Itinerary Highlights
  • Pacific Coast, Caribbean Sea, volcanoes, primary forests: disconnecting from everyday life and getting your fill of family adventures
  • The itinerary includes whale watching, canopy hiking, rafting on the Saraquipi and visiting a veterinary shelter.
  • White sand and coconut groves - three days to chill the Caribbean way
  • Our local Concierge service makes travelling as a family easy

Contact one of our Costa Rica specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120

Together in Costa Rica

Glued to social media and their friends, the prospect of a family trip is not always welcomed with open arms by teenagers. However, watching humpback whales, descending volcano slopes, walking in the forest canopy, white water rafting, running in the Pacific waves and snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea should be able to keep them away from the screens for a couple of weeks. Emphasis on 'should'. At a time when young people are taking a stand against climate change, visit a country that stands out as a model of environmental protection and that offers, from the slopes of volcanoes to the tops of tall trees, from Atlantic beaches to Caribbean coves, a thousand exhilarating encounters with the majesty of nature, to pass on a sense of environmental wellbeing to them.

Your trip

The
journey begins in style with a private cruise to greet humpback whales and dolphins.Then you'll make an essential stop at Manuel Antonio National Park, with its secluded coves, turquoise water, and pristine sand. It's home to sloths, giant iguanas, boas, bats and morpho butterflies as big as your hand. Take to the trails and look out for wildlife, then dive into the warm rolling waves of the Pacific. In San Bernado de Bagaces, you'll go for a walk at dusk in the forest when the nocturnal animals awaken and take over the surroundings. In the rustling of the great forest you will encounter tarantulas, frogs and insects which you'll observe - from a safe distance - with a naturalist guide. In Arenal, you'll take a trip to the heart of the mountains. This is a two-stage journey through the forest canopy: first, you'll go up into the treetops by cable car - coming across monkeys and sloths among the trees - then come back down by zip line from platform to platform. Thrills guaranteed! Continue exploring with a night walk on hanging bridges in the heart of the forest canopy. A little further away, on the clear waters of Rio Saraquipi, you'll spend an afternoon rafting - with your helmets and life vests on, you'll jump aboard a raft for two hours bobbing along the water. In Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, you'll visit a veterinary shelter for primates, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, with a volunteer who has a thousand things to tell you about their little friends. If you need something along the way or experience a setback, you can contact our local Concierge at any time.
Your accommodation - In San Bernado de Bagaces, you'll stay in intimate lodge in the heart of the forest, whose bungalows are scattered among the tropical vegetation - you can enjoy swimming at dusk in the warm waters of the river: heated by the volcano, the waters reach between 32°C and 40°C. In Arenal, the hotel occupies the old volcano observatory, which has an incredible view of the volcano. On the Caribbean coast, you'll spend three nights in wooden bungalows opening out onto a terrace where you can enjoy a nap in a hammock. A small trail through gardens with ferns as big as birch trees, avocado trees and hibiscus, leads to a beautiful white sandy beach.

Route

Everything is 100% tailored to you
DAY 1

Flight to San Jose

Arrive in San Jose in the afternoon, private transfer and overnight stay at your hotel. From the outside, the hotel stands out for the large, brightly-coloured fresco that covers its exterior facade. Inside is equally charming, although slightly more muted. The communal areas have beautiful parquet floors. and the rooms are very well-appointed. At the restaurant, you can enjoy simple food, made well. In the evening, the roof terrace is perfect for enjoying the cool night air.

DAYS 2 & 3

San Jose - Dominical

Pick up the hire car and drive to Dominical. Spend two nights in a villa, a little way away from Costanera Sur, at the foot of a hill. The access road is a little bumpy but when you get there, the setting makes it all worthwhile. The villas are spacious and comfortable, decorated in the hacienda style. You'll love the swimming pool, and the 180° view from the restaurant overlooking the bay is amazing.
Included in the itinerary - Private cruise along the Pacific coast in Ballena National Maritime Park. There is no better place in Costa Rica - and perhaps in the world - to watch humpback whales. Despite all it has to offer, the park isn't filled with tourists, which is even better. It's easy to go spotting for birds and bottlenose dolphins. In the morning there'll be time to go snorkelling. At low tide, you can admire the famous natural strip of sand which looks like a whale's tail.
Option - Surfing lesson.

DAY 4

Dominical - Tarcoles

Head south on the Pacific coast to Tarcoles.
Included in the itinerary - Tickets to Manuel Antonio National Park. Nestled away in a rocky hollow, Costa Rica's most beautiful national park offers beaches with fine, clear sand, a coral reef and a jungle full of animals. Walking along the trails, you'll most likely come across capuchin and saimiri monkeys, sloths and raccoons, which even come to the beach to steal the odd mango or piece of chocolate from swimmers.
Opposite the Gulf of Nicoya is the small village of Tarcoles which sits at the mouth of the river of the same name and provides a great site for crocodile and bird spotting. The wet primary forest in Carara National Park is particularly famous for its populations of scarlet macaws, parrots, parakeets and hummingbirds. Those who are lucky enough might get to see peccaries, agoutis and kinkajous. Some of the world's largest crocodiles, which can measure up to 23ft long, live in Rio Tarcoles.
Spend the night in a hotel where simplicity is the key. The best things about the lodge are the layout of the rooms, which are great for families, as well as the lush garden where macaws and monkeys hang out.

DAYS 5 & 6

Tarcoles - San Bernado de Bagaces

Route to San Bernardo de Bagaces. Off the beaten track, and barely visited, the misty, leafy landscape is bisected by an intensely blue river - according to legend, God washed his paintbrushes in the Rio Celeste after painting the sky blue. Two-night stay in an intimate eco-lodge in the forest. The property sits in the valley of a river, giving it the feel of a charming oasis. The bungalows are dotted among the forests, a beautiful example of an eco-project. The restaurant has a spherical architecture and is open-air, so there is no need for air conditioning. The best part of the resort is its spa river, nestled in a canyon. The water temperature ranges from 32°C to 40°C and is heated by the Miravales volcano, making it exquisite to bathe here at dusk.
Included in the itinerary - A night walk through the forest. At dusk, you'll explore the rainforest as animals wake up and take over their surroundings, up to the Mirador Mesa Norte where you can see the silhouettes of the three nearest volcanoes in the distance. Accompanied by the noises of the great forest, you will encounter many insects, frogs, nocturnal mammals and maybe even some snakes. Return to the hotel by zip line.

DAY 7

San Bernado de Bagaces - Arenal

Departure for the La Fortuna region. The road crosses large pineapple plantations; the journey ends with the peak of the Arenal volcano as the focal point.
Things to see along the way - Tenorio Volcano National Park. It's one of the finest trails in the country, covering jungle, waterfalls and natural hot springs. The Rio Celeste, which starts at the meeting point of two rivers, passes through volcanic hot springs and sulphur springs, before forming a magnificent waterfall. It is renowned for its surreal turquoise blue colour, which is due to the minerals in the water contrasting with the intense green of the tropical vegetation.
Spend two nights in a lodge located in an old volcano observatory inside a private reserve. Most international vulcanologists stay here, and it is also one of the best viewing points in Arenal Volcano. The rooms are simple but comfortable and, above all, the view is simply stunning. Trails, pools, waterfalls and rivers invite you to explore and cool down in the middle of the tropical rainforest.
Option - A dip in the warm waters of the Arenal Volcano.

DAY 8

Arenal

Included in the itinerary - A hike in the heart of the peaks. This is a two-stage journey through the forest canopy: first, you'll go up into the treetops by cable car - coming across monkeys and sloths among the trees - then come back down by zip line from platform to platform. Your itinerary also includes a night walk on the hanging bridges of Arenal, through the forest canopy, home to an extraordinarily rich ecosystem. A tunnel, trails and bridges lead to the heart of the rainforest.

DAY 9

Arenal - Saraquipi

On the way to Saraquipi, you'll wind between pineapple, cocoa and banana plantations, as well as nature reserves such as the superb forests on Heliconia Island. Here, flora and fauna are protected, and it is a haven for tapirs, sloths, coatis, and other monkeys.
Included in the itinerary - Rafting on the Rio Saraquipi, a perfect and very safe adventure. The rapids follow on from one another, but from time to time quieter stretches of water allow the opportunity to look at the flora and fauna.
Spend the night in an ancient hacienda with colonial architecture and surrounded by gardens, which has preserved a simple charm; this can be seen in the rooms, which are furnished and decorated with colonial antiques. Most of all, you'll love the warm welcome and wise advice of the owner. The food is a nice surprise.

DAYS 10 to 12

Saraquipi - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Then it's on to the Caribbean coast and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. The beaches are immense, bordered by black or white sand and the ever-present jungle. With a surfer and reggae feel to it, this is where the legendary Salsa Brava wave comes rolling in. A must for surfers. It's the perfect place to learn about this sport which has become a Costa Rican institution, or a stroll through the dusty earth of the streets full of colourful houses, shops and relaxed eateries… You'll spend three nights in a cosy lodge with stunning gardens, a haven for those looking for peace and quiet. The service is discreet and professional. There is no TV or air conditioning, but the beautiful wooden bungalows are naturally ventilated. There is a terrace with a hammock, making it an ideal place to lounge about. The bathrooms decorated with colourful mosaics are stunning. A short trail leads to a beautiful white sandy beach.
Included in your itinerary - A visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center, an animal park that provides a refuge for sick, injured and orphaned animals with the aim of reintroducing them into their natural habitats. The park specialises in small primates, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Option - Trip to Cahuita National Park.

DAYS 13 & 14

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - San Jose - Return flight

Return to San Jose. Return the hire car and catch your flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.

A la carte

Tour of Carara National Park

The park covers 11,600 acres of both dry and wet rainforest - two very different environments - and is home to 50% of all the bird species found in Costa Rica.
Option -Half day with a private guide

Bathing in the warm waters of the Arenal Volcano

The pools are perfectly integrated into the tropical jungle, with the sounds of the forest in the background. A moment of pure serenity, surrounded by nature, and totally invigorating.
Optional

Hiking and snorkelling in Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park is renowned for its paradise creeks and its mangrove that can be explored on wooden pontoons. The jungle is home to howler monkeys, sloths and green ibis. It's also known for its stunning coral reefs that can be explored when snorkelling.
Option - Day trip with a guide

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
Based on two adults and two children. The estimated cost for this trip is £4,300 to £5,400 per person. The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost will vary according to several factors, including the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote. The average price for this trip is £4600 per person.
  • International flights with a scheduled airline
  • Airport taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Private transfer from the airport to the hotel on arrival in San Jose
  • Car hire for 12 days
  • Overnight stay in San Jose, in double rooms with breakfast
  • Two-night stay in Dominical in a family villa with breakfast
  • Overnight stay in Tarcoles, in a family villa with breakfast
  • Two-night stay in San Bernado de Bagaces in double bungalows with breakfast
  • Two-night stay in Arenal in double rooms with breakfast
  • Overnight stay in Saraquipi, in double rooms with breakfast
  • Three-night stay in Porto Viejo de Talamanca in double bungalows with breakfast
  • A private whale-watching and dolphin-watching cruise in Marino Ballena Park
  • Entry tickets for Manuel Antonio National Park
  • A wildlife walk at night in San Bernado de Bagaces with a guide
  • Hike through the forest canopy with an instructor
  • A night walk on the hanging bridges in Arenal with a guide
  • Rafting down the Saraquipi River with an instructor
  • A private visit to a veterinary shelter for primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca with a volunteer from the shelter
  • Our local Concierge service
  • A GPS navigation service accessible from our app, loaded with your itinerary, hotel details and places to visit
  • A few of the benefits of travelling with us
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    Contact one of our Costa Rica specialists