Costa Rica highlights holiday & beach

“A two week, tailor made holiday in Costa Rica, taking in volcanoes, cloud forest, turtle beaches and totally deserted ones too. Staying at a lovely mix of accommodation. ”

Highlights

San Jose | Tortuguero National Park | Arenal Volcano - Monteverde cloud forest | Samara Beach, Nicoya Peninsula | Isla Chora | Sea kayaking | Ecolodge accommodation | Mix of public and private transport

Description of Costa Rica highlights holiday & beach

This Costa Rica holiday is a tailor made trip and so this is only our suggested itinerary, which of course we can adapt according to your interests. Although we believe it captures many of Costa Rica’s highlights, both cultural and coastal, wild and wonderful. It is quite a busy schedule, and so you will definitely have earned your few days at Samara beach on Pacific coast’s Nicoya Peninsula by the end of it.

Starting in the capital city of San Jose, you’ll be given a guided tour of this busy city to get your first experience of daily Tico life, sample some great Costa Rican food or visit its excellent museums. Moving quickly into more rural Costa Rica, which is what most people want to experience here, your first stop is the much revered Tortuguero National Park. Your final leg of this journey is by boat, as it is the only way to access these wild habitats for an array of wildlife from monkeys to manatees, the most famous being the green turtle which gave the park its name. Spending several days here, you will be guided by different local experts, all highly trained members of the local community and totally dedicated to conservation of Costa Rica’s precious heritage.

From water to fire, your next stop is Arenal Volcano, the most iconic of Costa Rica’s many volcanoes now protected by national park status. Go walking here on suspended walkways, along nature trails, look out for monkeys and wonderful birdlife, and rest your muscles in thermal springs. With your final stop at a charming ecolodge in nearby La Fortuna.

The cooler cloud forests of Monteverde are a wonderful contrast to the volcano, where you can walk on a canopy through these fairytale like forests that are shrouded in mist, protecting the precious orchids, mosses and bromeliads below. And from there to the beach, where you have several days to really chill out, enjoying the palm lined beach at Samara, free of large hotels and coastal crowds, but a place to find a hammock and relax. Or take a guided kayaking trip out to Isla Chora for true desert island dreaminess.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way.
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
In Costa Rica we work with a local partner who are committed to sustainability and have achieved the highest sustainability accreditation possible in Costa Rica of 5 leaves as part of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program, this is based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. Our small lodge accommodation in Samara, where our customers will stay during this trip, also has this accreditation and are 100% carbon neutral. They have a sustainability manual outlining their aims to reduce their negative impact on the local environment through their own practices.

The eco-lodge we use in La Fortuna are committed to protecting the natural resources. This covers wildlife protection through recycling, environmental education for the local community, energy saving light bulbs and using biodegradable products at the eco-lodge.

Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Throughout our trips we use guides and drivers local to each area so you can take advantage of their local knowledge of the areas you are visiting. This is benefiting not only for our customers but also for the guides and drivers by helping put money directly into the pockets of the local people. We encourage our customers to stop along the way at local restaurants, shops and stalls to buy food, drinks and souvenirs, whether using a driver or self-driving. In Tortuguero we use three guides throughout the trip who are local to the area. One is from a small village where you will learn about day to day lives of the villagers and turtle conservation in the area. For the forest walk we use a guide who is training his son and often accompanies him with group tours. This benefits the community through income from tourism and training of future generations to ensure this is sustainable.

We use small locally-run accommodation throughout Costa Rica from simple lodges with indigenous communities to traditional haciendas near to National Parks. During this itinerary your accommodation in Samara on the Pacific coast is one such place. There are no large hotels in this area and instead you'll stay in a small family lodge just behind the beach. In Monteverde during our Cloudforest trip you will stay in an eco-lodge run by a local couple who employ local staff with lots of knowledge.

Climate

19 Reviews of Costa Rica highlights holiday & beach

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Reviewed on 09 Mar 2020 by

Fantastic. Both the operator and their Local Agent were superb. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Mar 2020 by

Costa Rica is an easy travel destination geared up to welcoming tourists in a holistic way, so relax and enjoy. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jan 2020 by

I really enjoyed all of it, I think I was most impressed by the tree top walk in Monte Verde although I really enjoyed the kayaking on Lake Arenal and the tour of Cahuita reserve too. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jan 2020 by

loved the Boat transfer to Tortuguero and hanging bridges of Monteverde. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Feb 2020 by

Most memorable place was Maquenque and most memorable day was trip out to snorkel off Isla de Cano Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Jan 2020 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was the wildlife. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Jan 2020 by

We loved our time at the Maqueneque eco lodge and learning from the local guides and our drivers. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2019 by

Most memorable was seeing a sloth in the wild, moving and really close up which was a main aim of the whole party. Most exciting was the return boat trip from Tortuguera after heavy rain, when the river was in flood. The boat handling was excellent. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Feb 2019 by

The whole holiday experience was excellent: well organised, interesting locations, first-class guides, good accommodation. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2019 by

The two most memorable parts of the holiday were the early morning canoe trip into the jungle before anyone else was out, and the night visit to the beach where we watched a green turtle lay her eggs, both in Tortuguero. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Aug 2019 by

Lots of memorable and exciting parts but seeing a turtle laying eggs at Tortuguero felt very special. We also greatly enjoyed a sunset horse ride in Monteverde overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Mar 2019 by

Overall very good. Seeing sloths and a Resplendent Questral were very exciting. There are such a variety of habitats, it is difficult to pick one out. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Dec 2018 by

The abundance of nature living in harmony to humans was touching. The whole country has a culture of respect and tolerance for the environment and nature understanding the need to manage today for the benefit of tomorrow. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Aug 2018 by

We had an amazing time- of course there were things we could do differently however we had such a wonderful and inspiring time that we will give it 10/10. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Jun 2018 by

Fantastic! A most memorable and enjoyable adventure. The planning and logistics were wonderful. All transports and accommodations were exceptional. The activities pre-booked and available at each destination were diverse and fun. Highly recommend to all. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Jun 2018 by

It was awesome - thank you for the great planning RT, we covered six areas in 12 days and your planning made that seamless. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2018 by

Tortuguero National Park early morning canoe trip was the most memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Jan 2018 by

Amazingly beautiful birds, stunning scenery and beautiful beaches. The accommodation, though on the basic side was right in the thick of it. You could wake with humming birds outside your door, monkeys swinging across your roof or frogs croaking and singing you to sleep. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Feb 2016 by

A wonderful experience that makes us want to visit Costa Rica again (for longer) Read full review

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