Costa Rica Family: Arenal & Manuel Antonio

Family Tour of Costa Rica: Arenal & Manuel AntonioFamily Tour of Costa Rica: Arenal & Manuel Antonio

Costa Rica Family

Arenal & Manuel Antonio

overview

¡Pura vida! From the moment your family arrives in Costa Rica, the laid-back friendliness of the country’s locals is almost as dazzling as its lush rainforest beauty. You’ll enjoy a lot of both on this epic adventure: your seven-day itinerary takes you trekking through the dense jungles, rafting wild rivers, and relaxing on pristine beaches lined with palms. Along the way, you and your loved ones can bond while hiking an active volcano, rappelling down waterfalls into enchanting tropical gorges, spotting pelicans along the Pacific Coast from an outrigger canoe, crossing paths with lazing basilisk lizards while splashing in natural hot springs, and listening to playful monkeys while soaking up the sun on a national-park beach. Have fun practicing Spanish with friendly sugarcane farmers over a typical Costa Rican lunch. From start to finish, your Costa Rica trip is an embodiment of that classic Tico catchphrase: pure life. Enjoy it together.

Activity Level
Easy to Moderate;
3-5 miles daily
Meet
San José, Costa Rica
Depart
San José, Costa Rica
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From our blog

Family Adventure 
7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • One expert naturalist guide and regional local guides, with you 24/7
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages included; welcome and farewell cocktails
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting point to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
San José
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2
Arenal
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3
Arenal
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4
Arenal
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5
Manuel Antonio National Park
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6
Manuel Antonio National Park
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7
Manuel Antonio National Park
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Day 1

San José

Bienvendos! Class II-III raft trip on the Balsa River; Arenal Volcano National Park, 1.5 miles, easy

This morning, you meet your naturalist guide(s) and immediately depart for Arenal National Volcano Park. En route, your guide helps spot coatimundis, monkeys, and a wide diversity of birds, including keel-billed and chestnut-mandibled toucans and crested guans.

By mid-morning, you arrive at the Balsa River, where you enjoy an adventurous class II-III rafting trip fit for all ages. After a thorough safety briefing, you board spacious rafts that carry you down the river, past tree-lined banks and beneath thick canopies. Along the way, your guide introduces you to the flora and fauna of the region, including sloths, monkeys, butterflies, iguanas, turtles, and many colorful species of birds, including toucans and the comical-looking boat-billed heron.

After your river adventure, you continue to the Arenal area where you are treated to sweeping views of Lake Arenal and the volcano. Suddenly awakening in 1968 after 400 years of dormancy, Arenal was Costa Rica’s most active volcano for more than 40 years. Your accommodation for the next three nights is a mountain lodge, the only one situated next to the national park, at the base of the volcano amidst a primary rainforest. From this cozy home base, you have exclusive views of the volcano and Lake Arenal, and, on a clear day, the volcano’s impressive cone.

Upon arrival at your hotel, your guides treat you to a short walk to get you acquainted with the area before dinner at the lodge.

Arenal Observatory Lodge

Escazu, Costa Rica

A Smithsonian research station and lodge with modest but comfortable rooms, beautiful grounds, swimming pool, and spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano.

Day 2

Arenal

La Roca canyoning tour; Arenal hanging-bridges walk, 3 miles, easy

Today is a day full of exhilarating experiences! After a thorough safety briefing and equipment fitting, you rappel down a series of four waterfalls and trek along magical trails in a pristine canyon. Rest assured, your professionally trained and experienced guides secure you into your safety harness and assist you as you descend into the area’s enchanting gorges and lush tropical rainforest.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you have the opportunity to view the area from a different perspective—from the top down—as your guide leads you along a complex of suspended bridges through the beautiful rainforest. The surrounding vegetation contains palms, heliconias, and giant pilón trees. You enjoy panoramic views of nearby Arenal Volcano as you meander along trails both on the ground and suspended in midair along the bridges. You may encounter a variety of forest wildlife, including toucans, motmots, trogons, poison-dart frogs, and coatimundis, as well as howler, spider, and white-faced capuchin monkeys.

You return to your hotel for dinner, where you exchange stories of this full day of adventure!

Arenal Observatory Lodge

Escazu, Costa Rica

A Smithsonian research station and lodge with modest but comfortable rooms, beautiful grounds, swimming pool, and spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano.

Day 3

Arenal

Morning lava-flow walk, 4 miles, easy with short moderate sections; Arenal Vida Campesina farm tour; Arenal Hot Springs visit

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, your guide leads you on an exploration on foot through the lush rainforest covering old lava flows. Wildlife is abundant in the area—including monkeys, as well as coatis, agoutis, and peccaries. Among the many bird species are keel-billed toucans, jacamars, tanagers, honey creepers, and hummingbirds. This morning’s walk is a perfect introduction to the geology of the region.

Later, you have the opportunity to visit the Arenal Vida Campesina, where you learn about the local farming tradition and the practice of sustainable agriculture. Crops grown at the farm include coffee, bananas, plantains, and sugarcane. After a demonstration of sugarcane juice production (using a manually operated sugar mill), you enjoy a traditional lunch featuring freshly harvested vegetables and tortillas that you help make!

The afternoon brings a visit to the natural hot springs heated by the geothermal activity of Arenal Volcano. This retreat provides the opportunity to relax and enjoy the warm and soothing springs, set in idyllic and tranquil surroundings. Howler monkeys surround you in the forest, while frogs and basilisk lizards are often encountered on the trails between the pools. If you choose to forego this activity, there is time to enjoy the pool, Jacuzzi, and grounds of your superbly situated lodge. This evening, another satisfying dinner is served at the hot springs, featuring local favorites such as tilapia and sea bass.

Arenal Observatory Lodge

Escazu, Costa Rica

A Smithsonian research station and lodge with modest but comfortable rooms, beautiful grounds, swimming pool, and spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano.

Day 4

Arenal

Departure for Manuel Antonio National Park; outrigger canoe tour and snorkeling

This morning, you journey toward another ecological zone—the Pacific Coast. En route, you embark on an outrigger canoe and snorkeling excursion. The stable outrigger canoe measures more than 40 feet long and has changed little over the last 700 years. Each canoe holds eight paddlers plus a guide, and no experience is necessary. After a brief introduction to the proper technique, you set out, paddling beneath spectacular cliffs inhabited by pelicans and frigate birds. Your destination is a beautiful secluded beach, where you enjoy a swim and a picnic lunch at a local family’s home.

After lunch, you continue your travels to Manuel Antonio, arriving in time for dinner at a local restaurant before retiring to your hotel to enjoy the beautiful sunset views from its spectacular setting on a hill above the national park.

Hotel Si Como No

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

This central-Pacific Coast resort in the jungle-covered hills just above Manuel Antonio National Park is luxury with a pura vida vibe, perfect for families who love the beach, tropical adventures, spa, pools, superb dining, and four-star accommodations.

Day 5

Manuel Antonio National Park

Campesinos Reserve, 4-6 miles, options, easy to moderate

Today you enjoy a full day exploring the private Campesinos Reserve. An initial steady ascent brings you into the reserve, which contains more than 80 acres of primary and secondary forest. Some paths in the reserve’s extensive trail network have exposed rocks and roots, while others are smoother and wider. Campesinos is a cooperative of the local farming community of Quebrada Arroyo, and is managed by Don Miguel Mora, his brother Visaí, and his wife Doña Juanita, and is a wonderful example of rural tourism, in which both visitors and local farmers benefit.

Along today’s route you may stop for a swim in a refreshing natural pool beneath a waterfall. The walk continues to a suspension bridge over a deep river gorge (crossing the bridge is optional). Birdlife common to this area includes toucans, parrots, and tanagers. Lunch today is a typical Tico home-cooked meal.

Late afternoon you return to the hotel, where you have time to enjoy the pool or perhaps explore the trails of the adjacent 25-acre private wildlife refuge.

Hotel Si Como No

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

This central-Pacific Coast resort in the jungle-covered hills just above Manuel Antonio National Park is luxury with a pura vida vibe, perfect for families who love the beach, tropical adventures, spa, pools, superb dining, and four-star accommodations.

Day 6

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park walk, 3 miles, easy; zip-line tour

Today is a full day spent at Manuel Antonio National Park. Although it’s the smallest of Costa Rica’s national parks, it is well known for its beautiful beaches and excellent hiking trails, and was recently designated as one of the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks by Forbes. The diversity of the park’s wildlife is incredible; local species include sloths and iguanas, 184 bird species, and all four of Costa Rica’s monkey species. From the beaches, dolphins and migrating whales are often observed. There are numerous options for walking in the national park, and your guide will help you choose your path for the day!

In the afternoon, the thrill of the zip line awaits those who are interested. Not for the faint of heart—but definitely for those looking for a thrill—this afternoon’s tour is along a secure set of trails, suspension bridges, and zip lines, and offers an unforgettable and unique glimpse of the amazing surroundings.

After an exhilarating ride and some relaxation time at your hotel, you reconvene at a local restaurant for a farewell dinner where you toast your Tico adventure.

Hotel Si Como No

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

This central-Pacific Coast resort in the jungle-covered hills just above Manuel Antonio National Park is luxury with a pura vida vibe, perfect for families who love the beach, tropical adventures, spa, pools, superb dining, and four-star accommodations.

Day 7

Manuel Antonio National Park

Departure to San José

Today you return to San José, an approximately 3.5 hour transfer, arriving at the international airport in time for mid-afternoon flights back to the U.S.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

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