- Enjoy a stunning coastal region with black, golden, and white sand beaches
- Look for frogs, bats, sloths, and porcupines on a night hike
- Snorkel around a coral reef in Cahuita National Park
- Cycle to Playa Punta Uva for a relaxed beach afternoon
- See nesting turtles or baby turtles hatching on Tortuguero Beach
|Day 1||Arrive, Explore Downtown San José||San José|
|Day 2||Spot Wildlife on a Night Hike in Tortuguero||Tortuguero|
|Day 3||Boat Along the Tortuguero Canals||Tortuguero|
|Day 4||Discover the Beaches Around Puerto Viejo||Puerto Viejo de Talamanca|
|Day 5||Tour Cahuita National Park||Puerto Viejo de Talamanca|
|Day 6||Depart Costa Rica, End of Trip|
Day 1: Arrive, Explore Downtown San José
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 2: Spot Wildlife on a Night Hike in Tortuguero
Today you will transfer from San José to Tortuguero. A driver will pick you up in an air-conditioned minivan, help you with your luggage, and take you to the boat dock near Tortuguero. You will transfer to a boat, which will take you to your hotel.As the day draws to a close, the nocturnal animals and insects wake up, utterly transforming the jungle's sights, sounds, and atmosphere. This transformation is spellbinding to behold and is the focus of your activity this evening as you take a magical nighttime hike through the mysterious jungle surrounding Tortuguero.
Starting at your lodge, you will leave by boat around 5:30 pm for a 5-minute ride to the lodge's network of private trails, located close to Tortuguero National Park. Your walk with an expert naturalist guide begins, taking you along forest trails as twilight descends. There are many creatures to spot—keep your eyes open for moths, crickets, spiders, frogs, bats, sloths, porcupines, nocturnal birds, and caiman. You'll return to the lodge in time for dinner.
Day 3: Boat Along the Tortuguero CanalsTortuguero National Park is one of the world's most important locations for several species of nesting sea turtles. The park's canals can be explored by boat, and today's guided tour of the canals gives you a thrilling chance to see the forest and its wildlife from the water.
You will start your journey by boat to the Tortuguero National Park ranger station, where you will get your park admission tickets. Here, the park ranger will tell you and your group which canals you will be able to explore on the day. Tortuguero's flora and fauna are impressive. A 2021 count registered 186 species of bird in the area, along with three monkey species, crocodiles, caimans, toucans, sloths, and much more. You are likely to see some of these creatures on your tour. On some waterways, you can get close to the tangled jungle on the riverbanks, where many animals are seen.
After lunch, get ready to see the most spectacular panoramic view in all of Tortuguero as you climb the area's highest peak, Cerro Tortuguero. Starting with a boat ride from Mawamba Lodge to the trailhead, the peak is only 390 feet (119 m) above sea level, but the climb through the jungle is nevertheless demanding. During the hike, your guide will share interesting facts about the area and tell you about the plants and animals you will see along the way. The most exquisite view of Tortuguero open up at the top, spanning the Tortuguero canals, the Caribbean Sea, and the communities of San Francisco and Tortuguero. You might even make out the shape of Turrialba Volcano in the distance.
After hiking down to the trailhead, you will take your boat back to the lodge. See the Ultimate Guide to Tortuguero National Park for more information.
Day 4: Discover the Beaches Around Puerto Viejo
You will travel from Tortuguero today to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Cahuita National Park. No trip to this stunning coastal area would be complete without time to explore the diversity of its Caribbean beaches. You’ll have your pick of black, golden, or white sand beaches, all within a short distance of town. Great beaches in the area include what many consider to be one of Costa Rica's most beautiful, Playa Punta Uva. Rent a bicycle and pedal there! The rest of the day is yours to sunbathe, swim, surf, and relax on the sand. For more on the best things to do in the area, read this article.
Day 5: Tour Cahuita National Park
Take a short drive to Cahuita National Park this morning. You'll start your adventure at the beach, boarding a boat for a scenic 20-minute cruise to Cahuita Point. If the sea conditions allow, you will have the opportunity to have two snorkeling sessions just off the coast near the most extensive coral reefs. The seafloor off the coast of Cahuita is as much a jungle as the rainforest, with tropical fish, stingrays, octopus, and nurse sharks on view for snorkelers. The best time for snorkeling is from July to October, as the sea is typically too rough between December and March.
Fuel up with a spread of tropical fruit on the beach before heading out on a guided hike through the coastal rainforest. From the boat, you'll head onto land and enter the national park. Since the region is home to an abundance and diversity of wildlife, the chances are good that you'll see monkeys, tropical birds, sloths, iguanas, poisonous dart frogs, and more. After your hike, head back to Puerto Viejo with your guide.