A Week in Costa Rica
Spend time in two of Costa Rica’s top wildlife and activity destinations – Arenal and Manuel Antonio – on this week-long highlights holiday.
A Week in Costa Rica
8 days from £1,655 pp
(exc. international flights)
If you have limited time and want to see what makes Costa Rica such a special location, this one-week holiday is designed for you. Making the best use of your time you travel to just 2 destinations after your initial night at a coffee plantation just outside San José. This means that you spend more time exploring and watching wildlife and less time travelling from A to B and packing and unpacking your bags.
At Arenal you take to the heights with a Sky Walk, crossing bridges suspended high in the rainforest canopy and watching from viewing platforms, with a guide on hand to help you spot the many birds and mammals. It’s an almost ethereal experience, so high above the ground. You also see the forest from the ground on a hike near the base of Arenal Volcano, as well as walking through lava flows formed as recently as 1991.
Manuel Antonio National Park combines rainforest with the coast, and your introductory guided tour shows you some of each aspect. After that you have free time to indulge in the many activities available, from counting how many species you can spot to listening to frogs on a night hike, to the sight of dolphins on a catamaran tour to touring a spice plantation with the air heady with the scent of vanilla and cinnamon. And of course you can always laze on the beach…
Add lovely hotels, smiling people and tasty food and this would be a week well spent in anyone’s book!
- San Jose 1 night
- Arenal 3 nights
- Manual Antonio 3 nights
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A representative is waiting to meet you when you arrive at San José international airport, and drives you to your first night’s accommodation just 30 minutes away. Finca Rosa Blanca is a delightfully quirky villa set on a coffee plantation in the hills above the Central Valley. Cool off with a swim in the pool (complete with a waterfall), take a stroll in the gardens and admire the many paintings and sculptures found throughout the property. There’s a restaurant if you don’t feel like venturing into town for dinner.
After breakfast in the open-sided restaurant, you set off for Arenal, a drive of around 3 hours, stopping when you want to stretch your legs. Your hotel is within sight of the mighty Arenal Volcano, a perfectly symmetrical cone, whose top is often covered in cloud. As soon as you’ve freshened up you’re whisked off to experience the Sky Walk. This is made up of a series of suspended bridges connecting forest trails, and is a wonderful introduction to the lush beauty of the rainforest, with a knowledgeable guide bringing the scene vividly to life. You return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
With nothing planned for this morning you can opt for a lazy start if you wish, but you might like to rise early to join the dawn birdwatching tour and a chance to spot toucans, parrots and tanagers among many others, benefitting from the keen eye and expertise of your guide. You return in time for breakfast. After lunch you have a guided walk at the base of Arenal, taking in the varied terrains of rainforest and lava flows. The hike concludes with a visit to some hot springs and a delicious soak in the health-bestowing waters, so don’t forget your bathing costume and towel!
Another day dawns in Arenal. There is so much to see here, but equally if you prefer, you can relax and enjoy the hotel’s facilities and the hot pools in the stunning shadow of the Arenal Volcano – there’s nothing quite like it for relaxing. Alternatively you could opt for another hike or a birdwatching tour, the options are endless.
Time to head to the coast. It’s a trip of about 5 hours, though you can stop en-route when you wish. Your destination is Sí Como No, a 58-room resort with great access to both the rainforest and the beach – the twin attractions of Manuel Antonio National Park. You have time to check out the hotel’s facilities which include a lovely swimming pool, pretty gardens, a spa and gift shop. There are 2 restaurants within the resort and others within walking distance, so you have plenty of choice for tonight’s meal.
This morning you accompany a local guide on a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. The walk lasts approximately 3 hours and travels through rainforest where you can expect to encounter several species of monkeys, sloths, iguanas, butterflies and lots of birds. The walk ends at one of the park’s beautiful sandy beaches. From here you can return directly to the hotel or opt to spend some time sunbathing and swimming. There are regular shuttle buses from the beach back to Sí Como No, so you can head back whenever you like.
There’s almost too much to do! Wildlife: join a bird watching tour, visit the butterfly garden, marvel at the scarlet macaws of Carara National Park. Adventure and activity: test your mettle with a zip-line canopy safari, hike to a waterfall, go horse riding in the rainforest, go surfing or parasailing, join a tour of a local spice plantation. (Guided tours to be paid for locally). Of course you can just stay put and enjoy some quiet r and r at the hotel or on the beach. It’s completely up to you.
Enjoy breakfast on the terrace within sight of the ocean before packing your bags ready for the 3 hour drive to the airport at San José and your flight home.
2024 guide price from (pp for two sharing, excluding international flights):
January to April from £1,945
May to June from £1,655
July to August from £1,905
November from £1,655