This 9-day Costa Rica special holiday vacation is perfect for the traveler who is short on time, but big on adventure. Start your travels at the Arenal Volcano, followed by the beautiful Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve in search of capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, and two and three-toed sloths. The day before heading to the lively town of Quepos and Manuel Antonio, climb into the rainforest canopy for a high adrenaline adventure along the zip lines and rope traverses of Monteverde. Day 7 finds you enjoying the whitewater of the Rio Savegre - Class III rapids all morning long! This exciting itinerary introduces you to the best of Costa Rica.
Day 1 : Arrive San Jose Days 2-3 : Arenal Volcano Days 4-5 : Lava Flows and Monteverde Cloudforest Day 6 : Monteverde | Manuel Antonio Day 7 : Whitewater Rafting Day 8 : Return San Jose Day 9 : Return Home
Hike along old lava flows on Arenal Volcano
Zipline through the canopy of the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve
Raft the whitewater of the Rio Savegre
Explore the unique beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park
This morning is off to Arenal. Dormant for centuries, the Arenal Volcano exploded in a massive eruption of molten lava and ash in 1968. Since that time, it has continued to belch great clouds of ash and occasional lava. It is now one of the world's most active volcanoes and volcanologists from all over the world come here to study this tropical volcano.
The drive to Arenal takes a few hours and stop en route for lunch on the way. Spend the night at the Arenal Observatory Lodge where the Smithsonian Institute has set up its research facilities. The dining hall offers spectacular views of the conical volcano, and the lodge's 870 acres, bordered by Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and Arenal National Park, provide miles of trails through pristine forest.
On your second day here, enjoy some free time in the Arenal area. There are lots of optional excursions available in this area. You can go mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding or even take a hike in the miles of trails in the area. You could also visit Ecotermales Hot Springs in the evening. Your guide is on hand to help you plan your day as you wish!
After breakfast take a morning hike into the national park to see old lava flows and enjoy the unique flora. Mid-morning when it's time to leave Arenal, take a boat across Lake Arenal and on to the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, one of the richest and most diverse tropical cloud forests on the continent. Founded in 1972, the Reserve encompasses six different ecological life zones and protects more than 100 mammal species, 400 bird species, and upwards of 1,500 plant species. In your explorations keep watch for one of the area's most famed residents, the resplendant quetzal.
On the morning of Day 5, you are fitted into special gear to fly from platform to platform high above the ground, and try the famous Tarzan Swing drop! For the less adventurous, there's a nearby sky walk suspended in the canopy that's great for birding and learning more about the local ecology (please let us know ahead of time if you prefer this option). This afternoon take a hike through the reserve, viewing the misty forest with its dense vegetation and majestic trees.
This morning make the 4-5 hour drive to Quepos where you stay in a hotel near Manuel Antonio. In the afternoon, spend some time exploring the popular Manuel Antonio National park. Say goodbye to your guide this evening.
Arise early for some Class II-III whitewater rafting of the Savegre River (or try class III on the Naranjo during green season). Plunge through jungle clad gorges and float past cascading waterfalls. Along the way enjoy the variety of bird life such as egrets, osprey, kingfishers, cormorants, parrots and more. After the river trip, return to Quepos for the evening.
Enjoy a free morning relaxing at your hotel or exploring the Manuel Antonio area. Transfer back to San Jose in the late afternoon, or if your international flight does not depart until late on Day 9, you might choose to spend tonight relaxing in Quepos. Let us know what you prefer!
Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.