Luxuries of Costa Rica Vacation in Monteverde & Tamarindo: Cloud Forest, Hot Springs & More

A 9 day trip to Costa Rica 
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Listen to the tranquil sounds of crashing waves in the distance. Explore the landscape where the forest touches the clouds. On this getaway to Costa Rica you will find endless luxury wrapped in unparalleled landscape. Indulge in natural thermal hot springs that pour from volcanic foothills. Dip your toes into the soft sand of a quiet beach as iguanas sunbathe on the nearby rocks. The comforts of Costa Rica can be found in both cosmopolitan cities and the expanse of natural countryside. When you explore the rainforest and the beaches you find charm, bliss, and beauty.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

San Jose, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Tamarindo Beach

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: The Atmosphere of Luxury

San Jose is a city based in a remarkable valley and steeped in coffee baron history. Colonial mansions continue to decorate the streets of the Amon neighborhood. The grand historic buildings feature intricate hand-carved woodwork and decadent wraparound porches. The roofs are ornate and shade the quaint balconies. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your fabulous accommodation located inside a refurbished and elegant antique mansion. The shaded street creates a comfortable atmosphere just out of reach of the city’s energetic arcades.

The outdoor malls create a lively atmosphere on Avenida Central. Locals pass the afternoon strolling alongside diverse stores and admiring the window dressings. The Doris Metropolitan is a staple of high-quality dining in the diverse cuisine of San Jose. Their belief in locally and sustainably sourced ingredients brings fresh and quality dishes to the table. They are known for their beef and have garnered the unofficial title of “The Steakhouse” of the city. Indulge in the luscious flavors of dinner and settle into the luxuries of Costa Rica.  

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Richness of the Trees

The private garden of your hotel allows you to enjoy the morning surrounded by the graceful aromas of local tropical flora. The tropical fruit provides vivid color to the breakfast table and add sweet and creamy flavors to the meal. Delight in juicy pineapple and decadent jackfruit. Your private transfer meets you at your hotel and whisks you away from San Jose. The valley fades behind the meandering mountains. The horizon fills with jade trees on either side of the roadway.

Passing through Braulio Carrillo National Park you have your first touch of Costa Rica’s celebrated tropical rainforest. Near Arenal you will step aboard an aerial tram and make your way into the trees. The gondola takes you over 4,100 feet through the rainforest canopy, showcasing the desirable treetops and its abundant wildlife. The landscape encompasses the Continental Divide; the network of mountains that guides the rivers to meet specific oceans. Climb 750 feet over the forest floor. Montezuma oropendolas nest in the treetops.

They can grow to an average of 16.5 inches in length and have a bright yellow tail that pops against their dark central feathers. As the bird flies through the canopy its tail feathers are the first things you notice. In Arenal you will find your lavish accommodation in full view of the renowned Arenal Volcano. Natural springs run through the landscape and pass close to the heated magma beneath the volcano’s surface. This creates the treasured hot springs and its vast variety of temperatures. Soak in the rushing water and relax in the spring’s soothing trickle. 

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

Day 3: Collecting Wondrous Landscapes

When the sun peeks over the horizon, the morning livens with birdcalls and rambunctious howler monkeys. White-headed capuchin monkeys ramble through the treetops in search of nuts and fruits. Toucans, with their tropically colored beaks, stand out against the jade leaves. After breakfast you will have a private guided tour of Arenal Volcano National Park. The park is 29,692 acres, situated inside of a larger conservation area. The volcano itself stands 5,357 feet above sea level and can be viewed from all angles of Arenal. The crater continues to steam but erupted daily for almost 44 years, from 1968 to 2012. Follow your guide through the lush rainforest that wraps around the volcano’s foothills.

The day is comfortably warm. Tapir forage in the underbrush and extend their necks to reach low hanging branches. Their docile and shy nature makes them unique to see among the landscape. They have splayed hooved toes on their hind feet that help them walk on soft and thick ground. The trees open up on the western foothills and you have an unobstructed view of the volcanic summit, along with the black landscape of the lava fields that roll up the hillside. In the afternoon your private transfer will take you along Lake Arenal, the largest lake in the country which spans 33 square miles, and up the mountainside to Monteverde.    

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

Day 4: Private Clouds

The Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most lush and diverse ecosystems on the planet. The morning is filled with cool and soft air. The clouds rush up the mountainsides and sweep through the trees. Stroll through the treetop walkways and combine the well-maintained and manicured trails of the private reserve. The mountains reach a peak of 4,724 feet above sea level, which adds to the uniqueness of the flora and fauna spanning 25,730 acres of protected land. You hear a birdsong you have never heard before. The soft twitters and chirps echo through the treetops.

You can see into the canopy as you meander along the hanging bridges. The elusive resplendent quetzal sits just beneath the leaves. The male has iridescent feathers that shimmer bright green against its vivacious crimson chest. When they stretch their wings to fly you notice the gilded lining around the fringe. Their color is as opulent as the jungle they live in. The bright colors of the landscape are almost secondary to the lavish hues of the animals. But then you notice a single orchid. They grow along branches and bark up to 125 feet above the forest floor. Their petals seem delicate as they reach for the beams of sunlight.  

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

Day 5: Welcoming Waters

The morning birdcalls wash over the mountainside and create a graceful soundtrack to the early day. The clouds rush over the forest like a singular wave. After breakfast you will have a private transfer down the mountainside and to the precious waters of Tamarindo. You can see the clouds dissipate and open to bright blue sky. Cross over the lowlands of Guanacaste. Cattle ranches decorate the countryside. Long-eared brahma cattle graze on the prairies and Costa Rican cowboys herd them along the emerald landscape.

Arrive in the beachside town of Tamarindo and to find a place that offers secluded comforts near cosmopolitan luxury. Surfers course the barrels that fall along the Pacific shore. The sounds of the water against the pristine beach echoes through the perfect, warm afternoon. Playa Conchal has been regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. The sand is composed of millions of tiny crushed shells. They capture the sunlight and glisten against the turquoise water. The water reflects with a glassy clarity; you can see the sand, your toes, and a school of fish wading beneath the surface.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: Remote and Ravishing

Your secluded resort gives you a tremendous view of the morning seaside. Your room is situated by the infinity pool and after a night of relaxation, you decide to take a quick dip in the serene waters.

The day is yours to experience and explore Tamarindo and its surroundings at your leisure.  Indulge in a private spa treatment at your boutique hotel or zip-line through the fabulous canopy for a distinctive tour of the rainforest and its wildlife. Playa Grande is a beach near Tamarindo that is separated by the Matapalo River. From October to May, female leatherback turtles brave the ocean surf and shore to lay their eggs on the sand. In the morning the water curls into perfect barrels, but by evening, the waves settle into a strong wake. The turtles create nests just beyond the reach of high tide.

The hatchlings break free of their shells and climb out of the sunken sand. The reflection of the moon off of the water attracts the newly born turtles. A fully grown leatherback turtle can reach over seven feet in total length. However, at birth the turtles are less than three inches long and weigh around one and a half ounces. Watching the turtles emerge from their shells and journey out to sea is not only rare but also inspiring. As the turtles disappear into the ocean you know that this moment will stand out as a lasting memory of your time in Costa Rica. 

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 7: Captivating Sizzle

The morning sun casts a large light over the Pacific Ocean. The water laps at the pearly white sand. The wildlife calls out through the trees. The day is at your leisure to indulge in the innumerable adventures around Tamarindo. Horseback ride along the jungle trails or visit the depths of the ocean on a scuba excursion. The Rincon de La Vieja National Park spans almost 35,000 acres of land, including nine volcanic craters, waterfalls, and a stretch of immaculate tropical rainforest.

Elusive pumas loom in the underbrush. They bask in the spreading sunlight and scour the landscape in search of prey. They can grow to a length of over seven feet and often hide in the trees and brush of the rainforest. The volcanic summits rise to a height of 6,217 feet with the highest reaching 6,385 feet in elevation. Steam emanates from the craters and joins the passing clouds. Journey to the waterfalls and pass thermal hot springs and towering trees. The waterfall thunders down the cliff side and leads into a serene cobalt pool. The water is cool and refreshing in the mid-morning warmth. The water streams onto the a few rocky outcrops below which adds a series of tiny waterfalls. The collection of craters, trees, and waterfalls brings you a tremendous ambience and stunning landscape to explore.

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 8: Returning to Charming City Streets 

Savor the morning bird calls and the ocean water brushing against the shore. Indulge in a breakfast that overlooks curling waves. Settle into the early jungle as howler monkeys cry out and spider monkeys ramble through the treetops. Dip your toes into the Pacific one last time and feel the powdery grains of the beach’s white sand.

Today you leave behind the blend of beach and rainforest. You return to San Jose and feel the familiar jovial atmosphere of the energetic neighborhoods. The Pre-Columbian Museum glistens with golden images of its native past. The National Theater displays an elegant neoclassical façade that harkens back to an opulent, more contemporary history, complete with three ornate figures standing above the pediment. In the evening the cool air settles over the valley and mountains that surround the city and you watch as they fade to silhouettes.

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 9: Relax in Familiar Comforts

The sounds of the city have replaced the birdcalls and rambunctious monkeys in the morning light. Enjoy the sensational flavors of breakfast, from the sweet treats of rambutans to the luscious tastes of ripe papaya. You can sit in the hotel gardens and watch the mountains return from the shadows. The temperate air settles into the valley. The locals return to window-shopping along Avenida Central.

After breakfast your private transfer will take you to the airport where you will board your flight home. You have explored the rivers and discovered pristine beaches, ventured through the rainforest and traversed volcanic summits. Your luxurious vacation doesn’t end as you venture home, but waits for your eager return.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

If you want to read about travelers experiences while in Costa Rica, be sure to browse the Costa Rica vacation reviews.

Price

Starting Price 

$1,615
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.