Waterfalls and wildlife in Costa Rica
Days
11
Next group trip
17 Jan
Deposit
£200
Prices between
£2099 - £2799
  • Prices between £2099 - £2799
  • 11 days
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Trip Highlights

Tortuguero National Park Tortuguero National Park
Turtle haven

Kayak through Tortuguero National Park, a protected reserve known for its turtle nesting beaches

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Arenal volcano Arenal volcano
Volcanic hike

Hike across lava fields and jungle rainforest on a trek around the iconic Arenal volcano

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Al fresco bathing Al fresco bathing
Al fresco bathing

Float the day away at a volcanic hot spring, in a maze of thermal pools and waterfalls

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Gulf of Papagayo coastline
Pacific dream

Jump aboard a boat to beach-hop and snorkel around the stunning Gulf of Papagayo coastline

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Rio Celeste Rio Celeste
Blue tubing

Tube down Rio Celeste, Costa Rica’s unique turquoise river, tackling rapids en-route

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Waterfall wall Happy sloth
Wildlife wonderland

Marvel at monkeys, sloths, caimans and more in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet

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What's included

  • 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

  • 10 nights’ accommodation in twin room hotels, including a beachfront retreat

  • All activities, from jungle kayaking to river tubing, included. Local Flash Pack guide and driver

  • Max 14 Flashpackers

  • Private airport transfers anytime on Day 1, country travel in private minibus

About the trip

Want to escape the hustle of the city? Let Costa Rica be your solace.

This tiny Central American republic is home to one of the happiest and most eco-friendly nations on earth. Join us on a whirlwind adventure as we wallow in the delights of pura vida, a laid-back way of life that’s all about savouring simple pleasures.

We’ll whisk you into the heart of Costa Rica’s natural wilderness, taking in spectacular landscapes and wildlife on both sides of the coast. We’ll kayak through the mangroves of Tortuguero National Park by the Caribbean, and spend lazy hammock days on Pacific coastline beaches. We’ll tube down rapids on the world’s most turquoise river, and bathe in healing hot springs. We’ll hike through dramatic lava fields and snorkel in warm, tropical waters. We’ll bask in the beauty of seeing turtles, howler monkeys and many more animals in their natural habitat.

Have your binoculars handy: Costa Rica, we’ve arrived.

Where you will stay

Casa Luna, La Fortuna Casa Luna, La Fortuna

Casa Luna, La Fortuna

Eco spa hotel with views of Arenal Volcano

Large grounds bursting with vivid green foliage, and simple rooms, many with balconies overlooking the famous Arenal Volcano.

Why we stay here

It feels like a proper tropical oasis, thanks to its swimming pool, hot tub and a well-regarded spa (the volcanic body wrap is a delight after a day of hiking).

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El Mangroove, Gulf of Papagayo El Mangroove, Gulf of Papagayo

El Mangroove, Gulf of Papagayo

Boutique hotel on Playa Panama in Guanacaste

Rooms are light and spacious with pretty views but you’ll mostly be basking by the plinth-like pool, paddle-boarding off the beach or sipping a beer as you watch the dreamy sunsets.

Why we stay here

A glam place for R&R, from the poolside cabanas and modernist swinging hammock chairs, to the excellent massages set in cosy huts.

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Rio Celeste Hideaway, Tenorio Volcano National Park Rio Celeste Hideaway, Tenorio Volcano National Park

Rio Celeste Hideaway, Tenorio Volcano National Park

Rainforest casitas near the Rio Grande River

Step this way for cute wooden bungalows with outdoor showers and views of the forest or bird-filled gardens. You’ll love hanging out by the pool, soaking in the hot tub and knocking back cocktails at the swim-up bar.

Why we stay here

The perfect departure point for hiking the rainforest trails and Rio Grande River, which is just a few minute’s walk away. Make time for a swim here – it’s the only part of the Rio Grande that you’re allowed to.

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The Flash Pack Promise

Here at Flash Pack, we’re committed to unique adventures that deliver great value for money. We pack our trips with epic experiences (unlike other companies, all activities are included), hand-pick stylish hotels and match you with like-minded people.

Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to happiness central

Pura vida! You’re in Costa Rica. A private transfer at San José airport will take you directly to your hotel. With its concrete towers and heavy traffic, San José is not the finest ambassador to this lush and tropical land. But, no matter: it’s your gateway in, as you get to know your fellow Flashpackers. After you’ve freshened up, head into town for welcome drinks and dinner with your group and guide. Costa Rica’s climate is balmy all year around: prime conditions for an ice-cold beer or three, as you get a flavour of the local culture. Costa Ricans are famously easygoing, with a relaxed pace of life. Pura vida, their official slogan, means “the pure life”, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a lifestyle and a way of appreciating simple pleasures, from spending time with loved ones to savouring the country’s rich biodiversity. Loosen up and let the good times roll…

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Tortuguero National Park

Day 2

A wildlife wonderland

We head for Tortuguero National Park today, a vast area of protected wilderness on Costa Rica’s northeast Caribbean coast. This serene stretch of wetlands is a nature-lover’s delight. An intricate network of canals and lagoons cut through marshy islands and thick swathes of rainforest. Palm swamps lie in the shadow of giant trees, and the occasional volcanic hill. Tortuguero means “turtle catcher” and the region is known for its turtle nesting beaches. It’s an important hatchery for the near-extinct green sea turtle, and the hawksbill turtle, whose nesting season stretches from July to October. Leatherback turtles nest from February to April. So, there’s a good chance you’ll see turtles at most times of the year. But even if you don’t, Tortuguero teems with spectacular wildlife of all kinds. We’ll take a stunning boat ride to our jungle lodge and check in, before taking a guided rainforest walk for a taste of the wonders that lie ahead.

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Tortuguero National Park

Day 3

Waterways and wilderness

Today, we head out on the waterways to explore the incredible Tortuguero for ourselves. Travelling by canoe or kayak, we’ll find our own route through the vast capillary of creeks and riverways that spread across the national park. Paddling amid the mangroves of this jungle wilderness, you’ll feel a million light years away from the hustle of modern life. Soak in the cacophony of nature all around you, from chirruping poison dart frogs to cat-calling parrots and the shrieks of howler, white-faced and spider monkeys. Keep an eye out for keel-billed toucans, sea otters and caimans. You might also spot a three-toed sloth, an iguana or a tapir hanging out on the riverbank. In the afternoon, we’ll head back to the hotel for some down-time. Grab a tamarind refresco and chill out with your fellow Flashpackers by the pool, or find a shady hammock with your name on, serenaded by a chorus of tropical birdsong.

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Day 4

Say wow to Arenal

It’s farewell to the Caribbean coast as we head onwards to the Northern Lowlands, and an awe-inspiring area of natural beauty. Arenal was Costa Rica’s most active volcano until 2010, and its summit is still clouded in a cinematic-like cloud of ash and smoke. A stratovolcano, it towers majestically at over 1,600 metres with a symmetrical cone-like silhouette. If you see it on a clear day (less likely during the dry season), it makes for Instagram gold. We’ll be based in La Fortuna, a charming if touristy town that sits at the foot of the volcano. Join your fellow Flashpackers crew in wandering around, to get a feel for the mountain-studded tropical landscape. As well as Arenal, the horizon is brought alive by Cerro Chato, an inactive volcano, and the hills of Los Perdidos. As evening draws in, order some piña coladas in the hotel’s inviting palm-fringed gardens.

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Arenal

Day 5

Volcano trekking and hot spring sweating

Grab your trusty trainers for a morning hike around Arenal volcano. We’ll follow a mile-long trail through the rainforest, undulating hills, verdant forest canopy and a magnificent lava field, with impact craters and lava slides that date back to a 1992 eruption. Keep a lookout for wildlife such as anteaters, deer and crimson-fronted parakeets, as we head up to a viewing platform. Here – if it isn’t cloudy – you can drink in a dreamy horizon that stretches across Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake (a popular windsurfing spot) and the Tilarán mountain range. After the hike, we’ll unwind in style at EcoTermales Fortuna hot springs. This hidden oasis is framed by dense jungle vegetation with sustainably-run pools and a cascading waterfall. Reaching upto 40°C, the water is said to have healing qualities that help ease stress and mental fatigue. Wallow away a lazy afternoon, before heading back to the hotel for drinks with your Flash Pack pals.

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Day 6

The magic of the canopy

Today is a day of freedom to do exactly as you please. Still hungry for adventure? Hit up the hanging bridges of Arenal, where you can spot out wildlife via a maze of high-rope walkways, suspended hundreds of feet into the air. You could also explore the area on horseback, or visit a nearby bird reserve. Those who fancy an extra adrenalin rush should try zip-lining. Fly through the mist-clad canopy, for an experience to send your soul (and possibly your stomach) somersaulting. You might even want to book a day trip to Monteverde Cloud Forest, a lush ecotourist reserve around a three-hour drive away. If you prefer to just chill, why not admire the scenery from your vantage point in the hotel’s tempting blue pool? Make yourself at home in a hammock with a fresh guaro sour for company. Don’t forget the spa, with massages and body wraps that use local volcanic mud. Win.

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Day 7

Riding a river wild

Today, we travel a few hours to Tenorio Volcano National Park, and Rio Celeste. Costa Rica’s “Light Blue River” is the stuff of legends, thanks to its distinctive turquoise pigment that twists and turns for 14 kilometres through a forested wilderness. We’re here for tubing, which is about as much fun as you can hope to get on a river. Simply grab a rubber tube and float together with your Flashpackers down the dramatic valley gorge. The canyon narrows at certain points, cutting out daylight and creating atmospheric echoes off the cliffs either side. Over the sound of rushing water, you’ll be able to hear birdsong and monkeys shrieking. While a slow float will take you most of the way down, there are a few intense rapids where the water becomes rougher, so keep your wits about you to avoid bumps and knocks. Afterwards, cheers your bravery with an aperitif in the hotel’s swim-up bar.

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Rio Celeste

Day 8

Bring on pura vida

You’ve kayaked the wetlands, hiked a volcano and tubed down rapids: it’s time for a well-earned rest. Today, we travel a few hours’ northwest to the Guanacaste province, and Playa Panamá on the Gulf of Papagayo. This laid-back community runs along Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline and is dotted with some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. After checking into your hotel, take a lazy stroll through the thickets of brazilwood, sarno and mesquite trees that line the shoreline. Soak in the rays on slate-grey sands, with the glistening ocean ahead of you. Or amble around the local restaurants of nearby El Coco, and get chatting to the locals in this artsy and thriving town. Life on the Gulf of Papagayo is a total pleasure and testimony to what pura vida is all about. Take it easy and drink in the infinite beauty of your setting. Work sure does seem a long way off, doesn’t it?

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Gulf of Papagayo pura vida

Day 9

Beaches, boats and picnics

Wake up refreshed after a night by the waves, and jump aboard a boat with your lovely Flashpackers in tow. In true pura vida style, we have no real plan today. We’ll just see where the sea vibe takes us, as we cruise around the waters. We might scope out a secret beach, or be chaperoned through the surf by a pod of bottleneck dolphins. At the right time of year (from July-November), we could even spot humpback whales that migrate through Costa Rica’s warm Pacific waters. We’ll take some snorkels with us, for you to spy out tropical fish, stingrays and turtles that call this region home. Back at the hotel, hit the pool, then, as the ocean turns a pinkish-golden glow, gather your Flashpackers for sundowners on the sand. Challenge the braver souls among you to a round of fiery chili guaro shots in a beach bar on the ocean bay.

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Boat on the beach

Day 10

One last day in paradise

Flashpackers, this is the very last day of your adventure! But before you weep into your morning Gallo Pinto, you still have a few hours left to make the most of the sweet life. Today is free to do as you like, so seize the moment and let your imagination run wild. You could rustle up a few Flashpackers and hire kayaks or paddle-boards for a final sea-faring voyage. Or you might just order a giant pineapple smoothie (served in an actual pineapple, no less), and idle the day away with a few lazy laps in the pool. In the evening, we’ll head out together for a farewell dinner on the beach. Watch the sun go down a final time on your Costa Rican adventure, and toast your adventuring partners-in-crime.

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Gallo Pinto

Day 11

Hasta la vista, Costa Rica

After breakfast we’ll head our separate ways: your guide can help to arrange your onward transfer. It’s best to fly out of Liberia airport, which is far nearer than your inbound destination of San José. Wherever you head next, let the spirit of pura vida stay strong within you. You’ve kayaked through miles of wilderness in Tortuguero National Park, seeing turtles, monkeys, otters and more in their natural habitat. You’ve joined your fellow Flashpackers in hiking up a volcano, passing an extraordinary lava field en-route. You’ve bathed in healing hot springs and nabbed a front-row seat to Costa Rica’s magical forest canopy. You’ve navigated the world’s most turquoise river by tube, braving rapids along the way. You’ve savoured the delicious tranquillity of Costa Rican beaches, and the friendly hospitality of those who live around them. Life is sweet on this tiny, green-thinking republic. Package that feeling up, and take it home with you.

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On the map

Important notes
  • Fly into Juan Santamaria airport and fly out of Liberia airport
  • Please try and arrive into San José by 4pm on Day 1 of the adventure and you are free to leave anytime that you want on Day 11, from Playa Panama
  • Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh
  • We take safety very seriously on Flash Pack adventures, click here to learn more

Trip dates

10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total
£2399
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10 Nights
Limited
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Total
£2499
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10 Nights
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£2499
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10 Nights
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£200
Total £2799
£2699
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10 Nights
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£2499
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10 Nights
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£200
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£200
Total £2399
£2299
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£2299
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£200
Total £2199
£2099
On Sale
10 Nights
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£200
Total £2299
£2199
On Sale
10 Nights
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£200
Total £2199
£2099
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2199
£2099
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2499
£2399
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2599
£2499
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2799
£2699
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2799
£2699
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2799
£2699
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2799
£2699
On Sale
10 Nights
Deposit
£200
Total £2899
£2799
On Sale