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Costa Rica tour

15-Day Independent Budget Costa Rica: Coast to Coast

Independent Budget Costa Rica: Coast to Coast -- Trip Photo of Costa Rica tour  Costa Rica map

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Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive San Jose, transfer, and overnight

Visiting: Arrive San Jose

Welcome to Costa Rica! On arrival in San Jose, you're met by our local arrivals representative after immigration's and customs. On the transfer from the airport to your hotel, you'll receive your welcome kit with vouchers and more details of your day to day itinerary. Enjoy the balance of the day at your leisure.

  • Meals: None
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Presidente or similar

Day 2 : Transfer to the beaches of the Caribbean Coast

Visiting: Caribbean Coast

Transfer by air-conditioned, 6-person shuttle van to either Puerto Viejo or Cahuita on the Caribbean Coast. Puerto Viejo is the place for jumping nightlife; Cahuita, with it's long black sand beach, is the better choice for travelers looking for a quieter, more rustic experience. Both locations are close to natural areas. Cahuita borders Cahuita national park. the site of one of Costa Rica's most popular hiking trails, the 8 KM Coastal trail, which travels both inside the jungle and along the beach. Puerto Viejo is about 8 KM from the Manzanillo Refuge with its own network of trails, though these are best hiked with a guide. Based from Puerto Viejo, you can also explore the refuge by boat on a dolphin tour, or by sea kayak, and visit fine small fishing villages like Punta Uva. The hotel front desk can help make the connections and advise on local conditions.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Ciudad Perdida Ecolodge or similar

Day 3 : Free day on the Caribbean coast

Visiting: Caribbean Coast

Free day on the Caribbean coast, enjoying the beaches and national parks here or some other optional activity of your choosing. We can help with ideas!

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Ciudad Perdida Ecolodge or similar

Day 4 : Scenic transfer to Arenal Volcano

Visiting: Arenal Volcano

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then transfer from the Caribbean to La Fortuna, your base to explore the Arenal Volcano area (approximately 6 hours). Enjoy the scenery as you travel around romantic rural country and rugged rainforested mountains. Overnight in La Fortuna, where Volcan Arenal looms overhead in dramatic fashion.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Las Colinas, Arenal Paraíso or similar

Day 5 : Free day in Arenal Volcano

Visiting: Arenal Volcano

Free day to enjoy this dramatic area as you please. Popular activities include rafting the Sarapiqui river, enjoying the Sky Trek zipline (1/2 day), canyoning at Puretrek (1/2 day), hike Cerro Chato (3/4 day) or Arenal National Park (1/2 day), among others. Hot springs and night walks are available in the area too. With so much to see and do in the area, it's not unusual to request changes to your itinerary so you can add more time in Arenal - please ask us if interested. 3-4 nights here is not uncommon. Just take take nights from somewhere else in the itinerary and apply them here, or add nights to the trip, it's up to you.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Las Colinas, Arenal Paraíso or similar

Day 6 : Scenic transfer to Monteverde

Visiting: Monterverde

Following breakfast, be ready in the hotel lobby for your scheduled transfer from La Fortuna to Monteverde, the classic gateway to Costa Rica's magical, unique cloudforest ecosystem. Monteverde is a wonderful small town to walk around and explore all by itself, with a number of awesome nature exhibits in town plus enchanting ice cream shops, restaurants and more.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Monterverde Country Lodge or similar

Day 7 : Free day in Monteverde

Visiting: Arenal / Monteverde

There's plenty to do in higher altitude, misty, and cooler Monteverde. Popular day trips in Monteverde include the Selvatura Hanging Bridges walk and zipline, visits to private rainforest reserves, and the hike to the continental divide.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Monterverde Country Lodge or similar

Day 8 : Transfer to Rincon de la Vieja

Visiting: Rincon de la Vieja

Transfer to Rincon de la Vieja today. Here you'll have the chance to explore the endangered dry tropical ecosystem that clings to life here, while also enjoying hot springs, swimming under waterfalls, bird watching, and more. Canyoning, horse rides, and hikes are all options. Most lodges here offer a one-day guided combination tour where you enjoy 3-4 different activities in 1 full day.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

Day 9 : Free day

Visiting: Rincon de la Vieja

Free day to explore Rincon de la Vieja.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

Day 10 : Transfer to Playa Potrero or Playa Samara or Manuel Antonio

Visiting: North Pacific Coast

Transfer today to the north Pacific coast. Choose Playa Potrero or Samara, both deserving. Enjoy the balance of the day at your leisure and overnight.

Hotel choices in Samara include Hotel Giada, Hotel Samara Inn or Hotel Samara Beach, while in Playa Potrero, stay at Bahia del Sol, which uniquely for Costa Rica, is a beach-front hotel. (Most beach hotels in Costa Rica are not on the beach to promote beach conservation.) Samara is a wonderful choice for travelers looking to be in a fun, small beach-side village with cafes and bars with safe swimming right there, while Playa Potrero is a fine choice to plunk down and relax seaside with a book.

** Travelers also have the option to transfer to Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific coast **

Manuel Antonio is home to a popular national park well-known for it's excellent wildlife viewing and wildlife photography opportunities. Other excursions here include snorkeling in Biesanz Bay, catamaran cruises, riding horses on the beach, sea kayaking, rafting (in season), zip lines, deep sea fishing, and hiking are all popular activities. A hotel in the program here is Tres Banderas. Compared to Playa Samara or Playa Potrero, Manuel Antonio is highly developed. The park is Costa Rica's most visited.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Bahia del Sol Beach Front Hotel & Suites or similar

Day 11 : Free day on the beach

Visiting: North Pacific Coast - Playa Potrero or Playa Samara or Manuel Antonio

Free day to explore the region or simply relax.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Bahia del Sol Beach Front Hotel & Suites or similar

Day 12 : Free day on the beach

Visiting: North Pacific Coast - Playa Potrero or Samara or Manuel Antonio

Free day to enjoy as you please.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Bahia del Sol Beach Front Hotel & Suites or similar

Day 13 : Free day on the beach

Visiting: North Pacific Coast - Playa Potrero or Samara or Manuel Antonio

Free day on the beach.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Bahia del Sol Beach Front Hotel & Suites or similar

Day 14 : Transfer to San Jose (option for Liberia)

Visiting: North Pacific Coast

Today transfer to San Jose (approximately 5 hours) and overnight.

*** Travelers have the option to depart from Liberia International Airport on Day 15, just let us know and we can assist with alternative transfer arrangements on Day 15 and in that case, you'd overnight tonight on the beach and make another free day on the coast.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Hotel Presidente or similar

Day 15 : Transfer to the airport, depart

Visiting: San Jose (or Liberia)

Today transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.

  • Meals: B

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