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Costa Rica: Wildlife & Beach Beauty

Learn to photograph cloud forest orchids & insects by night, roast & blend your own coffee & spot sloths in Manuel Antonio

What's Included

  • Max 14 travellers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Stay in hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
  • Minibus
  • We offset your carbon emissions
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

About your trip

From cloud forest insect photography to roasting your own coffee beans; are you ready to go deeper into Costa Rica?

On this eight-day adventure you’ll take in just two iconic destinations: the high-altitude cloud forests of Monteverde and the tropical beaches of Manuel Antonio, staying longer in each spot to fully appreciate its secrets.

Think night hikes in Monteverde’s magical cloud forest for a lesson in smartphone macro-photography of orchids and insects. Immersive visits to spice farms and coffee plantations, where you’ll roast and blend your own bag of beans, plus a chance to pan for gold with artisanal miners.

Ending in Manuel Antonio, you’ll spend your last days exploring the Pacific coast by catamaran and wildlife spotting in the national park (and yes, sloths are even cuter in real life).

See you in San Jose?

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Welcome to San José
  • Start your adventure at San José Airport, where a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting to transport you to your upscale downtown hotel
  • Get to know your group over a welcome drink and traditional Costa Rican dinner: think black bean soup, fresh ceviche and plantain washed down with a glass of guaro
Orchid & insect photography
  • Settle in for a scenic journey into the Monteverde hills, an area of high elevation known for its rare cloud forest ecosystem and incredible biodiversity
  • Stop at a local small-holding for a hands-on cheese-making experience: milking the cows, bottle feeding the calves and learning the art of tortilla-making
  • Take a night jungle walk with a biologist, who will show you how to use your smartphone to take incredible macro photos of orchids, insects and sleeping birds
Bird spotting in the clouds
  • Explore the Lord of the Rings landscape of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; keep your eyes peeled for the rare resplendent quetzal – a bird sacred to the Maya
  • Get your adrenaline flowing with an optional high-speed zipline tour over the jungle canopy, experiencing the cloud forest from an aerial perspective
Coffee & gold
  • Spend the morning on a coffee plantation for a bean to brew experience; mix your very own bag of light, medium or dark roasted beans to create your perfect blend
  • Visit a private artisanal gold mine where you’ll be invited to see the hand-dug tunnels, grind the glittering gravel and try your hand at panning – no other tourists in sight
Rainforest flavours
  • Head west to the Pacific Coast where the beautiful beach town of Manuel Antonio awaits, encompassing rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs
  • Stop by a family-run spice farm filled with tropical fruits, medicinal plants and flowering trees and enjoy a delicious spice-infused lunch cooked over a wood-fired stove
  • Check in at your idyllic rainforest abode where you’ll be spending the next few nights, soaking up the stunning sunsets and relaxing into beach life
Exotic wildlife encounters
  • Learn about Manuel Antonio National Park with an expert local guide; the park is renowned for its vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife
  • Search for exotic animals, including endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths and hundreds of species of bird
  • Enjoy a free afternoon to hang out on the picture-perfect beaches, snorkelling the offshore reefs and hiking to Cathedral Point for panoramic views
Sail the Pacific
  • Set sail on a catamaran for a full day of coastal exploration, island hopping to secret coves and hard-to-reach beaches
  • Snorkel on the thriving coral reefs off the Manuel Antonio coast; keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, turtles and even migrating whales
  • Gather with your group for a farewell dinner in a rainforest-fringed restaurant, raising a toast to the incredible adventures you’ve shared
Farewell, Costa Rica
  • Take a group Flash Pack transfer back to San José Airport where you’ll bid farewell to your fellow Flashpackers – now firm friends
  • Arrive home feeling calm and recharged after your Costa Rican adventure; you’ve been immersed in nature and experienced local life that most visitors never see

Our Favourite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Hotel Presidente, San José

This urban retreat in downtown San José boasts an eclectic, modern style: think spacious rooms with reclaimed furniture and vibrant artwork on the walls. Be sure to head up to the rooftop bar for sundowners overlooking the city.

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Sibu Lodge, Monteverde

A Costa Rican style mountain lodge with rustic rooms set around a courtyard garden. The whole place has been freshly renovated, making it a clean, comfortable base for forays into the cloud forest and the cute town of Santa Elena. 

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Shana by the Beach

Expect expansive Pacific views from this boutique hilltop retreat, a 5-minute walk to the beach. The bird-filled grounds are lush with native plants while the spa offers everything from indulgent chocolate massages to rejuvenating coffee scrubs.    

Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code

Fly into and out of Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José. If you book pre-tour accommodation it will be in San José, if you book post-tour accommodation it will be in Manuel Antonio.

What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

At 5 pm you will meet your guide and and the other Flashpackers before our welcome dinner at a top local restaurant. We recommend arriving no later than 3 pm.

 

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

On your final day, you’ll travel from Manuel Antonio to San José Airport – a journey of about four hours. We recommend booking an evening flight to ensure you arrive in plenty of time.

Your departure transfer will be in groups, depending on flight times. There will be one transfer in the morning and one slightly later, so you will arrive at the airport either around lunchtime or mid-afternoon.

You should arrive at the airport two hours before your flight departs.

Are airport transfers included?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation in San José with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

Departure transfers are also included for this trip, from Manuel Antonio to San José Airport. There will be two different transfer times available. If you have an early morning departure, or need a departure transfer outside of the transfer slots, you will have to arrange this separately at your own cost. Your Pack Leader will be on hand to assist.

Please note that if you book post-tour accommodation in Manuel Antonio, your departure transfer will not be included.

 

Are tips included?

Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:

  • Pack Leader: 7-12 per day
  • Drivers: 3 USD per day
  • Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.

However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.

Do I need a visa?

Up-to-date visa and entry information can be found using our official partner, Sherpa, who can help you arrange a visa if needed.

You can also find essential travel advice – including security and local laws, as well as passport and visa information – on the government website of your home country:

Please be aware that passport and visa requirements can change before departure, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest information.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalised medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

What fitness levels do I need for this trip?

We recommend having a read through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness. This is a fairly relaxed trip that should be comfortable for most fitness levels.

Will the itinerary change?

These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.

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