Costa Rica Eco Tour Vacation: Pacuare, Arenal & Monteverde

A suspended bridge takes you over the canopy of the Santa Elena Cloud Forest for some impressive views.
A 7 day trip to Costa Rica 
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The natural springs in Arenal are heated by the volcanic activity. The largest lake in the country reflects the nearby volcano’s conical peak. Glacial blue waters wind around the foothills of the central mountains, coursing over boulders along the way. This 7-day vacation through Costa Rica brings you to the adventure and beauty of the country, wrapped in the rainforest and floating downstream. Whether you’re searching for a relaxing getaway or in need of an active exploration, Costa Rica offers the best of both worlds, filled with breathtaking scenery and spellbinding wildlife. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

San Jose, Arenal, Pacuare, Monteverde 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrival on the Jungle’s Edge

San Jose is a vibrant city filled with bustling streets. The mountains wrap around the valley and dwarf the urban skyline. The city’s charm quickly rises above the energetic arcades. The neoclassical National Theater adds a touch of decadence to the city. Classic colonial mansions now display elegant art galleries. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your luxurious centrally located accommodation. The wonders of Costa Rica are prevalent, reaching from all around the country and collecting themselves in the nation’s capital. A large fountain sits at the center of a roundabout and separates the neighborhoods of Los Yoses and San Pedro. Los Yoses is a modern neighborhood with a view to the mountainside.

Contemporary buildings line the streets and antique mansions rise as tall as the thin palms in the yard. Barrio Amon remains home to a collection of coffee grower mansions built in the late 19th century. Stroll down the street and become acquainted with the unique history of the city and surrounding country, from art-deco facades to Victorian buildings, each taking you deeper into the artistic center of San Jose. In the evening you can enjoy a taste of the contemporary cuisine at Doris Metropolitan. The restaurant believes in high quality, locally grown ingredients, right down to feeding their livestock grass and pineapple. For a truly decadent meal you can enjoy the lomito flambeado with gorgonzola cheese.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Travel the River

The morning rises with the sounds of the city. The streets fill with the usual bustle and the rich fragrance of Costa Rican roast coffee. Breakfast is vibrant down to the color of the tropical fruit, from bright red papaya to succulent yellow mango. After your meal you will meet your guide for the day and head to the banks of the Pacuare River in the Pacuare Gorge. The river runs over 67 miles until it reaches the Caribbean coast. Steep walls covered in lush greenery edge the river. The echoing rush of the water replaces the sounds of the city. The sky is bright above you and the gorge walls block out the remaining vast blue. The unfettered rainforest is home to sensational life, from active monkeys to colorful frogs.

Butterflies flutter before you eyes, their metallic blue and green shimmers in the sunlight. Hawks circle in the sky in search of breaching fish. Step onto the raft and begin your journey down the Lower River. In the afternoon you will arrive at your celebrated accommodation located on luxurious and vibrant acreage in a private reserve. The endless lushness encompasses the traditional bungalows built in the traditional Cabecar Indian style. Your private balcony looks over a marvelous vista of Pacuare riverbanks. In the evening the nocturnal sounds of the jungle provide a different soundtrack than the animals during the day. 

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

Day 3: Rush from the River

The morning comes along with the quiet rush of the river. Birdcalls from toucans and parakeets accompany the water. Capuchin monkeys rush through the canopy and bounce in the higher branches. Breakfast is abundant and filled with sweet slices of pineapple and fresh squeezed juice. After your meal you load the raft and continue downstream. The river is a compendium of whitewater and serene current. When the water slowly drifts you look out over the rising gorge cliffs and find stunning wildlife amidst the far-reaching trees and forceful boulders. Sloths move unhurriedly and their fur camouflages their bodies against the trees. When the whitewater returns you paddle down with exceptional speed. The cold water splashes into the air and lingers on your cheeks.

The raft presses against rocks and edges the gorge walls before settling once again in the calm current. In the afternoon you continue to Arenal, home to the Arenal Volcano, whose spectacular lava flow lasted from 1968 to 2010. Your accommodation offers you a grand view of the volcano’s summit, rising over 3,740 feet above the surrounding mixture of prairies and tropical forest. The hotel’s pools are fed by natural springs and bring a soothing and rejuvenating mineral quality, along with a refreshing variety of temperatures. Oftentimes you can look out onto the prairie and see horses grazing on the grass with the volcano creating a regal skyline.

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

Day 4: Legends of the Aquatic Pasts

The delicacies of breakfast are accompanied by a view of the volcano which creates an unparalleled ambiance to begin your day. Soon you will find yourself on the waters of Lake Arenal with the conical peak of Arenal Volcano rising in the distance. The steam creates its own set of drifting clouds moving through the vastly blue sky. Arenal Lake is the largest lake in Costa Rica and covers 33 square miles and a depth of 200 feet. The open fields give way to rising forests and rolls to the shores. A strong and cool breeze rushes over the water’s surface. The trees sway and leaves rustle. Rainbow bass flicker beneath the water and are incredibly active around sunrise and sunset.

The calm water reflects the surrounding natural landscape like a pristine mirror. Mist rises around you and with every paddle you feel yourself drawn closer to the foothills of the volcano. Woodpeckers carve into the trees and kingfisher swoop down to the water in search of fish. The Ringed Kingfisher can grow up to 16 inches long and has deep blue plumage with a shaggy crown of hair. If you listen closely you may be able to hear calls of an elusive quetzal. The iridescent plumage creates a stark contrast to the trees’ dark wood. Their ribbon-like tail feathers stream through the air and can extend up to three feet long. The tranquil beauty of the lake and the landscape show you the encompassing paradise.    

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Around the Clouds

Wake up to the paradisiacal sounds and sights of Arenal. The verdant greenery is endless. The conical volcano constantly reminds you of nature’s power and unpredictability. After breakfast you will have a private transfer and return to Arenal Lake to catch a water taxi. Soon you will come to the celebrated cloud forests around Monteverde. The cool, misty air stretches along the mountaintops of the Central Highlands, home to active and dormant volcanoes. Quetzals linger in the trees and the tropical lushness changes with the altitude. Find your hotel situated on the mountainside, overlooking the rolling mountaintops and impenetrable canopy.

Enter a butterfly garden which moderates the temperature to ensure a comfortable and thriving climate for the variety of butterfly species. Stroll through four separate habitats, home to over 30 species off butterfly and witness their graceful and colorful wings fluttering through the tropical foliage. The Glasswing perches on a bouquet of newly blossomed flowers. It averages a size of 2.3 inches. Its wings are clear and resemble an ornament of colorless stained glass bordered by a tinted red or orange coloration. When they flap their wings the light refracts and brings brief prisms. When the clouds begin to roll into the lower foothills you can look out over the forest and understand its namesake.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: Into the Clouds

The air is cooler in the higher altitude. The early morning clouds spread over the lower forest and bring a mist to the air. Your private balcony shows you the immense layers of nature, from the bright blue sky to the drifting blanket of clouds, and the mounds of trees that poke through. After breakfast you will make your way into the forest on a guided tour to experience the true splendor of the landscape and the incredible wildlife it houses. The tranquil encompassing brush is inspiring. The reserve totals 25,946 acres. In the midst of the lush jungle you venture into the canopy for different type of tour.

A sky tram will ferry you into the highest reaches of the trees. The trees open to a view of the surrounding rolling mountains. Arrive at the observation tower over 72 feet in the air. A slight breeze brushes against your face. The horizon is swollen with effervescent foliage. You begin to soar through the canopy on the network of zip lines around 2,525 feet long. The wind now whistles in your ears and the trees become a sensual blur of color and excitement. The wonders of the forest are not just in the clouds but the treetops, and the unique way you can experience them.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 7: The Adventure Home

The towering rainforest and the winding trails have brought you to the exceptional rewards of the Costa Rica’s natural wonders. The forest once again sings in the morning light, filled with birdcalls and rambunctious capuchin monkeys. Indulge in in a cup of rich Costa Rican coffee as you look out over the magnificent vista once more. After breakfast you will begin the journey back to the airport in San Jose. Your flight home will carry you back to the familiarity of everyday life, but your time in Costa Rica will always call you back for more emphatic adventure. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Costa Rica vacation packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $250 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $220 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $200 per person per day

The customized package will include hotels, airport transfers and other transportation within Costa Rica, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.