Costa Rica Skip to main content
White faced capuchin monkeys

Costa Rica

2 week Costa Rica Road Trip

This is the classic Costa Rica Road Trip and takes you to some remarkable places for watching wildlife, as well as visiting the Arenal Volcano and finishing by the coast for some chill out time.

You can do the whole trip by rental car, and this is how the itinerary is structured, but if you prefer we can include private transfers to get between the different places. 

Another option is to start the trip with private transfers and to collect your hire car only after your stay in Tortuguero National Park. This means that you avoid driving in San Jose.

The trip is quite flexible so if you have less time or want to keep the cost down then there's a few places we can take out of itinerary and it will still work well.

San Jose
 
1 night

Start your adventure by flying into San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica and pick up your hire car. It will probably be late afternoon or early evening, so a hotel reasonably close to the airport is ideal.

Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Bed & Breakfast
Tortuguero National Park
 
2 nights

This morning, start your journey towards Tortuguero National Park. It's a very scenic journey passing through forest, but you can only go so far until the road ends. Then you travel by boat along the canals to your lodge.

There are jungle hikes available, plus boat trips through the forest and visits to a local village. During your stay look out for river otters, caimans, monkeys, iguanas, turtles, macaws and many other tropical birds. 

Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Full Board
Selva Verde
 
2 nights

Rather than driving all the way to Arenal, it's worth stopping in the Sarapiqui region for a couple of days. There's a brilliant place called Frogs Heaven where you can see lots of colourful frogs (see their facebook page at www.facebook.com/frogsheaven), and another called 'Dave & Dave's Nature Park' where you can see hummingbirds and toucans up close (see www.daveanddaves.com).

Toucan
Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Bed & Breakfast
Arenal
 
2 nights

Next, drive to Arenal where you've got a couple of days to explore the area around the volcano. There are various activities on offer such as hiking, rafting, walking in the canopy along the hanging bridges, and relaxing in one of the many thermal spas.

Arenal Volcano
Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Bed & Breakfast
Monteverde Cloud Forest
 
2 nights

Monteverde is a unique ecosystem where the forest is covered in cloud and is home to a vast amount of birds, animals and plants. Nature walks, bird watching tours and horse rides are all available.

Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Bed & Breakfast
Tarcoles
 
1 night

About half way to Manuel Antonio is Tarcoles which is famous for the crocodiles that lurk beneath one of the bridges. It's also a great place to stop for the night as the hotel we feature is in a lovely location with exotic birds coming to feed from the feeders.

Crocodiles
Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Bed & Breakfast
Manuel Antonio
 
4 nights

Finally it's time to relax - Manuel Antonio is a beach resort on the Pacific Coast with lots of great restaurants in town. But even here the wildlife doesn't stop - it's a great place to see sloths.

After a few days chilling it's time to drive back to San Jose and drop your car off at the airport ready for your flight home.

Sloth
Your Hotel:  
Meal plan:  
Bed & Breakfast

Guide Prices

This trip typically costs from around £4,000 to £5,000 per person but it very much depends on time of year and availability of accommodation.

What's Included?
  • International flights
  • Car hire (or private transfers)
  • Boat transfers to Tortuguero National Park
  • Daily breakfast plus all meals in Tortuguero National Park
  • Accommodation

Tom's Trip Report

My own trip was very similar to the one featured here, the difference was that we took a couple of places out of the itinerary to keep the cost down - Tortuguero and Monteverde, and because we had been somewhere very similar to Tortuguero before. 

The biggest worry was the driving - my confidence is fairly average when driving abroad, but then I read that the roads can be dangerous in some places after heavy rainfall. So lots of googling and researching before I booked. But it remained my biggest worry about the trip.

The key is to travel in the dry season. That means going between November and May, so we booked for December. Interestingly, temperatures don't seem to vastly change throughout the year. In the event we had one huge downpour but generally very good weather besides that one day when we found a rather good coffee shop. 

The most hair raising moment was getting up a steep hill in San Jose on the way to our first hotel, just a few minutes after leaving the airport, but after that the driving was uneventful. I could have, and possibly would next time, book private transfers until going to Selva Verde and pick the car up then, so avoiding driving in San Jose.

From then on the trip lived up to expectations and the wildlife viewing was exceptional. It was nice to have a few days at the end to chill out, and I also liked the choice of charming restaurants in Manuel Antonio.

For some photographs of the trip, please see the page at www.onyourtravels.co.uk/photo-collection/costa-rica

More information

Call  01462 677111

Local to Letchworth, Baldock, Hitchin or Stevenage?

On selected holidays, we now offer face to face appointments so that we can have an initial discussion about your requirements. These can be in your own home, a local cafe, or another place that's convenient to you, and would typically last around 30 minutes.
Available in Letchworth Garden City, Baldock, Hitchin, Stevenage and surrounding towns and villages - just click on the link below or give us a call on 01462 677 111 to arrange a suitable time.