Active Costa Rica
Active Costa Rica
Prices from: £2,660 pp for 13 days
As the name suggests this holiday is aimed at those who want to get out and about, expend some energy and experience the thrill and excitement of activity. You have a gentle start with a boat trip in Tortuguero National Park, and then time for hiking or kayaking if you wish. Next you have some high octane action as you go rafting on the Pacuare River. Not for the faint-hearted (but neither is this holiday!), you’ll find yourself shooting grade III and IV rapids in steep-sided canyons. Your next thrills are on, and above, dry land. The canyon adventure is a clever combination of Tarzan swings, zip lines, bridges, suspended platforms and ladders – an assault course par excellence, with the added bonus of thermal springs. At your final destination on the Pacific coast you have a host of watersports available. Don’t worry if this leaves you feeling a little breathless: in each location there is plenty of time to relax, though you do also have the option for more activity if you prefer.
All accommodation is en-suite and each property has some lovely facilities. At one you might find yourself dining in ‘The Nest’, a mini treehouse 20 metres above the ground, at another you can have an indulgent massage, and one offers a therapeutic body wrap of volcanic mud. At your lodge in Tortuguero you can swim in a pool in the shape of a turtle, and at your final hotel you can enjoy fabulous sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
It’s not just an activity holiday. You have time to enjoy Costa Rica’s famously varied scenery and wildlife. You have time on both coasts and in the central highlands among hills and volcanos. You’ll become accustomed to the lush beauty of the rainforest and have guided tours in several national parks and reserves with their wide array of bird and animal life. Most of your lodges are surrounded by gardens which are home to hummingbirds, macaws, monkeys and iguanas. If you’re ready for some excitement this is definitely the trip for you!
- San José 1 night
- Tortuguero 2 nights
- Pacuare 2 nights
- Arenal 2 nights
- Río Perdido 2 nights
- Potrero Beach 3 nights
Day 2: You set out from the city early, travelling to Tortuguero on the north Caribbean coast. You pass through the rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, breaking the journey for breakfast. There may be time to visit a banana plantation, before arriving at the port where you board a boat and continue along the wide coastal canals. This cruise offers great chances to view birds and mammals. You arrive to lunch at Evergreen Lodge, and later there’s a guided tour of the town, museum and beach, the last famous for its nesting turtles. Dinner is at the lodge. Breakfast, lunch, dinner Evergreen Lodge
Day 3: Rise early to enjoy a canal cruise at sunrise when many of the birds and animals can be seen and heard, with your guide helping you discover the natural wonders of Tortuguero. Back at the lodge you have a well-earned breakfast. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. Explore the 2 hectares of grounds, relax by the pool and talk to other guests as you enjoy a drink at the bar. You can also head back into the national park with a guide (pay locally), and if you’re here between July and September you can visit the beach after dark to see nesting turtles. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 4: This morning you travel inland to the Pacuare River through dense forest, stopping for lunch on the way. The last part of the journey includes an exciting river crossing by gondola and a 300 metre hike which brings you to Pacuare Lodge. The afternoon is at leisure. You might like to visit the spa to sample a treatment using local medicinal plants, socialise in the open air lounge or explore the extensive grounds. Meals are based on healthy organic produce and include traditional dishes and international favourites and are enjoyed by candlelight. Breakfast, lunch, dinner Pacuare Lodge
Day 5: You have a free day to enjoy the pristine surroundings by the Pacuare River, an area of extraordinary natural beauty and blessed with abundant wildlife. On a stroll in the rainforest you can expect to see a range of animals, birds and butterflies, as well as lovely tropical flowers. Should you wish there’s a chance to take a 4-5 hour hike into the rainforest mountains. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 6: Time for some aquatic fun! You are taken to the Pacuare River this morning where your rafts, paddles, helmets and life jackets await. Take to the water and for the next 4 hours or so you follow the river through bubbling rapids (class III-IV) flanked by rainforest. It’s an exciting way to travel and is sure to have you grinning from ear to ear for some time afterwards. The journey continues in rather more sedate fashion as you are driven to your next home, Arenal Springs Hotel. Check out the facilities which include 2 pools, thermal springs, a spa and 3 restaurants, and sit and admire the majestic sight of Arenal Volcano. Breakfast, lunch Arenal Springs Resort & Spa
Day 8: Your tour of Costa Rica continues as you travel west to Guanacaste province and Río Perdido. This lodge is situated high above the convergence of 2 rivers, the Perdido and the Blanco. For many years this site was inaccessible, but thanks to the hard work of the lodge owners, you can now enjoy this wilderness area. This afternoon you can follow one of the walking trails, some of which offer views of waterfalls, incorporate hanging bridges and lead to panoramic viewpoints. Maybe you’d prefer to hire a bike and sample one of the specially created mountain bike circuits, ranging in length from 8 to 20kms. Either is a great introduction to the area. Breakfast Rio Perdido
Day 9: Get ready for action! Today you take on the canyon adventure! Much thought has gone into the design of this course which combines a huge Tarzan swing, a pendulum cable, several high platforms, ziplines, via ferratas and hiking trails. At various points you can access thermal pools and viewing decks where you can rest and catch your breath. It’s full an excitement and adventure. Later, exhilarated, you return to the lodge, where you can relive the day’s events over a drink in the bar. Breakfast
Day 10: This morning you travel to Potrero Beach on the Pacific coast, and Bahía del Sol where you spend the next 3 nights. This is a restful setting where you soak up some sun on the beach, laze by the pool, treat yourself to a massage at the spa and dine within sight of the beach. Breakfast Bahia del sol
Day 11: Today is a free day, you may want to book an option tour and spend the day at Palo Verde National Park. It has a broad range of ecosystems and is especially well known for its diverse birdlife including spoonbills, egrets, storks and grebes, though there are also excellent chances to observe monkeys, caimans and crocodiles. After lunch you could visit the village of Guatil, home to Chorotega Indians, many of whom are skilled potters who produce some of the country’s finest ceramics. You would return to the hotel for dinner. The activities are payable locally. Breakfast
Day 12: Your last full day has been kept entirely free, so you can decide how active, or not, you want to be! All manner of watersports can be arranged at the beach including kayaking, snorkelling and diving, while boat trips are available from the Playa Flamingo marina nearby. If you simply want to relax you can stay by the hotel pool or saunter to the beach for an indulgently restful day spent perfecting your tan and swimming. Tonight you can choose where you dine at the hotel or one of the many nearby restaurants. Breakfast
Day 13: Following breakfast you are driven to the local airport at Tamarindo, a journey of about 30 minutes for the flight back to San Jose, to connect with your onward flight home. Breakfast
2017 price from (pp sharing): Jan-April and July-Aug £2,935. May-June £2,715. Sept-Oct £2,660. (ex. international flights)
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter will attract a supplement on the above prices.
Transfers and ground transport as specified, 12 night twin share accommodation, meals as specified
Tours: Tortuguero village tour, canal tour in Tortuguero, morning white water rafting at Pacuare, afternoon group hike and hot springs visit at Arenal, canyon adventure and thermal pool visit at Río Perdido.
International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not specified, drinks, optional excursions and activities, personal expenses, tips.
This tour starts and ends in San José. Return flight prices from the UK start from around £600.
This is a private, tailor-made holiday and can begin on any day you chose, subject to availability.
From the moment you see the elegant proportions of the hotel’s façade you’ll know this hotel is something special. Located in downtown San José, this fine Edwardian mansion has 40 guest rooms and suites, all with períod furniture complimented by 21st century comforts such as en-suite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, IDD phone, air conditioning, TV and minibar. Communal areas are spacious and beautifully furnished. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there’s an additional courtyard dining area. There’s a lovely rooftop terrace with sun loungers and twin Jacuzzis, the perfect place to escape the bustle of the city, and the hotel offers a massage service.
Set in 2 hectares of grounds, Evergreen Lodge is just a few minutes from the entrance of Tortuguero National Park. Rooms are light and spacious and cooled by ceiling fans. All have private bathrooms with hot and cold running water. They are set among trees, so you’ll hear birds and monkeys and will feel surrounded by nature. Meals are buffets, giving you a wide choice of dishes, served in the restaurant which has windows on 3 sides allowing you to look out into the forest as you dine. The bar provides a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks and is a good place to mingle with other travellers, and has Wi-Fi access so you can keep in touch with friends and family. There’s a pretty outdoor pool in the shape of a turtle, a paved sunbathing area and gardens with benches where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. A massage at the spa is the perfect way to relax after spending time in the national park.
The lodge is in a remote rainforest location and most guests journey by river, though it is possible to travel by road, finally crossing the river by gondola. Either way, it’s quite a way to arrive! Once here you’re happily ensconced in your suite, complete with a bathroom with solar heated water and a private terrace with views of the gardens or river. The kitchen team prepare tasty food based on local recipes served in the dining room and terrace, and private meals can be eaten in The Nest, a platform set in a treetop 20 metre above the ground. The spa has a long list of massages, wraps and facials. Activities include white water rafting, canyoning, forest hikes and dawn birdwatching walks.
The hotel offers accommodation in spacious air conditioned suites with TV, phone, minibar, hot drinks maker, safe and private terrace. There are 2 swimming pools, 1 adult-only and with a swim-up bar. As a guest you also have access to the 4 hot springs, all set at different temperatures, a hydro-massage Jacuzzi and extensive gardens. The spa provides several types of massage, body wraps, manicures and pedicures. The main restaurant offers local and international dishes, and there’s also an Italian diner where you can enjoy pastas and pizzas. While here you can enjoy nature tours and adrenalin activities in Arenal National Park and the surrounding area.
This lodge has a stunning setting high above 2 river canyons. Its owners have created a stylish, contemporary property and a range of hiking trails, mountain bike routes and an amazing canyon adventure which incorporates swings, ladders and hanging bridges. Between activities you can relax with massage or volcanic mud body wrap, swim in the pool, sip cocktails in the bar and savour healthy, flavourful food, dine by candlelight on a platform almost 50 metres above the Perdido and Blanco rivers. Guest bungalows, all en-suite, have all the creature comforts you could wish for including flatscreen TV, IDD phone, coffee maker, minibar and music system.
With lovely views of Potrero Beach and the Pacific Ocean this hotel makes a perfect coastal retreat. All rooms are suites are well equipped, featuring air conditioning and fans, flatscreen TV, phone, Wi-Fi, minibar, hot drinks maker, iPod dock, safe, bathrooms and private terrace. Suites are more spacious still and have living rooms. Enjoy meals to the sound of the sea in the open air restaurant and relax in the lounge-bar. At the Nau Spa you can submit to therapeutic and pampering treatments, and the hotel has regular yoga classes in a pavilion by the beach free for guests to join. There is a lovely outdoor pool and sunbathing area, and the beach is just a few steps away, and at the end of the afternoon this s great place to watch the sunset.
Take the plunge...
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