12 Day itinerary in Costa Rica, Central America & Caribbean

Family Adventure in Costa Rica

Experience Costa Rica´s true richness: biodiversity. You will certainly spot several species of birds, monkeys, reptiles, insects and many other wild animals!

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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







Beach & Sea


Outdoors & Nature






Visit the Caribbean village of Tortuguero


Relax on the beach


Explore Arenal Volcano area


Drive around Lake Arenal


Mid-Range 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 meters, 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


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Aranjuez
Day 2

place Depart to Tortuguero National Park

Meet your local Spanish-English driver in the reception of your hotel and drive to the Tortuguero pier in semi-collective transfer (with only guests who will stay in the same Lodge as you in Tortuguero). Arrival in the town of Guápiles and breakfast in a local restaurant, before taking a boat to the Tortuguero National Park, winding through the canals, in the heart of the rainforest. Arrival at the lodge for lunch. Tortuguero is the small Amazon of Costa Rica, its intense tropical forest is home to an incredible variety of fauna and flora, ensuring a guaranteed dramatic change of scenery. The Tortuguero site is part of the protection of mangroves under the Ramsar Convention, with particular attention to water bird habitats. In the afternoon, you will discover the small Caribbean village of Tortuguero. Late afternoon free to enjoy the facilities and walk around.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge
Day 3

place Trip down the canals of Tortuguero national park

Breakfast at the lodge. Boat trip along the canals of Tortuguero Park to discover the local nature as it wakes up. Frequent stops to observe a wide variety of birds, monkeys, crocodiles and caimans. Back to your Lodge. Stroll along the trails of the Lodge to discover its fauna and flora. Your guide will familiarize you with the inhabitants of this exuberant secondary forest (boots and ponchos available on site if necessary). Return to the Lodge in the late morning for lunch. Afternoon free to enjoy the beach, the facilities of the Lodge (swimming pool) or optional activities on site: fishing, additional tour on the canals.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge
Day 4

place Puerto Viejo de Limon

Return to Guápiles by boat, then lunch in a local restaurant. Pick up your rental vehicle at the car rental agency. Continue towards the Southern Caribbean. You will pass through Siquirres and the port city of Limón before reaching the seaside where the villages of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo are located. A unique atmosphere awaits you in the small fishing village of Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, characterized by its multicultural atmosphere and its calypso music, reggae from Afro-Caribbean culture.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: La Kukula Lodge
Day 5

place Discover the area of Cahuita

This morning, visit a Jaguar Rescue Center animal shelter (included). During this visit you will get to know some of the temporary and permanent residents of the center, as well as their history. You will also be made aware of the issues and problems of wildlife protection in Costa Rica. The center does not receive any governmental support, so the entrance fees charged for the visits as well as the sales from the small souvenir store are its only incomes. (the center is closed on Sundays) Rest of the day to go explore Cahuita National Park, walk or cycle (the most used means of transport in the area) from your hotel to the beach to treat yourself to a moment to swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean. End the day enjoying a cocktail or a cold beer on the beach.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: La Kukula Lodge
Day 6

place Drive towards the region of Sarapiquí

Drive to the northeast of the country to the city of Sarapiquí, a rich agricultural region (major producer of pineapple, palm heart, pejibaye, guanabana...). It is a stopover on the Arenal road that allows you to cut travel time but which also offers many nature reserves, such as La Selva Biological Station or La Tirimbina, as well as various and varied activities ranging from hiking to sports or even agro-tourism.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Sarapiquí's Rainforest Lodge
Day 7

place 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. In the late evening, head to Baldi Hot Springs for a relaxing evening (included). Baldi Hot Springs Hotel & Spa is a family resort with 25 pure mineralized hot and temperate pools (4 of them at room temperature), a large natural sauna and spa for Jacuzzi use, three mini-bars, two gourmet restaurants, 3.5 kilometers of paths and 3.4 hectares of picturesque tropical gardens. The entire complex enjoys a privileged location with the majestic Arenal volcano as a backdrop.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
Day 8

place Arenal hanging bridges

This morning you will embark on a walk on hanging bridges (included - self-guided tour - possible to visit with an English-speaking guide with an additional charge): 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 National Park, go on a zip lining adventure, or just relax in the many hot springs resorts of the area.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
Day 9

place Drive around Lake Arenal

Drive to the beaches of Guanacaste towards the small seaside town of Sámara after passing through the village of Nicoya. If you are looking for peace and quiet, Playa Samara is for you. Less than 10 minutes away by car you will also find Puerto Carrillo with its huge wild beach without any construction by the sea.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Samara Pacific Lodge
Day 10

place Explore the Pacific Ocean

This morning, you board a boat to explore the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of the small village of Samara (included). After watching dolphins, sea turtles, rays, seabirds, and maybe even humpback whales (between August and November) from the boat, you can explore the underwater life on your own with a snorkel. This trip is suitable for all ages.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Samara Pacific Lodge
Day 11

place Relax on the beach

Enjoy a relaxing day on the beach or by the pool, or go explore the area with your rental car.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Samara Pacific Lodge
Day 12

place Drive back to the airport

It is now time to head back to Juan Santamaria Airport. Give back your vehicle to the branch of your rental agency near the airport; you will then get to the airport thanks to a free semi-collective shuttle bus. 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
  • Hotel Aranjuez
  • La Kukula Lodge
  • Sarapiquí's Rainforest Lodge
  • Evergreen Lodge
  • Hotel Samara Pacific Lodge

Meals expand_less

  • Breakfast (11)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)

Transport expand_less

  • Meet and greet at the airport and private transfer to your hotel on day 1
  • Road and boat transfers in Tortuguero and the entrance fees to Tortuguero National Park
  • 10 days of car rental 4X4 DAIHATSU BEGO

Activities expand_less

  • As per itinerary

Extras expand_less

  • Phone support by our team all along the trip
  • Administration fees

Not Included expand_less

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

About Gabriela


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