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Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife

with Manuel Antonio & San José extension
  • Duration: 9 or 12 days
  • Group size: 15-30
  • Reviews: 211
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 your adventure 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
  • 4 lunches
  • 6 dinners, select meals with beer or wine
  • 8 guided sightseeing tours
Included highlights
  • Sea Turtle Conservancy
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Arenal Volcano National Park
  • the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Heliconia Ranch
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Day-by-day 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.

Tortuguero2 nights
Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Tortuguero
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drive through the Costa Rican countryside. Then, boat through jungle-lined canals to beachside Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, for a guided tour of the tropical area.

• Pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park, home of many dormant volcanoes and placid crater lakes

• Take a scenic drive through local banana plantations

• Enjoy an included lunch of local cuisine

• Learn about endangered turtles at the Sea Turtle Conservancy (Please note: Sea turtle nesting season is from June–September. Turtles may not be on the beaches for the remainder of the year.)

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

Day 3: Rainforest & canal expedition
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Learn about Tortuguero National Park’s diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, swamps, and beaches.

• Walk and boat through the park, seeking out monkeys, tapirs, caimans, and more

• Enjoy an included lunch featuring local cuisine

• View the freshwater creeks and lagoons, home to endangered turtles and over 50 species of fish

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

Arenal Region2 nights
Day 4: Arenal via Guapiles
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to the Arenal region today. • Pass by banana plantations

• Stop in Guapiles for an included lunch of local cuisine

• Catch your first glimpse of Arenal Volcano National Park’s lush landscape, shaped by the majestic volcano and massive lake of the same name

Then, enjoy a free afternoon in the Arenal region or add an excursion.

Arenal Hot Springs & Dinner
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 5: Hiking tour of Arenal
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

• Stop to enjoy a tasting of raw sugarcane Please note: Travelers should be able to hike around two miles over uneven terrain and hardened lava.

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

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Costa Rican Cooking Class & Farm Visit
Excursion (additional cost)
Monteverde2 nights
Day 6: Monteverde via Heliconia Ranch
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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

Day 7: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Take a guided tour of what may be the world’s most stunning cloud forest reserve.

Then, enjoy a free afternoon in Monteverde or add an excursion.

Sit down at a local restaurant and enjoy an included dinner.

Sky Walk
Excursion (additional cost)
San José1 night
Day 8: Coffee plantation visit & San José sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to San José today, making several stops along the way.

• Tour the Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation to learn about coffee harvests during a hands-on demonstration and enjoy a tasting

• Visit the town of Sarchí to view the carretas, or beautifully painted oxcarts

Then, get to know San José 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

• Marvel at the steel exterior of the century-old Edificio Metálico

Celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at tonight’s 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

Soak in the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio, a vibrant destination full of lush rainforests and 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

Day 10: Manuel Antonio National Park
Included meal: Breakfast

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

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

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

Enjoy a free morning before traveling back to San José and rejoining your group for a farewell dinner.

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

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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4.6 average
by 3rd time traveler 

Tour guide was the best and bus driver was very good. Because of the dry season the long hours on a bus and boat were boring, The road the agricultural area definitely needs work.

Costa Rica Rocks
by 8th time traveler 

First of all, my fellow travelers were great company, a nice mix of singles, couples, families, old farts like myself, and young people. The accommodations-- cabins at Tortuguero, Mount Arenal, and Monteverde--were excellent. I especially appreciated the rocking chair on the front porch and the vi...

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by 2nd time traveler 

This was a wonderfully planned, perfectly executed trip. I loved everything about it, I loved the places we stayed, the culture and seeing the countryside. I honestly cannot think of what my favorite was because EVERYTHING was my favorite. When I returned home, I really missed Costa Rica and all th...

by 3rd time traveler 

Great itinerary and Rafael was awesome tour director!

Instead of Roosters Waking You Up...Howler Monkeys!
by 10th time traveler 

This Costa Rica tour is a nature lover's delight. Tortuguero was a very unique place. Accommodations were accessed by boat and each traveler had their own little cozy cabin. Meals were all buffets here. Exploring the island was educational. The Arenal area was so pretty and again the accommodat...

Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
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.

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...

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...


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
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
  • 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.
Choose your dates to start a quote
57 Departures
Tour prices are per person, before flights, and based on two travelers per hotel room.
Aug 3–Aug 11, 2019
Extension available
Call to book
Sep 28–Oct 6, 2019
Call to book
Last-minute special
Nov 16–Nov 24, 2019
Extension available
Join waitlist
Dec 28, 2019–Jan 5, 2020
Extension available
Join waitlist
Jan 4–Jan 12, 2020
Extension available
Feb 1–Feb 9, 2020
Feb 15–Feb 23, 2020
Extension available
Feb 22–Mar 1, 2020
Mar 7–Mar 15, 2020
Mar 14–Mar 22, 2020
Extension available
Mar 21–Mar 29, 2020
Mar 28–Apr 5, 2020
Extension available
Apr 4–Apr 12, 2020
Apr 11–Apr 19, 2020
Extension available
Apr 18–Apr 26, 2020
Apr 25–May 3, 2020
Extension available
May 2–May 10, 2020
May 16–May 24, 2020
Jun 13–Jun 21, 2020
Extension available
Jun 20–Jun 28, 2020
Jul 18–Jul 26, 2020
Aug 1–Aug 9, 2020
Extension available
Aug 15–Aug 23, 2020
Sep 5–Sep 13, 2020
Sep 26–Oct 4, 2020
Oct 24–Nov 1, 2020
Nov 14–Nov 22, 2020
Extension available
Dec 12–Dec 20, 2020
Dec 26, 2020–Jan 3, 2021
Extension available
Jan 2–Jan 10, 2021
Extension available
Jan 16–Jan 24, 2021
Feb 6–Feb 14, 2021
Extension available
Feb 13–Feb 21, 2021
Extension available
Feb 20–Feb 28, 2021
Extension available
Mar 6–Mar 14, 2021
Mar 13–Mar 21, 2021
Extension available
Mar 20–Mar 28, 2021
Mar 27–Apr 4, 2021
Extension available
Apr 3–Apr 11, 2021
Apr 10–Apr 18, 2021
Extension available
Apr 17–Apr 25, 2021
Apr 24–May 2, 2021
Extension available
May 1–May 9, 2021
May 15–May 23, 2021
Extension available
Jun 12–Jun 20, 2021
Jun 19–Jun 27, 2021
Extension available
Jul 3–Jul 11, 2021
Jul 10–Jul 18, 2021
Extension available
Jul 17–Jul 25, 2021
Aug 14–Aug 22, 2021
Extension available
Aug 28–Sep 5, 2021
Sep 4–Sep 12, 2021
Extension available
Sep 25–Oct 3, 2021
Oct 23–Oct 31, 2021
Extension available
Nov 13–Nov 21, 2021
Dec 4–Dec 12, 2021
Extension available
Dec 18–Dec 26, 2021
95% of travelers would recommend Go Ahead Tours to a friend.
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