Visitors to the Republic of Costa Rica will find that despite its small size, the country has an incredible number of attractions and activities to offer. Five per cent of the world’s biodiversity can be found within Costa Rica’s borders and great efforts have been made to preserve this rich resource; protected national parks make up almost 25% of the land – more than any other country in the world. From fishing and surfing to white water rafting and exploring volcanic regions, Costa Rica is the perfect playground for nature lovers and adventures seekers alike.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Days 1 - 2
Located in central Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano National Park lies within the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area and encompasses eight of the country’s 12 protected life zones. The park is home to the majority of Costa Rica’s 850 bird species, and an array of exotic creatures such as capuchin monkeys, parrot snakes, jaguars and deer, and its diverse landscapes include grasslands and volcanic badlands. Overlooking the park is the magnificent Arenal Volcano as well as the Chato Volcano, complete with a stunning lagoon. Experience this exciting region by hiking through lava fields and rainforests, spotting birds and animals, and taking a dip in the hot springs.
Days 2 - 4
Set in the north of beautiful Costa Rica, the Northern Plains is a unique region boasting spectacular mountain scenery. This popular destination is known for its cultural and ecotourism adventure opportunities and its breathtaking natural beauty. The landscape features volcanic terrain scattered with cascading waterfalls, rivers, lakes, lagoons, and lush forests. This area is inhabited by a variety of mammals, reptiles, and waterfowl. Visitors can view the spectacular array of wildlife at one of the many sanctuaries such as the biodiverse Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, enjoy a visit to the magnificent Tenorio Volcano National Park and visit Arenal Lake, the largest lake in Costa Rica. Popular activities include kayaking, white water rafting, bird watching, horse riding, cycling, boat cruises, canopy tours and ziplining.
Days 4 - 5
Monteverde, the name of a settlement and a forest described as ‘the jewel in the crown of cloud forests’ by National Geographic, lies in the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. One of the rarest habitats on the planet and unique from the country’s other rainforests for its constant swathes of mist (which give it its name), the Monteverde Cloud Forest is an incredible wild world filled with thousands of plant species, insects, bird varieties, and animals. Watch brightly-coloured birds at play in the Curi-Cancha Reserve; take a guided hike or horse ride through the dense jungle; watch electric blue frogs jump about at the famous Frog Pond, or take a dip in the pools around the San Luis Waterfall. Must-sees include the Butterfly Gardens, Orchid House, Selvatura treetop suspension bridges, and coffee, chocolate, and sugarcane tour.
Days 5 - 8
Neighbouring the spectacularly scenic 680-hectare Manuel Antonio National Park and situated along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, the bustling beachside village of Manuel Antonio offers a variety of comfortable accommodation options for eco-explorers and adventurers who flock here to explore this beautiful area. The undeniable highlight is the adjacent Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica’s smallest national park, featuring lush biodiverse rainforests, mangroves, lagoons, offshore coral reefs, pristine white-sand beaches and abundant wildlife, including over 100 mammal species and almost 200 bird species. Visitors can enjoy a variety of exciting activities including fishing, swimming, snorkelling, wildlife viewing, bird watching, hiking and relaxing on tropical beaches.
Days 8 - 10
San Jose, affectionately known to its residents as 'Chepe', lies in the heart of Costa Rica and is home to almost two-thirds of the country’s population. With few buildings over 100 years old, the mountainous capital is relatively modern compared to its Latin American counterparts, but still has a significant amount of culture, art and history for visitors to discover. With a number of theatres full of Costa Rican culture, museums that include the largest collection of American jade in the world, and streets full of bright murals and painted buses, San Jose is an eclectic city waiting to be experienced.