Costa Rica Coast to Coast

009390 - W20

Follow handpicked walking trails in search of wildlife, waterfalls and outstanding views. From emerald rainforests, smouldering volcanoes and tropical savannah, to steam-fed springs and bubbling mud pools, vibrant Costa Rica is a destination that always delivers.

Not Included
Tour Notes
  • Travel from the Caribbean to the Pacific Coast
  • Day walks to waterfalls through diverse scenery
  • Check out national parks, forests and volcanoes
  • Sleep in comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels
  • Explore the emerald rainforests

Group Size:


Tour Code:
009390 - W20

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Day 1: San José

Arrive anytime this morning or afternoon. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

This trip requires a moderate fitness level and some experience with distance hiking is beneficial.

Day 2: Tortuguero National Park

Your adventure begins early this morning, leaving San José behind as you travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park.

Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero’s vast network of waterways, canals and swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier you will board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to your lodge. This afternoon you will visit Tortuguero village (which lies on a thin strip of land between the sea and the main canal) and take a short walk following a pathway parallel to the coastline. Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today’s travel time will be in the region of six hours including a break for breakfast.

Total walking distance: 5km. Time: approx. 3 hours.

Day 3: Tortuguero National Park

An early morning boat trip enables you to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of your expert guide you are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. You will return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river. Then you will take a kayaking tour through the jungle lagoons to have a different perspective on the forest, navigating the streams, canals and rivers. Alternatively the lodge is a tranquil spot to relax if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities this afternoon, or there is a nice walk available within Tortuguero National Park.

Day 4: La Fortuna

You will leave Tortuguero the same way youe arrived by taking a small boat to the pier. Your bus will be at the pier waiting to drive you to the region of La Fortuna, passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations. On the way you will stop for a short walk in the area of Bajos del Toro, where the highest and most impressive waterfall of the country is located. The walking trail takes you all the way to the bottom of the waterfall, which empties at a height of 90 metres into an old extinct volcanic crater. There are several fantastic viewpoints on the first 500 metres of the trail, which is generally flat and surrounded by forest. Over 27 species of hummingbird have been recorded here! The second part of the trail is steep, following concrete steps with hand railings which lead all the way to the base of the waterfall, where the striking rock formations and colours will leave you in awe. You continue your journey to Arenal, reaching the Arenal Volcano National Park. Following a massive eruption in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica’s most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. As well as the volcano, this region has much to offer, including thermal waters, waterfalls and dense vegetation.

Total walking distance: 2km. Time: approx. 2 hours.

Day 5: Ecotermales Hot Springs

There is a guided hike this morning through Arenal Volcano National Park. The park has a great system of trails passing through secondary forest and near lava fields created by previous eruptions. The high vantage points on this walk allow great views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the birdlife is plentiful.

Waterfalls are abundant in the region of Arenal and this afternoon we visit La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65 metre cascade of water plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest brings us to a relatively steep set of steps that you must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit – the hike/climb takes around 20-30 minutes. Reward your efforts with a dip into one of the natural pools punctuating the foliage to cool off! After today’s hike there is an optional visit to Ecotermales Hot Springs to relax any aching muscles.

Total walking distance: 7km. Time: approx. 3.5 hours.

Day 6: Tenorio

Today’s walk begins in Nuevo Arenal and will take in country roads, pasturelands, cattle farms, patches of secondary forest and wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Arenal. After your lunch stop, you will have a short transfer to the region of Tenorio, where you will stay for the next two nights.

Total walking distance: 16 km. Time: approx. 5 hours.

Day 7: Tenorio Volcano National Park

After breakfast you will travel to the Tenorio Volcano National Park where you join a hiking trail along the Rio Celeste towards ‘Tenideros’. After merging with a small creak this section of the river takes on a striking blue turquoise colour, the result of components such as copper and sulphur reacting together. There is a legend that says the colour was created when God washed his paintbrushes in the river after painting the sky. It’s a beautiful trail, leading towards the magnificent Rio Celeste Waterfall. This afternoon you will return to your hotel and have the arfternoon at leisure to rest and enjoy the hotel facilities.

Total walking distance: 4km. Time: approx. 3 hours.

Day 8: Rincon de la Vieja National Park

You will depart early towards the area of Rincon de la Vieja, an area that combines dry forest with enchanting waterfalls and is best known for its bubbling mud pots, steaming vents in the earth, hot springs and a whole host of wildlife. The starting point of your hike will be close to the Miravalles Volcano, from which you walk towards Aguas Claras town along a gravel road. Taking in pasturelands and patches of secondary forest, you have great views of the tropical savannah and the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. At the end of today’s walk you continue by bus to your hotel, which you should arrive at later this afternoon.

Total walking distance: 14 km. Time: approx. 5 hours.

Day 9: Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Covering some 14,804 hectares, Rincon de la Vieja National Park is full of geological features and has the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano (1895m) within its boundaries, as well as a series of other craters and volcanic peaks. This region is still relatively undiscovered but is starting to attract more visitors. This morning you will walk inside the national park, widely regarded as one of Costa Rica’s hidden gems. You have a one and a half hour hike through the park along a pre-defined trail, the highlight of which is likely to be your visit to Las Pailas, the bubbling mud pools that flank the volcanic crater. Steaming fumaroles and hot springs are also found in park, attesting to how active the volcano is! This afternoon you take La Cangreja Waterfall trail walking through tropical forest and Guanacaste savannah. If you are lucky you may see Howler monkeys, White-faced Capuchin monkeys or any of the 257 species of birds present here. The waterfall is spectacular, plunging 40 metres and forming a clear blue pool at its base as a result of the dissolved copper minerals from the volcano.

Total walking distance: 11 km. Time: approx. 6.5 hours.

Day 10: Samara Beach

You will be driven towards Santa Rosa National Park this morning, located in the Gulf of Papagayo. This area is one of the oldest national parks in the country, harbouring the largest area of tropical dry forest ecosystem in Central America. Resembling the African savannah, the area is filled with acacia thorn threes and scrub and provides habitat to a huge amount of wildlife, including some 60 bat species alone. Your hike will take you through the forest, passing another fantastic waterfall and perhaps encountering peccaries, armadillos, monkeys, coyotes, raccoons and coatimundis as youe go. After today’s walk you will be transferred around 2.5 hours to the Pacific coast and Samara beach, your home for the next two nights.

Total walking distance: 7km. Time: approx. 4-5 hours.

Day 11: Samara Beach

Samara beach is one of the best kept secrets in Costa Rica! The broad, shady bay stretches for 4 km and is backed by coconut palms. The water is calm and safe for swimming thanks to a coral reef just out to sea on which the normally large, Pacific waves break before reaching the beach. There are plenty of facilities in Samara but there’s a noticeable absense of big resort hotels, which makes for a nice atmosphere. Today has been left free for you to spend at your leisure. Spend time relaxing on the beach or join one of the optional excursions available in the area such as a boat tour to see dolphins, kayaking tour, SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) or mountain biking.

Day 12: San José

This morning is free to enjoy Samara beach before you leave the Nicoya peninsula and transfer back to San José, a journey of approximately 4.5 hours.

Day 13: San José

The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it’s time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. You may choose to extend your time in San José, travel on to your next destination or fly back home.

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches & 6 dinners
  • 12 nights of accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
Not Included
  • Flights to/from San José
  • Meals not listed
  • Optional tours
  • Gratuities for the driver and guide
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
Tour Notes

Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.