Costa Rica tour highlights
For jaw-dropping scenery and wildlife wonders, Costa Rica ticks all the boxes. Embrace the pura vida lifestyle on our immersive small group tours to Costa Rica, which can take you from through the highlights of Monteverde and Manuel Antonio to exploring Costa Rica by bicycle; if you’re looking for family vacations to Costa Rica, we have that covered too.
Traversing volcanic trails, discovering the wildlife of the dense cloud forest and escaping to laid-back Caribbean beaches: take a closer look at some of our favorite highlights of Costa Rica:
Tortuguero National Park
Perhaps one of Costa Rica’s most famous inhabitant is the sloth. One of the best places to view sloths is Tortuguero National Park, a coastal reserve where the rainforest meets the sea in a network of complex canals and lagoons. It’s known as the ‘mini Amazon’ for its diversity of wildlife. Accommodation here is generally in traditional forest lodges, where you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with sloths, as well as a variety of birdlife including heron, stork and kingfisher who feed on the rich fish stocks. Tortuguero National Park actually translates as ‘land of the turtles’, so as well as the furry and feathered inhabitants you may also get to spot the sea turtles that call the area home. You can go sloth-spotting in Tortuguero National Park on many of our Costa Rica trips, including our best-selling Explore Costa Rica tour or our shorter Highlights of Costa Rica adventure.
Costa Rica’s volcanoes are a must-see for all visitors, whether you come for the spectacular views or the hiking trails. Arenal is an active volcano and is perhaps the country’s best-known, situated in the north of the country. You can view the volcano from a variety of angles on one of the many great footpaths – or perhaps try something more adventurous like rafting or zip-wiring, perfect if you’re traveling as a family. The base of the volcano is edged by the tranquil Lake Arenal, and if you opt for our Cycle Costa Rica trip you’ll skirt the northern shores of the lake with magnificent views of the volcano’s perfectly conical shape.
Rainforests and cloud forests
With monkeys swinging in the trees to a cacophony of sound, exploring the Costa Rican rainforest is a multi-sensory experience. One of the finest examples of dense jungle is in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, believed to have been inhabited since 3000BC. If you’re feeling brave you can fly through the treetops on a zip-line, or perhaps take a jaw-dropping stroll along the treetop walkways. At night the cloud forest comes alive; on a nocturnal walking tour you may spot tarantulas or pacas – a spotty herbivorous rodent.
Solo travel in Costa Rica
Every one of our Costa Rica tours is ideally suited to solo travelers. It depends on the tour, but generally around half of all our customers will be traveling solo. If you’re a solo traveler considering an Explore trip, you can be sure that you’ll meet likeminded fellow travelers on the tour. You can leave all of the logistics to us and just enjoy preparing for your adventure.
Best time to go to Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s dry season typically runs from November to March when you can expect hot, humid days with plenty of sunshine. Due to less rainfall, this is the busiest time to travel, but we tend to avoid the tourist hotspots wherever possible. Book towards the start of the dry season to see the rainforests at their best.
To see Costa Rica in full bloom, head there during the Green Season which typically runs from April until September. Although the country experiences more rainfall and is slightly hotter during this time, the jungle is fully nourished, and waterfalls cascade through the valleys in full flow. The country is also quieter during this time, so you’re more likely to enjoy deserted white-sand beaches and empty forest trails.
Despite the general split of dry and rainy seasons, Costa Rica is made up of twelve microclimates so the weather can vary widely from place to place, even on the same day. Areas near to the coast will feel warm, but you can expect it to be colder as you head into more mountainous regions.
To experience the magical sight of nesting turtles, book a trip to Costa Rica between July and November. During this time, over five-thousand green sea turtles land on the beaches of Tortuguero. Witness this spectacle on our Explore Costa Rica tour.
Walk along the shore at dusk to watch these spectacular creatures rest on the sand, waiting for their eggs to hatch.