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'Creature Comforts'

What makes this trip special?

Central valley spa hotel

Central valley spa hotel

Alajuela

An originally decorated boutique hotel and spa set on a 40 acre coffee and fruit plantation with scenic trails, two swimming pools and stunning views over the Central Valley.

Boutique cloud forest hotel

Boutique cloud forest hotel

El Silencio

Costa Rica's only upmarket lodge and spa in a cloud forest setting situated in its own 500 acre private reserve with spacious, stylish cabins, premium amenities and a personal 'eco-concierge' for each party.

Costa Rica's most active volcano

Costa Rica's most active volcano

Arenal

Arenal's perfect cone rises above lowlands, spewing smoke and steam, lava and boulders in its active phases. Make sure you visit the hot springs and explore the 'hanging bridges' through the forest. The area has good options for walkers and there's lots to do for adventurous families.

Stunning rainforest backed beaches

Stunning rainforest backed beaches

Manuel Antonio National Park

Perhaps the most beautiful coastal scenery in all Costa Rica - emerald green wildlife-laden rainforest tumbling onto white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters - what's not to love!

Astounding biodiversity

Astounding biodiversity

Osa Peninsula

Mostly undeveloped and natural, this remote corner of Costa Rica's South Pacific has been called "the most biologically intense place of earth" by the National Geographic, and there are a couple of very special lodges that help guests experience it.

Elegance in the city

Elegance in the city

San Jose (Grano de Oro)

Our favourite amongst the more upmarket downtown hotels in San José and home to one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the city.

Itinerary map for Costa Rica 'Creature Comforts' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Alajuela
  • 2 Alajuela
  • 3 Bajos del Toro
  • 4 Bajos del Toro
  • 5 Arenal
  • 6 Arenal
  • 7 Manuel Antonio
  • 8 Manuel Antonio
  • 9 Manuel Antonio
  • 10 Osa Peninsula
  • 10 Lapa Rios
  • 11 Osa Peninsula
  • 12 Osa Peninsula
  • 13 San José
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Creature Comforts'

DAY 1

San José

You are met on arrival at San José and driven to the lovely Xandari Spa, set among coffee and fruit plantations overlooking the Central Valley, where you stay for 2 nights.

DAY 2
BL

Poás Volcano

Your guide collects you in the morning for a scenic drive through the Central Valley to Poás Volcano, reaching the rim of its steaming crater. Continue to the Doka Estate coffee farm for an insight into high quality coffee growing and preparation, with lunch and a visit to their butterfly garden. Back at Xandari Spa there is time to relax or take one of the optional treatments.

DAY 3
BLD

Bajos del Toro

Part of the morning is free for relaxation or a spa session, then it’s on to Bajos del Toro for a 2 night stay at El Silencio, a boutique lodge and spa in a private reserve of cloud forest filled with bromeliads, orchids, ferns and clear mountain streams. You travel either by private transfer, or if on a self-drive option, your hire car is delivered to your hotel mid-morning in good time for the journey; you return it on day 10.

DAY 4
BLD

An ‘eco-concierge’ is available to accompany you on a walk to experience the rich life of the cloud forest (with good birding opportunities). There is time to enjoy the private Jacuzzi on your terrace, or the hotel’s spa facilities at an extra charge.

DAY 5
BD

Arenal

You have the morning free to explore and enjoy the cloud forest before travelling on to the Arenal area. Stay for 2 nights at the delightful Lost Iguana hotel, which has a good view of the live volcano. Rest of the day free to explore the grounds or relax by the hotel’s pool.

DAY 6
B

This morning you visit the Hanging Bridges with a private English-speaking local guide, for spectacular views across the trees to Arenal Volcano. You return to Lost Iguana for free time then in mid-afternoon walk with your guide in Arenal Reserve. This is followed by a visit to a hot springs to lounge luxuriantly in thermal waters amid landscaped gardens, taking dinner at its restaurant–with the volcano’s dramatic rumblings in the distance.

DAY 7
B

Manuel Antonio

Travel south to the Central Pacific coast to stay 3 nights at Arenas del Mar, one of the few beachside hotels in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area.

DAY 8
B

A free day. We suggest a visit to the nearby Manuel Antonio NP, the most scenically beautiful region in the country. Take the popular trail through the trees for the chance of seeing sloths, monkeys, agouti and a variety of birds. At the path’s end you are rewarded with a stunning view across the bay and out to sea, with pristine white sand beaches nearby. At low tide it is even possible to stroll back to your hotel along the shore.

DAY 9
B

A free day to relax at the beach or pool. You might take advantage of one of the options offered by the hotel, such as sea kayaking, horse riding or a mangrove boat tour, or indulge in one of their spa treatments. Trim your luggage down to 14kg per person - any excess can go by road to your hotel in San Jose to await your arrival on day 13.

DAY 10
BLD

Osa Peninsula

A choice of two ways to experience the Osa Peninsula, one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, in a 3 night stay. For the remote Casa Corcovado Lodge travel road to Sierpe dock for the wonderful boat journey through mangroves, across Drake Bay and along the Pacific shore (can be rough), arriving with a wet beach landing. For the award-winning Lapa Rios, travel by road to Puerto Jiménez and on to the lodge. (Self-drivers drop off their hire car in San Jose and fly down to the south Pacific today).

DAY 11
BLD

At Casa Corcovado your visit includes two full days of wildlife and other excursions, at Lapa Rios two wildlife excursions are included with others available locally at extra cost.

DAY 12
BLD

At Casa Corcovado your visit includes two full days of wildlife and other excursions, at Lapa Rios two wildlife excursions are included with others available locally at extra cost.

DAY 13
BLD

San José

This morning you are taken to the airstrip for your flight to San José where you will be met and taken to Hotel Grano de Oro.

DAY 14
B

A private transfer from your hotel to the airport for your flight home. Or you might extend your stay with time at the beach or a visit to Tortuguero.

Guide prices for 'Creature Comforts'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Upper/top range hotels, selfdrive (Tucson) 2 people sharing £4,115 £4,995
Upper/top range hotels, private transfers 2 people sharing £4,255 £5,095
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Costa Rica
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • shared services of resident English-speaking naturalist guide in Tortuguero
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'Creature Comforts'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 94%

rating

Tortuguero, Lapa Rios + Arenal Area - could easily have spent another day at Lapa Rios or Arenal (but trip was well balanced)

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Osa Peninsula, Birding, the people

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Would not have changed anything, the balance was about right. The Osa Peninsula was a definite highlight - the wildlife was amazing.

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Amazing wildlife, turtles, volcanoes, lovely hotels

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Turtles at tortuguero, eduardo at monteverde, freddy at carara and xandari pacific

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Mixture of activities with lovely hotels

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It's very difficult to say what was the best part as all was very enjoyable. Allowed us to see a great range of landscapes.

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Loved the boat trips

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Rafting, Osa Peninsula, Santa Teresa

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Pacuare by far. Save for Arenal forest trek which was way up there.

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Whale watching and Tortuguero.

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It is difficult to state what were the best parts of the trip, loved it all! Will go back!

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Playa Cativo

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Carara Park and Osa Peninsula

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Wildlife. Walking scenery. High point was being mugged for a packet of biscuits by a Coati.

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We genuinely really enjoyed every part and would not change a thing.

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Scenery, people, weather, wildlife.

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Manuel Antonio

Seasonal information for 'Creature Comforts'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Alajuela 26°C rainfall 21mm
2 Alajuela 26°C rainfall 21mm
3 Bajos del Toro 21°C rainfall 123mm
4 Bajos del Toro 21°C rainfall 123mm
5 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
6 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
7 Manuel Antonio 32°C rainfall 65mm
8 Manuel Antonio 32°C rainfall 65mm
9 Manuel Antonio 32°C rainfall 65mm
10 Osa Peninsula 32°C rainfall 75mm
10 Lapa Rios 32°C rainfall 69mm
11 Osa Peninsula 32°C rainfall 75mm
12 Osa Peninsula 32°C rainfall 75mm
13 San José 24°C rainfall 28mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Creature Comforts'

Days 1 - 2

Xandari Resort & Spa

near Alajuela
rating

Average rating 4.9 (53 ratings)

This resort is the creation of architect and artist Sherril and Charlene Broudy, who envisioned a paradise reflecting the natural beauty of Costa Rica. There are 21 spacious villas decorated with original art and custom-designed furniture, hidden away on a 40 acre coffee and fruit plantation which overlooks Costa Rica's Central Valley. All villas have a private view terrace with a garden, a walled-in sun area, a bar kitchen, and either a king bed or two full beds. In the resort there are two lap swimming pools, a heated outdoor Jacuzzi and a dining room with a panoramic view of the Central Valley. With 4 kms of scenic trails located within the grounds of the hotel, this is a great place to start or end your trip and perhaps take a treatment in the lovely spa. The outdoor restaurant sources its food from the fruits, vegetables and herbs of the plantation’s gardens.

Xandari Resort & Spa
Days 3 - 4

El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Bajos del Toro
rating

Average rating 4.7 (10 ratings)

This is Costa Rica's only up-market hotel in a cloudforest setting. 90 minutes drive from San Jose airport. It comprises 16 very spacious, stylish cabins each with large picture windows, L-shaped sofa area, gas fire and whirlpool tub on deck. Plus four two-bedroom villas. The emphasis here is on 'well being' and the chef prides himself on locally sourced and seasonally grown food from which he creates exciting new recipes. There is an on-site trout farm and organic garden and stables for horse-riding excursions. With five hundred acres of private reserve there are a number of trails to follow up into the cloud forest, passing by beautiful waterfalls. There is a spa using the resort's own natural products and a yoga studio.

 

Minimimum age: 8 years old (allowed in villas only with all meals to be taken in the lodge's more casual restaurant) No infants or children under 8 years old are permitted.

El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Cabana
Days 5 - 6

Lost Iguana

Arenal
rating

Average rating 4.5 (26 ratings)

A more isolated, up-market property, 20km west from La Fortuna town, Lost Iguana is set in 100 acres of jungle. All rooms have large private balconies overlooking the Arenal Volcano and Arenal River Gorge. They are all spacious and well-appointed with first-class furnishings, artwork and full amenities (air-conditioning, ceiling fans, telephone, cable TV, Coffee Service, Mini Bar Refrigerator and Safety Deposit Box)

Luxury Suites, Casitas and Villas also each have private jacuzzi baths on deck with views of the Jungle and Volcano.

Lost Iguana
view of Arenal volcano from balcony
Days 7 - 9

Arenas del Mar

Manuel Antonio
rating

Average rating 4.8 (11 ratings)

This resort is one of the few properties in Manuel Antonio with easy access both to Playitis Beach and Playa Espadillas. It is built in resort style and in places is very steep, hence you have to get around on golf buggys. There are 7 buildings with 38 rooms. Apartments have a bedroom, living room, 2 bathrooms and balcony with a Jacuzzi.  Superior rooms have a bedroom and bathroom and a large balcony. The majority of the rooms have ocean views with some located at beach level and others high up with superb views of the national park. There are 2 swimming pools, a fine dining restaurant and a beach bar. Arenas del Mar is the first 100% sustainable development project in Costa Rica, utilising all the concepts and requirements of the CST manual (Certification for Sustainable Tourism).

Arenas del Mar
Days 10 - 12

Lapa Rios Lodge

Osa Peninsula
rating

Average rating 4.9 (18 ratings)

Set in a private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Costa Rica's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest, Lapa Rios overlooks the point where the Golfo Dulce meets the wild Pacific Ocean. It is the vision of John and Karen Lewis; a private nature reserve and eco-lodge which has won many awards for its sustainable practice.

The main building and 16 bungalows line three ridges connected by walking paths and steps. Built with local materials, over 350 feet above the sea, Lapa Rios catches the cooling tropical breezes. This lodge is legendary in Costa Rica. A great upmarket eco-lodge option, ideal for honeymoons.

Note: the impressive, spacious, wooden guest cabins descend steeply down the stepped hillside from the ridge-top restaurant and pool area set at 350ft above sea level.

Lapa Rios Lodge
Day 13

Grano de Oro

San José
rating

Average rating 4.6 (50 ratings)

Our favourite amongst the more upmarket downtown hotels in San Jose, Grano de Oro is an elegant place to stay. It is located in the west of the city near the Parque Metropolitano La Sabana and the Museum of Costa Rican Art. Formerly a private Victorian mansion it has been extended over the years and now has 32 tastefully decorated rooms in three price categories. The hotel's impressive new dining room has been crafted in fin du siecle style and it is considered one of the top spots to dine in the city. There is a small internal patio filled with tropical plants and a roof-top jacuzzi with a couple of sun loungers should you tire of sightseeing. Room facilities include the usual mini-bar, cable TV, room service, direct telephone, and safe deposit box. A laundry service is available.

Grano de Oro
Restaurant patio