Start your Costa Rica trip in San Jose, sampling the colonial architecture of the Barrio Amon neighbourhood. From here, head to Tortuguero National Park to see nesting turtles (if you time your trip right, you can see hatchlings heading out to see) and to explore the park’s canals and waterways. Next, travel to the dormant Arenal Volcano to see parrots, howler monkeys and tapir, before ending your trip on the beaches of Guanacaste Zone near Nicaragua. Fly home from San Jose.

Key information

Destinations Costa Rica
Activity Beach, Family, Nature & Wildlife, Responsible Travel
Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Get cultural in San Jose

Get cultural in San Jose

Day 1 in San Jose

At first glance, San Jose might not seem like the prettiest of cities but delve a little deeper into the colonial mansions of Barrio Amon, the restaurants of Barrio Escalante and the many live music clubs, and you’ll soon uncover the beating cultural heart of Costa Rica’s capital.

Don't miss

Explore the slopes of Poás volcano

Explore the slopes of Poás volcano

The most popular of Costa Rica’s five active volcanoes, Poás volcano is within easy-driving distance of San José and is the largest open volcano in the world. Its crater is over a mile across and 1,050ft deep, with two small lakes at the bottom. Arrive early to beat the crowds and clouds.

Float down the canals of Tortuguero

Float down the canals of Tortuguero

Day 2–3 in Tortuguero National Park

This wild and interconnected web of canals is an aquatic fairyland, where gavilan trees stand sentry at the water’s edge, caiman snouts poke out of canals, tiger herons perch atop driftwood, and four species of endangered sea turtle travel thousands of miles every year to lay their eggs on the beaches where they once hatched.

In this truly unique and special place, days are spent exploring motoring through amaretto-, emerald- and black-hued canals, and evenings are dedicated to watching returning sea turtles conclude their epic journeys.

Don't miss

Volunteer with with a sea turtle conservation project

Volunteer with with a sea turtle conservation project

Costa Rica is a sea turtle paradise, with turtle hatching occurring on various beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts throughout the year. There are dozens of small conservation projects and protected areas set up, with many containing a nursery where volunteers can help. Do your research and always be respectful of these beautiful and endangered animals.

Cerro Arenal Volcano

Day 4–6

For several decades, the Cerro Arenal Volcano was the most active in Costa Rica, spewing molten lava and red hot boulders into the surrounding darkness. Since 2010, activity has been limited to puffs of smoke and the occasional rumble, but that hasn’t stopped visitors exploring the adjacent Arenal Volcano National Park.

Laze on tropical beaches in Guanacaste

Laze on tropical beaches in Guanacaste

Day 7–9 in Guanacaste National Park

Sandwiched between Santa Rosa National Park and Rincón de la Vieja National Park -- the other two parks in the Guanacaste Conservation Area trio -- this incredibly diverse and endearingly rustic national park is one of Costa Rica’s least visited.

Hiking trails connect the park’s various biological stations and sectors, offering intermediate to difficult paths for which a professional guide is highly recommended.

Don't miss

Hot springs of Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Hot springs of Rincon de la Vieja National Park

The reinvigorating hot springs of Rio Negro are ten natural pools accessed through a wooded trail, complete with hanging bridges, rainforest and a pulsing river.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from £1,899pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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