March 20, 2022

Your Guide to 9 Adventure Filled Days in Costa Rica

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Your Guide to 9 Adventure Filled Days in Costa Rica

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Your Guide to 9 Adventure Filled Days in Costa Rica

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Your Guide to 9 Adventure Filled Days in Costa Rica
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Costa Rica coffee plantation

Costa Rica may be a tiny nation, but trust me, it’s bursting at the seams with incredible experiences just waiting for you to discover. But how do you cram all that wonder into just 9 days, you ask? Well, my fellow traveler, it’s no easy task, and there were a few gems we missed along the way. So, I’m here to spill the beans on my itinerary and throw in a few exciting alternatives to make your journey even more thrilling.


*Disclaimer: Hey, there! Just so you know, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my adventures!


Day One: San Jose Welcomes You

Touch down in San Jose, Costa Rica. Consider snagging a rental car for extra convenience, them settle into your hotel and take it easy for the afternoon, or indulge in a scrumptious dinner to kickstart your adventure.

Day Two: En Route to La Fortuna

Today involves a bit of a road trip. Bid adieu to San Jose and embark on a picturesque mountain drive towards La Fortuna. On the way, make a pit stop at Mi Cafecito for an eye-opening coffee plantation tour. Relish a traditional Costa Rican lunch, featuring rice, beans, plantains, and more, then continue your journey to La Fortuna.

Accommodation

La Fortuna offers a plethora of options. Budget-savvy travelers will adore the adorable bungalows at Hotel Eco Arenal. Don’t miss their $9 breakfast, but make sure to book ahead. And guess what? There’s no shortage of food here. Plus, they’ve got an outdoor pool surrounded by tropical vibes. Oh, and we even spotted a sloth right on the property! You may even wake up to the sound of howler monkeys.

Exploration

Come evening, embark on a hike near the base of Arenal Volcano. Trust me; it’s a stunner. We even had a chance encounter with a Green Parrot. Then, at a nearby spot, gear up for a night hike (with a guide). Get ready to spot some spider monkeys, green tree frogs, giant spiders, and more. Cap off your day with dinner at Nanku Restaurant – Tropical Bar and Grill. Their menu boasts amazing steaks, seafood, burgers, and more. And don’t forget to indulge in a killer cocktail.

Day Three: Thrilling Adventures in La Fortuna

Canyoning

Get ready for a full day of action-packed adventures in La Fortuna. We teamed up with the Desafio Adventure Company for a heart-pounding excursion. The hardest part? Picking one from their plethora of options. After much deliberation, we decided on canyoning. My husband, Don, made the call, and I had no clue what I was getting into. This excursion ment strapping into repelling gear and conquering some fears. Canyoning is an action-packed adventure that will have you descending from immense waterfalls, jumping into invigorating pools, traversing through the canyon’s rock walls and river boulders, and hiking amidst the vibrant rainforest. Needless to say going in I was terrified, but now looking back, it was the highlight of the whole trip.

Hanging Bridges

Once you’re back from canyoning, head over to the tour company’s office for a traditional Costa Rican lunch. You know the drill: rice, beans, plantains, and an array of fruits and veggies. Then, suit up for the Mistico Hanging Bridges adventure. If you’ve seen Costa Rica on Instagram, you’ve probably seen this place.

The trail is a breeze, and the hanging bridges deliver jaw-dropping views. One of them even treats you to a peek at Arenal Volcano (weather permitting, of course). You can tackle the bridges solo or, like us, opt for a guide. They come packing binoculars and are pros at wildlife spotting. We crossed paths with a variety of birds, a coati, and a bright yellow snail. We even heard the eerie calls of howler monkeys in the distance.

Hot Springs and Cocktails

As the sun dips below the horizon, make your way to Paradise Hot Springs. It’s a blast with its warm pools and a swim-up bar. If you’re up for it, don’t miss the chiliguaro – it’s a Costa Rican take on the Bloody Mary, served in shot form, made with guaro (a local sugar cane distilled liquor). And the best part? It won’t break the bank at just $2 USD! Afterwards, savor a delightful dinner at the on-site restaurant.

Day Four: Journey to Monteverde

Sloth Sanctuary

Today is a travel day. Hit the road from La Fortuna around 8 am, hop on a boat for an hour and a half ride across Lake Arenal, and then continue your drive to Monteverde.Take in breathtaking mountain and Pacific Ocean views during a lunch stop at Cafeteria Horizonte.Once you arrive in Monteverde, head to Selvatura Adventure Park for a Sloth Sanctuary tour. I loved the almost-private tour experience with just one other person.

Time to Relax

After your sloth sanctuary adventure, spend some downtime at Monteverde Rustic Lodge. It’s a no-frills hotel with no TV, but the rooms are massive and come with three beds for some reason. Perfect for budget travelers.

Night Hike: As night falls, join another thrilling night hike with Kinkajou Night Walk Tours. Wildlife is everywhere, and we crossed paths with several frogs, a toucan, curious insects, and even spotted green vipers! For dinner, dive into some Italian cuisine at Bon Appetit. It’s a short walk from your hotel, as is most of this charming small town.

Day Five: Ziplining and Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Gardens

Start the day with a tranquil morning, perhaps a little room relaxation. While I took the morning to relax, most of our group went back to Selvatura Adventure Park for the wildly popular ziplining, my husband included. Later I met up with him and we ventured into the butterfly gardens, housed in the same building as the sloths from the previous day.

Tree House Dinner: For dinner, our group decided to dine at the Tree House Restaurante. It’s a three-story restaurant with a massive tree growing right through the middle. The atmosphere is nothing short of amazing, and the food is a treat. Then, off to bed for another day of travel to the next location.

Day Six: Crocodile Bridge and Quepos

Crocodile Bridge

Bid farewell to the cloud forests of Monteverde; it’s time to soak up the sun and catch some waves in Quepos. Somewhere between Monteverde and Quepos lies the Crocodile Bridge, a quick but totally worth-it stop. There are a few shops at one end of the bridge where you can park. Walk to the center of the bridge, look over the edge, and brace yourself. We spotted about five crocs on an island in the middle of the river. And rumor has it, the biggest one was a whopping 19 feet long – massive!

Parasailing and Ceviche

Once you’re all settled in at Hotel Le Priss Inn in Quepos, head to Manuel Antonio Beach for a late lunch at Restaurante Marlin. I promise you, their ceviche is a game-changer. After lunch, consider going parasailing just across the street from the restaurant. And for dinner, take a leisurely stroll from your hotel to Tiquicia Delicias, where the drinks are buy one, get one free.

Note: While Manuel Antonio Beach is a daytime delight, I wouldn’t recommend lingering after dark due to some safety concerns.

Day Seven: Mangrove Boat Ride and Manuel Antonio National Park

Explore the Mangroves

Rise and shine early because today is a day to remember. My top recommendation from the entire trip is to hop on a boat and cruise through the mangroves with Iguana Tours.Some in our group chose to kayak through the mangroves, which is a fantastic alternative, but I opted for the boat ride to snap some wildlife and scenery photos.We lucked out with a private tour at regular tour prices. The mangroves are even more breathtaking in the morning light.

Monkeys

As we navigated through the mangroves, a troop of white-faced monkeys descended from the trees and followed along the bank. Our boat pulled up to the bank where they were hanging out, and it became instantly clear who the alpha monkey was. He confidently approached the boat while the others hung back. Our guide handed us some palm nuts and told us to offer them to the monkeys, explaining that they prefer them over bananas due to their lower sugar content. Sure enough, the alpha monkey came right up and took them from our hands. At one point, he even hopped on our boat. It was an unforgettable experience, to say the least.

Accidental Photo

As we continued our journey, we spotted various birds, a crocodile, and the highlight of the day came when we reached the spot where the mangroves meet the ocean. I was taking wide shots of the landscape when I heard a thunderous splash. When, I asked Don and our guide if they had heard it, they hadn’t. With excitement, I wondered if I had captured whatever it was on my camera. When I looked at the last photo I had taken, there it was – a stingray leaping out of the water with the mountains in the background. Our tour guide was in awe; he’d never seen anything like it in his many years as a guide. It was a once-in-a-lifetime shot that I’m incredibly proud of.

Manuel Antonio National Park:

Once the tour concludes, meet up with the kayaking group for breakfast and then head back to your hotel. Since you’re in a coastal town, it’s only fitting to spend the afternoon at the beach and explore the famous Manuel Antonio National Park.

Once inside the park, you’ll find trails everywhere, and with a high concentration of wildlife, it’s an ideal spot for animal spotting. As you wander through, be on the lookout for iguanas and more white-faced monkeys. In the heart of the park, there’s a cafeteria where you can grab some gelato and continue down the path to the beach. The stunning blue waters and perfect weather will make you want to linger.

Lunch: As you all start to show a little sun-kissed redness, it’s time to exit the park and grab lunch. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and hotels just outside the national park. We decided to stop at an open-air restaurant at Art Hostel Costa Linda. If you’re on a tight budget, the hostel might be a good choice. The food is decent; I went for a hamburger and fries. Then it was time to head back to the hotel, and luckily, Quepos isn’t too far to walk; there’s also the city bus as a convenient option.

Note: Keep a close eye on your belongings at Manuel Antonio Beach; those white-faced monkeys are notorious for their thieving antics.

Day Eight: Catamaran Party and San Jose Bound

Set sail on a morning catamaran ride departing from Marina Pez Vela. This isn’t your average boat ride; it’s a full-blown party on the waves, complete with lunch and four alcoholic beverages at 8 am!

After the catamaran shindig, it’s time to wave goodbye to Quepos. Embark on the long journey back to San Jose, returning to the same hotel where your journey began. Enjoy a farewell dinner with your group.

Day Nine: Farewell, Costa Rica

It’s time to say farewell to the stunning landscapes of Costa Rica and head to the airport after savoring one last breakfast at the hotel.

Costa Rica is undoubtedly a breathtaking country, and I sincerely hope you get the chance to explore its Caribbean side someday. My adventure was part of a small group tour with G Adventures, an excellent alternative if you prefer not to travel solo. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and let the Costa Rican adventures begin!

Book your amazing Costa Rican adventure HERE.

Learn More about Costa Rica

 
Your Guide to 9 Adventure Filled Days in Costa Rica


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