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Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife

9 days Nature & Wildlife
From misty cloud forests and lush jungles to volcanic landscapes and sun-kissed beaches, there’s so much to love about this Central American hot spot. Begin your adventure in Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, then take a dip in the natural hot springs at the foot of the mighty Arenal Volcano and explore the majestic cloud forest region before ending your tour in San José.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 30 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails and muddy paths, with some hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 7 three-course dinners, including beer at the welcome and farewell dinners

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Tour of Costa Rica

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in San José

Fly to Costa Rica and settle into your hotel in San José.

Tortuguero 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Tortuguero

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drive through the Costa Rican countryside, then boat through jungle-lined canals to beachside Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, for a guided tour of the tropical area.

• Stop in Braulio Carrillo National Park, home of many dormant volcanoes and placid crater lakes

• Take a scenic drive through local banana plantations 

• Learn about endangered turtles at the Sea Turtle Conservancy 

Later, get to know your group at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Rainforest & canal expedition

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Explore Tortuguero National Park’s diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, swamps and beaches.

• Boat through the park’s canals, seeking out monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, sloths, toucans and bats

• View the freshwater creeks and lagoons, home to endangered turtles and over 50 species of fish

Arenal Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Arenal hot springs

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer to the highlands for your first glimpse of Arenal Volcano National Park’s lush landscape, shaped by the active volcano and massive lake of the same name. Then, spend an afternoon in the relaxing waters of the La Fortuna de San Carlos volcanic hot springs.

Day 5: Hiking tour of Arenal

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park on a guided tour.

• View the mile-high volcano, a near-perfect conical shape that emerges from the Sierra de Tilarán mountain range 

• Gaze at the placid Lake Arenal, watching for hummingbirds, woodpeckers and kingfishers by its shores

• Stop to enjoy a tasting of raw sugarcane at a local farm

Enjoy a free afternoon in Arenal or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ziplining Tour $55pp* Details

Today's ziplining excursion adds a bit of adrenaline to your Costa Rican vacation. The longest ziplines on this course cover nearly half a mile, and the tallest are almost 600 feet off the ground; in short, you've never traveled like this before! You'll fly silently above the treetops and come home with a renewed sense of adventure.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Monteverde 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Scenic tour of Lake Arenal

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer to Monteverde by boat for another look at the spectacular Lake Arenal, then enjoy a free afternoon in Monteverde or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Sky Walk $45pp* Details

The canopy layer of the Costa Rican rainforest teems with life, but until recently, it was difficult for travelers to enter this world. On today's excursion, a guided tour brings you to a series of suspended bridges high above the floor of the Monteverde cloud forest. Today, you'll walk where birds fly.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

Day 7: Cloud forest reserve excursion

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Take a guided tour of what may be the world’s most stunning cloud forest reserve. 

• Walk along the forest floor, spotting colorful amphibians, reptiles and birds  

• Learn about the local educational system by visiting a school (Please note: On select departures, school may be closed for holidays and breaks)

• Help with reforestation efforts by planting a native tree at Heliconia Ranch

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of San José

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Leave the cloud forest behind for the European-style city of San José, stopping at Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation en route. Learn about coffee harvests and enjoy a tasting before continuing on for a guided tour of San José.

• 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

• Pass Bellavista 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

Day 9: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Costa Rica to explore Manuel Antonio.

Add Manuel Antonio & San José Starting from $659 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Soak in the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio, a vibrant destination where lush rainforests are side by side with postcard-worthy beaches.

Manuel Antonio 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Tarcoles River cruise

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

En route to Manuel Antonio, relax on a riverboat tour of the Tarcoles River with a local guide.

• Take in views of lush mangrove forests and jungle settings

• Look out for wildlife such as crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, monkeys and birds

Day 10: Manuel Antonio National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Get to know the country’s smallest national park, popular for its breathtaking beaches and scenic hiking trails.

• Keep an eye out for local fauna—the park is home to 109 mammal species and 270 bird species

• Walk to the top of rocky Cathedral Point to view the park from across the Pacific

• Witness a blowhole shooting sea spray over Escondido Beach

• Survey the saw cliff and sea caves at Serrucho Point 

• View a pre-Columbian underwater turtle trap

Enjoy a free afternoon in Manuel Antonio or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Manuel Antonio Sunset Cruise $95pp* Details

Spend the afternoon cruising along the central Pacific coast of Quepos on board the Ocean King catamaran, the largest catamaran in Central America. Sail through the various islands and rock formations as you explore Manuel Antonio National Park from the water, keeping an eye out for dolphins and sea birds that inhabit the area. Stop at tranquil Biesanz beach to snorkel in the calm turquoise waters as you explore the underwater beauty up close.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 11: Transfer to San José

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free morning before traveling back to San José and rejoining your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 5 three-course dinners, including beer at the welcome and farewell dinners

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in San José

Fly to Costa Rica and settle into your hotel in San José.

Tortuguero 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Tortuguero

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drive through the Costa Rican countryside. Then, boat through jungle-lined canals to beachside Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, for a guided tour of the tropical area.

• Stop in Braulio Carrillo National Park, home of many dormant volcanoes and placid crater lakes

• Take a scenic drive through local banana plantations 

• Learn about endangered turtles at the Caribbean Conservation Center 

Later, get to know your group at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Rainforest & canal expedition

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Explore Tortuguero National Park’s diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, swamps and beaches.

• Boat through the park’s canals, seeking out monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, sloths, toucans and bats

• View the freshwater creeks and lagoons, home to endangered turtles and over 50 species of fish

Arenal Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Arenal via Guapiles

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to the highlands  for your first glimpse of Arenal Volcano National Park’s lush landscape, shaped by the active volcano and massive lake of the same name. Stop in Guapiles for lunch, then enjoy a free afternoon in Arenal or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Arenal Hot Springs & Dinner $75pp* Details

Head to Arenal National Park and relax at the park’s natural hot springs. The afternoon is yours to explore the array of heated pools, kept warm by geothermal activity surrounding the Arenal Volcano. Then, enjoy dinner, along with views of the volcano, at a restaurant in the charming town of La Fortuna before traveling back to your hotel.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 5: Hiking tour of Arenal

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park on a guided tour.

• View the mile-high volcano, a near-perfect conical shape that emerges from the Sierra de Tilarán

• Gaze at the placid Lake Arenal, watching for hummingbirds, woodpeckers and kingfishers by its shores

Enjoy a free afternoon in Arenal or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ziplining Tour $55pp* Details

Today's ziplining excursion adds a bit of adrenaline to your Costa Rican vacation. The longest ziplines on this course cover nearly half a mile, and the tallest are almost 600 feet off the ground; in short, you've never traveled like this before! You'll fly silently above the treetops and come home with a renewed sense of adventure.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Monteverde 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Scenic tour of Arenal Lake

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer to Monteverde by boat for another look at the spectacular Lake Arenal, then enjoy a free afternoon in Monteverde or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Sky Walk $45pp* Details

The canopy layer of the Costa Rican rainforest teems with life, but until recently, it was difficult for travelers to enter this world. On today's excursion, a guided tour brings you to a series of suspended bridges high above the floor of the Monteverde cloud forest. Today, you'll walk where birds fly.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

Day 7: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Take a guided tour of what may be the world’s most stunning cloud forest reserve. 

• Walk along the forest floor, spotting colorful amphibians, reptiles and birds  

• Learn about the local educational system by visiting a school (Please note: On select departures, school may be closed for holidays and breaks)

• Help with reforestation efforts by planting a native tree at Heliconia Ranch

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of San José

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Leave the cloud forest behind to explore the Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation, learn about coffee harvests and enjoy a tasting. Then, get to know the European-style city of San José on a guided tour.

• Pass by the National Theatre and Opera House 

• See Sabana Metropolitan Park’s many monuments and sculptures

• Stop at the Plaza de la Cultura, site of many public performances and celebrations  

• See Bella Vista Fortress and learn about the city’s pre-Columbian history

• Marvel at the Metallic Building’s century-old metal exterior

• Stroll through the historic streets of Barrio Amón

Day 9: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Costa Rica to explore Manuel Antonio.

Add Manuel Antonio & San José Starting from $749 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Soak in the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio, a vibrant destination where lush rainforests are side by side with postcard-worthy beaches.

Manuel Antonio 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Tarcoles River cruise

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Manuel Antonio, relax on a riverboat tour of the Tarcoles River with a local guide.

• Take in views of lush mangrove forests and jungle settings

• Look out for wildlife such as crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, monkeys and birds

Day 10: Manuel Antonio National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know the country’s smallest national park, popular for its breathtaking beaches and scenic hiking trails.

• Keep an eye out for local fauna—the park is home to 109 mammal species and 270 bird species

• Walk to the top of rocky Cathedral Point to view the park from across the Pacific

• Witness a blowhole shooting sea spray over Escondido Beach

• Survey the saw cliff and sea caves at Serrucho Point 

• View a pre-Columbian underwater turtle trap

Enjoy a free afternoon in Manuel Antonio or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Manuel Antonio Sunset Cruise $95pp* Details

Spend the afternoon cruising along the central Pacific coast of Quepos on board the Ocean King catamaran, the largest catamaran in Central America. Sail through the various islands and rock formations as you explore Manuel Antonio National Park from the water, keeping an eye out for dolphins and sea birds that inhabit the area. Stop at tranquil Biesanz beach to snorkel in the calm turquoise waters as you explore the underwater beauty up close.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 11: Transfer to San José

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free morning before traveling back to San José and rejoining your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • San José, Costa Rica
  • Tortuguero, Costa Rica
  • Arenal, Costa Rica
  • Monteverde, Costa Rica
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa

In order to enter Costa Rica, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, contact the Costa Rican consulate for your particular entry requirements.

Airport & departure taxes

If you purchased your flights through Go Ahead, all airport and departure taxes for this tour are included in the total trip cost printed on your invoice. If you booked your own flights, you will be responsible for paying the departure tax of $29 at the airport before checking in for your flight. Please note that this fee can be paid with USD, the Costa Rican colón, Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

Your itinerary focuses on the outdoors, so your clothing should be casual and appropriate for outdoor use. Loose-fitting, layered clothing that can accommodate varying temperatures will be most comfortable. A sun hat, sunglasses and a bathing suit are recommended, as well as sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Occasional rain showers are common in the areas you’ll be visiting, so pack light rainwear. Binoculars are very useful for bird- and animal-watching, along with a field guide if you’re interested in the different species you’ll spot. Insect repellent is also highly recommended for visits to the rainforests.

Health

Travelers should be reasonably fit. Take proper care for sun exposure. There is also some risk of mosquito-born diseases, especially in the rainforests and national parks. Consult your doctor at least eight weeks prior to departure about possible preventive measures and personal travel requirements.

Cuisine

Costa Rican cuisine is often based on rice, black beans, corn, and beef, chicken or fish. Fresh, locally grown fruit is abundant and includes such varieties as bananas, mangoes, pineapples and avocados. Traditional desserts include custards, puddings and simple cakes. Locally grown coffee is served very strong and black, though it may be served with hot milk upon request.

Transportation

Flights arrive in San José and depart from San José. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. Destinations on tour are all easily walkable, although some local buses may be available.

Electricity

Costa Rica uses 110 volts, the U.S. standard.

Time zones

Costa Rica is always six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and it does not observe daylight-saving time. Therefore, it’s two hours behind New York from April to October, and one hour behind New York from October to April.

Currency

The Costa Rican colón is the currency you will be using on your tour, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. Better rates of exchange are usually available at your destination, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take a combination of debit/bank cards and credit cards, which may be exchanged at local banks for cash as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing optional excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See the separate “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

How's the weather?

  • San José, Costa Rica
  • Tortuguero, Costa Rica
  • Arenal, Costa Rica
  • Monteverde, Costa Rica
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa

In order to enter Costa Rica, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, contact the Costa Rican consulate for your particular entry requirements.

Airport & departure taxes

If you purchased your flights through Go Ahead, all airport and departure taxes for this tour are included in the total trip cost printed on your invoice. If you booked your own flights, you will be responsible for paying the departure tax of $29 at the airport before checking in for your flight. Please note that this fee can be paid with USD, the Costa Rican colón, Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & packing tips

Your itinerary focuses on the outdoors, so your clothing should be casual and appropriate for outdoor use. Loose-fitting, layered clothing that can accommodate varying temperatures will be most comfortable. A sun hat, sunglasses and a bathing suit are recommended, as well as sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Occasional rain showers are common in the areas you’ll be visiting, so pack light rainwear. Binoculars are very useful for bird- and animal-watching, along with a field guide if you’re interested in the different species you’ll spot. Insect repellent is also highly recommended for visits to the rainforests.

Health

Travelers should be reasonably fit. Take proper care for sun exposure. There is also some risk of mosquito-born diseases, especially in the rainforests and national parks. Consult your doctor at least eight weeks prior to departure about possible preventive measures and personal travel requirements.

Cuisine

Costa Rican cuisine is often based on rice, black beans, corn, and beef, chicken or fish. Fresh, locally grown fruit is abundant and includes such varieties as bananas, mangoes, pineapples and avocados. Traditional desserts include custards, puddings and simple cakes. Locally grown coffee is served very strong and black, though it may be served with hot milk upon request.

Transportation

Flights arrive in San José and depart from San José. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. Destinations on tour are all easily walkable, although some local buses may be available.

Electricity

Costa Rica uses 110 volts, the U.S. standard.

Time zones

Costa Rica is always six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and it does not observe daylight-saving time. Therefore, it’s two hours behind New York from April to October, and one hour behind New York from October to April.

Currency

The Costa Rican colón is the currency you will be using on your tour, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. Better rates of exchange are usually available at your destination, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take a combination of debit/bank cards and credit cards, which may be exchanged at local banks for cash as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing optional excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See the separate “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beyond What I Imagined

My husband and I booked this trip on a whim and had NO CLUE as to how awesome it would truly be. It was our first time on South America and I am actually thinking of taking our next trip to another country in S. America as well. We can't stop telling people about the wonderful time we had on the trip, if you're adventurous as heart this trip is definitely for you! The itinerary was jam-packed (which is something we enjoyed), the food was so good, the hotels were in stunning locations, and our tour guide/bus driver went above and beyond for us to enjoy our time there, we would definitely recommend this tour to anyone!

 

Hi Alexis! We’re so glad that you and your husband enjoyed your time in Costa Rica! You certainly chose an incredible part of the world to explore. We agree that this tour is for the adventurous and for those looking to soak up the wonderful natural and cultural beauty of this Central American gem. Thank you for your feedback on the itinerary, food, hotels, Tour Director, and bus driver. We will be sharing it all with our teams internally. We appreciate your recommendation, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 25, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/9/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Costa Rica

I enjoyed this trip much more than I'd expected to, Our guide, Edgar, was wonderful. He was friendly, organized, and extremely knowledgeable. Our driver, Jorge, was also great. He kept long drives fun and was also very knowledgeable about the area. I learned so much about Costa Rica thanks to these guys. Planned excursions were great. We explored areas by boat, hiked around a volcano, went to the hot springs, and hiked through the Cloud Forest, among many other things. I can't say enough about how gorgeous the country is. If you go during the rainy season, which I did, be prepared for the rain to come and go throughout the day. It didn't stop us from anything though. We made sure to have have slickers and ponchos at all times, and were able to get to where we were going without any trouble. I added the optional excursions. Despite the fact that heights make me nervous, I couldn't pass up ziplining and the Sky Walk. I highly recommend both. The ziplining crew was fun and professional. The Sky Walk allowed for a view of the rain forest from a different perspective. Meals were tasty. We had opportunities to eat delicious authentic food for most if the trip. Hotel accommodations were comfortable. There were bugs, but that's a given being in the rain forest. Just make sure to be prepared with bug spray. We saw many creatures during our drives and also at our hotels (sloths, monkeys, and iguanas to name a few). Everyone I encountered during my trip was so friendly. I hope to be able to go back and visit again. Another excellent vacation thanks to the Go Ahead crew!

1 / 2
 

Hi Vanessa! We’re thrilled that this tour exceeded your expectations. We also appreciate your feedback regarding your Tour Director and bus driver, and we will be sure to share it with them. This itinerary includes a lot of unique activities, and it sounds like you took advantage of them! Zip-lining through the rain forest is definitely a must, as well as the Sky Walk. It’s great to know that you gave these activities a try, despite your fear of heights. We’re glad you were prepared for rainy weather. With the right gear, a little rain certainly doesn’t have to put a damper on your experience. You’re also right about bringing along bug spray. That’s always a good item to have in the rain forest! We’re so pleased you enjoyed your tour, and we appreciate that you took the time to share you experience. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 20, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 7/9/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Didn't Have To Lift A Finger

Loved this trip as I travelled with my 16 year old daughter and left hubby and son behind. I'm usually having to plan everything along with the meals, etc, and this time I opted to spend a little more $$ and "just show up". It was fabulous! The food was awesome - my daughter is a vegan and Aninga Lodge made special plates for her that everyone else was jealous of! It was a fast paced trip and active, and we are active people so that was great. The group dynamic with other travelers was terrific-this was a very educational tour so we learned a lot. The ziplining was both challenging but manageable and not careless as I have heard other tour companies are. Only downside is that San Jose accomodations were only "eh", but we only stayed for getting there and leaving. Next time I'd take the longer trip extension. Loved our guide and it was the best trip ever. Thanks Go Ahead!

1 / 7
 

Hi Susan! What a special trip for you and your daughter! We’re so glad you two were able to relax and make lifelong memories together. It’s wonderful to hear that you felt this was an educational experience, as education is at the heart of our tours. We’re pleased that your daughter had no trouble sticking to her vegan diet, and we’re also happy you gave ziplining a try. Ziplining is a must! We regret to learn that the San Jose accommodations didn’t quite match your expectations, and we will be sure to share this feedback with our team. Thank you for your review, and let us know when you’re ready to travel again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 23, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/4/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

OUR GUIDE MADE THIS A FANTASTIC TRIP

This trip was positively excellent. Diego our guide was wonderful. He offer that little extra bit to make the trip the best. He was very knowledgeable about the forests, flowers, insects and animals. He carried a telescope with him so when he heard a bird, he would find it, identify it and was able to show the bird to us up close. Thanks Diego. Please consider the zip lining excursion, it was so amazing and fun. We had people from their 20s up to 80 going. The view was Beautiful. If you enjoy nature this is a trip for you.

 

Hi Marjorie! We’re delighted to learn that your Tour Director went out of his way for your group and that his expertise enhanced your overall experience. We completely agree that zip-lining is a must-do, and we’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 11, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/9/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Pura Vida

As if it wasn't enough to leave cold, snowy home to get away to Costa Rica for 9 days, this trip was the experience of a lifetime. I so enjoyed meeting all the great characters that chose to travel at the same time as my trip. It was quite an adventure. I booked for April 9-17th which happened to fall in the dry season. It was a great time to go. I still wore insect repellant and got a few bug bites, but nothing too bad at all. The dollar is widely accepted but the exchange rate is about 500 colones to a dollar so it was pretty easy to navigate. I was a solo traveler along with 6 other solo travelers 1 family and a few couples which included people from all over the US and Canada. Pure Vida is the Costa Rican expression that translates to pure life and is a great way to describe the way many Costa Ricans live. The food was tasty and plentiful, there were so many meals included. I feel like I really got a taste of the entire country as we traveled from the caribbean coast to the mountains and back to the city. Rafael was our fantastic tour director. You can tell he loves his country and his job. He had a lot of useful suggestions as well as a ton of culture and history information to liven up the bus rides. Some rough, mountain dirt roads caused a bit of motion sickness for me, but they were really good about rest stops and the pace of travel. We saw a ton of wildlife and plants throughout the tour and the pictures really just don't do it justice.

1 / 8
 

Hi Lori! Welcome home, and thank you for your review! We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed the “Pura Vida” experience. It sounds like your Tour Director and group contributed greatly to the success of your tour, adding a layer of enthusiasm and wonderful company. We’re sorry to hear you experienced some motion sickness on the mountain roads, but we’re glad you felt you had enough periods of rest to combat it. It’s wonderful to know you saw so much wildlife and learned about different kinds of plants. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity, surely one of the country’s greatest attractions. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience and look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 26, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Love the Countryside

Costa Rica wildlife and plants, mountains, views, waterfalls, were all gorgeous and even breathtaking! I loved the jungle and the abundant wildlife. I saw some of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen. The accommodations in some areas was not as good as one might expect on a guided tour but we were in the a remote area of the rain forest so one must take that into account. The people were friendly but San Jose was not a place to be alone at night. During the daytime it was a bustling city much like the places in the US but just as in the US, precautions must be taken during the evening hours. I loved Cost Rica, our tour guide was most knowledgeable and I learned so much about all aspects of the country from the government to the natural resources. A beautiful place to visit!!!

 

Hi Jennifer! We couldn’t agree more about the breathtaking natural beauty of Costa Rica! It’s lush, varied landscapes are just teeming with unique flora and fauna. We’re glad you were able to see some of the many beautiful birds endemic to the country. We regret to hear some of the hotels did not meet your expectations. It’s important to note that what might be considered a three, four, or five star hotel in one country is quite different than another. Also, there are some locations in this itinerary that are fairly remote, so as you say, it is important to take that into account. We do appreciate your valuable feedback and will be sure to communicate it to our Operations team. We are happy to hear you found the people of San Jose to be friendly. Regarding safety, it is our number one priority here at Go Ahead. San Jose is a great city, but like any major city, you should be aware of your surroundings. Your Tour Director is a great resource in terms of telling you places to avoid or offering best travel routes to and from a place you’d like to visit. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience, and we’re so glad you enjoyed your time in Costa Rica. We hope to welcome you on another tour soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 05, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: WV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Eco Tour Means Eco Tour!

Beginning with very early flights (which was a good thing, missed most commotion of busy times in airports), this tour was an on the move tour. I don't think there was a moment that we were not on the move. It certainly is a tour for those who are fit or at least semi fit! We hiked and walked and hiked some more! We rode a coach over some of the roughest roads I have ever traveled on, and I live in West Virginia. We followed the coach ride with a long soothing boat ride on a river. Our hotels were great except for the one on the mountainside in Monte Verde--so steep for walking and we were housed at the top level. I think even mountain goats would have had problems going up and down. Luckily the hotel provided shuttles up and down! The meals were great but got to be so so after 3 or 4 days of much the same fare. I loved plantains until the last 2 days! Some of our group became sick--me included on Thursday evening. Some thought they had eaten bad food or had drunk bad water. I believe I was dehydrated. It is very easy not to drink enough water when riding on a coach with no facility aboard. I would suggest Goahead look into that. I would recommend that the tour director make at least one stop at a local McDonalds just for the tourists to note the differences in them between countries. Some of my group really would have like a short breakfast stop there. We had a fantastic trip and met some very wonderful new people so over all it was an excellent tour, but I will stick with the non eco tours from now on! Our tour director Rafael and our coach driver Oliver were wonderful and I would recommend them to all future tours to Costa Rica.

1 / 1
 

Hi Joanne! Thank you for your valuable feedback. We’re so glad one of our team members was able to speak with you on the phone about your experience in Costa Rica. It sounds like you had a wonderful time on tour! We regret that the hotel in Monteverde did not meet your expectations, but we will be sure to communicate this feedback to our Operations team. In spite of your dissatisfaction with the location, we are glad you were able to utilize the shuttles provided by the hotel. We are also sorry to hear that you became dehydrated on tour. It is especially important to drink a lot of water in warmer climates, particularly on more active days. We will also communicate this to our team to ensure that this is made clear on future departures. We’re thrilled you had a fantastic tour and we hope to welcome you on another soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 05, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 2/20/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: ON

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Pur Vida!

This was a great tour as you experience 4 very different areas from the city of San Jose to the mountains of Monte Verde. Excellent way to really see the country and understand the diversity of Costa Rica. Make sure you go Zip Lining! You cannot leave the country without doing it once! Our Tour Director was great and he shared many facts about the country and its people which made for a really full experience. Food always fresh and well cooked, however, the staple of Costa Rica is beans and rice, so don't be surprised if you are offered it 3 times a day. I would recommend this tour to anyone who really wants to see nature and enjoy the river scenes, along with majestic views of mountains and rolling hills. You are amazed at the extraordinary amounts of birds and animals around you which makes the whole adventure just all that more fun. Pur Vida! Relax and enjoy Costa Rica! The people are lovely and genuine really wanting you to

1 / 1
 

Hello! It's great to hear you enjoyed your tour of Costa Rica. We agree that zip lining is a must, and we're so glad you did it! We're pleased that you were able to see so many animals and appreciate the natural beauty of Costa Rica. It's also wonderful to know you enjoyed your Tour Director. Thank you for sharing your experience!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 24, 2016

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 2/20/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Snapshot of Costa Rica

The tour covers three distinct areas: Tortugeuro, Arenal, and Monteverde. These are well described in the tour itinerary, so I won't duplicate. Positives: Tour director Rafael was outstanding with encyclopedic knowledge of local flora and fauna. You do get see a variety of Costa Rica geography from rain forests to volcanic areas. We saw a good variety of wildlife thanks to the eagle-eyed guide. There were a few walking/hiking excursions that were fun. The rooms at the hotels were very good. Negatives: There is a lot of time in transit via bus and/or boat between venues. This is unavoidable given the geography. One stretch is on unpaved roads and quite rough. There was far too much down time in the afternoon and evening in isolated locations with nothing to do and no accessible town. I would have preferred longer and more activities that involved walking or hiking. However, about a third of our group was challenged by the very moderate level of physical activity in the program as it was. The food was always decent, but not very interesting. Not sure if this was to find a lowest common denominator that suited everyone or characteristic of Costa Rican cuisine.

1 / 7
 

Hi Jason! Thank you for sharing your experience. We’re pleased to hear you enjoyed the variety of experiences on this tour, as well as your outstanding, expert Tour Director. It sounds like you were able to spot lots of wildlife and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. How wonderful! We’re also glad you were impressed with your accommodations. Our Operations Team strives to provide the best experience for our travelers, keeping in mind quality, location, and value. You’re right that there is a good amount of transit in this itinerary. Given the geography, the transit time is unavoidable when covering so much ground. We regret to hear you felt there was too much down time built into the itinerary. We do our best to strike a balance when designing tours so that travelers are able to see and learn a lot, while still having enough time for individual exploration. It’s good to know you would have liked longer and more physically engaging activities and that you found the food to be somewhat mediocre. It sounds like there may be room for improvement on this tour, and we will certainly communicate your valuable feedback to our Product Development team. Again, thank you for your review and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 07, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/6/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Rain, rain, go away

Tour, extension, and tour guide, Raphael, were excellent. Well paced, quite informative, excellent accomodations that put you in the true spirit of the country. It was nice to experience the rain forest with rain, but two and a half straight days was a little much! (I know Go Ahead has no control over the weather and we didn't miss any activities.) My rooms for a single were excellent, something I can't say about a previous tour. Food was quite repetitious at the breakfasts and lodges; somewhat more varied in the few restaurants we frequented but still limited choices. Fellow travelers were friendly, inquisitive and fun. Since I didn't go directly home from Costa Rica, but flew to Panama, it was nice for Go Ahead to arrange airport transfer in San Jose and return flight from Panama.

 

Hi Robert! It’s fantastic to hear you enjoyed your tour, extension, and Tour Director. We strive to provide the most authentic travel experiences for our travelers, so we are thrilled to know that you felt you saw the true spirit of the country. We regret to hear that it rained so much while you were in the rainforest, but we’re happy you didn’t have to miss any activities. Our goal is to run everything as planned, so long as the weather cooperates enough to make that happen. We’re pleased to learn that you were impressed with your accommodations and that you enjoyed your tour group. Regarding your meals, we will be sure to communicate your feedback to our Operations team. We thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 09, 2016

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