San Jose / Turrialba Valley / Sarapiqui Rainforest / Arenal

Highlights:

  • Tour some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful national parks
  • Visit the Irazu and Arenal Volcanos
  • See the world’s most complete collection of palm trees at CATIE Botanical Garden
  • Explore the rainforest from above on the Arenal Hanging Bridges
  • Go for a swim at the base of the La Fortuna Waterfall

ACCOMODATIONS

CITYNIGHTSHOTELS
San Jose1Park Inn Hotel (Standard Room)
Turrialba2Guayabo Lodge (Standard Room)
Sarapiqui2Selva Verde Lodge (River Room)
Arenal3Arenal Manoa Hotel (Junior Suite)
DAY 1
Arrival in San Jose

Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel The rest of the day is yours to relax, unwind and get ready for adventure.

DAY 2
San Jose | Turrialba Valley

Travel to the first original capital of the country, Cartago, a rich land covered with plantations of all kinds of products and crowned by one of the highest volcanoes of Central America. Tour the city, where you will find the most important basilica and the ruins of the oldest church of Costa Rica, as well as other interesting spots. Next, leave the city and stop at a special community farm where you have the chance to see thousands of beautiful flowers. In the afternoon, arrive at Irazu Volcano National Park. Irazu is the highest volcano in the country and as you ascend to the summit, you can notice a change in the temperature and landscape, as well as wildlife. Continue to the Turrialba Valley, one of the country’s richest regions for the growth of vegetation and numerous species of animals. (B,D)

DAY 3
Turrialba Valley

Early departure to Guayabo National Monument, the most important archaeological site of Costa Rica with archaeological structures built by an indigenous population who disappeared over 600 years ago. On your 2-hour hike you will see a wide variety of archaeological structures, many of them over 2000-years-old, like aqueducts, water storage tanks, tombs, petroglyphs and much more. Enjoy lunch at a the CATIE Botanical Gardens in the Turrialba Valley. where many colorful and different plants await you. Then tour the grounds and see collections of some of the world’s most important and rare tropical plants, including the most complete collection of palms in the world. You will also find colorful birds that feed and nest on the garden. (B,L,D)

DAY 4
Turrialba Valley | Sarapiqui Rainforest

Travel towards the Caribbean lowlands of Sarapiqui where you will stay in a unique jungle lodge. Many years ago, there was a small port in Sarapiqui where locals used to export goods down the Sarapiqui River. Now, the river is very important for tourism as locals have developed several activity attractions, but also because it keeps the forests green all year long. After lunch, your guide will escort you throughout the trails of the lodge’s private reserve, this is the pure jungle therefore you can find many species of animals in a short distance. At night, you can see many frogs and reptiles therefore we recommend you keep some energy for a twilight walking tour. (B,D)

DAY 5
Sarapiqui Rainforest

Start the day with a visit a family-owned, eco-friendly organic farm and see how Costa Rican farmers are changing their practices in order to conserve nature around their plantations. There are many possibilities to see the wildlife that is attracted by the fresh fruits of the farms. You will enjoy a delicious Costa Rican lunch with the family. In the evening, visit Pierella Butterflies and Ecological Garden, a family company where you can learn about butterflies in their natural habitat. The garden is immersed in a dense rainforest away from roads and residential areas, making it the best place to see nocturnal wildlife, like frogs, tarantulas, snakes and if you are lucky, a paca. (B,L,D)

DAY 6
Sarapiqui Rainforest | Arenal

Begin the day in a forest reserve for a chocolate tour. All the natural and cultural history of the cacao tree will be explained during the hike. The artisanal process by which cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate will be demonstrated (harvest, fermentation, drying and processing). Finally, you may taste one of the different kinds of chocolate that will be prepared. Then travel to the northern plains of the country where the stunning Arenal Volcano will welcome you. The Arenal Volcano was discovered after a full force volcanic eruption in July 1968. It has also erupted in 1975, 1993 and 1998 for several years but is currently inactive, nevertheless it is one of the most interesting destinations because of the plethora of activities that are available for you here as well as the abundant wildlife you may encounter. At night, a candlelight dinner at the hotel restaurant. (B,D)

DAY 7
Arenal

Morning tour of the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a beautiful, environmentally friendly project located near the Arenal Lake, away from resorts and crowds. The trails span a total of 2 miles in the forest canopy, allowing you to see the rainforest from a bird’s eye perspective. Then head to the La Fortuna Waterfall. You can get in the water and cool off under the waterfall. Then walk down the 300 stairs to the bottom of the waterfall, for a swim in the cool waters which are one of the largest swimming areas in the whole area. Later, explore La Fortuna village and learn more of the local culture and way of life. (B,D)

DAY 8
Arenal

Depart for Tenorio Volcano National Park where you will hike through the cloud forest. The volcano is dormant but you can still see some of the volcano’s activity as you walk the trails. See the conjoining of the pristine Buena Vista and Roble rivers into a sky-blue stream, giving birth to one of the most extraordinary phenomena of nature, the Celeste River. (B,L)

DAY 9
Arenal | Departure from San Jose

Transfer to the airport for your return flight. (B)

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