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Howler monkey and baby

Costa Rica Quest

Example 8 Day Tour
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Costa Rica is the adventure & wildlife capital of Central America, and this 8-day tour has it all, including volcano hiking, turtle observation, and even whitewater rafting. Explore the nesting sites of green sea turtles at Tortuguero National Park, and carry on to a thrilling rafting excursion down the crystal waters of the Sarapiqui River. And before heading back to San Jose, you'll trek up the renowned, active Arenal Volcano. 
Zipline!White water rafting on the Pacaure RiverAdios ExplosionA caimen basking in the sun during a tour in Costa RicaWe did it! A happy family after a zip line tour in Costa RicaPlaying in the mist of the fallsTortuguero canalszip lineFun at the beachGetting ready to take off on a zip line tour!Rafting the SarapiquiExploring TortugueroHummingbird nesting at Arenal ObservatoryAgami Heron at nesting site in Pacuare ReservehorsebackBefore the zipline tourA hut on the beach in TortugueroChecking out a giant Rhinoceros Beetle in Costa RicaRafting the Pacuare River!Prepared to do some amazing ziplining!Kayaking at the Hatillo MangrovesWhite water rafting on the Pacaure RiverHere comes a big hit! Pacuare River whitewater rafting. Howler monkey and baby
  • Learn about and observe the sea turtles nesting near Tortuguero
  • Hike in Tirimbina Biological Reserve at night looking for evening creatures
  • Raft the mellow whitewater of the Sarapiqui River
  • Explore the forests surrounding Arenal Volcano with unique flora and fauna
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive San Jose

Arrive in San Jose and overnight.

Day 2: Meet Tortuguero

Early in the morning you are picked up from your hotel for the drive to the Atlantic coast, traveling through the lush tropical rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, which is one of the largest in the country. Banana plantations line the highway en route to La Pavona, where you take a scenic boat ride on the La Suerte River, Tortuguero River, and through the Tortuguero Canals. The boat ride offers lovely views of the Costa Rican forest and mangrove swamps, which are teeming with such exotic wildlife as sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, coatimundis, raccoons, crocodiles, egrets, parrots, and jaguars—just to name a few!

Arriving in the island village of Tortuguero, enjoy lunch at Laguna Lodge, and then a free afternoon to relax and explore on your own. Spend the next two nights at the lodge, which offers optional tours including kayak rentals and a refreshing pool, and nightly turtle-watching tours.

Day 3: Jungle Exploration in Tortuguero

Today is a free day to spend as you please – tour the town, visit museums or take a walk through the jungle. You can explore the canals winding through the rainforest, which is home to exotic wildlife, from egrets to crocodiles to monkeys to butterflies. And keep your eyes open for turtles! Tortuguero has many highlights, but it is best known for the four species of sea turtles that nest in the region. Tortuguero's coastline is considered one of the Western Hemisphere's most important nesting sites of the green sea turtle, which can be found by the thousands in the summer months. The baby turtles hatch from July through early November, emerging from their nests to scrabble across the sand to the waiting waters of the Atlantic.

Be sure to take advantage of the miles of beach and jungle trails in Tortuguero National Park, horseback riding, kayaking to a nearby lagoon, or fishing in the Tortuguero River for tarpon, snook, and mackerel.

Day 4: Tortuguero to Sarapiqui | Tirimbina Biological Reserve

Start the day off early with a boat ride back to Guapiles, where you have lunch at the Rio Blanco Restaurant. After lunch take ground transportation to Sarapiqui, and spend the afternoon exploring your new surroundings.

This evening you visit the Tirimbina Biological Reserve for a night walk. During this 2-hour walk, learn about the natural history of different rainforest species, with a focus on nocturnal species such as frogs, insects, spiders, sloths, kinkajous, porcupines, opossums, and others, revealing a completely different perspective of the rainforest (a Bat Tour is also an alternate option). Located within the rainforest and river environments of Costa Rica, this 750-acre tropical science resource combines education, research, and stunning beauty to give visitors an outstanding encounter with nature. The Tirimbina Rainforest Center was founded primarily to preserve one of the few remaining stands of intact, mid-elevation tropical forest in Central America. Through education, the Center has gone further into the process of incorporating the local communities in their conservation challenges.

Tonight, enjoy dinner at the hotel. Overnight Sarapiqui.

Day 5: Sarapiqui River Rafting | Drive to Arenal

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 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 (if you're not wet enough already!) and fully enjoy the intricacies of the landscape with the help of the naturalist guides. Leave the river at Chilamate, another small community, and stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon transfer to the Arenal area, with the rest of the day free to relax. Enjoy dinner at your hotel, from which you can take in the spectacular views of the volcano. Spend the evening swimming in the pool or relaxing in the Jacuzzi, and then head to your comfortably furnished bungalow for a good night's sleep.

Day 6: Arenal Volcano

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. Today you visit Costa Rica's celebrated Arenal Volcano National Park. As you move through the forest, watch out for howler monkeys, bright tropical toucans, and listen to the rumbling sounds of the distant volcano. With a bit of luck, you may see the endangered resplendent quetzal bird as well. The walk ends with a magnificent view of Arenal, one of the most active volcanoes in the world since its massive eruption in 1968. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening free in the area! There are lots of optional excursions available. You can go mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, ziplining, ride a rainforest tram or even take a hike on the miles of trails in the area.

Day 7: Back to San Jose

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, return to San Jose, where the afternoon is free for resting, relaxing, or exploring.

Day 8: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer to the airport for your international flight home.

Turtle season runs from June 15- October 30.


Tortuguero - Hotels

San Jose - Hotels

Arenal - Hotels

Sarapiqui - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$1,928 2-3 travelers


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This trip is enjoyable at any time of year, but for those wanting to see the turtles, June-October are the prime months to travel.

December Holiday departures have a special rate. Contact us for details.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • 3 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Arrival Airport Transfer
  • Departure Airport Transfer
  • Tirimbina Biological Reserve Entrance Fee
  • Arenal Volcano National Park Entrance Fee
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Tortuguero National Park Entrance Fee $15 + tax = $17 Payable upon arrival to park.


When to Go

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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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

Costa Rica Travel Guide

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