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Adventure Calls With 10 Days in Costa Rica

Discover a variety of landscapes and see all that Costa Rica has to offer.

Brian McMahon
Origin travel writer

Travelers seek out pura vida in Costa Rica, the intoxicating “no worries'' lifestyle that the country is known for. It’s a sensation you can detect in the busy streets of San José or quietly watching sea turtles nest on a virgin beach. Pura vida exists in the adrenaline rush of zip lining from a waterfall or the calming waters of a natural hot spring. And in the country that practically invented ecotourism, visitors don’t just experience pura vida, but contribute to it.

Trip Overview
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  • 3 nights in San José
  • 3 nights in Arenal National Park
  • 2 nights in Monteverde
  • 3 nights in Las Catalinas
Days 1–3: San José

Most Costa Rican trips begin and end in San José, but there’s much more to the capital city than the airport. Get historical and cultural context by exploring San José’s museums, market places, and diverse barrios before venturing off to nature destinations, and don’t pass over the food. San José is also the gastronomical capital of the country and you could spend the entire trip trying everything from Indigenous cuisine to innovative tasting menus.

Your Stay: Finca Rosa Blanca Inn & Coffee Plantation

Finca Rosa Blanca Inn & Coffee Plantation is an authentic Costa Rican boutique hotel in the Central Valley Highlands, just 20 minutes from the San José Airport. This intimate inn is an ideal option for families looking to experience authentic Costa Rican culture in a sustainable and enriching setting.

Finca Rosa Blanca is a haven just outside San José featuring unique suites and sweeping views
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River Rafting on the Sarapiquí River
This leisurely raft ride along the Sarapiquí River runs through a variety of environments, from tropical rainforests to mountains and pastures. Explore the vibrant ecosystem while looking out for wildlife on water and land, including monkeys, iguanas, sloths, alligators, otters, and a variety of bird species.

Rafting along the Sarapiquí River
Days 4–6: Arenal National Park

Arenal Volcano went dormant in 2010 after decades of spewing lava, but the surrounding national park is a wonderland for travelers with a taste for adventure. Experience the park from above through canopy-level suspension bridges, at ground level on hiking trails bursting with wildlife, or whitewater rafting the Sarapiquí River. Whether you need a break or just identify with the native sloths, the healing waters of the volcanic hot springs are the perfect place to wind down.

Your Stay: Nayara Gardens

At Nayara Gardens, you can embrace your inner explorer as you walk through tropical gardens adorned with heliconia and bougainvillea. Discover hidden ponds full of colorful koi fish and lily pads. Enjoy the Termas, seven mineral hot springs secluded in the rainforest or the swim-up bar for a refreshing tropical mojito and fresh guacamole.

After hiking around the national park, wind down and relax at Nayara Gardens
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Frog Watching Tour
Discover some of Costa Rica’s nocturnal wonders on this tour beginning in a small town called La Tigra. Here, you will discover the marvels of Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest and you can expect to see a variety of animals, but the colorful frogs are the stars of this nature show.

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Volcano Hike and Hot Springs
Hike a moderate trail accompanied by monkeys and tropical birds. Parts of the trail can be difficult with a steady incline and areas of navigating jagged and uneven rocks.Then head to the local thermal hot springs, famous for their therapeutic benefits since ancient times and well known for relieving stress and tension in both the body and mind while detoxing the skin.

Hike the lush trails around Arenal Volcano National Park
Days 7–8: Monteverde

Monteverde’s variable climate and high altitude have produced extreme biodiversity. The area is home to over 100 species of mammals, more than 400 species of birds, thousands of insect and plant species, and the largest number of orchids in the world. It is acclaimed as one of the most outstanding wildlife refuges worldwide.

Your Stay: Senda Monteverde

Retreat into Costa Rica's cloud forest at the Senda Monteverde, a haven of peace and nature right on the slopes of Monteverde's natural reserve. Nature-loving families will feel at home in this boutique hotel from the Cayuga Collection which blends contemporary hospitality with the jungle outside. The on-site restaurant has a locally-sourced menu with both Costa Rican and international cuisines.

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Travel Greener
Senda Monteverde puts the mountain sunshine to good use through solar panels which heat water for the guest rooms. They are also plastic free and use bio-degradable cleaning products.

Senda Monteverde is the perfect destination to completely disconnect from the outside world

Coffee Tour
Costa Rica is famous for its coffee and you’ll learn all about coffee history on an immersive tour. After enjoying a nice strong brew and a traditional ox-cart ride, you will also visit a chocolate processing center where you can try your hand at roasting and grinding the cacao beans.

Days 9–11: Las Catalinas

Within the biodiverse province of Guanacaste, the small coastal town of Las Catalinas feels like an experiment for utopian life. Cars are neither allowed nor necessary, as wide-open pedestrian pathways weave through the town and surrounding nature. The lifestyle leans toward organic meals and yoga on the beach, in line with Las Catalinas' mission of sustainable and fulfilling travel.

Your Stay: 4 Calle Cartagena

Its exterior painted cheerful yellow, 4 Calle Cartagena is ideal for families as this spacious home is built for fun, both inside and out. Perhaps the property’s most prized feature is its open-air courtyard with a pool; two loungers; hammock terrace; covered terrace; and covered dining room with a cross-barrel vaulted ceiling, table for eight, barbecue, and bar.

Relax on one of the many terraces at your private home in the hills of Las Catalinas
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Snorkeling Trip
Experience some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast. Intertidal zones are harsh environments where incredible organisms have adapted to survive. Reefs serve as natural nurseries and cleaning stations for countless species of sea life.

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Surf Lesson
With a wide variety of surf breaks, Guanacaste is one of the best places in Costa Rica to improve as a surfer. Specifically, Tamarindo Beach with its great waves is a perfect spot for those just learning how to surf.

The beaches of Guanacaste are some of the most picturesque in Costa Rica
Do you want to experience your own version of pura vida?

Chat with an Origin curator and we’ll start planning your own personalized trip to beautiful Costa Rica.

Property images courtesy of Finca Rosa, Nayara Gardens, Senda Monteverde, and 4 Calle Cartagena. All other images courtesy of Unsplash.