15 Day Green Season
A two-week vacation to the country's best green-season destinations: Tortuguero, Drake Bay, Northern Guanacaste, Monteverde & Arenal. Enjoy the best that Costa Rica has to offer between May and November.read more close
Tortuguero, Drake Bay, Northern Guanacaste, Monteverde & Arenal
Day 1: Arrival
Fly into San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Explore downtown San Jose and spend the evening relaxing at your hotel.
Day 2: A Canal Ride & Turtle Tour
Morning transfer to Tortuguero ; you’ll pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park, where you’ll be treated to incredible views oflush rainforest and waterfalls. From the port, take a relaxing boat tour through dark-water canals; look for tiger-throated herons, jacanas, ibis and egrets along the riverbanks. Arrive in Tortuguero for a late lunch and relax at the lodge until evening, when you’ll dress in dark clothes and head out for a turtle tour – plan to see hawksbill turtles from March-November, leatherbacks from March-May, and loggerhead and green sea turtles from July-October.
Day 3: Kayaking & Hiking
Take an early morning beach walk and look for tiny turtle hatchlings making their way down to the ocean for the very first time (May-early December). Explore Tortuguero’s four aquatic trails (Tortuguero River, Harold Canal, Chiquero Canal and Mora Canal) on your own – choose a canoe or kayak, grab a map, and discover the area’s lush landscapes. (Alternatively, you can hire a guide to take you out.) Either way, you’ll be treated to an elaborate mix of wildlife, including green iguanas, basilisk lizards, howler monkeys, and sloths. In the afternoon, grab your hiking boots and visit Tortuguero National Park for a trek on its easy one-mile loop hiking trail.
Day 4: Corcovado National Park & Night Hike
A short flight will deliver you to the Osa Peninsula’s Drake Bay by mid-morning. After getting settled, meet with your guide for a hike through Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic named the most biologically intense place on Earth. A boat will guide you on a 50-minute ride from Drake Bay to Corcovado’s Sirena Station, where you may spot Baird’s tapirs, sloths, spider monkeys, ocelots and other forest creatures. Back in Drake, unwind at dinner before heading out on the area’s most popular night hike. From 7:30-10:00 p.m., you and your flashlight will illuminate tree frogs, bats, jumping spiders and other creepy crawlers. By the end of the day, we guarantee you’ll know why the Osa Peninsula is our pick for Costa Rica’s best bird and wildlife watching.
Day 5: Whale Watching & Surfing
Wake up to a world of possibilities – head out onto the blue, Pacific waves in search of one of the world’s largest mammals: the humpback whale. (Drake Bay has the longest humpback whale season in the world.) During the morning’s dolphin and whale watching tour, keep your eyes peeled for spotted and bottlenose dolphins, killer (orca) whales, and pseudo orcas. In the afternoon, take a boat out to the Rio Agujitas or Rio Claro estuaries, two surfing spots renowned for huge waves and sandy-bottom beach breaks.
Day 6: Sport Fishing & Bird Watching
Drake Bay lays claim to more than 40 fishing records, and today’s your chance to hook the next. In the early morning, join a half-day sport fishing tour. Sailfish, marlin, yellowfin tuna, mackerel and wahoo are common catches. In the afternoon, rest in the shade or sunbathe on the beach before setting out on a late-afternoon bird watching tour. Your eagle-eyed guide will be on the lookout for tanagers, hummingbirds, scarlet macaws, toucans and woodpeckers, among others.
Day 7: Sun & Relaxation
Enjoy the morning in Drake Bay before flying up to Liberia; from there, hail a taxi and head to Papagayo . Enjoy an oceanfront lunch, sunbathe on the beach, or kayak out into the gulf’s calm waters – there are many tiny beaches along the shoreline; find one that appeals to you, and spend hours with the sand between your toes. In the evening, sit tight for one of the north Pacific’s spectacular sunsets, which will likely be the most beautiful you’ve ever seen.
Day 8: Hiking & Wildlife Watching
Enjoy a tour to Santa Rosa National Park, home to one of the world’s last remaining dry forests. The plains are alive and green during this time of year, offering plenty of photographic opportunities. Keep your eyes trained on the sights around you – the park is decorated with waterfalls, Pacific Ocean views, and plenty of resting spots for bird and wildlife watching. If you’re visiting between August and October, your guide will take you to see Olive Ridley sea turtles nesting on the shores.
Day 9: Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Take a sailboat snorkeling cruise and dive into Playa del Coco’s aquamarine waters for exceptional scuba diving and snorkeling. Tropical favorites include pufferfish, eels, stingrays and octopus. After a gourmet lunch on the boat, head back to land, but keep an eye out for dolphins and whales. In the afternoon, take time to relax on the beach or treat yourself to an oceanfront spa treatment.
Day 10: Scenic Train Ride & Night Hiking
A shuttle will deliver you to your mountain hotel in Monteverde in time for a late lunch. Sate your appetite and then visit the Trainforest Railroad, a scenic tourist train that winds its way through four miles of pristine cloud forest. The 90-minute ride will introduce you to Monteverde’s amazing biodiversity and take you past breathtaking lookout points. In the evening, explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve on a night hike. Investigate the cloud forest floor and canopied treetops for the reflective red eyes of mammals, birds and other hidden creatures.
Day 11: Cloud Forest Hike & Canopy Tour
Visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve this morning. Stare in awe as your guide points out hundreds of forest epiphytes, great green macaws, coatimundis, and, if you’re lucky, the elusive resplendent quetzal. After you’ve finished the tour, head back down the mountain for one of Costa Rica’s best canopy tours. You’ll fly through the air at speeds up to 40 mph, take on 2,000-foot cables, and hurl yourself off a ledge on the popular Tarzan swing. In the evening, enjoy some of Monteverde’s delectable brick-oven pizza, and relax in a bubbling hot tub (it can get chilly in the mountains!).
Day 12: Volcano Tour & Hot Springs
Take the fastest and most scenic route to Arenal – begin the trip with a shuttle bus ride to Lake Arenal, where you’ll enjoy a peaceful boat tour across the lake. On the other side, jump into a waiting 4WD taxi and drive to La Fortuna. After lunch, enjoy an afternoon volcano tour to Arenal Volcano. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a therapeutic soak at one of Arenal’s volcano-fed hot springs.
Day 13: Whitewater Rafting & Waterfall Rappelling
Wake rejuvenated and ready to discover the thrill of waterfall rappelling – belay backwards down a series of tropical waterfalls, ending at a 200-foot vertical cascade. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings as you traverse the lush rainforest canyon, from one gripping descent to the next. In the evening, enjoy a nice dinner.
Day 14: Whitewater Rafting to San Jose
Wake up energized and enjoy your last morning in Arenal. By mid-morning, you’ll be whitewater rafting the Class II-III Balsa River or Class III-IV Toro River. Feel the rush of pure adrenaline as you paddle through foaming, white water, but don’t forget to enjoy the scenery around you. The riverbanks are lined by dense trees and foliage, and many animals come to rest here – keep your eyes open for sloths, white-faced monkeys and green iguanas. After rafting, a shuttle will escort you to your San Jose hotel in time for a relaxing dinner.
Day 15: Departure