The Big Three of Costa Rica

The Big Three of Costa Rica: When we say “big three” we’re talking both destination and hotel because in this package you’ll visit Costa Rica’s three main destination highlights – Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano, and Manuel Antonio – while staying in the top hotels in their respective regions!  Start your vacation with three nights at Hotel Belmar in Monteverde, a locally-owned eco-boutique retreat with cozy accommodations, gourmet dining, artisanal beer creations, and on site hiking trails.  Next, spend three nights at the base of Arenal Volcano in one of the world’s leading hotels, Arenal Nayara.  Explore nearby waterfalls, hot springs, and adventure tours in the rainforest surrounding the iconic Arenal Volcano.  Finally, enjoy some salt and sun in the Pacific Ocean when you stay at the eco-luxury Arenas del Mar, one of the few hotels in Manuel Antonio with direct beach access.

Destinations: Monteverde Cloud Forest, La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio

Duration: 10 days

*Price Range: $$$

*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare).  Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.

$$$: At or under $1,200 per person.

$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person.

$$$: $1,800+ per person

  1. Day 1

    Fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) where one of our local airport representatives will meet you before immigration holding a sign with your name on it.  They will guide you through an expedited immigration process and to baggage claim.  Outside the airport you’ll find your private transfer that will be waiting to help you with your luggage.  Enjoy the scenic drive through misty mountains and small towns as you make your way to Monteverde Cloud Forest.  Check into the cozy Hotel Belmar, a luxury boutique lodge with over 30 years of sustainable practices.  If you’ve arrived before dusk, sign up for a guided night walk to see nocturnal critters come to life.  Enjoy a gourmet, organic dinner at Restaurante Celajes.

  2. Day 2

    An early start will allow for better wildlife viewing opportunities on a guided nature and birdwatching walk through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.  A delicious breakfast comprised of homemade jams, breads, granola, organic coffee, and freshly-made juices will fuel you for the guided nature hike through Curi-Cancha, one of the more secluded parts of the reserve.  Return to Belmar for a fresh lunch and explore Hotel Belmar’s property and amenities.  Walk through the onsite trails to a waterfall stream or choose a more challenging hike for panoramic views.  Need to relax after your early morning hike?  Pamper yourself with a massage treatment and then soak in Belmar’s heated jacuzzi.

  3. Day 3

    Today is a day of adventure in the cloud forest canopy!  Start with a guided walk along hanging suspension bridges for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding forest.  Then, fly along a wire from tree platform to tree platform with a canopy zip-line, one of the longest zip-lines in the country reaching speeds of over 40 mph!  Return to Hotel Belmar in time for an afternoon coffee, tea, or tropical smoothie from the Juice Bar or try one of Belmar’s own artisanal ales brewed using water from their own spring.

  4. Day 4

    Make your way from the cloud forest to the rainforest at the base of Arenal Volcano.  As you travel stop at a traditional coffee farm, Don Juan, to learn about the harvesting and coffee roasting process before sampling various roasts.  You’ll then have the opportunity to see how cacao beans are processed into chocolate with the chance to taste a variety of chocolate products made right on their farm:  liquid chocolate, spiced chocolate, plain chocolate and coffee chocolate.  Continue onwards to Arenal Volcano for your heavenly stay at Arenal Nayara, one of the top hotels in Costa Rica and the world!  After a gourmet dinner in one of Nayara’s top-rated restaurants, enjoy the rest of the evening in the private jacuzzi on your balcony.

  5. Day 5

    An hour north of Arenal Volcano sits one of Costa Rica’s secret gems, Rio Celeste.  The turquoise blue waters and splendid waterfall make for a picturesque hike through primary rainforest.  A typical Costa Rican lunch is served afterwards.  Return to Arenal Nayara for an afternoon spa treatment such an aromatic chocolate and coffee scrub!  Spend the evening with a visit to nearby hot springs or stay at your room to enjoy the the privacy of your own jacuzzi.

  6. Day 6

    Are you ready for Costa Rica’s best adventure tours?!  Choose one or all three – whitewater rafting class III-IV rapids, rappelling down the side of waterfalls, and/or jumping off waterfall cliffs into the river pool below.  The Arenal Volcano region is known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica, so make sure to try a couple of these heart-pounding activities for yourself!

  7. Day 7

    A short domestic flight over beautiful mountain landscapes will take you to the Central Pacific.  Here, you’ll stay at one of the top hotels in Manuel Antonio (and all Costa Rica), Arenas del Mar.  This luxury eco-boutique resort has a privileged access to not one but two beaches.  Check into your luxurious suite surrounded by manicured gardens and tropical rain forest full of wildlife.  Have a delicious gourmet dinner at El Mirador while watching the sun slip over the horizon at sunset.

  8. Day 8

    No visit to Manuel Antonio is complete without walking through Manuel Antonio National Park.  An easy hike in the early morning will grant even more wildlife viewing opportunities.  After the guided nature walk, enjoy the pristine beaches inside the national park the rest of the afternoon.

  9. Day 9

    Free day to enjoy the beach and pool.  Order snacks and drinks from the poolside Playitas Restaurant and Bar as you lounge with neighboring sloths in the trees along the sandy beach.  Cap off your stay in Costa Rica with a sea breeze massage at Las Brisas Spa.

  10. Day 10

    Take a 25 minute domestic flight from Quepos to San Jose for your international flight home.

Itinerary Highlights:

  • Look for the majestic Quetzal in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Zip-line, swing, or bungee jump Central America’s highest bungee in Monteverde
  • Sample traditional coffee roasts and chocolates at Don Juan’s farm after a guided tour
  • Hike along the vibrant, turquoise waters of Rio Celeste to see a beautiful waterfall
  • Swim in the calm bay of Manuel Antonio National Park after a guided nature walk
  • Dine on gourmet, farm-to-table menus while staying at all three hotels

Best for: Nature Lover, Family, Couple, Wellness/Spa, Romance, Honeymoon, Eco-Tourism, Luxury, Foodies

Bucket list experiences: Monteverde Cloud Forest, birding, coffee, chocolate, volcano, rainforest, waterfalls, wildlife, hot springs, beach, Manuel Antonio National Park

Accommodations & Location:

  • Hotel Belmar, Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Arenal Nayara, La Fortuna
  • Arenas del Mar, Manuel Antonio

Every Central America Vacation itinerary includes 24/7 in-country support.  We’re here with you every step of the way to insure the best experience possible, from the initial planning stages to the moment you’re on your flight home!