Costa Rica Coast to Coast
Traverse this country from the laid-back Caribbean coast through its mountainous hinterland emerging on the beautiful north Pacific shore taking in scenery, culture and wildlife en-route.
Costa Rica Coast to Coast
Prices from: £2,160 pp for 12 days
This holiday is a wonderful introduction to Costa Rica, showcasing its varied habitats and rich animal and bird life. As the name suggests you’ll travel across the country, from the Caribbean to the Pacific, journeying by road and water, and passing through villages where you witness scenes of daily life.
Highlights include snorkelling at the country’s largest coral reef with over 35 species of coral and 500 species of fish, cruising through the canals of Tortuguero as you watch animals and birds on the banks and touring the hanging bridges of Arenal as you walk high above the forest floor. From beach to rainforest to volcano, the scenery never fails to impress. As to the wildlife, it’s abundant. Brightly-coloured frogs and geckos, screaming monkeys, stealthy caimans, darting iguanas, dangling sloths and brilliant macaws are just for starters. You’ll soon realise why Costa Rica has a reputation as a nature lover’s paradise.
We’ve selected some of our favourite hotels and lodges. All offer warm hospitality, en-suite accommodation, tasty food, swimming pools and gardens and each is more than just a place to stay and will add an extra element to your holiday. And there’s ample time to relax: on the beaches of both coasts, soaking in natural thermal springs, indulging in spa pampering treatments, and sipping a chilled drink overlooking the Central Valley and glittering lights of San Jose.
- San Jose 1 night
- South Caribbean coast 2 nights
- Tortuguero 2 nights
- Arenal 2 nights
- Papagayo Gulf 3 nights
- San Jose 1 night
Day 2: Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before setting off on the eastbound drive to the Caribbean coast. In total the journey will take around 4 hours, with stops en-route do you can stretch your legs and enjoy refreshments. Your destination is Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort on Playa Cocles. Set in its own tract of rainforest facing the Caribbean Ocean, the hotel has a distinctly relaxed feel. You have the afternoon free to explore the hotel and environs which include 2 swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and spa as well as the beach and forest. The restaurant serves tasty Caribbean cuisine should you wish to dine at the resort tonight. Breakfast Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort
Day 3: Cahuita National Park awaits! You have a boat trip to Punta Cahuita at which point you can don snorkelling gear to see the largest coral reefs in Southern Central America. This is followed by a guided hike in the rainforest which is home to many reptiles, frogs, monkeys, sloths and insects, as well as several species of birds including herons and toucans. On your return to the hotel you can relax by the pool, on the beach or explore the rainforest in search of more wildlife. Breakfast, lunch
Day 4: This morning you travel by road and boat up the coast and along coastal canals. This gives you time to enjoy your surroundings and keep your eyes open for birds and animals. You should reach Evergreen Lodge by lunchtime, where a guide will give a talk about the region and Tortuguero National Park before you eat. In the afternoon you have a visit to the local village, also called Tortuguero, to meet local people and to the Green Turtle Conservation Museum to find out about the efforts being made to protect these vulnerable turtles which use the nearby beach as a nesting site between the months of July and October. Breakfast, lunch, dinner Evergreen Lodge
Day 5: An exciting day in Tortuguero National Park! You’ll be whisked by boat to the national park, just 5 minutes away, for a nature-filled day. Precise activities are weather dependent, but usually include a boat trip on the well-known Tortuguero canals to observe life on the banks and in the water, and a hike to see some of the park’s abundant amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds, and experience life in the jungle. After a busy day you return to the lodge to wash and change before sitting down to the buffet dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 6: It’s time to head inland. Your trip begins with a short boat ride to the harbour where you continue by road. The journey takes you through cultivated land and villages and you’ll stop for lunch on the way. Later the perfect cone of Arenal Volcano comes into view and you’ll reach journey’s end at Nayara Hotel Spa and Gardens, a lovely resort at the foot of the volcano. You have the rest of the afternoon to unwind, sunbathe by the pool, enjoy a massage in the spa and ret some tasty tapas in the bar. With 2 restaurants on site you can choose where you dine this evening. Breakfast, lunch Nayara Hotel Spa and Gardens
Day 8: You’re back on the road today, travelling west past Arenal Lake and rural villages and on to dry forest as you descend towards the Pacific coast. The drive takes about 4 hours, ending at the Gulf of Papagayo, completing your coast-to-coast odyssey. This is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beach destinations, with beautiful golden sand flanked by green forest, and some of the country’s finest hotels and resorts. Settle in to your new hotel, sit back with a drink and take in the ocean views. Breakfast Andaz Papagayo
Day 9: Enjoy a lie in and a lazy breakfast as you consider how to spend this day by the coast. You can take your pick of watersports, go swimming, scuba diving and sailing (extra cost) or simply lie back and soak up some sun on the beach. Back at the hotel sample fine cuisine at your preferred restaurant and treat yourself to a massage or body treatment at the spa. It’s all go! Breakfast
Day 10: Another day at leisure. You might want to explore on land today. Guanacaste has several national parks where you can go hiking in the tropical forest, experience the thrills of a zip line or the more sedate attractions of a round of golf. You might like to hire a bike and explore the area for yourself. Hotel staff are available to help you plan your day and make the most of your time. Breakfast
Day 11: Enjoy an unhurried breakfast and morning at the hotel before meeting your driver for the ride back to the Alta Hotel, a journey of about 5 hours. The rest of the day is free. Enjoy the fine views from the roof terrace, cool off in the pool, catch up with folks back home using the free Wi-Fi, the choice is yours. This evening you can treat yourself to a meal and bottle of wine at La Luz, as you look back on your Costa Rican holiday. Breakfast Alta Hotel
Day 12: After breakfast your driver will collect you for the short drive back to the airport and your flight back home. Breakfast
2017 price from (pp sharing): Jan-April £2,480. May-10 Dec £2,160 (ex. international flights)
Note: Dates over festive periods such as Easter will attract a supplement on the above prices.
Includes: Transfers, ground transport, 11 nights twin share accommodation, meals as specified
Tours: full day guided tour in Cahuita National Park inc. transport, entrance fee, snorkelling and lunch; tour to secondary Tortguero canals; Tortuguero village visit; half day guided Arenal hanging bridges tour inc. entrance fee
Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not specified, drinks, optional excursions and activities at Arenal and the Gulf of Papagayo, personal expenses, tips. re.
Getting there: This tour starts and ends in San Jose. Return flight prices from the UK start from around £600.
Departure dates: This is a private, tailor-made holiday and can begin on any day you chose, subject to availability.
Though just 12kms from the international airport and 10kms from San Jose city, Alta Hotel has a peaceful setting at the top of a hill overlooking the Valle de Sol and the city. The view is equally attractive by day when you can sometimes see as far as the Pacific Ocean, and by night as the lights twinkle in the valley below. The building has the feeling of a European villa or castle, and has a mix of rooms and suites, 23 in all, decorated in muted tones, with modern bathrooms and private balconies. All have TV, free Wi-Fi, safe, minibar, charging points, hairdryer and air conditioning. La Luz restaurant serves fresh produce much of it from the hotel’s own farm, specialising in flavoursome Mediterranean cuisine and has been rated one of the best in Central America by Conde Nast Traveller. There’s a lounge-bar where you can relax and socialise with fellow guests. The grounds include a swimming pool and sunbathing area.
At Cariblue you can rest by Playa Cocles beach as you enjoy the relaxing pace of life in southern Caribbean Costa Rica. The property also includes 2 hectares of rainforest which you can explore at your leisure. There are several types of room, some in the gardens and others by the beach. All are air conditioned, have a ceiling fan, phone, free Wi-Fi, safe, hairdryer and private bathroom. Some also have a balcony, and there are larger family units. The large thatched main lodge houses the reception, bar and restaurant, and is the social heart of the hotel. Recreational facilities include 2 swimming pools, 2 jacuzzis and a spa.
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.
A member of the esteemed Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Nayara is an ideal base from which to enjoy Arenal Volcano National Park. It has an impressive range of facilities including a superb spa offering body treatments, beauty care and massages. The gardens include a swimming pool with snack bar service. There are 2 restaurants offering a choice of local, sushi and international cuisines, and a tapas bar with a cosy interior and terrace. There are 2 types of accommodation: suites and casitas. They offer largely similar accommodation and amenities with suites being slightly more spacious. Both styles of room have TV, CD/DVD player, music system, Wi-Fi access, IDD phone, bathroom with a supply of toiletries, separate outdoor shower and deck with a Jacuzzi and hammock.
Enjoy both beach and forest at El Mangroove. The hotel has 2.5kms of beach and is flanked by lush rainforest, so you can mix exploration and relaxation during your stay. There are many activities on offer, both water and land-based, as well as a gym, and there’s a lovely lap pool surrounded by loungers and private cabanas, and gardens full of tropical plants. This all-suite resort offers all the comforts and mod-cons you could need, such as flatscreen TV, Wi-Fi internet, iPad/iPod dock, tea and coffee maker, complimentary toiletries and air conditioning. Indulge your mind and body at the spa as you enjoy treatments on the open air decks. There are 2 restaurants, 1 within the main complex and the other on the beach, and you can also treat yourself to a romantic private dinner.
In the north of the Gulf of Papagayo where it meets Culebra Bay, this family-friendly resort is a perfect beach retreat, and is just 30 minutes from Liberia airport. Spend days lazing on the beach, trying various watersports, venturing into the forest and enjoying all the facilities of the hotel. These include the Onda spa, a family pool, adults-only infinity pool, gardens full of flowers, birds and monkeys, and 3 restaurants, including one specialising in seafood, an open air diner, and a beachbar serving tasty tapas and cocktails. There is a choice of rooms and suites, all en-suite with a walk-in rain shower, locally made artworks and furniture, free Wi-Fi, TV, soft drink minibar, air conditioning, balcony and room service.
Take the plunge...
We know and love Costa Rica, and would be delighted to help you plan your perfect Costa Rica holiday. Call 01473 599085 and speak to one of our Costa Rica travel specialists today.