Best of Costa Rica Tour 2019-2020

A 9 day trip to Costa Rica 
4.67 out of 5 stars
174 reviews

Customized for 2019, open the treasure chest of Costa Rican wonders and indulge in its charms. On this best of Costa Rica tour you will be introduced and reintroduced to the endless luxuries of the country’s natural splendor. Glide through the trees and discover where the drifting sky brushes through the canopy. Witness the shimmering water of the sapphire Pacific Ocean and wander through the emerald rainforest. Indulge in natural hot springs and eat breakfast while watching steam rise from the crater of an active volcano. Find riches, quintessence, and majesty when you uncover Costa Rica.   

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

San Jose, Tiskita Private Reserve, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Culture Preserved

Welcome to San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. The city sits in a valley surrounded by meandering mountains. The streets bustle with endless life.  It is easy to be swept up in the energetic movements and the variety of neighborhoods’ enigmatic charms. Vibrant murals decorate streets depicting the beauty of everyday life and celebrating the country’s culture. The Central Market encompasses a full city block and was created in the late 19th century. The long, narrow pathways hold over 200 shops and stalls. The aroma of fresh produce, from bananas to soursop, a large creamy textured fruit, fills the air. Small restaurants emanate the flavors of the day, from fresh coffee to ceviche.

Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your fabulous accommodation located in an old colonial mansion. A graceful terrace restaurant highlights the city’s history amidst the encompassing mountain landscape beyond.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: The Pleasantries of the Jungle

Breakfast is filled with bright, natural light beaming over the mountains and the aromas of rich Costa Rican coffee. The brightness of tropical fruit, such as papaya and mango, bring a wealth of color to the table.

After your meal your private guide meets you at the hotel. Venture out of the valley and to the edge of the southern Pacific coast. Near the border of Panama you will find a jungle lodge located on a private nature reserve. The secluded setting is enhanced with natural rainforest and luxurious Pacific beaches. The reserve encompasses 800-acres of land and is home to a garden of 125 different varieties of tropical fruit. The rainforest encircles your hotel but opens for a view of the calm cobalt sea. The colors layer themselves and grow darker closer to the horizon. The water wades against the shore and the colors glow in the sunset. 

The Central American squirrel monkey is endangered but can be seen scouring the forest trees for fruit. The monkeys have an orange back and white face. They grow up to 11.5 inches and their tail is longer than their body. You can even see small birds following the monkeys around searching for tiny insects disturbed by the monkey’s foraging.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 3: Watching the Treetops Come to Life

The morning comes to life with the sounds of birds calling out to one another. Crested guan can grow up to 36 inches and weigh almost four pounds. They are similar to a turkey and call out amidst the forest underbrush.

After breakfast you will have a private guided tour of the surrounding rainforest trails. Over 275 different types of birds have been identified around the private reserve. Magnificent frigatebirds grow up to 45 inches and nest close to the ocean. Males have dark black plumage with a scarlet throat that inflates during mating season. The colors of the rainforest swell within the feathers of the avifauna. The birdcalls come loudly and wildly. It sounds like the trees are singing. Return to the lodge for lunch and relax with a tremendous view of the nearby ocean.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 4: The Brightness of the Rainforest

Wake up to the sweet smells of the organic fruit orchard hidden by the sprawling rainforest. The vivacious colors and flavors of the garden sweep through the tree line, and include guava and sweet lemon, mangosteen, and starfruit. After indulging in the garden and its sweet rewards, the day is yours to explore the area and wildlife as you desire. Surf the perfect barrels off the Pacific shore or horseback ride along the deep jungle trails.

Punta Banco is a village of about 200 people that sits along black-sand beaches. The locals are always smiling and the restful, relaxed atmosphere comes from the small amount of surfers that come for the pristine, deserted water. Howler monkeys rustle the trees and wail in the early morning hours. Their black fur and long faces create a rambunctious echo in the canopy.

The water is calm and cool as it pushes against the shore. The trees sway in the ocean breeze. Dolphins leap out of the water and arch through the air. The common dolphin can grow over eight feet long. The dolphin’s silver and white color catches the sunlight. You can settle into the sand and relax in the salty air. Sporadic surfers turn into silhouettes, riding the distant waves.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 5: The Rising Landscape

The morning sounds are familiar and comforting, from birdcalls to howler monkeys. You can taste the blossoming fruit from the orchard. The lodge has given you a tremendous view of sensational wildlife right at your doorstep.

After breakfast you depart the lodge and the Pacific, venturing back to the central mountains, arriving at Arenal. The region is home to the powerful tower of the Arenal volcanic summit. The mountain rises 5,427 feet over the sweeping rainforest and prairies. The aerial tram takes you on a ride through the canopy where you have a panorama of the surrounding landscape and its active guardian. The volcano erupted daily from 1968 until 2012, spilling effervescent magma over the western foothills.

The jade canopy sporadically blocks the volcano and exchanges the view with blossoming orchids and thick dangling vines. Sloths blend in with the trees but you can see one slowly making its way along entwining branches and vines. A three-toed sloth can climb up to 13 feet per minute and generally sleeps up to 18 hours each day. They have an ever-present smile on their round faces as they camouflage themselves against the landscape. In the afternoon you will settle into your fabulous accommodation that offers a remarkable view of the smoldering volcano.   

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Volcano’s Rush

The history and legend around the region and the volcano are vast and deep. As you eat breakfast the panorama of the crater stretches before you. Steam rises from the conical peak and joins the drifting, sparse clouds. The lunar landscape on the western foothills comes from newly cooled magma. Vivacious rainforest surrounds the black, craggy hillside. The landscape is tranquil and silent. In the afternoon you can tour through the canopy on a network of hanging bridges.

The verdant trees connect six suspension bridges that guide you past Arenal Volcano and into the homes of howler monkeys and motmots. The blue-crowned motmot grows up to 19 inches and its lower tail is shaded blue. They call out in low,and slow drawls similar to owls. The jade leaves hide iridescent orchids that blossom in a variety of colors, from purple to tiger striped petals. You have explored the rainforest on land and air, each moment unique, and each area a completely different ecosystem to discover.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 7: The Mountainous View

The lightshow of Arenal Volcano once performed nightly and lit up the entire sky. Today the rising steam creates images and shapes but the overflowing magma has yet to return. After breakfast you will have another opportunity to explore the surrounding landscape with a private guide before traveling to Monteverde, a rich and diverse area of tropical cloud forest. Pass by Lake Arenal, the largest fresh water body in Costa Rica spanning 33 square miles. The water is glassy and reflective. You once again see Arenal Volcano looming in the background.

The rainforest encircles the shores. En route to the mountainous forest you can stop at the Monteverde Cheese Factory. The farm was started by a Quaker family in the 1950s and produces 17 varieties of cheeses, and a selection of ice cream flavors as well. The greenhouse contains coconut and coffee plants that flavor the popular sweet treat. Cows roam the verdant fields and large fern leaves border the property. In the afternoon you will arrive at your resort hotel on the marvelous hillsides 4,200 feet above the valley.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Where Mountains Touch Sky

The Cloud Forest Reserve is a space where the rising mountains are overtaken by the movement of the sky. The Continental Divide travels through the forest, creating the mountains that direct waterways into either the Pacific or the Atlantic Oceans. The clouds rise up from the foothills, wind through the trees, and over the canopy in the early morning. You can watch the elegant motion of the sky sweep over the landscape and dissipate with the arrival of the sunlight. After breakfast you can explore the treetops on a canopy tour. The bark and branches are blanketed with mosses and bromeliads.

The scent of fern and fresh mist fills the air. You can hear the light twitter of resplendent quetzal, an elusive bird that nests in the canopy. Their green and crimson effervescent feathers stand out against the emerald leaves. The quetzal itself can grow up to 16 inches and its streamer like tail feathers can extend to another 26 inches. The sounds of the forest are serene and the images are breathtaking. You could spend a lifetime wandering through the trees and still not see everything the rainforest offers. A stream flows along the underbrush. The water brushes against the rocks and the expansive clouds have been replaced by rolling hills.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Knowing You Have Found the Best

Tapir forage in the underbrush and you can hear the crackling sound of twigs breaking. Birds rise just before dawn and the howler monkeys rally in the treetops. The morning feels quiet and different, when the wildlife is most active, yet the rest of the world seems fast asleep. The best of the wilderness, both diurnal and nocturnal, is awake and roaming through the rainforest.

You savor the variety of fresh tropical fruits at breakfast, from creamy coconut shavings to large pineapple slices. Soon your private transfer will escort you back to San Jose for your evening flight home. The beauty of Costa Rica has charmed you with its captivating landscapes and spellbinding nature.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.