Trip Type : Group Tour
Volcano eruption arenal_Costa Rica-718277_P
Volcano eruption arenal_Costa Rica-718277_P

Best of Costa Rica’s National Parks

Adventure Women
5.0 . Excellent
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
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  • Explore Costa Rica's splendid National Parks: Corcovado, Arenal, and Monteverde.
  • Stay in luxury hotels, rainforest lodges, and hot springs resorts (with spa treatments).
  • Experience an exciting array of activities, including whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, a zip line “Aerial Canopy Tour,” and optional horseback riding.
  • Hike the lava flows of the famous Arenal Volcano.
  • View some of Costa Rica’s 12,000 plant varieties, 237 species of mammals, 850 species of birds, and more butterflies than Africa!

Short Description

Join AdventureWomen in Costa Rica for one of the greatest adventures in Central America in the midst of flora and fauna unequaled in so small an area. With outstanding accommodations, amazing national parks, and the assortment of exciting activities we have planned, you will see why this active adventure travel vacation is Really Hard To Beat!!

Our exciting multi-activity adventure vacation in Costa Rica begins with a flight to the remote Osa Peninsula on the pristine Pacific coast, where Corcovado National Park protects about a third of the Osa Peninsula. Considered the crown jewel in the extensive system of Costa Rican national parks and biological reserves, Corcovado's ecological variety is quite stunning. Called "the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity" by National Geographic, Corcovado National Park has an amazing abundance of plant, bird, and wildlife species: including a bewildering assortment of orchids; hundreds of mammals, running the gamut from monkeys, ocelots, jaguars, agoutis, tapirs, and coatis to sloths; more than 850 species of birds; a population of butterflies that outnumbers Africa’s; and 361 amphibians, including 2 types of endangered turtles. From our beautiful wilderness resort on Drakes Bay, it's the perfect location from which to hike and boat into the jungle to view jungle birds and wildlife, swim under waterfalls, and snorkel on Cano Island, a snorkler's paradise with sea turtles, manta rays, parrot and angel fish, and more

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City San Jose, Costa Rica
End City San Jose, Costa Rica

Trip Includes

  • 10 days/9 nights, fully guided Best of Costa Rica tour.
  • Transfer and individual pick-up from San Jose International Airport to our first night’s hotel, plus return transfers to the airport from our last night’s hotel.
  • Accommodations in wonderful hotels, rainforest lodges, and spa resorts as described in the itinerary.
  • All meals from dinner on arrival day through breakfast on departure day.
  • Two internal flights, and all land and water transportation throughout the trip.
  • All scheduled activities and excursions with an English-speaking naturalist bilingual guide, local guides, and drivers throughout the entire itinerary.
  • Entrance fees to all parks and reserves.
  • One AdventureWomen escort throughout the trip.

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Day 1: Depart the United States for San Jose, Costa Rica

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel San Jose Palacio

After arriving at Costa Rica’s San Jose International Airport on April 16, 2015, by 5 p.m., each participant is met by an English-speaking driver (who will be holding a sign with your name on it), and is transferred to the 5-star Barceló San José Palacio Hotel in San Jose, just 8 miles from the airport.

After checking in, relaxing, and freshening up in our rooms, we meet at 7 p.m. in the hotel lobby for our special Welcome Dinner. Trip introductions and orientation will take place after dinner.

Day 2: Fly to the Osa Peninsula. Snorkeling and Swimming on Rio Claro

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Early this morning we transfer to the domestic airport in San Jose and fly to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. Our scenic flight passes over Manuel Antonio National Park and provides a great aerial view of the South Pacific Coast en route to the Peninsula. We land at Drake Bay and transfer to Drake Bay Wilderness Resort for check-in and breakfast.

The South Pacific side of Costa Rica is home to the Osa Peninsula, an area of unparalleled rugged beauty. Jutting out approximately 30 miles into the Pacific, the peninsula protects Golfo Dulce from ocean swells and produces a marvelous natural harbor. Its extensive area of virgin lowland rainforest and the fact there are few cities or towns here, make the Osa Peninsula one of the most ideal ecotourism locations on the planet: with its picturesque beaches and rocky headlands, majestic forests, endangered plants and animals, and it’s wildness.

Resting on the northern side of the Osa Peninsula is Drake Bay (Bahía Drake), an adventure-seekers paradise. It’s named after Sir Francis Drake who is believed to have ventured here in the late 16th century. Having changed little since the day Sir Francis docked here, it is still remote from most of the surrounding area, and has become a ‘go to’ spot for eco-tourists seeking a genuinely secluded wilderness experience. Frequent rains nourish a very wet tropical forest rich in biodiversity. Stretching south of Drake Bay are highly scenic rocky areas and coves, crystal blue waters, pristine beaches, and lush primary jungle rainforests. Explorers will find tide pools, spring-fed rivers, numerous waterfalls, forest trails, and some of the best bird watching in the entire country.

After check-in, breakfast, and time to relax, we head out to Rio Claro, just a fifteen minute boat trip that takes us to a breathtakingly beautiful beach and lagoon. We hike 30 minutes to a nearby jungle river, and spend time swimming, canoeing, floating, relaxing in a secluded waterfall pool, and observing jungle birds and wildlife. On the beach we’ll have a delicious buffet lunch brought by our guide. Bring hiking shoes, swimsuit, sunscreen, hat and water bottle.

Day 3: Rainforest Hiking in Corcovado National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

The OsaPeninsula is part of Corcovado National Park, the largest single area of lowland tropical rainforest in all of Central America, and the largest of Costa Rica’s National Parks. Having the good fortune to be fairly inaccessible, Corcovado is the perfect base for visitors who are seeking to fully capture the ecological magic of this region. It is the ideal destination to experience firsthand the ecologic and biotic diversity of Costa Rica.

The crown jewel of Costa Rica’s national park system, Corcovado National Park (Parque Nacional Corcovado), is comprised of an enormous 103,290 acres of tropical rainforest. It encompasses about a third of the Osa Peninsula and embraces an unbelievable amount of its biodiversity. The Park represents a very diverse population of flora and fauna, including 10% of the mammals found in the Americas. Declared a protected area in 1975 to prevent the harvest of precious resources, it is believed to have the largest concentration of macaws and virgin lowland rainforest in Central America. Also, it is one of the very few locations in Costa Rica that harbor the endangered squirrel monkey (the other most prominent being Manuel Antonio National Park).

After an early breakfast, we boat to Corcovado National Park and enjoy a full day of guided rainforest hikes. Our main hike is in the morning, and after lunch we hike to a waterfall to enjoy an afternoon swim.

Bring hiking shoes, swimsuit, sunscreen, hat, water bottle and insect repellent. An extra pair of shoes/sandals is recommended.

Late afternoon we return to Drake Bay for a fabulous dinner.

Day 4: Snorkeling and Optional Scuba Diving on Caño Island

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort

Drake Bay provides a wonderful base to explore the uninhabited Caño Island (Isla del Caño). One of the most popular and pristine snorkeling locations in the area, the island has remnants from an ancient civilization that carved stone spheres dating back to pre-Columbian eras. Its beaches are frequently visited by olive Ridley sea turtles, who venture ashore to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches. Just offshore, whales and dolphins like to congregate in the temperate waters.

This morning we boat 10 miles to Caño Island for a great day of snorkeling. This is one of the very best and most special areas in Costa Rica for snorkeling and diving!

If there are certified scuba divers in the group, BRING YOUR C- CARDS and we can arrange for diving while the rest of the group is snorkeling. Diving will be an optional activity and an extra cost.

Day 5: Fly to Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

This morning we say good-bye to the beautiful Osa Peninsula and its fabulous beaches, and fly back to San Jose. We transfer by vehicle to the spectacular Volcán Arenal area and the Tabacon Resort & Spa, with its hot springs and uninterrupted views of the volcano.

Tabacon is the name of what might very well be Costa Rica’s top destination. This 5-Star luxury resort is recognized as a member of The Leading Hotels and The Leading Spas of the World. Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort sits near the base of the active Arenal Volcano and offers the unique combination of the heat of the volcano, the flowing waters of the natural, mineral hot springs, the pure air of the rainforest, and the fertile earth of the Fortuna de San Carlos Region of Costa Rica. These thermal springs are warmed from the volcano.

The Resort’s lush setting, with manicured gardens and the relaxing Grand Spa, sets it apart from other spas in Costa Rica. Its location, north of Arenal Volcano’s most active crater, faces the direction in which the lava flows. Sitting in a hot spring and watching the red glow of the volcano light up the deep blue of the rainforest at dusk is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget!

This afternoon you are free to relax and enjoy the hot springs or a spa treatment (on your own).

Day 6: Kayaking Lake Arenal and Hiking on the Volcano’s Lava Flows

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Lake Arenal is the largest lake in Costa Rica. Considerably enlarged in 1979 as part of a hydroelectric dam project, it covers 33 square miles and can be found straddling the border of two Costa Rican provinces, Guanacaste and Alajuela.

The water and the surrounding hills are ideal for fishing for rainbow bass, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, and mountain biking.

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll do a morning kayak trip on Lake Arenal: visit an island in the lake; see local birds such as osprey, kingfishers, neotropical cormorants and aningas; and view mammals such as howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white nosed coatis and sloths. It’s hard to miss the impressive view of the Arenal Volcano as we paddle!

Lunch will be en route on our way back to the resort.

This afternoon our knowledgeable guide takes us on a fascinating hike through the old lava flow trails of the Arenal Volcano. This is always one of the highlights of any of our trips in Costa Rica, so it is an exciting activity to incorporate.

After a day of paddling and hiking, the hot springs will be a refreshing treat before we have dinner tonight at a local restaurant.

Day 7: Whitewater Rafting at La Balsa River Class II & III

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Rio Balsa Rafting is ideal for first-time whitewater rafters. It is gentle enough for inexperienced rafters but enough of a challenge to make it exciting. Our professional, experienced bilingual guides will give us a safety talk and paddling instruction, life jackets, helmets, and then we’re off on our guided rafting trip! Enjoy paddling through 25 fun and safe rolling rapids with names like “Morning Coffee” & “Rock around the Croc” and then play around in tranquil river pools in an isolated rainforest river canyon. Hopefully, we’ll get to see lots of wildlife like monkeys, sloths and tropical birds such as ospreys and toucans. This unique river trip is the best way to combine adventure and nature. Go AdventureWomen Team!!

Bring secure shoes/sandals, clothes to get wet and dry clothes to change into, bathing suit, camera, binoculars, sun screen.

Day 8: Monteverde Cloud Forest and Aerial Canopy Zip-Line Tour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Fonda Vela

This morning our adventures continue! After breakfast at Tabacon, we transfer overland to Monteverde Cloud Forest and the Hotel Fonda Vela. We check into our hotel, and then we are off to experience the top of the rainforest!

Undoubtedly, the zip line aerial canopy tour in Monteverde is one of the most exciting activities you’ll enjoy. It’s the perfect combination of adventure, nature, and excitement, together with experiencing the beautiful cloud forest landscape above and in the treeline.

The tour begins with a short safety briefing by our guides about the equipment we use, building confidence, and offering a few laughs. Then our adventure begins with the “Tarzan Swing”, one of the most exciting parts of the tour. This “feat” can be done by anyone, and once you do this, the rest of the tour will be no problem! Next we pass through the treetops via a rope canopy cable, which feels like we’re flying through the forest. Along the way, the guides will review the safety guidelines.

At the halfway point we reach the Rappel section, where we safely experience a quick rope descent of about 150 feet, always helped by the guides. This is a moment of pure adrenaline. You’ll wonder why you have never done this before!

On this tour you’ll get to experience being in the forest canopy, a magical world that exists only in the treetops. Connecting to nature in a new way, you’ll gain a deepened sense of “place” from the bird’s eye views of the environment and geography that you witness. It’s an amazing experience, and you will be empowered by it. Your fellow AdventureWomen friends are there to support and encourage you!

This is a FULL day of activities, and at 5:30 p.m., we’ll experience a night tour of the cloud forest. A new world awakes in the cloud forest just before nightfall, when forest life is just beginning to wake up. Our guide helps us recognize the various animals, insects and amphibians within the cloud forest and will explain the reason that these creatures’ habits (most of which involve feeding or breeding) are best suited for the dark. Typically though, this time of transition offers a good opportunity to view nocturnal mammals as well as diurnal animals as they prepare for night.

At 7:30 p.m. we return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Fonda Vela

This morning we have a naturalist guided hike through the cloud forest of Monteverde Reserve. The whole area is a fabulous place for walking, especially through the magical shrouds of mist that drape the forests in the early morning.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is the most well known cloud forest in the world for its wide variety of biodiversity, important conservation contributions, and scientific researches. It sits astride the continental divide at an altitude slightly above 5,249 feet. The foliage is lush, and it protects and provides habitat for an estimated 2,500 species of plants, more than 100 species of mammals, 490 species of butterflies, and over 400 species of birds.

The Reserve is the last sizeable pocket of primary cloud forest in Central America, and supports six different eco-systems.

On our hike this morning we’ll enjoy the cloud forest climate as we walk the trails among the varieties of plants and magnificent epiphytic-laden trees. The resplendent quetzals, with their long tails, feed at various locations, and one can, at times, hear the “bong” of the bellbirds.

Interesting fact: You can step on the Continental Divide, where one foot will be on the Caribbean side and the other on the Pacific side (fun to take a picture with a friend, each in one side).

This afternoon you’ll have an opportunity for optional horseback riding before our Farewell dinner in the tree tops at Tree House Restaurant. This aptly named restaurant has a large and impressive fig tree growing right through its center. Indeed, it’s worth a visit not only to enjoy its wonderful food but also to see its one-of-a-kind environment.

Day 10: Back to the U.S.A.

Meals: Breakfast

Transfer to San Jose International Airport for afternoon departure.


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Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Cancellation Policy:

Notification of cancellations must be received in writing. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure date, and 50% of the registration deposit is non-refundable. For cancellations received 60 89 days prior to the trip departure date: 50% of the total trip cost is non-refundable. For cancellations received 1-59 days prior to the trip departure date: 100% of the total trip cost is non-refundable.

Trip ID#:


Trip Excludes

  • Round-trip airfare from your hometown to San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Passport fees and any airport entry or departure taxes: Costa Rica ($28 departure tax. Can be paid with Colones, Dollars, or Visa credit card).
  • Alcoholic beverages with meals, personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, etc.
  • Gratuities: Main guide ($5/person/day); Driver ($3/person/day); Local guides ($2/person/day). These are minimum amounts, and you can tip more if you think your guides do a great job. Baggage handling ($1 per bag).

Meals Included:

8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 9 Dinners

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