One of the most desirable Costa Rica vacations, the Pura Vida Best Of ensures you hit the highlights of what makes this country so remarkable. If you want full immersion exploring the interior rainforest, mountainous cloud forest, and jungle-lined beaches, this vacation is right for you. Upon landing, you’ll stay two nights in the capital city of San Jose and begin your amazing journey touring the beautiful La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Next, you’ll be transported to the Arenal Volcano rainforest area for hiking and a choice of fantastic river experiences, plus soaking in volcanic hot springs. From there it’s up to the spectacular misty mountainous cloud forests of Monteverde. After a few more days of exciting nature and adventure activities, you’ll head to the coast to round out your total Pura Vida vacation, visiting the famous Manuel Antonio National Park wildlife refuge and relaxing at the beach. Perfect for family fun!
Number of nights: 13 (customizable)
Per person price from *$1,347
Flying into San Jose, you’ll spend 2 nights in the capital city, during which time you’ll visit the beautiful La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Then it’s over to the majestic Arenal Volcano where you’ll hike and immerse yourself in nature by going on an exciting river experience. In the afternoon and evenings, you can enjoy your charming resort’s amazing volcano views and soothing onsite hot springs. Next stop will be Monteverde which you will reach both by land and crossing scenic Lake Arenal by boat. Up in Monteverde’s unique mountainous cloud forests, you can choose a guided hike on trails that will lead you over the forest canopy crossing 8 hanging bridges, or go for an amazing zipline experience soaring above the treetops. From here, you will head down the mountain range over to the seaside village of Manuel Antonio, located on the central Pacific side of Costa Rica. You’ll stay several days at a comfy boutique resort and go for a guided nature hike within Manuel Antonio National Park, famous for abundant wildlife. A great vacation for the whole family!
Arriving at the airport, you will be met by one of our friendly representatives who will provide transportation to the Park Inn by Radisson hotel in downtown San Jose. The next day you’ll take a tour of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, about 45 minutes from San Jose, where you’ll walk leisurely through lush colorful foliage abuzz with hummingbirds down to a series of four beautiful cascading waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll pass a number of wildlife sanctuaries created for rescued animals such as tropical birds, monkeys, sloths, wild cats, frogs, and snakes. You’ll also visit an old-fashioned casita, or traditional house, showcasing a typical family farm, complete with oxen. Here, you’ll be treated to a sample of sweet sugar cane tea. The paved pathways to the waterfalls are well maintained although traversing the optional 500 steps down to the bottom of the Magia Blanca waterfall and back up again can be quite challenging for some. There are safety rails. At the end of your walk, a generous buffet lunch will be served before you leave. A great way to jumpstart your two week Costa Rican vacation!
Your next destination will be the exciting Arenal Volcano area, known as the Adventure Capital of Central America. You’ll be staying at the enchanting Arenal Springs Resort and Spa featuring onsite hot springs with private patios facing the majestic volcano from every bungalow. Your first activity takes you into the tropical rainforest on a guided hike around the base of Arenal Volcano. You’ll learn the interesting history of the conical giant as well as observe the animals visible on the day of your visit. You’ll be amazed at your naturalist guide’s wealth of knowledge and ability to spot wildlife, including rare tiny orchids and interesting insects. Although it is easy to hike along the groomed trails of the forest floor, it is best to bring a light rain poncho and wear closed shoes in case it rains and the path turns muddy. At the end of the trail is a mirador, or scenic lookout, where, weather permitting, you’ll have a spectacular view of scenic Lake Arenal.
During your three-night stay in the Arenal area, you will have a choice of going white water rafting OR on a guided riverboat cruise to observe wildlife. If you choose the rafting tour, about 30 minutes from your hotel, professional guides, including a safety kayaker, will lead you over the almost continuous Class ll and lll rapids down the Rio Balsa River in quality inflatable rafts. If you choose the guided Riverboat Safari, you’ll be driven to Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, about 2 hours away, where you will board a covered pontoon boat and slowly navigate the waterways of this remote wilderness area. Your guide will help you spot and identify an abundance of resident and migrating waterfowl such as roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, many varieties of herons, and the rare Jabiru, to name a few. In addition, you’re likely to see caimans, iguanas, monkeys, and a host of other unusual plant and animal life. Both river activities include lunch.
Continuing your journey, you’ll be transported by land and boat, crossing beautiful Lake Arenal, then on up to Monteverde atop the Continental Divide. You’ll stay at the rustic El Establo Mountain Lodge featuring rows of connected rooms on a steep hillside with a spectacular view. Complimentary shuttle service will bring you from your room to the restaurant and common areas. At this elevation, where Atlantic and Pacific winds converge to create the unique cloud forest environment, you’ll have a choice to hike the ancient tree canopy crossing hanging bridges OR go soaring over the treetops by zipline. A bilingual naturalist guide will lead the way for the Hanging Bridges tour pointing out interesting plants and visible animal life as you follow the forest floor to the upper levels of the old growth forest. You’ll traverse the forest canopy over 8 hanging bridges giving you a remarkable view few have ever seen. If you lean more toward extreme adventure, then the Aventuras Zipline Tour will likely knock your socks off! From high up in the giant branches of magnificent trees, you’ll zip from one platform to the next along 16 zipline cables increasing in length and speed as you progress. The longest cable is one mile long! Imagine the view you will see! But that’s not all, because before it ends you get to experience the Superman, a rappel, and the exciting Tarzan swing too. You’ll have your first unscheduled day whilst staying in Monteverde, a wonderfully quaint area full of history, co-ops, restaurants, museums, and art galleries.
You’ll spend the next five nights at a charming boutique resort, The Falls Resort, in the small oceanside village of Manuel Antonio located on the central Pacific coastline. Here, you’ll enjoy a guided nature hike at Manuel Antonio National Park, the country’s smallest but most popular park, known for its abundance of animal life, including sloths. During your stay at Manuel Antonio, we have included three unscheduled days for you to have time to relax, hang in a hammock, splurge on a spa treatment, explore the various beaches, take in the sun, and reflect on all your amazing adventures before heading back home. The Pura Vida Best of Costa Rica vacation is designed for you to experience the finest highlights of what draws so many people to this amazing country. A great family vacation!
Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica and on to San Jose
You’ll be greeted at the airport by one of our representatives and taken to the Park Inn by Radisson hotel in downtown San Jose, 25 miles away.
Park Inn by Radisson
Day 2: La Paz Waterfall Gardens Tour (B, L )
Transportation will be provided to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens for a guided tour and lunch. Best to bring along a lightweight poncho in case of rain.
Park Inn by Radisson
Day 3: To the Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna (B)
Today you’ll be driven across the scenic countryside to Arenal Springs Resort and Spa located in front of Arenal Volcano just outside of La Fortuna. Relax and enjoy the hot springs and view!
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Day 4: Arenal Volcano Nature and History Tour (B)
You’ll go for a leisurely 2-hour hike around the base of the iconic volcano to learn its history from your naturalist guide and spot visible wildlife. Best to bring a rain poncho and wear closed walking shoes.
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Day 5: CHOICE: Riverboat Safari or Rio Balsa Rafting (B, L)
If you choose the Riverboat Safari, you will be driven to the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge for a guided observation cruise. If you choose Rio Balsa Rafting, you’ll be taken to the Rio Balsa River to go white water rafting down Class ll & lll rapids. Both tours include lunch.
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Day 6: Onward to Monteverde (B)
You’ll be picked up and driven to Lake Arenal where you will board a covered pontoon boat to cross the lake before continuing by land to El Establo Mountain Hotel in Monteverde.
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Day 7: Free Day Monteverde (B)
Today there are no activities scheduled to give you time to catch your breath and explore the area on your own.
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Day 8: CHOICE: Aventuras Canopy Hanging Bridges or Zipline (B)
You’ll be driven to the 100% Aventuras Nature Park where you can choose between doing the Hanging Bridges Tour or the Zipline Tour. Closed shoes required, light rain poncho recommended.
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Day 9: Monteverde to Manuel Antonio Beach (B)
Transportation will take you out of the mountains and down to the seaside village of Manuel Antonio along the Pacific coast where you will check into The Falls Resort.
The Falls Resort
Day 10: Free Day – Beach Day Manuel Antonio (B)
A perfect day of unscheduled activities to discover your new surroundings, walk the beach, and relax at your hotel.
The Falls Resort
Day 11: Manuel Antonio National Park (B)
You’ll be taken on a 2 hour guided nature hike through Costa Rica’s most popular national park. You can opt to take the provided transportation back to your hotel at the end of the tour, or bring a swimsuit to stay at the beaches within the park and find your own transportation back (local buses are convenient).
The Falls Resort
Day 12: Free Day – Beach Day Manuel Antonio (B)
Another day is yours to spend as you like. Additional tours can be added to your fully customizable itinerary if you would like to go on another adventure.
The Falls Resort
Day 13: Free Day – Beach Day Manuel Antonio (B)
One more unscheduled day to play at the beach, hang in the hammock, swim in the pool, or do a little last minute souvenir shopping before going home.
The Falls Resort
Day 14: The Falls Resort to San Jose International Airport (B)
Private transportation will pick you up from your hotel and deliver you to the airport according to the needs of your flight schedule. You’re welcome to come back anytime!
Costa Rica’s capital and largest city, San Jose, provides a wealth of cultural activities along with historical churches and interesting architecture. Some of these include the stylistically designed national soccer stadium on one side of downtown Sabana Park and the unique collection of historical art found at the Costa Rican Art Museum on the opposite side. The National Theater’s opulent neo-classical Italian architecture and gilded interior attracts many visitors, while the Central Market offers quality artisan souvenirs. Coffee plantations, volcanos, and beautiful landscapes comprise the temperate central valley surrounding the city. These are but a few examples of things you might like to check out while staying in San Jose. View this destination...
At the center of one of the most beautiful regions in Costa Rica, towers the Arenal Volcano just outside of the lively little village of La Fortuna. This is the epicenter of rainforest activities where whitewater rivers, warm flowing hot springs, jungle animals, and adventure tourists converge. The trails around the base of the iconic volcano provide excellent opportunities for nature observation in private and public protected parks. Arenal Volcano is experiencing a resting period but its majesty is no less awe-inspiring. On a clear day, wisps of steam may be seen rising from the perfectly symmetrical conical icon. Even when the weather obscures its massive form, there is a feeling of a presence much larger than ourselves nearby. View this destination...
Some animals that live in Arenal… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
Settled by Quakers who ultimately saved this unique Continental Divide biosphere from agricultural clearcutting, Monteverde now protects some of the rarest biological corridors on earth. Because of converging winds coming from both the Atlantic and the Pacific, a blanket of cool mist enshrouds the giant primary and secondary cloud forests found here. Believed to have the highest concentration of orchids in the world, the forests also provide habitat to rare, higher elevation birds, such as the resplendent quetzal. At an altitude ranging up to 5,000 feet, on the rare event of a clear day, it is possible to see both of Costa Rica’s coastlines. A perfect place for outdoor adventure activities and nature hikes exploring one of the most unusual places found on the planet. View this destination…
Some animals that live in Monteverde… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
This surprisingly small seaside village draws people from all over the world who come to see the dramatically beautiful white sand beaches, some set in coves, others strung along the Pacific coastline, and the surrounding jungle full of resident wildlife. Here you can see flocks of giant colorful scarlet macaws flying overhead, wake up to the sound of early morning howler monkeys, and walk under the watchful eye of iguanas lounging in trees at the beaches. A place where mountains come down to meet the shoreline and rainforests echo exotic sounds of tropical wildlife. Here too, you’ll find Manuel Antonio National Park, the country’s most visited protected refuge due to the numerous habitats abundant with wildlife. Raised walkways have been added that allow one to venture over and through the mangrove area to see crocodiles and nesting birds. Guided tours make the experience all the more memorable with naturalist guides carrying professional spotting scopes who follow the daily routines of resident wildlife. View this destination…
Some animals that live in Manuel Antonio… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
Located in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, The Park Inn provides the kind of hotel experience you would expect from its parent company. An international restaurant, nice bar, modern decor, a pleasant staff, and comfortable rooms set the tone for a good night’s sleep whilst staying in the heart of San Jose. The main features of the Standard Room include a/c, internet, TV, mini fridge, and coffee service. Breakfast is included. Locally you can visit a variety of museums, historical sights, the National Theater, or go shopping in the central market. The Park Inn can be your arrival or departure hotel when flying in and out of the city. It makes a good central staging area for all of your outlying adventure activities. The hotel has a small cold pool, well-equipped gym, and self-serve laundry facilities on the 10th floor. Shuttle service is available. Read more...
The thoroughly enjoyable Arenal Springs eco-resort combines the charm of the idyllic countryside with the genuine warmth of Costa Rican hospitality. This highly rated resort features beautifully landscaped bungalows, with a private patio for each room facing the volcano. Natural hot springs waters flow by design through a large pool as well as several natural-looking grotto hot tub settings surrounded by tropical foliage and mini waterfalls. In addition to the main international restaurant, there’s a sushi restaurant located at the pool’s swim-up bar. There’s also a regular swimming pool for adults plus one for kids. Quality full-service spa treatments are available onsite. Junior Suites are found within bungalows built from natural wood, stone, and glass with vaulted ceilings. Amenities include comfortable bedding, minifridge, TV, desk, and a garden bathroom with locally made certified organic toiletries. When needed, an efficient a/c system will keep you cool inside where you can enjoy gazing at the majestic volcano through an extra large picture window. Or hang outside in your hammock! Because the property is large, you can easily call for golf cart pick up to bring you to the common areas. Overall, the resort provides a memorable experience in itself! Read more...
Six rows of slightly angled hotel rooms are built high up along a steep slope providing great sunset views. This is a lodge style hotel with large basic rooms, bath, and private balconies. There is a free shuttle service to help you get back and forth to your room. The Deluxe Rooms include a mini-fridge, TV, and coffee maker. The internet is only available in some of the public areas. Monteverde’s weather is typically a bit chilly so there is no a/c. Breakfast is included although if you order separate items than what is on the buffet there is a charge. Two restaurants are located on the premises and reservations are often needed for the Laggus Restaurant which offers fine dining and spectacular sunsets, weather permitting. Perfect for families, you’ll also find on the property a giant tree to climb, gym equipment, a tennis and basketball court, plus an advertised heated pool that is often too cold to use, possibly due to the cooler climate. Onsite spa services are available. It may be noted that this rustic eco-lodge offers more in the way of amenities than most other available hotels in the area. Read more...
The Falls is a favorite boutique resort with beautiful tropical flowers, a waterfall, and lots of wildlife living in the surrounding jungle. The hotel is located in the resort area peppered throughout a sloping hillside where the mountains come down to meet the sea and overlook the Pacific. With only 25 rooms, you’re always within easy reach of the pool, office, popular restaurant andfriendlybar. The Standard Room features a/c, mini-fridge, cable TV, DVD, and a spacious bathroom. Hammocks are available and WiFi may be found in public areas. It is about a 30 minutewalkdown to the beach. Areas of the beach have strong waves and rocks, best to be careful where you swim or go swimming at the resort. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent at the beach. Walking back up the hill to the hotel can be exhausting. Inexpensive local buses run continuously from a bus stop right in front of the resort. The Falls Resort provides a perfect mix of authentic Costa Rican charm with just a touch of luxury. Read more...
A beautiful tour to witness the lush tropical landscape and wildlife of Costa Rica all in one place. You’ll slowly descend down into the jungle atmosphere passing by several distinct wildlife sanctuaries where you can see native animals up close that cannot be released back into the wild. There is even a big open aviary covered by netting where you’ll find multi-hued parrots, macaws, and toucans. Rich colorful foliage surrounds you brimming with heliconias and many other brightly colored flowers as you come to the frog pond and butterfly gardens. With typical Costa Rican friendliness, you’ll be invited in to taste freshly made sugar cane tea while visiting a traditional historical farmhouse including working oxen. You’ll hear the thundering waterfalls well before you see them and possibly note the fresh scent in the air. Each of the four waterfalls has its own path that allows you to choose how far down and back up you want to go. Some are very steep. At the bottom, you’ll enjoy a delicious buffet lunch before being driven back to your hotel. Read more...
A naturalist guide will lead you on a leisurely hike through the tropical rainforest surrounding the Arenal Volcano. With each step you'll be mesmerized hearing the stories of the volcano’s eruptions and amazed by all the beauty in the lush green jungle. Numerous air plants, ferns, and vines cover the endlessly tall trees while exotic sounds of bird calls permeate the air, alerting your guide to their whereabouts. You’ll enjoy spotting the wildlife visible on the day of your visit and likely impressed with the wealth of information passed on to you by your knowledgeable guide. The well-groomed pathways along the forest floor are mostly level, with just a bit of elevation at the end when you come to a mirador, or lookout point, to see a beautiful view of Lake Arenal, weather permitting. Because it is a rainforest, you’ll want to pack a light rain poncho and wear closed shoes as the trail could get a little muddy in the event of a sudden shower. Read more...
Decisions, decisions! Either way, you’ll be traveling by water today carried along the banks of a beautiful river journey. It all depends if you want to go slow and easy or careen down the rapids in a rubber raft! For the Riverboat Safari, you’ll be transported through the rural scenic countryside for about 2 hours to reach the remote Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. At the dock of the Rio Frio River, you’ll meet your guide and board a covered pontoon boat that will meander slowly through connecting waterways where you can observe an abundance of various forms of wildlife. In the river, you’ll likely see crocodiles, along the shoreline wading birds and iguanas, while flocks of native and migratory waterfowl fly overhead and show off their landing gear. Before leaving, you’ll enjoy having lunch and maybe meet some of the locals. If you decide to go on the Rio Balsa Rafting tour, you’ll be driven to the Rio Balsa, about 30 minutes away, where you’ll meet your river guides who will show you the ropes before piling you into sturdy inflatable whitewater rafts. If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be shooting Class ll and Class lll rapids almost continuously downriver for 2 hours surrounded by beautiful scenery where you may catch a glimpse of a monkey or toucan along the way. You’ll definitely want to wear water shoes and bring along an extra set of dry clothes. After working up an appetite, you’ll be treated to a delicious hearty lunch before heading back to your hotel. Read more...
Another choice! This time you’ll be choosing how you want to explore the giant tree canopy found way up in the mountains within the unique Monteverde cloud forest. The Canopy Hanging Bridges guided tour begins along the forest floor where the sheer size and height of the trees will astound you. Your naturalist guide will help you identify the multitude of orchids, bromeliads, and other lush greenery growing all over the bark and branches of the trees. The sudden sound of a bird call piercing the soft cloud forest mist will alert your guide to follow and hopefully find its source for you. While hiking the jungle, you’ll discover yourself at different levels as you begin crossing over the 8 hanging bridges threading through the massive tree canopy way above ground. If you opt for the Ziplining tour, you’ll be in for a real treat zooming over the treetops on one of the longest ziplines in the country. Your friendly, professional guides will lead you up to the first platform to demonstrate the equipment, then off you’ll go on the first of 16 ziplines flying over the forest canopy. You’ll quickly gain confidence as the lines become longer and faster with your guides helping you at every platform. When you come to the mile-long cable, you’ll be ready to soar like a bird feeling the freedom of watching the jungle unfold before you. And yet there’s more! You can fly like Superman and swing through the trees like Tarzan! You’ll feel on top of the world as you discover your own unlimited source of energetic possibilities! Read more...
Winding your way through the forest habitat with your naturalist guide, you’ll likely see a variety of tropical wildlife from colorful crabs and camouflaged insects to sloths sleeping in the canopy. When the trail opens up along the beach, it would be hard to miss the mischievous monkeys swinging through the trees hoping to find a speck of human food somewhere. For this reason, the park limits the kind of food you can bring in and inspects your bags at the entrance. Raised wooden walkways allow you to venture into the mangrove swamps where birds safely nest in the tangled branches above the reach of crocodiles swimming below. At the end of the tour, you can opt to stay for a swim at the two beautiful beaches within the park, finding your own way back to the hotel later (continuous buses make it easy). Both national park beaches have graceful dancing palms rimming an expanse of fine white beach sand. But beware of the monkeys if you have any food in your bags! It can be noted that a number of people do frequent this park as it is one of Costa Rica’s top 3 destinations, not to mention the beaches here are repeatedly listed as being some of the most beautiful in the world. Read more...
Your Package Includes: (remember; you can customize any aspect!)
Award-Winning VIP Service
Hotels & Resorts (hotels can be substituted at an adjusted rate)
Tours, Activities & More (tours can be substituted at an adjusted rate)
Transportation (a rental car or other transportation options can be substituted at an adjusted rate)
Meals & Drinks (based on hotel and tour selections)
Low Season 2018 rates start at $1,347 USD* per person double occupancy, $1,196 USD* pp for triple occupancy, or $2,308 USD* pp for single occupancy for the lodges listed above. High season 2019 rates start at $1,663 USD* per person double occupancy, $1,495 USD* pp for triple occupancy, or $2,941 USD* pp for single occupancy for the same lodges. Low Season 2019 rates start at $1,519 USD* per person double occupancy, $1,342 USD* pp for triple occupancy, or $2,651 USD* pp for single occupancy for the same lodges. You can upgrade or downgrade hotels to match your preferences and budget.
*Your vacation will be 100% customized to your needs. After inquiring with us, you will receive an exact price based on your custom itinerary. Please include special requests in the comments section. The rates listed here include current taxes, hotels, tours and transfers as described unless otherwise indicated. Rates may vary based on your travel dates, room occupancy, and type of transportation selected. Green season pricing and offers listed above are for select travel dates only and restrictions may apply. Inquire for details. Prices are subject to change at any time and do NOT include international airfare, travel insurance or any other services that are not expressly mentioned.
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