Costa Rica Arenal Tour
Arenal Volcano is an active volcano in north-western Costa Rica in the district of La Fortuna. Arenal is also Costa Rica’s adventure destination. Take a 4-hr walk up the Arenal Volcano or Cerro Chato, the smaller dormant volcano with a crater and lake. Then walk over hanging bridges, to get a different perspective of the rain forest. Watch Arenal Volcano from a zipline or try white water rafting on Balsa River, perfect for first time rafters.
Begin with a comprehensive tour of San Jose. Take Coffee Farm tour in Turrialba, and visit CATIE Botanical Garden, known for exotic plants and rare orchids. In the south, San Gerardo de Dota, is one of Costa Rica’s finest areas for birdwatching. Take a walking tour of the forest and look for one of the most beautiful birds of the cloud forest, the quetzal. In Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast, relax on its pristine beaches.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 12 DAY JOURNEY OF COSTA RICA HIGHLIGHTS…
And, experience Sarapiqui, Manuel Antonio & Arenal National Parks.
Costa Rica’s capital city is surrounded by heavily forested mountains and verdant coffee plantations, whilst the national parks of the Central Valley protect the main volcanoes of the region which are recognised havens for a vast array of bird and plant life. The Arenal is the most active volcano in the country. With lush vegetation on one side, and rugged lava tracts on the other, it is a fascinating place to explore, and the regular eruptions light up the night sky. The region is well-known for its hot springs, surrounded by tropical forest.
In Turrialba region you can descend into the dormant volcano’s crater. The region is also a favoured for whitewater rafting (Pacuare river), kayaking, canoeing, canyoning, biking, horseback riding, canopy tours and birding.
The sleepy old town of Sarapiqui attracts few visitors but it offers access to some of the last primary rainforest in Cost Rica. The rain also helps create a variety of white-water thrills for kayakers and rafters who flock to the area for runs on the Río Sarapiquí.
Arenal is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and, its iconic cone attracts thousands of visitors to its rainforest-shrouded slopes. They come in hopes of seeing the volcano spout forth red and orange lava and smoke, which it does regularly.
Manuel Antonio is considered the most beautiful coastline in Costa Rica! The perfect backdrop for The Blue Lagoon or Night of the Iguana, Mother Nature sculpted the perfect set of beaches with rainforest terraces overlooking the tropical Pacific.
The town of San Gerardo de Dota is where the birdwatchers go to watch the exclusive Quetzal bird that lives here throughout the year. With over 200 bird species that inhabit the misty forests around, this is a birdwatchers paradise. Located deep in the Quetzal National Park, it has a range of exuberant villas and mountain lodges. Nearby is Savegre River, known for trout fishing. This is a great destination for birdwatchers, hikers and anglers alike.
There are no direct flights from the UK to Costa Rica. You need to change in either Europe or the US. Your best option is to fly via the US or Madrid, where you can connect with flights to San José. Continental has flights from the UK via Newark and Houston, while American Airlines flies via JFK, Dallas or Miami, and United via New York or Houston: of the three, Continental generally has the lowest fares (from £545 in high season) and offers an excellent service, with swift connections. Iberia’s flights via Madrid are one of the quicker routings, and avoid the US, but start at around £650. Indirect flights can still take as little as thirteen hours, including changes.
Costa Rica Arenal Tour
Sarapiqui, Arenal, Manuel Antonio, San Gerardo de dota
(12 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 01 – Arrive
San Jose On arrival in San Jose, you will be met and transferred to your chosen hotel for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Costa Rica Marriott Hotel
Day 02 & 03 – Transfer & Explore
Turrialba After breakfast, travel to Turrialba, 65km to the east. This beautiful region enjoys a climate perfect for the production of coffee, macadamia nuts and sugar cane, and large areas of its primary forests are protected biosphere reserves. You will have time today to enjoy the many optional activities on offer, such as rafting, horseback riding and forest walks. Stay in the valley for the next two nights.
Next day visit the wonderful CATIE Botanical Garden to admire some of the best collections worldwide of cacao, coffee, peach palm and tropical trees. Spend the rest of today at leisure.
Overnight: Casa Turire Hotel (B)
Day 04 & 05 – Transfer & Explore
Sarapiqui After breakfast travel to Sarapiqui a biologically rich and humid region that encompasses large tracts of forest and swamplands. The majority of the day will be at leisure for you to explore the dense network of trails and observe the birds, butterflies and plants which inhabit the area. Stay for two nights in a traditional lodge.
Next day, take a fascinating boat ride down the Sarapiqui River this morning. The journey lasts 2-3 hours, and whilst on the boat look out for the monkeys, caimans, waterfowl and sloths which live in the river and surrounding forest.
Overnight: Centro Neotropico Sarapiqui (B)
Day 06 & 07 – Transfer & Explore
Arenal Volcano An early start this morning for your transfer to Arenal. On the way, stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a beautiful natural reserve with several kilometres of forest trails which lead past waterfalls and rivers. The reserve also contains a butterfly observatory, hummingbird gardens and birdwatching areas. After lunch, continue to Arenal for a two-night stay within sight of the famously active volcano.
Next morning will be at leisure so maybe visit nearby La Fortuna waterfall or simply enjoy the facilities available at the hotel. In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of the smouldering volcano, which constantly emits gases and steam and provides a nightly fireworks display. After dinner enjoy a relaxing bath in the hot springs.
Overnight: Arenal Kioro (B, D)
Day 08 & 09 – Transfer - Beach & Forest
Manuel Antonio Transfer from your hotel to Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast. Just 10 minutes walk from the pristine beach, backed by tropical forests and near the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park, it is a great place to relax in beautiful surroundings. Check into your resort for a two-night stay.
Next day at leisure to relax on the beach or explore the amazing Manuel Antonio National Park.
Overnight: Parador Hotel (B)
Day 10 & 11 – Transfer & Walking Tour
San Gerardo De Dota This morning, transfer to San Gerardo de Dota, one of Costa Rica’s finest areas for birdwatching. Comprising 95,000 hectares of protected cloud forest, it is home to many species of flora and fauna, including the elusive quetzal bird. Stay for two nights at a delightful lodge set in the forested hills in the heart of the reserve.
Next morning, participate in a walking tour of the forest and try to find one of the most beautiful birds of the cloud forest, the quetzal. Free afternoon to enjoy the areas beautiful scenery or take optional excursions.
Overnight: Trogon Lodge (B)
Day 12 – Depart
San Jose Today you will be transferred to San Jose International Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Make this your holiday
When to go December through April: This is the tourist high season in Costa Rica when the weather is at its most pleasant. It is also the dry season, and one can mostly depend on clear, sunny days. There is a brief dry spell from February to April but it's worthwhile to visit in April-May.
May through October: The rainy season takes a while to get started in May, often diminishing for a couple of weeks in June or July. The brunt of the rain however falls on the Caribbean coast, giving the Pacific a much more arid climate. The only really rainy months in Guanacaste on the Pacific coast are October and November, and on the Atlantic coast, the only predictably dry months are September and October.
October to December: This is also a good time to visit Costa Rica when things are much quieter and when the weather is still good.
Visas British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica. You can stay as a visitor for up to 3 months, although the exact period is at the discretion of the immigration officer on arrival. The immigration authorities are strict about foreigners who have overstayed.
Passport validity: Your passport should have at least one day’s validity from the date you are leaving Costa Rica. If you hold a passport other than a British Citizen passport, different regulations may apply.
Visa information source: www.gov.uk