Home to lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and an astonishing diversity of wildlife, Costa Rica has long been a leader in conservation and the protection of natural heritage. Experience this gorgeous Central American nation on a fun-filled adventure, taking you from the foot of an active volcano to the misty highlands and Pacific coast. Hear from a researcher at the National Geographic–supported Monteverde Institute, learn the art of tortilla-making with a local family, and seek out the country’s unique creatures—from blue morpho butterflies to howler monkeys—on hikes through the forest.

Trip highlights

Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative Tour, Visit the Mi Cafecito coffee cooperative in San Miguel de Sarapiqui, see shade-grown coffee plants, learn about everything from harvesting, to husking, drying, and roasting the beans before enjoying the best part – a fresh cup! Feel good about all this eating and drinking knowing that you are supporting a G Adventures for Good project that helps 200 farmers and their families.

Monteverde Institute Lecture, The Monteverde Institute has served as the base for numerous National Geographic explorers and researchers studying the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Visit the institute and learn about its trees, wildlife, and conservation efforts.

Tortilla Making and Home Dinner, Learn the art of tortilla-making from Doña Mara in her home. Grind the corn, then mix the dough and bake it in a wood-burning stove. When the tortillas are ready, sit down to a tasty casado (traditional Costa Rican dish) prepared with the tortillas you’ve made.

Itinerary - 9 Days

Day 1 San José

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2 San José/La Fortuna

Awake in the Costa Rican capital and take a tour of a G Adventures–supported coffee cooperative. Meet local farmers, observe shade-grown coffee plants, and gain insight into the process of coffee production, from bean to cup. After a typical lunch—accompanied by an aromatic cup of coffee—continue to the town of La Fortuna, situated at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano. This evening, we’ll visit a local home to learn how to make tortillas. Chat with your welcoming hosts and dig into a traditional Costa Rican meal of black beans, plantains, and your own handmade tortillas.

Day 3 La Fortuna

Spend the day on your own, exploring La Fortuna and its surrounding areas. In 1968, the Arenal Volcano erupted after centuries of laying dormant, converting this quiet agricultural town into a hot spot for adventure travel. Choose to go stand-up paddleboarding on the tranquil waters of Lake Arenal; rappel down a rushing waterfall on a canyoning excursion; relax in the shadow of Arenal Volcano at a naturally heated outdoor spa; take a boat tour of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, one of the world’s most important wetlands; and more.

Day 4 La Fortuna/Monteverde

Travel from La Fortuna to the leafy cloud forests of Monteverde—a nature lover’s paradise. This afternoon, choose to discover Monteverde’s breathtaking wilderness on horseback, riding along picturesque mountain trails and looking out for toucans, monkeys, and sloths. Or, embark on a zip-lining adventure in the birthplace of the canopy tour, gliding high above the treetops or zooming through the misty foliage at exhilarating speed.

Day 5 Monteverde

Set out on a hike in the stunning Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, treading past giant ferns and vibrant orchids. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the resplendent quetzal—a sacred bird in Maya and Aztec cultures. Afterward, visit the Monteverde Institute, a research and educational organization supported by National Geographic. Hear from a researcher about some of the institute's conservation initiatives, including a successful reforestation project.

Day 6 Monteverde/Manuel Antonio

Leaving the cloud forest behind, head to Costa Rica’s sweeping Pacific coast and settle into your hotel in the seaside village of Manuel Antonio. Soak up the laid-back atmosphere of the area, and opt to go surfing, horseback riding, or dolphin watching on a catamaran. You can also spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach.

Day 7 Manuel Antonio

Discover the lush tropical forests and white-sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. Costa Rica’s smallest national park—yet one of the most spectacular—boasts an abundance of wildlife, including monkeys, armadillos, sloths, iguanas, and countless species of birds. Hike through the dense forest, climb up to rocky outcrops for views of the dazzling Pacific Ocean, and go swimming in the park’s lovely lagoons and tidal pools. Opt to take a surfing lesson, or head out for a snorkelling excursion on the nearby reef.

Day 8 Manuel Antonio/San José

Return to San José. Tonight, choose to join the group for a farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant.

Day 9 San José

Depart at any time.

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