Two into one goes very nicely on this 15 day tour of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Costa Rica is one of the most exotic and beautiful countries in the world, its variety of scenery and great weather makes this wonderful country the perfect place to enjoy a spectacular holiday. You will see extraordinary natural wonders, including a tropical rain forest, wide plains, an active volcano, outstanding mountains and great beaches. And while in the neighbouring country of Nicaragua you visit the colonial capital of Leon, home to a mighty cathedral, and Granada, which is one of Latin America's most beautiful colonial cities. Your action packed itinerary also includes a visit to a Volcano National Park for a look inside a very active crater and allows plenty of time to chill out on beautiful beaches.
Arrive Costa Rica
After you plane touches down at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, you will be met by one of our experienced travel representatives and taken to your hotel in the city which is about a 30 minute drive. Relax after the journey then go out and explore parts of this exciting city and try some of the local cuisine at one of the many good quality restaurants.
San Jose to Sarapiqui
Today you will be taken on a full day tour. Visit the Ruinas de Cartago and learn the amazing story that surrounds the place. Then continue to the Irazu Volcano with its unique view of the crater where you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. At Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui you board a boat to discover the richness of Costa Rica’s nature along the Sarapiqui river. The boat ride takes two hours, and along the riverbanks you will see toucans, monkeys, sloths, crocodiles and other species. At the end of this river adventure, you arrive at a private farm to enjoy a home-style lunch and then you can hike on one of the nature trails, visit the butterfly garden, snake collection and the frog sanctuary.
In the morning enjoy a variety of adventures in the middle of the rain forest. First-class equipment and highly trained guides will help you to have an unforgettable experience. The tour starts with a gentle horseback ride on trails through forest, rivers and pastures. After a delicious lunch, you will hit the heights and admire the rain forest from nine cables and 11 platforms on the Canopy Tour, where you will fly freely and finish with a trip over a canyon. In the evening tour the Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve with a naturalist as your guide, to discover the wonders of the tropical rainforest at night. Strange sounds, lights and smells will capture your imagination. During the walk you will search for all sorts of nocturnal species.
Sarapiqui to Arenal
Today you will travel from Sarapiqui to Arenalthis route offers the experience to pass through different towns such as San Miguel, Venecia and Aguas Zarcas. In addition, along the way you will enjoy the beautiful scenery, which includes amazing views of the mountains and one of the major sources of revenue in the area: the agriculture, so you will have the opportunity according with the season to observe the crops of casaba roots, rice and sugar cane. Then you continue to the Casa Luna Hotel in the Arenal Volcano area, where you stay for two nights. In the afternoon enjoy a hiking tour near the Arenal Volcano and stop at the natural hot springs. From cascading falls to tropical gardens, the hot springs are the result of rainwater heated by magma in the Earth’s interior. Once heated, the waters rise to the surface, taking with them minerals found in the earth’s rocky crust. These waters are very beneficial to your body helping to relax muscles, clean pores and rejuvenate skin.
In the morning, you will experience the culture, traditions, and way of life in the country side, on a unique journey combining the beauty of nature and encounters with the local people. You will learn how a typical lunch is prepared on the original wood stove and served the traditional way. Also enjoy an excursion on a comfortable, tractor-dawn trailer with rooftop across plantations of pineapple, papaya, plantain and cassava to see a presentation of local folk dances in a local middle school performed by students. This is a perfect day to learn more about the typical style of life in rural Costa Rica.
Arenal to Rio Celeste
In the morning travel the two hours from Arenal area to Bijagua of Upala where you new 'home' is the Celeste Mountain Lodge. This hotel is on the edge of a protected primary forest and all around it wildlife abounds. Watch the monkeys, an extensive variety of birds such as toucans, hummingbirds, parrots and lots of rare species. The lodge has been designed under bio-climatic standards in order to adapt to the local conditions and offers a comfortable stay. The materials used bring a rustic and modern look together, and the local food is delicious.
First today enjoy a visit to Rio Celeste for a five mile hiking tour tour through the tropical rain forest. Stop at Los Teñideros of the Rio Celeste, the site where two streams of crystalline water come together and form the heavenly colour blue that gives the river its name. You return through trails, rich with ecological wonders, and take a dip in the natural hot springs below the Tenorio Volcano. Continue to hike through the jungle to seek out the volcano’s furnace vents that expel gases of extreme high temperatures then on your decent you see the spectacular Rio Celeste waterfall. Then tuck in to a well earned lunch at the end of your journey.
Rio Celeste to Granada, Nicaragua
Early today you will be taken from Bijagua to Peñas Blancas, on the Costa Rica – Nicaragua border where you will be met by another tour representative who will be waiting to take you to Colonial Granada City - a two hour drive over a scenic road with plenty of great photo opportunities. After checking in at Plaza Colon Hotel, you will visit the city. Named after Granada in Spain, it has plenty of colonial churches, narrow streets and large homes with beautiful indoor patios, tiled roofs and pretty colonial colours. During the tour you learn the fascinating history of the city. Later you are taken to Lake Nicaragua for a relaxing boat ride around some of the islands formed by the impressive Mombacho volcano.
Granada to Leon
After breakfast leave for the ruins of Old Leon, which were found in 1967 and recently declared Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In Old Leon you will have an interesting tour where you will learn about the early history of the first capital city of Nicaragua. On the hill where the fort is buried, you get a breathtaking view of the Momotombo volcano and Lake Xolotlan. Continue to colonial Leon to see the main churches including the monumental cathedral, the largest in Central America, located at the main square. You will also see the birdhouse of Ruben Dario, the Ortiz Gurdian art gallery and during a walking tour get to know the historic murals of the city.
Leon City, Managua City and Granada
Today your guide will introduce you to the rich and cultural traditions of Nicaragua. Your first visit is to Managua City, the capital of Nicaragua, to visit the National Historic Park Loma de Tiscapa. Then you drive down to the old city centre to visit the Park of Peace, and get a closer look at Lake Managua and the surrounding areas. After lunch in a local restaurant you will continue to Masaya Volcano where you walk to the summit and look into the active Santiago crater. You will also have time to explore the surrounding area. Just 15 minutes away you visit the Masaya arts and crafts market for local ceramics, wood and leather souvenirs. Then, after a short drive, you will be back at your hotel in Granada.
Granada to Hermosa Beach, Costa Rica
Today you will be taken from Granada back to the border and after completing formalities will be met and taken to Playa Hermosa Bosque del Mar Hotel in the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica in the Papagayo Gulf. Guanacaste forms part of the North Pacific Region of Costa Rica, where hundreds of unspoiled beaches line a shore full of enchantment and surprises. Now you have time to relax at your hotel and enjoy all the beach activities on offer
The first of two full days at leisure in this tropical playground. Relax around your hotel pool or on the beach or consider taking one of many tours on offer. Guanacaste is known as Costa Rica’s folklore Mecca and you will experience this while staying. You can also visit the wonderful nature reserves in Guanacaste to see many rare wild animals and birds and lots of exotic flowers and plants.
Another day in this tropical paradise. Guanacaste's hot, dry climate makes the region a popular year round holiday destination. Its white-sand coast is often regarded as one of Costa Rica's most beautiful, and the beaches are really special. Here you can take surf lessons and enjoy an active nightlife at the regional hub of Tamarindo, embark on an arduous volcano hike and explore refreshing waterfalls at Rincon de la Vieja National Park or enjoy a day of relaxation and reading on the glamorous Playa Conchal
Guanacaste to San Jose
Make the most of this morning and relax on the beach and top up that tan, take a short tour, or do some last minute shopping for souvenirs. In the afternoon you will be picked up at your hotel by one of our tour representatives and taken back to the capital city, San Jose
End of tour
Your wonderful tour of the highlights of Costa Rica and Nicaragua comes to an end today. Depending on your flight times, you may be able to do some more shopping and sightseeing in the city before being picked up at your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your onward flight or begin your journey home, taking with you so many unforgettable memories of this great tour of Central America