Insider's Guide to San Jose

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

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  • Location:San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Duration:11 days (approx.)

11-Day Tour from San Jose: Monteverde Cloud Forest and Tortuguero, Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Parks

Explore nature up close on this 11-day tour of Costa Rica, including Tortuguero National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Manuel Antonio National Park. Discover the treetop canopy on a Sky Walk, spot butterflies and monkeys on a forest hike and watch the activity of Arenal Volcano as you relax in a thermal spring. You’ll be amazed by all Costa Rica has to offer, from its white-sand beaches to its tropical jungles, each supporting an incredible array of diverse wildlife.


  • 11-day guided tour of Costa Rica from San Jose
  • Explore Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero) by boat
  • Visit Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal)
  • Soak in thermal hot springs at Baldi resort and watch the active volcano
  • Take a Sky Walk tour in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Enjoy the beaches and tropical forests of Manuel Antonio National Park (Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio)
  • 10 nights of accommodation, transportation and entrance fees included

What You Can Expect

11-Day Tour from San Jose: Monteverde Cloud Forest and Tortuguero, Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Parks

Manuel Antonio National Park

With ten overnight stays in your choice of 3.5-star or 4-star hotels with transportation between all locations, this tour is a great way to explore Costa Rica’s best national parks and nature reserves and see both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts!


Day 1: San Jose
After you arrive at the San Jose airport, you’ll be transferred to your hotel in San Jose. Take time to relax and refresh after your journey and prepare for your Costa Rican adventure!

Overnight: Country Inn and Suites or Studio Hotel (or similar) in San Jose

Day 2: San Jose – Tortuguero (L, D)
Depart early in the morning from your hotel aboard a comfortable coach with your tour group, heading toward Tortuguero. On the way, pass though Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of the largest in Costa Rica.

After you’ve stopped for breakfast in the town of Guapiles, board a boat at the pier for a 2-hour cruise to the town of Tortuguero. During the ride, keep an eye out for all kinds of birds and other wildlife.

Next, check into your hotel in Tortuguero, located on the northeast Caribbean and known for its canals that traverse the national park. In the afternoon, enjoy a delicious lunch and then visit the local town, learning about the cultural traditions of the local community from your knowledgeable guide.

Overnight: Mawamba Lodge or Pachira Lodge (or similar) in Tortuguero

Day 3: Tortuguero
Rise early for an exceptional visit to the nearby Tortuguero National Park, exploring the wildlife sanctuary by boat. Discover the lush vegetation that abounds in the tropical rainforest, a natural habitat for more than 300 species of birds plus a wide incredible array of other wildlife, such as monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles.

Returning to your tour hotel in the afternoon, enjoy free time at your leisure. Swim or lounge by the pool, check out the souvenir shop, walk the nearby trails or just lie in a hammock and relax.

Overnight: Mawamba Lodge or Pachira Lodge or similar in Tortuguero

Day 4: Tortuguero – La Fortuna (B, L)
After breakfast, depart again for the canals to transfer by car to Arenal. Later, enjoy a delicious lunch back in the town of Guapiles and arrive at your selected hotel around 4pm to check in.

Overnight: Arenal Paraiso or Mountain Paradise Hotel (or similar) in La Fortuna

Day 5: Arenal (B, D)
Once you’ve eaten breakfast, head with your guide to Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) and take a short hike around to check out the breathtaking views. The impressive Arenal Volcano is a natural phenomenon that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

In the afternoon, unwind in one of the best thermal baths in the area at Baldi Hot Springs resort, with optional massage or other treatment (own expense; reserved in advance). In the evening, dine on a sumptuous feast while taking in spectacular views of the active volcano and be on the lookout for explosions of incandescent light. Afterward, relax at your hotel.

Overnight: Arenal Paraiso or similar, Mountain Paradise Hotel or similar in La Fortuna

Day 6: La Fortuna – Monteverde
Transfer to Monteverde, including a 30-minute boat tour across Arenal Lake. Along the way, spot several small islands and enjoy panoramic views of the natural surroundings. Once you’ve arrived on the other side, ride in a comfortable van directly to your hotel.

After checking in, explore the area at your leisure or just enjoy the breathtaking views while you relax. You’ll have several options (own expense), including a canopy tour, frog pond or butterfly garden.

Overnight: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge or El Establo Hotel (or similar) in Monteverde

Day 7: Monteverde
Depart for the Monteverde Reserve for a 2-hour Sky Walk tour – a series of suspension bridges and well-maintained walking trails built 984 feet (300 meters) above the tropical forest canopy of Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Explore the forest safely and easily as you admire the area’s flora and fauna with commentary by an expert guide. After you descend, enjoy the rest of the afternoon relaxing at your leisure.

You’ll have the additional option to go on a canopy tour, frog pond or butterfly garden (own expense).

Overnight: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge or El Establo Hotel (or similar) in Monteverde

Day 8: Monteverde – Quepos (B)
After breakfast, board the coach for a 4-hour drive toward your last destination, Manuel Antonio National Park (Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio), known for its pristine beaches bordered by tropical rain forest that edges right up to shore.

When you arrive, visit one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches and relax on the soft white sand while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Although the smallest of Costa Rica’s 20 national parks, Manuel Antonio is one of the most stunning with its coves of crystal clear water along the bright blue Pacific Coast.

After you settle into your hotel, enjoy a relaxing evening in Quepos, named after the indigenous people who inhabited the region in the colonial era. Gateway to the national park, the town supports a spirited nightlife with its many bars and restaurants.

Overnight: Casitas Eclipse or Parador Hotel (or similar) in Quepos

Day 9: Quepos
Experience more of Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most famous, on this day tour with your group. Be amazed by the natural beauty and abundant animal life as you take in the peaceful atmosphere of a tropical forest during a walk with your guide.

Learn about the life cycles, behaviors and other special adaptations of the flora and fauna, including numerous types of colorful butterflies, birds, snakes and orchids. You’ll be awed by the wonders you discover in this marvelous environment.

Keep an eye out for the endangered squirrel monkey and the white faced capuchin monkey, 3- and 2-toed sloths, white-nosed coatis and black-collared hawks as you pass cedar trees, bully trees and silk cotton trees, as well as swamps of red, buttonwood white mangrove.

Overnight: Casitas Eclipse or Parador Hotel (or similar) in Quepos

Day 10: Quepos – San Jose
Set out on a 3-hour return trip to San Jose, arriving at your hotel in the afternoon. You’ll have the rest of the day to spend at your leisure, just relaxing or exploring on your own. If you’d like, enjoy an optional city tour or coffee tour (own expense).

Overnight: Country Inn and Suites or Studio Hotel (or similar) in San Jose

Day 11: San Jose (B)
After your final breakfast with the group, you’ll receive complimentary pickup from the hotel lobby with a transfer to the San Jose airport.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015




5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

Amazing tour, everything was taken care of. Had a blast in Costa Rica and well worth the price!
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Tour code: 5766SJ11DAY


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