Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Independent

Costa Rica: Monteverde, Central Pacific Coast and Arenal (7 days)

Costa Rica Expeditions

San José, Costa Rica To San José, Costa Rica

Valid for Departures Now Through: 22 Nov 2019

Costa Rica: Monteverde, Central Pacific Coast and Arenal (7 days)


Day 1
San José, Costa Rica
Hilton Garden Inn San Jose La Sabana None

Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport, after exiting the plane, first follow the signs to immigration where you will have to wait in line to get your passport checked and stamped. Continue to baggage claim and customs. There are carts in the baggage claim area that are free of charge, so grab one of those while you wait for your luggage to come out on the designated carousel.

If your flight is arriving between the hours of 7 am- 10 pm, you may be greeted by a representative from the Costa Rican chamber of tourism. If so they will give you a sticker that identifies you to customs officials as a tourist. These representatives are not always available, and if you don’t see them don’t worry, as the sticker is a courtesy and not a necessity.

Once you have your luggage, you’ll need to get in line to go through customs.

Normally this consists of putting your luggage and carry on luggage on a conveyor belt to be x-rayed; when it’s your turn to put your luggage on the conveyor belt you will have to give the Customs Official the form that you filled out on the plane.

Once you’ve retrieved your luggage, you can exit the airport.

IMPORTANT: When you exit the building, you'll see a lot of people, and you willmost likely be approached by taxi drivers looking for a fare, tell them it’s not necessary. Before stepping into the crowd; take a moment to scan it for your Costa Rica Expeditions guide.

You'll recognize your guide by their bright orange or yellow shirt. Also, he or she will be holding a sign with your name on it. You can count on their being there -- even if your flight arrives early, or arrives quite late -- no matter how late. After all, it's our first chance to have you experience that every part of your vacation will go smoothly. He or she will take you to your hotel.

Day 2
Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Trapp Family Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today meet your Spanish speaking driver and depart by minivan for the 3.5 - 4-hour drive to the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Monteverde is a peaceful community made up of dairy farmers, naturalists and tourism service providers who have joined together to create a model for sustainable development and protection of the environment that is becoming known throughout the world. Founded in 1954 by a group of Quakers searching for a peaceful place to live, it is the home of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the Children's Eternal Rain Forest, and the Santa Elena Reserve.

El Refugio Night Tour with Naturalist Guide & Transportation

Meet your nature guide and drive for a few minutes from your lodge to El Refugio Wildlife Refuge. El Refugio, is a private wildlife refuge located 10 minutes from the town Santa Elena in Monteverde. It was originally a coffee & dairy farm, but for the last 20 years it has been in recovery. El Refugio’s 20 hectares or 50 acres are a prime location for spotting wildlife and birds.

Located at 1400 meters above sea level, El Refugio sits at an elevation that marks the boundary between the Pacific tropical dry forest and the tropical cloud forest. The night walk is a two hour walk on both flat and uphill trails. Some steep sections have steps and handrails. You will have the opportunity to see nocturnal animals such as olingos, kinkajous, two-toed sloths and opossums, as well as tarantulas and perhaps a snake. During the rainy season, some species of frogs might be spotted. It’s not uncommon to see migrant and resident birds sleeping and you will only view them with flashlights handled by the nature guide, so as not to disturb their sleep. Regardless of what you see, the experience of walking in the forest after dark is very special. After the walk, return to the lodge with your guide.

Day 3
Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Trapp Family Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Monteverde with the following activities included:

Monteverde Reserve with Naturalist Guide

Drive 20 minutes to the entrance of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve accompanied by a local Naturalist Guide. Originally just 4,000 acres, the Monteverde Reserve now includes a protected area of approximately 25,000 acres, comprising six different life zones. So many habitats in such a small area, along with extensive trail improvements, allow visitors to enjoy a rich diversity of flora and fauna with relatively short distance and easy walking. The Reserve was founded in 1972 and extends down both slopes of the Tilarán Mountains. It encompasses six different ecological life zones and is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,500 species of plants.

Selvatura Park Guided Exhibits

Visit the exhibits at Selvatura Park including the serpentarium, insect museum and butterfly farm. Enjoy a guided walk inside one of the world's largest live butterfly exhibitions with an area of over 29,000 square feet. A world in which a controlled climate provides the best temperature (82.4º F or 28º C) for more than 20 species of butterflies. Learn about their life cycle, their special abilities and behaviors that have helped them evolve throughout thousands of years. In the Reptile and Amphibian Exhibition you will find frogs, lizards, geckos and snakes, more than 30 species! On this guided tour, you will be able to observe over 30 species of live reptiles and amphibians, including frogs, lizards, geckos and snakes. Admire the exhibition Jewels of the Rain Forest" by world renowned entomologist Dr. Richard Whitten who has been collecting insects for decades. It is reputed to be the world’s third largest private collection. Take a close look at thousands of insects, butterflies and other species from all over the world presented in a very artistic way.

Day 4
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Villa Caletas Breakfast, Lunch

Today meet your Private Bilingual Naturalist Guide and Spanish speaking driver. They will be with you for the day. Depart for the approximate 2.5 hour drive to the Carara National Park area.

Carara National Park guided hike

Carara National Park offers high species diversity and easy access from San José, and it’s also convenient if you are going to visit other points further south. The park is located between the dry forests of the north and the humid ones of the south. As a result of this confluence of species and habitats, Carara provides interesting opportunities for anyone interested in nature & photography. Many endangered and threatened species live and breed here, like the American crocodile (Cocodrilus acutus). In fact, many people stop in a bridge located near the park to observe these ancestral reptiles. Carara is also considered a sanctuary of the Scarlet Macaw, as well as many more species of birds like Tiger Herons, Egrets, Sand-pipers, Stilts, Tanagers, Honeycreepers, Trogons, Toucans and many more.

Tarcoles Crocodile Boat Tour

Jungle Crocodile Safari offers a tour specially designed for adventurers and bird watchers, yet safe for the whole family. The adventure takes place on the Tárcoles River, one of four rivers flowing out into the Nicoya Peninsula, and home to one of the world’s largest crocodile populations in the wild with individuals up to fifteen feet long. In addition to the crocodiles, over fifty different kinds of birds can be seen on site, including the very rare scarlet macaw and a great variety of resident and migrant waterfowl. Iguanas and basilisk lizards are very common as well. Jungle

After your activities, drive to your hotel Villa Caletas is in the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, on a jungle hilltop at 8 km from Jaco Beach.

Day 5
Arenal, Costa Rica
The Lost Iguana Resort Breakfast, Dinner

Join your Spanish speaking driver and depart for the Arenal Volcano area.

The Arenal Volcano National Park is located within the much larger Arenal Conservation Area, which protects more than 500,000 acres of rain forest, rivers, lakes and old volcanic lava fields. This area contains a great wealth of geologic and biological complexity. The volcano itself is approximately 5,500 feet high and has gone through several eruptive cycles. Within the national park, short trails pass through secondary forest as well as lava fields from previous eruptions. Arenal also plays an interesting role in Costa Rica's power production- Lake Arenal, which rests at the base of the volcano, supplies a high percentage of the country's hydroelectric energy. The area is home to a remarkable biodiversity and variety of habitats. Arenal Volcano activity continues, although it has decreased since 2010 and is now mostly fumarolic with occasional phreatic eruptions at the top of the mountain - this means there are no lava flows, but that hiking up to close the crater can be very dangerous.

Evening Visit to Ecotermales Hot Spring

After signing in at the reception, you will be given a key for your locker where you can change and store your belongings. There are two separate dressing rooms one for men and one for ladies where there are restrooms, showers, sinks, mirrors and wooden benches. You will also be given a plastic bag for your wet swimsuit when you’re done.

A path through the forest leads you to the natural thermal hot springs with 6 free-flowing pools set in a natural river gorge. Water temperature ranges from 100ºF (38ºC) to 109ºF (43ºC) depending on the pool. The high temperatures and mineral rich waters require that you spend no more than 10 minutes in the higher temperature pools and alternate an equal amount of time between hot and cold water. You have access to a cooler water pool and cold water showers so that you can cool off as needed.

Day 6
Arenal, Costa Rica
The Lost Iguana Resort Breakfast

At Arenal Volcano with the following activity included:

Float Safari on Peñas Blancas River

Drive to the “put in site” at the river bank and raft your way down the Peñas

Blancas River on a relaxed pace. The inflatable rafts will float down the river where there is a wide variety of wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and birds. The possibilities are good for spotting animals on trees and the river vegetation. Birds like Parrots, Parakeets, Raptors, Egrets, Herons and Kingfishers are observed in the area commonly, helped by your river guide. Each guide paddles a boat on their own.

Day 7
San José, Costa Rica
International Airport Breakfast

Depending on your international flight departure time, today you will meet your Spanish speaking driver and depart by minivan for a land transfer back to the International Airport in San Jose (3 - 3.5-hour drive). Please keep in mind that you must be at the airport at least three hours prior to your departure time on UA 1099 “ 15:10.

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


If you like the Cloud Forest and the Volcano this is your option.

The day of your arrival you will be in Hilton Garden Inn San Jose La Sabana. This hotel provides everything you need to relax and stay productive, including complimentary WiFi, a flat-screen HDTV, and a large desk with ergonomic chair and convenient power points.

This trip continues in Trapp Family Lodge. It offers 14 Superior Rooms and 12 Montain Suites built in a rustic atmosphere, with high wooden ceilings, big bathrooms and view to either the gardens or cloud forest Restaurant for guests only, bar and sitting room. The Trapp Family Lodge is located 1 mile (1.6 K) from the Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde, and 5 miles (8 K) from the Town of Santa Elena.

Then, Villa Caletas. It combines a unique concept of both mountain and seaside resort with panoramic views. The hotel features swimming pools, meeting rooms, and a restaurant offering International cuisine. Welcome drink, WiFi and local calls included.

Finally, you will be in The Lost Iguana Resort. The resort's 120-acre property overlooks the active Arenal volcano located near La Fortuna, Costa Rica. The hotel currently offers 42 rooms with large private balconies overlooking the Arenal volcano and Arenal river gorge.

About Us

Created in 1978, Costa Rica Expeditions continues to set the pace with Taylor made itineraries of leisure, wilderness and nature adventures in one of the world's most bio diverse and richly-populated wildlife areas. With appeal for travelers seeking escape to remote wilderness areas, retreats and beaches with the most upscale accommodations waiting at the end of the day, Costa Rica Expeditions blends adventure-packed itineraries led by expert, bilingual naturalist guides with luxurious lodgings set in Costa Rica's wildest corners. Costa Rica Expeditions is widely recognized as the best nature and adventure tour operator in the country.

Insider Tip

Contact your Costa Rica Expeditions Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions


INCLUDED: Accommodations, Transfers, Tours and Meals: As indicated in the itinerary.

Porterage: we include the handling of two bags per person.

Taxes & entrance fees: Hotel taxes, entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest in effect at the time of booking are included unless otherwise specified.

NOT INCLUDED: Costs of obtaining passports, visas; excess baggage fees; personal expenses, gratuities for tour escort, guides or driver; international airfare and airport departure taxes; sightseeing or meals not specified in the itinerary; personal insurance coverage.



A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required to guarantee your reservation upon acceptance of proposal. The balance is due 60 days prior to the start date of departure. Any trips that are reserved less than 90 days prior to arrival must make full payment before hotel reservations can be confirmed. Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotels, guides and services are non-refundable.


A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required to guarantee your reservation upon acceptance of proposal. The balance is due 30 days prior to the start date of departure. Any trips that are confirmed less than 60 days prior to arrival must make full payment before hotel reservations can be confirmed.


The prices we charge reflect our costs and a reasonable profit for our services in planning and operating the trip.


We do not give price breakdowns.



Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotel, guides and services are non-refundable. In the case of cancellations 90 days or more prior to the start date of the scheduled trip, there is a full refund minus a cancellation fee of $750 or 20% of the entire cost of the trip. In the case of cancellations received in our office from 89 to 46 days prior to the start date of the trip, there is a 50% refund, minus hotel deposits and guide fees. There will be no refund for cancellations made 45 or fewer days prior to the trip.


Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotel, guides and service are non-refundable. In the case of cancellations 30 days or more prior to the start date of the scheduled trip, there is a full refund minus hotel deposits and guide fees, in addition to a cancellation fee of $500 or 15% of the entire cost of the trip. In the case of cancellations received in our office from 29 to 15 days prior to the start date of the trip, there is a 50% refund, minus hotel deposits and guide fees. There will be no refund for cancellations made 14 or fewer days prior to the trip.

The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Costa Rica Expeditions


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Excellent accomodation and tours

By: MM

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2015

Costa Rica Expeditions is a first class operation. Their guide Donald at the Montverde Lodge and Gardens was amazing. We saw many species of birds and mammals that we would not have seen had he not been along to point then out to us. Very professional, polite and well versed in the ecology of Costa Rica. Excellent English as well. All transfers from one location to another were executed perfectly. Always on time and safe. Most drivers spoke a fair amount of English and were only too glad to stop to point out sights or to stop for a photo. shoot. The Monteverde Lodge and Gardens was very comfortable and the restaurant El Jardin was great as well. Loved the whole experience.
Travel Advisor:  Lisa and Nancy Zupancic

Pura Vida

By: Sherie

Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2015

Costa Rica....the most hospitable place on earth! Wonderful service wherever we went. Everyone we met was kind and welcoming. Such an amazing country.

Costa Rica March 2017

By: Cecile

Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2017

10+ Drivers, tour guides, hosts, lodges (especially Tortuga Lodge, but also Monte Verde Lodge), food, employees were all fabulous! We also stayed at Arenas Del Mar and that was fabulous as well!
Travel Advisor:  Susan Morley

HIGHLY recommend for a stress free vacation of your dreams!

By: Brittany A.

Reviewed on: 20 Jul 2018

Costa Rica Expeditions was absolutely incredible!! Every detail was planned out perfectly, so that my husband and I did not have to worry about a thing. The tour guides were some of the friendliest people I have ever met. They made us feel like old friends and went out of their way with kindness. This was the least stressful vacation I have ever taken and I recommend this service to everyone who has asked us about our trip. Costa Rica Expeditions will provide you with the most memorable vacation, you will not regret it!
Travel Advisor:  Charissa Popp