Our Best of Costa Rica tour will be half in big cities and half in villages and towns where we can better meet the local people and experience their culture.
The Best of Costa Rica Itinerary
52Best Annual Trips: For 20 years we have emailed a weekly story to friends which readership has grown to 18,500 people in 78 countries. Once a year we create a fun-filled and well-priced tour for our Readers and Friends. To date we have completed 21 trips from Russia, to China, to Argentina and many countries in between. We go because we want to see the places and people and we end up making many lifelong friends along the way.
The Best of Costa Rica 2019 Tour: We will discover the dense vegetation in the stunning Monteverde Cloud Forest as well as have three days in Manuel Antonio to enjoy the beach and an exuberant tropical forest. In Arenal, we will view the now dormant conical-shaped Arenal Volcano and see the state-of-the-art coffee plantations. In Sarchi we will visit the artisan town and see artists in their workshops. As important as is the history, rainforests, and beaches, are the warm sharing people that extend their hand of friendship to Americans. In addition, the quality and taste of the local Costa Rican cuisine is as reasonably priced as it is good. Shopping is especially worthwhile and productive as are the wonderful ventures to explore and experience the cities and parks either alone or with our fellow travelers.
Our 11-Day Itinerary – Costa Rica at its Finest
Day 2: Saturday, October 12th, 2019 – San Jose – (Breakfast) – After our late arrival the afternoon before, this is a day of leisure and getting to know San Jose. We will have breakfast in the hotel and then at 9:00 am will have an Orientation Meeting with our Tour Manager. With him, we will have an in-depth discussion of what is included in our tour plus the optional adventures that can bring additional color and flavor to our journey. At the end of the meeting, he will suggest a selection of restaurants for our afternoon and evening meals where we can experience Costa Rican dining at its best.
Day 3: Sunday, October 13th, 2019 – Arenal – (Breakfast, Dinner) – We have a morning departure for Arenal, enjoying the views of coffee and sugarcane plantations along the way. Enroute we stop in Sarchi, an artisan town, where traditional colorful oxcarts and souvenirs can be found. If time permits, there may be a visit to a local school on the way to Arenal. Later this evening we arrive for two nights at the unbelievably beautiful 4-star Hotel Mountain Paradise, with a Welcoming Dinner to follow.
Day 4: Monday, October 14th, 2019 – Arenal – (Breakfast, optional Dinner) – Today we enjoy a full day at leisure in Arenal, famous for the Arenal Volcano. As Costa Rica’s youngest volcano, it gained international notoriety in 1968 for its sudden eruption. Perhaps, spend the day on the optional full day Cano Negro Boat Tour to learn more about the flora and fauna that inhabit the area. Tonight, enjoy an optional evening at the renowned Eco Termales Hot Springs that includes dinner.
Day 5: Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 – Monteverde – (Breakfast, optional Lunch) – In the morning we embark on a two-mile walking tour of the Las Coladas trail in Arenal National Park to learn more about the flora and fauna while enjoying scenic views of the volcano. At the end of the trail, we may choose to participate in a rugged hike over the ancient lava rocks before continuing to Monteverde. We stop for lunch on our own en route to Monteverde. That evening we stay in the enchanting 4-star El Establo Hotel for two nights which is “nestled in the misty Cloud Forest of Monteverde.”
Day 6: Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 – Monteverde – (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) – We can enjoy this morning at our leisure exploring Monteverde or can participate in one of the optional tours such as the Selvatura Canopy Tour or the Hanging Bridges Adventure. Costa Rica’s stunning Cloud Forest boasts an extraordinarily diverse ecosystem, being home to 120 species of reptiles and amphibians, 130 species of mammals, and an astounding 500 species of birds, not to mention more than 3,000 species of plants. This afternoon we enjoy lunch and a tour of a traditional Costa Rican coffee farm. Coffee is one of Costa Rica’s top exports and is grown in this tropical region. It has significant importance in the socio-economic development of the country. Tonight, we are treated at a local Monteverde restaurant.
Day 7: Thursday, October 17th, 2019 – Manuel Antonio – (Breakfast) – We drive along the shores of the striking Pacific Coast to Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most beautiful places in the country with an exotic combination of exquisite beaches and an exuberant tropical forest. As we travel through the scenic mountains to the ocean’s shores, it’s not unusual here to see iguanas and white-faced monkeys on the beach! We then arrive in the bustling town of Jaco, a surfer’s paradise, for free time to stroll and perhaps sample some of the local cuisines for lunch. Afterward, we continue to Manuel Antonio. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy all of the delights of this popular beach area. In town tonight, we’re sure to find great food, music, trendy bars and lots of activity. For three nights we will be at the 4 1/2 star Shane Hotel which a family who stayed there described it as “Everything was perfect, rooms are amazing and clean, the jungle in front of the hotel and the beach makes you feel like you are in paradise.”
Day 8: Friday, October 18th, 2019 – Manuel Antonio – (Breakfast) – Today we tour Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most visited conservation areas. Its large land and marine biodiversity and beautiful coral reefs make this one of the world’s most impressive natural habitats. Our Tour Manager will lead us through the paths of this tropical paradise with the opportunity to discover the mangrove swamps, 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds, beach vegetation and lagoons. We will observe several species of monkeys, iguanas, and birds and possibly even the three-toed sloth. The rest of the day we will spend enjoying the best of nature with its peace and tranquility. Optional adventures include diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, fishing, a canopy tour, and more.
Day 9: Saturday, October 19th, 2019 – Manuel Antonio – (Breakfast, Dinner) – We will enjoy all of the pleasures of our final day in Manuel Antonio National Park and can relax at the beach while savoring the gorgeous surroundings. We perhaps can join the optional Catamaran Cruise that sails along the coast with picturesque views of the wildlife and vegetation. Or we can relax in one of the two Jacuzzis, have fun on the two giant trampolines or slither down the water slides. We will also have time at Biesanz Beach for snorkeling with up-close sightings of colorful tropical fish in their natural habitat. Tonight, we will have dinner together at one of the most popular restaurants in Manuel Antonio. It’s time to bid farewell to our Tour Manager, traveling companions and to “Pura Vida” Optional: Manuel Antonio Catamaran Cruise (AM) Overnight: Manuel Antonio Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Sunday, October 20th, 2019 – San Jose – (Breakfast, optional Dinner) – Today we travel back to San Jose stopping in Maravillas de Costa Rica to shop for local crafts and souvenirs to bring back home. The rest of the day is ours to explore the city independently, revisit some of the galleries and museums or linger at a lovely restaurant for dinner tonight. Perhaps, we might want to join the optional San Jose City Tour with dinner or take a panoramic city tour of San Jose including visits to the Gold Museum, where more than 1600 pre-Columbian artifacts are displayed and the National Theater – the principal jewel of San Jose. For the evening, we may be doing the optional City Tour dinner above or choose an authentic Costa Rican dinner in the city.
Day 11: Monday, October 21st, 2019 – San Jose (Breakfast) – We will depart early this morning to San Jose’s International Airport on our way back home.