Costa Rica Coast to Coast
From the Caribbean to the Pacific, the best of Costa Rica on foot
Reviews 2 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
Follow handpicked walking trails in search of wildlife, waterfalls and outstanding views. From emerald rainforests, smouldering volcanoes and tropical savannah, to steam-fed springs and bubbling mud pools, vibrant Costa Rica is a destination that always delivers. Country tracks or forest trails lead us to a number of waterfalls, where mineral rich water provides the perfect refresher after a day’s walking.
* All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 6 dinners included
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Start San Jose.
Those on group flights will arrive in the evening and be transferred from the airport to the hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.Accommodation: Hotel Balmoral (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
To Tortuguero N.P.; short coastal walk.
Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero’s vast network of waterways, canals and swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge. This afternoon we visit Tortuguero village (which lies on a thin strip of land between the sea and the main canal) and take a short walk following a pathway parallel to the coastline. Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today’s travel time will be in the region of six hours including a break for breakfast.Total walking distance: 6km. Time: approx. 3 hours.Accommodation: Laguna Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Boat tour of Tortuguero; kayak the waterways.
An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river. Then we take a kayaking tour through the jungle lagoons to have a different perspective on the forest, navigating the streams, canals and rivers. Alternatively the lodge is a tranquil spot to relax if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities this afternoon, or there is an nice walk available within Tortuguero National Park. Accommodation: Laguna Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
El Toro Waterfall walk; to La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano.
We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to the pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of La Fortuna, passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations. On the way we stop for a short walk in the area of Bajos del Toro, where the highest and most impressive waterfall of the country is located. Our walking trail takes us all the way to the bottom of the waterfall, which empties at a height of 90 metres into an old extinct volcanic crater. There are several fantastic viewpoints on the first 500 metres of the trail, which is generally flat and surrounded by forest. Over 27 species of hummingbird have been recorded here! The second part of the trail is steep, following concrete steps with hand railings which lead all the way to the base of the waterfall, where the striking rock formations and colours will leave you in awe. We continue our journey to Arenal, reaching the Arenal Volcano National Park. Following a massive eruption in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica’s most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. As well as the volcano, this region has much to offer, including thermal waters, waterfalls and dense vegetation.Total walking distance: 2km. Time: approx. 1.5 hours.Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Platanar Volcano hike; optional visit to Ecotermales Hot Springs
Today we travel to the province of Alajuela in the central valley where the Juan Castro Blanco National Park is located. Known as the “Parque del Agua” (the park of the water), this national park protects mid-elevation wet forest and high altitude cloud forest on the slopes of three extinct volcano peaks – these are Porvenir (2,267 metres), Platanar (2,183 metres) and Viejo (2,060 metres). Our hike focuses on reaching the summit of Platanar Volcano, a spectacular hike through the varying forest climates as well as panoramic views at some of the highest points. This is a full day hike along a one-way trail, so after reaching the highest lookout point we’ll re-trace our steps. On our return it’s possible to detour to a small waterfall where swimming is permitted if you feel like a refreshing dip! Many of the streams born here feed the San Carlos River whose waters are used in the plains. Lunch today will be taken with a local family. After today’s hike we return to Arenal and there is the option to visit Ecotermales Hot Springs to relax any aching muscles. Total walking distance: 9.5 km. Time: approx. 6 hours.Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall walks; to Tenorio.
There is a short guided hike this morning through Arenal Volcano National Park. The park has a great system of trails passing through secondary forest and near lava fields created by previous eruptions. The high vantage points on this walk allow great views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the birdlife is plentiful. Waterfalls are abundant in the region of Arenal and we also visit La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65 metre cascade of water plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest brings us to a relatively steep set of steps that we must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit – the hike/climb takes around 20-30 minutes. Reward your efforts with a dip into one of the natural pools punctuating the foliage to cool off! After our lunch stop, we have a short transfer to the region of Tenorio, where we stay for the next two nights.Total walking distance: 6km. Time: approx. 3 hours.Accommodation: Celeste Mountain Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Walk along Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park.
After breakfast we travel to the Tenorio Volcano National Park where we join a hiking trail along the Rio Celeste towards ‘Tenideros’. After merging with a small creak this section of the river takes on a striking blue turquoise colour, the result of components such as copper and sulphur reacting together. There is a legend that says the colour was created when God washed his paintbrushes in the river after painting the sky. It’s a beautiful trail, leading towards the magnificent Rio Celeste Waterfall. This afternoon we return to our hotel and have the afternoon at leisure to rest and enjoy the hotel facilities.Total walking distance: 4km. Time: approx. 3 hours.Accommodation: Celeste Mountain Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Walk from Miravalles Volcano to Aguas Claras with views of Rincon de la Vieja
We depart early towards the area of Rincon de la Vieja, an area that combines dry forest with enchanting waterfalls and is best known for its bubbling mud pots, steaming vents in the earth, hot springs and a whole host of wildlife. The starting point of our walk will be close to the Miravalles Volcano, from which we walk towards Aguas Claras town along a gravel road. Taking in pasturelands and patches of secondary forest, we have great views of the tropical savannah and the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. At the end of today’s walk we continue by bus to our hotel, which we should arrive at later this afternoon.Total walking distance: 14 km. Time: approx. 6.5 hours.Accommodation: Hacienda Guachipelin (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Follow walking trails to the 'cauldrons' and waterfall in Rincon de la Vieja
Covering some 14,804 hectares, Rincon de la Vieja National Park is full of geological features and has the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano (1895m) within its boundaries, as well as a series of other craters and volcanic peaks. This region is still relatively undiscovered but is starting to attract more visitors. This morning we walk inside the national park, widely regarded as one of Costa Rica’s hidden gems. We have a one and a half hour hike through the park along a pre-defined trail, the highlight of which is likely to be our visit to Las Pailas, the bubbling mud pools that flank the volcanic crater. Steaming fumaroles and hot springs are also found in park, attesting to how active the volcano is! This afternoon we take La Cangreja Waterfall trail walking through tropical forest and Guanacaste savannah. If we are lucky we may see Howler monkeys, White-faced Capuchin monkeys or any of the 257 species of birds present here. The waterfall is spectacular, plunging 40 metres and forming a clear blue pool at its base as a result of the dissolved copper minerals from the volcano.Total walking distance: 13 km. Time: approx. 6.5 hours.Accommodation: Hacienda Guachipelin (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Hike on trails surrounding Hacienda Guachipelin; to Samara beach on the
Today’s hike takes place on trails within the grounds of Hacienda Guachipelin, located in the sunny Guanacaste province next to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. On this expansive 3,400 acre ranch there are 360° views of the Rincón de la Vieja and Santa Maria volcanoes, the Guanacaste plains and the Pacific coastline. On our hike we’ll discover three waterfalls: Oropendula, the Choreras and Victoria Waterfall. The Victoria Waterfall drops 35 metres into the Rio Negro and you can swim in the crystal clear pool surrounding the waterfalls base. The pretty trails wind through dry tropical forest where some 300 bird species reside, alongside armadillos, collared peccaries, iguanas, snakes, coatis, and White-faced, Howler and Spider monkeys, which we may see if we are lucky. After today’s hike we transfer around 2.5 hours to the Pacific coast and Samara beach, our home for the next two nights. Total walking distance: 15km. Time: approx. 4.5 hours.Accommodation: Samara Beach Hotel (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Free day to enjoy Samara beach or sign up for an optional activity.
Samara beach is one of the best kept secrets in Costa Rica! The broad, shady bay stretches for 4 km and is backed by coconut palms. The water is calm and safe for swimming thanks to a coral reef just out to sea on which the normally large, Pacific waves break before reaching the beach. There are plenty of facilities in Samara but there’s a noticeable absense of big resort hotels, which makes for a nice atmosphere. Today has been left free for you to spend at your leisure. Spend time relaxing on the beach or join one of the optional excursions available in the area such as a boat tour to see dolphins, kayaking tour, SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) or mountain biking.Accommodation: Samara Beach Hotel (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
Free morning at Samara; to San Jose.
This morning is free to enjoy Samara beach before we leave the Nicoya peninsula and transfer back to San Jose, a journey of approximately 4.5 hours.Accommodation: Hotel Balmoral (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*
End San Jose.
The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it’s time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Those on the group flights will be transferred back to the airport, whilst land only clients are free to make their own arrangements.**