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Costa Rica Self-Drive Adventure

Example 9 Day Tour
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Embark on a 9-day adventure across Costa Rica, driving yourself from one beautiful destination to the next. From the roaring rivers of Rincon de la Vieja National Park, to the pristine jungle of Arenal Volcano National Park, and to the white sand beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, this tour allows you to experience the best of Costa Rica from the driver's seat!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Liberia
Day 2 : Cucaracho River Rafting
Day 3 : Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Day 4 : Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 5 : Skytrek - Arenal Reserve
Day 6 : Transfer to Nicoya Peninsula
Day 7 : Nicoya Peninsula
Day 8 : Transfer to Liberia
Day 9 : Depart Liberia

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Easy Active

Trip Snapshots

The new swimming pool White Water Rafting! Arenal Tram Quizales is Tango Mar's beach. Suspension Bridge on Canopy Tour Arenal Volcano Natural hot springs Arenal and flowers
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Day 1 Arrive Liberia

Upon arrival at Liberia International, meet up with your guide and transfer to the car rental office. Obtain your vehicle here and embark on your Costa Rican driving adventure! Drive 1.5 hours to your hotel, the lovely Blue River Resort, located on the slopes of the imposing volcano, Rincon de la Vieja. Settle in and enjoy dinner at the resort.

Day 2 Cucaracho River Rafting

After breakfast at your hotel, embark on a guided whitewater adventure on the Cucaracho river. The Cucaracho, ranked Class III-V, flows through Rincon de la Vieja National Park about 2 hours from Liberia. Get your adrenaline pumping as you cruise through the gorges and canyons of this pristine wilderness area. The trip takes about 2 hours. Return to the resort to relax for the afternoon after your exciting morning on the river. Enjoy lunch and dinner at Blue River.

Day 3 Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Take a leisurely breakfast this morning and get busy relaxing in Rincon de la Vieja National Park. This national park is considered one of Costa Rica's finest hidden treasures. Its andesitic stratovolcano is alive and active, one of five in the Guanacaste mountain range. This volcano, while remote, is highly accessible to travelers and rich in vistas and ecological wonders. Enjoy a free day in the park, exploring and taking advantage of the many activities offered onsite. Return to your hotel in the evening.

Day 4 Arenal Volcano National Park

After breakfast this morning, drive 3.5 hours to Arenal Volcano National Park, another of Costa Rica's stunning protected areas. The national park is home to the active Arenal Volcano and its dormant counterpart, Chato Volcano, as well as monumental Lake Arenal. Spanning over 33 square miles and reaching depths of 200+ feet, Lake Arenal accommodates a myriad of activities including windsurfing, fishing, and boating. During your visit, take part in any number of volcanic/jungle adventures. The park is known for its spectacular canyoneering excursions, whitewater rafting trips (in case you got hooked on rafting back on day 2!), and insightful guided hikes. Also featured are a unique network of hanging jungle bridges and hot springs to unwind in after a full days of exploring. Upon arrival, settle into your hotel, enjoy dinner and a restful evening.

Day 5 Skytrek - Arenal Reserve

Dine at the hotel this morning before taking advantage of Arenal's famous Skytram or Skytrek tour. These tours will take you through the national park's peaceful canopy via either tram or zip line. Both routes offer a one-of-a-kind vantage point from which to take in the pristine beauty of Arenal's surrounding forest. Head back to your hotel for a leisurely afternoon on your own.

Day 6 Transfer to Nicoya Peninsula

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
This morning after breakfast, start off on a scenic, 3.5 hour drive to Puntarenas, located on the Central Pacific coast. From there, ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to Paquere on the Nicoya Peninsula. Drive on to your hotel, about 1.5 hours from the ferry dock. Settle in, enjoy dinner and lovely nightfall on the peninsula.

Day 7 Nicoya Peninsula

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day on the beaches of Nicoya completely at your leisure. This unique peninsula is considered ecologically wealthy, providing habitat for sea turtles, rare bird species, and diverse plant life. Explore subterranean caves and historic maritime treasure sites. Relax and enjoy the spectacular surroundings, dining this evening at your hotel.

Day 8 Transfer to Liberia

After breakfast and a free morning, start off on your drive back to Liberia, about 3.5 hours from your hotel in Nicoya. Along the way stop for lunch in Guaitil, an artisan village in San Vicente de Nicoya. This charming town, home to the native Chorotegas, provides a glimpse into ancient Maya culture. Visit the town park, where artisans skillfully construct traditional pottery in typical workshops and ovens, keeping the legacy of this ancient art alive and thriving.

After your visit, continue on to your hotel in Liberia and enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 9 Depart Liberia

  • 1 Breakfast
Have breakfast at your hotel this morning before returning your car to the rental office near the Liberia International. From there, shuttle to the airport for your departing flight.
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Arenal - Hotels

Liberia - Hotels

Rincon de La Vieja National Park - Hotels

Tango Mar

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Per person starting at
$2,019

Notes

Select a Date
Rate based on joining other rafters on day 2. Additional surcharge may apply.

Family Discounts available. Self-Drive package includes rental car and basic insurance for rental car. Additional costs for insurance may apply

Included

  • 8 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 7 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • 1 Day 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
  • Snorkeling gear (mask, fins, snorkel) is provided on your trip free of charge.  Occasionally the snorkeling gear that is supplied is worn, and there may not be enough sizes available to fit every traveler. Therefore, you may want to bring your own snorkeling gear (particularly a mask and snorkel).
  • Basic Rental Car Insurance (LDW)
  • Vehicle Rental 
  • Navigation GPS System 

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.
  • All National Park and Conservation Area Entrance Fees
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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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