Affordable Highlights of Costa Rica

Affordable Highlights of Costa Rica

Affordable Highlights of Costa Rica: Visit all three of Costa Rica’s main highlights – cloud forest, volcano, beach – while staying in authentic, pocket-friendly boutique hotels.  Keep a watchful eye out for creatures of the day and night on guided cloud forest walks around Villa Blanca’s marked trails.  As we always advise, no trip to Arenal Volcano is complete without experiencing hot springs, and at El Silencio del Campo, you can spend your days adventuring around the rainforest and then return to private hot springs at the hotel.  A sunset view is the perfect way to wrap up every beach day in Manuel Antonio, so enjoy the vibrant show from your room’s balcony at Villas Nicolas (save a seat for the occasional monkey passing by).

Destinations: San Ramon, La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio

Duration: 9 days

*Price Range: $$$

*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare).  Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.

$$$: At or under $1,200 per person.

$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person.

$$$: $1,800+ per person

  1. Day 1

    Fly into Juan Santamar ía International Airport (SJO) where one of our local airport representatives will meet you before immigration holding a sign with your name on it.  They will guide you through an expedited immigration process and to baggage claim.  Outside the airport you’ll find your private transfer that will be waiting to help you with your luggage.  Drive 1.5-hours into the mountains of Los Angeles cloud forest and check into your room.  Villa Blanca’s cozy, individual suites are surrounded by lush gardens with groomed nature trails on 75-acres of mountain hillside. Celebrate your first night in Costa Rica with a cocktail at Aqui No Mas Bar before a delicious culinary experience at the famous El Sendero Restaurant.

  2. Day 2

    Wake up with the birds and walk the trails around Villa Blanca during an early morning birdwatching tour.  Keep your eye out for the splendid, seasonal quetzal bird!  Continue your day of exploration by visiting the nature exhibits at José Miguel Alfaro Research Station.  A guided night walk to spot nocturnal creatures and critters will round-up your cloud forest visit at Villa Blanca.

  3. Day 3

    Enjoy the scenery on your shorter drive from Villa Blanca to Arenal Volcano and stop for a typical Costa Rican casado for lunch along the way.  Check into your charming, authentic room at El Silencio del Campo, a family-run boutique hotel at the base of Arenal Volcano.  Enjoy every evening during your stay reminiscing the day’s adventure while relaxing in their private thermal hot springs for guests only.

  4. Day 4

    Today is an adventure day!  With so many heart-pounding, fun adventure tours in the region, it’ll be hard to choose just one….so do them all!  Canopy zip-lining, waterfall rappelling, whitewater rafting, cave spelunking, and waterfall cliff jumping just to name a few.  Return to the hot springs in the afternoon/evening and enjoy dinner at the hotel or head into La Fortuna to explore more restaurants.

  5. Day 5

    Slow the pace a little today as you enjoy a more leisurely, scenic activity such as paddleboarding or kayaking on Lake Arenal, hanging suspension bridges, horseback riding to La Fortuna Waterfall, or a safari float trip down the Penas Blancas River.  Alternatively, you can spend the day relaxing by the pool or in the hot springs with a cold beverage.

  6. Day 6

    Enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside today as you make your way from Arenal to Manuel Antonio on this half day journey.  Make sure to ask your driver about his/her favorite restaurant to sample another Costa Rican dish.  You can also stop at Rio Tarcoles to see large crocodiles from the bridge above.  Carara National Park is a wonderful opportunity to stretch your legs during a ½ mile self-guided walk.  It’s also a well-known breeding ground for the beautiful Scarlet Macaw.  Arrive to Manuel Antonio in time to catch the sunset show from your room’s balcony at Villas Nicolas.  A short walk in either direction of Villas Nicolas will present various restaurant opportunities for tonight’s dinner.

  7. Day 7

    Walk through Manuel Antonio National park on a guided tour for a chance to see an array of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and birds.  An early morning tour will allow you to see the wildlife when they’re more active.  Enjoy the rest of the day swimming the calm waters inside the park.  Walk next door to Si Como No for dinner or just down the road to Cafe Milagro.

  8. Day 8

    Free day to enjoy the pool or head down to the main beach.  Up for another tour?  If so, a catamaran with snorkeling trip is the perfect way to end your vacation.  Watch for dolphins, sea turtles, and whales (seasonal) as you sail along the Central Pacific coastline.

  9. Day 9

    Take a 30-minute domestic flight back to San Jose for your international flight home.

Itinerary Highlights:

  • Hike trails through the cloud forest on a guided morning or evening nature tour
  • Private hot springs at your Arenal hotel are a welcome nightly treat
  • Rappel down the face of waterfalls or jump from waterfall cliffs
  • Enjoy the beach after spotting monkeys and sloth inside Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Watch nightly sunsets from your room’s balcony at Villas Nicolas

Best for: Family, Couple, Group, Budget

Bucket list experiences: cloud forest, birding (quetzal), hikes, volcano, hot springs, rainforest, canopy zip-line, rappelling, whitewater rafting, Manuel Antonio National Park, Carara National Park, wildlife, beach, waterfalls

Accommodations & Location:

  • Villa Blanca, San Ramon
  • El Silencio del Campo, La Fortuna
  • Villas Nicolas, Manuel Antonio

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