An unusual path offers variety and uniqueness during your Costa Rica vacation, allowing you a personalized experience away from the familiarity of the beaten path. Follow the coastal road less traveled along the Pacific and see the splendors of the secluded and hidden beaches, national parks, and volcanic landscapes often overlooked by travelers. Lounge in natural thermal springs hidden under the jungle canopy and search for migrating whales and passing dolphins on a catamaran cruise. Find active...
Heredia – Arrival in Costa Rica
The bustling streets of San Jose set the stage of Costa Rica’s blend of exciting tropical destinations and hidden treasures found across the mountains and along the shores. The Gold Museum represents the grandeur of pre-Columbian design with displays of golden idols, jewelry, and coins while the mansions in Barrio Amón depict the prestige of 19th and 20th-century plantation owners around the first coffee boom. Your private transfer greets you upon arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport as the movement of the city pulses around the historical city center and along the neoclassical architecture of National Theater and the aisles of the 19th-century Central Market.
You venture outside of the city and into a township edging the ridges of the Central Valley. Heredia was once home to the coffee growing aristocracy and continues to offer vast landscapes on which locals and corporations tend to their thriving crop. Spanish colonial architecture punctuates the historical grounds providing a unique ambiance far removed from San Jose, though less than seven miles away. Students from the Universidad Nacional linger in the cafes sipping coffee, and discussing pop culture or philosophies learned during class as mango trees shade the walkways along Central Park and frame the 18th-century façade of the nearby Basilica. You will soon reach the comforts of Cariari Bed & Breakfast where you will stay in their royal suite. The reception at this full service hotel warmly greets you with a welcome drink. The friendly staff escort to your room where you can relax and take in your first impressions of beautiful Costa Rica.
Playa Uvita – Enjoy a 4x4 Excursion to the Costa Ballena and Playa Uvita
In the morning, the sunlight washes over the greenery surrounding Heredia and your cozy accommodation, Cariari Bed & Breakfast. The clay-colored thrush perches on the trees outside the dining room and twitters with a delightful whistle as the scent of coffee drifts between the tables. You enjoy a large plate of colorful seasonal fruits before today's adventure begins. After breakfast, you take part in a coffee tour, following your guide on the trails weaving through the organic grounds. White petals blossom on the plants and contain the fragrance of jasmine, and your guide explains that coffee is part of the jasmine family. The plants do not grow in straight rows but have been raised naturally, shaping their sloped surroundings as opposed to the opposite.
The plants can grow up to 11.5 feet tall and produce red cherries, not the brown beans you expected to find. Rows of cherries dry in the natural heat of the sunlight, resting on elevated beds resembling hammocks. The scent of the drying cherries fills the air. Inside a small roasting room, your guide provides you with three different types of roasted beans, light, medium, and dark, in which you can find the aromas of the main varieties of coffee. At the end of the tour, you enter a dining room where three empty cups are arranged in front of your seat.
Your guide heats water to a perfect 195 degrees Fahrenheit and brews the two different coffees in front of you. You take a spoon a sample the first cup of coffee, finding a balance of bitter, sour, and sweet notes. The scent of cinnamon and tangerine accompany the delicious flavor, accounting for the distinctive properties of the coffee harvested around Costa Rica. Your private driver greets you after the tour and escorts you out of Heredia and the Central Valley for a 4x4 journey to reach Costa Ballena. The coast is named for the way two beaches reveal themselves during low tied to resemble a whale’s tail.
Playa Uvita – Explore Playa Uvita with your Choice of Fascinating Excursion
The southern Pacific coast remains tranquil in its absence of crowds and enchanting in its natural beauty. In the morning, the sunlight shines through the windows of your private villa, and your quiet accommodations offer pristine luxury and seclusion with views to the breathtaking edges of Marino Ballena National Park. The protected landscape encompasses more than 13,600 acres of primary and secondary rainforest, swamp, mangrove, wetlands, and Pacific beaches. The toco toucan perches in the treetops and calls out in the cool breeze above the emerald canopy.
Their bills can grow longer than nine inches and glows yellow and orange. After breakfast, you can choose between your preferred excursions, ranging from a private surf lesson to whitewater rafting. For a touch of nature, you may choose to venture into Corcovado National Park on a guided hike. The park overtakes nearly 165 square miles and harbors 140 different species of mammals and 400 different bird species. Your guide points into the trees quickly after your arrival, where a duo of sloths clings to the tree.
Wild sloths sleep between eight and 10 hours a day, but move slowly and deliberately, causing people to think they are lazy and always napping. A troop of white-headed capuchin monkeys scramble through the long branches and leap between the trees. They use their prehensile tails to help balance as they forage for nuts or fruits. Seeing the active wildlife is enthralling, bringing to light Costa Rica’s natural majesty. The scent of pine lingers amidst the tropical heat settled beneath the rainforest canopy. Your guide leads you towards La Llorona Waterfall, where the 100-foot tall cascade spills over the cliff onto the thin beach dividing Sirena and San Pedrillo. Upon returning to the hotel, you can relax in the infinity pool or take to the white sands of Uvita Beach to enjoy the refreshingly warm Pacific water.
Manuel Antonio – Transfer to the Central Pacific Coast at Manuel Antonio
Before breakfast, you find an orange-collared manakin zipping through the trees outside of your villa. The orange neck contrasts with the black wings and crown and the males whistle with a clear, swift call while stretching their wings to produce a loud snap that sounds like a twig breaking in the trees. At breakfast, you bask in the beauty that is balancing the forest landscape and splashing waves of the Pacific. You sip your fresh coffee searching for similar notes you discovered during your coffee tour before your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby.
You travel north to your stunning resort nestled into the opulence of Manuel Antonio National Park. Steep cliffs create a backdrop to your secluded resort offering views to the marvels of the tropical flora, fauna, and coastal scenery. The sea breeze rustles the palm trees that frames the golden sand. Rainforest carpets the bordering ridges while the scent of herbs emanates from the vegetable garden on the property. For a spectacular welcome to the multitudes of Manuel Antonio and your eco-luxury resort, you will board a catamaran to tour the Pacific coast.
Your skipper will cast the sails and quickly catches the wind. Sea spray mists from the hull of the boat and lands on your cheeks as pelicans glide over the water searching for active fish and snowy ibises perch on the banks of the estuary sifting in the soil for crabs and insects. The comfortable catamaran provides an elegant ride floating along the water before your skipper points to a pod of spotted dolphins swimming on the horizon.
Rio Perdido – Venture to Guanacaste to Delight in Thermal Mineral Pools
Juicy mango fills the dining room with vibrant yellow hues and delicious aromas before your coffee arrives at the table. The gorgeous indigo colors of the Pacific shine against the golden sands of the coastline. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby ready to drive you north into the beautiful forests of Guanacaste, located in Costa Rica’s northwestern territory. Your remarkable eco-lodge blends into nature, offering a distinctive beauty complimented by the surrounding rainforest and inherent luxury.
The grand resort encompasses 600 acres of private reserve and includes a thermal pool heated by the magma flowing deep beneath the earth’s surface. After taking the time to settle into the comforts of the resort, you venture into the gorge. Dwarf trees grow along the edges above the canyon while the canopy inside the gorge reaches heights of up to 160 feet. The natural water and heat offer moisture to the surrounding soil and fauna, creating an oasis in the otherwise arid climate of Guanacaste.
You cross a series of bridges, including a hanging bridge reaching 200 feet long that connect the hotel to the reserve. Eight separate springs fill the thermal pools, which blend with the natural river to create a variety of temperatures enriched by the natural minerals taken from the magma. You dip your toes into the first pool finding a hot, inviting temperature while a motmot sits in the trees around the quiet pool with its iridescent blue crown matching the small tassels dangling from its tail feathers.
Rio Perdido – Relish a Private Hike in the Rainforest for Active Wildlife
In the morning, the sounds of the toucans in the trees fill the air, accompanying the aroma of pineapple at breakfast. You enjoy the exclusive and secluded ambiance of your resort, basking in the surrounding beauty of Costa Rica with ease. You set out onto the trails winding through the reserve once more, following your naturalist guide eager to introduce you to the flora and fauna of Guanacaste. You start early on the trail leading to the Las Tumbas lookout creating nearly a five to six-mile loop. Your guide becomes excited at the sight of yellow-naped parrots lounging in the bare branches at the top of the canopy.
They are uncommon due to their declining numbers caused by deforestation and the active pet trade. Their emerald plumage nearly blends into the surrounding leaves, and they readily and easily mimic sounds, from the human voice to the rustling leaves. Their green forehead and crown have a strand of bright yellow leading down the back of their neck. The ascent leads you up to 800 feet above sea level to a plateau, and the panoramic view overtakes the Guanacaste volcanoes whose bubbling activity heats the thermal pools around the gorge. Your guide points to the rugged peaks of Miravalles and the Tenorio volcanoes and the eroded volcanic rocks create spectacular formations rising out of the surrounding canopy for an unforgettable landscape.
Rio Perdido – Revel in Luxury or Adventure with a Day at your Leisure
After breakfast, the day is yours to indulge in the splendors of your resort and the comforts of isolation off the beaten path. Take to the trails once more for a waterfall hike or relax in the luxurious spa of the resort to indulge in a rejuvenating massage. For a relaxing exploration of the landscape, you could take a guided tubing excursion through the canyon. After putting on a life-vest and helmet, sit in a tube and float down wading water.
Your body dips in and out of the refreshing temperate river as the banks turn from soft soil to smooth rock walls. Howler monkeys linger in the trees and watch as you pass below while the granite frames the banks with jagged boulders emerging from the forest shrubs and greenery. The whitewater splashes up along the rocks as the water begins to rush and the river carries you through the narrow ravine with the inflatable tube bouncing against the protruding stones.
The water splashes onto your cheeks offering a soothing contrast to the tropical jungle heat. You feel in your own little adventurous world separate from the familiar path of Costa Rica. Upon returning to the resort, you can choose to partake in a tranquil spa treatment celebrating the rich minerals in the volcanic soil around the gorge. The resort has harvested the mud before you left for your rafting trip, allowing you to relax in the comforts of the outdoor spa with the natural compounds coating your body and revitalizing your skin.
Rio Perdido – Depart for Home
You have spent your time traversing the secluded splendors along the Pacific coast and reveled in the adventure and unparalleled spirit of Pura Vida, the pure life. While at breakfast, you search the trees for any signs of brilliant birdlife, finding parakeets fluttering in groups of six. You sip your coffee and absorb the decadent flavors before meeting your private transfer in the lobby, and then make your way to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia with plenty of time to check in for your flight home.
- Enjoy the unique experience of drifting down a canyon river on an inner tube for a more thrilling pace beneath the rainforest canopy
- Delight in the flavors of Costa Rican coffee with a private coffee tour along the grounds of a private plantation
- Glide through the rainforest canopy on a zip line excursion crossing the canopy of Manuel Antonio National Park
- Relax in the natural thermal pools heated by the volcanic activity of the Guanacaste region, hidden at the base of the gorge
- Explore the gorgeous waters of the Pacific Ocean while in Marino Ballena National Park in search of dolphins and whales while on a private catamaran
- Relish the chance to follow the trails in Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park and around the Guanacaste volcanic region with naturalist guides
- Delight in a rappelling expedition taking you down alongside a rushing waterfall at more than 160 feet tall
- Luxuriate in gorgeous lodges that offer eco-friendly comfort on opulent grounds situated off Costa Rica’s beaten path
Costa Rica is a place in which you could happily spend the rest of your life in an attempt to discover the hidden treasures found in the distant nooks and crannies that stretch from north to south, east to west. Your 9-day Costa Rica vacation immerses you in the beginnings of your lifelong connection with the scenery, wildlife, and people who will captivate you with their lifestyle dedicated to Pura Vida. The world moves at a slower pace, and you will have a chance to indulge in the wealth of flavor found in luxurious accommodations, delicious cuisine, and exciting activities.
The journey begins with your arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to Cariari Bed & Breakfast in the town of Heredia. Explore the historical colonial buildings or relax in the comforts of your lodge at your preferred pace. Take your time wandering through the coffee plantation on a guided tour to learn about the history of cultivation and the quality of the organic beans produced on the property before traveling to your magnificent resort near Playa Uvita.
Delight in the many excursions you can choose to enjoy as you indulge in the grand opulence bordered by golden beaches and emerald rainforest. Trek the trails of Corcovado National Park. Travel the landscape on horseback or venture to view waterfalls and rushing rivers with a rafting expedition. While at your resort in Manuel Antonio National Park you can enjoy the remarkable biodiversity of Costa Rica’s smallest protected landscape. Bask on the soft sands and warm Pacific waters, search for butterflies and scarlet macaws while zip lining or rappel within the forest canopy.
Board your private catamaran and set sail on the ocean in search of migrating whales between November and April, or super dolphin pods enjoying the wake. The splendors of Guanacaste emerge from the rolling volcanic peaks and encompassing dwarf forest and meeting point of two separate gorges. While enjoying the pleasures of your luxury resort, you can also take part in the marvelous adventures offered around the stunning landscape, including hiking to the natural thermal baths, trekking to magnificent lookouts, and riding an inner tube down the river’s whitewater framed by the canyon walls. Learn from our other travelers by reading Costa Rica vacation reviews and have further inspiration for your own adventure.
$1,435 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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