9 Day itinerary in Costa Rica, Central America & Caribbean

Costa Rica´s Essentials

Wander around & relax in lush forests, active volcanoes, deep valleys, misty mountains, mangroves & beautiful sandy beaches. Learn the true meaning of ¨Pura Vida¨ motto and the lifestyle of these warm-hearted people.

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By Gabriela


Physical Difficulty


Recommended Age


Operated in

English, Spanish, French


On Some Day Trips

starting point

San José

trip type


trip attributes





Visit markets

Meet local people

Rural home stays



Beach & Sea


Outdoors & Nature






Visit the Caribbean village of Tortuguero


Arenal Volcano


Landscapes of Guanacaste


Relax on the beach


Standard Accommodation expand_more

Day 1

place Welcome to Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica: welcome by your English-speaking guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Your stay begins with a first night in San Jose. Located at an altitude of 1,200 metres, the capital and its urban area are home to half of the country's population. The city is located in the heart of the central valley surrounded in the north by various volcanoes, such as the Poas, Irazú or Turrialba, and in the south by the Talamanca mountain range, which is the highest mountain range in southern Central America.

Guide: Included for the day


  • Standard Accommodation: Hotel Aranjuez
Day 2

place Discovering the Central Valley

Pick up your rental car this morning at the reception of your hotel. Today you could explore San José or for a more exciting day take the road to Cartago, the former capital of Costa Rica. Founded in 1563 by the Spanish Conquistador Juan Vazquez de Coronado, the city located at 1,435 meters above sea level and on the slope of the Irazú Volcano, is an excellent starting point to explore the area. We recommend that you first go to the Irazú Volcano early in the morning before it is covered by clouds. Then go back down to Cartago to discover the famous Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels which is a very important place of pilgrimage where thousands of Costa Ricans from all over the country go every year on August 2nd from San José on foot to the Basilica (24km). Continue your visit to the ruins of the old Basilica of Cartago destroyed during the earthquake of 1910 before going to the market of Cartago and discover the local culture. In the afternoon, the small village of Orosi with its church and then the ruins of the old Franciscan temple of Ujarras, located near Lake Cachi, are interesting ideas for a visit. You can also continue to Turrialba area to visit a coffee plantation, or go on a canyoning adventure.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Standard Accommodation: Hotel Aranjuez
Day 3

place Continue towards Arenal Volcano

Today your Costa Rican adventure takes you north to reach La Fortuna, a city located at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Costa Rica is known to host about 116 volcanoes among which (and probably the most impressive) is the Arenal volcano. Despite its 7,500 years, it is fairly well preserved since it is in fact the youngest volcano in the country. Rising to 1,630 metres, this stratovolcano has not been active since the end of 2010 but it is a delight for photographers (when it is exposed on clear days) as well as for aficionados of thermal waters.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Standard Accommodation: Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
Day 4

place Arenal from the heights

This morning you will embark on a walk on hanging bridges (activity included - free walk without a guide - possible to visit with an English-speaking guide with an additional charge of +USD$ 25/pers): this tour is in the 250Ha natural private reserve of primary tropical rainforest and allows for prime observation of the fauna and flora in the canopy as well as various viewpoints onto the volcano. The walk is comprised of 3 km of easy trails, accessible to all. You will cross 15 bridges at different heights ranging from 5 to 100 metres. Rest of the day at leisure to explore Arenal Volcano National Park, go on a zip-lining adventure, or relax in one of the many hot springs resorts of the area.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Standard Accommodation: Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
Day 5

place Head to Rincón de la Vieja

Continue towards the province of Guanacaste where you will encounter a cowboy atmosphere and a radical change of scenery. The road will end on a track that joins the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park (closed on Mondays). At 1,800 metres high, the volcano is the largest in the country in terms of volume. The national park allows you to discover different facets of the volcano through its paths leading to fumaroles, small mud volcanoes or to the waterfall of La Cangreja or Escondidas.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Standard Accommodation: Cañon de la Vieja Lodge
Day 6

place Exploring Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park

Explore the Rincon de la Vieja National Park (closed on Mondays) (Self-guided, entrance fees not included) where you can observe centennial trees and amazing volcanic manifestations. The Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, literally "old man's corner", has 14,080 hectares of all kinds of vegetation. With an average altitude of 1,520 meters, the park is composed of arid savannahs, mountainous rainforests and fog forests. On a clear day, a fabulous view of the dry Guanacaste landscape is offered to the visitors.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Standard Accommodation: Cañon de la Vieja Lodge
Day 7

place Road to Monteverde Cloud Forest

Departure towards the town of Monteverde on the slopes of the Tilarán mountain range, while passing initially by the Pan-American Highway and then by a rather picturesque road. Monteverde was founded in the middle of the 20th century by American Quakers who immigrated during the Vietnam War because they shared Costa Rica's pacifist values. It is a cloud forest nestled at 1,400 meters above sea level, a small paradise for nature lovers with an extraordinary diversity of flora.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Standard Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge
Day 8

place Explore the Cloud Forest

Visit one of the many cloud forest reserves of the area, visit a coffee plantation, go on the zip-lining adventure (optional) or just enjoy the sounds of the birds on the terrace of your room.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Standard Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge
Day 9

place Drive back to the airport

It is now time to head back to Juan Santamaria Airport. If you are not ready to leave Costa Rica, add a few nights on the beach! (Ask us for details and prices) Drop off your vehicle to the rental agency near the airport; you will then get to the airport thanks to a free shuttle . You must arrive at the checking desk 3 hours before the take-off time.

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included

Accommodation expand_less

  • Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
  • Cañon de la Vieja Lodge
  • Hotel Aranjuez
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge

Meals expand_less

  • Breakfast (8)
  • Lunch (1)
  • Dinner (1)

Transport expand_less

  • Meet and greet at the airport and private transfer to your hotel
  • Road and boat transfers in Tortuguero
  • 7 days of car rental 4X2 HYUNDAI CRETA

Activities expand_less

  • All activities as per itinerary

Extras expand_less

  • Phone support by our team all along the trip

Not Included expand_less

  • Personal Expenses
  • Other Meals/Drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips & Gratitudes
  • International Flights

About Gabriela


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Visit markets

Meet local people

Rural home stays

Indigenous culture



Outdoors & Nature

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$1,000.00 USD