Jungles & Volcanoes of Costa Rica

red eyed tree frog Costa Rica
Duration: 11 nights
Type: Worldwide walking holidays
Walking Grade: 2

Our Costa Rica holidays tick-off all the highlights of this ecologically rich wonderland. You’ll experience the steamy jungles of the 20,000-acre Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and sail down the Frío River searching for sloths and monkeys swinging from the trees. Head into the fog-shrouded landscapes of a Costa Rican cloud forest to spot rare tropical birds, and be wowed by walks along the lava fields and trails of Arenal Volcano National Park. Equally impressive is Rincón de la Vieja National Park where smoking craters and fumaroles hint at the massive geothermal forces at work below the earth. You’ll even squeeze in time to relax on the paradise beaches of Guanacaste.

What you’ll love

  • Admiring Costa Rica’s tropical birds including the rare quetzal
  • Discovering the active Arenal and Rincón de la Vieja volcanoes
  • Relaxing on a boat ride through Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
  • Tucking into a homecooked dinner with our local family hosts
  • A guided tour of Las Pumas Rescue Centre & Sanctuary
  • Visiting Santa Rosa National Park

What’s included

  • Full programme of guided walks led by local HF Holidays Leaders
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Half-board (breakfast and evening meal plus 8 lunches)
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees (as per itinerary)
  • Air-conditioned transport 
  • Return flights from the UK including hold baggage and airport transfers

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

See Dates, Prices & Trip Note tab to check which itinerary is running

There’s a 40-minute transfer from the airport to our hotel, which is set in its own private botanical gardens. We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner here, too.

Minimum altitude 1,200m
Maximum altitude 1,200m

Hotel Bougainvillea, San José - Costa Rica

Located just 10 minutes from downtown San José, the Hotel Bougainvillea is surrounded by large, beautiful tropical gardens – the ideal start to your holiday.


After a morning wandering the botanical garden, we’ll drive into the mountains to the area known as the Quetzal Valley where Costa Rica’s rich birdlife thrives. With luck, we’ll spot the valley’s namesake bird, the resplendent quetzal. We’ll stop for lunch at Mirador de Quetzales, then walk along the cloud forest trails in search of rare wildlife and flora. The evening’s yours to enjoy before dinner back at the lodge.

Minimum altitude 2,700m
Maximum altitude 2,800m
Distance: 3km

Mirador de Quetzales, San Gerardo de Dota

The family-run Mirador de Quetzales dedicates itself to ecological tourism. Each of the individual bungalows is relatively basic, making the views over the untouched cloud forest the star of the show. The cloud forest gets very chilly at night so it’s a good idea to bring some warm layers. (December 2023)


You’ll experience the cloud forest of Reserva Savegre today, taking the Los Robles trail to reach the viewpoint, then returning along La Quebrada trail. You can spend the afternoon relaxing back at the hotel or completing one of the shorter trails including Canto de las Aves or Los Pioneros.

Minimum altitude 2,200m
Maximum altitude 2,600m
Distance: 7.8km total. Steep ascent at the start and over three hours’ walking time

Mirador de Quetzales, San Gerardo de Dota

The family-run Mirador de Quetzales dedicates itself to ecological tourism. Each of the individual bungalows is relatively basic, making the views over the untouched cloud forest the star of the show. The cloud forest gets very chilly at night so it’s a good idea to bring some warm layers. (December 2023)


We’ll drive across mountainous areas including the Braulio Carrilo National Park to Costa Rica’s Atlantic region and Sarapiqui. We’ll visit the Pierella Ecological Garden to have lunch and learn about this sustainable butterfly farm and conservation project. Once we arrive at the hotel, you’ll have free time before dinner.

Minimum altitude 100m
Maximum altitude 100m
Distance: 2km with multiple stops (two hours)

Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge, Sarapiqui

Built on the site of a 15th century pre-Columbian village, the Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge has its own archaeological park with sweeping views from the restaurant terrace to the Sarapiqui River and rainforest below. (December 2023)


We’ll head into the jungle to explore the tropical rainforest on Selva Verde's 500-acre private reserve with our expert naturalist guides. Then we’ll travel to the Arenal Volcano area and La Fortuna to check in to our hotel and relax for the afternoon.

Minimum altitude 100m
Maximum altitude 100m
Distance: between 3km and 5km. On the longer route, the last 200m has a steep incline

Hotel Arenal Manoa, Arenal Volcano

Our Junior Suites come with private terraces set amongst the tropical gardens, lawns, and pools of the Hotel Arenal Manoa. The hotel also offers two hot spring pools and a hot tub. (December 2023)


Explore the western side of the volcano on the Arenal 1968 trail named after the year it dramatically erupted. Hike the old lava flow trails before a relaxing afternoon at our hotel. In the evening we’ll drive to the neighbouring town of La Tigra where a local family will host us on a nocturnal rainforest nature walk followed by traditional homecooked meal.

Minimum altitude 600m
Maximum altitude 900m
Distance: 3.2km (1.5 hours) or 5.3km (2.5 hours) with an ascent of approximately 150m to a viewpoint

La Tigra night walk minimum altitude 500m and maximum altitude 600m. Distance: 1 km 

Hotel Arenal Manoa, Arenal Volcano

Our Junior Suites come with private terraces set amongst the tropical gardens, lawns, and pools of the Hotel Arenal Manoa. The hotel also offers two hot spring pools and a hot tub. (December 2023)


This morning, we’ll head to Los Chiles to visit the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. A slow river boat ride will take us along the Frío River, a biologically diverse wetland conservation area where you’re in with a chance of spotting monkeys, caimans, turtles, sloths, and butterflies. You’ll have time to relax before dining out at a restaurant in La Fortuna.

Hotel Arenal Manoa, Arenal Volcano

Our Junior Suites come with private terraces set amongst the tropical gardens, lawns, and pools of the Hotel Arenal Manoa. The hotel also offers two hot spring pools and a hot tub. (December 2023)


We’ll travel to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, stopping off for a guided tour of Las Pumas Wildlife Sanctuary to discover the important work this big cat wildlife refuge is doing. Then we’ll head to our hotel - our base for the next two nights.


We’ll hike through the Rincón de la Vieja National Park today, home to over 300 species of birds. We’ll see part of the Colorado River and several active fumaroles of this geyser volcano. 

Minimum altitude 1,400m
Maximum altitude 1,800m
Distance: from 2.8km to 7.6km


The beautiful Guanacaste beaches are in reach today. On the way, we’ll stop at Santa Rosa National Park. Explore the trails and learn more about its history before journeying through several picturesque towns to reach the coast and our final beach-side accommodation.


You have a full day of free time and leisure. Relax by the pool, enjoy a refreshing dip at the beach, or discover one of the many optional activities. There’s a group farewell dinner this evening at our hotel.


We’ll transfer to the airport for our departure flight.


See Dates, Prices & Trip Note tab to check which itinerary is running

There’s a 40-minute transfer from the airport to our hotel, which is set in its own private botanical gardens. We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner here, too.

Minimum altitude 1,200m
Maximum altitude 1,200m

Hotel Bougainvillea, San José - Costa Rica

Located just 10 minutes from downtown San José, the Hotel Bougainvillea is surrounded by large, beautiful tropical gardens – the ideal start to your holiday.


After a morning wandering the botanical garden, we’ll drive into the mountains to the area known as the Quetzal Valley where Costa Rica’s rich birdlife thrives. With luck, we’ll spot the valley’s namesake bird, the resplendent quetzal. We’ll stop for lunch at Mirador de Quetzales, then walk along the cloud forest trails in search of rare wildlife and flora. The evening’s yours to enjoy before dinner back at the lodge.

Minimum altitude 2,700m
Maximum altitude 2,800m
Distance: 3km

Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

Nestled in the cloud forest, surrounded by mountains and impressive oak trees, Trogon Lodge is the perfect spot to soak up the beauty of this magical landscape. You’ll stay in comfortable rooms that are spread out amongst the gardens. (November 2023)


You’ll experience the cloud forest of Reserva Savegre today, taking the Los Robles trail to reach the viewpoint, then returning along La Quebrada trail. You can spend the afternoon relaxing back at the hotel or completing one of the shorter trails including Canto de las Aves or Los Pioneros.

Minimum altitude 2,200m
Maximum altitude 2,600m
Distance: 7.8km total. Steep ascent at the start and over three hours’ walking time

Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

Nestled in the cloud forest, surrounded by mountains and impressive oak trees, Trogon Lodge is the perfect spot to soak up the beauty of this magical landscape. You’ll stay in comfortable rooms that are spread out amongst the gardens. (November 2023)


We’ll drive across mountainous areas including the Braulio Carrilo National Park to Costa Rica’s Atlantic region and Sarapiqui. We’ll visit the Pierella Ecological Garden to have lunch and learn about this sustainable butterfly farm and conservation project. Once we arrive at the hotel, you’ll have free time before dinner.

Minimum altitude 100m
Maximum altitude 100m
Distance: 2km with multiple stops (two hours)

Selva Verde (Lodge), Sarapiqui - Costa Rica

Selva Verde is an eco-lodge featuring 45 comfortable rooms built on platforms so you can truly appreciate the surroundings of the Sarapiquí River. There are two restaurants, a swimming pool, plus a suspension bridge over the river and several forest trails.


We’ll head into the jungle to explore the tropical rainforest on Selva Verde's 500-acre private reserve with our expert naturalist guides. Then we’ll travel to the Arenal Volcano area and La Fortuna to check in to our hotel and relax for the afternoon.

Minimum altitude 100m
Maximum altitude 100m
Distance: between 3km and 5km. On the longer route, the last 200m has a steep incline


Explore the western side of the volcano on the Arenal 1968 trail named after the year it dramatically erupted. Hike the old lava flow trails before a relaxing afternoon at our hotel. In the evening we’ll drive to the neighbouring town of La Tigra where a local family will host us on a nocturnal rainforest nature walk followed by traditional homecooked meal.

Minimum altitude 600m
Maximum altitude 900m
Distance: 3.2km (1.5 hours) or 5.3km (2.5 hours) with an ascent of approximately 150m to a viewpoint

La Tigra night walk minimum altitude 500m and maximum altitude 600m. Distance: 1 km 


This morning, we’ll head to Los Chiles to visit the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. A slow river boat ride will take us along the Frío River, a biologically diverse wetland conservation area where you’re in with a chance of spotting monkeys, caimans, turtles, sloths, and butterflies. You’ll have time to relax before dining out at a restaurant in La Fortuna.


We’ll travel to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, stopping off for a guided tour of Las Pumas Wildlife Sanctuary to discover the important work this big cat wildlife refuge is doing. Then we’ll head to our hotel that’s our base for the next two nights.


We’ll hike through the Rincón de la Vieja National Park this morning, home to over 300 species of birds. We’ll see part of the Colorado River and several active fumaroles of this geyser volcano. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy a waterfall hike or simply relax at the hot springs.

Minimum altitude 1,400m
Maximum altitude 1,800m
Distance: from 2.8km to 7.6km


The beautiful Guanacaste beaches are in reach today. On the way, we’ll stop at Santa Rosa National Park. Explore the trails and learn more about its history before journeying through several picturesque towns to reach the coast and our final beach-side accommodation.

Papagayo Golden Palms, Guanacaste

Set on a pristine stretch of sand along the Gulf of Papagayo, the boutique-style Papagayo Golden Palms tempts with an oceanfront pool, spa, open-air terraces, and beautifully-appointed guest rooms. (November 2023)


You have a full day of free time and leisure. Relax by the pool, enjoy a refreshing dip at the beach, or discover one of the many optional activities. There’s a group farewell dinner this evening at our hotel.

Papagayo Golden Palms, Guanacaste

Set on a pristine stretch of sand along the Gulf of Papagayo, the boutique-style Papagayo Golden Palms tempts with an oceanfront pool, spa, open-air terraces, and beautifully-appointed guest rooms. (November 2023)


We’ll transfer to the airport for our departure flight.


Itinerary map for Costa Rica

Hotel Bougainvillea, San José - Costa Rica

Located just 10 minutes from downtown San José, the Hotel Bougainvillea is surrounded by large, beautiful tropical gardens – the ideal start to your holiday.

Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

Nestled in the cloud forest, surrounded by mountains and impressive oak trees, Trogon Lodge is the perfect spot to soak up the beauty of this magical landscape. You’ll stay in comfortable rooms that are spread out amongst the gardens. (November 2023)

Mirador de Quetzales, San Gerardo de Dota

The family-run Mirador de Quetzales dedicates itself to ecological tourism. Each of the individual bungalows is relatively basic, making the views over the untouched cloud forest the star of the show. The cloud forest gets very chilly at night so it’s a good idea to bring some warm layers. (December 2023)

Selva Verde (Lodge), Sarapiqui - Costa Rica

Selva Verde is an eco-lodge featuring 45 comfortable rooms built on platforms so you can truly appreciate the surroundings of the Sarapiquí River. There are two restaurants, a swimming pool, plus a suspension bridge over the river and several forest trails.

La Quinta de Sarapiqui Country Inn, Sarapiqui

La Quinta offers airy, spacious rooms in bungalows surrounded by tropical gardens. Complete with a swimming pool, a selection of self-guided short trails, and three lakes to explore, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. (November 2023)

Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge, Sarapiqui

Built on the site of a 15th century pre-Columbian village, the Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge has its own archaeological park with sweeping views from the restaurant terrace to the Sarapiqui River and rainforest below. (December 2023)

Hotel Arenal Manoa, Arenal Volcano

Our Junior Suites come with private terraces set amongst the tropical gardens, lawns, and pools of the Hotel Arenal Manoa. The hotel also offers two hot spring pools and a hot tub. (December 2023)

Papagayo Golden Palms, Guanacaste

Set on a pristine stretch of sand along the Gulf of Papagayo, the boutique-style Papagayo Golden Palms tempts with an oceanfront pool, spa, open-air terraces, and beautifully-appointed guest rooms. (November 2023)

Essential information

It's best to be prepared for all weather conditions. To make it easier, here is a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Walking boots 
  • Waterproof jacket 
  • Waterproof trousers 
  • Insulated jacket/top 
  • Walking clothing  
  • Walking socks (plus spares)  
  • Sunhat 
  • Gloves/mitts and warm hat
  • Water bottle (minimum 2 litre capacity)  
  • Headtorch 
  • High-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)  
  • Sunglasses with a dark lens 
  • Rucksack (15-30 litres)  
  • Mobile phone 
  • Personal first aid kit (containing your medication, blister plasters, etc.) 
  • Passport 
  • Visa (if applicable) 
  • Copy of your travel insurance policy 
  • UK Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as EHIC

Recommended

  • Collapsible walking poles 
  • Swimwear and travel towel
  • Snacks
  • Dry bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Insect repellent

Optional extras

  • Camera 
  • Sit mat
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box
  • Gaiters 
  • GPS device 

Guest reviews

Duration:
11 nights
Type:
Worldwide walking holidays
Walking Grade:
2

Call to Enquire

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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