Costa Rica and Nicaragua Tour
Basic travel information
Nature trip to beautiful Central America. We travel to Costa Rica’s famous tropical rainforests, misty cloud forests and white sand beaches, as well as the colonial quarters of Nicaragua and the lake that bears the country’s name.
Along the way, you’ll see the best pieces of Costa Rica’s diverse nature from the Arenal Volcano to Monteverde’s fabulous cloud forests, waterfalls and tropical rainforests, as well as the sandy beaches of the Pacific coast. In Nicaragua, we explore the colonial city of Granada and Lake Nicaragua with its islands. At the end of the trip, we relax on the shores of the Nicoya Peninsula
DAY 1 – FLIGHTS TO HELSINKI – SAN JOSE
Flights to Central America, the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. Arrival in the evening, transfer to the hotel and overnight stay.
DAY 2 – SAN JOSE – ARENAL
Today we travel through the central highlands of Costa Rica to the edge of the Arenal volcano. The 1633-meter-high Arenal is the most active of Costa Rica’s volcanoes and is surrounded by a national park of the same name. We stay in the village of La Fortuna de Arenal next to the park. The surroundings of the Arenal volcano and the nearby Laguna de Arenal lake are known for their rich nature: here you can admire many unique plants and animals. Due to volcanic activity, the area also has hot springs that are well suited for relaxation. (A)
ACTIVITIES IN THE
VILLAGE OF LA FORTUNA DE ARENAL
DAY 3 – CAÑO NEGRO
Caño Negro Conservation Area. The approximately 1.5-hour transfer via the village of Los Chiles to Caño Negro runs close to the Nicaraguan border, so copies of passports should be brought along. In the reserve we move by boat. From there, it is easy to spot the rich fauna along the river. We enjoyed lunch in Los Chiles and returned to Arenal in the afternoon. (A, L)
ACTIVITIES IN THE
CAÑO NEGRO CONSERVATION AREA
DAY 4 – ARENAL – MONTEVERDE
Today, the journey continues south of Arenal, to the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Conservation Area, where we stay. Monteverde is known as one of the most magnificent protected areas and nature tourist destinations in the world. In the Monteverde area, you can admire the misty cloud forests of the mountain slopes and their diverse flora and fauna on the protected area’s easy-going routes. Here you can enjoy e.g. impressive mayaxal, as well as about 400 other bird species, 100 mammalian species, and 2,500 different plant species. (A)
DAY 5 – MONTEVERDE
Guided walk on the bridge routes attached to the canopies of the Monteverde cloud forest. The rest of the day is free to explore the fascinating nature of the Monteverde or “green mountain” area or go on a cable car ride in the cloud forest at an additional cost. In addition to the protected area itself, Monteverde can be visited e.g. in special hummingbird, butterfly or frog parks or go on a hiking or horseback riding trip. (A)
WALKING IN THE CLOUD FOREST OF MONTEVERDE
DAY 6 – MONTEVERDE – GRANADA
We travel north from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the magical scenery of Lake Nicaragua. We cross the Nicaraguan border at Bena Blanca and drive along the Pan American Highway along the shores of Lake Nicaragua to Granada, next to the Mombacho volcano. This charming colonial city is one of the oldest and best-preserved Spanish cities in Latin America. In Granada we stay in a colonial style hotel. (A)
DAY 7 – GRANADA, LAKE NICARAGUA
Today we take a boat trip on freshwater Lake Nicaragua. On the boat trip we will see small islands near Granada, some of which are protected areas where you can enjoy e.g. birds, some privately owned with their lavish villas. Overnight in Granada. (A)
DAY 8 – GRANADA
A day of free time in Granada, which can be spent, for example, admiring the city’s old architecture, doing inexpensive shopping, stopping in the nearby towns of Masaya or Managua, renting a kayak or taking a guided hiking trip to the Mombacho volcano. (A)
DAY 9 – GRANADA – RINCON DE LA VIEJA
We leave Nicaragua behind and return the same route to Costa Rica and its northwestern province of Guanacaste. We stay in a jungle lodge near the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, surrounded by a mountain rainforest and waterfalls. (A)
RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA NATIONAL PARK
DAY 10 – RINCON DE LA VIEJA
All day free time in the Rincón de La Vieja area. You can go hiking and bongaing the local fauna and flora on the trails of the national park, go horse riding or relax in the hot springs or in a mud bath. (A)
DAY 11 – RINCON DE LA VIEJA – SAMARA
We descend from the shores of the mountain forests to the Pacific coast, where we get to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches, clean, warm waters and coral reefs of the Nicoya Peninsula. We stay near the white sandy beach of Samara. (A)
DAY 12 – SAMARA
Holiday in Samara. You can go snorkeling, kayaking on a nearby island, go fishing or just enjoy the beautiful 5-mile beach and the warm waters of the Pacific. (A)
DAY 13 – SAMARA – SAN JOSE
We leave the beach of Samara behind us and travel back to the capital of Costa Rica. In San Jose, transfer to the airport and return flights to Europe overnight. (A)
DAY 14 – – HELSINKI
Arrival in Finland.
MEALS: [A] BREAKFAST [L] LUNCH [I] DINNER
Group size : 10-20 people.
The price of the trip includes
- Flights to
- Airport transfers
- All transportation mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance fees for guided tours
- Services of a Finnish-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking local guide
- Meals and airport taxes mentioned in the itinerary.
The price of the trip does not include
- Travel insurance
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Food drinks
- Personal expenses
- Local airport taxes or possible exit fees are not included in the price of air tickets.
- Office expenses 10 € / person
We fly to Costa Rica on scheduled flights from Air France. The airline has the right to change its schedules, so do not book any connecting flights until you have received your flight tickets.
Arenal Volcano National Park (121 km2) in the volcanic central highlands of Costa Rica includes the 1633-meter-high Arenal Active Volcano with its surroundings, including the smaller Chato Volcano and unspoilt mountain forests. The park is popular with birdwatchers because you can spot most of Costa Rica’s bird species there, e.g. colorful maya ketal. Numerous orchids also thrive in the forests of the park. The Arenal volcano has erupted from time to time since 1968, now eruptions have become less frequent.
The Caño Negro Conservation Area (102 km2) is located in northern Costa Rica, near the Nicaraguan border. The area is mainly wetland around the River Frio and Lake Caño Negro. The rich fauna of the area includes e.g. roaring and spider monkeys, sloths, caimans, oselots and, especially during the winter months, abundant birds. This can also see the world’s only freshwater sharks as well as basil lizards, which locals call “Jesus lizards” because these lizards master the skill of walking on water. It is only possible to move around the reserve by boat.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Conservation Area (10.5 km2) in central Costa Rica, in the Tilarán Mountains, is one of the most famous and exquisite natural sites in Costa Rica and also in the world, despite its small size. 90% of the area is a natural forest with a staggering 400 species of birds, 100 mammals and 2,500 plants, including the most orchid species in the world in one place. Bridge paths in the canopies of the trees have been built in the protected area, along which it is easy to observe the rich flora and fauna of the cloud forests. The routes are easy to navigate and safe.
Finnish citizens do not need a visa to Costa Rica or Nicaragua. Nicaraguan border fees on and off are paid in cash, totaling 20USD / person. There is a cash departure fee of USD 29 per person on departure from Costa Rica. Your passport must be valid after 6 months of travel.
Check the validity of your basic vaccinations before you travel. In addition, all travelers to Central America are recommended to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and, based on a doctor’s risk assessment, possibly also to take anti-malarial medication. You can get more information about vaccinations from your doctor and on the Internet: http://rokote.fi
The currency of Costa Rica is Colón (CRC) and Nicaraguan Córdoba (NIO). US dollars are generally valid in both countries. Costa Rica has plenty of ATMs that recognize the most common international credit cards. However, credit card payment is only possible in a few shops and restaurants. We recommend bringing US dollars with you on the trip in cash, less than $ 100 notes.
The official language in Costa Rica and Nicaragua is Spanish. In addition, some Indian languages and English are spoken in the countries. Few locals speak English and learning a few Spanish phrases before the trip helps with daily interaction. We recommend that you bring a Spanish dictionary with you on your trip. Your tour guide and local guide will be happy to help with translation.
The Central American climate is tropically warm and pleasant outside of the rainy summer. In May-October, during the rainy season, the weather is hot and humid, with occasional hurricanes mainly occurring in late summer. In mountain areas, the temperature is cool in the evenings and at night.
The top culture is typical of Central America. If the service has been good in the restaurant, you can leave 5-15% of the total amount of the invoice to the waiters. The tour guide collects common tips from the group for local guides.