Costa Rica in 12 Days

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Rainforests, Volcanoes & Beach Escape

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A self-drive adventure through Costa Rica, see the country's most breathtaking landscapes, from the Arenal volcano to the cloud forests of Monteverde and the sun-kissed beaches of Tamarindo!

Trip Highlights
San José
All flights
Breakfast only
Departures Available
until December 2022
Categories available
charm self-drive
Our Travel Protection takes care of you
  • Free Cancellation
  • Flexible Booking
  • COVID-19 Protection included
  • Exoticca is fully ABTA and ATOL protected
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Discover the abundant nature of Costa Rica and enjoy the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation with this self-drive for added freedom! Stroll through the historic San José, feel the strength of the Arenal Volcano and explore the abundant cloud forests of lush Monteverde. Enjoy the Puerto Viejo laid-back atmosphere and the Guanacaste sunshine in the tropical paradise of Tamarindo.

12 days trip including flights*

11 days and 10 nights in destination



San Jose


Puerto Viejo


Puerto Viejo



















* It may change depending of your departure city, departure date and arrival date.

The calendar does not display internal flights, trains or other transportation included in the itinerary.

1st Day: UK/Ireland - San José

Arrive at your UK/Ireland departure airport to board a flight to San José. Arrive in the capital of Costa Rica and pick up your rental car to self-transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay in San José.

2nd Day: San José - Puerto Viejo

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Puerto Viejo, in the province of Limon. Know for its laid-back atmosphere, nightlife and great food and drinks scene, a stay in sunny Puerto Viejo is the perfect antidote to our busy lives. Arrive, transfer to the hotel and overnight stay in Puerto Viejo.

3rd Day: Puerto Viejo - Cahuita National Park - Puerto Viejo

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, set off to the Cahuita National Park for an unforgettable nature hike where you can observe the local wildlife ranging from snakes to monkeys, racoons, butterflies and anteaters. Explore the trails between Punta Cahuita and Cahuita town with an expert guide, learning lots about the local wildlife and plant life along the way. Returnto Puerto Viejo and enjoy the rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight stay in Puerto Viejo.

4th Day: Puerto Viejo - Arenal

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, drive from Puerto Viejo to Arenal, passing by the lush landscapes of the interior of the country. Arrive in Arenal, check-in to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Overnight stay in Arenal.

5th Day: Arenal

Breakfast at the hotel. Spend the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, meet your guide in the hotel lobby and embark on a guided hike to the Arenal Volcano. Enjoy a hiking experience through trails marked with the remains of previous lava flows of the impressive and majestic Arenal Volcano. The main attraction of La Fortuna is the Arenal Volcano with its nearly perfect cone shape and a height of 1633 meters. Along the hike you will discover the abundant flora and some fauna which inhabits the rainforest under re-generation; your guide will tell you all about the Arenal Volcano history and activity. After the hike, you may choose between different popular hot springs in the area to relax and enjoy the water which is naturally heated by the volcano (optional extras).* Overnight stay in Arenal.

* Thermal Hot Springs in Tabacón: Enjoy one of the main natural wonders of the country with waterfalls that form natural pools whose thermal waters emerge directly from the impressive and active Arenal Volcano. Dinner included. 

Arenal: Tabacón Thermal Baths Excursion
6th Day: Arenal - Monteverde

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, drive to Monteverde, travelling along the banks of Lake Arenal for breathtaking views of the volcano. En-route, embark on an exciting unguided Hanging Bridges excursion for the best views of the treetop wildlife of Monteverde. Traverse a route of approximately 3 kilometres, crossing a combination of trails and hanging bridges which criss-cross the abundant 'cloud forest'. This is a unique and thrilling way to experience the best of Costa Rican wildlife, away from the hustle and bustle of the rainforest floor. Check-in to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Overnight stay in Monteverde.

Please note: the Hanging Bridges excursion is unaccompanied, without a guide.

7th Day: Monteverde

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning enjoy a guided-tour about the history of coffee and chocolate around the world and how important is for Costa Rica. In the afternoon, set off at sunset for a night-walk with a naturalist guide and torchlights to observe the nocturnal wildlife. Look out for lazy sloths, armadillos and sleeping birds perched in the treetops as you enjoy a 2.5-hour night walk in the rainforest. Overnight stay in Monteverde.


8th Day: Monteverde - Tamarindo

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, drive to Tamarindo, in the province of Guanacaste, known for its beautiful beaches and surfing. Arrive at the hotel and begin to enjoy your stay surrounded by idyllic beaches, bathed in Guanacaste sunshine. Overnight stay in Tamarindo.

9th Day: Tamarindo

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a day at your leisure, soaking up the sunshine and relaxing on the idyllic underdeveloped beaches of Tamarindo. Overnight stay in Tamarindo. 

Optional Boat Safari Tamarindo Estuary: Discover the unique flora and fauna which inhabit the lush mangroves. Look out for noisy howler monkeys, crocodiles and iguanas, whilst appreciating the colourful birdlife above. Slowly travel along the channels, so as not to disturb the wildlife, and admire the wonderful natural beauty of the reserve.

Boat Safari on Tamarindo Estuary
10th Day: Tamarindo

Breakfast at the hotel. Free day to enjoy this tropical Costa Rican paradise located on the Pacific North Coast, with dreamy beaches bathed by the Guanacaste sun. Overnight stay in Tamarindo.

* Optional Catamaran Tour: Set off in the morning on a relaxing catamaran tour. The route is the same as the afternoon but with much less boat traffic. Look out for marine life such as whales, dolphins and rays, and enjoy snorkelling in the clear waters. Buffet brunch included.

Tamarindo Catamaran Excursion
11th Day: Tamarindo - San José - Night on board

Breakfast at the hotel. At the indicated time, drive to the airport and drop off your rental car, ready to board your flight back to the UK/Ireland. Night on board.

12th Day: UK/Ireland

Arrive in the UK/Ireland and end your trip.

Accommodation: 10 Nights

Select your hotel category:

Available Activities

Activities are subject to availability. The price for each optional activity will be shown in the next step of the booking process.
If you have reduced mobility you can request assistance for these activities by speaking to one of our experts

Suggested activity for day 5 in Arenal

Duration 04:00h Approx. Pick up time: 17:30 Approx

Physical rating:


Arenal: Tabacón Thermal Baths Excursion

One of the natural wonders of Costa Rica, bathe in the thermal waters that emerge directly from the impressive and active Arenal Volcano! Relax and unwind as you enjoy the therapeutic properties of these natural springs. Dinner included.

more information

Suggested activity for day 9 in Tamarindo

Duration 02:30h Approx. Pick up time: 07:00 Approx

Physical rating:


Boat Safari on Tamarindo Estuary

Discover the unique flora and fauna which inhabit the lush mangroves. Look out for noisy howler monkeys, crocodiles and iguanas, whilst appreciating the colourful birdlife above.

What's included: Transfer- Bilingual guide - Boat trip

more information

Suggested activity for day 10

Tamarindo Catamaran Excursion

Experience a catamaran tour of a special kind. In addition to beautiful landscapes over the water, enjoy snorkelling and an included buffet brunch.

more information

The price includes

  • Included in all our trips. more information
  • Departures from main UK/Ireland airports.
  • International flights: UK/Ireland - San José - UK/Ireland.
  • 10 nights hotel accommodation in Charm and Superior category hotels.
    See hotels included
  • 10 breakfasts.
  • Visits and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary with an English-speaking guide.
    See itinerary
  • All air taxes and fuel surcharge.
  • Compact Rental Car for 11 days (Suzuki Swift or similar). *
    more information
  • Exclusive access to Langosta Beach Club. **
    more information
  • ATOL Protection.
*The cancellation policy applicable is according to the Terms and Conditions available and agreed at the time of your purchase

Not included

Rental car security insurance (mandatory) and deposit (USD$750), additional rental car insurance, GPS rental, drinks, tips and any other services not mentioned in what's included. 

Requirements: Valid and original drivers license, issued at least 2 years ago. This is valid for 90 days in Costa Rica, from the date of entry stamped on your passport. An international license is necessary in the case that the license is in another alphabet (Hebrew, Mandarin, etc.). Provisional drivers licenses or photocopies are not accepted. Passport must be stamped upon entry to the country and you must present your Credit Card (only MasterCard, VISA or American Express are accepted) to cover the security deposit of USD$750. Deposit with Debit Card or cash is not allowed. Please note, the minimum age to rent a car is 23 years.

** As a guest of Wyndham Tamarindo you have exclusive access to Langosta Beach Club, located in Tamarindo, on the road to Playa Langosta.

  • Entry requirements
    Valid passport with at least six months validity.
  • Visa
    Visa is not required for stays less than 90 days.
  • Currency
    Costa Rican Colon
  • Language
  • Electricity
    110 V. Adapter required.
  • Health
    Please consult your doctor regarding malaria prophylaxis.
  • Time zone
    UTC - 06:00
  • Other useful information
    Local emergency number: 128
  • Tourist Office website

Remember to download your e-ticket to confirm the times of your flights and to complete online check-in using the airline’s website, or directly at the check-in desk at the airport.

Accommodation at the hotels is as indicated. In the event of any changes to accommodation, they will always be of the same, or a higher category. The category of hotels is not standardized across all countries in the world. For this reason, the criteria may differ depending on the destination country's own standards.

In the case of adverse weather conditions, for safety reasons or for any other reasons deemed appropriate, the order and duration of the excursions included in the itinerary may be changed or cancelled without prior notice.

Children: 3 - 10 years.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office offer up-to-date travel advice by visiting


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60 days before departure
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