Conservation & Cultural Immersion

Stay with a local family, learn Spanish, volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, help out with sea turtle conservation plus see all the highlights on this epic three week trip for those seeking a real insight into the Costa Rican way of life

Places you visit: San Jose – Sarapiqui – Arenal – Monteverde – Nicoya Peninsula – Central Valley

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“Great Value, Efficient, and Effective. John Stanley of The LATC worked with me to plan precisely the experience I wanted, at the time I wanted, and at a very competitive price. I had tried three other, well-known, larger companies but could not get what I wanted.”

David Blanchard, July 2019.

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Have a question?

Speak to someone who has been to Costa Rica on +44 208 191 7772 or send an enquiry.

Tour Itinerary

View a day by day summary below or

Day 1: Arrival and private transfer to your hotel

national theatre at night san jose costa rica

You will be greeted in the arrival hall of the airport by an English speaking guide holding a sign with your name and our logo on. They will help you with your bags, welcome you to Costa Rica and take you directly to your hotel (about a 30 minute drive). Evening at leisure.

Meals Included: None today

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Presidente

Day 2: San Jose Food & Culture Walking Tour

mercado central san jose costa rica

Get a feel for local Costa Rican culture with this informative walking tour. You will explore the central market, founded in 1880, and the bustling heart of San Jose. You will find a huge array of tropical fruits, spices, animals and ornaments. The market is also known for it’s “sodas” (small informal and inexpensive restaurants where the locals eat). You will get to taste a variety of things plus sample some freshly brewed coffee.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Presidente

Day 3: San Jose to Sarapiqui

suspension bridge at selva verde lodge costa rica

After breakfast you will be met at your hotel and taken by private transfer to Sarapiqui in the Northern Lowlands. Check in to your rainforest eco lodge, lunch is served. After lunch spend the afternoon exploring the extensive private reserve.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Selva Verde Lodge

Day 4: Hiking the Almendro trail

great green macaws spotted on a hiking tour in selva verde costa rica

Today you will take one of the best guided hikes within the Selva Verde reserve. The almendro (almond) trees found within the reserve are among the largest and oldest in Central America. These huge impressive trees are also vitally important to the endangered Great Green Macaw which relies on the trees for food. Go searching for these beautiful birds deep within the forest!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Selva Verde Lodge

Day 5: White water rafting on the Sarapiqui river

rafting on the sarapiqui river

Today you will take on the class II and II rapids on the Sarapiqui river. There is no previous experience required, just a taste for adventure! This exhilarating trip offers you a unique perspective and the opportunity to see wildlife such as birds, iguanas, monkeys, butterflies, crocodiles and sloths.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Selva Verde Lodge

Day 6: Sarapiqui to Arenal volcano area

costa rica family homestay

You will be taken by private transfer from the lodge to the Arenal Volcano area, about a 2 hour drive. For the next five nights you will be staying with a local family in a small town a 30 minute drive from the Arenal Volcano. You will also have Spanish lessons and volunteer at a wildlife rescue centre.

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Homestay with a local family

Day 7: Spanish lessons & the hanging bridges

This morning you will have Spanish lessons until midday with a short break. After lunch you will go to the famous Arenal hanging bridges. A total of 16 bridges form a nature trail across the forest canopy. Your naturalist guide will point out the various flora and fauna that can be seen.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Homestay with a local family

Day 8: Volunteer at a wildlife rescue centre

spider monkey at proyecto asis wildlife rescue centre costa rica

After your morning Spanish lessons you will visit a local wildlife rescue centre that helps to rehabilitate animals with the goal of re-introducing them back into the wild. You will be able to get involved with the daily tasks such as preparing their food and feeding them. It is a fun an educational way to learn more about conservation and get up close to the local wildlife.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Homestay with a local family

Day 9: Zip lining in Arenal

girl zip lining in arenal costa rica

Spanish lessons this morning then zip lining after lunch! Enjoy the unique experience of flying through the air on a cable at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour! You will descend down from the top of the mountain on 7 cables of differing lengths with a fantastic view of the lake and volcano.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Homestay with a local family

Day 10: Final day at your homestay

arenal volcano tour in costa rica

Today is your last day at the homestay. You will have Spanish lessons in the morning, then a free afternoon to explore the local area or take additional excursions. This package is also available without Spanish lessons. Speak to one of our experts about tailoring this itinerary to suit your requirements.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Suggested Accommodation: Homestay with a local family

Day 11: Cross Arenal lake to Monteverde

crossing arenal lake to monteverde

Today you set out from Arenal to the shores of the lake before boarding a small boat to take you to the other side. This is a scenic journey with beautiful views from the boat. Many migratory birds can also be seen. Once on the other side you continue the remainder of the journey by road to Monteverde in the cloud forest.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Trapp Family Lodge

Day 12: Santa Elena Reserve

resplendent quetzal in monteverde reserve costa rica

This morning you will explore the lesser visited Santa Elena cloud forest reserve. We recommend this reserve because it is less crowded than the Monteverde reserve. There is over 730 acres of hanging vines and dangling roots. The reserve is managed by the local community and the income from the entrance fees is used to help protect and maintain the fragile eco system.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Trapp Family Lodge

Day 13: Cloud forest walkways, hummingbirds & butterflies

hanging suspension bridge in monteverde

Today you will explore the treetop walkways that consist of 8 bridges of varying length providing a unique view of the forest canopy and excellent opportunities to spot wildlife. You will also visit the nearby butterfly and hummingbird gardens for an up close look at these colourful tropical creatures.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Trapp Family Lodge

Day 14: Monteverde to Nosara

sunset at lagarta lodge costa rica

After breakfast travel by private transfer to Nosara on the Pacific coast. The drive takes about 4 hours. After settling into your room enjoy a cocktail on the terrace and admire the beautiful sunset over the Pacific ocean.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Lagarta Lodge

Day 15: Sea turtle conservation

baby olive ridley turtle on ostional beach costa rica

Today you will immerse yourself in the world of sea turtle conservation here on the Pacific coast. Travel to the nearby Ostional beach where you will meet up with a local marine conservationist who has been working with sea turtles in this area for over a decade. You will have an introductory talk then an evening beach stroll to assist in tracking, monitoring and reporting.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Lagarta Lodge

Day 16: Visit to the hatchery & night walk

sea turtle on ostional beach costa rica

Continue your participation in the sea turtle conservation with a visit to the hatchery. You will have a tour of the facility by the experts who work on the conservation project. You will see first hand the efforts that are made to protect the turtles. This evening you will go out to see the turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Please note that this is a seasonal activity.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Lagarta Lodge

Day 17: Snorkeling at San Juanillo

san juanillo beach costa rica

Today your guide will take you to the nearby quiet and secluded beach of San Juanillo, one of the most beautiful in the area, for a snorkeling tour. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the warm and calm waters and a picnic of light snacks on the beach.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Lagarta Lodge

Days 18 & 19: Free days at leisure in Nosara

sun loungers and pool at lagarta lodge costa rica

Nothing is planned for these two days. Your hotel has complimentary shuttles to four beautiful nearby beaches. You could also explore the nature reserve by taking a boat trip or going hiking or kayaking. Bird watching is also good here. Surfing lessons are available as well as yoga classes and cycling. Or just read a book and enjoy the comforts of your hotel.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Lagarta Lodge

Day 20: Nosara to the Central Valley

poas volcano lodge in the cloud forest at night

After breakfast you will be taken by private transfer to the airstrip for your short light aircraft flight back to San Jose. On arrival you will be met and driven to your lodge on the slopes of Poas volcano, about an hour’s drive. Afternoon at leisure.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Poas Volcano Lodge

Day 21: Doka coffee plantation estate tour

tour of the doka coffee estate costa rica

The Doka Coffee Estate is one of the oldest and most well established in Costa Rica. The estate belongs to the Vargas Ruiz family who are pioneers of coffee production in Costa Rica for more than 70 years. Take a tour of this historic plantation and enjoy a tasting of their specialty coffee. Visit the shop on the way out to pick up a couple of bags to take home.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Suggested Accommodation: Poas Volcano Lodge

Day 22: Departure

plane flying into the sunset

Time to say goodbye to Costa Rica! Private transfer from your hotel to the airport for your return flight.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Remember this trip can be customised to your particular tastes and interests!

Our Suggested Accommodation

This trip can be customised to your style of travel and preferred standard of accommodation. Below is our suggested accommodation for this trip.

Tour Inclusions

  • All accommodation
  • All internal flights
  • All tours as specified in the itinerary
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary
  • All transfers and transportation
  • All national park entrance fees
  • All other entrance fees
  • 24 hour emergency assistance
  • 100% financial protection with our ATOL license & ABTA membership
  • Our exclusive 100+ page trip guidebook, personalised to your trip
  • Full support from your dedicated specialist
  • International flights – we can include these for you, just ask us for a quote
  • Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides
  • Travel insurance

Destinations you visit on this tour

Book this tour

Start planning your trip by calling us on 0208 191 7772 or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you within one working day.

All trips are operated by HeadsEast Ltd, UK Company registration number 6717612
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