Journey Costa Rica with a rental car

17 days - from € 6,400 per person

self-drive - wildlife and bird watching - jungles

In your own rental car you will discover the fascinating and versatile country of Costa Rica during this trip. From San José you will drive to the Caribbean coast. From here you will go inland and visit the Arenal volcano and the cloud forests of Monteverde. You will visit Manuel Antonio, one of the most beautiful national parks of Costa Rica where numerous monkeys, iguanas and three-fingered sloths can be found. The last days you will stay on the Osa peninsula, where you can participate in various excursions to discover the beautiful surroundings.

Travel itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam - San José

Your unique journey through Costa Rica starts today. You will depart by intercontinental flight from Amsterdam to San José. Once you arrive at the airport, you will be welcomed by our local staff and brought to your hotel. San José is surrounded on the north side by the rough Talamanca mountains. South of the city you will find the Poás volcano. In San José you will find several parks.
Overnight stay: Hotel Presidente | bed & breakfast

Day 2: San José - Puerto Limón

(approx. 220 km | 4 hour drive)
Today your rental car will be delivered to your hotel with which you will drive through Costa Rica. The first stop is Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast. The port city of Puerto Limón is located in the bay where Columbus anchored in 1502. His landing is commemorated with a bronze bust. Here you will also find a beautiful mural by artist Guadalupe Alvarez which gives a nice impression of the local history. You can find several national parks and reserves in the area of Puerto Limón. 
Overnight stay: Hotel Aguas Claras | bed & breakfast

Day 3: Puerto Limón

Today you will pay a visit to the iguanas and medicinal plants garden of the Kekoldy reserve, where an indigenous family is dedicated to the conservation of the green iguana, a species that was in danger of extinction and thanks to initiatives such as these has been recovering. From here you will go to a small farm in the Bribri Indigenous Reserve and get a demonstration of the production of chocolate. Cacao is very important within the Bribri culture, they use it as a purification, food and medicine. You will also visit the medicinal plants and get to know their effects and finally you will be taken to a beautiful waterfall in the jungle, where you can take a refreshing dip and enjoy a small tropical snack. This tour includes a delicious Caribbean lunch.
Overnight stay: Hotel Aguas Claras | bed & breakfast

Dag 4: Puerto Limón – Sarapiquí

(approx. 210 km | 2.5 hour drive)
After breakfast, you will get in the car and drive to Sarapiquí, located at the foot of Cordillera Central and along the Rio Sarapiquí. On the way you can visit the Tropical Garden of Costa Flores where you can see various tropical flowers and plants. Then you will drive on to Sarapiquí where you will see the landscape change along the way. Sarapiquí has been an important port since colonial times. Before the Atlantic railway was opened in 1890, the port of San Jose was the gateway to the Caribbean Sea. The Llanura de San Carlos lowlands around Sapapiquí are almost entirely covered by banana plantations.
Overnight stay: Selva Verde Lodge | bed & breakfast

Day 5: Sarapiquí

Today you will have a day off. We advise you to visit the Braulio Carrillo National Park and view the park from a gondola in the 'aerial tram'. This way you can see the rainforest from a height of 30 meters. In addition, there are many walks where you have a great chance to spot the rich wild life. It’s also nice to make a boat trip on the Sarapiqui river where you can see caimans or you can use your rental car to visit the National Park at the volcano Poás. Depart early in the morning because the volcano is often surrounded by clouds in the afternoon. After a beautiful drive through coffee fields, vegetable gardens and meadows, where a magnificent view will not be missed, you will arrive at the top of the volcano. After a few minutes walk you are at the edge of one of the world's largest craters.
Overnight stay: Selva Verde Lodge | bed & breakfast

Day 6: Sarapiquí – La Fortuna

(approx. 80 km | 2.5 hour drive)
A drive to the wonderful surroundings of the Arenal volcano is on the program today. The 1633 m high Arenal volcano with its almost perfect cone shape rises majestically above the meadows and forests on the eastern side of the Laguna de Arenal however, due to the height, the top is often hidden behind the clouds. Currently the volcano is dormant and the last outburst was in 2012. You will stay at the eco-friendly hotel Casa Luna, just outside the national park of the Arenal volcano.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Luna | bed & breakfast

Day 7: La Fortuna

A walk in the Arenal National Park should not be forgotten during a visit. In the morning a guide will take you for a walk through the green rainforest, vast savannah and past two volcanoes. The eruption in 1968 destroyed a large part of the area, yet the park has a wide variety of flora and fauna. Perhaps you will see butterflies, toucans or other wildlife. You will walk along a dirt track and over a lava field while your guide tells you about the volcanoes and the history of Arenal. You will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Arenal Lake while enjoying a picnic lunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Luna | bed & breakfast

Day 8: La Fortuna

Today you can explore the various surroundings of Arenal by yourself. Think of a hike through the jungle via hanging bridges, so you have a magnificent view over the jungle. Through a cable car with open gondolas, the rainforest can also be seen from above overlooking the lake and the volcano. The hot springs of Baldi are recommended, just enjoy the natural hot water at a temperature you like. Or maybe you would like to visit the Rio Celeste, also known as 'the light blue river', located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Luna | bed & breakfast

Day 9: La Fortuna – Monteverde

(approx. 100 km | 2.5 hour drive)
Today you will travel on to the cloud forests of Monteverde. A cloud forest is a specific type of rainforest that is located against a mountain slope and occurs mainly on the South American continent. Because the cloud forest is located at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level, it is fairly cool, with average temperatures around 15 degrees. As the name suggests, a cloud forest is regularly shrouded in mists. These are created when warm air from lower lying areas collides with the steep mountain slopes and rises as a result. As it rises, the moisture in the air condenses into fine droplets: the mist. Cloud forests have a very specific flora due to their high humidity, tree branches and trunks are usually covered with thick bundles of mosses, ferns, bromeliads and orchids.
Overnight stay: Senda Monteverde | bed & breakfast

Day 10: Monteverde

Early in the morning you will leave with your guide to the enchanting private reserve Curi-Cancha. The early morning is the best time to observe the most special wild animals. Your guide will take you on a walk through the beautiful surroundings that changes from a dry forest to a misty cloud forest. Along the way you will go in search of animals such as hummingbirds, toucans, coatis and monkeys with a white face. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight stay: Senda Monteverde | bed & breakfast

Day 11: Monteverde – Manuel Antonio

(approx. 195 km | 4,5 hour drive)
From Monteverde you will drive to the south of Costa Rica. You will stay on the Pacific coast between the town of Quepos and the tropical rainforest of Manuel Antonio. Here the lush rainforest turns into an idyllic coastline with beautiful small beaches. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the wonderful climate in peace and quiet. You will stay at Boutique Hotel Makanda by the Sea. You will enjoy a beautiful sunset in an area rich in flora and fauna.
Overnight stay: Boutique hotel Makanda by the Sea | bed & breakfast

NB: This is an adults-only hotel (16 years and older)

Day 12: Manuel Antonio

Today you can pay a visit to the beautiful national park Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio is often seen as one of the most beautiful national parks of Costa Rica. This 683 ha large park consists of white sandy beaches bordered by rainforests, where various species of monkeys and sloths occur and the poisonous manchineel tree grows. Numerous monkeys (including the endangered squirrel monkey), iguanas and three-fingered sloths can be found here. You can make beautiful walks along the paths here and discover the rich wild life. Do you like underwater life? Then we definitely recommend you to do this in Manuel Antonio National Park. The underwater world of the national park is beautiful. It is also very common here to spot whales during the season (from the end of July until October).
Overnight stay: Boutique hotel Makanda by the Sea | bed & breakfast

Day 13: Manuel Antonio – Corcovado

In the morning you will drive to the port of Sierpe (approx. 135 km | 3 hour drive), where you will drop-off your rental car. You will then be taken to your lodge by boat (1 hour sailing). On the Osa peninsula in the south of the country is the national park Corcovado located. This national park is also called "our amazone area" by the Tico's (Costa Ricans), a park of 54.600 ha which was established in 1975. Before the area was elevated to a national park, it was mainly an area of gold diggers. The hilly forest of Corcovado is bordered on the west side by a number of deserted, palm-covered white beaches. Inland you will find rivers and waterfalls. You will stay in the Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge, located on the edge of the Corcovado National Park and only accessible by boat.
Overnight stay: Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge | full board incl. offered activities

Day 14 and 15: Corcovado

These days you will do a number of activities together with a guide and other people. Together you will make a walk through the national park Corcovado. The tropical rainforest contains an abundance of flora and fauna. Every year more than 5,000 millimeters of rain falls and there are about 500 species of trees and numerous mammals and birds. Opposite the park in the Pacific ocean the island of Caño is located. From July to October and from December to March, whales come here close to the coast. Sometimes even whale sharks are spotted here. Your guide will also take you to go snorkelling in the coral reef around the island of Caño. This large uninhabited island is surrounded by beautiful turquoise coloured waters. Here you will find 18 different species of coral, many exotic fish and with some luck you will also see hammerhead sharks and turtles. In addition to these planned activities, you will have plenty of time to follow one of the hiking trails of the lodge, relax at your bungalow or choose from the other activities offered by the lodge for an additional fee.
Overnight stay: Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge | full board incl. offered activities

Day 16: Corcovado - San José - Amsterdam

Your Unique Journey through Costa Rica is unfortunately over. In the morning, you will be taken to the port of Drake Bay by boat. Then you will board your flight to San José. Here you will board your intercontinental flight to Amsterdam where you will arrive the next day.

Day 17: Amsterdam

Today you will arrive in Amsterdam.

Price

From € 6,400 per person

  • Based on 2 persons traveling together
  • Depending on time of booking, availability of the accommodations and the period of travel

Included:

  • 12 overnight stays, meals as mentioned
  • 3 overnight stays in Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge on full board basis including offered activities
  • 11 days rental car Cat. SUV intermediate: Hyundai Tucson automatic or similar alternative including allrisk insurance and GPS. Pick-up in San José and drop-off in Sierpe
  • domestic flight from Drake Bay to San José (14 kg hold luggage)
  • all transfers and excursions as mentioned 
  • our backup 24/7; locally and in The Netherlands
  • extensive travel document package with a small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if desired we can book these for you
  • early check-in / late check-out, based on availability, this is sometimes provided by the hotel. If you want to be sure that you have this, ask us about the additional cost
  • (Dutch) public tax travel disaster fund; € 2.50 per booking (Calamiteitenfonds) 
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Request travel proposal

Would you like to make this journey yourself? We can of course arrange the above trip for you, but we are also happy to put together a programme based on your wishes and ideas. Feel free to contact us. Call +31 73 610 62 04, send an e-mail to info@sapapanatravel.nl or request a customized quote below. We will be happy to help you. 

Request travel proposal

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