“Pura Vida.” Pure life! Costa Rica is a tropical paradise and one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. The allure is its natural diversity, rich culture and genuine warmth of its people. Costa Rica simultaneously preserves and shares its riches with the world. Twenty-five percent of the country’s land mass is protected within its National Parks. In fact, there are a hundred protected wildlife areas to visit throughout the country.
A leader in ecotourism, Costa Rica is the ultimate adventure, a place where travelers lose their inhibitions and reconnect with nature. With over eight hundred miles of coastline, three hundred beaches—on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, more than 55,000 acres of lush rainforest, thermal rivers, hot springs and several active volcanos, there are endless ways for you to explore Costa Rica’s magnificent blue shores, majestic jungles, stunning flora and remarkable cloud forests.
Each region offers a variety of experiences from adventure-filled eco tours to relaxing sunny beaches, all of which can be accessed with proper planning. Costa Rica is one of our planet’s greatest gifts—when will it be your turn to unwrap it?
Days 1 & 2: Bajos del Toro
Bajos del Toro is a hidden gem offering visitors awe-inspiring views of some of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Costa Rica, as well as unique recreational activities. Located in the valley between Poas and Viejo Volcano, you’ll find an abundance of natural beauty and wildlife in Bajos del Toros. Scenic hikes, personal interactions with hummingbirds and a place for you to satisfy your sweet tooth will rouse your senses. Here you can prepare for an exciting journey through the intoxicating tropical paradise called Costa Rica.
Take a majestic hike through the cloud forest and visit one of the largest waterfalls in Costa Rica. The waters of Cataratas del Toro Waterfall fiercely pour into a dormant volcanic crater. Climb down to the base of the falls and admire the beauty of the waterfall with its amazing spectrum of color reflected off of the pool walls. If you prefer, stay at the top, enjoy the spectacular views and the beautiful hummingbird garden.
Discover how to make chocolate in Bajos del Toro. Theobroma cacao is a native plant of Costa Rica. A guide will lead you across a suspension bridge where you will arrive at La Tirimbina, a former cocoa bean plantation. Once there, your guide will explain the origin of the cacao tree, the artisanal process and then you will dive right into a hands-on chocolate making experience, from cracking open harvested cocoa fruit to adding your favorite flavors. Create your own personal savory snack to keep with you for the duration of the trip!
Coffee anyone? Costa Rica is known internationally for high quality coffee beans. Partake in the coffee making process—learn about its history, social impact and the methodology behind the brewing.
Days 3, 4 & 5: Arenal/La Fortuna area
The Arenal/La Fortuna area is home to one of the 10 most active volcanos in the world, located in Arenal Volcano National Park. The iconic Arenal Volcano is the pinnacle of Costa Rica’s northern region, surrounded by pristine rainforest, natural wildlife preserves and untamed rivers. Lake Arenal is one of the largest artificial lakes in Central America, popular for a wide variety of watersports including windsurfing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica, there are a plethora of exciting activities and tours for every type of traveler. Thrill seekers will enjoy canyoning 200 ft. down the side of a waterfall or ziplining through the treetops of the rainforest—upside-down! For a more moderate adventure, count your steps across the Arenal hanging bridge or take a whitewater rafting trip down the Balsa River. There are also more subdued kayaking trips and hikes around Lake Arenal for those interested in taking it down a notch. Arenal is home to a multitude of thermal pools. Floating down the thermal river gives guests a wonderful opportunity to take in the tropical landscapes and wildlife.
One of the benefits to staying in Arenal area is that it is only twenty minutes from the charming town of La Fortuna, Spanish for “The Fortune.” A quaint town with an interesting history, legend has it that “La Fortuna” acquired its name because it was spared the reckoning of Arenal’s last eruption. The actual reason the town was named “La Fortuna” was for its very fertile lands. Visitors enjoy spending time in town, dining at local eateries and browsing the small shops and galleries. The main attraction in La Fortuna is the magnificent Fortuna River Waterfall.
Days 6, 7 & 8: Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is home to two of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, Playitas Beach and Espadilla Beach. A stay in Manuel Antonio allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and lives of the Costa Rican people, as properties are all in very close proximity to the town, where you can shop and dine. Recreational activities abound, such as mountain biking and hiking through the natural reserve and state park.
Manuel Antonio National Park, located inside the tropical rainforest, is home to white sandy beaches, picture-worthy coves and lush mountainsides. Allow a naturalist guide to escort you through these impressive landscapes and the Costa Rica National Park System. As you hike, you’ll spot various species of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, coatimundis, and a wide range of birds and reptiles. After the tour, stay in the park and relax on the sprawling, pristine beaches.
Experience a paddling adventure around one of the most gorgeous coastlines of Costa Rica. Discover the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio’s Biezans Bay, where you can spend part of your day snorkeling—your guide will direct you to the most highly desired places in the bay to observe marine life. Three actively growing and astounding coral reef systems are nestled very close to the shore of Biezans Bay, which you can admire from afar. Back on land, savor a delicious local snack and beverage, relishing the natural beauty that surrounds you.
Days 9 & 10: Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula ranks as one of the best experimental travel destinations in the Americas. National Geographic has named it “the most biologically intense place on earth.”
Begin your journey in tranquil Drake Bay, the gateway to Corcovado National Park & Caño Island Biological Reserve, which is abundant with wildlife, housing some of Costa Rica’s most endangered plant and animal species. Osa Peninsula, with its breathtaking scenery and untainted beaches, is home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Costa Rica.
Day 11: Depart for home