Costa Rica Small Group Adventure 16 days
Regardless of its small size, Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. Consisting of volcanoes, wildlife, rainforests and beaches. With an emphasis on wildlife, this adventure brings you a balance of guided excursions and free time. Optional activities include zipping through the sky on a canopy tour to scuba diving, and much more besides.
- 100s of species of tropical birds and other wildlife
- Experience multiple habitats and eco-systems
- Visit Caribbean, central and Pacific regions
- Varied and spectacular scenery
- Travelling with like minded people (max group size 12, avg 10)
- Hotels (13 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts, multi-share)
- 4 lunches, 4 dinners, 4 breakfasts
- All transportation between destinations and to/from included activities
- Tour leader throughout and local guides
- Boat ride to Tortuguero
- Nature trail walk with swim (Sarapiquí)
- Wildfoot-supported coffee cooperative tour and local lunch
- Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve guided tour (Monteverde)
So much to experience
Our popularitinerary Suggestions
All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Arrive at any time. Amid the hustle and bustle of this busy capital, San José has beautiful parks, museums and an ornate National Theatre. Start your exploration of the city in the central plaza, a great place to people-watch. A mime artist, juggler or marimba band may be performing. Artisan booths are common, creating a regular arts and crafts fair atmosphere. Sample the excellent craft beers that are currently taking the country by storm. Welcome meeting at 6.00pm. Overnight at Boutique Hotel Casa Las Orquideas or similar
San Jose to Quepos
Today we head to the small town of Quepos on the Pacific coast. A short distance away, Manuel Antonio National Park offers beautiful white-sand beaches and warm turquoise water, ideal for swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing. You will enjoy two days here with various optional activities available to keep you busy. Or you can simply choose to spend your days relaxing in your wonderful surroundings.
2 nights' accommodation at Villa Romantica or similar.
Manuel Antonio National Park Visit - One of Costa Ricas nicest beaches, you will see sloths, monkeys, iguanas, and possibly armadillos. Climb to the lookout to capture views of the pristine Pacific Ocean and the area’s off-shore islands. Full day guided hiking options are also available.
Kayaking - Choose to kayak the calm waters of the mangroves or paddle the waves of the Pacific.
Surfing - Get ready to hit the waves for a surf experience at the beaches near Quepos and Manuel Antonio. Take a lesson, learn tips and techniques, then hang ten like a local.
Whale and dolphin watching (seasonal) - Enjoy a half day catamaran trip looking for whales and dolphins that are often spotted in these beautiful bays, and have a chance to do some deep water snorkelling before heading back on to the boat for a tasty BBQ lunch.
Manuel Antonio Catamaran Tour - Cruise along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast aboard a 100ft catamaran surrounded by incredible scenery of lush jungle and turquoise seas, all the while keeping an eye out for the playful dolphins that are likely to join you as you sail. You will have time to snorkel, swim and ride the boat’s water slide into the ocean.
Whitewater Rafting - The ultimate Costa Rica adventure experience! Buckle up your life jacket, grab a paddle and head off to raft some Class II - IV rapids.
On day 4 we travel from Quepos to Monteverde to spend a couple of days exploring the town and a cloud forest reserve, truly a bird lover's paradise. Optional activities include the Sky Walk, a series of suspension bridges through the jungle canopy, a butterfly garden, a coffee plantation visit, and a thrilling canopy zip line, with line longest zip line in Latin America, over one and a half kilometres in length.
Other activities available include:
Santa Elena Cloud Forest Guided Tour - Pull on your poncho and boots, it’s time to head into the cloud-covered forest, past over-sized ferns and exotic orchids. Harness your inner Tarzan and Jane as you imagine swinging from the giant vines. Trudge along 12km of trails, watch for wildlife, and trek to the top of the observation tower. Be sure to stop and listen too, hear the haunting call of the bellbird and perhaps catch sight of the brilliant green and red resplendent quetzal.
Guided Cloud Forest Night Walk – Your naturalist guide will take you on an approx. 2 hour tour through the cloud forest after dark to see, and learn all about, the area’s large nocturnal wildlife populations.
Adrenaline Bundle – Combine Canyoning in Arenal and Ziplining in Monteverde on this ultimate adventure option.
2 nights’ accommodation at Hotel Miramontes or similar.
Monteverde to La Fortuna
Travel from Monteverde to La Fortuna, known for activities like rafting, waterfall rappelling and relaxing in local hot springs.
La Fortuna, the town near the foot of Arenal Volcano is an excellent base for adventure. Hike the area’s nature trails, swim in chilly La Fortuna waterfall or go canyoneering (rappelling) and catch a bird’s eye view of the forest greenery.
3 nights' accommodation at Hotel Las Cabanitas or similar.
Enjoy two free days in La Fortuna to enjoy a huge array of optional activities. The area is also a birders’ paradise, with over 600 species as permanent residents, so birding enthusiasts may choose to simply explore the area at their leisure in search of sightings.
Activities available include, but are not limited to, the below:
Venado Caves Exploration - Duck your head and enter an underground world formed some 15 million years ago.
La Fortuna Waterfall Swim – Just outside of town and reachable by taxi, foot or horse, you will fing the La Fortuna Waterfall. The water cascades 65m (200 ft) down the side of the dormant Cerro Chato. Sit on the rocks, get sprayed, watch for iridescent blue morpho butterflies and then plunge into the cool waters.
Canyoning and Waterfall Jumping - Hold on tight and get ready to rappel down the face of rushing waterfalls.
Baldi Hot Springs Soak - Relax in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano immersed in one of the naturally heated pools at Baldi Hot Springs Hotel and Spa.
Whitewater Rafting - Pull on your bathing suit and water shoes, don a helmet and prepare to get wet and wild. Guided by expert leaders, paddle through Class II-IV rapids as you raft past spectacular scenery.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding – Enjoy a tour of the west-end of Lake Arenal before grabbing a board for a stand-up paddle adventure on the lake surrounded by stunning views and wildlife.
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge Tour – This guided tour will take you to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge near the Nicaraguan border to discover one of the world’s most important wetlands. Home to a wide array of flora and fauna, you may even be lucky enough to spot one of the famous three-toed sloths that reside here.
Mountain Biking – Bike hire and guided cycling tours are available.
On day 9 we will head towards Saraquipi Rainforest and, on route, stop and visit a local coffee cooperative in the small village of San Miguel de Sarapiquí. Here we will tour the grounds of the cooperative to see shade-grown coffee plants, learn about everything from harvesting to husking, drying, and roasting the beans before enjoying the best part – a fresh cup! Enjoy a typical lunch of plantains, beans, and freshly caught tilapia fish. Then take a tractor-drawn cart excellent for navigating the jungle along rugged uphill terrain on the way to our special jungle oasis.
The following day you can enjoy a day at your leisure in the beautiful Sarapiquí Valley. Optional activities include swimming in the river, night walks, sunrise birding hikes, an empanada making lesson or simply lounging in a hammock and relaxing surrounded by the sights and sounds of the rainforest.
2 nights’ accommodation in Pozo Azul or similar, a rustic lodge with permanent tents and private bathrooms.
Saraquipi Rainforest to Tortuguero
After breakfast we will head to Tortuguero; the journey is half the adventure - by tractor, van and then boat. Your beautiful jungle lodge can only be accessed by boat so hop on board, kick back, and prepare to witness a parade of tropical birds, reptiles, and mammals as we motor through the black water canals of the Tortuguero.
This unique village has walking paths that extend into the national park, a fantastic place to see wildlife even when turtles aren't in season.
2 nights' accommodation at Baula Lodge or similar
Enjoy free time to explore Tortuguero. Kayak through the canals and view the wildlife, wake up early and head to the beach to watch turtle eggs hatch (seasonal). Grab a paddle and prepare to witness tropical birds, reptiles, and mammals as you kayak through Tortuguero National Park. At night visit the nesting grounds of the green and leatherback turtles (seasonal)
Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
After breakfast, head to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, with spectacular scenery en route. Scan the trees for toucans; watch the shores for caimans, otters, iguanas and frogs, and look up to see monkeys and sloths.
The village of Puerto Viejo is surrounded by picturesque white and black sand beaches, Check out the beaches of Cocles and Punta Uva, or visit Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge close by to look for capuchin and howler monkeys, sloths and raccoons. Grab a mask and snorkel and head out to explore the marine life off the coast. Other activities include hikes, bike rental, a Finca la Isla Botanical Garden visit and surfing lessons.
2 nights' accommodation at Escape Caribeno or similar.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
With free time here, head out and explore and do some of the optional activities that you didn’t get a chance to do yesterday and don’t forget to try some fantastic Afro-Caribbean cuisine, a local favourite being rice and beans cooked in coconut milk, with Caribbean chicken.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose
On day 15, enjoy free time in the morning before heading back to San Jose with overnight accommodation at Boutique Hotel Casa Las Orquideas or similar. On day 16 your itinerary ends.
A view from Above
Villa Romantica, Quepos
The hotel complex is located close to the national park of Manuel Antonio (about 7 min. drive) and downtown Quepos (5 min. walk) and surrounded by quite a densely vegetated area The hotel consists of a main building with reception area and a two-storey colonial style suite complex, a swimming pool and a terrace. The grounds are well kept and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed.
La Baula Lodge, Tortuguero
La Baula Lodge is a rustic lodge buildt in the early 80´s and located in Tortuguero. It has been completely restored by its present owners.
The lodge is surrounded by lush gardens filled with wildlife. From the balcony of your room you can admire howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloth and birds, such as toucans, manakins and trogons, plus a wide variety of flowers and plants.
Hotel Escape Caribeno, Puerto Viejo
This hotel is located in the small Caribbean village of Puerto Viejo, seven minutes from the "Pueblo", in front of the famous Salsa Brava beach, a paradise for surfers.
In the coral reef, next to the hotel, there are different natural pools where it's possible to swim and snorkel as well as places for mountain biking.
Boutique Hotel Casa Las Orquideas, San Jose
Located in San Jose, Hotel Casa Las Orquídeas offers budget accommodation within easy reach of the capital city’s most popular attractions. The hotel features an on-site restaurant, a relaxing garden, free WiFi and a shared lounge.
Hotel Las Cabanitas, La Fortuna
Surrounded by exquisite natural beauty including the imposing majesty of the Arenal Volcano, Hotel Las Cabanitas is located just 3.5 miles from Arenal Volcano National Park. Close to a wealth of activities, the hotel offers accommodation in 41 rustic cabanas including 8 superior cabanas and 7 junior suites.
Located just 2.7 miles from Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Hotel Miramontes offers tranquil and unique accommodation in one of Costa Rica’s most impressive areas. With personalised, high quality service and unforgettable surroundings, the hotel offers two types of accommodation: standard rooms and garden chalets.
Pozo Azul, Sarapiqui
Polo Azul offers permanent glamping accommodation with 30 mounted tents immersed in the forest and fully equipped with king or queen size beds, private bathrooms, electricity and private furnished decks. This highly sustainable camp is situated on its own private farm and offers a wide array of activities aimed at fully exploring the beautiful Sarapiquí Valley.
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Costa Rica adventure for you.
Amy’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.
Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.
Simon’s deep passion for and first-hand knowledge of a vast range of destinations all over the world gives him the ideal skills to help you create a truly unforgettable wildlife inspired adventure to the most exciting places on the planet.