Costa Rica Volcanoes and Beaches
Relax on the Caribbean coast, head inland for some action & adventure as you marvel at the volcanoes and then finish off at the stunning Pacific coast.
Costa Rica Volcanoes & Beaches
15 days from £1,625 pp
(exc. international flights)
This Costa Rican holiday will give you a perfect balance between relaxation and activity. Not only that, you will get to experience both the Caribbean Coast with its laid back Afro-Caribbean culture and the Pacific Coast with the beautiful beaches and sunsets that this coastal paradise has to offer. Sandwiched in the middle you have time to discover inland Costa Rica. With stays in two different national parks, Arenal and Rincón de la Vieja – this holiday will certainly give you a great insight into Costa Rica, its coasts and volcanoes.
Leaving San José, you will start your holiday by the beach, but unlike some destinations, the beach here on the Caribbean is backed by jungle teeming with wildlife for you to explore. There is time to explore the nearby coral reef too, it plays host to a bounty of marine life making snorkelling a very pleasant way to spend some time. Heading inland you have time to explore on foot or get your adrenaline pumping with more adventurous activities such as ziplining in the forest canopy, horse riding then soothe your aching muscles in the hot springs and bubbling mud baths.
As you travel across the country you will traverse some amazing scenery, from plantations to lakes to awe-inspiring volcanoes and the surrounding national parks.
Finish up where you started, on the beach, but this time on the Pacific coast, which is very different to the Caribbean, and end your holiday unwinding even further before spending your last night where it all began, with views over the Central Valley and San José.
Each destination will give you a different taste of Costa Rica. You can enjoy your surroundings together with all the creature comforts you might expect, along with Costa Rican cuisine and of course, excellent hospitality – you’ll want to come back for more!
If you prefer the additional freedom of a self-drive holiday we can arrange for car hire from day 2 to day 15. You will be given comprehensive driving notes and sat nav to help you navigate the route, and can choose to set off and break journeys en-route as you please.
This standard itinerary can be upgraded by staying at Shawandha Lodge (or Le Cameleon for a further supplement) on the Caribbean coast and Rio Perdido in place of Hacienda Guachipelin in northern Costa Rica. This upgrade option spends an extra night on the Caribbean coast and one less night less at Arenal.
- San José 1 night
- South Caribbean 3 nights (4 on upgrade)
- Arenal 3 nights (2 on upgrade)
- Guanacaste inland 2 nights
- Gulf of Papagayo 4 nights
- San José 1 night
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When you arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José, a representative will be there to meet you and hand over your document pack. You will be driven to your downtown accommodation at Hotel Presidente. No excursions have been planned for today so you can relax and recover after your long flight. Take advantage of the hotel’s spa and enjoy a relaxing massage, or head up the roof terrace for fine views over the city. The hotel is within walking distance of a number of bars and restaurants, so you’ll have a choice of dining options this evening.
After a leisurely breakfast you will leave the hotel and head for the Caribbean coast. This journey will take about 4 hours. There will be plenty of opportunity to stop en-route to stretch your legs and have a bite to eat. Namuwoki Lodge awaits you at Playa Chiquita. Here you will experience that relaxed, laid-back feel that the Caribbean coast is known for. The afternoon is yours to explore the lodge and surrounds. There is plenty to do without venturing far, both beach and rainforest are close by. Visit the in-house spa for a relaxing treatment.
Get ready to explore Cahuita National Park both on land and in the water! You will travel by boat to Punta Cahuita where you can gear-up and snorkel the amazing coral reefs. Then, back on land you will enjoy a guided hike in the rainforest which is home to a huge array of wildlife and you can start ticking your list of animals and birds that you spot. Back at the hotel you can relax by the pool, on the beach, or explore the rainforest by yourself in search of more wildlife.
Enjoy a slow start to the day with a delicious lazy breakfast while you plan what to do (or not to do) today on the Caribbean coast. Lie by the pool, soak up the sun on the beach, go swimming in the sea, hiking in the rainforest or opt for some pampering spa treatments. You could venture out and try some nearby restaurants and bars and meet some of the locals – plenty of options, never a rush!
An early start will see you travel the countryside heading towards the northern lowlands. You will pass through several towns and cities such as Limón City, Sarapiqui, San Miguel, Venecia and Aguas Zarcas and again there will be opportunity to get out and stretch your legs. Along the way you will enjoy the beautiful scenery which includes amazing views of the mountains and the agricultural farms which fill the landscape. There will also be plenty of opportunity to stop and take photographs. You will definitely want to do this on arriving at La Fortuna village where the mighty Arenal Volcano rises above the town. Its perfectly symmetrical cone shape cries out to be photographed.
Having enjoyed breakfast at the hotel it’s time to set off for Arenal National Park and the famous hanging bridges that make up a trail of just over 3kms. It’s a different way to view the forest, being so high off the ground, travelling deep into the canopy and enjoying looking for the many birds, mammals, and reptiles with the help of your guide. You’ll certainly want your camera to hand. This afternoon you can return to the hotel to enjoy its many facilities, or opt to spend more time in the national park, exploring further and maybe finishing with a soak in the hot springs.
A free day in Arenal. There are many options available. You might like to go for an early morning bird watching walk, spend more time in the national park hiking and taking in views of the lake and volcano, board a boat for a river-based safari, or soar above the forest canopy on a zipline. The choice is yours.
This morning you will travel to the Guanacaste mountain range, and Rincón de la Vieja National Park. The first part of this drive takes in the scenic Lake Arenal, have your camera at the ready, if it’s a still day then you’ll see a perfect reflection of the volcano on the water. You will travel through more stunning and varied landscapes before arriving at your destination, Hacienda Guachipelin hotel. This National Park combines tropical dry forest with enchanting waterfalls, interspersed with bubbling mud spots, steam vents and hot springs, not to mention a host of wildlife making this area home. A perfect setting for rest and adventure combined. Wide and permanently green mountains, sweeping views of the province and the volcano’s imposing presence are your views here.
Welcome to cowboy country and your stay on a working hacienda. This area is famous for its horse riding tours, but there are plenty of other activities on offer if horse riding is not for you. Today, after breakfast, you could opt to saddle-up your trusty steed and take a relaxed trek to Oropendola waterfall. Enjoy amazing views along the trail before arriving at a beautiful forest covered canyon that surrounds the waterfall. Jump into the emerald green water for a refreshing swim and to wash off the dust. The turquoise hue of the water is due to the high mineral content, a result of volcanic activity. You may prefer to spend the morning canyoning or ziplining, or hiking the area. The afternoon is then at your leisure. Take the opportunity to enjoy the hotel grounds or perhaps have a go at some of the other activities offered here, river tubing is a popular excursion or if you prefer something more sedate, wallow in the bubbling mud pools or hot springs.
After a leisurely breakfast say goodbye to Rincón de la Vieja and your hosts and you will be taken to the beautiful Pacific coast, a journey of about an hour and a half. This area lays claim to some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. There is plenty to do during your time here, or you may choose to simply relax. With this in mind we have chosen the Bahía del Sol as your home for the next four nights, the hotel has a relaxing setting with lovely views of Potrero Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Day 11, 12 & 13
Your days are free for you to decide how active you want to be, or how relaxed. All manner of watersports are available and can be arranged at the beach. This includes kayaking, snorkelling and diving. You can choose to venture to nearby Playa Flamingo and take a boat trip or you may decide that you want the last few days of your holiday to be completely relaxed and without pressure and spend it by the hotel pool or on the beach in front.
You will be able to enjoy your final breakfast here overlooking the beach and the Pacific beyond. You will be taken back to San José during the afternoon. The journey will take about 4 hours. The staff at Hotel Presidente will welcome you back for your last night in Costa Rica. It ends where it all began.
After breakfast you will be collected for the short drive back to the airport and your flight home.
2022 guide price from (pp for two sharing, excluding international flights):
Travel not recommended in September and October
November to June: From £1625
July to August: from £1695
Please ask for other options such as:
Upgrade to private services from around £2200 pp
Fly and self-drive option from around £1950 pp
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter attract a supplement on the above prices.