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Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife

with Manuel Antonio & San José extension
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Costa Rica is a real-life paradise.

From misty cloud forests and lush jungles to volcanic landscapes and sun-kissed beaches, there’s so much to love about this Central American hot spot. Begin this small group adventure tour in Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, then take a dip in the natural hot springs at the foot of the mighty Arenal Volcano and explore the majestic cloud forest region before ending your tour in San José.

Your tour package includes
  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 5 dinners with beer or wine
  • 2 tastings
Included highlights
  • Sea Turtle Conservancy
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Organic pineapple farm
  • Arenal Volcano National Park hike
  • Heliconia Ranch tree planting
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Day-by-day itinerary
Print itinerary
San José1 night
Day 1: Arrival in San José
Included meal: Light dinner

Fly to Costa Rica and settle in to your hotel in San José. Enjoy a light dinner this evening.

Please note: If you arrive after 9pm, dinner will be served in your hotel room.

Tortuguero2 nights
Day 2: Tortuguero via Sea Turtle Conservancy
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Welcome dinner

Pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park, home to many dormant volcanoes and placid crater lakes. Then, hop aboard a boat as you travel to your eco-friendly rainforest lodge in Tortuguero.

  • Enjoy an included lunch of local cuisine
  • Learn about endangered turtles at the Sea Turtle Conservancy (sea turtle nesting season is from June–September and they may not be on the beaches for the remainder of the year)

Later, get to know your group at a welcome dinner.

Please note: From July through September, for an additional cost, you can book a green sea turtle beach walk for this evening through your Tour Director.

Day 3: Walking & boating tour of Tortuguero National Park
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Get to know Tortuguero National Park, a tropical rainforest, on a guided tour.

  • Learn about the park’s diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, swamps, and beaches, on a walk led by your naturalist guide
  • Board a boat and cruise through the park, seeking out monkeys, tapirs, caimans, and more
  • View the freshwater creeks and lagoons, home to endangered turtles and over 50 species of fish
  • Spot the local flora and fauna along the rainforest canals
  • Enjoy an included lunch featuring local cuisine

Spend a free afternoon in Tortuguero or add an excursion.

Sit down for an included dinner of traditional Costa Rican food.

Tortuguero National Park: Rainforest Kayaking Tour
Excursion (additional cost)
Arenal Region2 nights
Day 4: Arenal Region via pineapple farm
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tasting

Journey by boat through the jungled canals of Tortuguero National Park. Then, continue by bus to the Arenal region, stopping to visit an eco-friendly, organic pineapple farm in the Sarapiqui region.

  • Sit down for an included lunch of local cuisine, including handmade empanadas
  • Tour the farm to learn how pineapple is grown using compost fertilization, natural herbicides, and crop rotation
  • Try fresh-cut pineapple and pineapple juice, before learning how to make a piña colada and enjoying the homemade drink
Day 5: Hiking tour of Arenal National Park & ranch visit
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park on a guided tour.

  • View the mile-high volcano, a near-perfect conical shape that emerges from the Sierra de Tilarán mountain range
  • Gaze at the placid Lake Arenal, watching for northern jacana, woodpeckers, and kingfishers by its shores

Please note: Travelers should be able to hike around two miles over uneven terrain and hardened lava.

This afternoon, visit an eco-friendly ranch in La Fortuna.

  • Enjoy a farm-to-table lunch featuring ingredients harvested on-site
  • Explore the grounds with a local guide
  • Learn how the ranch became the country’s first carbon-negative company by using sustainable farming practices

Spend a free evening in the Arenal region or add an excursion.

Arenal Hot Springs & Dinner
Excursion (additional cost)
Monteverde2 nights
Day 6: Monteverde via Heliconia Ranch, coffee, cocoa & sugarcane tastings
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tasting

Get another look at the spectacular Lake Arenal as you travel to Monteverde by boat and bus. There, learn about Costa Rica’s diverse ecology and vibrant culture.

  • Help with reforestation efforts by planting a native tree at Heliconia Ranch
  • Have lunch at a local farm and enjoy coffee and dairy products cultivated on-site
  • Watch traditional Costa Rican dances performed by children from the community
  • Head to a nearby coffee plantation to learn about the history and production of coffee beans
  • Sample some of the locally sourced coffee
  • Discover how cocoa is produced and turned into chocolate before sampling the sweet treat
  • Enjoy a tasting of raw sugarcane as you hear how it’s harvested

Spend a free evening in Monteverde or add an excursion.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Nighttime Wildlife Walk
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 7: Hiking tour of Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Join your Tour Director for a hike through Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers.

  • Learn about variety of flora and fauna, including orchids and ferns
  • Walk through the misty forest as you explore this rare ecosystem, which gets its name from the constant cloud coverage
  • Try to spot toucans, hummingbirds, resplendent quetzals, and more

Please note: Travelers should be able to hike around two miles over wet, and potentially slippery, pathways.

Enjoy a free afternoon in Monteverde or add an excursion.

Later, sit down for an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Sky Walk
Excursion (additional cost)
San José1 night
Day 8: Transfer to San José & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Travel to San José and get to know Costa Rica’s capital city on a guided sightseeing tour.

  • Stop at the Plaza de la Cultura, site of many performances and celebrations, and admire the National Theater of Costa Rica
  • Pass Bellavista Fortress, home of the National Museum

Head to a local restaurant to enjoy live music, dancing, and scenic vistas as you celebrate your trip during a farewell dinner.

Flight Home
Day 9: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Costa Rica to explore Manuel Antonio.

Extension to Manuel Antonio & San José

You know how they say “good things come in small packages”? Well, that’s Manuel Antonio 100%. Take a tour of Costa Rica’s littlest national park to uncover its incredible biodiversity—and its postcard-worthy beaches.

Manuel Antonio2 nights
Day 9: Tarcoles River cruise
Included meal: Breakfast

En route to Manuel Antonio, relax on a riverboat tour of the Tarcoles River with a local guide.

  • Take in views of lush mangrove forests and jungle settings
  • Look out for wildlife such as crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, monkeys, and birds

Please note: On some departures, the Tarcoles River cruise will take place on day 11 and the visit to Manuel Antonio National Park will take place on day 9.

Day 10: Free day in Manuel Antonio
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Manuel Antonio or add an excursion.

Manuel Antonio Sunset Cruise
Excursion (additional cost)
San José1 night
Day 11: Manuel Antonio National Park & transfer to San José
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Get to know the country’s smallest national park, popular for its breathtaking beaches and scenic hiking trails.

  • Keep an eye out for local fauna—the park is home to 109 mammal species and 270 bird species
  • Walk to the top of rocky Cathedral Point to view the park from across the Pacific
  • See the blowhole at Escondido Beach
  • Survey the saw cliff and sea caves at Serrucho Point

Please note: On some departures, the visit to Manuel Antonio National Park will take place on day 9.

This afternoon, travel back to San José and sit down for an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Flight Home
Day 12: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Read details
4.6 average
 Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
Tour was cancelled due to coronavirus
by 1st-time traveler 

We were so excited about this tour; but unfortunately, the morning after we arrived in San Jose', we were informed that the tour had been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. We were disappointed but understood the reasoning. We caught a flight back Monday, March 16. Edgar, our tour gu...

Read more +
Once in a lifetime trip
by 1st-time traveler 

The folks at Go Ahead tours are amazing, they take care of their guests. I cannot say enough of the tour director Alonzo he is extremely knowledgeable and patient. Harold the bus driver is an experience and skillful driver. 5 ?? ?? ?? ?? ??. Costa Rica with Go Ahead tours must be an item on ones bu...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 03/09/2020

Hi June! Thank you so much for letting us know wha...

Excellent, amazing
by 1st-time traveler 

Wonderful experience and in future will consider Go Ahead Tours .

by 2nd-time traveler 

By and large, it was a great trip. Althouhg it rained a lot for most of the time, we didn't miss anything. The tour itself was wonderful. I had only two complaints. When we arrived at the airport (Anna and I), we were met promptly by someone from EF tours. However, we then needed to wait over an hou...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 03/03/2020

Dear Monique, Thank you for your review. We apprec...

What a Wonderful World -- Pura Vida
by 3rd-time traveler 

From the moment the tour began, our tour guide, Edgar, set a wonderful vibe. Simply put, we had a blast on this trip. We boated through the Rainforest (and the Pachira Lodge was simply spectacular). Monkeys, sloths, snakes, birds and all sorts of other animals were everywhere. I am not really an out...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 03/02/2020

We like to believe that each of our Tour Directors...

Hotels, flights & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.

Hotel SanBada

This modern rustic hotel is located in the Quepos district of the Puntarenas Province. Guests enjoy multiple outdoor pools, a sauna and spa, and a res...

Aninga Hotel & Spa

This canal side hotel is located along the Laguna Penitencia. Guests enjoy a pool, a spa, and a bar. Nearby, you’ll find the Parque Nacional Tortuguer...

Arenal Manoa and Hot Springs Resort

This rustic hotel is located in the Arenal neighborhood. Guests enjoy a spa, restaurant, and pool. Nearby, you’ll find Arenal Volcano National Park, A...

El Establo Mountain Hotel

This contemporary hotel is located in Monteverde. Guests enjoy a tennis court, indoor pool, and a spa. Nearby, you'll find the Monteverde Butterfly Ga...

Holiday Inn San José Downtown – Aurola

This contemporary hotel is located in Downtown-Aurola. Guests enjoy an indoor pool, fitness center, and Wi-Fi. Nearby, you'll find Parque Nacional, th...


Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.

Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights
Print FAQ
Passport & visa requirements
  • In order to enter Costa Rica, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Tour pace
  • You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails, and muddy paths, with some hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in and depart from San José. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • A round-trip boat ride to Tortuguero is included in the price of your tour.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance
  • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
  • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. Comfortable, casual clothing and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are a must for sightseeing.
  • A lightweight jacket is recommended, as the temperatures will change with the elevation throughout your tour.
  • A sun hat, sunglasses, and rain gear will help you stay comfortable in all types of weather. You may also wish to pack a swimsuit.
  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer may be helpful when other facilities are not readily available while on the road.
  • Binoculars are handy for a closer look at local wildlife and scenery.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • There are no health risks associated with traveling to Costa Rica.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • Take proper care with sun exposure, as the sun can be especially strong in some of the regions on this tour.
  • There are inherent risks associated with snorkeling and other water sports, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Discuss your planned activities with your doctor or healthcare provider for the best advice on participation.
  • Drink bottled water only. Refrain from ingesting tap water, including when brushing your teeth.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Travelers prone to seasickness should note that this tour includes boat rides.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
  • Costa Rican cuisine is based on staples like rice, black beans, and corn with beef, chicken, or fish. Fresh, locally grown fruit includes bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and avocados. Traditional desserts include custards, puddings, and simple cakes. Locally grown coffee is served strong and black, but hot milk is often available if you ask.
Electricity & air conditioning
  • Costa Rica operates on 120 volts and uses Types A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • The strength of the air conditioning in some hotels in this region may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. In more remote locations, internet access may be limited and is not guaranteed.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
Time zones
  • Costa Rica is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and one hour behind Eastern Time (ET). Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am in Costa Rica from November through March and 10am from April through October.
  • You will use the Costa Rican colón on this tour.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour
  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information. International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.
Dates & prices
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Dec 26
Jan 03
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