Stride climate

Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Mangroves & Beaches

Great Value Vacations
4.3 . Great
93%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
9 days
From: $ 1,768 $ 196 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Watch smoke and steam rise from Poas Volcano, one of Costa Rica's largest and most active volcanoes!
  • Get your adrenaline pumping in the Arenal Volcano area which has an abundance of activities from zip lining to hiking.
  • Explore ecological wetlands and mangroves at Rancho Humo and spot a variety of birds like egrets and herons.
  • Explore the Guanacaste province and see why Northwestern Costa Rica truly has it all!
  • Travel by car to the most beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica, Llanos de Cortes, and take a dip in the pond.

Short Description

Where else in the world can you see active volcanoes one day and lush mangroves the next? In this 8-night vacation, experience Costa Rica's stunning natural diversity with the freedom of your own car. From Poas Volcano to Tamarindo beach in Guanacaste, travel across Central America's jewel, discovering one natural wonder after another.

A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Trip Type Self-guided / Independent Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Airfare included
Start City San Jose
End City Guanacaste

Trip Includes

  • Round-trip economy class airfare into San Jose (SJO), out of Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR)
  • Automatic 4x4 car rental for 8 nights including unlimited mileage (Intermediate SUV - Hyundai Tucson or similar)
  • 1 night in Naranjo at Chayote Lodge, or similar
  • 2 nights in the Arenal Volcano area at Hotel Arenal Springs, or similar
  • 2 nights in Puerto Humo at Rancho Humo, or similar
  • Lunch and Dinner daily while in Puerto Humo
  • 3 nights in Guanacaste/Tamarindo at the Wyndham Tamarindo, or similar
  • Breakfast daily, 2 lunches & 2 dinners

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Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to San Jose!

Est. driving time: 1 hour

Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and pick up your rental car to start your Costa Rica adventure! From San Jose, drive to Naranjo and check into your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day or night at leisure.

Day 2: Naranjo - Arenal Volcano

Est. driving time: 2 1/4 hours

See Poas Volcano if you didn't catch it last night, then begin the journey to Arenal Volcano (about a 2 hour drive). This route offers beautiful scenery accompanied by picturesque rural towns like Rio Cuarto, Aguas Zarcas and La Fortuna de San Carlos.

If weather conditions are favorable, you'll be able to see one of the greatest natural attractions of the country: the impressive Arenal Volcano. Arenal has been the country’s most active volcano for the past 43 years!

Day 3: Arenal Volcano

This day is yours to enjoy the tourist attractions around Arenal Volcano. If you're up for an adventure, head to Sky Adventure Park for the Sky Tram & Sky Trek. The tour combines ascending to the top of the mountain by Sky Tram with an exhilarating decline by zip line!

If you prefer a calmer excursion, pay a visit to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a collection of 16 hanging bridges immersed in the rainforest. Walk along the bridges as you admire magnificent views of Arenal Volcano, and keep your eyes peeled for mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects that live in the rainforest.

Day 4: Arenal Volcano - Puerto Humo

Est. driving time: 3 1/2 hours

After breakfast, drive 3½ hours to Palo Verde National Park. On the way, enjoy panoramic views of Arenal Lake as you continue through the village of Cañas across La Amistad Bridge.

A Tip For Your Trip: Plan to arrive at your accommodation around noon if you would like to have lunch. If you arrive later in the afternoon, your included lunch will be on day 6 instead.

Day 5: Puerto Humo

Today, explore Rancho Humo's unique natural environment of wetlands and mangroves. Embark on a boat tour along Temp River to glimpse the wide range of flora and fauna like herons, martinets, hawks, ducks, roseate spoonbills, wood storks and the jabiru, the largest waterfowl in Latin America.

You could also pay a visit to Palo Verde National Park.

Day 6: Puerto Humo - Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste

Est. driving time: 1 3/4 hours

In the morning continue your trip to the beautiful coast of Guanacaste in the North Pacific of Costa Rica, known for its jungle-covered beaches and warm waters. As you drive on the Panamerican highway, take notice of the picturesque rural villages and the change from rainforest to tropical dry forest that characterizes the province of Guanacaste.

Day 7: Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste

Enjoy your first full day in Guanacaste! There is much to do and see in Northwestern Costa Rica, from gorgeous beaches to mesmerizing national parks. One of the most well-known national parks is Rincon de la Vieja, an intriguing combination of volcanic geological wonders and pristine tropical forests. The main attraction is the steamy volcano Rincon de la Vieja (translating to "old lady’s nook"). 

You could also visit Liberia, the rural capital of Guanacaste, that's adorned with charming colonial buildings.

Day 8: Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste

Continue to explore the Guanacaste region today. A highlight would be visiting Llanos de Cortes, the most stunning waterfall in Costa Rica. Walk down a short, steep trail to reach this spectacular waterfall then swim in the tranquil pond below the gushing falls.

Guanacaste's beaches are also a good bet for rest and relaxation. Head to the peaceful sheltered bay at Playa Hermosa, sprinkled with coconut palms and olive trees.

Day 9: Depart Costa Rica

Est. driving time: 1 1/2 hours

After enjoying an unforgettable stay in Costa Rica, it's time to say goodbye. Drive to Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia and return your car, then board your flight back home.

Fly home!

Availability

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Price From $ 1,768
Price Per Day: $ 196 per day
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6,665 Great Value Vacations Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.3 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,962
Great 1,549
Average 688
Disappointing 255
Terrible 210
Value
4.3
Guide
4.3
Activities
4.3
Lodging
4.3
Transportation
4.3
Meals
4.3

Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Mangroves & Beaches

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Company Reviews

The customer service was excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
When I booked with Great Value I was nervous because it seemed too good to be true. Nope, just a really great deal. I was able to take my dream trip to Ireland and Scotland and it was within my budget. Everything was covered, my lodging, flights, and rental car. There was no hidden fees, or fine print that would nickel and dime me later on, as "good deals" usually have. I also had to change the date of my trip and the customer service was excellent and this change was simple. Thank you Great Value, I'll be using you every time I travel from now on
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Everything on the trip was excellent.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Everything on the trip was excellent. The only concern with any services from GVV was initial communications ahead of the trip regarding when and how we'd receive all our travel vouchers, as some were available online, and some were to be picked up in country upon arrival. It took no less than 5 phone calls to learn some vouchers would be picked up in country. The trip was outstanding, exhausting, but gloriously beautiful. It was exhausting from the perspective of moving around the country and only a few places were 2 nights. But, we knew that going in, and we wanted to see ALL of Switzerland and this certainly checked those boxes. We saw majestic mountains, we saw countless waterfalls and glaciers. The trains in Switzerland were all clean and we felt safe. The hotels were good with delicious breakfasts each morning. Overall, I would recommend GVV to a friend or family member and I would personally book another vacation with GVV.
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Our trip was amazing!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was my first time planning a trip out of the country. I read previous reviews who had a good experience with Great Value Vacation. Our trip was amazing! The booking and reservations were easy to use with the vouchers provided. The staff was helpful. The only downside was I upgraded to have an automatic vehicle and they gave me a stick shift. It took a while to get sorted out but other than that I loved my trip! I will definitely use great value vacations again when I book my next trip. I opted for the additional wine tasting package and I did not regret it! I recommend adding those additional tours to get a more complete experience.
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Great customer service

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My wife and I recently booked our vacation through Great Value Vacations. We were a bit nervous to travel to Europe for the first time, but we are glad we did. Great Value Vacations took care of us. Great customer service. Seamless transactions. They booked the hotels and flights for us. All we had to worry about were the daily activities! I would highly recommended them. The hotels offered through the package were as advertised: nice and in great locations. The flights times were also convenient. The best part was the price. I am thankful for the experiences Great Value Vacation was able to provide for us!
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Really enjoyed both of my trips

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Really enjoyed both of my trips through Great Value Vacations. I went on one family trip to Ireland (Adare villa, rental car with trips out to Dublin, Cliffs of Moher and more) . The villa was very comfortable with a kitchen, three bedrooms, and proximity to the local shops /restaurants. We were able to upgrade to an automatic car and had fun navigating to each location on our itinerary. The trip as planned by the agency still leaves time for exploring on your own and since we picked a trip with our own transportation, we had flexibility on which tours we wanted to do and when.

My second trip was a solo trip to Scotland. I like to go on vacation by myself sometimes, but it can be hard to find ones where you aren’t penalized for being on your own. This train trip to Edinburgh, Inverness, and Glasgow worked out really well for me. The hotels were all near the train stations and in safe areas (good lighting, plenty of people, etc.). I got a good mix of options for sightseeing in each city. The hop-on, hop-off bus circuit was especially useful for getting around Edinburgh. I also added an extra tour on in Glasgow to see nearby castles and a distillery and was very glad to have done so as the views of the countryside were amazing!

Summary: Have enjoyed my previous experiences and would definitely use again
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Above and beyond our expectations

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Just got back from our trip to Italy booked through Great Value Vacations & was our dream come true! We could not have gone if it were not for their unbelievable rates. Each 4 Star Villa we stayed at was above and beyond our expectations...I cried after leaving each part of our journey. I am so glad I took a leap of faith and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND booking with them. Besides the Villas being beautiful, great locations, clean, and great staff; each place we arrived at actually said, "They said to give you a very nice room." (with a rate of just under $1,900 a piece for 9 nights not counting travel days at 4 stars Villas in Rome, Tuscany, & Venice including airfare and rent a car... a few friends told us to expect the worst rooms at the places we were staying ~ NOT the case! Our rooms had the best views...I could go on and on. Every step of the way was smooth with no worries whatsoever. Thanks again GVV! LOVED IT!
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Details

Flights & Transport

Airfare included

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Accomodations

  • Chayote Lodge
  • Hotel Arenal Springs
  • Rancho Humo Estancia
  • Wyndham Tamarindo

Trip ID#:

greatvaluevacations-PK-GC4P-SH-CRVM-SJO

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