Relaxation - 8 days
The following itineraries are examples of what you can do independently or through a Travel Agency.
ADay 1: Arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport and explore San José
San José / Exploring the capital San José is the country’s capital and largest city. Enjoy the energy of the Avenida Central, see the Post Office Building, have your picture taken at the Catedral Metropolitana, visit the National Theater and Melico Salazar, take the opportunity to purchase souvenirs and eat traditional food in the Central Market. La Sabana Metropolitan Park is right next to the downtown core, an ideal place for a picnic and a day of rest. San José is home to most of the country’s population, business centers, institutions, cultural locations and tourism information offices.
BDays 2-3: Bajos del Toro Amarillo.
Enjoy a retreat to Bajos del Toro Amarillo, where you can enjoy the peacefulness of the river and its waterfall, the exuberant forest and its trails. The waterfall tumbles down the cliff, forming a multicolored layer until landing in the pool of blue water. Located 7 km from Bajos del Toro, it is part of the protected area of the Juan Castro Blanco National Park. First, you’ll take in a garden full of humingbirds, pass through trails surrounded by forest and several lookouts before reaching the waterfall. Bajos del Toro is located between the Poás and Viejo volcanoes in Alajuela province, nestled in tropical rainforest surroundings with a wet, rainy climate that gives a certain calmness to the area, offering a respite from our busy lives. Prepare yourself with comfortable clothing, hiking shoes, a waterproof jacket, bathing suit, camera and plenty of water.
CDays 4-5: Exploring Arenal Volcano and its lake (trail, waterfall and hot springs)
Volcán Arenal National Park is one of the most popular places to visit and should be part of your next visit. It is considered to be a living laboratory for the development of biological processes, in addition to providing 70% of the water that is held in the Arenal Dam reservoir, the country’s main source of hydroelectric energy. It is situated in the country’s northern region, some 7 kilometers northeast of La Fortuna de San Carlos. While you’re here, you can choose from a variety of activities including ziplining, horseback riding, hanging bridges, hiking, or taking a dip in the hot springs. The volcano remained inactive for a long time, until erupting violently in 1968. Its height extends from 500 to 1,633 meters above sea level, and it is defining feature is its nearly perfect conical shape, making it distinctive from the rest of the country’s volcanoes. Hours of operation: Seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You cannot leave the northern region without first visiting Arenal Lake. This artificial reservoir is one of the largest in Central America, with an area of 85.5 km2, which is three times its original size before becoming part of a hydroelectric project. It is famous for the variety of water sports practiced there, which include windsurfing, fishing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
DDays 6-7: Nosara and surroundings (yoga and beaches)
Nosara is located in Nicoya and is seen as a destination for surfing, yoga and smoothies of every flavor. Guiones is its main beach, consisting of 7 km of shiny white sand and bordering Garza and Pelada beaches. There are footpaths to tour the sandy beaches and instructors are nearby to help you take the plunge and get on the board. The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge is located some 13 km from Guiones, and is the nesting grounds of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtles and .green sea turtles This is where the world’s second-largest sea turtle nesting takes place during the months of September and October, when a stretch of up to 7 km of the beach can fill up with the animals. Tours are only available with accredited guides from the region in order to avoid interfering with the nesting process.
EDay 8: Departure from Daniel Oduber International Airport, Liberia
ADay 1: Arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport and sightseeing in Aserrí or Pico Blanco
Just 10 km south of San José is a city full of culture and mountains with spectacular view: we’re talking about Aserrí. This canton of San José province is characterized by its famous tamaleros (who make tamales, a traditional Costa Rican food), the production of masks and the legendary Stone of Aserrí, the origin of the story of the Witch of Zárate. Take the opportunity to get to know the town, enjoy its lookouts and its delicious cuisine. Nearby is Cerro Pico Blanco, located in San Antonio de Escazú. The Association for the Conservation and Development of the Peaks of Escazú (Codece) is in charge of providing hiking tours of the mountain, culinary tours, recounting the history of the masquerades, trapiche tours and ox-cart tours, among other activities.
BDays 2-3: San Gerardo de Dota (relaxation and hiking)
Prepare yourself for the cool climate and to be surrounded by nature and biodiversity. This village is located two and a half hours from San José and is famous as a place to relax and enjoy exquisite peacefulness. It is a place for birdwatching – especially quetzales – hiking, viewing waterfalls and fishing for trout. Don’t forget to visit the Los Quetzales National Park, which is located very close by. Make sure you try some of the area’s excellent coffee before you leave, as it is known as some of the best in Costa Rica.
CDays 4-5: Ballena Marine Park (hiking, beaches, whale and dolphin watching)
This park, the first marine park in Costa Rica and Central America, is popular because it offers tourists the chance to see humpback whales, one of its most popular attractions. During the months of July to October, the park fills up with people who come to take in a natural miracle. This is the period during which whales migrate towards our country’s Pacific coast to seek out the warm waters to mate or to give birth to their calves. In addition, September sees the Festival of Whales and Dolphins take place in the Uvita region, where various whale watching activities and tours are held. We recommend that you book your lodgings and remain on-site for several days so that you can carry out whale watching and snorkeling tours. Visit the famous “whale’s tail”, a formation of rocks and sand on the beach in the shape of the tail of a whale. Since you’re already in the area, take the opportunity to visit the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve.
DDays 6-7: Manuel Antonio National Park (hiking)
If hiking is your thing, Manuel Antonio National Park has six different options for you to enjoy one of the country’s most popular parks among domestic and international tourists. It is located in Quepos, Puntarenas, and is sure to catch your attention. It’s the perfect combination of the magic of its beaches along with the greenery of its forests, meaning you can enjoy both attractions at once. Be careful with the playful white-faced capuchins and the raccoons, because they will try to steal your food. Some of the trails to visit are: La Catarata, El Perezoso, Punta Catedral, Playa Gemelas and Sendero Congo. Hours of operation: Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.