Autotour: 4x4 Discovery Tour

Onderstaand programma is slechts een voorbeeld. Indien u extra informatie of aanpassingen wenst, kan u ons vrijblijvend contacteren via onze contactpagina of via mail (christel@montana.be)

Travel around Costa Rica and discover a range of fantastic destinations by driving at your own pace, enjoying the freedom and ease of doing so. Covering distances between active volcanoes and taking pleasure in the inspiring views of our forests. Every quiet and solitary beach, every garden, every single road surrounded by exuberant vegetation will make you realize that you don’t have to rush anywhere. Paddle quietly in a kayak in Boca Tapada or go on a bird-watching tour in the quest for the mystical quetzal or the colourful scarlet macaw. Cherish the rainforest, enjoying the positive effect of the direct contact with nature on body and soul. 
Don’t hesitate, choose freedom and harmony now!

Day 1: International Airport - San José City Hotel

After your arrival at the international airport of San José, Costa Rica, you will be welcomed by our English speaking airport guide at the exit of the airport. He/she will hand you over your travel documents, afterwards seat-in transfer to your city hotel.

Included meals today: none

Day 2: Pick-up of the rental car – Boca Tapada

Your rental car will be delivered after breakfast. You need a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Diner´s Cub) and your valid national driving license. Drive via Alajuela, the second biggest town in Costa Rica, to Poás Volcano (entrance fee 15 USD per person). Your car will be safe in the parking lot. After a short walk, you reach the main crater of the volcano. With a diameter of 1, 8 km the crater of Poás Volcano is one of the biggest in the world. We recommend visiting this place before 10am because it is usually cloudy in the afternoon. After visiting this crater, you have the possibility to enjoy a 30-minute walk to a side crater. On the way, you will be able to observe a lot of nice flora and fauna, mainly birds. Back to the car, the real adventure begins while driving through the most agriculturally productive lands of Costa Rica. Drive south to San Pedro de Poás, turn right and continue to the town of Grecia. Visit their local church which is indeed lovely. This burgundy painted the house of prayer was built in 1890 entirely out of metal to protect it from the tropical climate - really admirable. Then you can keep on with your trip calling at the towns of Naranjo and Zarcero until you reach Ciudad Quesada, where you will find a variety of restaurants and groceries stores for your convenience. Afterwards, continue to Aguas Zarcas, Pital, and Boca Tapada.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 150km
Total driving time today: about 4 hours

Day 3: Boca Tapada

Take pleasure in a fantastic hike inside an emerald forest- 300 ha of protected area where you will be able to explore the magnificent flora and fauna. There is also a lake that reaches 900 meters deep into the jungle. You can use the kayaks to paddle silently through the rainforest - one of the best ways to see animals. Likewise, a variety of tours at reasonable prices is offered.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: none
Total driving time today: none

Day 4: Boca Tapada – Arenal Volcano

The next part of your discovery tour leads you through large fruit plantations via Pital, Aguas Zarcas, and Muelle to La Fortuna, located at the foot of the active Arenal Volcano. We recommend the visit of Ecocentro Danaus with a butterfly garden, snake museum, and a medicinal plants orchard. From your room you will enjoy, weather permitting, a beautiful view of the active volcano. Relax at the thermal pool of the hotel, from where you can also get an eyeful of the volcano.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 80km 
Total driving time today: about 2.5 hours

Day 5: Arenal Volcano – Monteverde

You begin your journey driving close to the volcano and then continue along Lake Arenal. As you drive, you’ll soon notice how the beautiful tropical rainforest unfolds before your eyes. You may encounter a coati or a monkey from time to time, and of course, you’ll be able to spot a variety of colourful birds. When the road gets more and more rugged and you can see potholes all around it is a sign that you are close to the village of Nuevo Arenal. Continue to the northern part of Lake Arenal. You’ll find out that this area is windy all year round. Therefore, you’ll be able to admire the wind farm in the horizon – a dazzling vision of a clean energy future!
Once in Tilarán, follow the signs to Monteverde / Santa Elena. The last approx. 50km may be in quite a poor condition, especially after heavy rainfalls. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 125 km 
Total driving time today: about 3.5 hours

Day 6: Monteverde

Today you'll have plenty of time to take pleasure in the many interesting excursions and tours that Monteverde has for you. We especially recommend a visit to the reserves of Monteverde and/or Santa Elena. You can also enjoy the hanging bridges of Selvatura, a system of suspension bridges in the canopy of the cloud forest. Santa Elena, a small village close to Monteverde Reserve, also offers a butterfly farm, a snake museum, a hummingbird gallery, a cheese factory and much more.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: none
Total driving time today: none

Day 7: Monteverde – Quepos / Manuel Antonio

Today you leave the beautiful cloud forest and drive around 35 km down to the Panamerican Highway. From there, you turn south and continue via Puntarenas and Orotina to Jacó. Here you can stop for a visit to the Carara National Park, 5 km behind the long bridge over Tarcoles River (entry fee 10 USD per person). This park is a living example of what a mixed forest is: a biome which is at the same time mildly temperate and humid. This weather mixture is perfect for the orchids which you’ll be able to admire in their natural habitat. Nevertheless, the park's main attraction is the large red scarlet macaw. Continue by way off Jacó and along the coast to Quepos/Manuel Antonio. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 180 km
Total driving time today: about 3.5 hours 

Day 8: Manuel Antonio National Park

You can't miss Manuel Antonio National Park (closed on Mondays, entry fee 16 US$ per person). Although Manuel Antonio is one of the smallest parks in Costa Rica, it is also one of the most popular destinations for both tourists and nationals. The park protects a cherished rainforest area of 4,014 acres and some of its bordering beautiful beaches. On the trails inside the park, we’ll have the chance to observe birds and different animals; you might even bump into a squirrel monkey here and there.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: none
Total driving time today: none

Day 9: Quepos / Manuel Antonio – Dominical – Cerro de la Muerte - San Gerardo de Dota

Your discovery tour continues southwards to Dominical, where you will find beautiful wild beaches. Shortly before reaching Dominical you can visit the private reserve of Hacienda Barú. Then you go on to San Isidro del General, where you’ll meet the Panamerican Highway again. Soon you start to ascend the Talamanca mountain range and cross the highest mountain pass in Costa Rica, known as Cerro de la Muerte, 3'400 metres above sea level. A few kilometres later turn left to San Gerardo de Dota, a small village at 2’200 meters above the sea. This is the best place in Costa Rica to observe the quetzal, a shy and colourful bird which was once worshiped by the Mayans and other aboriginal populations. Enjoy a walk through the jungle and observe birds until late in the afternoon.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 140 km
Total driving time today: about 3 hours

Day 10: San Gerardo de Dota – Cartago – Turrialba

The early morning hours are the best time to take a walk through the beautiful cloud forest – great for birdwatching. Later you will drive via Cartago to Turrialba. Close to Cartago you may want to pay a visit to the Lankester Gardens to observe their beautiful orchid and bromeliad collections, or else climb up the Irazú Volcano (entry fee 15 US$ per person). Once there and weather permitting, you will be able to see its jade green crater lake. Truly optimum weather conditions might even allow you to have a privileged view of both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans (not included in the distance and time calculation). 

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 110 km (without Irazú Volcano)
Total driving time today: about 2.5 hours (without Irazú Volcano)

Day 11: Turrialba – Limón – Puerto Viejo de Limón

A visit to a coffee or sugarcane plantation would be a good idea while driving around in Turrialba. Afterwards, continue on a curvy road to Siquirres. You may get a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean while driving. Once in Siquirres turn right and continue to Limón and the Caribbean coast to finally reach the beach town of Puerto Viejo de Limón, welcoming you with its Caribbean flair.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 165 km
Total driving time today: about 3.5 hours

Day 12: Puerto Viejo de Limón

A hundred metres across the street you will find Cocles beach. However, we also recommend driving south, where you will find quiet and solitary white sand beaches you will definitively love. Here you can also explore the Gandoca Manzanillo Reserve.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: none
Total driving time today: none

Day 13: Puerto Viejo de Limón

Another day at your leisure to enjoy the Caribbean coast. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: none
Total driving time today: none

Day 14: Puerto Viejo de Limón – San José – Car return 

You can still enjoy the beaches in the morning. Return to San José via Limón, Siquirres, Guápiles, and Braulio Carrillo National Park. If you leave Puerto Viejo de Limón early, you will have the chance to enjoy a ride on the Aerial Tram, located in the Braulio Carrillo National Park. Return your car before 5pm.

Included meals today: breakfast
Total km today: about 220 km
Total driving time today: about 4.5 hours

Day 15: Transfer to the airport or extension programme

Transfer to the airport or extension programme.