Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)
We fly direct from London to Costa Rica. On arrival in San Jose, we travel about 30 minutes to arrive at our hotel for a night. Our group leader will arrange and pay for a snack for those who would like it.
We have a morning's drive down to the Caribbean coast at Cahuita. There should be time for an afternoon stroll into town to soak up the atmosphere. We stay in Cahuita for 2 nights.
We will walk in the Cahuita National Park through lush rain forest and along tropical white sand beaches. The walk is about 7km and will be taken at a slow pace with plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities on the way. It is likely you will immediately notice stunning blue Morpho butterflies. Also look out for monkeys, sloths and varied birdlife, all have been spotted on this walk previously. There are two rivers to cross on the way, one shallow and one often knee deep, so be prepared to take your boots off. Later in the day there will be free time to perhaps take a dip in the Caribbean.
After breakfast we depart to Sarapiqui in the heart of the former chocolate growing area. On arrival we will enjoy an introduction to the chocolate production process. The tour begins by
walking into the rainforest to a former cacao-tree plantation. During the tour you will get a learn the natural and cultural history of the cacao tree and the secrets of transforming cacao fruit into chocolate. We stay 1 night in Sarapiqui.
Breakfast will be held at the hotel’s restaurant. After breakfast the group will hike the trails of La Selva Biological Station. Later we head northwest along the misnamed 'central valley'; (more accurately the 'Meseta Central' or Central Tableland) into coffee plantation country. After various stops, including hopefully seeing tree dwelling iguanas, we arrive at the pleasant tourist centre of La Fortuna where we spend 1 night just under the imposing silhouette of the Arenal volcano. On arrival there will be time to enjoy the town and the views of Arenal volcano. La Fortuna is one of the best places to shop on this tour.
After breakfast we will have a walk on the slopes of Arenal. The volcano has only recently become dormant and signs of volcanic activity are everywhere. We can walk up to the lava fields with plenty of stops to learn of the flora and fauna from our local guide. The walk takes approx. 2hrs 30mins. We will return to Arenal for lunch and shopping before transferring about two hours to Rio Celeste. On arrival at our hotel at Rio Celeste (2nts) we can take a little time to relax in these peaceful surroundings.
This morning we visit Rio Celeste waterfall, dyed a bizarre blue colour by natural minerals. The trail is about 4km return but progress can be slow as the trail is often muddy. It is possible to rent wellies but your own walking boots are often better as they offer more grip. We will return to the hotel or lunch and later enjoy a stroll through the extensive hotel grounds through beautiful primary forest which offers excellent wildlife viewing. Anticipate seeing at minimum birds, butterflies, monkeys and all manner of plant life.
After breakfast we drive out to start with a walk through rural countryside hopefully with views of the Miravalles volcano. Later we drive to Rincon de la Vieja. The area is known for its bubbling mud pools, steam vents, hot springs and abundant wildlife.
We will walk the Las Pailas Trail visiting assorted volcanic activity areas of steaming sulphuric hot rocks and bubbling mud pools. The terrain undulates with various streams to cross and some muddy sections. The walk takes about 2hrs 30mins. In the afternoon the group will visit Santa Rosa National Park, one of the largest and oldest national parks (established in 1971) in the country.
We travel southeast to Monteverde (2 nights), settled relatively recently, in 1951, by a group of 44 Quakers. Monteverde, 'Green Mountain' in Spanish, is nestled high in the Tilaran mountain range and is one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica, with large tracts of forest still untouched.
A morning visit to the 26,000 acre Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, preserved and protected as a result of the Quakers' foresight. The forest is home to a myriad of plants, insects and over 400 species of birds - a birdwatcher's paradise. The park authorities control the number of hikers on the forest trails to minimise the impact of visitors, which may affect the direction, routes taken and start times of walks within the reserve. During the afternoon we can enjoy a coffee tour. It includes an overview of the history of Costa Rican coffee and its importance in the development of the country. During the tour, we will learn about other aspects of Costa Rican culture and its traditions.
We depart for Manuel Antonio National Park (2 nights), on the Pacific coast, with a cruise on the Tarcoles River en route. The cruise offers excellent viewing of the crocodiles that live here, the mangrove swamps and the birdlife.
We spend the day in Manuel Antonio National Park, the smallest and possibly the most beautiful in the park system, and take the opportunity to enjoy the diverse wildlife and the tropical white sand beaches. The 'Third Beach' (or Gemelas Beach) is almost exactly how you imagine a tropical beach should look.
We have some free time to relax on the beach and stroll in the local area before our transfer to San Jose. On the way back to San Jose there will hopefully be time to stop off at a nesting site for Scarlet Macaws. We will arrive back in the capital later in the day.
After breakfast we have a walking tour of San Jose city with a local guide. We will pass the Gold Museum, National Theatre and handicrafts market. Entrance are not included but there will be plenty of time to go back and visit any attractions you might choose. We have also the opportunity to visit the foster home Ramblers Walking Holidays supports as part of our “Heart and Soul “charity project. The visit is entirely optional. Later we transfer to the airport for our flight home.