Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Costa Rica Family Holiday tour
Arenal Volcano Leon Costa Rica Family Holiday Trip
Manuel Antonio National Park Tortuguero National Park Costa Rica Family Holiday Trip

Costa Rica Family Holiday

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
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
15 days
From: $ 2,950 $ 197 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Dive into the heart of one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries, through rivers, dense rainforest, misty cloud forest, past towering volcanoes and to blissful beaches on a journey that will leave you in love with nature
  • Glide through the waterways of Tortuguero NP, seek out monkeys and turtles by foot and boat, and drift off to sleep surrounded by the sounds of wildlife
  • Get active on an incredible range of outdoor pursuits, from battling rapids while whitewater rafting to hiking through jungle to waterfalls, walking high up in the canopy, and whizzing from tree to tree on a zipline
  • After getting up-close to the country’s endless abundance of wildlife, enjoy plenty of time to let off some steam in thermal springs and swimming pools – like the one that sits in the magnificent shadow of the steaming Arenal volcano
  • End this adventure by hitting Manuel Antonio NP, where the evergreen forest grows right up to the long, white beaches and irresistible water

Short Description

Experience the drama of Costa Rica’s landscapes, the real flavours of its culture and cuisine and uncover the country’s adventurous heart. This Family Adventure has been specially crafted to balance organised activities and travel with loads of free time for fun and relaxation. Come and discover this unique, diverse corner of Central America and open your children’s eyes to a colourful new world.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group 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 N/A
Start City San Jose
End City San Jose
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Itinerary

Day 1 San Jose

Welcome to Costa Rica! The trip begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm at the hotel in San Jose.You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until this group meeting.  San Jose sits in the heart of the country in the lush, wide Central Valley, and has a comfortable subtropical climate. With over half the country's population living within its limits, it’s a bustling city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. It’s also easy to navigate – laid out in a grid pattern, the avenidas run east to west and the callés run north to south. After the meeting tonight, perhaps get to know the rest of the group and head out for your first taste of the local ‘tico’ food.

Day 2 San Jose

Today you’ll get a taste of the sights in and around San Jose. We drive out of the city to Doka Estate (approximately 1 hour), which sits on the fertile slopes of the Alajuela Poas Volcano. Take a tour of the coffee fields and plantation sugar cane mill. The estate is home to some of the best coffee in Costa Rica (they might say the world), and you’ll learn all about going from seed to cup. Next up is a visit to Zoo Ave. Zoo Ave is an urban park with a mission to rehabilitate and care for Costa Rica's injured, orphaned and mistreated wildlife. When animals arrive at the refuge, they are evaluated by trained veterinary staff and given treatment. The ultimate goal is to rehabilitate the animals both physically and emotionally, for eventual release into the wild. Our last stop of the day will be the National Museum, which offers an introduction to Costa Rican history with some fascinating displays of artefacts from Pre-Columbian, colonial, and early republic time. The building itself also tells a story – housed in an old fort, there are bullet holes from the 1948 civil war on the outside.

Day 3 Tortuguero National Park

Say goodbye to San Jose early this morning and head out into the Costa Rican wilderness. Travel out of the city, stopping for breakfast en route, before boarding a launch to navigate the waterways into the Tortuguero National Park (approximately 2 hours). There are no roads to your accommodation and this isolation makes the park a nature lover's dream. You’ll travel along Los Canales, which were dug during the 1960s to connect the coastal lagoons to a maze of natural channels in order to transport lumber by boat. They now form a long highway (100 kilometres) through dense rainforest. As you motor along the river, every now and then you’ll see a clearing in the thick-forested banks, where settlers eke out an existence from slash-and-burn agriculture and fishing. Everyone fishes here – an iridescent flash will mark the flight of a kingfisher, while anhinga and several species of heron can be seen perching in the shadows along the water’s edge, waiting to strike. Your accommodation for the next two nights is a riverbank lodge that stands among Caribbean rainforest. Here you can rest up, delight in some home comforts and relax poolside. Maybe take a walk to the village and on to the beach, then fall asleep to the unearthly cry of the howler monkey.

Day 4 Tortuguero National Park

There’s no need for alarm clocks in this part of the world, and you’ll wake this morning to the screech of toucan and oropendula. This is just the beginning of your wildlife-filled day – you’ll go on excursions by boat and on foot, soaking up Mother Nature's most flamboyant floral and fauna displays, using the experienced eyes of the boatman or guide spot the animals. Tortuguero National Park, established in 1970, is home to 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals. Among them are manatees, ocelots and jaguars, as well as over 300 bird species. First and foremost, however, it is the nesting ground of the green turtle, which comes ashore between July and October to lay its eggs on the sandy beaches. This area has long been associated with the catching of turtle (tortuguero means turtle-catcher), and the original indigenous inhabitants used turtles as a sustainable resource, but the arrival of Europeans led to major exploitation. Lesser numbers of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, plus loggerheads, and giant leatherback turtles also nest within the park at different times of year. Just some of the other animals you might see today are tree frogs, sloths, caimans, crocodiles, iguanas, spider monkeys and white faced capuchins, making this an unforgettable natural journey. Notes: If you visit between August and October and are interested in the nesting ground of the green turtle, it is necessary to wear dark colours.

Day 5 Sarapiqui

After breakfast, wave goodbye to the tree-swinging howler monkeys and transfer by boat back to the port (approximately 2 hours) – keeping your eyes open for more animals and birdlife that line the waterways. Then you’ll head to another region rich in biodiversity and beloved by birdwatchers – Sarapiqui. Pass palms (used to produce palm heart), banana and papaya growing on the edge of the roadside along the way (approximately 2 hours). Stop for lunch and for some leg-stretching time, before continuing to your destination (approximately 1.5 hours). On the banks of the Puerto Viejo River and next to the Braulio Carrillo National Park, the budding town of Sarapiqui is surrounded by virgin forests, banana and pineapple plantations. Sarapiqui is also known as one of the richest areas in Costa Rica for bird watching. The diversity of lowland bird life is incredibly impressive. A biological research station and several nearby forest lodges have made this undisturbed habitat accessible to scientists and travellers. For the next two nights you’ll stay in a family-run eco-lodge surrounded a reforested area with native trees, an old-growth forest on the banks of the nearby river, and tropical gardens bulging with flowers and fruit. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy this beautiful area, maybe just swinging the day away in a hammock.

Day 6 Sarapiqui

Today is a free day, so how you explore the lush, tropical surrounds of this idyllic location is up to you and your family. There are so many activities on offer for you, but the first choice of many families is the exhilarating fun of battling the gushing rapids of the Pacuare River on an optional full day rafting trip. The level of rafting here is very suitable for families, but please note that the minimum age is 8 years old. After a safety briefing and getting you kitted out with a snazzy orange vest, you’ll work as a team to make your way through increasingly challenging rapids with names like ‘Terciopelo snake’ and ‘Double drop’. Along the way, you’ll also have opportunities to spot wildlife and see waterfalls in the lush forest. Alternatively, you could take a relaxing boat trip or make for the forest trails (like those in La Selva Biological Station) by foot. For something completely different, maybe satisfy your sweet tooth on a chocolate tour, opening the secrets and wonders of one of mankind’s favourite foods.

Day 7 Arenal

Today you’ll cross west through the north of the country to Arenal (approximately 2-3 hours) where you’ll lay eyes on a storybook volcano that soars out of the verdant plains. The Volcán Arenal shoots up to 1,633 metres in a perfect cone, and looks a lot like what would pop into your head if you were asked to imagine a volcano. The scenery is made up of primary cloud forest and rainforest, and this is a land of rivers, lakes and, thanks to the volcano’s inner workings, a number of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been turned into a number of thermal pools and waterfalls, often surrounded by dense foliage, offering ideal place to relax.

Day 8 Arenal

This morning you’ll head out for a guided tour in Arenal National Park, where the trails pass through interesting dwarf cloud forest, and the rich bird life includes several species of hummingbird and Costa Rica’s national bird (the clay-coloured robin that’s renowned for its melodious song). The afternoon is then free for optional activities in the local area. To get a closer view of the majestic peak, take a hike up towards to the volcano, through old lava flows and with views of the lovely Lake Arenal. Otherwise, you could get a different panorama of the summit by soaring smoothly through the rainforest on the slow paced Sky Tram. At an observation platform you can then enjoy magnificent views of the Arenal Volcano’s southern face. Getting down is even more exciting – return the way you came, or jump on a fast-paced zip line and fly down the mountain. Heading further afield is La Fortuna Waterfall, where you can take a short hike to the thundering cascade, then take a refreshing dip in a nearby clear swimming hole. A day trip to Cano Negro is also an option – this wildlife refuge is full of migratory and resident birds as well as river wildlife, both mammals and reptiles. Perhaps take a dip in the thermal waters that will wash away your pains and worries.

Day 9 Monteverde

Travel along the Arenal Lake – a famous hangout for avid windsurfers – via Tilaran to Monteverde de Santa Elena (approximately 4-5 hours). Enjoy great views across the lake back towards the Arenal Volcano, and stop on the roadside for great homemade cakes and refreshments. Climb to Monteverde, feel the climate cooling and see the vegetation change from tropical to cloud forest. The surrounding hills are scattered with fair-trade co-operative coffee plantations, famous for producing some of the best coffee beans in the country. In the afternoon there may be time to visit a colourful butterfly farm (optional). Monteverde was founded in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers, who originally cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers soon became conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat, and so they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary. This has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. Cloud forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, the water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. That make it lush, full of wildlife, and truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. You’ll have lots of time to discover the natural wonders here.

Day 10 Monteverde

Today everyone will become an ornithologist as you explore a forest that’s home to the Resplendent Quetzal (one of the most reclusive birds in the world), the blue-crowned motmot, the emerald toucanet and some 30 species of iridescent hummingbird – and that’s just a few of the 400-odd bird species recorded here! It’s not only things with wings that live here – more than 100 mammal species, 1,200 amphibian and reptile species, and many thousands of insect species are found here, in addition to an amazing variety of plant life. Appropriately in a place so filled with birdlife, one of the highlights for many is the chance to get a bird’s eye view of the forest up the canopy, instead of always looking up into the trees. As an included activity, you’ll walk across hanging bridges (Sky Walk) suspended through the trees. It’s not designed for vertigo suffers, but provides a fantastic chance to get in amongst the foliage and experience the forest from a great vantage point. Monteverde also has loads of other optional activities to get stuck into – watch winged, coloured jewels of the forest in the Butterfly Garden and the Hummingbird Gallery, visit an orchid farm, or whizz through the forest on ziplines between the trees on the thrilling ‘Sky Trek’. There might also be the option to hike through the forest as dusk, watching all the nocturnal creatures begin to stir.

Day 11 Manuel Antonio National Park

Departing Monteverde, descend to the Pan-American Highway, which you’ll follow southward across the flat coastal plain. Your journey takes you along a coastline of fine sand beaches, separated by the occasional area of mangrove and endless plantations of African palm. Your journey ends at your accommodation near the National Park (approximately 6 hours plus stops). Enjoy a free evening to relax before exploring the park on foot tomorrow.

Day 12 Manuel Antonio National Park

After breakfast you’ll enjoy a three-hour guided walk along the trails within the park. The afternoon is free to explore this magical area further. Relax on one of the idyllic palm-lined bays, swim in the hotel pool or head to the turquoise sea, which is perfect for swimming, kayaking, sailing or fishing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.

Day 13 Manuel Antonio National Park

Enjoy another day at your leisure to explore the area. There are plenty of opportunities to join optional activities or simply relax and enjoy the hotel facilities. Your leader will be there to give you a run down of the options and lend you a hand. For those that love the water, you could take a catamaran tour out to hidden beaches, looking out for dolphins, snorkelling in the warm waters, jumping off the top deck, and luxuriating in a Costa Rican sunset. For something a bit more active, then paddling a kayak along inlets and small islands to secluded sandy beaches is just the thing. Take in as much of this incredible natural environment as possible, before you leave it behind and return to city life tomorrow.

Day 14 San Jose

Retrace your steps northward along the coastal road to San Jose, stopping en route at Carara Biological Reserve. Here you’ll walk for two or three hours through the rainforest in the hope of seeing the beautiful, rare scarlet macaw, as well as the tiny black and green poison dart frog. Carara's position between the dry tropical forest of the north and the wet rainforest of the south means it’s blessed with a uniquely high diversity of plants and animals. Continue on from Carara, where the route turns inland to follow the main Pacific Highway through the agricultural towns of Orotina and Atenas. You’ll then arrive back in San Jose for your final night (total driving approximately 5 hours plus stops). Before you finish up your trip, be sure to hit the city's colourful and lively markets for some last-minute souvenir shopping, then get the group together to celebrate the end of this family adventure with one last Costa Rican meal.

Day 15 San Jose

This Costa Rica Family Holiday comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 2,950
Price Per Day: $ 197 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Jul-27-2019Aug-10-2019$ 3,120Yes1 spots left Reserve
Aug-03-2019Aug-17-2019$ 3,060Yes4 spots left Reserve
Aug-10-2019Aug-24-2019$ 3,120Yes1 spots left Reserve
Aug-17-2019Aug-31-2019$ 2,950Yes8 spots left Reserve
Dec-21-2019Jan-04-2020$ 3,120Yes5 spots left Reserve
Dec-28-2019Jan-11-2020$ 2,975Yes9 spots left Reserve
Jan-04-2020Jan-18-2020$ 2,975Yes11 spots left Reserve

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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3,163 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,356
Great 625
Average 101
Disappointing 37
Terrible 39
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
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Lodging
4.7
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4.7
Meals
4.7

Costa Rica Family Holiday

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Highly recommend intrepid

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Recently went on the USA western highlights trek, had the most amazing experience ever, well organised, our guides Jenn and Tyler were amazing, friendly & helpful, can’t wait to book another trip, highly recommend intrepid
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Amazing local knowledge!!

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At the airport in Chang Mai at the end of my tour with the amazing Gung. I can’t wait to travel Intrepid again! I was able to still be independent with just the addition of amazing local knowledge!! Gung you are family now xo I also made new friends that I think I will visit over the next couple of years. Thinking Africa on some back to back tours in a couple of years.
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Just finished a brilliant tour

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Just finished a brilliant food tour of Japan with Intrepid. It was extremely well organised, brillant from start to finish.Our Intrepid guide was very knowledgeable and really made our trip extra special. We are now looking at the next tour!
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Amazing beyond any expectation

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I've sadly just finished the Serengeti Trail. Words cannot describe how amazing this was. We had 13 awesome people in the group and the 3 crew - Benson, Kioko and Kennedy were amazing beyond any expectation. Everything was smooth, no hiccups, campsites and lodgings were fantastic. We saw 4 of the Big 5 and even experienced some things that the crew hadn't seen before. I've learnt so much and now enjoying some downtime in Zanzibar.
If I could suggest 1 thing, would be another electric fridge for our drinks, there is one for the meat. After drinking warm everything for 3 days, we were dying for a cold drink and you couldn't get ice.
Im glad the tour wasn't full too so we could spread out a bit on the truck.
If you are lucky enough to get our crew, you are in good hands.
Recommend single supplement for solo travelers, just makes it a little less awkward and more comfy
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Great first class

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Great first class professional staff - great local guides exceptional- the group sizes and mix perfect. We are traveling again soon with intrepid.

What an amazing group, one big happy

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This was our 6th adventure with Intrepid and equally as brilliant as our previous 5.
A fantastic 17 day basic tour "Maya encounter".
What an amazing group, one big happy Intrepid family. Our tour leader Jason Atilano was a dream, a truly wonderful man who organised everything and made dreams come true, from arranging local transport, amazing and affordable restaurants, hidden adventures and even a tarantula visit in Tikal.
I love Intrepid tours, simply because they take you into the heart of the community and allow you to absorb the real atmosphere of these beautiful countries in a responsible way. They allow you to step out of your "comfort zones" should you so choose, but it's optional. A home stay with a local family was an absolute honor and a privilage. A night camping under the stars in rain Forrest was a definite highlight. Looking up at the Milky way and an early wake up alarm from the howler monkeys, not something you get to experience every
night.
This is why I always choose Intrepid, every new trip is another new and very memorable adventure. Just like life, you get out of it what you choose to put in.
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accomodations

Hotel (12 nights),Lodge (2 nights)

Guides

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • Autentico Hotel
  • Calle 40 with the corner of Avenida 5
  • San Jose
  • 10101
  • COSTA RICA
  • Phone: +506 22225266

Trip ID#:

intrepid-QCFR

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