arenal volcano

Costa Rica Selfdrive Holiday

A 3-centre holiday combing nature, activity and adventure and spanning rainforest, cloudforest and coast – an excellent introduction to Costa Rica’s many attractions.

Costa Rica Selfdrive Holiday

Prices from: £975 pp for 8 days

This holiday will appeal to you if you like to set your own pace and be your own boss yet enjoy the benefits of a pre-arranged itinerary and planned activities to make the most of your time. You’ll have a 4x4 vehicle throughout the holiday, but with no single driving time exceeding 3.5 hours there is plenty of time to leave the car behind and explore.

Your destinations are Arenal with its soaring volcano, national park and swath of adventure activities, Monteverde Cloudforest where you follow trails to discover its special flora and fauna, and Tamarindo Beach on the Pacific Ocean, a 4km stretch of sand favoured by nesting turtles. Activities include a thrilling zipline descent of Arenal, a guided walking trail in the cloudforest and the chance to go surfing and kayaking. We’ve included plenty of free time, too, so you can choose between further exploration and relaxed downtime.

We’ve chosen smaller hotels, 2 of which are family-owned, all set in pretty gardens. Each offers a pool, spa services, bar and restaurant, so your creature comforts are well catered for.  You have 2 nights at each location, so won’t be in the road every day and won’t feel rushed, but will come away with a deep impression of the rich variety of landscapes and activities that Costa Rica has to offer.

Costa-Rica-Selfdrive-map

Summary

  • San Jose 1 night
  • Arenal 2 nights
  • Monteverde 2 nights
  • Tamarindo Beach 2 nights

Day 1: Arrive at San Jose international airport where a representative is waiting to welcome you to Costa Rica. You’ll be handed all the necessary documentation for your holiday and then driven to your overnight accommodation in the city, Studio Hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure so you can rest after your flight and look forward to the holiday to come. Studio Hotel

ArenalDay 2: After breakfast at the hotel you take delivery of the 4 wheel drive vehicle which is yours for the duration of your stay in Costa Rica. Your first destination is Arenal Springs Hotel, near the volcano of the same name. The drive takes just over 3 hours and you’ll soon be settling into your suite and enjoying views of the gardens and volcano. You might want to check out the spa, go for a swim in the pool or enjoy a therapeutic soak in the hot springs as you settle into your holiday. Breakfast
Arenal Springs Hotel

ZiplingDay 3: You have an exciting morning ahead! Start by boarding one of the Sky Tram gondolas for a gentle ascent of Arenal while your guide offers information about the rainforest and its wildlife. Once at the top you are kitted out with a harness, helmet and gloves, ready to start an exhilarating descent by means of 7 ziplines. It’s great fun and a wonderful way to get a bird’s eye of the forest and lake. The whole experience lasts about 2 and half hours. In the afternoon you could join a group for a guided hike in the foothills of the volcano (extra cost), which offers time to examine the different plants and see some of the animals and birds. You return to hotel in time to shower and change for dinner. Breakfast

Day 4: Your adventure continues as you drive south to Monteverde Cloudforest and your next hotel, El Establo, a drive of around 3 hours. It’s a scenic drive, passing Lake Arenal, then you will begin ascending through the Tilarán mountain range. The last section of the drive is on gravel roads, slowing down the pace and giving you more time to soak up the scenery.  Your home for the next couple of nights, El Establo is a large resort with an impressive range of facilities.  You can spend the afternoon exploring walking trails, swimming in one of the indoor heated pools, treating yourself to a massage at the spa or simply enjoying the fine views. There are 2 restaurants on site so you’ll have a choice of dining venues. Breakfast
El Establo

HikeDay 5: A hike is arranged for this morning, as you join a group and guide to explore the cloudforest. One of the distinguishing factors of cloudforest as opposed to rainforest is its higher elevation, and at this height the forest is more likely to be shrouded in mist and fog. Your guide will explain its composition and introduce you to the diverse wildlife which includes the flamboyantly colourful quetzal, dozens of species of hummingbirds, monkeys and sloths as well as the varied plants, among them many orchids. The afternoon is free, so enjoy the hotel’s pools and recreational facilities, stroll in the gardens and socialise with other guests. Breakfast

Day 6: Your drive today takes you west to the north Pacific coast and Tamarindo Beach. As you near the coast after about 3 hours you should have some superb views, and you may want to stop to take photographs. You will be staying at Hotel Capitan Suizo situated at the southern end of the beach. Stretch your legs with a walk by the shore or in the garden, cool off with a swim in the pool and a drink at the ocean front bar. Breakfast
Hotel Capitan Suizo

BeachDay 7: This is a free day which can be as actioned packed as you wish.  There are kayaks and surfboards you can hire, and diving and sailing can be arranged at the beach. You can walk the 1 kilometre into the village with its selection of shops, restaurants and cafes, and the hotel concierge can organise local excursions. You should allow time to visit the hotel’s spa, where you can have a hot stone massage or pampering beauty treatment, in the lovely garden setting. Breakfast

Day 8: Enjoy breakfast on the beach before turning your thoughts to home. Drive to Liberia airport about an hour and a half away, where you drop off the hire car and check in for your flight home. Breakfast

 

2017 price from (pp sharing):  Jan-April £1,095. May-June and Nov-10 Dec £975.  July-August £1,025  (ex. international flights)
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter attract a supplement on the above prices.

Includes:
6 nights twin share accommodation, 7 days hire of a Hyundai Tucson manual 4×4 2000cc vehicle including unlimited mileage, loss damage waiver and LI insurance, meals as specified, entrance to Arenal hot springs
Tours: morning Sky Tram and Sky Trek tour at Arenal, morning group guided hike in Monteverde Cloudforest

Excludes:
International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not specified, drinks, optional excursions and activities, personal expenses, tips.

Getting there:
This tour starts in San José and ends in Liberia. 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.

 

Studio Hotel

Studio-Hotel

This modern hotel is just a 20 minute drive from the international airport at San Jose, making it a convenient stopover at the start or end of your holiday. With comfy beds, air conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi and en-suite bathrooms, rooms offer all you need for a good night’s sleep. The café bar and grill serves a wide choice of local and international dishes to suit all palates. Studio Hotel has a rooftop swimming pool, a real bonus for a city centre establishment. Throughout the hotel you can see examples of Costa Rican artwork which adds local character and colour.

Arenal Springs Hotel

Arenal-Springs-Hotel

The hotel offers accommodation is 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.       

El Establo

el-establo

High in Monteverde Cloudforest just 4kms from the entrance to the park, this resort offers a choice of restaurants one serving buffet meals and another offering fine dining , cafés and bars, 2 indoor pools, a Jacuzzi, tennis, football and basketball facilities, a gym and a spa. It’s set on a private farm and has walking trails you can follow. Your room has a TV, phone, safe, rocking chairs and a bathroom with both shower and bathtub. From the balcony you’ll have wonderful views of the Gulf of Nicoya. Facilities are spread over a large hillside and there are regular shuttles that can take you from place to place.    

Hotel Capitán Suizo

Hotel Capitán Suizo

The hotel is at the southern, secluded end of Tamarindo Beach, about a 15 minute walk from the town. The name derives from the small island called ‘El Captán’ in the bay, and the nationality of the owning family. The hotel faces the ocean, with buildings shaded by trees which teem with monkeys and birds. Accommodation is a mix of rooms, suites and bungalows, all built from local materials. They vary in size and layout, but are all en-suite and have a private balcony or terrace, Wi-Fi, hot drinks maker, small fridge, IDD phone, radio and safe. There is an outdoor pool, and kayaks, boogie boards and surfboards are available to hire, while the concierge can arrange additional activities and trips. Meals are served in the open air by the beach, with a buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch and dinner.  

 

 

walking across lava flow rock

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