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10 Days in Costa Rica
Filled with rainforests, beaches, river valleys, and biodiverse wildlife as well as restaurants, bars, and luxe hotels, this beautiful country has always been a great place to take a vacation, but it has gained popularity as an amazing destination in the last few years. Here's why:
Day 1 Highlights
Dominica and Uvita
Oxygen Jungle Villas
Tucked away in the Uvita rainforest, Oxygen Jungle Villas is an intimate Costa Rica boutique hotel boasting expansive views over the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Soak in the sounds of nature from your private jungle paradise. Immerse yourself in the fresh ocean air on our pristine beaches nearby. Revel in the enchanting sunsets from our palm-fringed infinity pool.
Enjoy the beauty that nature offers us, hidden deep in the jungle we find one of the best seven waterfalls in Costa Rica. The adventure begins at the top of the mountain in a 4x4 vehicle, when you reach the waterfalls you can enjoy an impressive view of the canyon and natural pools, where you can submerge and feel the refreshing waterfall falling on your shoulders.
Jungle ATV Quad Tours
At Adventure Motorsports, ATV’ing is not just about the ride, it’s about all the things you get to see and experience that even many locals have not. With your own 4x4 quad and a knowledgeable bilingual guide, you’ll explore the mountains and valleys of the jungle finding little villages, working coffee plantations, secrete waterfalls, amazing views, wildlife… the list goes on.
Day 2 Highlights
Dominica and Uvita
Offers a variety of modalities to connect the mind, body and spirit, including yoga, meditation, and wellness services including a variety of massage services, energy work and professional psychotherapy. Workshops are offered on creative energies, play, relaxtion and all things that bring joy into our lives.
Playa Ballena Surf
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, young or young at heart, we take our time to help you ride the waves of Playa Ballena and have a memorable time! We’ll take you to uncrowded scenic beaches, capture your surfing adventures on video, let you try a variety of high-quality professional surfboards so you can find “the one”, and take our time to help you learn and get good. We offer private and group lessons and can also help you coordinate other activities you may be interested in.
Bird Watching Oro Verde
You love birds and wildlife? Rated as one of best locations for bird watching, Costa Rica is the perfect place to witness all kinds of birds in their natural habitat. Book this tour and experience the rich abundance of bird species for yourself!
Pizzería La Fogata
A small restaurant with a rustic decor and friendly staff. They have a pretty big menu of appetizers, mains and wood-wire pizza. We went to La Fogata especially for the wood-fire pizza. There are several options to choose from, including vegetarian. We ordered an eight inches pizza in half and half. One part was meat based and the other pepperoni based, but both loaded with several other veggies and toppings. The portion size was decent for two. I chose to complement my pizza bites with a glass of red wine, while Indranil went for a good old cerveza. Wine tasted good and beer was chilled.
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Dedicated to the protection and conservation of Costa Rica’s wildlife. To accomplish this, we provide wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education and implement wildlife research.
Nauyaca is definitely the most spectacular waterfall in Costa Rica and a must do. The hike is approximately 3.5 miles in and 3.5 miles back. During the hike you may see different species of birds and other animals.
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
Forbes once called Manuel Antonio National Park one of the most beautiful in the world! The national park has well maintained hiking trails with the perfect combination of jungle and beach and is absolutely teeming with wildlife. In 2019, they opened a brand new universal trail so it’s handicap friendly too.
Café Agua Azul
With its elevated terrace and uninterrupted ocean views, not to mention its laid-back vibe and mouth-watering food, Agua Azul is an excellent choice for a sunset dinner. The varied menu appeals to just about everyone, plenty of international and local meals – including tacos, spring rolls, fish, pasta and yummy desserts – satisfying all sorts of palates. The fish is delivered daily and the cooking is uncomplicated and delightful. You’ll find this gem of a place north of Manuel Antonio, on the road to Quepos.
Day 4 Highlights
Cloud Forest Lodge
Committed to the responsible use of resources. They have a stellar hotel and property just ten minutes from Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
It is said that Costa Rica has over 1,300 species of orchids and the Monteverde Orchid Garden is home to 425 of them, being the largest collection of orchids in all of the country. The 35-40 min guided tour of the Orchid Garden is bound to squash your perceptions of orchids and teach you the truth about these often tiny and endangered flowers.
Admire more than 25 species of native frogs, toads and other amphibians living in large, naturally-simulated terrariums. A bilingual guide accompanies visitors during each tour and teaches them about the frogs’ history, habitat, and unique characteristics. Some of the frogs and toads on hand include the colorful poison arrow frog, crowned frog, marine toad, cane toad, leopard frog, hourglass frog, and the famous red-eyed tree frog.
Located at Hotel Belmar in Monteverde, Restaurante Celajes has true farm-to-table cuisine. The property overlooks the ocean and gathers food from its own farm and garden to ensure freshness. They are open for breakfast (7-10 am), lunch (12-3 pm), and dinner (6-8:30 pm), and reservations are suggested in the evening as it is a popular place to dine. The restaurant also offers vegan and vegetarian options.
Designed to introduce visitors to the incredible world of bats, The Bat Jungle in Monteverde offers a world class bat exhibit where live bats fly through a simulated jungle environment.
The Monteverde Butterfly Garden – known locally as the Mariposario – is one of Monteverde’s most visited attractions. Situated in Cerro Plano, which lies between the town of Santa Elena and the Monteverde Reserve, the Butterfly Garden is comprised of four climate-controlled butterfly gardens, a medicinal plant garden, a biodiversity center, and a live leafcutter ant colony. Here visitors can observe some of the most fascinating and beautiful insects in all of the tropics.
TreeTop Climbing is a tour in which you can climb up a high hollow Ficus tree, it can be climb by three different ways and descend in two ways.
Don Juan Coffee Tour
Don Juan Tours Monteverde is a family business that, through its tours, teaches visitors the entire process behind three very important products worldwide, Coffee, Chocolate and Sugar Cane.
Hidden Valley Trail Night Walk
Valle Escondido Preserve was one of the forerunner Night Tours in Monteverde, starting 18 years ago. It is still one of the best, due to the authenticity of the nature experiences, and having nationally certified guides.
Day 6 Highlights
Arenal Observatory Lodge
Arenal Observatory Lodge is safely located 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) from the south side of Arenal Volcano, but the live volcano seems so close that you could reach out and touch it. The perfectly shaped volcanic cone commands nearly every view at the hotel – from the panoramic windows of the Arenal Observatory restaurant to the main buildings and most of the guest rooms. Beautiful Lake Arenal with its many little islands stretches west into the sunset.
An active andesitic stratovolcano in north-western Costa Rica around 90 km northwest of San José, in the province of Alajuela, canton of San Carlos, and district of La Fortuna. The Arenal volcano measures at least 1,633 metres high. It is conically shaped with a crater 140 metres in diameter.
Tabacon Hot Springs
Tabacón is a natural hot springs resort in the Alajuela Province of Costa Rica, located at the northern base of Arenal Volcano between Lake Arenal and the town of La Fortuna. The geothermal springs are heated naturally by the volcano. The brain child and life work of architect and owner, Jaime Mikowski, this resort is set on 350 hectares of rainforest about 20 minutes out of La Fortuna.
La Parrilla de Maria Bonita
Grill wood fire restaurant , national and international (soups and salads) entries , variety of fine cuts of red and white meat, libanese food, wines,beers and smoothies
This luxurious hotel is located in San Jose City Centre and features an on-site gourmet restaurant, free parking and free Wi-Fi. Hotel Grano de Oro also offers massage services and a rooftop garden. Each spectacular, air-conditioned room at this property features beautiful wood décor, vaulted ceilings and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. They also boast free toiletries, plush linens and a coffee maker.
Plaza de la Cultura
The cultural and physical center of the city. Start here. This well-known pedestrian plaza is fantastic for people watching. Grab a snack from a street vendor and watch the city come to life. The Plaza de la Cultura is located above the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold. On the south side of Plaza de la Cultura sits the National Theater (Teatro Nacional) – Costa Rica’s architectural gem. Open to the public in 1897, the National Theatre was modeled after the Paris Opera House in the neoclassical style. The newly renovated Gran Hotel is right next door to the west of the plaza.
Day 8 Highlights
Pacuare River Whitewater Rafting
With its cascading waterfalls and abundant wildlife, the Pacuare River is rightfully famous for its natural beauty. Paddle through the river gorge, navigating 52 Class II-IV rapids as you go, on this 12-hour trip from San Jose. Take in views of the tropical rain forest and wildlife such as sloths, parrots, and toucans as you ride the river (and your adrenaline rush) over the course of the day.
With a name like Le Chandelier, you can bet that you’re in for some haute cuisine. Located in the east of the city, this restaurant is an institution that has been popular with locals since its opening in 1985. It does refined and familiar French classics, presented unironically using only the freshest ingredients.
Sail away to the tropical paradise of Tortuga Island on this full-day trip from San Jose. Enjoy a cruise across the Gulf of Nicoya to the white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters of this postcard-perfect island. Soak up the sun on the beach, snorkel among tropical fish, or explore the island’s forested trails for a memorable escape. Savor a tasty beachside lunch buffet and relax on the round-trip ride from your San Jose hotel.
Cafe de los Deseos
"Cafe of wishes" is what the name of this eatery translates to, and its funky art-gallery vibe will definitely make you feel like you're in dreamland. Situated in an old house in the city center, near the zoo and botanical garden, the walls of Café de los Deseos are adorned with works from local artists, the tables are handpainted, and the floor design is like a colorful optical illusion. All this artistic expressionism only enhances the relaxed vibe of the restaurant.
Day 10 Highlights
Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica
Nuevo Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica is the newly built national stadium of Costa Rica. It replaced the old national stadium, which had stood at the same site and got demolished in 2008. The new stadium was built between 2009 and 2011 with the help of Chinese donations. It came at a cost of US$ 110 million.
Costa Rican Art Museum
The Art Museum is located inside of La Sabana Park at San Jose’s old airport facilities. It’s open every day except Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Getting to the museum is most convenient via bus or train. You can take either the Sabana-Cementerio bus or the Sabana-Estadio route. Via train, you’ll need to take the route that runs from San Pedro to Pavas. Your stop will be in front of the General Comptroller of the Republic in Sabana Norte. Students and those under age 18 get free admission. On Sundays, you can plan a budget-friendly visit when adult admission is free as well.
The Jade Museum is home to over 7,000 pieces of jade. It’s the largest collection of pre-Colombian jade in the world! Here you can find out the importance of jade to the Costa Rican people as well as how jade artifacts are made.