On this active luxury tour of Costa Rica, you'll explore the nation's most distinct locations. First, it's a trip to Arenal National Park, followed by a visit Tenorio, home to the Celeste River, whose ethereal blue waters are the stuff of dreams. Finally, you'll laze on the unspoiled beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula and enjoy snorkeling, kayaking and even horseback riding on the beach.

Highlights

  • Enjoy hot springs and wildlife hikes at Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Spot exotic nocturnal wildlife on a nighttime jungle walk
  • Hike along the sky-blue waters of the Río Celeste
  • Embark on a wildlife safari down the Corobicí River
  • Go horseback riding on a tropical beach at sunset

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Liberia -> Transfer to Arenal and Luxurious Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 2 Exclusive Wildlife Hike Along the Sloth Trail Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Early Birding and Private Nocturnal Nature Hike Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 4 Arenal Hanging Bridges Exclusive Guided Hike Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Arenal Volcano Hike With an Expert Guide Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 Private Transfer to Tenorio Volcano National Park - Nocturnal Nature Walk Tenorio National Park
Day 7 Exclusive Guided Hike Along the Río Celeste Tenorio National Park
Day 8 Private Tubing Adventure on the Río Celeste Tenorio National Park
Day 9 Exclusive Jungle Walk and Sugar Mill Tour Tenorio National Park
Day 10 Transfer to Nosara - Exclusive Corobicí River Safari Nosara
Day 11 Private Kayak Tour of Boca Nosara Mangroves Nosara
Day 12 Sunset (or Sunrise) Horseback Adventure on the Beach Nosara
Day 13 Snorkeling Adventure in San Juanillo Nosara
Day 14 Tropical SUP Adventure With an Expert Guide Nosara
Day 15 Free Day in Nosara Nosara
Day 16 Transfer to Liberia - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Liberia -> Transfer to Arenal and Luxurious Hot Springs

Off to Arenal Volcano National Park
Off to Arenal Volcano National Park

Welcome to Liberia, the capital of Costa Rica's Guanacaste Province!

This region is known for its coastal peninsulas, tropical dry forest, and miles of coastline perfect for swimming and surfing. After arriving at Liberia Airport (LIR) your private driver will meet you and you'll transfer approximately three hours east to one of the most beautiful areas of the country: Arenal Volcano National Park. It's home to the iconic volcano of the same name, which towers 5,479 feet (1,670 meters) above Costa Rica's northern plains.

You'll likely arrive in Arenal tired from your long journey. Upon checking into your luxury junior suite, you can spend the remainder of the day relaxing and recharging in one of the natural hot springs located on the hotel property. For dinner, we recommend heading into La Fortuna, the main town. Here you can choose between over 100 restaurants serving everything from traditional Costa Rican fare to sushi.

Day 2: Exclusive Wildlife Hike Along the Sloth Trail

Three-toed sloths are one of many exotic animals you'll see on this hike
Three-toed sloths are one of many exotic animals you'll see on this hike

Today's Arenal adventure begins with an excursion to the "sloth trail." This is a two km nature trail that runs through 50 acres of tropical forest just a few minutes from La Fortuna. The trail is so named because the area is a haven for sloths (both two-toed and three-toed) who like to hang on the branches of the cecropia trees here and feed on their bright green leaves.

On this two-hour guided hike, you'll see a few of these slow-moving animals and maybe even spy a mother sloth and its baby. During the walk, your bilingual guide will also point out other animals common to this area like exotic birds and reptiles, including the famous red-eyed tree frog. At the end of the hike, you'll return to your luxury hotel where you can opt for more time soaking in natural hot springs.

Day 3: Early Birding and Private Nocturnal Nature Hike

Go birding in the morning  and spot a collared redstart
Go birding in the morning and spot a collared redstart

It's an early start as today you'll embark on a morning bird-watching excursion. Your English-speaking guide will meet you at 5:15 am for this half-day tour, and after a light breakfast you'll head into the rainforest, binoculars in hand, to view Costa Rica's myriad exotic birds. Common species in this region include great kiskadees, tropical kingbirds, Montezuma oropendolas, collared redstarts, tyrant flycatchers, red-billed pigeons, groove-billed anis, and many others.

In the late afternoon, you'll transfer to a private farm and wait for nightfall. Once dark, you'll embark on a nature hike during which your guide will point out a wide variety of nocturnal birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, and reptiles. Exotic frogs are particularly common, and you're sure to spot bullfrogs as well as the iconic red-eyed tree frog, the translucent glass frog, and even the brightly-colored yet highly toxic poison dart frog.

Day 4: Arenal Hanging Bridges Exclusive Guided Hike

An impressive network of suspension bridges
An impressive network of suspension bridges

Today you'll enjoy Arenal's scenery from a different vantage point: above the jungle canopy at the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. Accompanied by your guide, you'll wander along well-marked trails that lead you over suspension bridges above the treetops—some that are hundreds of feet long—for a once-in-a-lifetime view of Arenal Volcano. You'll also get an up-close look at the incredible biodiversity that occurs in this region. More than 350 bird species can be found here.

Day 5: Arenal Volcano Hike With an Expert Guide

Hiking the famous 1968 Trail
Hiking the famous 1968 Trail

Today you'll get to hike near the base of the country's most famous active volcano. This route follows the 1968 Trail, which is actually a series of trails named after Arenal's last major eruption, in July of 1968. It's a half-day, 3.5 km guided hike that takes about 3.5 hours to complete. Not only are there many great viewing points on this route that feature prime views of the volcano, but the trail also passes through some of the many lava fields that engulfed the rainforest after the eruption.  

Day 6: Private Transfer to Tenorio Volcano National Park - Nocturnal Nature Walk

You can spot red-eyed tree frogs at night.
You can spot red-eyed tree frogs at night.

Take one last morning to relax and enjoy Arenal and its luxurious hot springs. In the early afternoon, you'll travel by private car to the area around Tenorio Volcano National Park. This region is famous for its volcanoes, misty cloud forests, and jungle trails. The star of the show, however, is the Celeste River and its namesake waterfalls, whose ethereal, sky-blue waters are the result of volcanic mineral content and the sun's reflection. 

Upon arrival in the Tenorio area, you'll check into your luxurious eco-lodge and get settled in. In the late afternoon, you'll embark on a nocturnal nature walk to discover some of the exotic animals that are just waking up as the sun goes down. Throughout the hike, your bilingual guide will point out various species of animals, including red-eyed tree frogs, vipers, tarantulas, and even armadillos.

Day 7: Exclusive Guided Hike Along the Río Celeste

Hike to dreamlike waterfalls
Hike to dreamlike waterfalls

Today you'll venture into Tenorio for a moderate three-hour hike along the Río Celeste, one of the most stunning natural attractions in Costa Rica. The legend says that after God was done painting the sky, he washed his brushes in this river, which resulted in its famous electric-blue waters. There's nothing quite like it anywhere in the world. 

The hike covers four miles (seven km) along the river through a rainforest ecosystem home to exotic animals like monkeys, sloths, peccaries, and anteaters. You'll even pass by the specific point where two streams merge and produce the reaction in the minerals that give the Celeste its exotic color. The hike culminates with a descent of 253 steps to reach the Catarata Río Celeste,  a waterfall of such profound beauty you'll think you've found your own private Eden. 

Day 8: Private Tubing Adventure on the Río Celeste 

River Tubing Adventure on the Río Celeste
River Tubing Adventure on the Río Celeste

Hiking along the beautiful Celeste River is one thing—rushing down it on an inner tube is quite another. That's what you'll do on this half-day, wet-and-wild tubing adventure. Let the river's current carry you down these sky-blue waters on an excursion that's at once relaxing and fun. It's a mix between the ethereal beauty of the river and the adrenaline of the rapids as you journey down the Celeste flanked on either side by rainforest jungle teeming with monkeys and exotic birds. 

Day 9: Exclusive Jungle Walk and Sugar Mill Tour

Today you'll process fresh sugarcane
Today you'll process fresh sugarcane

Today you'll enjoy a unique excursion into the Tenorio area. This particular guided half-day tour is all about natural beauty and rural traditions. You'll begin with an easy hike along trails through rich primary rainforest. Along the way, you'll pass by some areas featuring clay earth and even a clay hive formed by wasps. You'll also visit some viewpoints with long, sweeping vistas all the way into Nicaragua and its enormous Lago Cocibolca.

Eventually, you'll arrive at the trapiche (sugar mill) of Doña Ana. Here she will teach you the art of processing and cutting fresh sugarcane to prepare sobado, an artisanal candy. Should you choose, you can even milk a cow by yourself. After returning to your hotel you can leave the rustic farm life behind as you enjoy the luxury amenities of your eco-lodge.

Day 10: Transfer to Nosara - Exclusive Corobicí River Safari

Corobicí River Safari
Corobicí River Safari

After breakfast, you'll travel by private car service on a scenic four-hour drive to the coastal village of Nosara. Located in Guanacaste Province, this is a region known for its tropical dry forest and beautiful beaches. To break up the trip, you'll stop en-route to enjoy lunch as well as a scenic rafting trip down the Corobicí River. 

All in all, this is a two-hour, guided riverboat safari that's ideal for nature lovers. It's a great chance to spot exotic wildlife like monkeys and caimans as well as colorful birds like parrots, herons, and motmots. After the excursion, you'll arrive at your luxury eco-lodge in Nosara, where you'll overnight in a room featuring panoramic views of the rainforest.

Day 11: Private Kayak Tour of Boca Nosara Mangroves

Kayak along the rivers of Nosara
Kayak along the rivers of Nosara

The Río Nosara and the Río Montana are the two largest rivers in the Nosara region. These waterways converge and meet the ocean at the Boca Nosara river mouth, an area of great natural beauty. There are expansive mangrove forests here that are home to a wide variety of waterbirds including blue herons, anhingas, and roseate spoonbills. That's to say nothing of exotic animals like howler monkeys, iguanas, and even crocodiles.

You will spot many of these animals on a two-hour kayak tour of Boca Nosara. As you paddle along the waterways and mangrove tunnels, your bilingual guide and birding expert will point out the most exotic specimens in the area. The excursion ends at the river mouth, where you'll cap the adventure with a refreshing slice of watermelon and, should you choose, a cold beer.

Day 12: Sunset (or Sunrise) Horseback Adventure on the Beach

A sunset horseback ride in Nosara
A sunset horseback ride in Nosara

Today you'll have a choice of when to enjoy a three-hour horseback ride along an unspoiled tropical beach near Nosara. Saddle up in the morning when the sun is just rising over the coast or embark during sunset as the sky blazes crimson and orange with the last light of the day. Either way, it's as romantic an adventure as it gets.

This horseback outing starts just south of Nosara in the hills behind Playa Guiones. You'll trot over jungle trails and across the river to the Gulf of Nosara. As the sun is setting (or rising), you'll arrive at Playa Pelada, a half-moon beach where you'll gallop along white sands as blue waves crest and crash on the shores nearby.  

Day 13: Snorkeling Adventure in San Juanillo

Snorkeling in San Juanillo
Snorkeling in San Juanillo

This morning you'll embark by private transfer to San Juanillo, a sleepy town a 25-minute drive north of Playa Guiones. Here there's a long promontory with white-sand beaches on both sides and an offshore reef which allows for great snorkeling. At low tide, you can even hike offshore along the reef and explore tidepools. 

The snorkeling, though, is the most popular activity for good reason. On this half-day underwater excursion, you'll be treated to great visibility and ample opportunity to spot various exotic marine life around the coral reef. This includes everything from sea turtles and lobsters to parrotfish, triggerfish, wahoos, eels, octopus, sea urchins, pufferfish, and more.

Day 14: Tropical SUP Adventure With an Expert Guide

Paddleboarding in paradise
Paddleboarding in paradise

For both an enjoyable workout while on a tropical holiday, there's no better option than a stand-up paddleboard session. On this full-day excursion, you'll hop on your board and paddle just offshore around the Nosara area. Accompanied by a bilingual guide, you'll coast over the water along the northern headland near the surf town of Garza. Along the way, you'll enjoy views of the wide and inviting Rosada Beach, secluded Coco Beach, the outer reefs of south Guiones, and the bay of Garza. 

Day 15: Free Day in Nosara

Enjoy your free day in Nosara
Enjoy your free day in Nosara

After all the incredible tours, activities,  and adventures thus far, you'll be able to enjoy a day free to spend however you choose. Maybe total relaxation is on the agenda, in which case you can take advantage of the spa services at your luxury eco-lodge and relax by the pool. Or take the shuttle to any one of the postcard beaches in the area, be it Nosara Beach, Garza Beach, Pelada Beach, or Playa Guiones for surfing or simply lazing on the sand.

If you do have the energy, we can arrange another unforgettable activity such as a private, guided tour of a working Costa Rican coffee farm. At the end of the day, though, you will retire to your luxury eco-lodge with panoramic views of the Nosara region.

Day 16: Transfer to Liberia - Departure

Farewell, Costa Rica
Farewell, Costa Rica

All good things must end. Today, after having amassed memories of Costa Rica that will last a lifetime, you will transfer approximately two hours to the international airport in Liberia where you will catch your flight home. Adios and pura vida!

Map

Map of Luxury Getaway: Volcanoes, Rivers, & Secluded Beaches - 16 Days
Map of Luxury Getaway: Volcanoes, Rivers, & Secluded Beaches - 16 Days