Road Trip in Costa Rica
Topping the Happy Planet Index (yes that's a thing), Costa Rica knows a thing or two about peaceful lifestyle. This 10-day self-drive itinerary takes you to the verdant Central Valley before heading straight to the Pacific coast for a dose of chic beach living; sun-drenched beaches, jungle-clad mountains and mind-blowing surf.
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Day 1: Fly to San Jose
This morning, board your flight from London to the Costa Rican capital, San Jose. This direct flight takes approximately 11 hours, so make sure you have plenty of reading material to hand.
On arrival in San Jose in the early afternoon, pick up your hire car and drive 25 minutes to the outskirts of the city and into the verdant Central Valley. Surrounded by waterfalls and walking trails right on your doorstep, it's a picture-perfect pit-stop after an international flight.
Day 2: The Pacific Coast
After a leisurely breakfast, you have time for a morning ramble in the scenic forestland inhabited by goldfinches and various hummingbirds.
Stretch your legs for an hour and then set off for the Pacific Coast, a journey of around two-and-a-half hours. We will provide you with detailed directions. Arrive on the fringes of Manuel Antonio National Park, framed by lush cliffs and idyllic beaches, your abode for the next three nights.
Day 3: Waterfalls on Horseback
Today you can ignite your jungle dreams exploring at your own pace. One of the best ways of immersing yourself into the area's instagrammable scenery is by way of a gentle ride into the Tocori Biological Reserve.
En route you'll stop at the Tocori waterfalls, the perfect place for a dip - just don't forget the GoPro. If you're a nature lover, it's worth requesting a dedicated guide who can point out exotic wildlife, flora, fauna and medicinal herbs along the way.
Day 4: Manuel Antonio National Park
Wildlife enthusiasts should make a bee-line for Manuel Antonio National Park. The smallest of Costa Rica's 28 national parks (and one of the most beautiful), it packs a punch in terms of biodiversity. It's also one of the best places to see animals in the wild such as white-nosed coatis and cheeky-looking capuchin monkeys.
Birders will be in seventh heaven with around 200 species to spot. After time exploring independently, why not recuperate on a jungle-fringed beach. Relax here, cocktail in hand until the evening when you enjoy some of the most intense amber sunsets you may ever see.
Day 5: The Nicoya Peninsula
After breakfast, drive up the coast to the Nicoya Peninsula. It's a five-and-a-half-hour drive to this pocket of unspoilt wilderness where life revolves around surf, sand and sea.
Spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up the epitome of chic seaside living swinging in a hammock and dozing under the shade of a palm tree.
Day 6-8 : Jurassic Coast
Spend the next three days living out your beach dreams. Renowned for near-perfect surf breaks, why not take a surf lesson with a local guide who'll lead you to the best swells.
Those up for a jungle jaunt can go zip lining over canyons, kayaking in the rivers and birding in the emerald canopy. One day you might like to go riding along the beach or windsurfing in the mountain lakes. Take a day trip to the small beach towns, ideal for a relaxed outing sipping cocktails in beachfront restaurants.
- Boat trips
- Art projects
- Seasonal sea-turtle watching
Day 9: Homeward Bound
This morning, you will be privately transferred back to the airport before catching your international flight home.
The flight to London takes approximately 10 hours so make sure the iPad is charged.
Day 10: Arrive London
Touchdown into London at around lunchtime.
George is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.