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Exuberant Costa Rica

15 days fr £1,256pp

Naranjo • Arenal Volcano • Puerto Viejo de Limon • Turrialba Valley • San Gerardo • Ballena • Manuel Antonio

TOUR DETAILS
Accommodation:
  • Superior fr £1,256pp
Validity (selected dates between):
  • 01/05/2020 - 01/06/2020
  • 01/11/2020 - 15/12/2020
Also included:
  • 14 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation
  • 14 Days 4x4 car hire
Not included:
  • International Flights (unless otherwise stated)
  • Car Insurance payable locally $30 USD pd
Overview
From the Caribbean to the Pacific, this tour has been designed for those who want to experience an adventure on their own. You will drive through Costa Rica in a 4x4 from one coast to the other discovering all aspects of this beautiful country. Along the way you pass picturesque coffee plantations, see the impressive cone shaped Arenal Volcano, relax on the white sandy beaches of the south, see spectacular mountain scenery and visit a national park.
Day 1
Arrive Costa Rica
After touching down at Juan Santamaria International Airport you will be met by one of our tour representatives who will provide you with all your travel information before you pick up your 4x4 rental vehicle. Then you begin by driving through the Central Mountain range past the beautiful Naranjo Coffee Plantations arriving at the Chayote Lodge hotel in the afternoon. This intimate lodge offers a unique experience combining nature, culture, and of course, coffee. Each of the individual 500 square-foot bungalows has a a private balcony.
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Day 2
Naranjo
Extensive views of the coffee plantations and the central valley of Costa Rica will greet you when you wake this morning. Then it's time for a delicious Costa Rican breakfast when you can sample the fresh coffee for yourself. The rest of the day is at your leisure to visit Poas Volcano or take an optional tour such as Naranjo Coffee and Town Experience. This is a beautiful part of the country to explore whether on foot or behind the wheel of your 4x4.
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Day 3
Naranjo to Arenal Volcano
Today you continue your journey to the northern lowlands, passing through the towns of Zarcero, San Carlos and Florencia. During the drive you will have amazing views of the mountains, and see the crops of pineapple, bananas and sugar cane. Arrive at La Fortuna Village late afternoon where the mighty Arenal Volcano will welcome you with its perfect conic shape. This volcano has been active since 1969 and is one of Costa Rica’s main highlights.
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Day 4
Arenal Volcano
Today you can experience the tourist attractions around the Arenal Volcano. If you want to explore the area in a more exciting way, take the Sky Tram & Sky Trek but if you prefer a quieter excursion to admire the natural beauty of the northern plains, visit Arenal Hanging Bridges, a system of trails immersed in the rainforest where you will be able to walk along 16 hanging bridges. On this trip you have magnificent views of the volcano and you see a huge variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects.
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Day 5
Arenal to Puerto Viejo de Limon
Today you move on to the stunning South Caribbean coast, a wonderful and very special destination that offers each visitor a unique blend of beaches, natural resources and Afro-Caribbean culture. You drive through the picturesque towns of Guapiles and Siquirres to approach the coast, where you first catch sight of the sea. On arrival at Puerto Viejo de Limon, where some of the most spectacular beaches in Costa Rica are located, you have two nights here.
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Day 6
Puerto Viejo de Limon
Today is free for you to enjoy the natural surroundings, relax on the beach, swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean or visit the town of Puerto Viejo de Limon and get a souvenir at a good price. If you prefer to continue discovering the natural beauty of the area, you can visit Cahuita National Park or Wildlife Refuge Gandoca – Manzanillo, where there are lots of optional activities to try. With the freedom your 4x4 offers, you can also drive around the area seeing more of the sights.
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Day 7
Puerto Viejo de Limon to Turrialba Valley
After breakfast this morning drive to the Turrialba Valley, a quiet rural area which is renowned for its quality coffee plantations and sugar cane fields and a great place to watch the everyday life of villagers. Depending on your itinerary timings, during your stay in the area you can take an optional rafting trip, go horse riding, visit CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre) and the Guayabo Archaeological Monument . . . the choices are many and varied.
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Day 8
Turrialba Valley to San Gerardo
Today’s driving experience will take you to different rural towns and through the Cartago city, in the distant past the capital city of Costa Rica. This city is home to the Lady of our Angels Catholic church and one of the most religious places in the country. Afterwards you climb into the Talamanca Mountain range to the cloud forest area of San Gerardo de Dota, which is the perfect habitat for different species of flora and fauna.
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Day 9
San Gerardo
Today is free for you to explore the area at your leisure. By driving around the cloud forest or hiking through it you will discover the charm of this lovely region of Costa Rica. This is a popular spot for birdwatchers as San Gerardo de Dota is situated in a biological corridor that serves as a bird sanctuary for the more than 170 species found in the area. This might be a good time to leave your vehicle at the hotel and explore on foot or join in an organised hike.
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Day 10
San Gerardo to Ballena
Today you drive to the South Pacific area near the outskirts of Ballena National Marine Park. You will notice along route the variety in altitudes and changes in climate, as you pass through interesting towns such as San Isidro del General, before reaching the Dominical Beach. From there you drive south along the coastal road to the fishing village of Uvita before heading into the mountains for gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by an exuberant tropical forest.
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Day 11
Ballena Bay
Today is free for you to discover the many different attractions in the area. You can visit the Bahia Ballena Marine National Park, which is a small area which protects the surrounding beaches, mangroves, islands, and coral reefs. The marine platform in front of the park connects in the middle by a sand bridge and the warm waters form a perfect ecosystem attracting whales and dolphins, which are common near the coastal areas in the reproduction and birth season.
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Day 12
Ballena Bay to Manuel Antonio
Today drive up the coastal road into the Central Pacific region. The route will take you again through Uvita, Dominical and finally into Quepos where five miles away you will find one of the most beautiful places, Manuel Antonio. In this area are white-sand beaches ideal for swimming, tropical rainforest forest alive with wildlife and one of the area’s main attractions, the Manuel Antonio National Park. Here you can watch for sloths, monkeys and iguanas.
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Day 13
Manuel Antonio
The first of two full days to relax and enjoy all that this stunning area has to offer. You can explore on your own here or take one of a number of tours that can be booked from your hotel. One must visit is to the Manuel Antonio National Park where you find a charming combination of lush tropical forest and beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters listed on Trip Advisor as the best beach in Central America. The park was recognised in 2011 by Forbes Magazine as one of the 12 most beautiful national parks in the world.
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Day 14
Manuel Antonio
Another day is paradise. Inside the Manuel Antonio National Park there is a wide variety of vegetation, lagoons, mangroves, 109 species of mammals and 184 bird species. You can see reptiles and monkeys including the three-toed sloth by exploring on your own or on an organised trip. Among other activities in the area are horseback riding, surfing lessons, canopy walks, kayaking, fishing and scuba diving and snorkelling, making it the perfect place to have fun.
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Day 15
End of tour
This is your last day in Costa Rica so make the very most of it. See some more of the sights at Manuel Antonio and possibly do some last minute shopping for souvenirs before beginning the three and a half hour drive along the Pacific Coast to San Jose then on to the international airport where you return your hire vehicle and catch an onward flight or begin your journey home. This comprehensive tour across Costa Rica is perfect for the traveller with a spirit of adventure.
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