How can you spend your days in Costa Rica?

August 11, 2021

It’s no surprise that a country known throughout the world for its biodiversity, also offers up a wealth of things to see, do, and experience. Costa Rica is teeming with wildlife, brimming with botanical wonders and full of friendly and enthusiastic people. Sloths! Orchids! Toucans! Your eyes are in for a treat at every turn and we love helping travellers make the most out of every moment.

Naturally, that’s where our fun, thoughtful and balanced itineraries start to work their magic. Come along as we focus our “what makes this tour so flipping great?” spotlight on one of our most popular adventures: Costa Rica Quest!

Day 2 — For good vibes, just add hot water

After your welcome orientation and overnight in San José, you hit the road for La Fortuna. Along the way, you’ll stop in Sarapiquí to smell, taste, learn about and experience coffee in a way that supports 200 farmers and their families. At Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative, you’ll tour the plantation’s process from seed to a fresh-brewed cup of your own. Enjoy a typical lunch of plantains, beans and fish and continue the journey energized from the caffeine and spreading good to a vital community.

hot springs
a long soak in natural hot springs is always welcome

The natural highs continue as you make your way to La Fortuna, a small town set into the base of Arenal Volcano. It’s the epicentre of adventure where you can opt to shoot the rapids one minute and rappel down the face of rushing waterfalls the next. No matter what you choose, a relaxing soak in volcanic hot springs is nearby to melt your cares away.

Day 3 & 4 — Adrenaline spikes and night jungle hikes

With a full free day in La Fortuna, a smorgasbord of optional activities are on the table in the Arenal area. Get your heart pumping as you opt to jump over or swim under waterfalls, saunter over hanging bridges at monkey eye level, or take a SUP lesson and tour with Arenal’s volcanic cone as your backdrop. Can’t choose? Our Costa Rica Adrenaline Bundle gets you a half-day of waterfall canyoning and a half-day of ziplining. Or, you can do absolutely nothing but bask in the natural flora and fauna of your surroundings.

arenal volcano
when the clouds part this conical magnificence appears

On day 4, the Monteverde Cloud Forest is waiting to envelop you in atmospheric mist. This is a good thing, we swear. Before you travel up into the mountains though, you’ll hop on a boat for a scenic crossing of Lake Arenal. Once darkness falls in Monteverde, a naturalist leads the way to help you learn about the many creepies, crawlies and critters stirring in the jungle at night. Of course, sightings aren’t guaranteed but your guide knows where to look for sloths, tree frogs, big ass beetles, tarantulas, kinkajous and more!

jungle night walk
pack a headlamp to go hands-free on jungle walks

Day 5 — Float like a butterfly, swing like a monkey

Once again, what you make of your free day in Monteverde is up to you! Will you opt to buckle up and launch yourself high above the cloud forest canopy? Or choose a bird’s-eye view from a suspended bridge to try and lock eyes with a toucan? Maybe meandering through the mist on horseback is more your style? If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, you can marvel at iridescent blue morpho butterflies and leaf-cutter ant colonies at the Monteverde Butterfly Garden. As always, your Chief Experience Officer is there to help you make things happen.

dress like the wildlife you wish to see, in this case a toucan

Day 6 & 7 — Four words: Manuel Antonio National Park

From Monteverde, you’ll travel down to the central Pacific Coast to reach the small harbour town of Quepos. It’s known for sport fishing but also as the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park. The afternoon and full next day is yours to discover why anyone who visits Costa Rica can’t stop talking about all of the things they saw and did in this gem of a place.

Inside the small but mighty park, you’ll find four beaches: Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Tesoro, and Playita. All are stunning but the first offers calm turquoise water perfect for snorkelling and tide pools for easy marine critter spotting. As for non-aquatic wildlife, the park is one of the best places to get good looks at monkeys, sloths, coatis and hundreds of bird species big and small.

manuel antonio national park
four monkey species call Costa Rica home: squirrel, spider, howler and capuchin

Of course, there’s plenty more to do in and outside of the park. Opt to spend your nights learning to salsa dance, cast your line for marlin, learn to hang ten on well-shaped beach breaks, or paddle through the mangroves to spot crocodiles, monkeys and every kind of bird. You can even pre-book a Manuel Antonio Catamaran Tour to cruise along the coast, look for dolphins, and stop to swim and snorkel.

more manuel antonio
a tombolo (natural land bridge) separates two of the park's dreamiest beaches

Day 8 — Don’t say goodbye, say hasta luego

With eyes full of jungle greens, sunset pinks, and turquoise blues, we understand the desire to spend as much time as possible on the coast. Before you make the drive back for your last night in the capital, there’s still time to spend your morning perched by the Pacific. A final beach hang gives you the perfect view to reflect on all you’ve seen, done and experienced so far. You can feel good about all you've learned about pura vida (poo-rah vee-dah) and why keeping things pure and simple is the Costa Rican way of life.

Getting There

Ready to make the most of your days (and nights!) in Costa Rica? Check out our full Costa Rica Quest itineraries for 2021 and 2022. We’ve also included a few tour recommendations that take different routes and offer other activities.

Costa Rica Quest - Plus 2021 Itinerary
Costa Rica Quest 2022 Itinerary
Costa Rica Adventure - Plus
Costa Rica Active Adventure
Trek Hidden Costa Rica

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