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This is an excellent Costa Rica ecotour for those who want to experience it all, from the white sandy shores of the Pacific, to spectacular views of one of the world's most active volcanoes. There's hiking and flying by zip-lines through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and an exciting day of rafting on the Savegre River. You'll see lots of wildlife on this Costa Rica adventure, including sloths, monkeys, and among its 400 bird species, the extraordinary quetzal. This ten day Costa Rica ecological tour allows time for leisure as well, including a full day to relax in Costa Rica's coastal Manuel Antonio National Park, making this tour the perfect choice for travel to Costa Rica.

Itinerary
Day 1 SAN JOSÉ

Arrive in San José and transfer to your hotel. If you plan to arrive early, optional tours of the city and surrounding areas can be arranged.

Day 2 SAN JOSÉ - ARENAL

After an early breakfast, depart with your private driver & guide to La Fortuna, the closest village to the Arenal Volcano. On the way, visit the active Poas Volcano, which has one of the largest craters in the world, measuring an entire mile across. After exploring this impressive site, hike through the lush cloud forest to the mysterious Botos Lagoon, a flooded volcanic crater, now transformed into a picturesque lagoon. From a viewing terrace, look down 1,050 feet into the deep green pool of the volcano, and out across magnificent lowlands. After capturing the perfect photo, continue on your Costa Rica ecotour to La Paz Waterfall Garden, trekking through flowing waterfalls to a vibrant orchid garden and hummingbird gallery where sixteen species of these fascinating birds may be observed in their natural habitat. The walk covers two miles of safe, paved trails. Here, with a spectacular view of the Poas Volcano, you may stop for lunch. (B,L)

Day 3 ARENAL

After breakfast at the hotel you start with a visit to Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano National Park, home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its perfectly-formed cone and constant eruptions attracts visitors from all over the world. The exciting display of flowing lava will determine whether you hike the Los Tucanes, Los Laguitos, El Mirador or El Silencio trail. All of these trails lead to captivating Arenal Lake and contain an impressive array of plants, wildlife and magnificent lava rock formations. During the tour, the guide will share his knowledge about the history of this majestic area. Return to your hotel for lunch. Later in the afternoon, you will visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges. These outstanding hanging bridges are located deep and high in the forest. While walking on the hanging bridges you will be able to appreciate the great diversity of flowers and wildlife that are typical of the Costa Rican rainforest. Your Costa Rica ecological tour continues with a visit to Tabacon Hot Springs for a superb healing bath with outstanding views. After dinner at Tabacon, return to your hotel to overnight. (B, D)

Day 4 ARENAL - MONTEVERDE

After beginning this day of your Costa Rica ecological tour with a hearty breakfast, transfer to Santa Elena & Monteverde Area. The trip to arrive in Santa Elena is an adventure in itself. The trip starts by transferring to a boat that crosses the Arenal Lake, created by a dam. If the day is clear, you will have spectacular views of the surrounding areas and Arenal Volcano. From here, transfer to 4x4 vehicles and continue on rough roads until arriving in Monteverde. After checking into the hotel and enjoying lunch (not inculded in trip cost), your Costa Rica travel continues with the exciting Sky Trek tour. The Sky Trek is an extensive system of trails, canopy platforms, one treetop platform, one suspension bridge, and two zip-lines built deep within the cloud forest. This tour gives you a bird's eye view of the cloud forest, taking you high above the canopy for an experience like no other. For two to three hours, hike along the canopy and have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of flying through the forest on a zip-line. After the adrenaline rush subsides, transfer back to the hotel where you will have a free afternoon to enjoy the charming town of Santa Elena on your own. (B)

Day 5 MONTEVERDE

Today, after a breakfast at your hotel, take a tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a 10,500 hectare private reserve established in 1972. It’s located on the eastern extreme of Monteverde and home to a myriad of plants, insects, and over four hundred species of birds. It is one of the few areas in Central America where the stunning quetzal can be found. The reserve features an excellent network of hiking trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. After an exciting educational hike with a naturalist guide through the reserve you’ll return to your hotel around midday. Now relax for the remainder of the day or take any of the optional tours available in the region (not included in trip cost). (B)

Day 6 MONTEVERDE - MANUEL ANTONIO

After an early breakfast, transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park in private van. On they way, you will visit the Carara National Park, an ideal spot to observe where tropical and dry forests connect. Surrounded by local agricultural land, this reserve is teeming with crocodiles, monkeys, sloths and scarlet macaws. After exploring the area, continue to Manuel Antonio National Park and check into your hotel. The late afternoon is free for you to enjoy the beach and relax. (B) NOTE: Manuel Antonio National Park open every day Dec 1 – June 30 and closed on Monday July 1 – 30.

Day 7 SAVEGRE RIVER RAFTING

After breakfast, travel to the Savegre River for a full day adventure including a panoramic 4 wheel drive into the remote back country. The Savegre River offers an exciting 4 hour Class II/III/IV rafting challenge, one of the most thrilling events of any Costa Rica tour. Along the way, there are great swimming holes and a large variety of birds and primary jungles. You will stop at a beautiful waterfall for some snacks, and lunch will be served at the Eco-tourism Lodge Coope Silencio at the end of the trip. After conquering the river, return to the hotel to spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool or exploring the beautiful surroundings. Overnight at a hotel in Manual Antonio. (B,L)

Day 8 PACIFIC BEACH FREE DAY

This day of your Costa Rica ecotour is yours to discover more of this beautiful area at your leisure. Choose to relax on the sunny beach, or, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, go sea kayaking, horseback riding, coastal paddling, hiking in the rainforest, or sport fishing. Manuel Antonio is undoubtedly one of the most lush and beautiful locations in Costa Rica, with spectacular sandy white beaches reaching forest-covered hills. Located on the central Pacific coast and covering an area of just 1,688 acres, the Manuel Antonio National Park protects beautiful beaches, the unique formation of Punta Catedral, scenic mangroves, some offshore islands and a humid tropical forest. The weather is always warm and very humid. Spend a third comfortable night at the hotel. (B)

Day 9 MANUEL ANTONIO FREE DAY

Enjoy the day to further explore Manuel Antonio on this last full day of your Costa Rica ecological tour, overnight in Manuel Antonio. (B)

Day 10 SAN JOSÉ - HOME

In the morning you'll be transported from the hotel to the International Airport in time for your flight home, ending Southern Explorations services. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
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  • apr
  • may
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  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Costa Rica has a mild, tropical climate with average annual temperatures for most of the country ranging between 70°F (22°C) and 85°F (27°C), with warmer temperatures on the moderately humid coasts and cooler temperatures in the mountains and Central Valley. The coolest months are from November to January and the warmest from March through May. Traditionally, the country's climate has been divided into two major seasons: dry (December to April) and rainy (May to November); however, this description is too simplistic for the complex climate of Costa Rica, which varies locally according to elevation, location, and other topographical influences. With more than a dozen complementary climate zones, Costa Rica is a pleasant place to visit any time of year.

Although rainfall patterns in Costa Rica are seasonal, they vary greatly throughout the country due to the mountain ranges that run from the northwest to the southeast and divide the nation into the Pacific and Caribbean slopes, and the central highlands. The wonderful thing about the Costa Rican rain is that it often comes later in the day, offering at least about 5 hours of daily sunshine, and when one coast receives more rain, the other coast tends to be far drier so even the "rainy" season is not what one might expect.

The Pacific coast of Costa Rica is generally a few degrees warmer and less humid than its Caribbean counterpart, receiving most of its rain from May through November. The North Pacific Region is often called the "Gold Coast" due to its sunnier and much drier climate, which averages around 89°F (32°C). During the dry season, no rain may fall for several months in this microclimate. The Central Pacific is greener, due to more rainfall, and gets increasingly humid as you head south.

While the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica tends to receive more rain than the Pacific coast, these showers give the coastal micro-climate more lush vegetation and less crowds. This humid coast is a bit cooler, with an average temperature of 82°F (28°C), and experiences its driest months during February and March. Annually in July and August, you can also expect the predictable, dry veranito, or little summer, to break up the green season.

The Central Valley and highlands, including the capital city of San Jose, are prized for their relatively mild temperate climate, with a mean annual temperature of 70°F (22°C). The higher altitude of this area makes for the pleasant weather year round that the locals call the "eternal spring."
 

SAN JOSE

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN58-750.3
FEB58-760.4
MAR59-790.5
APR62-793.1
MAY62-8010.5
JUN62-7911.0
JUL62-777.1
AUG61-7810.9
SEP61-7914.0
OCT60-7713.3
NOV60-775.3
DEC58-751.3

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

PUERTO LIMON

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN73-8112.6
FEB72-827.9
MAR74-837.6
APR75-8511.3
MAY76-8411.1
JUN77-8510.9
JUL76-8416.1
AUG75-8311.4
SEP77-856.4
OCT77-867.8
NOV76-8311.4
DEC74-8215.8

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

QUEPOS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN69-872.8
FEB69-871.4
MAR71-892.4
APR71-896.6
MAY71-8915.4
JUN71-8717.0
JUL69-8718.1
AUG69-8618.8
SEP71-8320.8
OCT71-8625.3
NOV71-8615.3
DEC69-866.6

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

LIBERIA

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN74-900.0
FEB76-910.0
MAR76-940.3
APR79-950.9
MAY79-949.2
JUN77-8812.3
JUL77-885.3
AUG76-898.1
SEP75-8812.8
OCT75-8611.2
NOV75-874.1
DEC75-890.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

Maps

Classic Costa Rica

Pricing
Per Person
$2,895

Single Supplement: $765
Single Supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.

 

Included in tour cost
  • Rafting equipment
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Classic Costa Rica

Trip Dates
Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Friday, November 16, 2018 to Sunday, November 25, 2018
Available
Friday, December 21, 2018 to Sunday, December 30, 2018
Available
Friday, January 25, 2019 to Sunday, February 3, 2019
Available
Friday, February 15, 2019 to Sunday, February 24, 2019
Available
Friday, March 8, 2019 to Sunday, March 17, 2019
Available
Friday, April 19, 2019 to Sunday, April 28, 2019
Available
Friday, May 17, 2019 to Sunday, May 26, 2019
Available
Friday, June 14, 2019 to Sunday, June 23, 2019
Available
Friday, July 19, 2019 to Sunday, July 28, 2019
Available
Friday, August 9, 2019 to Sunday, August 18, 2019
Available
Friday, September 13, 2019 to Sunday, September 22, 2019
Available
Friday, October 18, 2019 to Sunday, October 27, 2019
Available
Friday, November 15, 2019 to Sunday, November 24, 2019
Available
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 15, 2019
Available
Friday, January 17, 2020 to Sunday, January 26, 2020
Available
Friday, February 14, 2020 to Sunday, February 23, 2020
Available
Friday, March 6, 2020 to Sunday, March 15, 2020
Available
Friday, April 17, 2020 to Sunday, April 26, 2020
Available
Friday, May 22, 2020 to Sunday, May 31, 2020
Available
Friday, June 12, 2020 to Sunday, June 21, 2020
Available
Friday, July 17, 2020 to Sunday, July 26, 2020
Available
Friday, August 7, 2020 to Sunday, August 16, 2020
Available
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Sunday, September 13, 2020
Available
Friday, October 9, 2020 to Sunday, October 18, 2020
Available
Friday, November 6, 2020 to Sunday, November 15, 2020
Available
Friday, December 4, 2020 to Sunday, December 13, 2020
Available
Arenal
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Manuel Antonio
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Monteverde
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
San Jose
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
costa rica travelI have dreamed about going to Costa Rica for years and this trip exceeded all of my expectations! The pre-trip planning by the Southern Explorations was exceptional. With short notice, your team pulled out all of the stops to put together a customized, self-guided itinerary for us during one of the busiest times of the year. Your flawless attention to detail ensured that everything ran like clockwork, from the moment we were met at the airport and delivered to our first hotel to the final day when we dropped off our rental car at the airport before flying home. Each location on the itinerary offered a different type of scenery (and weather!) and an endless variety of activities to pursue, all of which were spectacular. Overall, it was a fascinating adventure and we will always treasure the memories. We look forward to booking our next adventure with Southern Explorations. - Lisa & Geoffrey Marsden, Canada (Costa Rica)

costa rica travelWhat a beautiful country and your company helped plan a seamless trip that flowed for us from place to place and let us experience Costa Rica in all its natural beauty- Gracias. Pura Vida. - Carol & Barry Berger, Florida (Costa Rica)

We absolutely enjoyed travelling with you. It was a great introduction to Costa Rica, the friendly Ticos and their beautiful country. The quality of your tour, the guides, the lodges & hotels, transportation and wide variety of activities was just perfect. This was certainly a grand way to have a celebration with my Canadian nursing class on the occasion of our 45th graduation anniversary! Thanks for making it an experience we will always remember fondly! ‘Rainforests & Volcanoes’ was a great tour. Thanks to all of your excellent staff in Seattle & in Costa Rica for making it so very interesting & exciting!  - Flo & Vic Boyko, Canada (Costa Rica)

Excellent trip, very well organized an choreographed by SE! Will most definitely recommend you to friends that may wish to plan similar trips. Thank you all, and best wishes to you.  - Lee Schultz, Maryland (Costa Rica)


Wonderfull trip, every day exceeded expectations. Thank you for the last minute work to get this organized, all went well. - Ken Stead (Custom Costa Rica)

We had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. All of the accommodations were better than expected and the food was terrific. The Costa Rican people are warm and friendly. We had a bridge wash out , due to the rainy season, which caused a major detour to get to our final destination. But that ended up being the most fun adventurous part of the vacation. We had a great time and will try to go back in the future.  - Les & Deb, Louisiana (Costa Rica)


We loved pretty much all of the excursions. Some of our favorite excursions included - Tabacon hot springs, Cloud forest hike, zip line and hike, and white water rafting. At Monteverde, we went to a local farm and had a tour of the coffee and sugar cane produced - it was fun, and very interesting. The accommodations were very nice, they all were immaculate and had wonderful surroundings. Our favorites were the Trapp family lodge (very bed and breakfast like, in the woods, close to the cloud forest) and the Costa Verde in Manuel Antonio (huge studio with kitchen, view of the ocean from the room's deck and walking distance to the national park and beach). I think the guide team of Roxana and Antonio was a huge part of what made this a fantastic trip. Everybody's need was a priority and attended to with a lot of thought. Roxana was well educated and articulate in an interesting way about Costa Rica, all the places visited and everything seen along the way. They were both very friendly and welcoming - this created a fun vacation atmosphere and all activities were very enjoyable.  - Janet Murphy, Connecticut (Costa Rica)


There wasn’t a guide that I wouldn’t recommend on this trip. They were all very knowledgeable and enjoyable to talk to and ask questions. They seemed to enjoy being with travelers and we would recommend them to future travelers. Thank you for all your help for our memorable trip. After giving our comments we want to say that we did enjoy the trip very much and would love to go back down to Costa Rica in the future. A special thanks to Jonathan for his help in arranging the tour and helping to get things set up. - David and Jennifer Watt (Costa Rica)ica in all its natural beauty- Gracias. Pura Vida. - Carol & Barry Berger, Florida (Costa Rica)


I just wanted to let you guys know what an amazing time we had in Costa Rica. The itinerary you set up for us was outstanding and the guides were superb. The support and help we received from Jonathan (Borgida) booking our trip at your office was first class. We enjoyed everything about the trip, the accommodations, food, guides, everything was perfect. Thank you so much and we will definitely use you again and recommend your services to anyone who is planning a trip to Costa Rica.  - Josh Cook, Colorado (Costa Rica)


Our tour guide, Pedro Bollannios was terrific. He was a true naturalist genuinely interested in passing on his knowledge of the environment to us, as well as providing a sense of adventure. Overall, an excellent trip. I definitely plan to return to Costa Rica in the future for a more in depth exploration of the culture and rain forests. Thanks! - Vishal Patel (Costa Rica)

 

Costa Rica - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that take you from volcanoes to beaches, with all of the natural beauty, wildlife, and adventure found in between. These itineraries vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Costa Rica tour for you if our current itineraries are not quite what you are looking for. We can also add extensions onto any of our existing tours.
Q: When is the best time to go to Costa Rica?
A: Costa Rica is best visited during the dry season, which runs from December to May, with the busiest times of year being around Christmas, the New Year, and Easter.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: Costa Rica’s mild, tropical climate makes it a great destination most of the year. From November to May you can expect temperatures in the low-70s to upper-80s, depending on the region you’re exploring, and little rainfall. The rainy season (May to November) offers similar temperatures with frequent afternoon rain storms. May and November are transitional months and can offer nice weather. Please see the weather tab on your specific trip for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like on a Costa Rica tour?
A: A typical day in Costa Rica will vary from tour to tour, but you can generally expect to start your excursions right after breakfast, with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your accommodations in the late afternoon, with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Costa Rica?
A: Our Costa Rica trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Costa Rica?
A: Most of our Costa Rica trips are between seven and 10 days, depending on how much of the country you would like to see.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. December through April are especially popular times for Costa Rica travel, so more advance planning is ideal. For the Christmas holiday season and the week prior to Easter, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including boutique properties and larger business-style hotels. Throughout the rest of the country we work with a combination of resorts, small traditional hotels, and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Eight travelers is the maximum for our Costa Rica trips, but the majority of our departures are private.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal, which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary. This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.