Autotour: Coast to coast explorer

 

Enjoy some of Costa Rica's finest scenery in a route that traverses the country coast to coast. A journey that takes you in some of our most iconic locations such as Arenal Volcano, Monteverde’s cloud forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park.
In the olden days, back in the age of discovery, explorers led expeditions through our forests. However, this time, you are the one to be the explorer crossing the wasp-waist of the American continent from one ocean to the other. You will cross rivers, hike through abundant forests, bathe in the thermal waters at the volcano’s foot and swim in the waters of two oceans. You will be back to your homeland with lots of stories about the new world: grazing agoutis and the majestic quetzal in the cloud forest, friendly people, butterflies in all colors of the rainbow are only some of the countless impressions you will discover. Explorers like Ferdinand Magellan were the first to carry the tropical flora and fauna out into the world - it´s your turn now!

 

Day 1 Transfer in

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. Then the rest of the day is all yours to spend it as you please and to get a good rest because tomorrow the adventure begins.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: None
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 2 Central Valley – Northern Plains – Boca Tapada

Start your journey through the central mountain chain up to the north to reach the village of Boca Tapada in the northern lowlands near the mouth of San Carlos River, which serves as border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This secluded area is home to hundreds of pineapple and sugar cane plantations, as well as a rich biodiversity of plants and animals which are highly dependent on Boca Tapada’s wetlands.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, dinner
Total km today: About 150 km
Total driving time today: About 4 hours

Day 3 Boca Tapada

Enjoy local, optional activities offered by the hotel like rainforest hikes, boat or kayak tours. You can try a bird-watching tour in these scarcely explored lands in the quest for the endangered Great Green Macaw.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, dinner
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 4 Boca Tapada – La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano

Continue your journey towards the active Arenal Volcano, famous for its thermal springs, occasional eruptions, and its national park. Weather permitting, you can enjoy a titanic view of the volcano.
Give yourself a treat and try the relaxing mineral hot springs.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: About 80 km
Total driving time today: About 2.5 hours

Day 5 La Fortuna / Arenal

Day at your leisure to enjoy this beautiful region. You may choose out of many interesting activities like guided walks through Arenal National Park, horseback rides through the nearby hills, whitewater rafting, as well as canoeing, fishing or kite surfing on Lake Arenal.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 6 La Fortuna – Lake Arenal - Monteverde

Begin your journey driving around the volcano and continue along Lake Arenal. As you drive you’ll soon notice how the beautiful tropical rainforest starts to unfold before your very eyes. You may bump into a coati or a monkey from time to time and of course you’ll be able to spot a variety of colourful birds. When you see potholes all around it is a sign that you’re soon to reach 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 windmills of a big wind farm in the horizon - a dazzling vision of a clean energy future! Once in Tilarán, start driving to Monteverde / Santa Elena. The remaining road might be in quite poor condition, especially after heavy rainfalls.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: About 125 km
Total driving time today: About 3.5 hours

Day 7 Monteverde

Take pleasure in leisurely walks through the cloud forest, spotting some of the 400 species of birds, or just letting your mind go as you get rid of all the stressful thoughts of daily life.
Boredom is for sure a word that will stop existing for you thanks to the fascinating range of activities available for you in Monteverde: Try the adventurous sky-walking or canopy or visit the snake museum and the humming-bird gallery. Many other exciting activities, along with an interesting historical background, wait for you to explore this beautiful region.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 8 Monteverde – Quepos / Manuel Antonio

Back on the road you drive 35 km down to the Panamerican Highway and continue southwards via Puntarenas to Jacó. Here you can stop for a visit to Carara National Park, 5 km behind the long bridge over Tarcoles River (entry fee US$ 10 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. Especially orchids are very comfortable here, you will be able to admire some of them in their natural habitat. Nevertheless, the main attraction of the park is the large Scarlet Macaw parrots. Afterwards continue along the coast to Quepos / Manuel Antonio.
Beach time! Further south on the Central Pacific Coast you will find one of the nicest beaches in Costa Rica; where you will have the chance to go for a refreshing swim and to pay a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: About 180 km
Total driving time today: About 3.5 hours

Day 9 Beach – Manuel Antonio (National Park closed on Mondays)

There are a wide variety of activities which can be undertaken whilst here such as swimming, hiking the Manuel Antonio National Park, surfing, or breathing easily and peacefully as the most vibrant sunset happens before your eyes. Also this is one of only two locations in Costa Rica where all four types of monkey can be found: spider monkeys, howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, and the endangered little squirrel monkey. With a little bit of luck, you can even spot them from your hotel room.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 10 Quepos – Dominical – Rio Claro – Golfito – Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Drive along the Pacific Coastal way towards the south. At the crossing 27km before Rio Claro turn right in direction to La Gamba. Continue driving for about 20 minutes till you reach Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. Here, you will experience a real tropical adventure!

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Total km today: About 160 km
Total driving time today: About 3 hours

Day 11 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Here in the Austrian Rainforest there are lots of optional local activities to enjoy, such as jungle hikes, horseback riding, biking, kayaking or also a tour to the mangroves and estuaries full of wildlife.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 12 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Also today is at your leisure. Relax in this uncomparable biodiversity and observe the native plants in the grounds, which by the way attract lots of hummingbirds, scarlet-rumped tanagers and toucans every day. Also the natural spring fed pool invites to a little break.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 13 Golfito – San Isidro – San Gerardo de Dota

A total change of climate and countryside will be experienced today. Your next stop, the small village of San Gerardo de Dota, is located up in the mountains in a picturesque small valley, at an altitude of about 2´200m above sea level.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, dinner
Total km today: About 210 km
Total driving time today: About 4 hours

Day 14 San Gerardo de Dota

For today we recommend you optional local activities such as an early bird-watching tour, on which with a little bit of luck you even have the opportunity to observe the majestic Quetzal bird. Breathe the fresh mountain air and be lulled by the sound of the streams of Savegre River. Savegre River is one of the purest rivers in Central America and offers a magnificent stretch of whitewater, encompassed by voluptuous primary rainforest, waterfalls, and canyons. Many tropical birds like egrets, ospreys, toucans, parrots, kingfishers, cormorants and more call this region their home.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, dinner
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 15 San Gerardo de Dota – Orosi - Turrialba

Today the journey continues to the north. On your way through the former capital Cartago to Turrialba, you get to know the picturesque areas with their wide sugar cane and coffee plantations and small typical villages and can make a side trip to the little village of Orosi.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: About 135 km with Orosi
Total driving time today: About 3.5 hours with Orosi

Day 16 Turrialba

The day is at your leisure. You could, e.g., take part in an exciting rafting tour or visit to a coffee plantation or the interesting archeological site of Guayabo.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 17 Turrialba – Siquirres – Limón – Selva Bananito Lodge

Drive towards to the Caribbean Coast, passing by Siquirres and Limón. A few kilometers behind Limón you turn right and follow the road to Bananito Norte / Salon Delia. Access to Selva Bananito Lodge is possible with your 4x4 car, from Salon Delia it is around 11km / 35 minutes more over bumpy nature roads and crossing several rivers. Sustainability and the experience of being close to nature is their main asset at the lodge. After your arrival, you will plant a tree.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast, dinner
Total km today: About 140 km to Bananito / Salon Delia, about 11 km from there to the lodge
Total driving time today: About 3 hours to Bananito / Salon Delia, about 35 minutes from there to the lodge

Day 18 Selva Bananito

During your stay at this cozy nature lodge, focused a 100% on sustainable tourism, you can choose one tour out of the following: Guided hike on the Natural History Trail, tree climbing on a training tree, or horseback riding.

Included fees/tours: One tour out of the following:
Guided hike on the Natural History Trail, Tree climbing on a training tree, or horseback riding tour
Included meals today: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A 

Day 19 Selva Bananito – Puerto Viejo de Limón

The driving time to your beach hotel in Puerto Viejo de Limón lasts only 1 ½ hours. Unwind on the beach, enjoy the delicious, typical Caribbean cuisine, explore its lush mountains, or befriend its multicultural people and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere that can be felt throughout.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: About 11km to Salon Delia, then about 45 km to Puerto Viejo
Total driving time today: About 35 minutes to Salon Delia, then about 1 hour to Puerto Viejo

Day 20 Puerto Viejo de Limón

Relax by the beach and enjoy the Caribbean feeling. Take pleasure in the beautiful white-sand and black- sand beaches and dense jungles of huge trees. Otherwise, take advantage of its proximity to wildlife sanctuaries and protected areas such as Cahuita National Park or Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: N/A
Total driving time today: N/A

Day 21 Puerto Viejo de Limón – San José.

Return to San José and drop off your rental.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast
Total km today: About 220 km
Total driving time today: About 4.5 hours