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'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

What makes this trip special?

Lots of easy-to-see wildlife

Lots of easy-to-see wildlife

Tortuguero

Tortuguero's inland waterways are one of the very best places in Costa Rica to see wildlife. Turtles nest on its ocean beaches.

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.

Forest in the clouds

Forest in the clouds

Monteverde

The cool, misty mountain village of Monteverde is the most famous and commercial cloud forest in Costa Rica. Plenty of places to stay and things to see and do from nature walks to high-adrenalin zip-lines

Itinerary map for Costa Rica 'Just a Week in Costa Rica' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 San José
  • 2 Tortuguero
  • 3 Tortuguero
  • 4 Arenal
  • 5 Arenal
  • 6 Monteverde
  • 7 Monteverde
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

DAY 1

San José

You are met on arrival at San José airport and driven to a downtown hotel where you stay the night.

DAY 2
BLD

Tortuguero National Park

Early this morning you travel by coach (there is an option to fly) towards the Caribbean coast to a river dock for a boat ride through the waterways to your wildlife lodge for a 2 night stay beside the flooded forest not far from the village of Tortuguero. This afternoon you could join a tour to visit the village.

DAY 3
BLD

A full day based at Tortuguero, including a wildlife boat trip through the narrow channels of the flooded forest with the lodge’s resident English-speaking naturalist guides.

DAY 4
BL

Arenal Volcano

Return by boat then road to the Arenal Volcano region for 2 nights at a hotel with a view of the volcano. If you opt to have a hire car, this will be delivered to you in Arenal later on today.

DAY 5
B

A free day in Arenal. A very good choice of tours is available locally at extra cost, e.g. to explore the Arenal Volcano reserve, to visit relaxing hot springs, walking high in the canopy at ‘Hanging Bridges’, riding zip lines, rafting on the Balsa River, or horse riding to the ‘La Fortuna’ waterfall.

DAY 6
B

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Today you travel up into the mountains of Monteverde for a 2 night stay at a characterful lodge in the cloud forest.

DAY 7
B

Free in Monteverde. Excursions available locally at extra cost include walking or birdwatching in the Monteverde or Santa Elena cloud forest reserves, canopy walkways, zip lines, horse riding, a butterfly garden, and an orchid garden too.

DAY 8
B

San José

Today travel back to San Jose, or to your next destination - perhaps a beach hotel on the Nicoya Peninsula or near Manuel Antonio NP. You could also combine this itinerary with a visit to Panama, perhaps our ‘Just a week in Panama’

Guide prices for 'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid-range hotels, shuttle bus transfers 2 people sharing £795 £820
Mid-range hotels, selfdrive (Terios) 2 people sharing £960 £995
Upper range hotels, selfdrive (Tucson) 2 people sharing £1,425 £1,580
Upper range hotels, private transfers (ex Day 2) 2 people sharing £1,625 £1,760
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 'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

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 99%

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Tortuguero and Arenal

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Boat trips to Tortuguero and Monteverde

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Wildlife at Tortuguero, hanging bridges at Arenal. Hotels at Arenal and Monteverde and location of Manuel Antonio

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The birds

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the hacienda at Sarapiqui was lovely, friendly, lovely room, great food, lovely grounds and very relaxing.

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Impossible to choose - loved Tortuguero, hot springs, canopy walks, horse riding and pacific beaches.

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The guides were excellent - with their expertise we were able to see so much wildlife - much more than we anticipated.

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Tortuguero boat trips, the danta corcovado lodge, wildlife everywhere - especially the squirrel monkeys a few feet from our balcony at Danta Corcovado Lodge, the Costa Rican friendliness

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Amazing wildlife, turtles, volcanoes, lovely hotels

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There are so many 'best parts'. Really the whole trip was fantastic and with so many highlights and special experiences in each location

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Seeing the turtles at night in Tortuguero and the sky-trek

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Tortuguero, Montezuma and Monteverde

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Cannot choose - they were all wonderful and we had a fantastic time. The level of travel and accommodation suited us fine (except Grano de Oro was a bit posh!)

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All equally good. Very hard to pick out best! Very good balance

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Tortuguero and Playa Potrero

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Tortuguero and Playa Esterillos Este

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Loved everywhere but we got bitten by insects quite badly in Tortuguero (stronger bug spray next time). Arenal was a magnificent sight and Monteverde was incredible.

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Maquenque and Central Valley

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We can't choose as there were so many special experiences.

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Everything was good but especially Monteverde.

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Arenal and Manuel Antonio.

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Tortuguero & Monteverde.

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White water rafting & Pacific Coast.

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Night walk at La Tirimbina, Tortuguero, Sloth Sanctuary, the wild sloths at Manuel Antonio.

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Pacuare Lodge and the rafting.

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Many great adventures - snorkelling with sea turtles at Cano Island, Selvatura Canopy Walk, everything at Tortuguero.

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Hanging Bridges at Arenal, the wildlife, the food, Nayara and El Silencio.

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Maquenque Lodge was amazing - the staff, our room, the wildlife, the food!

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The wildlife and environment at Tortuguero and Arenal.

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La Tirimbina nightwalk and Tortuguero.

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Enjoyed all

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We were charmed by the Costa Ricans, and were given a great welcome at each hotel we stayed at – particularly the smaller ones, like Aroma del Campo, Chayote Lodge and Danta Lodge

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Tortuguero

Seasonal information for 'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 San José 24°C rainfall 28mm
2 Tortuguero 30°C rainfall 383mm
3 Tortuguero 30°C rainfall 383mm
4 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
5 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
6 Monteverde 24°C rainfall 141mm
7 Monteverde 24°C rainfall 141mm

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 'Just a Week in Costa Rica'

Day 1

Presidente

San Jose
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Average rating 4.4 (93 ratings)

Hotel Presidente is located in the heart of downtown San José, on the corner of Central Avenue Boulevard and 7th Street, just 20 minutes from the San Jose international airport. Each of the 80 guest rooms split between standard and superior rooms and suites have either two queen-sized beds or a king-sized bed, A/C, wireless internet, hair-dryers, mini-fridge, 32" cable LCD T.V, safe. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, honesty bar in reception, spa services, 24/7 gym, casino, concierge service, computer for guest use, rooftop bar and terrace with panoramic city views.

Presidente
Exterior
Days 2 - 3

Mawamba Lodge

Tortuguero
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Average rating 4.5 (236 ratings)

Mawamba Lodge is set amongst 15 acres of lush tropical gardens and within easy walking distance of Tortuguero village. The hotel's 54 rooms blend perfectly with the surrounding exuberant jungle vegetation. From the basic wooden bungalows you can hear a cacophony of sounds as you lie in bed. Ranchos with hammocks tucked away in the gardens are perfect for relaxing after a day of adventure. Private nature trails and an open sky butterfly farm provide the opportunity to discover different species of trees, palms trees, heliconias and many other plant species that abound in the tropical rainforest. There is also a red-eyed tree frog project by the swimming pool, bar and a buffet style restaurant. The package here includes all meals, morning and afternoon boat trips through the canals to observe the abundant wildlife. Although rustic, we like this lodge for its size and position in Tortuguero.

Mawamba Lodge
Days 4 - 5

Arenal Volcano Inn

Arenal
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Average rating 4.8 (42 ratings)

Arenal Volcano Inn is a very good value mid-range hotel. Well located between the village of La Fortuna, the hot springs and Arenal Lake it has a very impressive view of the volcano. The 25 rooms are scattered over the small property in self-contained bungalows with pretty planting dotted in between. All rooms have views of the Volcano, two queen size beds, a/c, a private terrace, hair-dryer, safe, mini fridge, microwave oven and coffee maker. The hotel has two swimming pools, one for adults and one for children, and a jacuzzi. A small on-site spa offers several types of massages and mud treatments at affordable prices. Their restaurant on site serves Italian food fot those happy to eat at the hotel.

Arenal Volcano Inn
Days 6 - 7

Monteverde Country Lodge

Monteverde

Monteverde Country Lodge is a small rustic-style lodge located around a 10 minute walk from the centre of Santa Elena village. Each of the 16 rooms have cable T.V, private bathrooms with hot water, coffee makers, safety box and free wireless internet. Amenities also available at the lodge include a restaurant, bar, tours desk, laptop rental, laundry and gated parking lot. Guests also have access to the heated indoor pool and spa at the lodge's sister property, Poco a Poco.

Monteverde Country Lodge
Lodge building