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La Paz Waterfall Gardens in the most visited privately owned ecological attraction in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Escape

Example 9 Day Tour
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Pair the adventurous spirit of a Costa Rican getaway with a little pampering and relaxation and you'll have an unforgettable 9-day vacation. This hand-crafted luxury tour takes you to Arenal Volcano and its soothing hot springs, on a thrilling helicopter ride over Costa Rica's volcanos, and set sail around the islands before taking in the sunset over the Pacific. A delightful mix of active adventures and tranquil relaxation, you'll spend your days actively exploring this rainforest paradise and return to comfort and a little pampering in the evenings. Each lodge and hotel has been chosen specifically for their plush accommodations in the heart of Costa Rica's natural world. 
Enjoy a wide variety of plants and animals in La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature ParkLa Paz Waterfall Gardens features some of the most famous waterfalls in all of Costa RicaManuel Antonio Park in Costa RicaCrossing a suspension bridge while hiking Sarapiqui.Arenal TramRafting the SarapiquiEnjoy guided aviary tours and feed the TucansRafting the SarapiquiStunning views of Arenal Infinity pool with views of the rainforestLa Paz Waterfall Gardens in the most visited privately owned ecological attraction in Costa Rica
Highlights
  • Helicopter over the continental divide to see Costa Rica's volcanoes
  • Sail around small islands and watch the sun set over the Pacific
  • Raft class II-III rapids down the Sarapiqui River
  • Cruise Arenal Lake at sunset for a bird watching tour
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Independent
Activity Level: Easy Active
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive San Jose

Arrive on the flight of your choice today. Upon your arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel in San Jose. Tonight unwind from the day's travels as you enjoy a welcome dinner. Settle into your charming boutique hotel, a converted Victorian Mansion that offers the warmth and comfort of a private home in the heart of the city.

Day 2: Volcano Heli-Tour

This morning transfer to the domestic airport where you take off on a helicopter flight-seeing tour to explore some of Costa Rica's magical volcanoes. High in the air, you will have a chance to see the craters of Irazu, Turrialba, Barva and Poas Volcanoes. Varying activity and destruction have given each volcano a unique topography and set of features. Keep your eye out for green crater lakes and smoke that billows from some active peaks.

After the one hour helicopter tour, drive to Poas Volcano for an up-close look of its steaming crater bubbling with life. The Poas Volcano National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including tapirs, coyotes, and hummingbirds.

The afternoon continues with a visit to the Doka Coffee Plantation. Watch how coffee is picked, milled and ground, then sample the results! If your eyes are still a little heavy from an early morning, they are sure to perk up from the rich aroma and flavorful tastes of a hot cup of Costa Rican coffee. At this three-generation coffee plantation, discover first hand - or cup - what makes Costa Rican coffee so popular.

This evening, arrive at the Peace Lodge nestled within the private wildlife refuge of La Paz Waterfall Nature Park. The detailed architecture excues a natural elegance complementing the rainforest setting. Each room offers a Jacuzzi tub, stone fireplace, and indoor cascading waterfalls.

Day 3: La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Spend the full day exploring the many trails, waterfalls and exhibits at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Weave through four towering falls and take-in the incredible views of the La Paz River Valley. The park is also home to a variety of species of hummingbirds, marmoset monkeys, a frog exhibit, and the world's largest enclosed butterfly observatory, that offers a collection Costa Rica's most brilliant butterflies. Spend time at Trout Lake or walk through Tica House - a replica of an old local Costa Rican home. Your day is free to stroll the grounds as you like.

Day 4: Sarapiqui River Rafting

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Rise and shine! This morning enjoy some classic river rafting on a seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of the clear waters of the Sarapiqui River. You'll begin in the small community of La Virgen, and raft down through some exciting class II and III rapids—Hueco Gringo, Confusion, Superman, Montana Rusa y Fuerza Aerea, among others. The rapids alternate with crystal clear still-water pools, where you may get the chance to stop for a refreshing swim and fully enjoy the intricacies of the landscape with the help of the naturalist guides. You'll leave the river at Chilamate, another small community, and stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon continue on to the Arenal area, and settle into your new hotel located 20 minutes outside the main town of La Fortuna along the Arenal River. The hotel offers a family-friendly resort atmosphere and a wildlife rescue preserve. It offers prime opportunity for bird-watching, hiking, fishing, and kayaking along the river as well as allows for breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano and the surrounding valley.

Day 5: Arenal Volcano National Park Hike | Sunset Birdwatching Cruise

Spend the morning with your guide exploring Arenal Volcano National Park. Dormant for centuries, 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. Hike along the trails near the foot of the volcano, or take a dip in nearby hot springs as you prefer!

In the evening head out on to Arenal Lake for a sunset birdwatching tour. Be sure to keep an eye our for toucans, royal flycatchers, and white- fronted nun birds, cinnamon woodpeckers or maybe a howler monkey. Once at the San Gregado Dam continue exploring and looking for birds as the boat navigates near the shores until the west side of the Arenal Volcano, still burned by eruptions from the recent active period. Return to your hotel to relax and have dinner on your own.
 

Day 6: Aerial Tram and Canopy Tour

Enjoy a leisurely morning today. Later take a tour on the Sky Tram gondolas giving you an aerial view of the rainforest. Enjoy a slow ride up the mountainside, enjoying amazing views on the way, as well as keeping your eyes out for wildlife! You are accompanied by a bilingual guide who will point out flora and fauna in the ecosystem. At the top, enjoy magnificent views of volcanoes and Lake Arenal from the observation deck. You can spend some time exploring the top area before descending down to the base. One option is to ride back down the tram, but the more exciting option we will try is the zipline canopy tour. Enjoy a thrilling ride as you zip on cables running across two mountains all the way to the bottom! The rest of the day is free to explore as you like, your guide is on hand to assist with any activities or plans.

Day 7: Fly to Quepos

Spend your last moments in Arenal before transferring to the nearby airport for a short internal flight to Quepos. From here, drive south towards Manuel Antonio Park to your hotel located just north of the Pacific Coast beaches of Playa Espadilla and Playitas Beach. From here you can easily arrange to go for a rainforest hike, set out bird-warching, or take one of the many tours provided by the community. The rest of the day is free. Settle into your luxury hotel connecting with two Pacific coast beaches and complete with two gourmet restaurants and full service spa.

Day 8: Manuel Antonio Park and Sunset Sailing

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Spend time this morning with your guide exploring Manuel Antonio Park. Walk along the expansive white beaches here and explore the lush vegetation, alive with 109 species of mammal and over 184 species of birds. Many travelers opt as well to spend the full day relaxing on the beach, or walk along the many miles of trail within the park.

This evening, set out on a sunset sailing tour aboard a small yacht and cruise around the outlying marine areas. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, sting rays, sea turtles and possibly migrating whales. Sail around various islands before arriving to the beach called Bizans. Here you have the chance to snorkel and explore the majestic marine world below. If weather requires, this tour may take place in the morning, with time to explore the park in the afternoon.

Day 9: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Spend your last moments soaking up the fresh coastal air before transferring back to Quepos for your internal flight to San Jose. From here, transfer to the international airport and return home. You can also opt to extend your stay with more time at the coast, or continue your travels!

Accommodations

Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest

Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort
Relax with a hot rock massage
Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort

Grano de Oro

Hotel Grano de Oro
Hotel Grano de Oro
Hotel Grano de Oro

The Springs Resort & Spa

The Springs Resort & Spa
The Springs Resort & Spa
The Springs Resort & Spa

Peace Lodge

Peace Lodge
Peace Lodge
Peace Lodge

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$9,374

Notes

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Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • 6 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Local guides full-day tours: $5-$10 per traveler per day
    Local guides 1/2-day tours: $5 per traveler per day
    River guides: $5 per traveler per day
    Support staff: $2-3 per traveler per day
    Drivers: $5 per traveler per day
    Taxi drivers do not expect tips for their normal services
    Baggage Handlers: $1 per bag
    Hotel hospitality (maid service): $1-$1 per traveler per night
    Restaurants: Most restaurants include in their bill a 10% service charge, as well as a 13% sales tax.  If the service charge has been added, no additional tip is necessary; however, the wait staff is happy if the amount is rounded up. 

    USD and major credit cards are commonly used in Costa Rica, and it is very common to see higher cost items priced in USD. It is recommended to carry cash (NEW $20 bills or smaller ONLY) for taxis and restaurants. Most hotels and restaurants will accept major credit cards, as well.

    Colones are the official Costa Rican currency. It is common to receive change in colones if you pay for something in USD cash. Smaller cost items (sodas, metered taxis, etc.) will commonly be priced in colones.

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
Karen Snider

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