5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

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  • Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Duration:  9 days (approx.)
Experience Costa Rica's northwestern highlights on this 9-day tour, including Arenal Volcano National Park, Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Vida Aventura Nature Park in Guanacaste. Explore the natural wonders of land and water, where approximately six percent of the world’s most bio-diverse species reside. Relax in a thermal hot spring as you watch the active Arenal Volcano, spot wildlife on a cruise through a tropical rainforest, explore the forest canopy on a Sky Walk and ride on horseback along mountain trails – with an extra day to relax at your leisure or continue your adventure with multiple options.

Highlights

  • 9-day tour of northwest Costa Rica from San Jose
  • Get up-close views of Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal)
  • Soak in thermal hot springs at Baldi resort
  • Cruise down Rio Frío and spot birdlife in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
  • Soar along a zipline and horseback ride in Vida Aventura Nature Park in Guanacaste
  • See the forest canopy on a Sky Walk tour in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • 8 nights of accommodation, transportation and entrance fees included

What You Can Expect

9-Day Best of Northwest Costa Rica from San Jose: Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest and Guanacaste

Sky Walk at Monteverde Reserve

With eight nights of accommodation in your choice of 4-star or 4.5-star hotels and transportation between all sites, this tour is a great way to explore Costa Rica’s top attractions!

Itinerary

Day 1: San José
After your arrival at the San José airport, you’ll be greeted by your driver and transferred to your selected hotel. Your guide will review the itinerary with the group and answer any questions or concerns regarding your 8-day tour.

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

Day 2: San José – La Fortuna (L, D)
Head north to explore the impressive Arenal Volcano, stopping first in the town of Sarchí, known for its family-operated woodworking factories and artisan craftsmanship. Choose from more than 200 stores to see the wooden bowls, rocking chairs and traditional carretas – elaborately painted oxcarts that once carried coffee from the highlands to the coastal port.

Next, travel past cattle ranches and diverse plantations growing agricultural products and ornamental plants. When you arrive in La Fortuna, enjoy lunch in a cozy restaurant right in front of Arenal Volcano, affording excellent views of this 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). Later, savor dinner while admiring another magnificent view of the active volcano and be on the lookout for explosions of incandescent light. Afterward, relax at your hotel.

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

Day 3: La Fortuna (L)
Get ready for your adventure at Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, considered one of the most biologically diverse in Costa Rica! Begin your journey in the village of Los Chiles, a border town just two miles (4 km) from Nicaragua.

From here, embark on a 4-hour floating safari along the Rio Frío through tropical rain forest and pastures until you arrive at the marsh, Lago Caño Negro. Within the refuge, view a variety of resident and migratory birds plus iguanas, sloths, turtles, caimans and three different species of monkeys.

Your cruise will end in the afternoon, and you’ll have the rest of the evening to do as you wish in La Fortuna.

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

Day 4: 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 5: 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 6: Monteverde – Tamarindo (B)
Start your day with breakfast, and then take a 3-hour trip to Guanacaste, a province known for its beaches and its dry tropical forest. Along the way, take in the amazing views and learn about the history of the local towns from your knowledgeable guide.

Overnight: Hotel Tamarindo Diria or Cala Luna Hotel (or similar) in Tamarindo

Day 7: Guanacaste (L)
Head to Vida Aventura Nature Park, located in the Guanacaste mountain range, for a full day of ziplining and horseback riding, as well as relaxing in hot springs and a mud bath! When you arrive, put on a harness and get trained on riding the zipline. Then, take off through the canyon and soar around the forest canopy along seven cables.

After you’ve landed, mount a horse for a ride over hillside trails, learning about the diverse flora and fauna as you cross streams and pastures. Keep an eye out for two active volcanoes, Rincon de la Vieja and Miravalles, and admire the spectacular panoramic views along the way.

When you’ve completed the horseback ride, enjoy a typical Costa Rican lunch. Then, soak in a thermal mud bath and hot spring in gorgeous surroundings. Lather soft volcanic mud on your skin and dip into a geothermal pool to washing it away, soothing any sore muscles as you relax.

Overnight: Hotel Tamarindo Diria or Cala Luna Hotel (or similar) in Tamarindo

Day 8: Guanacaste
Enjoy a day of free time, either exploring Guanacaste at your leisure or enjoying optional tours (own expense), including Palo Verde National Park, a city tour of Liberia, a 1-day tour to Nicaragua or the Sky Walk at Tenorio Volcano National Park.

Overnight: Hotel Tamarindo Diria or Cala Luna Hotel (or similar) in Tamarindo

Day 9: Tamarindo – Liberia
You'll be picked up at the lobby of your hotel and transfer you to Liberia International Airport (LIR) for your departing flight.

Note: If you would like to end your tour in San Jose, a private transfer can be arranged and be paid on the day of travel (approx. USD $205 per person)

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

It was an excellent well organized tour. The tour company did not miss a beat, our hotel rooms were booked at every location and tours were timely with pick up.
I was traveling with my mother who is 78 years old. They were incredibly respectful of her. Some of the activities were strenuous, and they ensured she was safe every step of the way.

Good:
We chose the 4 star option hotel package and the hotels were very nice. The tours were well done and the guides were friendly, knowledgeable and courteous.
Advice:
Be ready for long, bumpy van rides. The roads are rough and everything is spaced apart.
In Monteverde you will do the sky walk tour, there are actually 3 things that you can do in the Reserve the sky walk, sky tram and zip lining. The sky walk is 2 hours and it is an active walk. I wished we would have done the zip lining at our own expense. People raved about it and how safe it was, and the sky tram was included with zip lining.
The bad though not bad enough to reduce the rating:
In Guanacaste we stayed at Cala Luna Hotel, elegant hotel and the food was incredible. Access to beach swimming was disappointing. The beach was close, however there was nowhere to swim unless you hiked.
The Vida Aventura Nature Park tour, they could not do the tour on the day offered and we were lucky to have a free day and switched the tour. I had mixed feelings about this tour. There was no warning that it was going to be a 3 hour van ride each way we went through Liberia. Although fun, the zip lining did not seem all that safe and the trails to some of the lines were tough. The horse riding was great and very adventurous. The electricity was out so they could not fill the pools, so we drove to another hot springs location and it was a total let down. It was just pools in the direct sun that might have been natural water, but looked just like a pool with chlorine. So due to circumstances beyond their control we did not experience their hot springs or mud bath.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Excellent trip! Hotel choices, the tours, and trips were all very well planned. The punctuality of tour guides was very impressive. We had a wonderful time and highly recommend it!!

4 star rating: Recommended March 2015

This felt like a bit of a gamble because we had no idea whether would be in a van with 4 well-behaved adults or a bus with 20 obnoxious ones, but it turned out to be the former. Our tour guide was helpful and extremely knowledge. Arenal and Monteverde were great, the beach a bit overly tourist.

From USD $ 1,078.99

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Tour code: 5766SJDAY

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