Colors of Costa Rica – Self Drive

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This flexible Costa Rica ecotour has you visiting two classic Costa Rica locations, along with one of the best undiscovered beaches in all of Costa Rica. Explore the famous Arenal Volcano area, with options to soak in natural hot springs, zipline through the rainforest, or walk among the monkeys on hanging bridges high in the forest canopy. Head to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve to explore the Sky Trek, an extensive system of trails, suspension bridges and canopy walks. Continue your Costa Rica trip in Santa Teresa, a bohemian surf town where you can relax, surf and enjoy the beach. Before heading home, make a special stop for lunch at a sustainable farm owned by a chef who has worked in Michelin-star restaurants. Southern Explorations will book your hotel accommodations and rental car according to your budget and preferences and recommend activities to make your trip outstanding, flexible and fun.


Duration: 9 Days
Starts in: San Jose
Ends in: San Jose
Group Size: 2-12
Difficulty: 1/5

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Southern Explorations

No one knows Latin America like Southern Explorations. Our decades of experience gives you the flexibility to build and customize your ideal adventure to Latin America, or ...

Additional Information


Self Drive , Arenal Volcano area, Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge,, Horseback Riding, Relaxation , Tabacón Hot Springs, Arenal Lake, Tilaran Mountain Range, Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Suspension Bridge, Zipline, Culinary Experience , Beach, Surfing ,



On arrival at the San José International Airport, a Southern Explorations guide will meet you outside the customs area of the terminal and transfer you to your hotel for the night. 


After breakfast, your rental car will be waiting at your hotel for the trip to the Arenal Volcano area, about a three-hour drive from San José. Check into your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon getting situated. Through the mist, see if you can spot the Arenal Volcano, the area's biggest attraction that arrests the skyline. (B)


Costa Rica ecotourism paradise for birders interested in waterfowl. Go horseback riding or relax in several 102°F thermal pools fed by the Tabacón River at the Tabacón Hot Springs, a Spanish-style bathing resort in an idyllic setting of lush tropical gardens. Take an unforgettable guided canopy tour of interpretive trails across 15 hanging bridges. Choose any of the activities you prefer before you head back to your hotel for the night. (B) 


Pack up after breakfast for a trip around Arenal Lake, passing picturesque small towns. In about 4 hours you’ll reach the rural community of Monteverde, nestled in the highlands of the Tilaran mountain range. Check in to your hotel in Monteverde before you relax and take a look around.  (B) 


Explore the area's main attraction, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a 6,200-acre wildlife sanctuary established by an American Quaker community. One of Costa Rica's richest ecological habitats, the reserve contains Sky Trek, an extensive system of trails, canopy platforms, a treetop platform and a suspension bridge in the tropical vegetation of evergreens, vines, orchids and bromeliads. Those looking for extra thrills during their Costa Rica travel tour can take an adrenaline-pumping zipline flight deep into the forest, a highlight for most visitors. Spend the evening exploring the area or relaxing in your hotel. (B) 


After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll drive to Puntarenas to catch the ferry that takes you across the Nicoya Gulf. Enjoy the nice views of the gulf and its islands as the ferry heads to Paquera. From Paquera you’ll drive about 1.5 hours to Santa Teresa to check in to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the area and relaxing. (B) 


Spend a couple days enjoying the hotel and relaxing by the beach. Take a surf lesson, explore nearby beaches like Mal Pais and Montezuma, or visit to the Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve. (B) 


After breakfast, you’ll pack your bags and drive back to Paquera to catch the ferry. Once you land in Puntarenas, you’ll drive to Casa Sumiruna in San Pedro de Turrubares, a rural community located about 1 hour away. Chef Thorsten and his wife Lucia will welcome you in their super adobe earthdome home for a unique experience that combines nature, local gastronomy and sustainability.
Chef Torsten started his culinary journey over 30 years ago. He has worked internationally, including at Michelin starred restaurants, and made Costa Rica his home in 2005. Chef Torsten seeks the joy of flavor in local, sometimes-forgotten ingredients, directly received from organic farmers or grown in his own garden. He is also learning through constant research about traditional foods in Central America.
Thosrten and Lucia will show you how they have achieved a sustainable household, with their own organic food garden and laboratory for culinary creations, surrounded by natural beauty. Enjoy the conversation as you learn and participate in making the meal.
After your lunch, you’ll continue to San Jose to check in to your hotel and enjoy a free evening. (B,L)


After breakfast you’ll head to the San Jose International Airport and return the rental car before heading home, ending your Cost Rica travel tour with Southern Explorations. (B) 

Trip Dates

Weekly departures


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