Discover the hidden gems of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, exploring thermal canyons, volcanoes, wetlands, and reefs in private rainforest reserves and wildlife refuges. 

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 Arenal volcano
 Rio Celeste
 Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano
 White-faced Capuchin monkey
 Hanging bridge through the jungle canopy Credit: Christina Victoria
 Aerial view of the Guanacaste coast Credit: Robin Canfield
 Costa Rica hummingbird

Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes, and the Pacific Coast

8 days from $4,995

Discover the hidden gems of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, exploring thermal canyons, volcanoes, wetlands, and reefs in private rainforest reserves and wildlife refuges. 

Overview

Activity Level 2: Moderate  

Expectations:  A few long touring days with full-day motor coach excursions.  Extended periods of standing and walking for during outdoor activities. Walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, stairs without handrails, an absence of elevators), and short hikes (up to 2 miles) which may entail slippery or muddy forest conditions over uneven terrain.  There are additional opportunities to choose more active activities (snorkeling, sea kayaking, zip lining). 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrive in Liberia, Costa Rica/Rio Perdido

Arrive in Liberia by mid-day and transfer to your sustainability-focused wilderness lodge, set on a 600-acre forest reserve. The centerpiece of the property is the river that runs through it, warmed by eight thermal springs that feed it with 4,000 gallons of hot water every minute.   Settle into your stunning forest bungalow and gather for a welcome reception and dinner tonight. (R,D)

Day 2 — Rio Perdido

Explore the reserve on a morning hike, ascending gradually through the forest before climbing to the top of a mesa for extraordinary views of the volcanoes of Guanacaste that you’ll visit later on your journey. The afternoon is yours to hike through the thermal canyon just outside the lodge, take a dip in the naturally hot or cool pools, or relax in the lodge’s thermal mineral pools.  You may also opt for a zip-lining canyon adventure or white-water tubing (at additional cost). (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Tenorio National Park

Travel to Tenorio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s youngest national parks, named for the active volcano at its center. Take a short hike to the Rio Celeste to see a stunning waterfall that tumbles into the river’s vivid aquamarine waters.  After time to relax at your lodge, set out on a guided night hike to look for the nocturnal creatures that inhabit this humid forest ecosystem. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Arenal Volcano Visit

Choose one of two ways to experience Arenal Volcano today. Set off on a geology-focused hike that highlights how the volcano’s 1968 eruption transformed the mountain. Follow lava trails and watch for wildlife in the rainforest, and admire spectacular views of Lake Arenal and the surrounding volcanoes. Or hike to spectacular La Fortuna Waterall, which drops about 200 feet off a cliff in the heart of the rainforest. Take a swim downstream if you wish, and soak up the lush and stunning scenery. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Rio Celeste Activities

Get a close-up look at the forest canopy ecosystem on a walk along hanging bridges. At eye-level with the treetops, you’ll have the chance to observe monkeys, sloths, and some 350 bird species.  In the afternoon, take a walk through the Tapir Valley Nature Reserve, a community-owned reserve that serves as an important biological corridor between other protected areas. Meet with a local wildlife expert to hear how the park was established and learn about the research being conducted here. Enjoy a final night to relax at your rainforest lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Rio Celeste to Papagayo Peninsula

Awaken early to go birding with a naturalist if you wish. Then travel out of the highlands to the Guanacaste coast, stopping along the way at El Viejo Wetlands, a private wildlife refuge with historic hacienda. Set out on covered boats to explore the wetlands, looking for bird species such as roseate spoonbills and jabiru storks, as well as monkeys and crocodiles. Learn about the culture of the sabaneros, Guanacaste’s cowboys, on a visit to the hacienda, and see the property’s traditional sugar mill, operated with the help of oxen. Continue to the Papagayo Peninsula and settle into your beach hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Playa Hermosa

Enjoy an unscheduled day to explore the coast as you wish. Go snorkeling or sea kayaking from our hotel, relax at the pool, or indulge in a massage. Take a walk on the peninsula’s long beaches, or visit the town of Playa Hermosa on foot.  In the evening, celebrate your Costa Rica wilderness adventure at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Depart from Liberia

Enjoy a relaxing morning at the hotel before departing for nearby Liberia to catch your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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