'Route 4: Off the Beaten Track'

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

Electric blue waters and lush volcanic forests

Electric blue waters and lush volcanic forests

Rio Celeste

Tumbling down the forested slopes of the Tenorio Volcano National Park, volcanically charged waters plummet into electric blue-hued lagoons surrounded by lush forest. This remote region is a great base for active types looking to hike, bike or horse-ride or those looking to relax in a beautiful natural setting

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.

A taste of the cloud forest

A taste of the cloud forest

Los Angeles

The quiet cloud forest of Los Angeles, located on the edge of the Central Valley close to the pleasant mountain town of San Ramón, offers a taste of this unique habitat staying at a comfortable countryside hotel with on-site trails

Laid-back, off-beat beaches

Laid-back, off-beat beaches

Southern Nicoya Peninsula

At the southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula at the end of various bumpy roads lie a handful of wild, forest-backed beaches popular with expats, surfers and those looking to get away from it all. Chose Tambor for comfort right on the beach, Montezuma for a laid-back alternative feel and Santa Teresa/Mal Pais for hip surf-dude cool

Rural ranch and nearby wetlands

Rural ranch and nearby wetlands

Guanacaste (La Ensenada)

Guanacaste's dusty tropical dry forest is home to Costa Rica's cowboy ranch lands. Here you can experience a slice of authentic rural life staying at a homely ranch - join the cowboys on horseback to round up cattle, hike through the forest or bird-watch at the nearby Palo Verde wetlands

Itinerary map for Costa Rica 'Route 4: Off the Beaten Track' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Liberia
  • 2 Liberia
  • 3 Bijagua
  • 4 Bijagua
  • 5 Arenal
  • 6 Arenal
  • 7 Los Angeles Cloud Forest
  • 8 Los Angeles Cloud Forest
  • 9 Tambor
  • 10 Tambor
  • 11 Tambor
  • 12 Tambor
  • 13 Abangaritos
  • 14 Abangaritos
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Route 4: Off the Beaten Track'


arrive Liberia, 2 nights


e.g. visit Rincon de la Vieja (e.g. riding, hike up volcano, walk in dry forest)


to Bijagua area


Free e.g. walk to Rio Celeste


to La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano


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


to Los Angeles Cloudforest, 2 nights


free e.g. cloud forest nature walk & spa


Ferry to Paquera stay at e.g. Playa Tambor/Montezuma/Santa Teresa, 4 nights

DAY 10

Free day

DAY 11

Free day

DAY 12

Free day

DAY 13

to Abagaritos, 2 nights

DAY 14

free at Hacienda La Ensenada e.g. horse riding or birdwatching

DAY 15

Drop car at Liberia airport, fly home

Guide prices for 'Route 4: Off the Beaten Track'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide Price 2 people sharing £1,660 £1,945
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 4: Off the Beaten Track'

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 87%

Seasonal information for 'Route 4: Off the Beaten Track'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Liberia 32°C rainfall 2mm
2 Liberia 32°C rainfall 2mm
3 Bijagua 26°C rainfall 186mm
4 Bijagua 26°C rainfall 186mm
5 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
6 Arenal 30°C rainfall 194mm
7 Los Angeles Cloud Forest 23°C rainfall 52mm
8 Los Angeles Cloud Forest 23°C rainfall 52mm
9 Tambor 32°C rainfall 5mm
10 Tambor 32°C rainfall 5mm
11 Tambor 32°C rainfall 5mm
12 Tambor 32°C rainfall 5mm
13 Abangaritos 32°C rainfall 1mm
14 Abangaritos 32°C rainfall 1mm

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 4: Off the Beaten Track'

Days 1 - 2

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 3 - 4

Celeste Mountain Lodge


Average rating 5.0 (2 ratings)

This is a genuine eco-lodge of high quality but with an unusual rather startling brutal  modernist industrial construction made from re-cycled materials, think " Grand Designs  eco-build".

Guests stay on a full board basis. The delicious meals are made using high quality local ingredients (its a set menu served family style using "New Costa Rican" cuisine). There is a communal hot tub in the interior patio garden. One whole wall is louvred vents (no glass) therefore no fans are required.

It is located in an interesting area from a natural history point of view. In a transitional area between cloudforest and rainforest yet is only a 12km drive from tropical dry forest.  It has  4 hectares of super protected primary forest on its estate and well maintained trails. Because neighboring properties also consist of protected areas, deep jungles surround the lodge on 3 sides.

Makes a good base for birding.

The French Canadian owner has also designed a modern version of the sedan chair so guests with disabilities can still visit the forest trails.

Celeste Mountain Lodge
Days 5 - 6

Arenal Observatory Lodge


Average rating 4.6 (83 ratings)

The reward for a little bone-shaking along a stony track which winds up through pine forest to reach this hotel is its proximity to Arenal volcano and its beautiful views down upon Arenal Lake. Originally a Smithsonian Institute research station its location was chosen by scientists who needed a close but safe vantage point from which to study the volcano. Although you are close enough to hear the near constant rumbles inside the volcano you are separated from it by a deep gorge. The gardens are planted with native species to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  A seismograph records the volcano's activity from the lodge.

Arenal Observatory Lodge
Days 7 - 8

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel

San Ramon

Average rating 5.0 (5 ratings)

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel is a unique hotel settled in a Costa Rican Farm Village overlooking 3,000 acres of dairy pastures and pristine cloud forests. The cloud forest surrounding the property hosts a similar inventory of flora and fauna found in habitats such as Monteverde, yet with only a fraction of the driving time from San Jose International. Airport, so it is possible to stay here on your first night. It is conveniently located just 60 Km from San Jose. The hotel has 34 secluded and well-appointed casita rooms with fire places, so they are very cosy. On the main hilltop, the Hacienda house, serves fresh baked breads and you can sample the best campesino style cuisine in the region with the buffet menus.

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel
Days 9 - 12

Tango Mar


Average rating 4.7 (10 ratings)

Set in extensive grounds on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Tango Mar has an enviable beachfront setting, with all of its 18 ocean view rooms set within metres of the sand. The hotel also offers 12 individual Tropical Suites positioned up on the hillside away from the main buildings, which can be reached by self-drive golf buggies.  The view from the cliff near these suites, looking down the palm-fringed coast and out to sea is quite breath-taking. A further five suites modelled on Polynesian-style wooden cabanas are situated just a 20 metre walk across a service path from the sands. Overlooking the beach there are two swimming pools and a wet bar, and two restaurants facing the sea. Golf, spa facilities, billiards, cycling, tennis and horse riding are also available on site.

Tango Mar
Swimming pool overlooking the beach
Days 13 - 14

La Ensenada Lodge

Gulf of Nicoya

Average rating 4.4 (20 ratings)

La Ensenada is a family run 1000 acre farm set beside the Gulf of Nicoya near Palo Verde, sharing a similar wetland habitat. Accommodation is in simple, functional, clean wooden cabins, each with a private bathroom and veranda. There is a swimming pool and lawns down to the Gulf which create a beautiful, tranquil location in which to relax. Guests can join in with the daily activities of the working farm, which raises cattle and horses as well as producing salt and fruit. They offer horse back riding, mangrove tours and trails through the jungle. There are great bird watching opportunities here (Dec - Apr) particularly when the migrant species are passing through. On your way over to dinner you will need a torch - watch out for the huge toads!

La Ensenada Lodge