Ultimate Costa Rica

Back to itineraries

14 days
13 nights

Travel time
11 hour direct flight with British Airways from London Gatwick

San Jose, Pacuare, Arenal, Golfito, Santa Terea

A two week trip lets you make the most of Costa Rica. This itinerary provides a chance to experience memorable moments from amazing land and water adventure, becoming a cowboy, being surrounded by amazing wildlife and flora in its natural habitat to even venturing off the beaten track!

Day 1
Arrival day - San José

Travel time: 11 hour direct flight from London Gatwick

Spend a day in San Jose and explore the capital. Take a walking or hop/ on off bus tour to see what this lively city has to offer and learn about Costa Rica’s history and culture.

In the evening visit the neighbourhood Barrio Escalante, for lively nightlife, good food and microbrewery tours.

Day 2
San José – Pacuare

Transfer by helicopter for a chance to get aerial sights of Poás, Irazú and Turrialba volcanoes. Start the trip flying over Poás Volcano National Park, an active volcano with one of the largest craters on Earth. Afterwards fly over Irazú Volcano which has a massive crater with a mystical green lagoon surrounded by jagged rocks. Finally from a safe distance get a view of Turrialba Volcano, an active volcano which recently erupted in July 2016.

Day 3

Take a tour to spot birds and other wildlife indigenous to the area. Pacuare is home to an extraordinary number of exotic bird species that includes the Sun Bittern, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Black-cheeked Woodpecker and a variety of colourful toucans.

In the afternoon embark on your first canopy/ zip line adventure in Costa Rica.

You will face the exotic beauty of the rainforest head on, feeling the adrenaline of dramatic views, rappelling down towering trees and sliding along cables from tree to tree as you descend the jungle.

Day 4

Costa Rica’s largest indigenous tribe, have lived in harmony with the rainforest in the mountains near the Pacuare River. These indigenous people traditionally live in small family groups scattered across the jungle, which has helped them to maintain their customs, language and culture. Enjoy an opportunity to experience their way of life in relative comfort and without invading their privacy.

A moderate hike through the rainforest will allow you to see some of the flora and fauna the indigenous people have long relied on.

At check out, get prepared for your departure by raft.

You cannot leave Pacuare without trying the rapids. White water rafting here is one of the best experiences, with rapids from class III-IV.

Your luggage will arrive to land safely and dry but you will be wet!

Day 4
Pacuare - Arenal

Positioned within Costa Rica’s fertile northern lowlands, the Arenal Volcano is an unavoidable presence while traveling within this part of the country. Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape makes it a sightseer’s dream, while its abundance of outdoor activities makes it an easy place to check things off your “must-do in Costa Rica” list.

Day 5
La Fortuna

La Fortuna is cowboy land and very different to Pacuare. This is a wonderful place to enjoy horse riding, with plenty of land to ride across and deep rivers to cross. Ride a few hours, then ride to a cantina for lunch.

After lunch visit Juan Castro Blanco National Park, a great place for bird watching as it holds an astonishing variety of rare species, including the colourful Resplendent Quetzal.

The reserve has 14,250 hectares of primary and secondary woods, set among the Central Volcanic Range. Hike through fascinating trails, along cloud forests, watersheds and hot springs and visit an emerald volcanic lagoon, Pozo Verde.

Day 6

Get a birds eye view of the rainforest with a hanging bridge tour, offering endless views, amazing photo opportunities and tropical birds to be spotted.

At the top visitors are invited to explore the observation deck to enjoy magnificent views of the Arenal Volcano’s southern face. You can also see Lake Arenal and the rolling hillsides that surround it.

Spend the evening relaxing your muscles in the thermal hot springs available in this area. Many of the hotels have hot spring pools. These pools are filled with natural mineral thermal spring water coming from Arenal volcano. Enjoy the fine art of doing nothing at all!

Day 7
Arenal – Golfo Dulce

After breakfast, transfer back to San Jose to catch a regular flight south to Puerto Jimenez. This connection can be also operated by private charter from Arenal to Puerto Jimenez.

Puerto Jiménez is the largest town on the Osa Peninsula

Explore the local town

Day 8-9
Golfo Dulce

Spend the day in Corcovado National Park. The park is a reserve that protects varied tropical ecosystems. Considered one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, its wildlife includes scarlet macaws, tapirs, jaguars and squirrel monkeys.

Golfo Dulce is a great off the beaten track location, with plenty of secluded beaches. Spend time exploring the waters and getting close to the tropical marine life. The top attractions here are sport fishing, kayaking, surfing and snorkelling.

With large mangrove areas and many rivers flowing into the Gulf from the surrounding rainforest, the ocean is rich in minerals. It provides a healthy food source for dolphins (spinner, bottle-nose and spotted), humpback whales (from August to October), manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles.

Day 10
Golfito –Santa Teresa

Sitting on the western edge of the Nicoya Peninsula, just 4 kms from Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Santa Teresa and Malpais are tiny beach villages that have attracted European and American visitors who come to the area to relax, escape the activity of the city and enjoy the surrounding nature preserved.

Day 11-13
Golfito –Santa Teresa

Enjoy your last days relaxing by some of the best beaches in Costa Rica and enjoying some R&R. The beaches around Playa Hermosa and Santa Teresa host some of the best waves in the world. Whether you are beginner or a season veteran there is a surfing class for you.

The world class breaks in Playa Hermosa and Santa Teresa offer ideal conditions all year long.

Day 14
Santa Teresa – San José

Transfer to Tambor airstrip and take a domestic flight back to San Jose.