Day 1: Arrive San Jose. Your trip begins in San Jose, Costa Rica's busy cosmopolitan capital city. We'll make our way to the Museo de Oro (the Gold Museum) and later a walk around the amazing Mercado Central (Local Market). This bustling market is filled with the sounds of local Ticos (Costa Ricans) bargaining for local produce from surrounding farms. We'll have the afternoon to explore the city before meeting in the evening to try the local fare at a Tico restaurant. Accommodation: Hotel Aranjuez San Jose. Includes: (D)
Day 2: Hiking Turrialba Volcano. We'll set off early this morning and take a short drive to Turrialba National Park where we'll hike to the summit of Turrialba Volcano. At over 10,000 feet, Volcan Turrialba is Costa Rica's second highest active volcano, dwarfing everything in the surrounding valleys. We'll set off to the summit, making our way up the steep trail to the top. As we approach the cratered summit, the scene turns into a lunar landscape with the fantastic views of the valley below. We'll head back down through the cloud forest and head for Turrialba lodge at the foot of the volcano where we'll rest up before our rafting trip in the morning. Accommodation: Turrialba Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Rafting the Pacuare River. This morning we'll take a short drive to the rafting "put-in" on the Rio Pacuare, which is one of the most beautiful rivers in Central America. After a safety briefing from the guides we'll set off down the river as we descend Grade III and IV rapids from the Central highlands down through virgin rainforest to the Caribbean lowlands. The lush, green vegetation hangs down the vertical walls of this amazing river canyon - some of them hundreds of feet high! This is one of the worlds' greatest rafting trips - along with exciting whitewater, the scenery is stunning, and the water is warm!
After we take out, we'll continue on to Fortuna, the small town at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. After dinner we'll take a short night hike to a lookout to watch this constantly erupting volcano light up the night sky as it spits lava from its high crater. If you prefer, we'll make a stop just out of town for a soak in the thermal hot springs. accommodation: Cabinas Los Guayabos, Fortuna. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Hiking Cerro Chato Volcano. This morning we'll begin our ascent of the Cerro Chato Volcano. After a short time hiking through the typical Tico farmland, we'll enter stunning virgin rainforest canopy, as it flanks the trail. It's a heart pumping hike to the top of this magnificent volcano, but the rewards are worth the effort! When we arrive at the summit we'll be greeted with views of the beautiful turquoise lake nestled in the thick rainforest crater. After lunch at the top we'll head down for a well deserved soak in the thermal pools outside town.
Accommodation: Cabinas Los Guayabos, Fortuna. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Cycling around lake Arenal, Monteverde. This morning take an amazing cycle trip around the edge of Lake Arenal. After an early breakfast we'll begin riding under the rainforest canopy as we follow the shores of the Lake. You'll be amazed at the cacophony of Tucan calls, howler monkeys and other wildlife sounds under the rain-forest canopy. If cycling isn't your thing you can spend the morning hiking through the rain-forest to the Catarata de La Fortuna - one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Latin America. The views down into the plunge pool and surrounding rain-forest from above the waterfall are gorgeous. We'll meet in the Monteverde cloud-forest. Accommodation: Sunset Hotel, Monteverde. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Hiking Monteverde Cloudforest, Journey to the Pacific Coast. Today we'll explore some of the most beautiful forest trails in Central America – the Monteverde Cloudforest. Laden with native flora and fauna, and tucked in a highland valley of the Costa Rican mountains, Monteverde offers a peaceful hiking experience with stunning waterfalls, lush forest canopy, and plenty of native animals ducking in and out of the trails! If you'd like an adrenaline pumping view of the forest canopy from above, there's an option to take a zip line canopy tour, high above the trees. After a briefing from our guides we'll set off along the cables for an unforgettable ride with magical views of the rainforest and the valleys below!
Later we'll continue down into the tropical warmth of the Pacific lowlands where we'll hit the Pacific Ocean for the first time on the trip. Our home for the next couple of nights will be Coyote beach - an isolated white sand Costa Rican beach on the Nicoya Peninsula. We'll have time to explore to the Rio Coyote estuary where caiman are often seen and howler monkeys swing through the trees above us. If you prefer, you can take the rest of the afternoon to relax at the beach. Accommodation: Rancho Tanga Beach Camp. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Exploring Coyote beach, coastal hiking or relax at the beach. There are quite a few options today. Coyote beach is a stunning white sand beach flanked by hundreds of palm trees, and it's quite a way off the beaten track, so we usually have the place to ourselves! We'll hike over to Caletas beach this morning, making a stop at the top of Cerro Coyote (Coyote Hill) to take in the stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and miles of beautiful coastline, both north and south - the scenery doesn't get much better! If you prefer, you can walk for miles along Coyote beach, cycle or hike the forest trails just off the coast, or simply relax and swim at the beach! Later we'll prepare a BBQ dinner and build a fire on the beach. Accommodation: Rancho Tanga Beach Camp. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Hiking Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. We'll leave Coyote beach this morning and make our way south to the tip of the Nicoya peninsula to the Cabo Blanco Nature reserve. This national reserve is the oldest wildlife sanctuary in Costa Rica, and is home to several native species of monkey, sloth, raccoon, and parrot. We'll spend the afternoon hiking through the steep, forest terrain to the tip of the peninsula, and back along the white sand beaches to the trail head. We'll spend the night at Curu Nature Reserve, our home for the next two nights. Accommodation: Curu Nature Reserve Lodge. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Curu National Reserve, Snorkeling. The Curu National Reserve wildlife area is dotted with mangroves, palm fringed beaches and rocky headlands. We'll spend today snorkeling in the tidal pools and rocky outcrops. The pools are teeming with life both in and out of the water. Here, we'll find sea turtles, Iguanas, lobsters and hundreds of variety of fish in and around the crystal clear waters on the shoreline. After a safety check, we'll set off with our masks and snorkels in the warm Pacific waters. Keep an eye out for dolphins - they're often spotted close into shore!
If snorkeling isn't your thing, you can explore the trails of the Curu Land Reserve - which is teeming with life of its own. There are 200 species of birds, haunts of deer and numerous troops of howler and capuchin monkeys, all habituating the low level canopy of the reserve. The animals of the reserve are renowned for their bold and friendly nature which makes for great close up viewing and photos. The Capuchin monkeys will even sleep outside your room! Accommodation: Curu Nature Reserve Lodge, Curu. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Sea kayaking to Tortuga Island, return to San Jose. This morning we'll paddle our sea kayaks across to Tortuga Island, a short distance offshore from the Curu National Reserve. After a familiarization briefing from our guides we'll set off across the warm, clear waters. This beautiful stretch of water is often frequented by sea turtles, dolphins and whales, so bring your camera! (We'll give you a dry bag for this!) When we arrive on the island, we'll take out and have a leisurely lunch on an isolated white sand beach all our own. Tortuga Island is a stunning place, with its stunning beaches laden with coconut palms, clear water and green rainforest interior. We'll take some time for swimming and snorkeling early this afternoon before we paddle back to the mainland. We'll return to San Jose late this afternoon for our final dinner together. Accommodation: Hotel Aranjuez, San Jose. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: San Jose, departure. Today is the last of your 11 magic days in Costa Rica with us! If you have some time before your flight or you're staying on for a few days we'll be happy to make some suggestions on how to make the most of it. If you're on your way home today we'll send you home refreshed, relaxed and invigorated after the great food, exercise and good times you'll have had. Pura Vida! Includes: (B).
- Accommodation: The Iguana is an active adventure-orientated trip around Costa Rica. As with all active trips, we've chosen interesting, clean and comfortable accommodation throughout. Most of the places we stay are off the beaten track and truly spectacular
- Fitness: You must have a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy yourself. You don't have to be young nor extremely fit (although if you are, you won't be bored) but you should be in the habit of doing at least some exercise. Age and experience is not important. We would rather have an older person with a good attitude than a 22-year-old couch potato!
- Experience: You don't have to have any outdoor experience to do one of our trips. We offer trips that enable you to make the most of Latin America’s awesome outdoor environment, culture and history. Our staff is highly trained and very experienced outdoor guides, and we'll look after you! You don't need any experience in snorkeling, rafting or sea kayaking on the Iguana. All you need is to be energetic and in reasonable shape - and we guarantee you'll have a wonderful time. But if you like a challenge we will certainly give you one! We can offer activities to suit people who only do a little exercise and those who have a very high level of fitness and experience in all our activities. We manage the level of commitment to suit your experience, and we have an impeccable safety record
- Flexibility: Costa Rica is in a developing part of the world, and we can't tell you that everything runs like clock work in Latin America. What we can tell you is that we are experienced adventure travel leaders, and we know how to keep things operating as smoothly as possible, even when conditions are challenging. That's why we are here! If you bring flexibility and a sense of humor you'll find your trip goes even smoother!
Also see tour packages in:
Central America and Caribbean Costa Rica Outdoor: Land Rambler Multi-activity