Classic Costa Rica

Starts: San Jose, Costa Rica
Finishes: San José, Costa Rica

Visit: Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo, National Park Arenal, Monte Verde, Quepos, San José

Accommodation: Moderate

Activity: Walking Tour


Every year thousands of tourists travel to Costa Rica but few get to experience this charismatic country's real way of life. On this Classic Costa Rica trip you'll uncover jungle gems in Tortuguero and Sarapiqui; hot springs, waterfalls and a live volcano in La Fortuna; and white sandy beaches at Quepos - all set to a sizzling samba beat. This adventure into the heart of tropical paradise will surely leave you wanting more.


    • Stroll through lively markets in San Jose
    • Explore the jungle in the Tortuguero National Park
    • Chill out to the sounds of nature in Sarapiqui
    • Soak off the day in La Fortuna hot springs
    • Get close to the coalface at Arenal Volcano
    • Discover the sultry Monteverde cloud forest
    • Catch a fish 'that big' off the Pacific Coast
    • Shake your booty to the samba soundtrack of Costa Rica

Trip Details

The Trip

Product Code: 128268
Accommodation: Moderate
Guide Language: english

Starts: San Jose, Costa Rica
Finishes: San José, Costa Rica
Duration: 15 days
Physical rating: Basic


  • Meals: 5 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Homestay (1 night)
  • Transport: Private minibus, Local bus, Boat
  • Walking tour of Tortuguero National Park
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Agricultural tour
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike


  • Visa
  • Optional activities
  • Emergency funds: US500.00
  • International departure tax
  • Travel insurance is compulsory
  • If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate.


Price person (sharing double) $1,635 ($109/day)


$250 per person for bookings made 57 days or more prior to departure

Full Amount for bookings made less than 57 days prior to departure

Cancellation: Super Strict

Trip Notes

Price does not include airfare (to the Trip start & from the end location)

Trip Price generally includes accommodation, transport/transfer, activities, services of a professional guide & more. (Please refer to the include/excludes section for details)

Tour packages spare you the hassles of trip planning, a la carte booking, organizing and managing the logistics at a foreign location.


Day 1: San Jose

Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica! 

Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. 

With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping head to the out door market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.

Optional Activities
  • Costa Rica Pura Vida Experience - Urban Adventures - USD63
  • San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD33
  • Cartago Bike & Train Tour - Urban Adventures - USD59
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park (half-day tour) - USD55
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls (full-day tour) - USD120
  • San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley & Lankester Botanical Garden (full-day tour) - USD90
  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - USD27
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD7
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - USD11
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - USD10
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 2: Tortuguero National Park

We leave San Jose and descend to the Caribbean lowlands by local bus (approx 4 hours). The final section of our journey to the port at La Pavona is on an unsealed road. Then take a boat to Tortuguero National Park (approx. 1.5 hours).

This area has long been associated with the catching of turtle (tortuguero means turtle-catcher). The original indigenous inhabitants used turtles as a sustainable resource, but the arrival of Europeans led to major exploitation. Tortuguero National Park, established in 1970, is now home to 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals. Among them are manatees, ocelots and jaguars, as well as over 300 bird species. First and foremost, however, it is the nesting ground of the green turtle, which comes ashore between July and October to lay its eggs on the sandy beaches. Lesser numbers of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, plus loggerheads, and giant leatherback turtles also nest within the park at different times of year.

Included Activities
  • Walking tour of Tortuguero National Park
Optional Activities
  • Turtle watching night tour - USD20
  • Tortuguero - Sunrise canoe trip around Tortuguero canals - USD25
Accommodation: Lodge (1 nt)
Meals: 1 breakfast

Day 3: Tortuguero National Park

Today your leader will lead you on a walk around the park's main paths. Keep your eyes peeled to spot monkeys, birds, frogs and perhaps a sloth or two.

Accommodation: Lodge (1 nt)

Day 4 Sarapiqui

Early in the morning we travel to Sarapiqui in the heart of Costa Rica's banana growing region. First, transfer back to the port by boat (approx 1.5 hours), then continue to Sarapiqui by private minibus (approx 3 hours).

On the banks of the Puerto Viejo River and next to the Braulio Carrillo National Park, this budding town is surrounded by virgin forests, and banana and pineapple plantations. Sarapiqui is also known as one of the richest areas in Costa Rica for bird watching. The diversity of lowland bird life is impressive. A biological research station and several nearby forest lodges have made this undisturbed habitat accessible to scientists and travellers.

Optional Activities
  • Sarapiqui - La Selva Biological Station - USD35
  • Sarapiqui - Bird watching - USD20
  • Sarapiqui - Chocolate tour at Tirimbina - USD25
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 5: Sarapiqui

There is plenty of free time to explore the jungle that surrounds the town by mountain bike or on foot, or find a comfy spot to watch the colourful birdlife glide by. Alternatively you may wish to satisfy your sweet tooth on a chocolate tour.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
Meals: 1 breakfast

Day 6: Santa Rosa de Pocosol

Travel by private minibus to Santa Rosa de Pocosol (approx 2 hours) where we spend the night in a homestay. Just down the road is the Juanilama agricultural community where we have the option to get to know the local villagers, help with farm chores or take a cooking lesson. Several villagers have built comfortable rooms for guests next to their homes. All rooms have shared facilities.

In order to make the most of this homestay experience, it may take a bit of effort from your side to break the ice first. Learn as many Spanish words as you can and get ready for some serious hand language signals.

  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Agricultural tour
Optional Activities
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Cooking class - USD10
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Soap-making workshop - USD10
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Waterfall hike - USD10
Accommodation: Homestay (1 nt)
Meals: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Day 7: La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano

Continue by private minibus to La Fortuna (approx 2 hours). 

This small town is situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal.
Optional Activities
  • La Fortuna - Hot springs - USD25
  • La Fortuna - Arenal hanging bridges - USD65
  • La Fortuna - La Fortuna Waterfall - USD10
  • La Fortuna - Cano Negro boat tour - USD80
  • La Fortuna - Stand up paddle board - USD50
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - USD99
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
Meals: 1 breakfast

Day 8: La Fortuna

Besides the spectacular views, La Fortuna offers a range of activities such as the 70-metre-high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.

The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has a number of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been turned into a number of thermal pools and waterfalls, often surrounded by foliage, an ideal chance to relax.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 9: Monteverde

Today take the scenic route to Monteverde (approximately 4 hours in total). Travel by shared minibus to Lake Arenal, which we'll cross by boat. On a clear day you'll see fantastic views of the surrounding area. On the other side of the lake, re-board the minibus and continue on to our destination.

Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers; they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. It is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home.

Included Activities
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike
Optional Activities
  • Monteverde - Suspension bridges tour - USD35
  • Monteverde - Zip lining - USD45
  • Monteverde - Coffee & Chocolate tour - USD35
  • Monteverde - Night walk - USD35
  • Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm - USD30
  • Monteverde - Serpentarium - USD15
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 10-11: Monteverde

Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. Alternatively, walk through the canopy on suspension bridges or watch butterflies at play in the specially created butterfly garden. The local guides are very knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation and in the local communities there are several cooperatives worth visiting. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Monteverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nt)

Day 12: Quepos

Travel to Quepos by private minibus (approx 5 hours).

Located close to the beautiful Pacific beaches and exotic wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos is a laidback town with a vibrant nightlife.

Optional Activities
  • Manuel Antonio- Sunset sail - USD75
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD80
  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
  • Quepos - Local guided tour - USD25
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 13: Quepos/Manuel Antonio NP

Spend your time here enjoying all that Manuel Antonio NP has to offer. Head out for a hike along its many trails, keeping one eye on the great views and the other looking for the abundant wildlife. Monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds are among the species you maybe be able to spot. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches, perfect for swimming, kayaking, sailing or fishing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 14 San Jose

Take a local bus back to San Jose (approx 4 hours). The buses in this region of hte country are a little more basic but this is a great opportunity to mix with Costa Ricans and get a feel for local life.

Arrive back in time for you to pick up some last minute souvenirs at the city's colourful and vibrant markets. Then we can head out for an optional dinner and a final night on the town sampling the huge variety of nightlife. The perfect way to end our adventure.

Optional Activities
  • Costa Rica Pura Vida Experience - Urban Adventures - USD63
  • Tropical Rainforest and Chocolate Adventure - Urban Adventures - USD99
  • San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD33
  • Cartago Bike & Train Tour - Urban Adventures - USD59
  • The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD68
  • San Jose by Night - Urban Adventures - USD74
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day 15: San Jose

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Meals: 1 breakfast

Costa Rica, Guatemala San Jose, Tortuguero National Park, Sarapiqui, La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, Quepos
Walking Tour



Overall Rating











This was my first time on a group trip and I have to say I have no regrets. The tour guide was outstanding. He was knowledgeable, hilarious and accommodating. He was always concerned about the group and was willing to go the extra mile. I can only hope the next tour leader on my next trip lives up to that standard. The trip itself, what it offered as well as the activities offers were amazing. It was the perfect mixture of wildlife, adventure and relaxation. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone.

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