Large pac white water

The Best of Costa Rica

This two week luxury holiday showcases the very best of stunning Costa Rica. This is our selection of the ultimate experiences and eco lodges in Costa Rica and is the trip we would do ourselves if we could afford it!

This tailor-made itinerary includes a raft-in luxury eco lodge and idyllic tropical rainforest beaches. You will try to spot super-pods of 100+ dolphins and snorkel and surfing in tropical waters, zip wire through pristine rainforest canopies and raft one of the world's premiere Grade 4 rivers. Accommodation is in outstanding eco-lodges, on exclusive private reserves, and in gorgeous oceanfront hotels.

Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

People love what we do
Tourdust is rated 5.0 out of 5 stars


…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....

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Itinerary

Overview


    This two week tailor-made luxury itinerary is our expression of the absolute best of Costa Rica. It would work fantastically for a couple or a family with children over the age of 12.
  • White Water Raft in to the incredible Pacuare Lodge (min. age 12)

  • See super pods of dolphin in the Gulfo Dulce

  • Snorkel, SUP and Kayak amidst the calls of howler monkeys at Playa Cativa

  • Walk on lava fields, swim in waterfalls and relax in thermal springs in Arenal

  • Relax in a luxury beach front hotel in Manuel Antonio

  • Stay in select hotels and exclusive eco-lodges

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVE SAN JOSE
On arrival at the airport, you will be met by our representative and make the 20 minute transfer to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to recover from your flight amidst the attractive gardens and swimming pools of Xandari. If you want to stretch your legs, there is a lovely trail on the property to a series of impressive waterfalls.
Accommodation: Xandari Resort and Spa, San Jose

DAY 2: PACUARE LODGE
A representative from Pacuare Lodge will pick you up early from your hotel for the 2½-hour drive through the countryside to the Pacuare River put-in, stopping en-route for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. Next is an exciting, 1-1½ hour river-rafting trip (class II-III rapids) passing vibrant rainforest scenery. You’ll arrive at your accommodation in time for a delicious lunch. This afternoon, opt to hike through the lodge’s protected forest with your guide to an idyllic waterfall, take the Canopy Adventure or Canyoning Tour (included) or simply relax in your private bungalow or suite and enjoy the surrounding wildlife and tranquillity. Enjoy dinner by candlelight and perhaps a nightcap in the lounge before retiring for a restful night’s sleep.
Accommodation: Pacuare Lodge, Pacuare

DAY 3: PACUARE LODGE
You’ll awake to birdsong and the soothing sounds of the river. Head over to the main lodge for a hearty homemade breakfast, complemented by a rainforest view. The lodge employs resident naturalist guides who can provide information about the plants and animals that inhabit the surrounding forest. Choose to take it easy, or begin enjoying some of the lodge’s seven outdoor experiences included in your Adventure Package, which can take you deeper into the forest, or into the surrounding communities. Nature lovers may want to start before breakfast with a daybreak birdwatching tour. Other options are to visit the nearby Cabécar Indian palapa, for an introduction to the local indigenous culture, or hike to a nearby farming community to experience a bit of rural Costa Rican life. Outdoor adventure options include the Canopy Adventure Tour, which takes you gliding between treetop platforms on cables, or Tropical Canyoning, which combines hiking, rock climbing and rappelling. Hikers have several options to choose from: the Cabécar Indian Hike, a more demanding excursion to an isolated indigenous home deep in the forest; or the Ancient Trail and Hidden Waterfall Hike, which heads higher into the mountains to a secret waterfall, and takes most of the day. If you’d prefer to relax, enjoy an indulgent session at the resort’s Jawa Juu Spa (subject to additional charge).
Accommodation: Pacuare Lodge, Pacuare

DAY 4: PACUARE TO ARENAL
Following breakfast, depart between 9:00-10:00 am by raft for an exhilarating day of white-water rafting surrounded by stunning tropical scenery (approximately 3½ hours, over class III-IV rapids). This stretch of the Pacuare River flows through canyons and past waterfalls and virgin rainforest. You’re likely to catch glimpses of numerous birds and other wildlife. Afterwards, continue by private transfer to Arenal.
Accommodation: Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens, Arenal

DAY 5: ARENAL VOLCANO HIKE AND LA FORTUNA WATERFALL
Enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano on a gentle hike along the base of this marvellous natural wonder. Beginning in one the trails close to the volcano, this hike will take us through the forest over the old lava flows, now hardened into rock, before descending down the slope of the volcano and into the valley. After lunch continue on to La Fortuna, a stunning 75m waterfall which cascades through dense jungle. Bring your swimming costume if you fancy a dip at the foot of the falls (recommended!).
Accommodation: Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens, Arenal

DAY 6: ARENAL SKYTREK AND TABACON HOT SPRINGS
The Sky Trek starts with a tour in the Sky Tram to the top of the Arenal reserve, from where an innovative system of zip lines allows you to observe the rainforest and its landscape from an exhilarating treetop perspective. The zip lines comprise 8 cross-sectional cables spanning a total of 1.7 miles, travelling varying distances of 100 to 2460 feet, reaching a maximum elevation of 660 feet above the forest, and providing a wonderfully panoramic view of Arenal volcano and lake. If zip wires do not appeal, we are happy to suggest alternative activities (rafting, float trips, hanging bridges, or simply relaxing at the hotel). In the afternoon choose from a trip to the hot springs at Tabacon Resort (perfectly manicured hot river and springs), Baldi (crazy hot springs with water slides), or Eco Termales (smaller, romantic and peaceful hot spring resort).
Accommodation: Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens, Arenal

DAY 7: TRANSFER TO SAN JOSE AND SMALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT TO GOLFO DULCE
Today take a 3 hour private road transfer to San Jose, followed by a panoramic one hour flight by small aircraft to Golfito Airport. From here it is a one hour trip by speed boat to your accommodation. Watch out for dolphins en route, before arriving to the welcoming cacophony of howler monkeys. Situated on the shores of the Golfo Dulce, Playa Cativo is a stunning eco-lodge located in a private secluded reserve reachable only by boat, and boasting superb service and facilities. One of only four warm water tropical fjords on the planet, the Golfo Dulce is one of the best places in the world for dolphin watching and bioluminescence, whilst the surrounding rainforest teems with birdlife and howler monkeys. The resort offers complimentary yoga sessions, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards.
Accommodation: Playa Cativo, Golfo Dulce

DAY 8: GOLFO DULCE – SNORKELLING
Playa Cativo Lodge is ideally located for some of the best snorkelling in the Golfo Dulce. Today you will head to either Punta Adela or Los Mogos. At low tide, you’ll see the brain coral reefs, whilst at high tide the underwater rock pinnacles, resembling mountain peaks, create a habitat for many tropical reef fish. Golfo Dulce is one of the few tropical fjords in the world, a fact that limits its dive potential. Nonetheless, the calm and pristine waters at 80ºF (26ºC) are perfect for a stunningly colourful snorkelling experience!
Accommodation: Playa Cativo, Golfo Dulce

DAY 9: GOLFO DULCE - WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCHING
Golfo Dulce is one of the best places in Costa Rica for watching dolphins, who swim in the area year round. If you are lucky you may see super pods of over 300 dolphins playing in the calm flat waters of the gulf, an incredible spectacle. The peak periods for whale watching are from August to the end of November, and to a lesser extent from March to June.
Accommodation: Playa Cativo, Golfo Dulce

DAY 10: PRIVATE TRANSFER TO MANUEL ANTONIO (3HRS)
Today, relax during a three hour drive to Manuel Antonio. Check in for a three night stay at the deluxe Arenas del Mar, an extensive resort which boasts stunning views of Manuel Antonio National Park along with private access to some of Costa Rica's finest white sand beaches. We have included guided activities here, but you could just as easily while away your final few days relaxing by the pool and on the beach.
Accommodation: Arenas Del Mar, Manuel Antonio

DAY 11: MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK
Manual Antonio National Park is a small, busy, and incredibly picturesque national park with a fantastic density of wildlife, which pretty much guarantees monkey and sloth bear sightings. The park is located around a point, fringed on both sides by golden sand beaches. We recommend packing a picnic, hitting the park early or late in the day to avoid the crowds, and combining it with a cooling swim in the sea. Keep your eyes peeled for sloth bears, toucans, macaws and white faced monkeys. We have included a guided hike to give you the best chances of spotting the wildlife, or choose to explore independently on the well-marked trails.
Accommodation: Arenas Del Mar, Manuel Antonio

DAY 12: MANUEL ANTONIO - SURF LESSON
Costa Rica is a mecca for surfers and it would be remiss to come all this way and not give it a go. Today enjoy a private lesson on the beginner-friendly beaches of Manuel Antonio. With stable beginner foam boards, your guide will get you standing (and hopefully hooked) before the day is out.
Accommodation: Arenas Del Mar, Manuel Antonio

DAY 13: TRANSFER TO SAN JOSE (2-3HRS)
Take a private road transfer back to San Jose for a relaxing afternoon and evening at Xandari.
Accommodation: Xandari Resort and Spa, San Jose

DAY 14: DEPART
Take a 20 minute transfer to San Jose International Airport for your flight home.

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Upmarket hillside retreat
- Near San Jose Airport
- Stunning views, secluded location
- 3 pools, spa, restaurant

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Renowned raft-in luxury eco-lodge
- Breath-taking rainforest location
- World Class White-Water Rafting
- Birdwatching, river adventures & cultural visits

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Large, upscale resort
- Family friendly, great range of activities
- Award-winning property
- Excellent variety of activities

Playa Cativo Lodge

Osa Peninsula

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Luxurious Ecolodge
- Rainforest & Ocean Wildlife Activities
- Gorgeous Swimming Pool
- Complimentary SUP & Kayaks

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Upmarket beach hotel
- Direct beach access
- Night time wildlife treks, waterfall hikes
- Water sports & yoga

Details

Getting there

From the UK: Direct Flights with a flight time of approximately 11 hours from the UK to Costa Rica San Jose airport are offered by BA (Twice or thrice per week depending on season), TUI (once per week to Liberia, seasonal) and Thomas Cook (once per week to San Jose, seasonal). Direct flights tend to be considerably more expensive than indirect flights to Costa Rica. Indirect flights involving one stop in Europe, USA or Panama are available with BA, American Airlines, KLM , Norwegian, TAP Portugal, Air Canada, Delta, United, and Iberia offering overall flight times of between 14 – 22 hours. Competitive deals are often available with BA and American Airlines flying via Miami, with the option of combining your Costa Rica holiday with a stay on South Beach, Miami. Return flights range from £720 to upwards of £2,000, depending on seasonality and demand. Please get in touch for a detailed quote, including international flights from the UK.
From the US:
From the East Coast, United offer direct flights to San Jose, taking approximately 5 ½ hours, with prices from $515 return. Avianca fly with one stop and a 7 - 8 hour flight time, with prices starting at $370 return. From the West Coast, American Airlines, United, and Avianca offer a flight time of between 8 - 10 hours involving one stop. Prices range from $450 to $610 return. Please get in touch for a detailed quote, including international flights from the US.

Price includes

Price for this sample itinerary is based on 2 people travelling together (or a family of 4 travelling together for the family price). Price includes all accommodation, transport in Costa Rica and guided activities where mentioned. Accommodation is a mix of full board (Pacuare, Playa Cativo) and breakfast only (Arenal, Manuel Antonio). Price is given as a guide and does not include international flights; actual quote will vary depending on the number and age of your children, your travel dates and accommodation availability. Please call or enquire for a tailor-made quote including international flights.

When is best?

Costa Rica’s densely verdant terrain and sweeping rainforest owe much to its tropical climate. Generally, the country experiences its peak dry season from December to April, with May to November heralding the rainy or ‘green’ season. Rainfall can occur year round, although showers during the dry season tend to be short lived.
December to April: Peak visitor season: beaches and national parks are busy, and accommodation is in high demand. Most of the country enjoys plenty of sun and high temperatures, with minimal rainfall. The Caribbean Coast is usually at its driest during March. Wildlife viewing is generally excellent, including whale watching at Uvita from December to March.
May to August: The green season begins, bringing frequent showers to most regions. National parks see a slowdown in visitors, allowing crowd-free wildlife viewing, and surfing conditions can be good on key beaches. May and June can be good months to visit Arenal, when good visibility permits great views of the volcano. There are sunny periods in the Central Valley areas of San Jose and Manual Antonio National Park, and on the Caribbean Coast, where green sea turtle nesting along Tortuguero’s coastline is at its peak during July and August. July heralds the start of whale watching season at Uvita on the Southern Pacific Coast. The Northern Pacific coastline, including the Nicoya Peninsula, receives less rainfall year-round than the country as a whole, and often basks in sunny spells during July and August.
September to November: The height of the rainy season, with prolonged heavy rain showers and storms sweeping most of the country, and resultant sea swells bringing great surfing conditions along the Pacific Coast. Tourist accommodation may be closed, and roads in rural areas can be off limits, due to flooding. The Caribbean Coast, hot and humid for most of year, is usually at its driest during September and October, coinciding with the end of turtle nesting season. The Uvita whale watching season reaches its peak during October. In November the rains begin to abate, allowing low-season uninterrupted wildlife watching for nature lovers who don’t mind the odd shower. By the end of the month, visitor numbers are on the increase again.

Is it for me?

This itinerary is the one we would choose if money was no object. Playa Cativo on Golfo Dulce offers the best eco-lodge and wildlife experience in Costa Rica. Nayara is the best hotel in Arenal, whilst Pacuare is without doubt the best adventure option in Costa Rica: an incredible raft-in and raft-out lodge.
If you like the look of this itinerary and want to discuss ways to bring it within scope of your budget, give us a call and we will be happy to talk through lower cost alternatives and compromises.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 493 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam Kearns reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

  • The Namibia trip was fantastic!

    Self-driving was brilliant, and the chronology of the itinerary was perfect (against the flow/direction most other travelers took).

    As for specifics:

    OKONJIMA
    This place was the best!
    Best service, best staff, best food, best experiences, best facilities.
    We saw a cheetah kill, leopards, and white rhino (which we were not expecting).
    If you’ve never been you should go...If I ever go back to Namibia I will revisit.

    EMANYA
    The only (slight) disappointment.
    Maybe because it was right after Okonjima, but the service was lacking, the facilities were a bit run down, it was the only place with mosquitoes in the room with no net and no spray. Food was marginal. Not sure if there are better options in the area, though.

    OKAUKEUJO
    Etosha Park was amazing. There was so much wildlife with so little crowds.
    The Okaukeujo Camp had the best watering hole with animals coming in at all times of the night. A great experience exclusive to the camp.

    DORO NAWAS
    Beautiful place. Very private. Food and service excellent.
    A nice stopping point on the drive.

    SPITZKOPPE
    An amazing place...How they laid out and built it.
    Enjoyed exploring the grounds and the local area/sights.
    The staff was on par with Okonjima.
    2 days were perfect.

    Ivin provided us with good advice/information/recommendations along the route, along with a cell phone and cooler for the trip. The car was perfect.
    They represent Tourdust well!

    Again, another great trip you put together...Thank you!

    MissingEarl Wong reviewing Northern Namibia Highlights - Self Drive on 17 October 2018

  • We both suffered but enjoyed it immensely. Just how it should be!!!!
    Our route up the mountain, the Burguret trail is very arduous and certainly should not be used for people who are not very fit and experienced trekkers. It mainly followers animal trails through the forests and bog lands around the mountain. The Chogoria route down was great. The guide and porters were great. Wild camping means just that, really just what I wanted, but I have lived in Kenya.

    MissingJonathan Bailey reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 24 September 2018

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Two week holiday in Costa Rica with a focus on the wildlife. Includes Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, Osa Peninsula and Uvita

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Adults from $3,669 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

Families from $3,250 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

2 week adventure including surfing in Nosara, rafting Pacuare River and tubing and canyoning at Rio Perdido. Classic rainforest and beachside accommodation.

Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks

Adults from $2,883 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

Families from $2,412 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

Two week self-drive Costa Rica family holiday covering all the highlights including Tortugeuro, Arenal, Monteverde Rain Forest, Tamarindo Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park.

Tailor-made Classic 15 days

Adults from $3,684 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

Families from $2,726 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

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