Classic Costa Rica

Rambles by land and sea from the Central Valley to the Osa Peninsula

  • Mix must-see sights and lesser-known gems
  • Sip Costa Rican coffee, amble through a cloud forest, and relax in tented luxury
  • An expertly crafted, stress-free trip with personalized experiences and seamless connections
More Trips Like This
Explore Costa Rica with GeoEx
Trip Type: Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 9 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour, Day Hiking, Rafting
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

Costa Rica is just about universally revered for its natural glories and friendly, unrushed people. Our 20 years of going there have taught us that if you want to visit the classic destinations, you’re advised to stay off the beaten path, and if you’re drawn to worthwhile hidden corners, you may find them tough to identify—never mind reach. Classic Costa Rica smartly considers both perspectives, taking you to a few much-loved sights as well as our favorite far-flung places. We connect it all for you (which is harder to do than you might imagine), intertwining a spirited suite of naturalist guides, landscapes, eco-lodges and activities to reveal Costa Rica’s beauty, diversity and openheartedness.

From San José we head to the fertile Central Valley to spend time with a coffee alchemist at his finca. Then to the cloud forest, where we hike bromeliad-covered trails, spot colorful birds and even rappel down a waterfall if we wish. Next we fly to the central Pacific coast and four-wheel to Rafiki Safari Camp for a night of tented luxury. We raft down the jungly Savegre River to the Pacific, take in the floral and faunal wonders of Manuel Antonio National Park, then return beachside with chances to boat and snorkel. Finally to the remote, wildlife-thronged Osa Peninsula to dally in the exquisite Lapa Rios Wildlife Reserve with toucans, white-faced monkeys and other rare creatures. We return to the capital for flights home—or to Managua, if you opt for our four-day Nicaragua jaunt.

Costa Rica trip map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in San José, drive to the Central Valley
  • Day 2: coffee plantation visit, journey into cloud forest, optional waterfall rappel
  • Day 3: naturalist-led hiking and birding
  • Day 4: fly to Quepos, drive to Rafiki Safari Camp
  • Day 5: river rafting on the Savegre
  • Day 6: Manuel Antonio National Park, sailing on Pacific
  • Day 7: fly to Osa Peninsula
  • Day 8: rain forest hikes, wildlife viewing
  • Day 9: return to San José depart.

  • Optional Nicaragua Extension:
  • Day 9: fly to Managua, drive to and tour colonial Granada
  • Day 10: Mombacho Volcano ramble, boat to Jicaro Island Ecolodge
  • Day 11: Masaya market, visit Pueblos Blancos artisans
  • Day 12: drive to Managua, depart.