Short and Sweet Costa Rica Explorer
Discover Arenal and the Guanacaste Coast on this week-long trip to Costa Rica
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Riding the Sky Tram gondola above the rainforest canopy in Arenal
- Animal-filled river floating safari on the Rio Frio
- Snorkelling along the Guanacaste Coast
- Horseback riding and kayaking along the shores of the gold coast
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Private transfers
- All tours mentioned
- Full support from your Travel Designer and Concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
This seven-day trip is great for those with limited time who still want to get a taste of what makes Costa Rica such a wonderful destination.
You’ll spend three nights in Arenal, marvelling at its magnificent volcano and enjoying a bird’s-eye-view from the Sky Tram gondola. You’ll look out over the volcano and lake and take to the nature trails where you can spot the wildlife that lives in the canopy.
You’ll also explore the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Frio, one of the best places for birdwatching. Keep your eyes peeled for howler monkeys, sloths, caimans and the endangered jabiru bird.
It’s then onto the Guanacaste Coast for three nights of relaxation, enjoying the stunning scenery and discovering the colourful underwater world of the Pacific.
Example Trip Itinerary
Private transfer to your hotel in Arenal
Accommodation in Arenal
- 103 rooms and suites
- Two restaurants
- Four bars
- Swimming pool
- Thermal springs (not private)
Tabacon is a beautiful and serene luxury hotel, located at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano. It is set within 900 acres of lush, tropical grounds through which Costa’s Rica’s largest network of hot springs flows. This rainforest retreat is tucked away on a winding road that climbs up from the small village of La Fortuna. There are 103 rooms and suites that look out over the rainforest and gardens. Decor is contemporary and elegant and feature artwork and furnishings from Costa Rican artists. The River Tabacon feeds into waterfalls and warm pools lined with soft, black sand and guests staying at Tabacon will enjoy full use of the thermal mineral springs. The water is heated by the volcano and the temperature in the pools ranges between 72 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Head upstream and you’ll find the Shangri-La Gardens, an adult-only hideaway with six pools, cocoon-shaped cabanas and bar. The open-air spa offers a range of rejuvenating treatments, made all the more relaxing by the idyllic surroundings and sounds of the rainforest. There are two restaurants offering a mix of Costa Rican and international cuisine, as well as four bars.
- 50 rooms (mix of casitas and villas)
- Pool with three Jacuzzis
- Swim-up pool bar
- Wine and tapas bar
- Three restaurants
Voted one of South America’s most romantic hotels, the Nayara is a fitting choice for those looking for a private getaway in the Arenal. Nestled in the green valleys at the foot of the spectacular Arenal Volcano are Nayara’s 50 luxury rooms -29 casitas and 21 rainforest villas. Large screened windows open up allowing for plenty of natural light. The decor is simple, but but neat with lashings of tropical orange, the greens of encroaching foliage, fine bed linen, dark wood furniture and polished floors. The privacy of the cottages and their amenities, with terrace, Jacuzzi and garden, makes this an ideal hideaway for the newly hitched or those after a romantic retreat. Even though Nayara is a resort, the staff make every effort to treat you in a very personal manner and the service is impeccable. Also if you feel like getting out of your casita and enjoying some of the area’s activities and adventures you will be spoilt for choice. For relaxation, however, head to the hotel’s spa for a massage, coffee scrub or a volcanic mud bath. Perched atop a cliff and overlooking the forest, it’s the ideal place to unwind and rejuvenate.
- 35 villas
- Private gardens and terraces
- Private plunge pools
- Spa and yoga pavillion
- Lap pool and swim-up bar
This boutique hotel encompasses all things luxurious, with views overlooking the grand Arenal Volcano, beautiful villas and a state-of-the-art spa and yoga pavilion. Privacy is as well taken care of as luxury, sitting outside the Costa Rican town of La Fortuna, Nayara Springs provides the perfect amount of seclusion at around three hours from the capital, San Jose. Each of the 35 villas is nestled among the floral gardens of the tropical rainforest and boasts its own personal pool, a spacious private garden with outdoor shower, a sumptuous four-poster bed, alongside both indoor and outdoor seating areas. A rich array of natural wildlife awaits, and guests can enjoy it from their private terrace, or by taking a tour through the Arenal Volcano National Park. Guests can then unwind by indulging in a treatment at the spa, heading to the yoga pavilion or swimming pool, or enjoying a drink at the stylish piano bar. Cuisine at Nayara Springs is served at the lovely poolside restaurant, Amor-Loco, where fresh fish, Latin American inspired sushi and organic home-grown vegetables all grace the menu.
During your time in Arenal, there are a huge number of activities that we can arrange for you. There are adventure activities for the adrenalin junkies as well as options for those who want to enjoy the area at a more leisurely pace. Your travel designer will be able to guide you through the different options, so that you choose the excursions best suited to your interests.
The tour will begin with the Sky Tram which suitable for all ages, and thanks to the space of the gondolas, wheelchairs can also be accommodated. Before you start, your guide will give you a brief explanation about security measures and will provide you with the equipment you'll need for this adventure. The slow-paced Sky Tram gondolas glide smoothly, offering impressive views of the rainforest, the Arenal volcano and the lake. Accompanied by a bilingual guide, the ride takes around 20 minutes with the possibility of short stops to take one-of-a-kind photographs or to spot a tropical bird.
The Sky Trek will return you to the starting point, and during it you will slide through cables that extend into the middle of the forest and canyons. You will enjoy views of the tropical forest that only a bird could experience. The canopy tour includes eight cross-sectional cables with a total length of 1.7 miles and a maximum height of 660 feet.
The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Frio are considered to one of the best sites for bird watching and observing wildlife. Here you can find a great variety of resident and migratory birds including the endangered jabiru, the largest bird in Central America. Caño Negro is also home to many other exciting animals. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-faced monkeys can be seen on the banks of the river, as well as three-toed sloths and some reptiles like turtles, caimans and basilisk, also known as Jesus Christ lizards.
The tour starts with a private transfer to Los Chiles, a small village 4km from the Nicaraguan border. During this three-hour floating safari, a bilingual guide will point out the rich and varied avifauna present in this protected wetland, declared a Ramsar Site in 1991. A typical Costa Rican lunch will be served in a restaurant after the safari.
Private transfer to the Guanacaste Coast
Accommodation in Guanacaste Coast
- 289 rooms and 21 suites
- Swimming pool
- Four restaurants and two bars
- Direct beach access
- Fitness Centre
This spacious hacienda-style resort on the Guanacaste coast combines exclusive five-star luxury with beautiful seaside surroundings. Courtyards slung with hammocks, red brick and dark furniture give the hotel a local feel, and the 289 rooms and 21 suites have a typically “Tico” feel with marble bathrooms, and stunning views out over the beach and ocean. With four restaurants, two bars and a coffee and ice cream shop, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to dining. Enjoy Italian-style dishes at Azul Grill, savour international cuisine made with local ingredients at Mansita Restaurant, satisfy your craving for something hearty at Sabanero Steak House, and treat yourself to contemporary Asian flavours at Tamarine. Azul Pool Bar specialises in refreshing natural cocktails and healthy light meals, and Nau Lobby Bar is the idea place to raise a glass at the end of a busy day. For a quick Costa Rican coffee or indulgent Italian ice cream, pop into Waves and Cream. After a day of exploring, indulge in a treatment or two at the spa, take a dip in the swimming pool or stroll down to the beach. There are a variety of activity options for active guests. Head out into the countryside and go biking, hiking or horseriding, or spend your day at the beach jet skiing, kayaking, snorkelling sailing or surfing.
- 85 rooms
- Two Restaurants
- Spa and Gym
- Swimming pool
- Beach fronted
Even with 85 rooms El Mangroove still strikes a very boutique sort of style and atmosphere. Cool, contemporary design combined with a quiet position on the Papagayo Gulf, makes for a more personal alternative to the larger resorts of the area. It’s the epitome of relaxed barefoot chic. The hotel’s range of suites have been decked out in a contemporary yet natural style, spread over three floors, affording every level a new tier of views of the surrounding mangrove trees. The property also fronts a dark-sand beach almost exclusively enjoyed by its guests, or you can take to relaxing on the sun loungers and cabanas surrounding its outdoor pool and lovely gardens. There are a good variety of activities from fishing to yoga and surfing, and El Mangroove has two restaurants serving some excellent farm- and ocean-to-table dishes, ranging from Peruvian to Argentinean.
- 57 rooms, suites and casitas
- Infinity pool
- Restaurant and two bars
- Private beach
An impressive resort with a luxurious collection of accommodation categories, Punta Islita also has its own private beach and is well connected to the local villages. Situated on the beautiful Guanacaste coast and western side of the Nicoya Peninsula this hotel comes with all the extensive facilities and modern amenities one expects yet avoids the insular feeling you sometimes get from other resorts. There are 57 rooms, suites and casitas to choose from. Deluxe rooms are spacious and have their own terrace with hammocks, the suites are similar but have their own deck with Jacuzzi and if you want an ocean view in either, you’ll have to specify this. The casitas are really quite charming and ideal for couples or for those looking for that extra bit of privacy with their own garden, plunge pool, and terrace. As well as the choice of staying in the hotel’s casitas or villas, there is the private Islita beach with sun loungers and a frequent shuttle service to the Corozalato village and other local towns for guests who want to discover the region and perhaps indulge in some local artisanal shopping. The villas tend to be privately owned but rented out by the hotel with either two or three bedrooms, terraces, private plunge pool, garden and are a great option for families, groups or extended stays. Stylish Pacifico Restaurant showcases the rich textures, vibrant colours, and flavours of Costa Rica, and the menu features fresh local ingredients reflecting the region’s diversity. For a laid-back meal, take a table at Los Cocos Beachfront Club. There is a plentiful amount of local expeditions, adventure activities and workshops to enjoy and a spa, golf course and tennis courts to indulge in.
- 182 rooms, suites and villas
- Four restaurants
- Bar lounge
- Golf course
- Spa and sauna
- Three swimming pools
Occupying the entire Papagayo Peninsula on Costa Rica’s northwestern Guanacaste coast this hotel’s facilities are extensive and feature four restaurants, three pools, a championship-size golf course, tennis courts, spa and a collection of stand-alone villas. Papagayo is a vivid green spit of land that winds into the Pacific blue, decorated with idyllic golden beaches of which the hotel has direct access to two. The hotel’s 182 guest rooms, suites and villas are smart and luxurious, incorporating lots of Costa Rican and tropical style with the use of bamboo, rattan, solid wood furniture, shuttered windows and doors. Stone finishes and beige tones are broken up by the occasional vivid splash of colour. There are three categories of accommodation; the guest rooms are housed in three small individual buildings on both sides of the peninsula and the hotel’s facilities and pools are a five-minute stroll away. The treehouse-like canopy suites are elevated for views over the dry tropical forest canopy down to the water and some have their own plunge pools. However, if you’re after privacy and tranquillity then the residences equipped like a proper home with kitchen, infinity pool and two or three bedrooms are ideal. There’s also plenty to keep you entertained and much to help you unwind; a range of activities and private excursions direct from the hotel can be organised and the spa offers an array of body and facial treatments.
- 24 rooms
- Swimming pool
- Restaurant and bar
- Healing centre offering massage, yoga and meditation
- Direct beach access
Harmony is one of the more low-key and intimate hotels on the Guanacaste, finding its charm in simplicity and a surfer chic atmosphere, not to mention having direct access to the Guiones beach. There are 24 rooms from which to choose. The Coco rooms, in the centre of the property, have their own private enclosed patio, hammock and heated outdoor shower. The bungalows are set into the hotel gardens with private wooden decks, rocking chairs, hammocks and some with heated outdoor showers. There is also a two-bedroom bungalow suite available. The hotel’s restaurant makes the most of the region’s nearby farms, fishermen, fruit trees and its own garden. The fresh, local ingredients feature in delicious dishes that are served in the open-air restaurant. There’s also a bar where the resident mixologist creates exciting cocktails and mocktails, and an outdoor sushi lounge. Overall the vibe is relaxing, warm and one of wellbeing. In addition to being focused on creating a friendly and welcoming environment, the hotel prepares its own organic moisturisers and shampoos. Among the activities on offer to fill your time when you’re not out exploring are yoga, meditation and surfing classes, as well as tours to local highlights and attractions.
With its stretches of golden sand beaches, wildlife reserves and ultra-easy-going atmosphere, the Guanacaste Coast is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a few days. Nicknamed the 'gold coast', it stretches all the way from the Nicaragua border south to the Nicoya Peninsula. There is lots to do here from surfing and snorkelling to horse riding and kayaking.
Your guide will introduce you to the underwater world, where you'll discover the beauty that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. Learn about the different creatures and species that inhabit these waters and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and turtles.
Private transfer to Liberia airport
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Short and Sweet Costa Rica Explorer
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.