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A Week in...

A Week in Costa Rica: San José, Arenal & Guanacaste

8 days |  10 days with Guanacaste Coast extension
8 days |  10 days with Guanacaste Coast extension
Group size1535 travelers

4.4 out of 5 stars

Physical activity
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Discover the essence of la pura vida lifestyle.

Did you know that 26% of the land in Costa Rica is made up of protected parks, reserves, and preserves? The country’s love of and dedication to nature means there is no shortage of monkeys, sloths, and birds to see! Spend one week in Costa Rica spotting all the animals while getting a taste of picture-perfect landscapes, from the misty rainforests of Arenal to the beachy paradise of Guanacaste.

Your tour package includes

  • 7 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 3 dinners with beer or wine
  • 1 tasting
Read more

Included highlights

  • Irazú Volcano National Park
  • Plaza de la Cultura
  • Coffee farm & tasting
  • La Paz Waterfall
  • Arenal Volcano National Park hike
Read more
Start planning today

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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
San José2 nights
Day 1: Arrival in San José
Included meal: Light dinner

Welcome to Costa Rica! Settle in to your hotel and enjoy an included dinner.

Please note: Travelers arriving at the hotel late this evening will have an informal dinner.

Day 2: Cartago & Irazú Volcano National Park
Included meals: Breakfast, Welcome dinner

Journey to the old capital of Costa Rica, Cartago, where your Tour Director will show you the city’s most important sites.

  • Visit the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, a uniquely designed Roman Catholic basilica that combines both colonial and Byzantine elements
  • Explore the 16th-century Santiago Apóstol Parish Ruins and end with a walk through the central market
  • Make your way through the stunning Central Valley to the Irazú Volcano National Park and set off for a leisurely trail walk around the country’s tallest volcano
  • Stop at viewing platforms to soak in the beauty of the volcano’s massive crater and the brilliantly colored lagoon at its center

Later, head to a local restaurant to enjoy live music, dancing, and scenic vistas as you get to know your Tour Director and fellow travelers during tonight’s welcome dinner.

Arenal Region3 nights
Day 3: Sightseeing tour of San José & transfer to Arenal Region via coffee farm
Included meals: Breakfast, Tasting, Lunch

Explore Costa Rica’s capital city alongside your Tour Director this morning.

  • See La Sabana Metropolitan Park, the National Stadium, and the Rohrmoser residential area
  • Stop at the Plaza de la Cultura, site of many performances and celebrations, and admire the National Theater of Costa Rica
  • Pass Bella Vista Fortress, home of the National Museum, and learn about the city’s pre-Columbian history
  • Marvel at the steel exterior of the Edificio Metálico, a century-old building prefabricated in Belgium, and admire the historic streets of Barrio Amón

This afternoon, en route to the lush rainforest of the Arenal region, visit a coffee plantation to learn how the country produces some of the world’s best coffee beans.

  • Tour the family-owned coffee estate to learn how coffee seeds grow into beans and become the flavorful drink in your cup
  • Learn how the estate protects and preserves the biodiversity of the area
  • See the traditional ways of cultivating coffee and sample a few varieties

Sit down for an included lunch at a local restaurant in the Fraijanes region. Then, make a photo stop at the mighty La Paz Waterfall in La Fortuna.

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

Arenal Hot Springs & Dinner

From $129 per person

Day 4: Hiking tour of Arenal Volcano National Park
Included meal: Breakfast

Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park with your Tour Director.

  • View the mile-high volcano, a near-perfect conical shape that emerges from the Sierra de Tilarán mountain range
  • Keep watch for wildlife like capuchin monkeys, coati, and over 500 species of birds that call the park home

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.

Costa Rican Farm Tour with Lunch

From $105 per person

Day 5: Free day in the Arenal Region
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day in the Arenal region or add excursions.

Arenal Rainforest Skywalk

From $89 per person

Kayaking in Arenal Volcano National Park

From $65 per person

Guanacaste Coast2 nights
Day 6: Guanacaste Coast via Palo Verde wildlife cruise
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Travel north along a scenic route to the coastal province of Guanacaste. Along the way, stop in Palo Verde National Park.

  • Join a naturalist guide for a riverboat tour of the wetlands
  • Look for crocodiles, roseate spoonbills, and other animals as you float down the Tempisque River
  • Enjoy an included homemade lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the river

Settle in to your hotel on the Guanacaste coast, a mecca for surfers, hikers, and sunbathers that’s home to some of Costa Rica’s most sought-after beaches and landscapes.

Day 7: Free day on the Guanacaste Coast
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Spend a free day relaxing along the Guanacaste coast or add an excursion.

This evening, celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.

Guanacaste Sailing & Snorkeling with Lunch

From $165 per person

Flight Home
Day 8: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Liberia airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Guanacaste.

Extension to Guanacaste Coast
With a wonderfully dry climate, the Guanacaste coast boasts miles of white sand coastline, as well as rugged mountain ranges and volcanic peaks. Extend your stay to get to the heart of local culture on guided tours, while enjoying plenty of time to spot wildlife and relax on the beach.
Guanacaste Coast2 nights
Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Santa Cruz & Guaitil
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Join a local guide for a tour of two historic communities in the area—Santa Cruz and Guaitil.

  • Visit the town of Santa Cruz, which is known for its many traditional art forms including marimba playing
  • Learn about the culture of the fiestas, rodeos, and festivals that have made this small town famous across the country
  • Head to Guaitil to take part in a Chorotega-style pottery workshop
  • Learn how the indigenous Chorotega people make this type of clay pottery using generations-old techniques
  • Visit a local market before sitting down for an included lunch at a local restaurant
Day 9: Free day on the Guanacaste Coast
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend a free day relaxing by the pool and beach, or exploring the Guanacaste coast.

Tonight, sit down for an included dinner.

Flight Home
Day 10: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Liberia airport for your flight home.

Show full itinerary
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4.4 out of 5 stars

Overall rating 4.4 out of 5

Based on 67 authentic traveler reviews
Sort by

    5 out of 5 stars

    6/23/24 by 4th-time traveler Sonia

    5 out of 5 stars

    Best trip ever!
    4/7/24 by 1st-time traveler Jodi

    5 out of 5 stars

    Pura Vida!!!
    4/7/24 by 1st-time traveler Monica

    Porfi and Victor were amazing, I was scared of finding food for us but Costa Rica is a paradise for vegans and everyone was very nice and accommodating. Our group was awesome.

    EF Go Ahead Tours replied on 4/29/24

    We are so happy to hear we accommodated your dieta...

    Read more +
    Show more reviews

    Traveler photos

    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.
    Hilton Garden Inn San José La Sabana
    Hilton Garden Inn San José La Sabana

    This modern hotel is centrally located in San José’s Sabana Park area. Guests enjoy the rooftop pool, spacious rooms, and fitness center. Nearby, you’...

    Read more +
    Lomas del Volcan
    Lomas del Volcan

    This mountain hotel is located at the foothills of Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna. Guests enjoy individual cabins with private terrace, an outdoor pool,...

    Read more +
    Wyndham Tamarindo
    Wyndham Tamarindo

    This serene hotel is located perched on a hillside of Tamarindo on the Guanacaste coast. Guests enjoy sweeping ocean views, outdoor infinity pool, a l...

    Read more +


    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.
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    • Round-trip flight for your tour
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    • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
    • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
    • Find out more about flights


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