This family-friendly trip allows you to experience two sides of Costa Rica. Begin in La Fortuna—home of the stunning Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall—to enjoy nature walks, hikes, and an excursion over hanging bridges. Then, it's off to the Nicoya Peninsula for a few days of fun in the sun, snorkeling, nature discovery on Tambor Beach. The trip winds down in San José to do some sightseeing.

Highlights

  • Discover Arenal's hanging bridges and the stunning La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Explore the dense rainforest and visit the fauna of Curu Nature Reserve
  • Go snorkeling around Tortuga Island and take a boat through Pochote Mangrove
  • Stroll the museums and historical buildings in the capital city of San José

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival & Transfer to La Fortuna Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 2 Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, & Arenal Nature Walk Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Transfer to the Nicoya Peninsula (Tambor Beach) Tambor
Day 4 Curu Nature Reserve, Snorkeling on Tortuga Island, & Pochote Mangrove Safari  Tambor
Day 5 Transfer to San José & City Exploration San José
Day 6 Departure From Costa Rica  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to La Fortuna

Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

Upon arrival in San José, meet with a travel representative to load your luggage into a designated vehicle. Then, receive an information package that contains your travel itinerary in detail, vouchers for services, and other important documentation for your trip.

Begin the journey north, in the direction of the northern plains, where Arenal Volcano begins to crown. The rich land is covered with different plantations, such as pineapple, cassava, bananas, and more. During the 2.5 hour drive, enjoy an introduction to Costa Rica and some recommendations for your trip. The guide will explain your itinerary in greater detail and answer any further questions you may have.

Tonight, have dinner at the hotel or, if time permits, you may go and explore the village of La Fortuna, which is home to plenty of fine dining options and some nightlife, too.

Day 2: Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, and Arenal nature walk

Arenal Hanging Bridges
Arenal Hanging Bridges

Wake up and enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Then, it's time to explore Arenal and its surroundings.

Start the day at the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a beautiful, environmentally friendly project located near the Arenal Volcano. The trails span a total of 2 miles, allowing you to see the rainforest from a birdseye perspective. Your nature guide will teach you about Costa Rican culture, history, and nature, while pointing out different species of plants, animals, and birds along the way.

After the adventure, head to La Fortuna Waterfall. There will be time to change into your bathing suit, so you can cool off under the waterfall. Expect a decent workout, as there are 300 steps to get down to the waterfall and, of course, 300 to get back up. When you reach the bottom, enjoy a swim in the cool waters, which encompass one of the largest swimming areas in the region.

Next, try a delicious Costa Rican casado at a local restaurant; this typical Costa Rican meal provides great sustenance after climbing to the waterfall.

After refueling, visit Arenal Volcano National Park for a guided nature walk. The trails are mostly flat and are not very strenuous. Head through the jungle, hiking through well-groomed, easy-to-navigate trails that skirt the base of Arenal Volcano. Your sharp guide will point out different species of flora and fauna and teach you about the volcanic activity in the area.

Plan your trip to Costa Rica
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 3: Transfer to the Nicoya Peninsula (Tambor Beach)

Tambor Beach
Tambor Beach

Grab breakfast to go, and then head to the beautiful area of the Nicoya Peninsula. The drive takes you through farmlands and small forests as you head down to the coast. Once you reach the beach, a ferry will take you to the peninsula on a 1-hour ride. There are many opportunities to see dolphins, turtles, stingrays, and other marine wildlife en route. 

Arrive at the hotel in Tambor after midday, and the afternoon is yours to enjoy the beach and explore the hotel property, which is home to horses, a nine-hole golf course, and lookouts with breathtaking views.

Day 4: Curu Nature Reserve, snorkeling on Tortuga Island, and Pochote Mangrove safari 

Tortuga Island
Tortuga Island

Early in the morning, board a comfortable boat in Bahia Ballena. During the day, enjoy a relaxing cruise. Watch seabirds and keep an eye out for jumping fish while making your way to the Curu Nature Reserve. You may also see dolphins, whales, and sea turtles along the way. Then, land on the beach of the reserve, where you will be able to explore trails that are surrounded by the dense rainforest. There is a large variety of wild animals, including monkeys; they live in a natural habitat that coexists with the plantations and the cattle farms.
 
Next, reboard the boat and pass a shipwreck and a magnificent rock archway carved by nature. Once you get to Tortuga Island, snorkel to admire the coral reef and a large variety of tropical fish, oysters, and octopi. Enjoy a stroll along the gorgeous, white-sand beaches and rent kayaks and other watersports equipment, if desired.

Following the Tortuga Island visit, move on to the Pochote Mangrove. While the boat glides along the calm water, listen to the sounds of the jungle and see some of the hundreds of types of birds and animals that have lived in this mangrove for many centuries. The boat will take you back to the hotel after the short mangrove safari.

Day 5: Transfer to San José and city exploration 

Visit the museums and historical buildings in San José
Visit the museums and historical buildings in San José

Today, a driver will transfer you to San José, where you can enjoy your last night in the country. A vehicle will pick you up after breakfast at your hotel.
 
The exclusive hotel for tonight is located in downtown San José. The afternoon is yours to explore the city and visit museums, historical buildings, or Central Avenue, a place where you can interact with locals and learn more about Costa Rican culture.

With time, be sure to explore Barrio Amón, a historic neighborhood that is home to cafetalero (coffee grower) mansions built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of this area’s historic buildings have been converted into hotels, restaurants, and galleries, making it a frequented bohemian district. 

For dinner, opt for a restaurant on the hills of Escazú. This elevated region on the western edge of the city offers breathtaking panoramic views of the valley below. That said, San José's culinary offerings cover everything from traditional Costa Rican food to forward-thinking fusion cuisine.

Day 6: Departure From Costa Rica

Adios, Costa Rica!
Adios, Costa Rica!

As they say, all good things must come to an end. After breakfast, say goodbye to beautiful Costa Rica and take with you all of the stunning memories from your adventure.

A driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you straight to the airport, which is just 15 minutes away. Keep in mind that in Costa Rica, you must arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to your departure time.

Have a safe flight!

Map

Map of Family Costa Rica Getaway: Arenal & Tambor Beach - 6 Days
Map of Family Costa Rica Getaway: Arenal & Tambor Beach - 6 Days