'Route 3: The Northwest'

What makes this trip special?

Ranching and adventure

Ranching and adventure

Rincon de la Vieja

Guanacaste's dusty tropical dry forest is home to Costa Rica's 'sabañeros' or cowboys, as well as being a popular region for outdoor activities - help round up cattle, mountain bike, zip-line, river tube or simply relax in hot-springs and volcanic mud pools

Costa Rica's most active volcano

Costa Rica's most active volcano


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.

Remote wetland habitat teeming with wildlife

Remote wetland habitat teeming with wildlife

Caño Negro

Near the Nicaraguan border in remote northern Costa Rica, the wetlands and waterways of the Caño Negro Wildlife refuge are home to a huge number of flora and fauna (particularly good for waterbirds) and are an excellent location for natural history viewing. Best explored by boat or kayak.

Forest in the clouds

Forest in the clouds


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

Beautiful beaches a plenty

Beautiful beaches a plenty

Nicoya Peninsula

The northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica is the most reliably dry part of the country and home to some truly spectacular beaches, each with a different vibe - low-key, off-beat or more bustling, wild surf or calm seas, pristine yellow or grey sands - there is something that should suit all interests, and accommodation options to suit all budgets.

Itinerary map for Costa Rica 'Route 3: The Northwest' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Liberia
  • 2 Rincon de la Vieja
  • 3 Rincon de la Vieja
  • 4 Arenal
  • 5 Arenal
  • 6 Arenal
  • 7 Arenal
  • 8 Monteverde
  • 9 Monteverde
  • 10 Potrero
  • 11 Potrero
  • 12 Potrero
  • 13 Potrero
  • 14 Potrero
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Route 3: The Northwest'


arrive Liberia


Drive to ranch at Rincon de la Vieja, 2 nights


Free at ranch, e.g. riding, hike up volcano, walk in dry forest


Drive to La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano, 4 nights


Free in Arenal area e.g. hot springs, walking, riding, windsurfing


Free in Arenal area e.g. hot springs, walking, riding, windsurfing


Cano Negro wildlife river trip


Drive to Monteverde, 2 nights


Free in Monteverde e.g zip line, canopy walk, night hike, nature walk

DAY 10

Drive to beach on Nicoya Peninsula, 5 nights e.g. Tamarindo, Potrero, Nosara, Samara

DAY 11

Free day

DAY 12

Free day

DAY 13

Free day

DAY 14

Free day

DAY 15

Drop car at Liberia airport, fly home

Guide prices for 'Route 3: The Northwest'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide Price 2 people sharing £1,595 £1,745
Prices are per person and include:
  • all other travel in Costa Rica
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
  • rental car with unlimited mileage and fully comprehensive insurance (details on request)
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • car-hire: refundable deposit
  • car-hire: additional driver insurance
  • car-hire: petrol

Customer reviews for 'Route 3: The Northwest'

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 93%


Wildlife, botony + the great people we met and Panama Transit


Activities at Rincon de la Vieja, relaxed atmosphere at Tamarindo


Seasonal information for 'Route 3: The Northwest'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Liberia 32°C rainfall 2mm
2 Rincon de la Vieja 26°C rainfall 148mm
3 Rincon de la Vieja 26°C rainfall 148mm
4 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
5 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
6 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
7 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
8 Monteverde 24°C rainfall 141mm
9 Monteverde 24°C rainfall 141mm
10 Potrero 32°C rainfall 3mm
11 Potrero 32°C rainfall 3mm
12 Potrero 32°C rainfall 3mm
13 Potrero 32°C rainfall 3mm
14 Potrero 32°C rainfall 3mm

Typical weather for January


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

Hotels for 'Route 3: The Northwest'

Day 1

Hilton Garden Inn, Liberia


Average rating 5.0 (3 ratings)

Situated beside Liberia's international airport this modern hotel (opened 2009) makes a sensible positioning night location for those with early departure/late arrival flights.  Rooms are spacious with fridge, flat screen TV, coffee maker, micro-wave. There is a restaurant open 06.30 - 22.30h daily, outdoor swimming pool and fitness room, whilst there is also on on site convenience store if you need anything after a late arrival or before an early departure.  

Hilton Garden Inn, Liberia
Pool area
Days 2 - 3

Aroma del Campo

Rincon de la Vieja NP

Casa Rural Aroma de Campo is a hacienda style bed & breakfast guesthouse, with marvellous views of the surrounding lowlands of Guanacaste. The lodge is Located close to the main entrance to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, between the small village of Curubande.

Aroma del Campo
Days 4 - 7

Volcano Lodge & Gardens


Average rating 4.5 (140 ratings)

This motel style lodge is located between La Fortuna and Arenal Lake, with a super view of Arenal Volcano. Rooms are spacious with two double beds and a private bathroom, hot water, a/c and picture windows to the volcano. Each room also has a private terrace for volcano viewing and enjoying the very attractively landscaped gardens which come alive with tropical birds in the early morning. There is a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and the restaurant offers a variety of local and international meals. There are also hotsprings on site making this a pleasant place to relax during any free time Arenal.

Volcano Lodge & Gardens
Days 8 - 9

Trapp Family Lodge


Average rating 4.1 (69 ratings)

Trapp Family Lodge is the closest hotel to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Each room has a private bathroom and private balcony. The superior rooms are located in the main building which also houses the bar and restaurant. The newer, upper-range 'Mountain Suites' are located in the garden a short distance from the main building. The lodge offers guided tours and is in easy walking distance from the Hummingbird Gallery. As it is a little isolated from the rest of the village, if you don't wish to dine in the hotel you will probably want to order a taxi or drive - or pack a torch for the walk!

Trapp Family Lodge
Outside the lodge
Days 10 - 14

Bahia del Sol


Average rating 4.6 (16 ratings)

Bahia del Sol Hotel & Suites is situated in a lovely bay and acts as a great base for exploring the area. The rooms and suites in this small boutique hotel, are set around a luxurious green garden with exotic plants and tropical trees. An open air restaurant and bar and a fresh water swimming pool with Jacuzzi are only a few steps away from the rooms, overlooking the Potrero Bay.

The hotel's best feature is Potrero Bay Beach, a pristine beach with crystal clear water and soothing waves, where guests can take relaxing walks, swim in the warm Pacific Ocean, horseback ride into the sunset or just relax and sunbathe.

Playa Potrero is a typical Costa Rican beach destination (a small community surrounded by farmland) and is a 5 minute drive from Flamingo beach, where you can find many restaurants, bars and another beautiful beach.

Tamarindo is about 20 minutes away, where it is also possible to find good restaurants and nightclubs.

Bahia del Sol