San Jose embodies the history and prestige of Costa Rica in the bustling culture that pulses through its streets. Coffee plantations grow along the ridges of the mountains surrounding the Central Valley. A slight blue haze hovers above the thriving plants at over 5,575 feet above sea level where the crops cease to grow. The grandeur of former plantation moguls and the mansions in Barrio Amón symbolize elegant taste and highlight the natural wealth of the landscape found in Costa Rica. The neighborhood leads north and west of Plaza España and was constructed between the 19th and 20th centuries. Colorful, flower-clad walkways add layers of elegance to the art deco, concrete, and Victorian architecture supporting the arts center of the San Jose.
Upon arrival, your private transfer greets you at Juan Santamaria International Airport and escorts you out of the Central Valley towards Arenal. The town of La Fortuna creates its own charm in the shadows of the Arenal Volcano. Spiny iguanas scramble through the bushes outside of the narrow streets and sloths linger in the trees that shade the creek. You pass through town for a view of the Arenal Volcano, which erupted from three separate craters in the 1960s. The sporadic clouds fade and offer a view of the perfect cone peak at more than 4,475 feet above sea level.
The rainforest canopy clings to the edges of the road and turns the foothills of the marvelous volcano a shimmering emerald. You settle into the luxuries of your secluded resort celebrated for its gorgeous landscape and quiet ambiance. After spending time relaxing in your suite that provides a partial view of Arenal Volcano, you venture to nearby heated pools. The water trickles over the rocks, providing a soothing and serene atmosphere. Steam rises from the pools and rushing streams due to the temperature of the water that ranges from 72 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Consider reading some of our traveler's reviews for Costa Rica vacations to learn more about this exciting experience.
Sunlight spreads across the rainforest canopy and brings the sounds of wildlife to the resort. Howler monkeys groan in the refreshing cool of the early light. Their deep, guttural calls make you think of wildcats or dinosaurs instead of monkeys. The sound of their calls echoes for up to three miles and connotes the territory of a particular troop. Your resort, Montaña De Fuego, offers several "enjoy the moment" activities celebrating this beautiful morning. These activities include a morning guided bird watching session, an indigenous Malaku culture experience and a tour of the on-site farm, where children may collect chicken eggs and learn about farm animals. After your morning activity, your guide will escort you from the hotel lobby to the mystical hanging bridges and walkways for an unrivaled perspective of the rainforest. You will travel over 15 suspension bridges taking in the herbaceous aroma that emanates from the trees and the scent of jasmine that blends with the spicy musk of fern trees.
The loud chirp of a keel-billed toucan draws your attention. The bird’s yellow breast is striking as it stands in contrast to the emerald leaves and dark branches. Seeing a toucan in the wild is thrilling, from the unique, drawn out caw to the rainbow of tropical colors featured on their beaks. For the first time, you notice that the toucan’s feet are light blue, matching the small streak on the bottom of their chins. The exhilaration of walking along a suspension bridge never wanes and only increases with the wildlife you find coursing through the canopy. White-headed capuchin monkeys graze on nuts and berries, utilizing their prehensile tail to help balance as they reach the far branches. After wandering through the vibrant rainforest, you return to your resort for some relaxation.
At breakfast, the scent of fresh Costa Rican coffee drifts through the open-air dining room. You find subtle notes of almond and tangerine accompanying the delicious sweetness of fresh pineapple and passion fruit. After the meal, you set out with your guide on a canyoning adventure and into the depths of the rainforest around Arenal. This exciting excursion is wildly different from the calm walk that you took through the treetops the previous day. A 4x4 jeep takes you on a rough track surrounded by dense trees and a small slope. Your guide offers insight into the types of animals most often found in the forest, including deer, tapir, and the occasional jaguar.
Parrots squawk in the treetops, and you can hear the rushing water of a nearby cascade. After an in-depth tutorial on the safety measures of your excursion, your guide fits you into the harness and lets you lean back against the edges of a cliff. The waterfall you heard before now trundles over the precipice beside you at 150 feet. You imitate the motion of your guide pressing your feet into the solid rock face and propelling your body away, gliding closer to the ground. Mist from the waterfall coats your cheeks and is refreshingly cool in the tropical heat. You arrive at the bottom of the canyon and step into the rushing river to continue your active exploration of the scenery.
Water courses over your legs and the pebbled riverbed undulates beneath your feet. You slide down a rock that has been smoothed naturally over time as the water rushes over the landscape. After the fun of your extreme experience, your private transfer escorts you into the mountains at Monteverde to experience the wonders of the Cloud Forest. Your resort offers a cozy, luxurious ambiance into which you easily settle. Before dinner, your guide leads you on a private introductory tour along the trails outside of the lodge to view the nightlife of the famous ecosystem.
The clouds brush over the high-altitude peaks of Monteverde, located at more than 4,660 feet above sea level. The moisture from the clouds leaves dew in the canopy and along the forest underbrush where moss coats the branches, grounds, and fallen logs. Instead of feeding off of rain, the local greenery feeds off the clouds, showcasing one angle of Costa Rica’s fascinating biodiversity. The clouds dissipate before breakfast, and your guide greets you at the hotel before escorting you into the Cloud Forest and Biological Reserve to follow the trails that wind through the more than 40 square miles of protected landscape.
The cool temperature is a striking difference from the tropical warmth you felt at Arenal. Along the trail, your guide explains that Monteverde contains two and a half percent of the world’s biodiversity, with Costa Rica housing an astounding five percent, though it only represents one one-hundredth of the world’s landmass. Your guide excitedly points to fresh jaguar tracks near the base of a tree. The day is filled with fascinating birdcalls, and you strain in your attempt to identify which of the region’s 400 different species you are hearing.
Follow your guide in search of the resplendent quetzal, a rare bird returning in numbers to the cooler climates of Costa Rica’s cloud forests. The males are known for their ruby-red breast and the iridescent green plumage along their backs and wings. Their tails grow long and delicate like streamers, reaching up to three feet in length. You reach a secluded portion of the trail and find the dangling feathers of a quetzal, leading upwards to the male bird perching on a quiet branch and shining in the sunlight.
You wake-up in time to watch the clouds drift through the forest with thick, heavy layers. From the comforts of the dining room, you sip a fresh coffee, enjoying the warmth of the resort as the sunlight burns away the cloud cover of the aptly named Cloud Forest. After breakfast, you return to the treetops for a zip line excursion, eager to feel the wind against your cheeks and to delight in the views over the dew-filled trees. You travel to Selvatura Park, a conservation area encompassing 1,200 acres.
You step into the trees ready to glide along more than 2 miles on 15 separate cables. The sounds of nature abound with the short bursting call of the orange-bellied trogon. You keep your eyes peeled for a fiery-billed aracari, a type of toucan known for its gorgeous bill that shimmers with red and orange, and a bright yellow and crimson underbelly that shines against the trees.
After soaring through the sky, you spend some time in the hummingbird garden, taking a peaceful walk amongst the fluttering wings and colorful plumage. The magnificent hummingbirds grow to five and a half inches long and look dark until the sunlight catches flashes of bronze, green, and violet feathers. Your private transfer escorts you down the mountainside of Monteverde, and west toward the Pacific. En route, you will stop at the Tarcoles River Bridge to view the giant crocodiles basking in the water below. Upon reaching your resort in Manuel Antonio, you will indulge in the ambiance created by the serene waves of the Pacific Ocean and the comforts of your private suite.
At breakfast, you can hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the soft sands of the shoreline. The aromas of pineapple and coconut overtake the scent of fresh coffee, and the sea breeze cools the morning heat as a flock of parakeets fly into the neighboring trees. Your guide leads you from the hotel lobby to the banks of the mangrove forest. Canals wind along the protruding roots of the riverine trees where the salt and fresh waters converge.
The trees have evolved by filtering the saltwater from their systems in order to thrive in this unusual ecosystem while also helping to keep the soil from eroding. You step into a kayak and float up the river in search of the fascinating wildlife that inhabits Costa Rica’s smallest national park. Manuel Antonio comprises three square miles of protected land where you will listen to the tranquil sounds of the forest as the water drips from your paddle into the still canal. White-headed capuchins ramble through the branches and your guide points to a small crocodile resting in the sunlight on the banks.
A vine above the water suddenly moves, and you realize the thick body belongs to a boa constrictor that you have startled with your arrival. Snowy egrets stand out with pristine white plumage that glows against the surrounding greenery and brown underbrush. They graze on the marshy banks in search of insects or crabs, and as you get closer to the estuary, your guide points into the water at sponges and oysters. Baby black-tipped sharks swim in the transparent canals close to the mouth of the ocean. In the afternoon, you return to the resort for a private walking tour around the trails of Manuel Antonio National Park in search for signs of the endangered squirrel monkey.
Costa Rice has an undeniable allure, drawing visitors from around the world to its countless adventures and endless, perfect experiences. A long-billed starthroat hummingbird flutters past your balcony in the morning searching for blossoming flowers, its gray underbelly flashes with silver and streaks of iridescent green beneath its radiant blue crown. They twitter raucously when excited or annoyed. A gartered trogon is perched on the tree beside your room, its unique black and white polka dotted plumage framing its orange-yellow underbelly. At breakfast, you savor the aroma of pineapple and the slight sweetness of the coffee harvested from a micro-mill in the coveted coffee-growing region of Tarrazu. After the meal, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you back to the Central Valley to reach Juan Santamaria International Airport for your flight home.
Every visit to Costa Rica is an excellent one, allowing for relaxation and adventure at your preferred pace. Blend excitement and recreation on this perfect 7-day Costa Rica vacation that will take you to Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio, each known for their distinctive beauty, in a country that accounts for five percent of the world’s biodiversity. Tropical colors flourish, and intriguing avifauna fills the trees. Magnificent mangrove forests protect the coastline and add to the intricacies of nature often hidden or overlooked by the naked eye.
Your private transfer greets you upon arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport. You will venture directly to your resort at Arenal where the grounds maintain elegant thermal springs resembling natural rivers and waterfalls heated by the activity of the Arenal Volcano. While in Arenal you can explore and experience the surrounding rainforest in a variety of thrilling ways, the first of which takes you into the treetops to traverse the hanging bridges. Follow your guide to find birdlife, monkeys, and blossoming orchids. Rappel down a cliff alongside staggering waterfalls and then traverse the bed of a canyon filled with majestic natural waterslides and open caves.
You will travel to Monteverde and relax in a stunning resort nestled into the Cloud Forest. A local guide enthusiastically leads you on a night tour in search of the animals that bring the trees to life in the darkness, including snakes, frogs, bats, and big cats. The unique ecosystem feeds on the moisture from the passing clouds, causing the trees and underbrush to grow and behave differently from the flora of the tropical rainforest. Take to the canopy once more for an unforgettable zip-lining excursion where the wind brushes against your cheeks as you travel from platform to platform.
Manuel Antonio National Park contains dry forest, mangroves, rainforest, and beaches, providing for a stunning collection of biodiversity, and luxurious views from the comforts of your private balcony. Dig your toes into the soft sand on the beach and listen to the waves and twittering tropical birds. For a distinctive wildlife and marine-life viewing excursion, kayak or cruise on the mangrove canals around Damas Island. At the end of your Costa Rica vacation, your private transfer escorts you from Manuel Antonio National Park to Juan Santamaria Airport for your flight home.
Consider browsing our tours of Costa Rica page to gain further inspiration regarding your own dream Costa Rica tour.
$1255 per person (excluding international flights)
Tell us all about your
We match you with top
travel agents who
compete for your trip.
Book only once your
itinerary is refined to