Planning to spend 2 weeks in Costa Rica for your next holiday? Wondering how to make the most of it?  

G-Adventures are experienced adventure travelers making sure you get the best nature experiences, wildlife sightings, adrenaline kicks, or magic moments the country has to offer. I went directly from Cuba to Costa Rica, a short flight right across the Caribbean Sea. 

Did you know that Costa Rica – the rich coast – is actually one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world?

There is more than just surf, beaches, and endless horizons to find for visitors.

Sunset Costa Rica

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Interesting facts about Costa Rica

To sum up a few interesting facts about Costa Rica at the beginning, the country has about 5% of the world’s species, volcanoes, exotic wildlife, rainforests, AND divine beaches to explore on both coasts; the Caribbean and Pacific.

Even though it is one of the smallest countries on the planet, with a population of just over five million.

costa rica happy dance

The official language is Spanish, but there are several native languages being used actively in the Costa Rica. 

The national currency is the Costa Rican colón, which is worth 616 to $1.  

Visitcostarica.com also claims that Costa Rica offers the perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, culture, fine cuisine, and wildlife. That is a lot!

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Sustainable Tourism In Costa Rica

Sustainable tourism in Costa Rica is a priority for the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism, which has developed a Sustainable Tourisme Certification (STC) program. 

With the hoards of tourists visiting every year, the institute fronts a conscious approach toward ecotourism in Costa Rica. The focus is on preserving the environment and local communities through everyday activities. 

In the adventure tour I am following, G-Adventures has selected the most popular destinations and amazing adventures possible for the 2 weeks itinerary in Costa Rica. 

Toucan Costa Rica

G-adventures Tours In Costa Rica

On the first day of the Costa Rica adventure, the group is meeting up in the restaurant of Hotel Dunn Inn in San Jose. 

Our G-Adventure guide for the duration, Grace, welcomes everyone and is taking us through the plan. 

Grace is a firework of smiles and laughter, stories and information. We have dinner and drinks together, conducting all the introductions and a brief of the itinerary for the next weeks.

All possible and impossible questions are answered in between courses and drinks. Advice is given if there does no existing answer.

The real start of the Costa Rica adventure really is day two. And really early!

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Unique Things To Do In Costa Rica

Although a small country, Costa Rica is a gold mine of adventures in and out of the water. There are plenty of unique things to do in Costa Rica, the country has something for everyone!

You can enjoy city life in the bigger cities like the capital of San Jose, which is beautifully surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Due to its altitude, it has clear crisp air, yet warm sun on summer days. 

Other cities are Puerto LimonAlajuelaHeredia and Cinco Esquinas (five corners). 

Costa rica coast

Interesting Facts About San Jose

San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica, and also the largest city.  

It is situated around 1100 meters above the sea, and no more than about three hundred thousand people live here. San Jose is however a city it is very easy to like!  

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San Jose Costa Rica

It is famous among Latin American cities for its high quality of life, security, environmental performance, and public services. 

In 2006 the city was even appointed the Ibero-American Capital of Culture and is one of the world’s fastest-growing destination cities.

The pedestrian streets, the people and life, music and artists in squares and walkways. The fresh air, and the greenish-gray mountain ranges in the distance surrounding the city in all cardinal directions.

Just outside of San Jose you also find the before mentioned Alajuela, which is both the name of the province and a small city. 

Travelers looking for cultural experiences will probably enjoy this region, as Alajuela is a very laid-back metro area. Here are lots of lodging and dining options, it is ideally located stones through from the province’s best attractions, and offers many tour and cultural activities.

From the crisp air of San Jose, for this Costa Rica adventure journey, we are heading south to a beach town a few hours away called Quepos. 


Tripadvisor about San Jose

Things To Do In Quepos Costa Rica

costa rica pasific beach

In Quepos, along the Pacific coast, you can enjoy a couple of days of relaxing and exploring the city and Manuel Antonio National Park. 

This national park contains three beautiful beaches, various forest trails, and a rainforest teeming with animal life. In 2011 Manuel Antonio was even named by Forbes as one of the world’s most beautiful parks! 

A short distance away from the national park you find beautiful white sand beaches and warm turquoise water which is perfect for relaxing. It is also ideal for swimming, fishing kayaking boogie boarding sailing, or surfing. 


Tripadvisor about Quepos

Costa Rica Pacific Beach

Attractions In Quepos

There is almost an unlimited number of options of things to do in Quepos. 

Grace Guide always goes through the G-Adventures included and optional activities for the next day every evening, so that each person can decide what activities to join. 

Of course, this requires that you have to prioritize.

You can go kayaking through mangroves, take surf lessons, or cruise along the coast on a dolphin-spotting sunset sailing excursion if you like.

My absolute happiest moment in Quepos was a day trip with a catamaran! Probably because of the shock of the heat, but of course, I am a sucker for the chill lounge life as well! 

Just hanging in the net of the catamaran, occasionally doing some snorkeling in between mojitos suits me just fine. 

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Things To Do In Manuel Antonio National Park

In Quepos, you can also enjoy a couple of days exploring the Manuel Antonio National Park.

This national park contains three beautiful beaches, various forest trails, and a rainforest teeming with animal life. 

In 2011 Manuel Antonio was even named by Forbes as one of the world’s most beautiful parks! 

A short distance away from the national park you find beautiful white sand beaches and warm turquoise water which is perfect for either relaxing or being super sporty. 

It is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking boogie boarding sailing, or surfing. 

Manuel Antonio national park
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Monteverde Attractions In The Highlands

After a couple of days in Quepos, it is time to change the climate again, as we are heading for Monteverde in the mountains. A long drive along the coast at first, and then up and up and up. 

Monteverde is a village in the Puntarenas canton, in the middle of the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range.

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Monteverde Zipline Adventures

I find myself hovering above ground all propped up with a helmet and climbing harness fixed to a huge zip line system.

It feels like I am earthbound only by this random zipline guy holding on to me! I am on day five of the two-week journey in Costa Rica with G-Adventures.

The guy is counting down, and suddenly I am off, ziplining over the vast green valley in the mountains of Monteverde, Costa Rica.

The forest floor is far below and down there I also spot a not-so-small whitewater river hurrying away. The wind and the zipline zzzzzzìng in my ears. Absolutely wonderful. 

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Costa Rica Sustainable Tourism In Monteverde

A roughly four-hour drive from the Central Valley, Monteverde is one of Costa Rica’s major ecotourism destinations. 

Home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and several other natural attractions. 

Upon arrival, we are all living a short (but steep!) walk outside the city, in a cozy little place that appears to be a family hotel.

Outside the bus, the air greeting us is again cool and fresh, and Monteverde turns out to be a small and incredibly cute mountain village where almost everything has to do with nature, adventure, or tourism.

Starting the after-dark with the guided night walk included in the program with flashlights was super interesting, teaching us the nocturnal nightlife in the cloud forest firsthand.

costa rica frog

There are myriads of activities to attend to, and beautiful natural attractions to explore and admire. 

You can also ascend to the Monteverde cloud forest region, and spend days exploring the town and the cloud forest reserve which among other things is described as a bird lover’s paradise.

Day five in Monteverde with G-Adventure is without any program so you can enjoy the free day to explore whatever you choose. 

Optional activities include the skywalk, a series of suspension bridges through the jungle canopy, a butterfly garden, waterfalls walks, cloud forest walks, nocturnal walks, a visit to a coffee plantation, or of course – a zipline across the forest canopy!

The «Lucky Town» La Fortuna Costa Rica

La Fortuna literally means «the fortune». In the shade of the nearby Arenal volcano, this town boasts hot springs and better health for anyone dipping into them!

Apparently, the name comes from very fertile lands and fortune with tourists in La Fortuna Costa Rica. The myth says it also has to do with the Arenal Volcano´s eruptions, as it has been spared the fire so far.

Arenal Colcano Costa Rica

La Fortuna is situated about 10 km away from the Arenal volcano, which according to scientists is in the top 10 or top 20 most active volcanoes of the world.

The neighbor volcano, however, Cerro Chato, last erupted about 3500 years ago, which makes it a safe hiking destination in 2021. 

The hike to Cerro Chato is classified as difficult and is only recommended for hikers of good physical condition (the average hike is 5 hours).

But – there are other things to do in La Fortuna as well! And with a volcano as the nearest neighbor, there are also some perks to this area.


Cerro Chato Walk in La Fortuna

More Activities In La Fortuna For The Adventurous

Optional activities in La Fortuna from the G-Adventure itinerary include a full-day whitewater rafting on the Toro or Arenal Rivers, mountain biking, caving, waterfall rappelling, horseback riding, or a tour of the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

You can also hike the area’s nature trails, swim in the chilly La Fortuna waterfall, or go canyoneering and catch a bird’s eye view of the forest greenery.

Like much of Costa Rica, the area is a birders paradise with over 600 species as permanent residents.

Finally, after a long day of exploring, you can choose to take a relaxing soak at Baldi Hot Springs.

When I say «hot springs» it is possible that you are thinking about a small lake or natural fountain but no – these hot springs are very much presented to you in a luxury package.

The Baldi Hot Springs are PERFECT to chill after a long day of adventure and do wonders for feet, body, and mind. 


Baldi Hot Springs La Fortuna



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa_UB_J4MO0

Discover Costa Rica With G-Adventures

This G-adventure journey through Costa Rica is packed with all the best destinations and activities you could want to explore. If you suffer from FOMO like me, and only have two weeks – I doubt you could plan your Costa Rica vacation better yourself.

As this trip was part of a long journey for me, the fact that all accommodation and transport were pre-planned and organized was perfect for me. I had a rather big backpack from Osprey with all my worldly belongings, as I was traveling through three seasons. 

In this Costa Rica tour, you will experience both coasts, the Caribbean and the Pacific – as well as the forests and mountains in the middle.

I had a great time with Grace the Guide and the rest of my G-Adventure group of travelers who went on to enjoy the rest of the trip. 

I, unfortunately, had to leave and did not participate in the last five days, but below is my review of the two-thirds of the trip I participated in. In the end, you will also see the rest of the itinerary. 

My conclusion on content and organization is absolutely a thumbs up!

It is important to note that this is a trip for those who like to arrive at a perfectly set table and just enjoy the ride. On this journey everything is super well organized from start to end – you just need to point at the menu. 

Your vacation will be super social as well, most of the time although you are able to withdraw or do your own things in periods not filled with activities. This may be ideal for solo travelers who want some security and the best of both worlds. 

If you like to change your plans a lot, make last-minute decisions, and get lost on your own – this might be a little stringent for the more adventurous traveling souls out there.

Below you can also read the itinerary for the last days of the G-Adventure Costa Rica program, or visit the G-Adventures home page for more information.

costa rica lake

👜Find your perfect Ocho Rios adventure here!

Booking
Searching for your best (cheapest + fastest) flight options should be an easy process, and you need to be confident that you get the best deal, service, and secure bookings. 

I use Skyscanner, Momondo, and Booking.com. These are my favorite providers for comparing airlines and getting the best and fastest fare for their customers.

Travel agencies. 
For adventurous travelers that also are social (or rookie solo) travelers, you might want to book your trip with a company like G Adventures. They organize amazing & sustainable small group adventure travels all over the world. 

I have traveled with G Adventures all over Costa Rica, the jungle of Colombia, and the mountains of Peru, and can testify that the trips are fantastic! The guides are super professional, the organizing is great, and they make sure you get the absolute best adventures while looking after the environment and local resources. 

Accommodation. 
If you like your home away from home to be personal and unique, nothing is better than Airbnb for that.
On the budget side, you also have Hostelworld. They list Casa Particulares, small hotels, and hostels of which many have great standards and value for money. 

On the high-end side, I have experienced a number of Iberostar and Melia Hotels & Resorts, for when you want to go all-in on the luxury & all-inclusive mode! 

Digital security.
Before you embark on your fabulous adventures, you may consider protecting all your digital gadgets and information with a VPN. I have found the best option for me, providing security and incognito mode when necessary is ExpressVPN in 2022. 

Here is also my 2022 travel shopping advice for gadgets and clever things that makes your traveling easy peasy breazy! 

Read more from The World By Hege about travel resources & hacks simplifying your travel planning. 

Contact me on post@theworldbyhege.com with any questions or for advice! 

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Blue coast Costa Rica

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Costa Rica Itinerary

Day 9: La Fortuna and Sarapiqui Rainforest

Enjoy an included visit to a G-Adventures-supported coffee cooperative with a local lunch before heading to a jungle oasis in the Sarapiqui Rainforest

Visit a coffee cooperative in the small village of San Miguel de Sarapiqui and take a traditional coffee tour. Enjoy a local lunch here. 

There is even a fresh tilapia made on site. And then tour the grounds of the cooperative to learn about the coffee process from bean to cup. 

Next, board a tractor-drawn cart excellent for navigating the jungle along rugged uphill terrain on the way to our special jungle oasis.

Day 10: Sarapiqui Rainforest

Enjoy a day in the beautiful Sarapiqui Valley

Optional activities (all included in our overnight package, weather-depending) include swimming in the river, night walks, and an empanada-making lesson or lounging in the hammock.

Day 11: Sarapiqui Rainforest/Tortuguero

Head to Tortuguero. Opt to visit the nesting grounds of the green and leatherback turtles at night (seasonal). 

The journey to Tortuguero is half the adventure. Begin by taking a tractor-drawn cart, board a private van, and finish it off with a journey by boat. 

This unique village has walking paths that extend into the national park, a fantastic place to see wildlife even when turtles aren’t in season.

Day 12: Tortuguero

Enjoy free time to explore Tortuguero. 

Opt to kayak through the canals and view the wildlife, wake up early and head to the beach to watch turtle eggs hatch (seasonal), or just wander through the town.

Day 13: Tortuguero /Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Head to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Opt to snorkel in the Caribbean, hike in Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, or rent a bike to hit the beach. 

A morning boat ride and drive ends in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, with spectacular scenery en route. 

This seaside town is perfect for relaxing or exploring the Manzanillo National Wildlife refuge.

Day 14: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

With the free time here head out and explore. 

Don’t forget to try some fantastic Afro-Caribbean cuisine. The picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca`s 14 km of incomparable white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation. 

Opt to rent a bike, hike to monkey point, go snorkeling or take it easy and explore La Isla Botanical Gardens.

Day 15: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca/San Jose

Enjoy free time in the morning before heading back to San Jose for the final night with the group. Take a bus ride over the mountains back to the capital.

Day 16: San Jose

Depart at any time.

Do you have any questions about Costa Rica? Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail! Happy to help!

Visit G-Adventures for information about package tours to Cuba as well. 

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