The Rainforest Safari delivers two weeks of fascinating nature explorations from the Caribbean to the Pacific! You’ll be visiting four of Costa Rica’s most diversified natural habitats, some only accessible by boat or plane! You’ll start by visiting the remote Caribbean coastal village of Tortuguero where you’ll cruise the famous jungle canals by boat before heading cross country to Arenal Volcano to hike the rainforest, go down the Rio Penas Blancas River, and soak in the volcano’s natural hot springs. From there you’ll be going up into the mountainous Monteverde Cloud Forest region hiking across hanging bridges to see more unique plant and animal life within the giant forest canopy. You'll wind down at the Pacific beach town of Manuel Antonio where a guided hike will take you to see the wonderful wildlife living in Costa Rica’s number one visited national park. After your first night at an inn, you’ll be staying in ecolodges and a boutique hotel surrounded by nature. As with our other specialized nature tours, the Rainforest Safari vacation is a value-packed itinerary that can be 100% customized to meet your budget and needs. Check pricing notes for details. Take Advantage of Green Season Savings! Add a FREE NIGHT to your stay at La Vela Boutique Hotel (La Vela free night is available for all Low Season dates until December 14, 2024) and Monteverde Country Lodge in September & October for the Affordable Value category or a free night at El Establo Mountain Hotel in September & October Affordable Deluxe category now through December 14, 2024!
The Rainforest Safari provides two incredible weeks of exploring four of Costa Rica’s top nature destinations. A trip to Tortuguero’s remote Caribbean coastal canals, an exploration of Arenal Volcano’s lush rainforest, inland rivers, and natural hot springs, a walk across hanging bridges to discover the unique habitat of Monteverde Cloud Forest, and a guided wildlife hike through Manuel Antonio’s national park on the Pacific coast. The Rainforest Safari is fully customizable, so you can fine-tune it to your personal taste for an even more perfect vacation!
Number of days/nights: 14/13 (customizable)
Category: Affordable deluxe per person price from $$$ (as displayed below) and add a free night at El Establo in Sep & Oct!
Category: Affordable value per person price from $$ (see pricing notes for details) and add a free night at both Monteverde Country Lodge & La Vela in Sep & Oct OR a free night at La Vela for all Low Season dates now through Dec 14!
$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’ll be waiting your arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport near San Jose and then send you by private transfer to a nearby airport hotel, Country Inn and Suites. You’ll wash away your travel day lounging in the hotel courtyard’s swimming pool surrounded by tropical gardens.
In the morning, you’ll leave for your first adventure, the wilds of Tortuguero, on the northern Caribbean coast. On the way, we’ll stop for breakfast at a typical Costa Rican restaurant and continue until the road ends at a dock on the river. A boat will be waiting to take you through the Tortuguero Canals until you reach Mawamba Lodge, where you’ll stay for the next couple of nights. Tortuguero is one of the least accessible and wildest places in Costa Rica, as it can only be reached by boat or plane. Ideally located deep within the wilderness, Mawamba Lodge provides a colorful no-frills ecolodge and base from which to explore this amazing area. After arriving at the lodge, you will have lunch before going by boat to the village of Tortuguero to learn about the local culture, visit the museum and beach area. You will also stop by the Tortuguero National Park ranger station where you will pay cash for the park entrance fee. The next morning, a naturalist will take you on a guided hike through the tropical gardens at Mawamba Lodge. In the afternoon, you’ll cruise the jungle observing wildlife on a guided riverboat safari through the canals of Tortuguero National Park. You may have the fortune to see such animals as the three-toed sloths, spider monkeys, caiman, poison dart frogs, macaws, and any number of other wildlife species inhabiting this protected wilderness area.
After breakfast the next day, you’ll take a boat from the ecolodge back to the mainland and then continue by ground transfer to a restaurant for lunch. At the restaurant, you’ll change to a different ground transfer before continuing on to Arenal Volcano. You’ll arrive at the Arenal Springs Resort and Spa, which offers magnificent volcano views and onsite thermal hot springs. This will be your new base for the next couple of days exploring the Arenal area. You can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the resort. The next day, you’ll be going on a guided hike through the rainforest at the base of Arenal Volcano. Your guide will tell you all about the history of the volcano and point out the visible wildlife. With a little luck, you may see such animals as toucans, iguanas, monkeys, or pizotes. Eventually, you’ll reach an observation point with great volcano views (weather permitting of course). On Day 6, you’ll go for a leisurely Safari Float on the Rio Penas Blancas. You’ll be in a whitewater rafting boat but don’t worry, there are no rapids! As you float down this beautiful river enjoying the scenery, your guide will be on the lookout for monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, iguanas, and many other species of wildlife. Once back at the resort, be sure to take advantage of the onsite hot springs!
The next morning, you’ll be picked up and taken to Lake Arenal, where you will board a boat and cross the scenic lake. When you reach the other side, a ground transfer will be waiting to take you through the countryside, up into the mountains, and on to the unique cloud forest of Monteverde. You’ll be staying the next few nights at El Establo Mountain Hotel, perched on a hillside overlooking the forest and village. This rustic lodge offers onsite trails, a heated swimming pool, spa services, restaurant, and a bar to make your stay in the typically cool Monteverde region nice and cozy. By now, you’ll likely be ready for a break, so we leave Day 8 open for you to have some unscheduled time to relax or explore the area on your own. The small town of Santa Elena is surprisingly full of interesting things to do from museums and art galleries to a cheese factory and excellent restaurants. You might want to visit one of the cloud forest parks, do some souvenir shopping, or hike back at the lodge and lounge around the heated pool. The following morning, you’ll be ready to hit the trails on a guided hike through the cloud forest at the Selvatura Hanging Bridges. Your guide will lead you along both the forest floor and over suspension bridges pointing out many species of unique flora, such as orchids, and fauna found at different levels in the canopy. For the avid birder, the cloud forest habitat contains many species of highland birds such as the resplendent quetzal, emerald toucanet, hummingbirds, trogons, and more. Depending on the day, you may run across such mammals as pizotes, agoutis, Baird’s tapir, the collared peccary or spider monkeys. Of course, a variety of interesting reptiles and amphibians live here too!
On Day 10, we’ll provide a transfer down the mountain, then head south along the Pacific coast to Manuel Antonio. This jungle-beach destination offers gorgeous palm-studded beaches and is home to loads of wildlife. You’ll stay at La Vela Boutique Hotel, which is conveniently located within a few minutes walk of the beach and the national park. The small boutique hotel is well-known for its great service and comfortable rooms. The next day is yours to rest or go exploring on your own. Head to the beach for a relaxing day of fun in the sun, go shopping in the small village, or just enjoy the pool and lounge area back at the hotel. In the morning, you’ll go with a naturalist on a guided hike at Manuel Antonio National Park. The park is the smallest national park in Costa Rica but one of the largest in terms of biodiversity and popularity. Countless species inhabit this jungle including capuchin monkeys, sloths, colorful frogs, iguanas, and much more, so bring along your camera! On Day 13, you’ll have another free day to revel in the tropical weather, lie in a hammock, walk the beach or take a swim. If you want to add one more adventure, you can easily customize your itinerary.
On your final day, we’ll provide a private transfer back to the airport for your flight home. Again, like all our other combination destination vacations, the Rainforest Safari can be fully customized to match your interests to give you the perfect vacation!
Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica and on to Your Airport Hotel
We will be waiting for your arrival at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport and will then provide a private transfer to the nearby Country Inn and Suites. Relax, unwind and enjoy your first day in paradise!
Country Inn and Suites
Day 2: Land and Boat Transfer to Tortuguero and Tortuguero Village Tour (B, L, D)
The transfer to Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast, is by a combination of land and boat transfers. You’ll be leaving early in the morning and will have breakfast en route. After checking in at Mawamba Lodge, you’ll have lunch and visit the village of Tortuguero to learn about local culture, tour a small museum, visit the beach area, and stop by the Tortuguero National Park ranger station to pay the mandatory 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).
Day 3: Guided Hike at the Mawamba Lodge Trails and River Boat Tour through the Tortuguero Canals (B, L, D)
The day starts off with a guided hike to see the resident wildlife living on the grounds of Mawamba Lodge. In the afternoon, you’ll go on a riverboat safari cruising the canals of Tortuguero National Park. Both tours provide amazing wildlife observation opportunities, so don’t forget your camera!
Day 4: Boat and Land Transfer to Arenal Volcano (B, L)
You’ll be leaving Tortuguero by boat back through the canals to the mainland dock and then continue by land transfer to a local Costa Rican restaurant for lunch. After lunch, you’ll change to another land transfer that will take you to Arenal Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal Volcano. Enjoy the volcano views and onsite hot springs!
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Day 5: Arenal Volcano Nature and History Tour (B)
A bilingual guide will lead you on an informative hike through the rainforest at the base of Arenal Volcano. You’ll learn about the history of the volcano, the jungle inhabitants, and will likely see plenty of animals.
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Day 6: Safari Float on Rio Penas Blancas (B)
The Safari Float on the Rio Penas Blancas river provides another unique way to look for wildlife. You’ll be floating down river in a whitewater rafting boat, but no worries, it’s a calm ride without rapids. With a little luck and a lot of experience, your guide will point out any visible animal life along the river’s edge. Once back at the resort be sure to enjoy the onsite hot springs as this will be your final evening in Arenal!
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Day 7: Land Boat Land Transfer to Monteverde (B)
Today you’ll be taken to nearby Lake Arenal to board a boat that will go across this beautiful scenic lake surrounded by mountains. When you reach the other side, you’ll switch to a land transfer that will bring you through the mountains to the cloud forests of Monteverde, where you’ll stay at the El Establo Mountain Hotel.
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Day 8: Free Day to Explore Monteverde (B)
No activities are planned for today. You’re on your own to explore the Monteverde area, the village of Santa Elena, the cloud forest reserves, or just relax at the El Establo Hotel enjoying the heated swimming pool or indulging in a spa service.
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Day 9: Hanging Bridges Guided Hike – Selvatura (B)
The Selvatura Hanging Bridges guided hike offers both terrestrial trails and suspension bridges throughout the cloud forest. Your guide will lead the way showing you various highland plants and wildlife, explaining their intricate relationships and dependence on each other.
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Day 10: Transfer to Manuel Antonio Beach (B)
A transfer will be provided down the mountains and over to the Pacific coastal area of Manuel Antonio. Here you’ll be staying at La Vela Boutique Hotel where you can enjoy the hotel’s relaxed vibe and swimming pool this evening.
La Vela Boutique Hotel
Day 11: Free Day to Explore Manuel Antonio (B)
We leave this day free of activities so you can explore Manuel Antonio on your own. Walk to the beach for some fun in the sun, explore the rainforest, or do some souvenir shopping. Of course, you can simply relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings at La Vela Boutique Hotel.
La Vela Boutique Hotel
Day 12: Manuel Antonio National Park (B)
A naturalist guide will lead you on an easy hike through Manuel Antonio National Park. Bring your camera as this park is loaded with beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife!
La Vela Boutique Hotel
Day 13: Another Free Day to Explore Manuel Antonio (B)
Enjoy another relaxing day on your own in Manuel Antonio or go exploring as this is your final day in paradise! Additional tours can always be arranged if you wish to change your itinerary.
La Vela Boutique Hotel
Day 14: Transfer Back to the Airport (B)
We’ll provide a private transfer back to the airport for your flight back home.
Can you picture yourself on this amazing vacation? Inquire Now!
Your stay in the Central Valley won’t be long, so you can use this time to relax after your day of travel and unwind at the Country Inn and Suite’s tropical swimming pool and lounge area. View this destination…
Tortuguero, one of the most remote and inaccessible regions in Costa Rica, can only be reached by small plane or boat, which is actually great as it helps protect the pristine jungles and sensitivity of eleven diverse wildlife habitats. As part of the Tortuguero National Park, there is an entrance fee. A few rustic ecolodges are found spread out along the canals, typically on private reserves, providing a home base for exploring the wonders of the national park. View this destination…
Some animals that live in Tortuguero… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
The Arenal Volcano region, with its temperate rainforest, volcanic hot springs, and rolling mountain landscapes provides one of the most beautiful areas in Costa Rica for nature exploration and adventure activities. The small but lively village of La Fortuna, located at the base of the majestic volcano, features a plethora of natural hot springs, local art galleries, chocolate and ice cream shops, plus a variety of restaurants. Arenal is sure to add a highlight to your Costa Rica vacation! View this destination...
Some animals that live in Arenal… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
The world’s most famous cloud forest destination, Monteverde, offers amazing birdwatching opportunities, beautiful scenery and so much more. Life is stacked on top of life in the cloud forest. Colorful tropical highland birds are abundant and take center stage but there are also plenty of other animal life that call the cloud forest home including monkeys, sloths,pizotes, peccaries, plus many species of reptiles and amphibians. The charming village of Santa Elena delights visitors with an interesting history, cultural museums, a cheese factory, ice cream shops, art galleries, and local artisan souvenir stands. View this destination…
Some animals that live in Monteverde… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
Manuel Antonio offers visitors a jungle-beach experience like no other. The gorgeous palm-studded beaches, backed by lush jungle, are teeming with rare and exotic wildlife. The national park provides an excellent opportunity to see a concentration of animal life while walking along comfortable trails leading to beautiful beaches. To maintain the natural beauty, most hotels are located away from the beach, in the hillside resort areas. Surrounding restaurants, souvenir shops, spas, coffee shops, and more are available in the area. View this destination…
Some animals that live in Manuel Antonio… (actual images may have been taken in other locations)
Conveniently located between the airport and capital city of San Jose, Country Inn and Suites offers an affordable yet comfortable hotel for your first or last night in Costa Rica. The rooms include modern conveniences that you’d expect from the Country Inn chain but don’t worry, you’ll know you’re in Costa Rica at this hotel’s tropical themed swimming pool and lounge area surrounded by lush gardens. View this hotel…
Offering a true eco-lodge experience, Mawamba Lodge, set in a strip of jungle between the Caribbean coast and the canals of Tortuguero, provides the best of both worlds within easy reach. Only accessible by boat, the wooden walkways connect the common areas to clean, comfortable no-frills rooms featuring an outdoor porch, bed and private bathroom. Hammocks and patio chairs grace the porch. The grounds, covered in tropical gardens, include a refreshing swimming pool, covered outdoor jungle dining area, and onsite trails. View this hotel…
Guests of Arenal Springs Resort and Spa will enjoy the amazing volcano view and onsite hot springs. The bungalows surrounded by tropical gardens create a comfortable base camp to explore the wonders of the Arenal region. Whether you want pizza, pasta, sushi, or typical Costa Rican fare, you’ll love the dining choices! Of course, there is much to be said for the great customer service you’ll receive at this eco-resort too! View this hotel…
Set on a hillside overlooking cloud forest and village, the rustic El Establo Mountain Hotel is a great choice for your stay in Monteverde. Guests to this typically cool highland area can enjoy the convenience of a heated swimming pool, spa services, restaurant and bar, onsite trails, and more. View this hotel…
Surrounded by jungle, palm trees, and tropical gardens, La Vela Boutique Hotel is a delightful Manuel Antonio hotel conveniently located within a few minutes walk of the national park and gorgeous Playa Espadilla (beach). La Vela offers guests great customer service and a tranquilo vibe. It is within a short walk of plenty of shopping and dining options, making it possibly the most convenient location in Manuel Antonio. Whether you are sitting by the pool with a tropical drink or watching a troop of monkeys from your balcony, La Vela is sure to be a highlight of your vacation! View this hotel…
The tiny Caribbean coastal village of Tortuguero, only accessible by boat or plane, isn’t your typical town! This tour will take you to the village to see how the locals of this historical outpost live, and on to visit the museum and beach. You’ll also be stopping by the national park ranger station to pay the obligatory cash entrance fee. During certain times of year turtles come to nest on the protected beach. View this tour…
After breakfast, a local guide will lead you on a hike through the rainforest garden trails at Mawamba Lodge to visit the onsite butterfly and frog habitats as well as point out any visible wildlife. After lunch, you’ll go aboard a riverboat safari along the Tortuguero Canals in search of even more wildlife sightings. The area is home to many species of rare endemic and exotic animals including colorful frogs, crocodiles, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, sloths, macaws, and much more, so don’t forget your camera! View this tour…
This tour will take you on a hike through the rainforest surrounding the base of the iconic Arenal Volcano. Your bilingual guide will tell you the history of the volcano and introduce you to the tropical wet forest jungle life inhabiting the area. With a little luck, your experienced nature guide will help you spot and identify resident animals such as toucans, oropendolas, monkeys, sloths, and more. Eventually, the trails will lead to an observation point, where weather permitting, you may be able to take some epic photos of the volcano. View this tour…
The trees lining the banks of the Rio Penas Blancas create a lively biological corridor! This tour takes place on a whitewater rafting boat, but have no fear, you won’t be shooting any rapids! As you float along the peaceful river, your guide will point out interesting tropical animals which may include iguanas, howler monkeys, crocodiles, anhingas, and sloths, among other riparian habitat wildlife. View this tour…
The Selvatura Hanging Bridges offer an unusual opportunity to observe the cloud forest from way up in the air! A naturalist guide will take you along the forest floor on terrestrial trails exploring the lush understory covered in orchids and other epiphytes. As you continue, suddenly you’ll find yourself crossing over amazing suspension bridges cutting through the cloud forest canopy. Your guide will help you spot and identify resident animal life living in the area. Birder alert, Monteverde is home to such birds as the elusive resplendent quetzal as well as emerald toucanets, trogons, and hummingbirds, to name a few. View this tour…
Manuel Antonio National Park may be the country’s smallest national park but the abundance of wildlife living here makes it the most visited in Costa Rica! Some of the animals your guide might point out while hiking the easy paths inside the park include several species of monkeys, agoutis, pizotes, sloths, crocodiles, iguanas, toucans, macaws, and much more. Combined with the scenic beaches you won’t want to forget your camera! 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)
Affordable Deluxe Category (displayed above): $$$. To offer the lowest prices possible, we work with a combination of contract and dynamic rates. These rates fluctuate daily, based on the season and hotel availability.
Affordable Value Category (not displayed above): For supreme value, we substitute Autentico Hotel in place of Country Inn, Turtle Beach Lodge in place of Mawamba Lodge, Arenal Volcano Inn in place of Arenal Springs Resort, and Monteverde Country Lodge in place of El Establo in the affordable value category and keep La Vela Boutique Hotel for a new significantly reduced $$ price. Note that hot springs are not included in this version, though can be added for an additional price. In order to offer the lowest prices possible, we work with a combination of contract and dynamic rates. These rates fluctuate daily, based on the season and hotel availability. Please mention in your inquiry that you are interested in the affordable value deal if you would like this offer. Click here >> to view the Affordable Value version of this vacation!
The free night offer for the Affordable Deluxe category is at El Establo Hotel during the months of September and October 2024.
The free night offer for the Affordable Value category is at La Vela Boutique Hotel and Monteverde Country Lodge during the months of September and October 2024 OR at only La Vela Boutique Hotel for Low Season dates now through December 14, 2024.
*Free nights offers are subject to availability.
*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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