15 Day itinerary in Costa Rica, Central America & Caribbean

Jungles, Beaches & Volcanos

Wander around and relax in beautiful forests, enjoy sandy beaches & learn the true meaning of ¨Pura Vida¨!

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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





Trip down the canals of Tortuguero national park


Relax on the beach


Arenal hanging bridges


Monteverde Cloud Forest


Mid-Range Accommodation expand_more

Day 1

place Welcome to Costa Rica!

Welcome to Costa Rica: welcome by your English-speaking local representative 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


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Aranjuez
Day 2

place Visit the Caribbean village of Tortuguero

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 wetlands under the Ramsar Convention, with particular attention to waterbird 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. Dinner and night.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge
Day 4

place Head to Southern Caribbean

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 with a local Spanish/English speaking guide. 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 revenues from the small souvenir store are its only incomes Drive to the beautiful beaches of the coast and discover Cahuita National Park or go to the Gandoca Manzanillo wildlife refuge, which is located south of Puerto Viejo. 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. Playa Chiquita, Playa Cocles or Playa Punta Uva are waiting for you. Between sunbathing, take a relaxing break in one of the restaurants in the area and enjoy a cocktail or a cold beer.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: La Kukula Lodge
Day 6

place Drive towards the region of Sarapiquí

Depart to the northeast of the country to 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 the La Selva Biological Station or La Tirimbina, as well as various and varied activities ranging from hiking to sports or even agro-tourism. Depending on your arrival time in the area you could do one of the following optional activities: - Chocolate Tour (USD$ 28/pers) - Palm Heart Plantation (USD$ 25/person or USD$ 45/person with lunch included) - Rafting on the Sarapiqui River, class II and III (USD$60/person) or class III and IV (USD$75/person) - Kayaking (USD$ 60/person) - Tubing (buoy) (USD$ 50/pers) - Zipline (possibility of combining different activities) (USD$ 55/person) - Discovery of pineapple cultivation (possibility to sleep in a local community) (USD$ 34/person) - Stay in a farming community ( 1 night - USD$ 45/person supplement) - Night bat observation tour (USD$ 25/pers) - Horseback riding (USD$ 37/pers)

Meals: Breakfast


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

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


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

place Arenal National Park

This morning you will embark on a walk on hanging bridges (Self-guided activity - 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 visit Arenal Volcano National Park, have a zip-line adventure, or just relax in one of the many hot-springs resort of the area (optional)

Meals: Breakfast


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

place Tamarindo

Leave for the seaside resort of Tamarindo. The village of Tamarindo is one of the most accessible and lively in the area; you will find all kinds of activities as well as many bars, restaurants and shops. A popular destination for American tourists, it is the ideal seaside resort if you like the entertainment of going out in the evening after a good day on the beach. It is also the ideal beach if you want to start surfing. Playa Tamarindo and Playa Grande beaches form a bay in the north of the Nicoya Peninsula and are part of Las Baulas Marine National Park (site for egg-laying of sea turtles such as the Luth turtle). These two beaches are separated by a mangrove swamp (a unique and very rich ecosystem, stabilizing coastal areas) and its estuary.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Pasatiempo
Day 10

place Relax on the beach

On site, you could explore the surrounding beaches or do activities in the area such as learn how to surf, rent a kayak, or go explore with your rental car the beaches of the area. At the end of the day, enjoy the magnificent sunset from the beach or one of the many beachside bars.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Pasatiempo
Day 11

place Continue towards Monteverde cloud forest

Departure to the town of Monteverde on the slopes of the Tilarán mountain range, driving first down the Pan-American highway and then down a wonderfully 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 an altitude of 1,400 metres and is a small paradise for nature lovers with an extraordinary diversity of flora.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge
Day 12

place Exploring Monteverde

Monteverde offers a wide range of activities whatever you are interested in, from simple relaxation to participation in more active leisure activities. Among the quieter activities, we recommend you to explore one of the many reserves of Monteverde such as the Monteverde Biological Reserve, the Santa Elena Cloud Reserve or the Eternal Forest for Children. The latter exists thanks to the support of world. Today already 44 countries have participated in the conservation and protection of these lands. There are about 60 species of amphibians, 101 reptiles, 425 birds and 121 mammal species, representing 50.5% of the total terrestrial vertebrate species in Costa Rica. It also protects the habitat of the jaguar as well as a variety of important birds, fauna, trees, orchids, bromeliads, insects, reptiles and of course unique examples of the amphibians of the country.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge
Day 13

place Head to Central Pacific & Manuel Antonio

Your adventure then continues towards the center of the Pacific coast. Ideally located, you will have easy access to all the activities of the area: among others, you are close to the Marino Bahia Ballena National Park, Corcovado National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park. Each of them is known for their great natural wealth. Along the way we recommend a short stop at Tarcoles Bridge to observe the huge American crocodiles.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Yara
Day 14

place Manuel Antonio

The ideal way to start your morning is to explore the magnificent Manuel Antonio Park (activity not included). Classified since 1972 as a national park, Manuel Antonio, despite being an important tourist area (the number of visitors is limited to 600 people per day and 800 people on weekends), is one of the country's natural pearls with a wide variety of animals including the emblematic Capuchin monkey. Among the many animals that hide in the fauna, you can find the sloth, the squirrel monkey, the howler monkey, the iguana or the raccoon of which you must be especially careful if we do not want to be bitten. The park is also known for its magnificent beaches with Playa Manuel Antonio, Playa Espadilla Sur, Playa Escondida or more if you venture a little further into the corners of Playa Gemelas park.

Meals: Breakfast


  • Mid-Range Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Yara
Day 15

place Drive back to the airport

It is now time to head back to Juan Santamaria Airport. You will take the road along the Pacific coast with beautiful views the whole way before joining the road leading to the central valley. 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

  • Evergreen Lodge
  • Sarapiquí's Rainforest Lodge
  • Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge & Wildlife Refuge
  • Hotel Pasatiempo
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge
  • Hotel Plaza Yara
  • La Kukula Lodge
  • Hotel Aranjuez

Meals expand_less

  • Breakfast (14)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (2)

Transport expand_less

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

Activities expand_less

  • As per itinerary

Extras expand_less

  • Phone support by our team all along the trip

Not Included expand_less

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

About Gabriela


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