Costa Rica in one week? You’ve heard that this country, which is the size of West Virginia, has a unique geography from many volcanoes, to forests of various elevations–rainforest, cloud, dry and mixed–and a slew of beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. And how can you beat the fact that 3% of the world’s biodiversity can be found in the country?
So what do you do with 8 days and 7 nights including your travel there and back?
Don’t worry, it’s a very simple itinerary, one that many before you have transversed with the help of a seasoned Costa Rica travel agent.
Here’s what you need to know for visiting Costa Rica in one week.
No matter where you live, make sure to fly in and out of San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport. Although Costa Rica has two international airports, the other being Liberia’s Daniel Oduber, the one in San Jose offers the most flights, and the most reasonably priced, at least at this moment.
Upon arrival, you will be met outside baggage claim and customs by a driver who will transfer you by private van for a three-hours trip to La Fortuna, where the Arenal Volcano and rainforest are located. For the next three days you will stay at the Arenal Springs Resort and Spa. Not only will your suite feature a beautiful view of the volcano, the hotel has its own hot springs that you can use at your convenience between your tours. Among the excursion options are the La Fortuna waterfall, the Toro, the Balsa, and the Peñas Blancas river rafting, and the hike through the El Silencio trails at the base of the volcano.
On your third day, once again you will travel in a private van, this one going to the higher elevation of the Monteverde cloud forest. The hotel is the wood chalet-style Belmar, and that evening take a walk in the forest to check out nocternal animals, those that are different than what you have seen in the daylight of El Silencio. The next day, enjoy the best canopy ziplining in Costa Rica at Selvatura. The half-day adventure includes the adreneline experience of zipling through the trees, a walk across the hanging bridges, and visits to the hummingbird garden and expansive butterfly farm, topped off with a delicious lunch.
The last stop in your week-long Costa Rica adventure begin at the drop off at the Costa Verde hotel–which features a refurbished 727 airplane hotel room–in the transitional forest of Manuel Antonio national park. The most-popular park in a country filled with national parks, a half day hike will present you with a variety of monkeys, birds, insects and flowers and trees capped off with beautiful beaches.
While you are popping place to place make sure you sample the typical food, which includes the casado. That’s beef, chicken, fish or eggs with rice and beans with a cabbage or lettuce salad and an occassional side option of fries or plantains. The locals also enjoy pica de gallo, which gringos call “salsa”. For breakfast, included at most hotels, the rice and beans are mixed, a tradition born of leftovers from the previous evening’s meal, in a gallo pinto.
Once you are at the airport on your final day, you will marvel on all you have accomplished in such a short time in Costa Rica. And, you have probably picked up a little Spanish as well. Most certainly, Pura Vida, the easy-going philosophy of the country.
By Ellen Zoe Golden I am a former entertainment industry executive living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. I help many people from the United States and Canada with their trips via Costa Rica Vacations In my spare time, I surf, run, do yoga and binge watch Orange is the New Black, The Good Place and Ballers on my computer.