The Leatherback and Lava Pac nature safari starts off in one of the most remote regions of Costa Rica, Tortuguero, only accessible by boat or small plane. Here you'll have a chance to get up close and personal with exotic wildlife while cruising canals through the jungle. Then you'll head to the Arenal Volcano for fun-filled nature explorations by day and soothing hot springs by night. Similar to all of our amazing vacations, the Leatherback and Lava Pac value-packed itinerary can be 100% customized to your budget and needs. Check pricing notes for details. Take Advantage of Green Season Savings!
The Leatherback and Lava Pac brings you to two of Costa Rica’s top nature destinations, the remote coastal wilderness town of Tortuguero, only accessible by boat or plane, and the Arenal Volcano surrounded by temperate rainforest and natural hot springs. In Tortuguero, you’ll stay at a rustic ecolodge complete with swimming pool and at Arenal Volcano, you’ll enjoy your hotel’s onsite hot springs. The Leatherback and Lava Pac itinerary is fully customizable, so you can mold this trip into your own idea of the ideal vacation!
Number of nights: 6 (customizable)
Per person price from *$869
$100 Low Lifelong Deposit, No Charge Rescheduling**
While this vacation is 100% customizable, we recommend using the hotels included in this sample itinerary. These hotels have traveler-friendly policies, allowing for low down payments, easy rescheduling, and reasonable cancellation terms. Even so, we strongly recommend obtaining trip insurance to cover the unexpected.
We will be waiting for your arrival at San Jose Airport (SJO). After welcoming you to Costa Rica, we’ll provide a private transfer to a nearby hotel, the Country Inn and Suites, located in Cariari. To unwind from your flight, you can enjoy taking a swim in the pool or just lounging around the inner courtyard of the hotel.
Early next morning you’ll be picked up for your transfer to the remote coastal region of Tortuguero. Along the way, you’ll be stopping for a typical Costa Rican breakfast. When you reach the end of the road, you’ll board a boat for the remainder of the journey! The boat ride is quite beautiful as you pass through the Tortuguero Canals until you reach Mawamba Lodge. Once you check in, lunch will be served then afterward you’ll visit the small colorful town of Tortuguero to see the museum, beach area, and pay your national park entrance fee, which must be paid in cash (not included). Dinner will be served when you return to the lodge. The next morning after breakfast, you’ll go on a guided hike through the lodge’s private trails to visit two butterfly gardens, a frog pond, and their sustainable bio-digester. After lunch, you’ll go on a guided riverboat safari along the canals that cut through the jungle to observe even more animal life. Tortuguero, home to eleven biological habitat zones, features numerous species of wildlife including several kinds of monkeys, tropical birds, sloths, caiman, poison dart frogs, and even the elusive jaguar, so you’re likely to see your fair share of rare and exotic animals! The next day you’ll enjoy breakfast at the lodge before returning by boat through the canals to the mainland dock. A land transfer will include stopping at a restaurant for lunch. At the restaurant, you’ll meet a new driver who will take you the rest of the way to Arenal Volcano.
Arenal Volcano is considered one of the most beautiful rainforest regions in Costa Rica. While the iconic volcano no longer erupts, its impressive size creates a spectacular backdrop and the hot springs are still flowing! You’ll stay at the Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort and Spa for the next three nights. Located at the base of the volcano, the lodge offers magnificent volcano views and onsite hot springs. Your next couple of days will be filled with more exciting wildlife adventures including a really fun Sloth Tour and a trip to the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Your guide for The Sloth tour will drive you to several locations in search of these adorable animals. Once found, you’ll be able to view them through a high powered spotting scope. You can even take photos through the scope! Along the way you’ll be stopping for a snack at a private refuge where you can take a 15 to 20 minute walk around the refuge on your own if you like. The guided hike at Arenal Hanging Bridges provides an excellent opportunity for you to see the amazing flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Your naturalist guide will take you through the lush rainforest surrounding Arenal Volcano along terrestrial trails and over suspension bridges through the forest canopy. When you are back from your adventures, you can enjoy relaxing in the hotel’s hot springs or maybe you’d like to check out the small bustling tourist town of La Fortuna with its colorful shops and restaurants.
Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica and on to your Airport Hotel
We’ll meet you at the San Jose Airport (SJO) and provide a private transfer to the Country Inn and Suites for your first night. Here you can unwind, take a dip in the pool, and enjoy the tropical gardens.
Country Inn and Suites
Day 2: Transfer to Tortuguero and Visit to Tortuguero Village (B, L, D)
Early in the morning, you’ll be picked up for your transfer to Tortuguero. Your driver will stop for breakfast along the way and continue until the road ends at a dock where you will then board a boat. After cruising through the jungle canals, you’ll arrive at your destination, Mawamba Lodge. Later in the day, you’ll visit the village of Tortuguero, including a stop by the museum and beach. You’ll also be required to pay the national park entrance fee in cash ($15 per adult, $5 per child between the ages of 5 - 11, and free for children 4 years or less) which is not included.
Day 3: Guided Hike and Tortuguero Riverboat Tour (B, L, D)
In the morning, you’ll be led on a hike through Mawamba Lodge’s private trails to visit 2 butterfly gardens, see river turtles, a frog garden, and the lodge’s bio-digester. In the afternoon, you’ll go by riverboat safari along the Tortuguero Canals in search of native jungle animal sightings.
Day 4: Transfer to Arenal Volcano (B, L)
After breakfast, you’ll go by riverboat back to the mainland and then continue by land transfer to a restaurant for lunch. At the restaurant, you’ll meet your new driver who will provide transportation the rest of the way to Arenal Volcano. You’ll stay at the Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort and Spa located at the base of the volcano. Enjoy the hotel’s onsite hot springs!
Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort and Spa
Day 5: Sloth Tour (B)
Today’s Sloth Tour will take you to multiple sights to look for the elusive sloth. These guys really know how to hide! When found, your guide will set up a high powered spotting scope to help you see and take close up photos of these interesting animals. You’ll also stop at a private reserve for a snack. After the tour, we’d recommend visiting the nearby town of La Fortuna to check out the souvenir stands, ice cream and chocolate shops, and a variety of restaurants.
Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort and Spa
Day 6: Arenal Hanging Bridges (B)
A naturalist guide will take you on a leisurely hike through the rainforest surrounding Arenal Volcano. You’ll walk along the forest floor and over suspension bridges up in the jungle canopy exploring various levels of wildlife habitat. Animals commonly spotted here include monkeys, sloths, toucans, poison dart frogs, peccaries and the basilisk lizard. After the tour you’ll have time to enjoy the hotel’s hot springs.
Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort and Spa
Day 7: Back to the Airport (B)
Today, we’ll provide a private transfer back to SJO Airport, scheduled according to your flight itinerary.
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Your overnight stay at the Country Inn and Suites located near the airport in the Central Valley will likely not be long enough to venture out, but you can relax and enjoy the hotel’s courtyard gardens, pool and lounge area. View this destination…
Tortuguero, one of Costa Rica’s most remote and difficult regions to access, can only be reached by boat or plane. While that means a little extra travel time, it protects the natural beauty of this unique area supporting eleven different zones of wildlife habitat. Ecolodges are set along the canals and most have private reserves. The national park protects dozens of species of rare and exotic animals including several types of sea turtles that nest on its beaches at different times of the year. An entrance fee must be paid directly to the national park when visiting. At the time of this writing the fee is $15 for adults, $5 for children under 12 except admission is free for children under 5 years of age. The small village of Tortuguero, built on a sandbar, creates a central hub for locals that live off the grid in this remote region. Tortuguero is truly one of the best places in the country to observe a wide variety of tropical wildlife and a must for those seeking a Costa Rican nature vacation. View this destination…
Some animals that live in Tortuguero… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
The Arenal Volcano region, lush with regenerative wildlife from the once active volcano, provides a profusion of nature adventures found circling the local town of La Fortuna. At one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica, visitors will find a temperate rainforest supporting abundant jungle wildlife amid numerous hot springs with a multitude of rivers and scenic Lake Arenal. The jungle to the south and west of the volcano connects with an extensive biological corridor that provides vital habitat for many animals. While often visitors come to Arenal for adventure and hot springs, this area is home to plenty of amazing animals and a really cool place to see them! The village of La Fortuna, at the base of the volcano, offers souvenir stores, chocolate and ice cream shops, plus plenty of dining options. It’s also a great place to walk around and enjoy the vibe. View this destination...
Some animals that live in Arenal… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
Offering affordability and accessibility, Country Inn and Suites provides a nice midrange airport hotel for your first night in Costa Rica. The hotel is built around a central courtyard with tropical gardens that surround the swimming pool and lounge area. View this hotel…
Only accessible by boat yet ideally located between the Tortuguero Canals and Caribbean Sea, the Mawamba Lodge provides the unusual experience of being completed surrounded by Nature. Often seen on the grounds are iguanas, hummingbirds, and sloths. The clean, rustic rooms offer little more than a bed and a bathroom, plus hammocks and rocking chairs on the porch. The main lodge features a refreshing swimming pool, nice dining area, and onsite nature trails with butterfly gardens. View this hotel…
Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort and Spa offers guests rustic but comfortable lodging at the base of the iconic Arenal Volcano. With beautiful amazing volcano views, onsite hot springs, a large freeform swimming pool, spa services, restaurant, bar, and complimentary breakfast, what else could you ask of an affordable eco-resort? View this hotel...
The small village of Tortuguero, isolated on a sandbar between the river canals and the Caribbean Sea, can only be reached by boat or air. This tour will introduce you to the way of life of the residents who live in this very remote region and will take you to the village’s museum so you can learn about the town’s interesting history. You’ll also stop by the beach, known for its visiting sea turtles giving Tortuguero its name. This tour provides a nice cultural experience as you mingle with the friendly locals you’ll meet along the way. View this tour…
The Tortuguero Canals cut through the jungle within the national park and various reserves. This informative guided tour will take you by boat through the canals in search of rare and exotic plants and animals. Your guide will help you spot and identify the abundance of wildlife living in this remote area. View this tour…
As the name implies, the Sloth Tour is all about sloths, Costa Rica’s most beloved animal! On this tour, your guide will drive to several locations that these elusive animals are known to inhabit. Once your guide has located a sloth, he’ll set up a spotting scope so you can observe the animals in their habitat. After a while, you’ll go to a private reserve for a snack. At the reserve, you’ll have 15 – 20 minutes to walk around on your own if you like. View this tour…
The Arenal Hanging Bridges offers a unique way to experience the rainforest. You’ll be led by a naturalist guide as you go for a leisurely hike through groomed terrestrial trails and also across suspension bridges cutting through the jungle treetops. With a little luck from Mother Nature, you may see such animals as agoutis, peccaries, pizotes, monkeys, toucans, poison dart frogs, and rare tropical birds! View this tour…
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 2020 rates start at $869 USD* per person double occupancy. High season 2021 rates start at $999 USD* per person double occupancy (less $ for triple occupancy, more $$ for single occupancy). 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.
If you delay or cancel your trip for any reason, your deposit will be valid until you are ready to go. It is also transferable to a friend.
No Charge Rescheduling & Modifications
For travelers with existing bookings and for new bookings, we will waive modification fees for those that wish to change their travel dates to future travel dates for all booking plans.Restrictions may apply. Please review our policies for details.
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