Dam.

Continue to the famous Lankester Gardens, one of the largest collections of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, and anthuriums of the region.

Lunch is included today.

Tuesday, 12 December 2023

Carara Biological Reserve and Villa Lapas Sky Walk

The 4,700 hectare Carara Biological Reserve occupies a unique position at the transition zone between tropical moist forest and tropical wet forest in the Pacific lowlands. Though most of the vegetation in the reserve remains evergreen and is characteristic of the wet forest life zone, there are a number of species that lose their leaves during the dry season, showing their affinity to the drier climate found north of the reserve. Carara's main attraction for most visitors is its wildlife, and star billing goes to the Scarlet Macaw. These large, raucous members of the parrot family add a bright splash of primary colors to the overall green of the rain forest, although at times it is amazing how difficult they can be to see in a leafy tree. Other bird species you will observe are black-hooded Antshrike, dot-winged Antwren, long-billed Gnatwren, chestnut-backed Antbird, and the Lesser Greenlet.

We continue to the "Villa Lapas Sky Way", natural trails and hanging bridges threading their way throughout the rain forest of centenary trees. It is located in a private reserve close to the Carara National Park. Lunch is included today.

Wednesday, 13 December 2023

Atlantic Rainforest and Aerial Tram

Today we visit a 475-hectare private reserve and enjoy the unique experience of the aerial tram, with a hanging bridge accessible through a short walk; two gazebo observation areas; a video room; nature trails, the rain forest canopy tour; the butterfly and frog garden; and a snake exhibition. The tram ride with a trained nature guide covers a distance of 2.6 km through the primary rainforest.

Lunch is included today.

Hotel Alta Las Palomas

San Jose - Luxury Hotel

Located on the outskirts of San Jose in Santa Ana, the 23 room Hotel Alta is an excellent base to explore the capital city and surrounding attractions, including the Poas Volcano.

Public areas include a swimming pool, excellent dining at the elegant La Luz Restaurant and bar or the more relaxed cafe de Verano.

There are 5 room types: deluxe queen, deluxe king, grand queen, grand king and a master suite. Each room is air-conditioned with private bathroom, balcony or terrace, TV, safe, hair dryer and iron/ironing board.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.


Explore the rainforest

Bajos del Toro - 3 Nights

Day 6 - Transfer to Bajos del Toro

Day 7 - Explore the cloud forest

Day 8 - Explore the cloud forest

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Thursday, 14 December 2023

Travel to Bajos del Toro

Transfer to Bajos del Toro and check into Bosque de Paz, staying for 3-nights on a full board basis in luxurious, individual cabins nestled in a secluded area of Cloud Forest. Rest of the day at leisure.

Friday, 15 December 2023

Explore the cloud forest

Explore the forest or take optional visits to nearby attractions such as Sarchi, Zarcero or the Juan Castro National Park. There also many other activities available, from cooking classes to coffee tasting, horse riding to early morning birdwatching to enjoy.

Saturday, 16 December 2023

Explore the cloud forest

A further day of optional guided treks in the cloud forest discovering the huge array of birdlife.

Bosque de Paz

Bajos del Toro - First Lodge

Bosque de Paz Reserva Biologica is located in Alajuela. The property boasts a large terrace offering stunning views of the surrounding nature. Situated in the mountains, this lodge is within 25 mi (40 km) of Aguas Zarcas Church, Aquas Zarcas Square, and Zoo Ave. La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Central Park are also within 32 mi (52 km). This lodge is 65 minutes’ drive from Juan Santamaría International Airport.

The lodge offers a total of 12 rooms surrounded by forest and a hummingbird, and a butterfly garden. The rooms are fully furnished with exclusive ironworks and Costa Rican pottery. Each one has two double beds, private bathroom, and hot water. Wide balconies offer beautiful views to the forest. A restaurant, coffee/tea in the lobby, free WiFi is available at this smoke-free lodge. At Bosque de Paz Reserva Biologica you will find a garden and a terrace. Other facilities offered at the property include a shared lounge, a tour desk and luggage storage. There is a library on site that features many natural history volumes, plus a research lab. The lodge provides a full board plan (no drinks) and the entrance fee to the reserve.

4812 Bosque De Paz
Volcano Hike

Arenal Volcano - 3 Nights

Day 9 - Arenal National Park

Day 10 - Arenal Volcano Hike

Day 11 - Exploring Arenal National Park

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Sunday, 17 December 2023

Travel to Arenal National Park

Transfer to the Arenal National Park where we stay for 3-nights at a Arenal Springs Hotel on a room and breakfast basis. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Monday, 18 December 2023

Arenal Volcano Hike

Today enjoy a half-day trek in the foothills of the mighty Arenal Volcano, discovering the flora and fauna of the regenerated forest and a small area of primary forest that is at the base of the Arenal Volcano. With a bit of luck, we will observe toucan, turkeys, orioles, peccaries, snakes and monkeys. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2023

Exploring Arenal National Park

Today is at leisure. Perhaps relax at your hotel, enjoy a hot spring or take an additional optional excursion including a horse riding tour, boat tour or zip wire adventure.

Arenal Springs

Arenal Volcano Park - First Resort

Arenal Springs Resort is the ideal combination of modern comfort and exuberant tropical surrounding. The rooms are all in semi-detached bungalows spread over a wide area directly facing Arenal Volcano. Each room has a patio with seating, as well as air conditioning. The hotel also has its own hot springs, which feed into a number of hot tubs and pool of different temperatures, all of which guests can enjoy at their leisure. There is also a spa, a yoga studio, and two restaurants.

2043 Arenal Springs

Rincon de la Vieja - 3 Nights

Day 12 - Travel to Rincon de la Vieja

Day 13 - Visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Day 14 - Explore Rincon de la Vieja National Park

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Wednesday, 20 December 2023

Travel to Rincon de la Vieja

Transfer by road to Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and check in to the Borinquen hotel for a 3-night stay on a half board basis (breakfast and dinner). The rest of the day is at leisure.

Thursday, 21 December 2023

Visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Today enjoy a guided trek in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, where the highlight is a visit to La Cangreja waterfall.

Lunch is included today.

Friday, 22 December 2023

Explore Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Further exploration of Rincon de la Vieja National Park with your guide.

Borinquen Thermal Resort

Rincon de la Vieja - First Lodge

Borinquen Thermal Resort is located in the countryside in Rincon de la Vieja National Park. 

The hotel has beautiful and private villas, bungalows and junior suites with a rustic flare yet modern amenities. All rooms have private decks or balconies with great mountain views and breathtaking sunsets. 

The thermal springs with hot pools, the volcanic mud and the natural steam-room will add to the relaxing atmosphere of this retreat in the highlands. You can take advantage of the curative properties that have long been attributed to mineral rich waters and mud-pots.

Enjoy the unique experience of relaxing in a hot spring-fed pool after an exciting expedition in the countryside or take a relaxing massage or facial in the luxurious Anáhuac Spa.

The seven dining options serve national and international cuisine prepared with the best standards.


Nosara and beach - 4 Nights

Day 15 - Travel to Nosara

Day 16 - Wildlife, hikes and protected beaches 

Day 17 - At leisure 

Day 18 - At leisure 

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Saturday, 23 December 2023

Travel to Nosara

Transfer to Nosara, where we stay for 4-nights at the superb Lagarta Lodge on a bed and breakfast basis. The  hotel overlooks coastal forest, sandy beaches and the meeting of two rivers on the Pacific coast of Nicoya Peninsula.

The rest of the day to relax at the lodge or on the beach.

Sunday, 24 December 2023

Wildlife, hikes and protected beaches

As well as being a wonderful place to relax, Lagarta Lodge has a great selection of activities that can be arranged through the hotel, at extra cost. Take a guided tour of the Nature Reserve with a naturalist guide, or a wildlife spotting boat trip through the mangrove forest to see the many wetlands bird species of the area.

Access to the Nature Reserve is complimentary for guests of the hotel, and maps are provided by the reception although some paths can become overgrown and difficult to navigate.

Monday, 25 December 2023

Observe the Olive Ridley Turtle

Nearby Ostional Beach is the world's 2nd largest nesting site for Olive Ridley Turtles. Their mass arrivals, called 'arribadas', mainly happen between July and December, and it is possible to see thousands of turtles arriving within 3 or 4 days to lay their eggs on the beach.

Tuesday, 26 December 2023

At leisure

Your final day in Costa Rica, to relax at the lodge or on the beach.

Lagarta Lodge

Nicoya Peninsula - First Boutique

Lagarta Lodge Hotel sits between two rivers on the Nicoya peninsula, with sandy beaches and woods to explore along the pacific shores of Costa Rica. With sustainability and social responsibility in mind Lagarta Lodge has its own private nature reserve of mangrove trees.

Public areas include the observation tower with panoramic vistas, a sun deck, restaurant and sunset bar with breathtaking views of the ocean to enjoy. The lodge also has two infinity pools, a spa and jacuzzi.

The 26 air-conditioned guest rooms include 11 Jungle suites, 8 Panorama suites and 7 Flor Blanca suites. Each has FREE WI-FI, safe, ceiling fan, king or queen size beds with luxurious bedding, terrace or balcony,  small fridge and coffee machine. 

The lodge can arrange many excursions and experiences, including guided hiking, nature tours, surfing, kayaks, boat tours, snorkelling, language courses and beach sports.

Rooms are on a bed and breakfast basis.

8676 Lagarta Lodge
San Jose

Return to San Jose & Fly Home - 0 Nights

Day 19 - Return flight to the UK

Day 20 - Arrive in the UK

  • Full Description

Wednesday, 27 December 2023

Return flight to the UK

Transfer to San Jose airport for your direct overnight flight home.

Thursday, 28 December 2023

Arrive in the UK

Arrive in the UK in the morning.

Price Guidelines

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates 31 Dec-19 Jul, 23 Aug-13 Dec 20 Jul-21 Aug, 14-30 Dec
Room Arrangement First First
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £4,865 £5,053
Single Traveller - Own Room £7,511 £7,563

Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.

What's Included

  • 20 Days / 18 Nights
  • International flights (1 overnight)
  • Accommodation as shown on the itinerary
  • Breakfast everyday and meals as described on the itinerary
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • Transport  throughout the itinerary
  • Excursions listed, all with expert, English-speaking guides
  • Prices are per person
  • Prices for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Easter on request

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READY - 4 December 2023

ECUADOR & GALAPAGOS: Friendly Wildlife & Culture

LANDMARK TOURS: Multi-Country & Cross Continent

COSTA RICA TOURS & LODGES: Rainforest Habitats

CLIPPER CRUISES: Stunning Traditional Tall Sailling Ships: Costa Rica, Barbados, Saint Martin

CHINAINDIA: Local Life, People & Unique Cultures

GUIDES by Veloso Tours, are the best Local Hosts

TRAVEL INSURANCE with extensive COVID-19 cover