Let the Pura Vida way of life take over as you arrive in Costa Rica's cultural capital, San Jose. Affectionally known as 'Chepe', San Jose may appear a little rough around the edges but a closer inspection will soon reveal the charming heart of this vibrant capital. Built on the profit of a roaring coffee trade, this a city overflowing with museums, parks, theatres and innovative restaurants. Arriving today, settle in to your hotel then feel free to head out to explore. Trendy Barrio Amón offers a wonderful glimpse into the history of the city with vast colonial mansions converted into art galleries, whilst Barrio Escalante is the gastronomic epicentre and the best place to grab dinner.
Finishing up your final morning in San Jose with a quick sightseeing tour of the city's most iconic sights, you'll then travel north towards the creative little town of Sarchí. Widely regarded as the cradle of Costa Rican artisanship, this is the place to buy intricate arts, crafts and souvenirs. The finest display of Sarchí's creative offering comes courtesy of the highly decorative oxcarts that are displayed here. Elegantly carved and hand painted in bright colours, the oxcart is a national symbol of Costa Rica and a beautiful reminder of its humble beginnings. Take your time browsing the shops and stalls here, before continuing your journey through the Tilaran Mountain range. Climbing higher and high, we'll be listening out for the collective sighs of appreciation as you enter the mysterious and misty Cloud Forest.
Meeting up with a Local Specialist this morning, you'll seemingly step into another world as you enter the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Home to a variety of different eco-systems, you'll learn about the thousands of different plant and animals species that thrive in this area, many of which only exist right here. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears poised for the sounds of hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, and if you're really lucky, the Quetzal bird. Costa Rica has a big reputation as a nature lover's paradise, and this place won't let you down. Leaving the forest on a real nature high you'll have time to relax this afternoon, or join our 'El Trapiche' Optional Experience tour where you'll get to visit sugarcane, banana, orange and coffee plantations.
Enjoy the ride this morning as you travel past cattle ranches and coffee plantations on your way to Arenal Volcano National Park. One of the shining jewels in Costa Rica's already bedazzling crown, the national park is best known for its bubbling hot springs and geothermal activity, wide variety of wildlife and of course the sleeping giant, Arenal Volcano. As exciting as this all is, your attention upon arrival will likely be taken up by your gorgeous and secluded resort, nestled on the banks of the San Carlos River. Boasting outdoor pools, a butterfly garden, botanical gardens growing all manner of fruit trees and tame iguanas roaming the grounds, you'll likely feel like you've entered a little corner of heaven. Settle in and enjoy relaxing in paradise this afternoon, before joining your fellow travellers for an included dinner at the resort restaurant this evening.
A guided hike through Arenal 1968 is first up on today's action packed agenda. Denoting its name from the year Arenal Volcano created its most catastrophic eruption, this private reserve gives you the chance to walk through lava fields, observe leftover lava rocks and boulders and walk through forest land for wonderful views of both the volcano and Arenal Lake, the largest lake in Costa Rica. After a browse around La Fortuna town and a spot of lunch, this afternoon you'll then head to the famous Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. Meeting up with a Local Specialist, you'll 'sky walk' your way through the jungle canopy, testing your head for heights on the 6 suspension bridges whilst spotting a whole manner of birdlife. This evening and to round off an incredible day, let your worries and stresses drift away as you relax in the mineral rich pools of a hot springs resort.
Another day, and another chance to explore this natural wonderland. Your morning will begin with a safari float down the Peñas Blancas River, where you'll join a Local Specialist and get to experience the peaceful tranquility of the rainforest whilst looking for monkeys, sloths, iguanas, caimans and tropical birds. On the way you'll visit a local family who live and work on the river, gaining an appreciation for how connected the people of Costa Rica are to the natural environment. Back at your resort and with the afternoon free, enjoy going for a dip in the pool, play tennis, or join an optional horseback riding excursion through the rainforest.
Transfer back to San Jose International Airport will be at 12:00 PM approximately or extend your holiday to Guanacaste.