Costa Rica – Best One-Week Itinerary

Last month, I was fortunate enough to spend a week in Costa Rica.  It was during their low season or some call it rainy season, but I still enjoyed my time there a lot.  You have to prepare for rain if you’re going to the rain forest… it wasn’t pouring all day long.  But with my rain poncho, I hiked in the dark for my night tour to search for active wildlife that loves the rain, and I rode the ATV in extra muddy terrain, which made it more fun, and I hiked in the forest which makes the air even more fresh.. There were less crowds and the pace more relaxed.  I love it.  So, I’d say Costa Rica is a year round destination!

 I’m sharing the best 1 week itinerary for exploring Costa Rica. If you’ve 2 weeks or even more, excellent!  Even better!  Get in touch either way. We’ll brainstorm an itinerary that fits your travel style and make sure you get to do and see everything you want in this amazing country.

Costa Rica is only about 1/6th the size of California.  However, this little Central American country packs a lot in what it has to offer.   There is such diverse ecosystemsrainforest, dry forest, cloud forest, mangrove forest, wetlands, coral reefs and the Pacific and Atlantic coast are just a handful of the 12 ecosystems you can find in the country.   Because of this, you can find beautifully dense forest that supports an abundant of plants and fungi. It also provides habitats for all kinds of animals and birds.  I was lucky enough to spot their colorful toucan and sloths and howler monkeys and many more in the wild.  ( plus a lot more in a wildlife sanctuary that house rescued animals)  Everywhere I drive, I see green hills and unexpected waterfalls, farm lands and coffee fields. 

I send a lot of families and couples to Costa Rica every year. Popularity has grown as more families expand out of Hawaii and Mexico, and prefer something a little different from home, where there is no McDonalds or GAP or such.

If you’re not familiar with the country, I’ve a Costa Rica Guide for you here.  It gives some quick facts  and introduction to what the country offers.   So, check it out here.

If you have one week to spend, I’d suggest an itinerary that allows you to explore the volcano, rainforests and the beach, so you can have a good taste of the diversity the country offers.

I’d spend half the time in Arenal/La Fortuna area…which is the adventure capital of the country.  Arenal Volcano is probably the most famous of the many volcanoes in Costa Rica. It used to be the most active volcano, but it has entered a less active phase since 2010.  Aside from climbing the volcano, you can hike on suspension bridges to appreciate the rainforest, zipine across it, or you can ride an ATV through it.   Thrill seekers will enjoy white water rafting from class II to class V rated rapids, rappelling off waterfalls surrounded by lush foliage. Another fascinating and fun activity is exploring the Venado cave with a guide.  You’ll spy bats, huge spiders, eyeless fish, and also beautiful stone formations.

When you’re tired after a day of activities, you can soak in the natural hot springs that are found at the area resorts.  The hot springs are pools of geothermal water heated by the Arenal volcano and pumped into the resort.  Soak in the pools and unwind in the mineral laden water.  I recommend a few resorts that have the hot springs on site, such as The Springs resort  for families, and the adults only Nayara resort for couples.

The second half of the trip, I’d suggest head over to the Pacific Coast and spend a few lazy days at a beach resort and enjoy some water activities:  snorkel, fishing, kayaking, surfing to name a few.

I’d combine Arenal with Manuel Antonio for those who seeks a more authentic Costa Rican experience.  Manuel Antonio National Park and the nearby town of Quepos is located in the Central Pacific Coast.  Here you’ll find spectacular beaches and rainforest wildlife.  Boutique cliff side hotels that pamper you and award you with amazing view.

I also combine Arenal with the Pacific north coast of Guanacaste–the dry forest area of the country. Climate is dry, less rain, and home to resorts you have heard of, such as Four Seasons, the JW Marriott, Westin and a few other all-inclusive resorts as well.  Resorts have kids club and pools and waterslides to keep little ones happy.

Are you ready to try something different on your next vacation?  Reach out so I can plan a tailor made itinerary for you.   I will ensure you have a good balance of activities and relaxation so that you won’t come home needing another vacation!  Call me or schedule an appointment now:

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