Telephone Consultation +49 221 534109-300 | Luxembourg +352 356575-630
DE / FR / EN
itravel

Thank you for your interest in this trip. If you want to revisit this page, use the QR-code shown or use the following link: https://www.itravel.com/select/6438-costa-rica-pura-vida

Rental car round trip - Costa Rica

Costa Rica – Pura Vida!

Highlights

  • Selected three and four-star hotels with cozy rooms

  • Includes rental car, 13x breakfast, 3x lunch, 2x dinner

  • Experience the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the active Arenal Volcano

  • Includes telephone & SIM card with 60 free minutes for national calls

  • Free advice & customization of the tour according to your wishes

Description

Experience “Pura Vida,” aka pure life. Costa Ricans use this term frequently because it encapsulates the culture of their country. It’s more than a greeting or a phrase; it stands for their joy and relaxed lifestyle. Nature and animal lovers: discover this unique paradise world on our Costa Rica round trip!

Destination

Central America

San José - Tortuguero - Guápiles - Puerto Viejo de Limón - Sarapiquí - La Fortuna - Monteverde - Manuel Antonio - San José

December to April are usually the best months to travel to Costa Rica because of the little rainfall and the pleasantly warm temperatures. Please keep in mind: there are significant temperature differences between the lowlands, the high altitude destinations, and on the coasts. Although there may be short but heavier spells of showers every day during the rainy season between May and November, the months are ideal for exploring the lush rainforest.

Welcome to Costa Rica! Are you already looking forward to two weeks of wonder and excitement? You can expect lush green nature, the most colorful and exotic animals you can imagine, and a sensory journey you'll never forget. The country's friendly people, the “Ticos,” make this trip even more memorable.

Upon arrival, our partner agency's tour guide awaits you and the rest of the group, which you will spend the first few days together. Get ready for eventful trips and explorations around San José!

If your plane arrives between 6:00 AM and 12:00 AM, the airport tour guide will collect you. If your plane lands between 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM, then a Spanish-speaking driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel (except customers arriving with Condor at 4:30 AM). The transfer from the airport to the hotel takes about 30 minutes (depending on traffic). You will receive your detailed travel documentation with useful tips and information from your tour guide.

Travel time San José Airport - San José Hotel: about 30 minutes / approx. 16 km

Overnight with breakfast in San José, Costa Rica

A transfer will pick you up and the other guests from your San José hotel early in the morning. Your journey will pass by sprawling banana plantations as you make your way towards Mawamba. At the end of the land route, you will take a boat transfer to the lodge over lush rivers and canals amidst unspoiled nature. At lunchtime, you will go to your accommodation for the night: a jungle lodge, where a delicious welcome cocktail awaits you.

Over the next few days, spoil yourself with beautiful choices: cool off and relax by the pool or visit the village of Tortuguero with a local guide. Or how about exploring the Tortuguero National Park? Choose whatever you want because the activities are included here! Enjoy a drink in one of the small local restaurants, aka "sodas," or stroll in the lodge's lush garden.

The lodge also offers direct access to the sea. Between July and September, you can watch the sea turtles lay their eggs - an unforgettable experience.

Travel time San José - Tortuguero: about 3 hours / approx. 180 km

Overnight with full board in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

The lodge’s activities provide unique opportunities to observe birds and other animals during their morning rituals. A 35-kilometer-long coastline is an essential place for the settled turtles because they lay their eggs between June to September.

Around the lagoon landscape of the park and its canals live an array of species. You will have the opportunity to see caimans, otters, manatees, river turtles, etc. With a bit of luck, you will encounter jaguars, monkeys, sloths, colorful frogs, and snakes in the park’s rainforest! Birdwatching lovers will feel right at home because of the 375 bird species that soar and sing from high above. Inside the lodge’s lush green garden, there’s also a butterfly house and a frog breeding station, which provides terrific insights into the fascinating nature of Costa Rica.

Overnight with full board in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Start the day by savoring a delectable breakfast in the lodge’s restaurant. During the day, you will continue your journey with the group to Rio Blanco, Guápiles. Pick up your rental car (at about 13:00) and drive to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Are you impressed by its Caribbean flair? When you pass Limón’s harbor, you will notice the many cruises that dock here. The adventure continues as you drive parallel to the coast toward Puerto Viejo de Limón, a village with a typical Caribbean atmosphere. Enjoy the rest of the day on these picture-perfect beaches as the ease of Creole culture seduces you. Let your soul unwind to the sounds of reggae and the crashing waves, alongside the aromatic smells of excellent cuisine.

Driving time Tortuguero - Guápiles / Puerto Viejo de Limón: about 3 hours / approx. 190 km

Overnight with breakfast in Puerto Viejo de Limón, Costa Rica

The sounds of reggae music soundtrack your experiences during your time in Puerto Viejo de Limón. Visit plenty of restaurants, cafés, and bars where both the locals and visitors maintain a leisurely lifestyle. Every day in Costa Rica often starts with a generous helping of Gallo Pinto - rice and beans. But it’s not as uninteresting as it sounds. It’s made with salt, onions, and plenty of fresh herbs. Ticos like to eat a fried egg or a scrambled egg alongside.

Be sure to try the plátanos (plantains). They’re cut into thin slices, deep-fried, and then lightly salted. Is your mouth already watering for this incredibly delicious side dish?

Overnight with breakfast in Puerto Viejo de Limón, Costa Rica

In the morning, you can relax on the beach or make your way to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. You also have the option to visit the Cahuita National Park on the way, one of the most popular national parks in the country. Coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and lush green vegetation attract many travelers. It’s also home to the longest coral reef in Costa Rica and an ideal place for snorkeling through the colorful underwater world. Of course, you can also see many exotic animals in the rainforest, such as howler monkeys or capuchin monkeys, Costa Rica’s famous sloths, and lots of colorful birds and butterflies. On the way to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, you will pass pineapple plantations, rainforests, and green pastures. This destination was an important port city in the country during colonial times.

Travel time from Puerto Viejo de Limón to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí: about 3 hours 30 minutes / approx. 215 km

Overnight stay with breakfast in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica

If you still feel like exploring after breakfast in the city, go for an optional excursion to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. Later you will drive about two hours via Aguas Zarcas and Muelle to the small town of La Fortuna. The beautiful drive will take you past extensive plantations where oranges, coconut palms, yucca, macadamia nuts, papaya, and pineapples grow.

You’ve made it to one of your round trip’s highlights: Arenal Volcano. La Fortuna is a small village at the volcano's foot and an ideal starting point for excursions.

Driving time Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí - La Fortuna: about 2 hours / approx. 90 km

Overnight with breakfast in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Arenal is the most active and youngest volcano in Costa Rica. At its foot is Lake Arenal, the largest lake in the country. Lake Arenal is a reservoir, which now embeds itself idyllically in the rolling hills. The electricity that comes from its production covers more than 50% of the Costa Rican demand. We recommend a hike to the volcano. Some hiking trails first lead you over lush vegetation. Then, as the vegetation becomes sparse, you will suddenly arrive at several rock fields and cooled lava flows. You must be getting closer to the 1633 meter high volcano!

After a day of hiking, treat yourself to relaxation. For example, you can spend the afternoon in one of the numerous thermal baths. Baldi Hot Springs nestles pristinely into nature and offers ten large thermal pools with different temperatures. You can also visit Tabacon Resort & Spa, the hot springs of Tabacon, which you can find at the Arenal Volcano National Park entrance. Amidst a tropical garden, the Tabacon River flows to the hot springs and stays heated by the volcanic activity. In addition to a hot water pool, there are several small temperature-controlled swimming pools.

Overnight with breakfast in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Today you will drive into the well-known high cloud forest Monteverde ("green mountain"). From Tilarán, the trail gets pretty bumpy. However, breathtaking panoramas will reward you after this adventurous route. Along a ridge and after about twenty miles, you will get to Santa Elena and the area of ​​Monteverde. This area can be quite chilly in the evening because it rises 1,400 meters above sea level.

A stroll through the cloud forest will transport you to another world. Lush vegetation, orchids, moss, and ferns majestically climb the tall rainforest trees. Because of the high humidity, there's a very dense tropical flora and fauna that creates a magical atmosphere where many exotic species reside. You'll probably see monkeys, armadillos, snakes, and numerous birds, such as the rare, green and scarlet quetzal, the colorful toucan, or lightning-fast hummingbirds.

How about an adrenaline-fueled canopy tour or a trip to Monteverde's suspension bridges? High above the treetops, you can walk over the rainforest as if you were on the clouds. Of course, you can also participate in numerous guided tours through the regular forest during the day or night. Depending on the time of day, the sounds of the rainforest will vary. Did you know the rainforest is loudest at night because most animals crawl out of their hiding places?

Today, you will spend the night in a cozy mountain hotel. Explore the hilly mountain village and taste the country's typical food in one of the delicious restaurants.

Travel time La Fortuna - Monteverde: about 3 hours / approx. 100 km

Two nights incl. breakfast in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Today, you will continue your journey from the mountains to the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. On the way, you have the option to visit the Carara National Park, where the forest is extremely rich in species. You will have the opportunity to see the red macaw parrots since they have a permanent nesting site here! You can also see the famous parrots in other places while exploring the wilderness; all you have to do is look up to the treetops!

Today’s destination is the famous Manuel Antonio National Park. After you arrive in the afternoon, you will have time to relax by the hotel pool or walk on the beach.

Travel time Monteverde - Manuel Antonio: about 3 hours 30 minutes / approx. 100 km

Overnight incl. breakfast in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Optionally, you can visit the Manuel Antonio National Park today (please note that the park is closed on Mondays). Although Manuel Antonio is one of the smallest parks in Costa Rica, it's one of the most famous tourist destinations. The park protects a 1,624-hectares rainforest and some of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches. On the paths within the park, you can observe birds and other animals. It's almost impossible to walk through the park and not see the endangered squirrel monkeys! At dusk, you can also see the sleepy sloths and the shy armadillos. Sweet capuchin monkeys, coatis, or the loud howler monkeys also call the park their home. You can only find this shy monkey species in Manuel Antonio and a couple of other places in the world.

Between Playa Espadilla and Playa Manuel Antonio, a small path leads to a fantastic lookout point. Relish the breathtaking views of the park's Pacific beaches. After the jungle walk, you still have some free time to relax on the beautiful beaches. Stroll along the coastline or go snorkeling in the colorful underwater world!

Overnight with breakfast in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Enjoy the morning on the beach before tackling the journey back to San José. Please note that you have to leave your rental car at the hotel around 13:00. We recommend visiting one of the many restaurants or lively bars for your last evening in Costa Rica.

Travel time Manuel Antonio - San José: about 2 hours 30 minutes / approx. 170 km

Overnight incl. breakfast in San José, Costa Rica

Today, your transfer will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Juan Santamaria International Airport.

We hope your trip was full of unforgettable memories and plenty of unique photos. We hope you have a safe journey home.

If you feel like extending your trip, such as a beach vacation somewhere in the country, contact us! We are happy to make you an individual offer. We consider our detailed journies, like the one above, as a source of ideas. Therefore, we would love to help you customize your trip according to your wishes.

itravel - for that moment.

Hotel Grano de Oro****, San José, Costa Rica (Two nights)

This elegant hotel is in the capital’s city center. It offers beautiful rooms with wooden details, vaulted ceilings, and fine linens.

The hotel’s restaurant serves delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This location is an ideal starting point because the exciting sights of the city are just ten minutes away.

Mawamba Lodge***+, Tortuguero, Costa Rica (Two nights)

The lodge offers a daily transfer from San José by land and water. You can also go on a hike or a boat tour through the Tortuguero National Park.

The rooms feature rustic interior design, a terrace with a hammock, and rocking chairs. You can unwind after an exciting day in the hot tub or outdoor pool, or explore the butterfly garden and the frog gardens. How about a hike through the lush garden’s nature trails?

Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel****, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica (Two nights)

The hotel offers everything your heart desires. It nestles directly in a tropical forest and isn’t far from the Playa Cocles in Puerto Viejo.

The elegant rooms are minimalist, decorated in white, and include WiFi and a flat-screen TV. Guests can enjoy body scrubs, massages, or facials at the in-house spa.

Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge***, La Virgen, Costa Rica (One night)

The lodge lies on the Sarapiquí River promenade and a few yards from the Rara Avis waterfall. The rooms of the hotel have private balconies and all the amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The rotundas are set in lush greenery reminiscent of the Mayan Palenque, creating an intimate village atmosphere. The restaurant serves local cuisine.

Nayara Gardens****, La Fortuna, Costa Rica (Two nights)

Escape reality and stay amongst the unique Costa Rican rainforest that surrounds this elegant boutique hotel. The bungalows boast incredible views of the Arenal Volcano and feature decorations with cozy wood elements and handwoven fabrics. Other amenities include air conditioning, a DVD player, and WiFi. If you want to pamper yourself, you can unwind in the spa with coffee scrubs and volcanic mud treatments.

Monteverde Lodge & Gardens***+, Monteverde, Costa Rica (Two nights)

The lodge beautifully nestles in a natural oasis. An outdoor pool invites you to relax, and a visit to the lodge’s butterfly garden shouldn’t be missed. The rooms boast forest or garden views, and the elegant shower creates a feel-good atmosphere. End the day at the bar, where you can unwind in comfortable loungers complemented by stunning views of the volcano. Enjoy this wonderful oasis of peace.

Arenas del Mar****, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (Two nights)

This design hotel is on Jaquita’s beachfront. From the outdoor pool area and bar, you can relish fantastic views of the vast sea.

Overall, there are two beach accesses; one is a larger beach area, and the other smaller. The rooms come comfortably furnished and offer a feel-good atmosphere. A spa with a Turkish bath, hot tub, and sauna provides a wide range of spa treatments.

Closest city: San José

Closest airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport

Duration of the trip: 14 days / 13 nights

Including

  • Thirteen nights in the hotels mentioned

    • One night at Hotel Grano de Oro**** with breakfast in a Deluxe Room, San José

    • Two nights at Mawamba Lodge****+ with full board in a Standard Room, Tortuguero

    • Two nights at Le Cameleon**** with breakfast in a Superior Room, Puerto Viejo de Limón

    • One night at Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge*** with breakfast in a Deluxe Room, Sarapiquí

    • Two nights at Arenal Nayara Gardens**** with breakfast in a Casita Deluxe Room, La Fortuna

    • Two nights at Monteverde Lodge & Gardens***+ with breakfast in a Forest View Room, Monteverde

    • Two nights at Arenas del Mar**** with breakfast in a Garden Superior Room, Manuel Antonio

    • One night at Hotel Grano de Oro**** with breakfast in a Deluxe Room, San José

  • Catering according to the program (13x breakfast, 3x lunch, and 2x dinner)

  • Private transfer from/to the airport to the hotel (day one with guide/day fourteen without guide)

  • Transfers on a booking basis according to the program

  • Rental car for nine days (Ssang Yong Korando or similar) with full insurance coverage, unlimited number of kilometers, GPS, no excess

  • Tortuguero package

  • Telephone and SIM card with 60 free minutes for national calls

  • Informative travel documents

Excluding

  • International flights
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the scope of services
  • Visa, if required
  • Personal expenses, such as minibar and tips
  • Airport tax upon departure (approx 29 USD per person)
  • Optional activities and excursions, entry to the national parks
  • Gasoline for the car
  • Parking and tolls, parking tickets, one-way fee Guápiles
  • Private tour guide

Services & Notes

  • Prices apply to double rooms
  • Hotels and itinerary are subject to availability
  • We recommend that you get to the airport three hours before departure for international flights.
  • Triple occupancy of the rooms is not possible on this trip.
  • The phone and SIM cards are returned at the end of the trip.
  • There is a luggage limit of 12 kilograms per person for the excursion to Tortuguero. You can store any additional luggage at the restaurant Rio Danta in Guápiles. After you return from Tortuguero, you can pick it up.

Additional experiences

Suspension bridge tour

  1. Price per person from 63 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

White Water Rafting Tour

  1. Price per person from 51 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

Canopy Tour

  1. Price per person from 47 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

Arenal Volcano: Waterfall, hike, & Tabacon Hot Springs

  1. Per person from 166 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

San José City Tour

  1. Price per person from 60 € excl. Flight
Add Remove

Other interesting trips

Categories