Costa Rica – also known by COUNTRYAAH as the Switzerland of Central America – is primarily known for its nature and the associated ecotourism. On a trip through Costa Rica you will immerse yourself in a fascinating world of flora and fauna. In over 35 national parks and nature reserves you will find 12,000 species of plants, over 800 species of birds, 380 amphibians and reptiles and much more. Costa Rica also offers countless beautiful beaches, be it on the Atlantic or Caribbean coast. Costa Rica is very safe and offers a good infrastructure and is therefore perfect for a family vacation with a rental car.
This is an example of one of our tours and should serve as a source of inspiration. Of course, the itinerary including the destinations can be adjusted and we would be happy to work out a tour tailored to your interests and budget.
Best travel time: December to April
Travel time: 25 days
Travel planning: Direct flight with Edelweiss 1x per week.
Tip: The best way to visit the national parks is with a guide. He also discovers well camouflaged animals and can tell you more about the flora and fauna.
Day 1: International flight & arrival in San José
In the evening arrival at the airport of San José. You will be picked up and taken to your hotel.
Day 2: San José – Tortuguero National Park
Drive from San José through the Braulio Carrillo National Park followed by a typical breakfast. The journey continues through banana plantations to the landing stage. You drive to your jungle lodge via numerous rivers and canals.
The afternoon is at your disposal. Relax by the pool, explore Tortuguero village or visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum.
Day 3: Tortuguero National Park
Spend a wonderful day in the midst of breathtaking landscapes and tropical wilderness. Relax in the shade of the jungle trees on a peaceful boat tour of the canals. Watch iguanas and caimans sunbathe daily, and spot playful monkeys and sleepy sloths. The colors of the many different bird species are also impressive. Tortuguero (land of the turtles) is actually known for a completely different spectacle: the egg-laying of the green sea turtle. Enjoy the mild climate in a rocking chair with a view of the river and a delicious drink in your hand, or just laze around in a hammock.
Day 4: Tortuguero National Park – Puerto Viejo
Today you will travel back by boat and will be driven to the rental car. After picking up the rental car, drive to the southern Caribbean coast near Puerto Limon. You drive along huge plantations and past the most important port of Costa Rica. Here you will see countless containers exporting fruit. After Puerto Limon it gets much quieter and along countless beaches, past Cahuita and the national park of the same name, you drive all the way to the south of the country. Puerto Viejo offers great beaches, but also exciting cultural insights into the life of the Bri Bri Indians.
Day 5 – 7: Puerto Viejo
Enjoy a few relaxing days on the beach and explore the area with your rental car. A real little paradise which you will find here! A short walk through tropical vegetation leads from the hotel to the beach, and when you get closer to the sea, you will be amazed. In the morning you will be woken up by the howler monkeys next to your bungalow and you will likely see a few stray agoutis too.
The Cahuita National Park is also particularly recommended. Visit the local sloths.
Day 8: Puerto Viejo – Puerto Viejo Sarapiquim
Along the coast via Puerto Limon you travel north again to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui (named after the Sarapiqui river). In the surrounding area a visit to the Tirimbina Rainforest Center and / or La Selva Biological Station is worthwhile. A special highlight – not just for the children – is the chocolate tour followed by a tasting.
Day 9 – 10: Puerto Viejo Sarapiquim
La Quinta de Sarapiquí is ideal for a stay with the family. Here you can enjoy life in a relaxed environment in harmony with nature. There are playgrounds, frog ponds, lizards, bats, a butterfly garden, pool, pool table, and activities in the river that passes by the lodge. One of the highlights is the bird feeder, which attracts a large number of feathered friends and enables great snapshots. La Quinta de Sarapiquí is 100% environmentally friendly and goes to great lengths to harmonize with the surrounding nature.
Day 11: Puerto Viejo Sarapiquim – La Fortuna
If the weather is nice, it is worth setting off this morning and visiting the Poàs volcano from behind via San Miguel and Varablanca. You can then travel back to La Fortuna via San Miguel. On the route San Miguel – Varablanca is the well-known La Paz Waterfall Garden, a beautiful tropical garden with beautiful waterfalls and at the same time a small zoo, trout ponds, bird cages and butterfly tent. A wonderful experience for the whole family!
Day 12 – 13: La Fortuna with Arenal volcano
Around La Fortuna you will find hot springs, beautiful waterfalls and dense rainforest. Stroll through its treetops or go kayaking on Lake Arenal. You will definitely not get bored here during your car tour!
The 65 hectare complex of your hotel offers several kilometers of walking paths and its own canopy tour. The main attraction besides the wonderful view of the volcano is the pool park: 14 swimming pools, 13 of which are fed with thermal mineral water.
Day 14: La Fortuna – Tenorio National Park
Short drive by rental car via La Fortuna and the northern lowlands via San Rafael to Bijagua. There are many beautiful hikes in the area around the Tenerife volcano and the national park. The turquoise colored Rio Celeste has blossomed from an insider tip into a well-known tourist attraction in Costa Rica.
Day 15: Tenorio National Park
Your lodge is picturesquely situated between the Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes and near the Río Celeste, one of the area’s main attractions. Minerals from two rivers and the volcanoes cause a unique chemical reaction there: when they converge, the water turns an intense light blue, which travelers from near and far marvel at. From here you can also go hiking in the primary forest of the Tenorio Volcano National Park, where, with a little luck, you can spot long-tailed pipras, armadillos, maki bears and other animal species.
Day 16: Tenorio National Park – Santa Elena
Today you travel to Santa Elena. On the way you have the opportunity to visit the “Centro de Rescate las Pumas”. This is a rescue station for injured animals which are later released into the wild if possible.
Then you drive back into the volcanic hilly landscape that separates the Pacific from the Atlantic. Your destination is Santa Elena, the main town around the Monteverde cloud forest reserve. Here it is worth visiting one of the suspension bridge tours. There are various routes that are also suitable for children.
Day 17-18: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The mystical cloud forest is home to over 2,500 species of plants and over 100 species of mammals. On a suspension bridge tour or while zip-lining, you can see the fascinating surroundings from above. You can also visit the hummingbird garden or take a guided tour through the jungle. The biodiversity is incredibly high here.
Day 19: Santa Elena – Samara
With the rental car you drive through the sunny province of Guanacaste to the Pacific coast. The Nicoya Peninsula is particularly popular with surfers, as it offers an endless number of beautiful beaches. You will soon reach the small seaside resort of Samara via Nicoya.
20th – 24th day: Beach
stay in Samara Enjoy relaxing days on the beach at the end of your Costa Rica tour. Samara Bay has relatively calm waters, making it more suitable for bathing with children than others along the Pacific coast.
Day 25: Samara – San José / journey home
Even the most beautiful holidays with the family come to an end. Today it is time to say goodbye to Costa Rica. You drive to the airport, where you return your rental car. You will then take the return flight.