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14 days

Costa Rica with Corcovado National Park

Look forward to unique unspoilt nature and wildlife in Costa Rica’s national parks with less visitors: Cahuita and Corcovado. Round it all off at Manuel Antonio’s wonderful beaches.

Costa Rica with Corcovado National Park
Costa Rica with Corcovado National Park
14 days

Costa Rica with Corcovado National Park

Look forward to unique unspoilt nature and wildlife in Costa Rica’s national parks with less visitors: Cahuita and Corcovado. Round it all off at Manuel Antonio’s wonderful beaches.

HomeLatin AmericaCosta RicaCosta Rica with Corcovado National Park
What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Return flights from the UK to San José (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Transfer from San José airport to your hotel
  • Minibus: San José – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – Turrialba – San Gerardo de Dota – Sierpe – Manuel Antonio – San José airport
  • Boat: Sierpe – Drake Bay return
  • 12 nights at good hotels, including breakfast
  • 2 x lunch (days 9+10)
  • Welcome meeting in San José
  • Individual tour, where all excursions take place in small, international groups with local, English-speaking guides. Transfers also take place in smaller international groups
  • ATOL certificate
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Possibility of daily departure

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Snorkelling and trek in Cahuita National Park
  • Visit to the Guayabo National Monument in Turrialba
  • Quetzal tour in the rainforest of San Gerardo de Dota
  • Excursion to Corcovado National Park
  • Boat and snorkelling tour to the island of Caño
  • Admission to all attractions mentioned


Come with us on a tour to Costa Rica which takes you off the beaten track to some of the most beautiful and unique national parks in the country.

After a welcome meeting in San José, you head to the Caribbean coast and the small laid-back town of Puerto Viejo. Here, you can look forward to an amazing experience in Cahuita National Park, with a walk in the rainforest and snorkelling with colourful fish at the marine park’s coral reef.

From here, you head up into the mountains to Turrialba, where Costa Rica’s largest archaeological site, Guayabo National Monument, is located. These are the ruins of a more than 3,000-year-old pre-Columbian town.

Next stop is San Gerardo de Dota, which is surrounded by lush rainforest, a paradise for nature and bird lovers. Here you’ll be able to seek out the beautiful quetzal bird.

The absolute highlights of the tour are the trip to Drake Bay and the excursion to Corcovado National Park, also known as the jewel in the crown of Costa Rica’s national parks. Here, you will find a unique ecosystem and diverse wildlife, both on land and under water on the island of Caño.

The tour ends in Manuel Antonio, which, besides lovely beaches, is also home to the famous national park of the same name.

Why choose this tour

  • Go off the beaten path to Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically intense destinations in the world
  • Experience a colourful world of fish and coral on a snorkelling trip in Cahuita National Park on the Caribbean coast
  • Visit the Guayabo National Monument at Turrialba, which is Costa Rica’s biggest archaeological region with ruins from a pre-Colombian city over 3000 years old
  • Finish up your tour with a relaxing beach holiday on the long, gorgeous sandy beaches of Manuel Antonio

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in San José

Flight from the UK to the capital of Costa Rica, San José, with connecting flight(s) along the way. You are picked up from the airport and driven to your hotel. The drive from the airport takes around 45 minutes. After arrival, you can relax after the long flight or go for a walk around the city on your own.

San José is a modern metropolis with bustling commerce and resplendent art and architecture. The city was established in the early 18th century, and around 50 years later, a tobacco factory was founded, with growth in the city’s population and economy as a result. In the early 19th century, San José was made the country’s capital.

Day 2: Welcome meeting in San José – Puerto Viejo

After breakfast, you check out the hotel and leave your luggage in reception, where it will be stored for you. You will be picked up and driven to the welcome meeting at the office of our partner, where you will go through your tour together and get answers to any questions you may have.

After the welcome meeting, you will have time on your own to explore the city. You might like to go for a walk in the Parque Metropolitano La Sabana, Costa Rica’s large city park, sample the delights of the city’s gastronomic heart, Barrio Escalante, or explore the historic neighbourhood of Barrio Amón, where colonial mansions have been transformed into contemporary art galleries.
Mercado Central, the city’s largest market is also worth a visit. You can buy everything here from meat, fruit and vegetables to colourful souvenirs and enjoy a delicious lunch.

In the afternoon, you will be picked up from the hotel and head to the Caribbean coast to the cosy town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, commonly referred to as Puerto Viejo, where fabulous sandy beaches and a reggae vibe await you.

The drive takes about 5 hours.

Day 3: Snorkelling and trek in Cahuita National Park

Puerto Viejo is a cosy little fishing village surrounded by beautiful beaches and lush scenery. The area is known for the nearby Cahuita National Park, which consists of rainforest and a vast marine area. Cahuita National Park was established in 1970 to preserve the beautiful coral reef that protects the rich marine life.

Today, you will be going on an excursion to the national park together with a knowledgeable local guide. Look forward to fantastic snorkelling at the reef with colourful corals and fish, followed by a walk in the stunning park, where you may encounter sloths, raccoons, white-nosed coati and several different kinds of monkeys. Remember to bring a towel and a change clothes.

At the end of the tour, you will be driven back to the hotel and have the afternoon to yourself. You can also choose to stay in Cahuita and spend more time in the park or in the town of Cahuita and take a local bus back to Puerto Viejo. It takes around 30 minutes and is pretty cheap.

Day 4: Puerto Viejo on your own

The day in Puerto Viejo is yours to do as you please, and you set the pace. We recommend renting a bike and cycling the scenic route to the stunning palm-lined Punta Uva beach. Enjoy lunch here and splash about in the waves. The return trip is around 12 km.

You can also visit the nearby Jaguar Rescue Center, an animal rehabilitation centre which takes care of injured or abandoned animals and provides them with the food and medicine they need to hopefully be released back into the wild. Animals you may encounter here include anteaters, sloths, monkeys, snakes and perhaps even some of Costa Rare’s rare cats. There are guided tours in the morning. Remember to check the start times before you go there. Please note that the centre is closed on Sundays.

Be sure to go out and eat at the cosy local restaurants, which serve delicious local dishes and, of course, plenty of seafood.

Day 5: Puerto Viejo – Turrialba

Turrialba is scenically nestled between the big green mountains of Central Valley. The small, picturesque town is known for its coffee production, volcanic national park called Parque Nacional Volcán Turrialba (currently closed), adventure sports such as rafting and canyoning, and the nearby archaeological site, Guayabo.

The drive to Turrialba takes around 4 hours, and you have the rest of the afternoon on your own to explore the scenic area.

Day 6: The Guayabo Monument – San Gerardo de Dota

Today, you will be visiting the Guayabo National Monument, which is Costa Rica’s largest and most important archaeological site, just 10 km north-east of Turrialba. Here, you will find the ruins of a more than 3,000 year old pre-Columbian town inhabited between around 1000 BC and 1400 AD
Back then, the houses were made of wood and naturally no longer exist, but you can still see the excavated aqueducts, stone-paved paths and the platforms that formed the foundation of the houses. There are also interesting rock carvings of various animals. Your guide will give you a fascinating tour and insight into the pre-Columbian community that lived here.

After lunch, the tour continues up into the Talamanca mountain range to San Gerardo de Dota. It is yet another beautiful little town, surrounded by lush mountains, making the town reminiscent of a town in the Alps. The drive up there takes about 3 hours.

Day 7: Quetzal tour in the rainforest of San Gerardo de Dota

Early in the morning, you will experience the lush rainforest and surroundings of San Gerardo de Dota. This area is a true paradise for birdwatchers and you stand great chances of seeing the beautiful and colorful quetzal bird. Your guide will take you to the areas where the quetzal bird was last seen and be sure to keep your eyes and ears open to spot this beautiful little bird.

The rest of the day is at your disposal. You can go for a walk within the beautiful landscape or perhaps treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment at the nearby spa, Del Río Spa. Lunch can be enjoyed at the cozy Kahawa restaurant, which overlooks the Savegre River.

Day 8: San Gerardo de Dota – Sierpe – Drake Bay

From San Gerardo de Dota’s fairytale cloud forest, you head along winding mountain roads to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and the town of Sierpe, from which you sail to Drake Bay. Here, you’ll be picked up by speedboat, which will sail you the last stretch to Drake Bay. You’ll zip along winding canals, surrounded by lush rainforest, before reaching the Pacific Ocean and sailing along the coast to Drake Bay.

Drake Bay is located on the Osa Peninsula, which is considered to be one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. The remote town is definitely not famous for its infrastructure and luxury resorts, but that’s not why people go there either. This area is for nature and animal lovers wishing to experience what is referred to as the jewel in the crown of Costa Rica’s national parks, Corcovado National Park.

You should be prepared for the fact that boarding and disembarking in Drake Bay and later Corcovado National Park are so-called “wet landings”, which means that there is no jetty to pull in to, so you wade ashore in bare feet with water up to your knees. The captain and crew are always there to give you a helping hand getting on and off, as well as carrying your luggage ashore.

There are currently no banks or cash machines in Drake Bay, so it’s important to withdraw the cash you’ll need before heading out here. Payment can be made by credit card at the hotel.

The drive to Sierpe takes around 4 hours, plus a 1.5-hour boat ride to Drake Bay.

Day 9: Excursion to Corcovado National Park

Today, you will be going on a walk in Corcovado National Park with a knowledgeable guide. You will visit a small section of the 41,000-hectare national park with its dense rainforest, rushing rivers and pristine beaches. The tour sets off early in the morning, and you’ll be sailed to the entrance to the national park. There are only a few hundred entrance tickets for sale a day, so it’s important to book the tour well in advance.

Some of the animals you may encounter are monkeys, tapirs, sloths, white-headed coati, collared peccaries, anteaters and, if you are extra lucky, some of Costa Rica’s rare cats such as the jaguar, the puma, the ocelot, the margay and the jaguarundi. The park is also home to the world’s largest population of pink macaw. As with all other wildlife, there’s no guarantee of which animals you’ll see, but we promise it will be a wonderful nature experience you’ll never forget.

As mentioned, there is a “wet landing” in the national park, so we recommend that you bring a small towel to dry the water and sand off your feet before putting on your hiking shoes/boots.
No food of any sort is allowed in the national park, but remember to bring plenty of water with you.

The tour ends with a much-needed lunch at a restaurant back in Drake Bay.

Day 10: Excursion to the island of Caño with fantastic snorkelling

Fascinating nature and wildlife are not the reserve of the mainland. Roughly 20 km off the coast at Drake Bay is the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, which you will visit today. The protected area is one of Costa Rica’s best places to snorkel, and beneath the ocean waves is a treasure trove of corals that attract colourful tropical fish, turtles, rays and reef sharks.

After the snorkelling trip, you’ll sail over to one of the pristine secluded beaches on the mainland, where you can relax or go for a swim. Going ashore on Caño Island is not allowed.

This tour also ends with lunch at a restaurant in Drake Bay.

On the boat trip to and from Isla del Caño, you may be lucky enough to see dolphins and perhaps even humpback whales in the season from December to March and again from July to November.

Day 11: Drake Bay – Sierpe – Manuel Antonio

Your tour rounds off at Manuel Antonio’s stunning beaches. From Drake Bay, you will be sailed back to Sierpe, and from here you will drive to Manuel Antonio. The boat trip to Sierpe takes around 1.5 hours and the drive to Manuel Antonio around 3 hours.

Manuel Antonio is famous for having Costa Rica’s smallest, yet also most popular national park of the same name. Here, you may encounter raccoons, iguanas, sloths, coati and several different kinds of monkeys. The animals are used to visitors and will often come right up close to you. The beaches inside the national park are considered some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica.

Day 12: Manuel Antonio on your own

You have the day to yourself in Manuel Antonio. Perhaps you feel the need to laze by the hotel pool or in the shade of a palm tree on Playa Espadilla Beach and digest all that you have seen and done on the tour?

If you’ve not yet had your fill of nature and animal experiences, we recommend a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park. Finding you way around in there is easy, thanks to the marked trails, but you can also purchase a tour of the park with a guide if you would like to learn more about the park’s nature and wildlife. Ideally, you should head off early in the morning, when there are fewest visitors and the animals are most active.

Remember water and swimwear, because inside the park is Manuel Antonio beach, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches.

Please note that the national park is closed one day a week, usually on Monday or Tuesday.

Day 13: Manuel Antonio – San José – departure day

The time has come to say goodbye to Costa Rica’s smiley people and incomparable nature. You will be picked up from the hotel and driven to the airport in San José. Your journey home to the UK begins here, with connecting flight(s) along the way.

Day 14: Arrival back home

You arrive in the UK many unforgettable experiences the richer.

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Laura Arundell Trelborg

Laura loves to travel and is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their travel dreams.

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