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Costa Rica Holidays

An in-depth self-drive adventure

23 Night Itinerary from  £4,617

Pachira Tour

A self-drive exploration of Costa Rica visiting seven National Parks with coastal rainforest, active volcanoes, endemic birdlife and stunning landscapes. Plus a chance to relax on glorious beaches.

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Tour Route

Travel Highlights

  • A self-drive itinerary in Costa Rica, visiting seven National Parks
  • Trek and hike in diverse ecosystems with expert naturalist guides
  • Take excursions by boat in Tortuguero and Corcovado National Parks 
  • See the awe-inspiring volcanoes at Tenorio and Arenal National Parks
  • Explore hanging bridges and the cloud forest at Monteverde National Park
  • Go birdwatching or head for the beach at Guanacaste National Park
  • Explore the remote Corcovado National Park and Cano Island
  • Relax on golden Pacific beaches at Manual Antonio National Park

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

Latin America 4086289 1920

San Jose - 2 Nights

Day 1 - Departure from UK

Day 2 - Explore San Jose

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 1

Departure from UK

Depart from the UK on a direct flight to San Jose arriving later the same day. On arrival, transfer to your hotel for a 2 night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. You will be met by a Veloso Tours guide who will give you a short introduction to San Jose and the area surrounding your hotel.


Day 2

Explore San Jose

Today you are free to explore San Jose or take an optional excursion to the nearby Poas Volcano.

Finca Rosa Blanca

San Jose - First Resort

Finca Rosa Blanca Country Inn is situated above the beautiful Central Valley of Costa Rica, offering amazing views of volcanoes, cloud forests and coffee plantations and nestled amongst 10 acres amid hundreds of fruit trees and tropical flora. It offers luxurious rooms including mini bar, Jacuzzi bath and private verandas overlooking the Valley. Each room has its own decoration allowing its unique atmosphere.

The hotel provides lots of amenities such as games room, large swimming pool, TV and reading area and 2 large dinner tables for group dining. The restaurant offers a spectacular view of the coffee plantation and serves delicious local cuisine with fresh products.

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Hotel Presidente

San Jose - First Hotel

The Presidente Hotel is located in the heart of San José in the pedestrian zone of Central Avenue, 2 blocks from the National Theatre and the Cultural Square. The hotel has over 100 comfortable and spacious rooms, which all include cable TV, air conditioning, safety box and en-suite bathroom. The hotel offers amenities such as a restaurant-bar, a casino, and a spa with beauty treatments.

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Toucan Bajos del Toro

Tortuguero National Park - 3 Nights

Day 3 - Transfer to Tortuguero National Park

Day 4 - Exploring on foot and by boat

Day 5 - Explore Tortuguero

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 3

Travel to Tortuguero National Park

Up early today to travel to Tortuguero National Park. Admire the biodiversity of an astonishing protected area in Costa Rica as the bus drives through Braulio Carrillo National Park. Stop on route to have a delicious typical breakfast. Along the road, you can observe many different kinds of products grown in this area such as pineapples and bananas. Board a comfortable boat upon arrival to Caño Blanco pier and let this extraordinary exotic paradise enchant you, as you travel through the Tortuguero canals. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail and a delicious lunch as you arrive to the lodge. After lunch, visit to the picturesque town, the green turtle information centre and the beach area.

Tortuguero beach is the most important nesting site of the endangered green turtle in the Western Hemisphere. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest here. The green turtle population is believed to have come perilously close to extinction in the 1960s when nearly every female turtle arriving to nest in Tortuguero was taken for the export market for turtle soup.

Working closely with the Costa Rican government, the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) helped establish Tortuguero National Park in 1970, a move that offered protection to the turtles and strictly limited the number of turtles that could be taken. STC researchers and volunteers, who are based at STC's John H. Phipps Biological Field Station, continue to monitor nesting trends, growth rates and reproductive success begun by Dr. Archie Carr in the 1950s. We visit the field station in the afternoon.

We stay at the Pachira Lodge on a full board basis for 3-nights.

 

From July to September you can take an optional night tour to observe turtles nesting.


Day 4

Exploring on foot and by boat

After breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour through the trails. In the afternoon, we visit Tortuguero National Park, exploring the canals in small, open boats to allow a better visibility. Tortuguero is a network of navigable lakes, rivers and canals (both natural and man-made) that are used for transportation and are a great place for observing local wildlife such as macaws, monkeys, two and three-toed sloths, American crocodiles and caimans. The canals also provide shelter to endangered animals such as the Oriental Indian Manatee, crocodiles, a large variety of crustaceous and about 30 species of sweet water fish, including the Gaspar, considered as a living fossil.


Day 5

Explore Tortuguero

A further day of optional guided treks and other optional activities, such as zip wire adventures in the tree canopy.

Pachira Lodge

Tortuguero - Tourist Lodge

 

The Pachira Lodge is located only five minutes away from the entrance to Tortuguero National Park. This wild and remote area is only accessible by boat or plane and it takes 5 to 6 hours by land and boat from San Jose. Pachira Lodge offers 96 comfortable rooms with bamboo furniture and ceiling fans. The lodge has a nicely decorated restaurant, a bar, a refreshing turtle-shaped swimming pool, beautiful gardens, ranchos with hammocks to enjoy the jungle and canal views.

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Frog, Costa Rica

Tenorio National Park - 3 Nights

Day 6 - Transfer to San Jose and self-drive to Tenorio

Day 7 - Explore Tenorio National Park

Day 8 - Tenorio National Park

  • Full Description

Day 6

Travel to San Jose and self-drive to Tenorio

Today we return to San Jose and collect your rental car for 15 days hire. Self driving in Costa Rica is increasingly popular as the roads are generally good. This option allows you to explore the National Park independently. Drive to Tenorio National Park where you stay at your chosen hotel for 3-nights on a bed and breakfast basis.


Day 7

Explore Tenorio National Park

Tenorio Volcano National Park is located the northern Costa Rica and part of the Arenal Tempisque Conservation Area. The jewel of the National Park is the Tenorio Volcano, which you can experience today at your leisure.


Day 8

Exploring Tenorio

A further day to discover Tenorio National Park. Perhaps take a trek in the rain forest or enjoy an optional activity, such as horse riding, available from your hotel. 

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano - 2 Nights

Day 9 - Drive to Arenal National Park

Day 10 - Exploring Arenal National Park

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 9

Drive to Arenal National Park

Today take a scenic drive around Lake Arenal to your hotel in Arenal National Park for a 2-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. Here, discover a great diversity of birds, mammals and lizards, as well as a large variety of plants. There is much on offer in this area, the most exciting observing the active Arenal Volcano at night where streams of red hot lava cascade down the mountainside.

 


Day 10

Explore Arenal National Park

Enjoy a range of optional activities available from your hotel, depending on your own interests. 

Arenal Lodge

Arenal National Park - Tourist Lodge

The Arenal Lodge provides wonderful panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and Arenal Lake and is a perfect spot for watching unforgettable eruptions and lava flows which can be seen glowing at night. The lodge has a rustic ambiance and has been deliberately constructed to bring the outdoors inside; landscaped gardens full of ferns, flowers and orchids surround the rooms, bar and restaurant. Hiking and bird-watching are some of the activities you can enjoy at Arenal Lodge. Accommodations include room and breakfast. 

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Arenal Nayara Resort

Arenal National Park - Deluxe Resort

Located in the outskirts of the Arenal Volcano, Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens provides a uniquely natural experience. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of its 24 spacious casitas provides an exclusive retreat in which you can relax amidst the breathtaking view of the volcano. Interwoven with rich gardens its tropical grounds create the perfect setting to rest and enjoy nature. A large Jacuzzi and wet bar provide a place to rest after enjoying the various guided activities, including white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, volcano treks, and hot springs. Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens offers a full service restaurant, where local ingredients blend with a world-class cuisine to provide an incomparable dining experience. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and boasts a direct view of the active volcano. 

Every (room) casita at the Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens has been designed to provide the utmost in comfort and style while maintaining a close connection with the natural surroundings. With the guests' experience in mind, Arenal Nayara offers a unique concept of individual casitas separated by lush tropical gardens. Each one of its large suite-size casitas provides independent space and privacy that includes a private backyard with an outdoor shower and a front balcony overlooking the volcano. For a full pampering experience select the Nayara Suites featuring in-room breakfast, bathrobe, and the best panoramic volcano view. Each of the casitas is equipped with a King or two full size beds, Plasma 27" Cable TV, DVD / CD Player, IPod Stand, Internet Access, Safe Box (Laptop capacity), Air Conditioning, private bathroom with hot water and rain shower, backyard with outside shower, in room "mini" bar service, coffee maker, front balcony overlooking the volcano with jacuzzi for two, high speed internet connection. Accommodation includes room and breakfast. 

Image for: 2042 Arenal Nayara Resort

Arenal Springs

Arenal National 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.

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Monteverde

Monteverde National Park - 3 Nights

Day 11 - Drive to Monteverde National Park

Day 12 - Guided cloud forest tour

Day 13 - Exploring Monteverde 

  • Full Description

Day 11

Drive to Monteverde National Park

Today drive south to Monteverde National Park and check into your hotel for a 3-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. The rest of the day is at leisure.


Day 12

Guided cloud forest tour

In the morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an excursion to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The private biological reserve is dedicated to the conservation of the flora and fauna which exists in this complex ecosystem. The reserve consists of 10.000 hectares and serves as an important link in the growing network of protected areas in the country. Wind-sculptured elfin woodlands on the exposed ridges are spectacularly dwarfed, whereas protected cove Monteverde rainforests have majestically tall trees festooned with orchids, bromeliads, ferns, vines, and mosses.

Poorly drained areas support swamp forests, while parts of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, dissected by deep gorges, have numerous crystal clear streams tumbling over rapids and waterfalls. The variable climate and large altitudinal gradient has helped produce an extremely high biodiversity. Spectacular wildlife includes the Jaguar, Ocelot, Baird's Tapir, Three-wattled Bellbird, Bare necked Umbrella bird and Resplendent Quetzal.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore depending on your interests.

 


Day 13

Exploring Monteverde

A further day to discover Monteverde National Park. There are numerous activities available including trekking, discovering Costa Rican coffee or for the more adventurous a river rafting adventure. 

Toucan

Guanacaste National Park - 3 Nights

Day 14 - Drive to Guanacaste National Park

Day 15 - Guanacaste National Park

Day 16 - Guanacaste National Park

  • Full Description

Day 14

Drive to Guanacaste National Park

Today head north to Guanacaste National Park and check into your hotel for a 3-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. The rest of the day is at leisure.


Day 15

Explore Guanacaste National Park

Today is free to explore Guanacaste National Park. 


Day 16

Guanacaste National Park

A further day to discover Guanacaste National Park. There are numerous activities available including trekking, discovering Costa Rican coffee or horse riding adventures. 

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park - 3 Nights

Day 17 - Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park

Day 18 - Exploring the wildlife

Day 19 - Hikes and beaches 

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 17

Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park

Drive south along the Pacific Coast to Manuel Antonio National Park, staying for 3 nights on a bed and breakfast basis at your chosen hotel surrounded by rainforest and overlooking beaches and coves. The pristine Manuel Antonio National Park is for many the best National Park in Costa Rica. The area has well-marked trails and is teeming with wildlife, including birds, toucans, monkeys and sloths.

You can relax at your lodge, on the beach or explore the National Park on a wide range of optional activities bookable locally.


Day 18

Exploring the wildlife

Relax at your lodge, on the beach or explore the National Park on a wide range of optional activities bookable locally.


Day 19

Hikes and protected beaches

At leisure, with time to take a hike in the rain forest or just relax on the beautiful beaches.

Playa Espadilla

Manuel Antonio National Park - Tourist Hotel

A comfortable and friendly tourist class hotel only a 3 minute walk from the entrance to the National Park of Manuel Antonio and a 2 minute walk from the beach. Known as a place in harmony with nature, their private reserve and delightful gardens allow guests to learn more about the flora and fauna of the Central Pacific.

Each air conditioned room is fully equipped with private bathroom, hot water, cable TV, coffee maker, fridge, telephone and safe. Other amenities include a tennis and basketball court, billiards table, laundry service, FREE Wi-FI, private parking and 24 hours room service. There is a Restaurant" and also a poolside "Tropical Bar". 

The hotel offers a range of tours and excursions including guided hikes, white water rafting, snorkelling, canopy adventures, horseback riding, surfing and fishing. 

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

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Makanda by the Sea

Manuel Antonio National Park - Deluxe Hotel

Makanda by the Sea is the ideal location for adults wishing to experience Manuel Antonio's natural splendour, magical sunsets and wildlife while enjoying the comforts of first-class accommodation within 12 acres of rainforest sanctuary. All of the 11 air-conditioned villas and studios are uniquely contoured into the surrounding jungle and descending mountain terrain, and provide spectacular views of the sixty mile coastline.

The hotels open air design enhances the views while taking advantage of the cool Pacific breezes and the swimming pool is perched on the hillside. Enjoy the Arbol restaurant, spa and stunning infinity pool. There are many activities available at the hotel including guided walks in the National Park, cycle tours, fishing horse riding, scuba diving, zip line adventures, white water rafting and kayaking. Or just relax on the beach.

Accommodation includes room and breakfast.

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Parador Resort & Spa

Manuel Antonio National Park - First Resort

The Parador Resort & Spa is located on Punta Quepos in the most pristine and tranquil area of Manuel Antonio, yet within minutes from the world famous Manuel Antonio National Park and only a 5-minute walk to the beach. Its elegant Mediterranean style architecture, modelled after traditional Spanish Paradores and European boutique hotels, has made the resort quite unique.

The grounds cover 12 acres of lush rain forest that you can explore on well planned nature trails and the resort can arrange many tours and activities, from zip wire adventures to snorkelling trips, that appeal to couples and families.

All 129 air-conditioned rooms and suites offer all the expected amenities of a resort, with European comforts and a warm tropical touch! All the rooms have private bathroom, telephone, safe, FREE Wi-FI, coffee maker, mini bar, hair dryer and TV. The hotel also features three swimming pools, two restaurants, three bars, a jacuzzi, spa, tennis court, mini-golf and a fitness centre. 

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

 

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 Lapa Rios

Corcovado National Park - 3 Nights

Day 20 - Pacific coast to Corcovado National Park

Day 21 - Hiking in Corcovado National Park

Day 22 - Cano Island Tour

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 20

Pacific Coast to Corcovado National Park

Today drive along the Pacific coast to Palmer Sur, where you drop off your car.

From there, you will be taken to Sierpe, a small hacienda-style building by the shore of the river from where you travel by boat to the lodge.

The boat will take you along the river and through dense mangroves, where there are many opportunities to spot wildlife and birds in the trees, and admire wild and unspoilt surroundings. From the river you continue out to sea, from where you can admire the magnificent scenery of the jungle descending to the Pacific Coast.

On arrival at Casa Corcovado's beach, you make a wet landing helped by the crew and check-in at your lodge for a 3-night stay on a full board basis.


Day 21

Hiking in Corcovado National Park

Up early today for a birdwatching Tour before breakfast. Share the cool early morning with some of the over 350 species of birds found in Corcovado. The early morning hours are perfect to observe the wildlife of the area. For keen birders and animal lovers, on this tour we offer the chance to see numerous species of birds, morpho butterflies, monkeys and other animals.

After breakfast, your naturalist guide will take you on a guided hike into Corcovado National Park. The cool morning hours offer a good opportunity to spot wildlife and to observe some of the incredible variety of birds that abound in the park.


Day 22

Cano Island Tour

Today enjoy a full day tour to Caño Island, an ancient Indian burial ground. Here you can snorkel among the coral reefs that surround this tropical paradise and picnic on San Josecito Beach.

Casa Corcovado

Osa Peninsula & Corcovado - First Lodge

Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge is tucked away in the trees and cooled by the Pacific Ocean. A 170 acre private reserve bordering Corcovado National Park, the lodge was carefully designed and built by an American naturalist with over twenty-five years of local experience. The lodge is ideal for both couples, solo travellers and family groups.

The accommodations are constructed with the highest concern for conservation in harmony with the landscape and the environment, with a choice of deluxe bungalows, junior suites or honeymoon suites. Each room has private bathroom, ceiling fans, hammock, safe and mini-bar. Public facilities include two swimming pools, bar, lounge, the Los Vitrales Restaurant, spa, gift shop and private sandy beach.

Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge provides the ideal base to explore the rainforest with many guided tours available, plus water based activities in the nearby Pacific ocean.

The rates include accommodation, all meals and activities.

Image for: 2034 Casa Corcovado

Lapa Rios

Osa Peninsula & Corcovado - Deluxe Lodge

Lapa Rios is a wonderful combination of a sustainable luxury lodge and eco-conservation project spread over 1000 acres of tropical rainforest on the Osa Peninsula overlooking the Golfo Dulce. The main lodge and bungalows line three ridges, connected by walking paths and many steps.

Nearly all of the 17 thatched bungalows have an ocean view and all are surrounded by the rainforest. Each bungalow has huge windows, a ceiling fan (no air-conditioning), private deck and patio garden.

The buildings are of native materials, existing in harmony with the surrounding forest and beach environment. The main building houses the reception, bar and restaurant. There is also a swimming pool, access to the beach, and many trails throughout the forest leading to rivers with natural pools and waterfalls. There are daily guided excursions and activities inside and outside the property that take advantage of the pristine natural setting and discover the abundant wildlife, particularly birds.

The rates include transfers from Puerto Jimenez, accommodation, all non-alcoholic drinks, 3 meals a day and all on-site guided tours.

Image for: Osa & Corcovado
San Jose

Return to San Jose & Fly Home - 1 Night

Day 23 - Return to San Jose

Day 24 - Return flight to the UK

Day 25 - Arrive in the UK

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 23

Return to San Jose

Transfer by boat to Sierpe and onto Palmer Sur Airport for a flight to San Jose. On arrival, transfer to your chosen hotel on a bed and breakfast basis for your last night in Costa Rica.


Day 24

Return flight to the UK

Transfer to the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK.


Day 25

Arrive in the UK

Arrive in the UK in the morning.

Grano de Oro

San Jose - First Hotel

Situated on a shady street just off Paseo Colon, San Jose's main street, the Hotel Grano de Oro is a welcome retreat in the heart of this bustling city. Converted from a tropical Victorian mansion, the hotel preserves the warmth and comfort of a private home, with its atrium terrace and corridors of sparkling fountains and lush tropical plants.

There is a rooftop deck ideal for sunbathing and also featuring a Jacuzzi. The hotel's restaurant is one of the best in San Jose and offers continental cuisine in an intimate and cordial atmosphere.

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Xandari Resort

San Jose - First Boutique

Xandari Resort and Spa is perfectly located for excursions to Poas Volcano, La Paz waterfall gardens, and Doka coffee plantation, and is only 30 minutes’ drive from San Jose International airport. Over 3km of scenic trails through coffee and fruit orchards lead into a lush natural tropical setting with a year-round river and five beautiful waterfalls.

The hotel consists of 24 comfortable and spacious villas, decorated in bright colours and adorned with original works of art. Set on top of a hill on a 40 acre coffee and fruit plantation, all the rooms are overlooking the Costa Rica's Central Valley, featuring private terrace. Each room has a bar kitchen and a private bathroom with toiletries. The resort has 3 swimming pools, with one overlooking the valley, as well as a spa offering a variety of treatments.

Image for: 4808 Xandari Resort

Hotel Presidente

San Jose - First Hotel

The Presidente Hotel is located in the heart of San José in the pedestrian zone of Central Avenue, 2 blocks from the National Theatre and the Cultural Square. The hotel has over 100 comfortable and spacious rooms, which all include cable TV, air conditioning, safety box and en-suite bathroom. The hotel offers amenities such as a restaurant-bar, a casino, and a spa with beauty treatments.

Image for: 4807 Hotel Presidente

Price Guidelines

Season Low Season High Season
Travel Dates 31 Dec -19 Jul, 22 Aug-13 Dec 20 July - 21 Aug, 14 Dec- 30 Dec
Room Arrangement First First
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £4,617 £5,116
Single Traveller - Own Room £5,996 £7,095

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


What's Included

  • 25 Days / 23 Nights
  • International business class flights (1 overnight)
  • Internal flight
  • 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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