11 nights/12 days from £9,879 per person (excluding international flights)
Day 1 – Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation
Upon arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport you will be welcomed by your Avventura tour concierge and driven to the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort. This evening there will be a welcome dinner for the group at the hotel’s El Tigre Vestido Restaurant. The food here is prepared in accordance with instructions laid down by Creative Director, Chef Jose Pablo Gonzales who trained at the celebrated Le Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris. The menu combines international cuisines and New World fusion recipes and relies heavily on the hotel’s own extensive organic gardens, orchards and coffee plantation.
Day 2 – Heredia
After breakfast, your concierge will meet you for a tour through Finca Rosa Blanca’s organic sustainable coffee plantation. Find out about the entire process from planting to harvest and of the passion that goes into cultivating some of the world’s best coffee. At the end of the tour you will have the chance to sample the produce with a frothy cappuccino made by one of the hotel’s expert baristas and served with homemade pastries.
After lunch you will visit the Costa Rica Meadery to learn the secrets of beekeeping, taste the honey and stroll through the botanical gardens before sampling the mead. The Costa Rica Meadery supports family farms to promote beekeeping and improves the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s tropical forests.
Day 3 – Heredia to Golfo Dulce
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven to Juan Santamaria Airport for a one-hour private charter flight to Golfito. During the flight you will see some of Costa Rica’s diverse mountainous landscapes as you fly over Drake Bay and the Oso Peninsula before touching down at Golfo Dulce. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your private boat transfer to Playa Cativo Lodge – an exclusive and extremely private hotel, perfectly positioned to explore the rainforest. Look out for playful dolphins that are often sighted in this region.
After lunch at the lodge, you will be introduced to the tropical rainforest with a guided walk through the lush vegetation. Later, you can meet the hotel’s local farmers who will explain the variety of fruit and vegetables being grown as well as the medicinal benefits of the plants.
Enjoy a lecture from the hotel’s biologist; learn about Golfo Dulce’s flora and fauna and discover why this area is considered to be the only tropical fjord in the Americas. Dinner this evening will be by candlelight under the stars and accompanied by the sounds of nature.
Day 4 – Golfo Dulce
After breakfast, it’s time to look at the rainforest from a different angle with a kayak through the Rio Esquinas mangroves. This aquatic forest is home to an extraordinary variety of bird life as well as caimans, water turtles and crocodiles. As you glide through the waters you will also be able to see remote working farms.
The rest of the day is at leisure and there are plenty of activities available from the lodge. Paddle along the beautiful coastline in search of rays, turtles and dolphins or snorkel amongst Cativo Bay’s colourful tropical reef fish. Alternatively, you may wish to head inland to explore the many hiking trails to Valle de los Sainos where you may see deer and monkeys.
Day 5 – Golfo Dulce
After breakfast, you will spend the day seeking out the local marine life. Golfo Dulce is one of just four tropical fjords on earth, a term first coined by the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau. At 200 metres (more than 650 feet) it is one of the ten deepest such geographical features in the world and has some of the purest water to be found anywhere. Golfo Dulce boasts two different kinds of dolphin, jumping stingrays and sea turtles. Visitors between July and October may even see humpback whales with their calves. After a picnic lunch, served on a private beach, the rest of the day can be spent relaxing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Day 6 – Golfo Dulce to Arenal
It’s time to bid farewell to the rainforests of Golfo Dulce and travel to the volcanic landscapes of Arenal. Returning by boat and vehicle to the airstrip you will fly by charter plane back to San Jose’s International Airport. You will be met on arrival and driven approximately three hours and thirty minutes to the Arenal region. En route, lunch will be served on the edge of the rainforest at the Restaurant El Sendero, part of the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve. A fusion of traditional regional dishes and popular classics from across the country, the cuisine at El Sendero is enhanced with innovative sauces, spices and combinations of fresh herbs and vegetables hand-picked from the hotel´s gardens and greenhouses. After lunch, there will be time to explore the nature trails through the hummingbird gardens before continuing your journey to La Fortuna de San Carlos.
On reaching La Fortuna de San Carlos the beautiful Arenal volcano dominates the land around. Arenal only ceased regular eruptions less than ten years ago and it is now in what experts describe as the indeterminate resting phase, which effectively means it could erupt again at any time. Home for the next three nights will be the Nayara Springs Resort & Spa which as its name suggests sits among natural hot springs which feed into the private plunge pool at your villa.
This evening you will hear about the local landscape from one of its most esteemed experts. Mr. Gino González is a geologist, volcanologist and professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica. He is the director of Volcanes sin Fronteras, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the study of volcanoes. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be available during the lecture and dinner will be under your own arrangements.
Day 7 – Arenal
Following breakfast at the hotel, you will be immersed in the world of volcanology with a morning tour of the Arenal Volcano with Gino González. Learn about its unique landscape as you explore the pyroclastic cones and active faults. Visit the historical sites of La Fortuna Waterfall, where the ancient eruptions of the Chato Volcano are located. You will have also the opportunity to make experiments and assist Gino in collecting samples.
Lunch today is at Don Rufino Restaurant and the rest of the day is at leisure followed by a five-course dinner with wine pairing at the resort.
Day 8 – Arenal
After breakfast, explore the beauty of the rainforest from high up among and above its canopies on a treetop walk along the hanging bridges. Later, take the aerial Sky Tram, an open-air gondola that rises smoothly through the forest and up to the highest point of the mountain at 1,670 metres (almost five and a half thousand feet) above sea level.
This afternoon brings a tropical Costa Rican cookery class. Chef Scott Alan and his local team will teach you how to make an assortment of tropical dishes and cocktails. You will help to create a delicious three course meal while discovering the farm fresh crops and traditional cooking techniques which contribute to the individuality of the country’s cuisine. The class is great for beginners as well as for experienced cooks.
Day 9 – Arenal – Miravalles – Upala
After breakfast it’s time to head to Rio Perdido at Miravalles at the Province of Guanacaste, where you will enjoy a choice of two from three high adrenaline activities of a canyon adventure, white water tubing or mountain biking. The Canyon Adventure at Río Perdido is a fabulous example of how to make the most of your natural surroundings. Expertly and elegantly designed you will follow a trail of discovery over the yawning Rio Blanco Canyon via a series of fifteen suspended platforms six of them rock-based and nine suspended on the canyon walls. There are five zip lines up to eighty metres long (more than 260 feet), a fifteen metre (fifty feet) “Tarzan” swing and a pendulum cable. The canyon is awe-inspiring from above, carved out by the river roaring through it over millions of years.
Travelling along the canyon at water level in the white-water tubing experience provides a whole different perspective and will carry you deep into the dark, narrow spaces between its sheer walls. Listen out for birds and monkeys as you squeeze through the exposed rocks.
Alternatively, put your foot to pedal on the mountain bike circuits ranging from eight to twenty kilometres (five to twelve and a half miles) with ramps, bridges and rocky segments, stopping along the way to admire the rich beauty of the land from a number of panoramic lookouts. There’s so much to explore with two waterfalls, a cave, the ruins of a home that dating back to colonial times and a naturally carbonated spring rumoured to have healing qualities.
Lunch is at the hotel restaurant after which just relax at the Rio Perdido natural thermo-mineral river. This forty-five metre, thermo-mineral gorge draws its soothing energy from volcanic magma flowing deep below the earth’s surface.
Along the riverbed, there are eight known springs from which more than 4,000 gallons of hot water pours every minute. As these subterranean springs mix with the cool water of the river, they produce pools of varying temperatures so you can choose your own perfect swimming environment.
Meet your guide at the hotel lobby to transfer to Origins Luxury Lodge.
Day 10 – Upala
After breakfast, pick from a selection of the adventures offered by Origins. These include exploring the Lodge’s estate for a spot of bird watching. How many of the hundred and fifty species identified here will you see? Alternatively, climb into the saddle for horse riding into the jungle, either on your own or with a guided group. For those who like to fish there are eleven well-stocked lagoons in the hotel grounds. There are also extensive vegetable gardens to explore, either in the company of the hotel chef in search of fresh delicacies or with our expert botanist who will show you the sweetest blooms you may ever have smelled. Discover the plants and trees with medicinal properties used by local people for thousands of years.
When the sun goes down there’s a moonlit walking tour under the expert guidance of a professional naturalist who will help you track down some of the sixteen species of amphibians living here along with bioluminescent fungus, mammals and other creatures.
Day 11 – Upala to San José
Today sees you journey by private transfer to San José and a Junior Suite at the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort.
Day 12 – Departure or Beach extension
If you’re going home today you will take the short trip to Juan Santamaría International Airport for your flight back home. Alternatively, if you choose to extend your stay, you will board a short internal flight to Daniel Oduber International in the city of Liberia. From there, it’s straight to Hermosa Beach where following a scenic private boat transfer, you will wade ashore at the superb Kasiiya Papagayo Eco Retreat.
Days 13 and 14
The next two days are fully yours to enjoy the delightful facilities of Kasiiya Papagayo including kayaking, snorkelling and paddle-boarding. If that all sounds too energetic, just enjoy the beach and the seclusion or get yourself thoroughly pampered at the spa. Resident healer Yamuno will use indigenous plants and muds to revitalise you and Movement Coach Bruno will explore how to use your body to bring you more in harmony with your environment.
Day 15 – Departure
After breakfast and check out, board a 4 x 4 vehicle for transfer to the Daniel Oduber International Airport for a domestic flight to Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José and your flight home.