Real Affordable Costa Rica

Highlights & InclusionsItineraryPricing Information Terms & Conditions
Departure Date: September 28, 2019
December 6, 2019
Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights
Price from: $2,495
Single Room Supplement: Waived
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Highlights & Inclusions

  • Be sure to mention booking code G9-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!
  • Airport transfers are included when you purchase our operator's International air to coincide with trip's day by day agenda.
  • All land transportation
  • Accommodations for 13 nights
  • 31 meals—daily breakfast, 9 lunches, 9 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Lunch)
  • 10 small group activities
  • Services of a resident, English-speaking Trip Leader
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit toward your next adventure.
“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on Earth will be filled with glory.”
Betty Smith, Author


Once you begin your Costa Rica travel, you will discover a country roughly the size of West Virginia with an incredible amount of biodiversity. More than one-quarter of the nation is protected land, and swirling white-water rivers thrill ... hot springs soothe ... and tropical forests enthrall, making Costa Rica an adventure-seeker’s paradise.

In addition to exploring its prime locales by horseback, raft, and trail, we’ll also discover Costa Rica’s other great natural resource—its people—as our small group dines with a local family, visits farmers and artisans, and meets children at a village school. From the rapids of the Río Sarapiquí to the colorful canopy of Tirimbina, from the mountains of Guanacaste to the sun-drenched Pacific Coast, Costa Rica beckons us with countless wonders, all summed up by a popular saying among Costa Ricans: pura vida—this is the life.

DAY 1 Depart U.S. • Arrive San José, Costa Rica • Transfer to Santa Ana

OVERNIGHT: Holiday Inn Express San José Forum or similar

You depart the U.S. for San José, Costa Rica. Upon arrival at the airport, an O.A.T. representative meets us and assists with the transfer to our hotel, where we meet our Trip Experience Leader and our fellow travelers, including those arriving from the pre-trip extension to Guatemala: Antigua & Tikal. The evening is free to relax or explore on your own.

DAY 2 Explore San José • Visit Lifting Hands Center

OVERNIGHT: Holiday Inn Express San José Forum or similar

After breakfast and a Welcome Briefing with our Trip Experience Leader, we’ll embark on a city tour of San José. Here, we’ll see the National Theatre, considered one of the country’s most impressive architectural accomplishments. We’ll also visit the National Park, San José’s largest park.

We'll gather for a Welcome Lunch at a local restaurant in San José before we transfer to the Lifting Hands Center in the nearby suburb of Escazú. The Lifting Hands foundation invites volunteers to bring education to impoverished communities by teaching English, computer, and mathematics classes to children and adults. We’ll take a tour of the Lifting Hands Center and speak to volunteers and participants to see the difference the organization is making in the area outside of San José.

Later, we’ll return to our hotel, when we’ll have some free time and enjoy dinner on our own.

DAY 3 Explore Poás • Visit coffee finca • Overland to Sarapiquí

OVERNIGHT: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge or similar

We will explore the town of Poás through its people and their livelihood. We will visit a family-owned coffee finca, or farm, located on the fertile slopes of Poás Volcano. Here, we’ll enjoy lunch as well as a tour of the finca, learning how it grows, harvests, processes, and packages its world-renowned coffee.

Later, we’ll embark on our journey to Sarapiquí. We arrive at our comfortable lodge outside the town of La Virgen in the late afternoon. Our eco-friendly lodgings here are situated alongside the Tirimbina Biological Reserve. A lush tropical rain forest teeming with native fauna, this habitat is a seasonal home to migratory birds from the northern U.S. and Canada.

Tonight we’ll have dinner together at our hotel.

DAY 4 River rafting • Optional Pineapple Farm tour • Discover Tirimbina's bats

OVERNIGHT: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge or similar

After breakfast at our lodge, we'll drive to the nearby Río Sarapiquí. Flowing into the San Juan River and the Lake of Nicaragua, the Sarapiquí is one of several rivers that run down from Costa Rica's mountainous central highlands, the Cordillera Central. The surrounding land varies in altitude from 112 to 9,500 feet, which is a big reason so many migratory birds congregate in the region—more than 300 species of them at last count. Here you have a choice: rafting on Class I-III rapids of the Sarapiquí, or learning about tropical flora and fauna during a walk along its banks.

Costa Rica is a destination for rafters from around the world, and we surveyed several of its rivers before selecting the Sarapiquí for the quality of its rapids, which are sporty enough to be fun, but mild enough to be enjoyed by first-timers. Those who opt to raft will get a complete introduction to river safety from our professional boatmen before we board the raft and enjoy the ride.

For those who prefer not to raft, a local guide will lead a nature walk through the gardens and gallery forest that surround the Sarapiquí. This walk will provide the opportunity to spot some of the region's more elusive animal species, and to view the rich flora of this verdant environment up close. Both the river rafting and the nature walk last about two hours, after which the two groups will come together for lunch at a local restaurant, where we can relax in the mid-day sun and compare notes about our morning's discoveries.

After lunch together, you can choose to join us for an optional visit to a family-owned pineapple finca. On this excursion, we'll enjoy an in-depth look at the finca's fields and facilities, learn about pineapple cultivation techniques throughout history, discover how the Sarapiquí region's fertile, volcanic soil nurtures these tropical plants, and enjoy a taste of the "Fruit of Kings."

Tonight, after dinner at our hotel, we'll enjoy a presentation on Costa Rica's bats. We'll learn all about these unique flying mammals, which represent more than 50% of the country's mammal population, and have the chance to acquaint ourselves with some live specimens, captured humanely by the research center's nets in the evening and then released back into the wild. Pineapple Farm - $35/person

You've probably savored some of this sweet, delicious fruit from Costa Rica—now see where it's grown. Join us on an in-depth tour of a family-owned pineapple finca (farm) to discover how the region's fertile, volcanic soil nurtures these tropical plants, learn about their past and present cultivation techniques, tour the finca's fields and facilities, and enjoy a taste of the "Fruit of Kings."

DAY 5 Tirimbina nature walk • Travel to Chachagua

OVERNIGHT: Chachagua Rainforest Hotel or similar

After breakfast today, we visit the Tirimbina Biological Reserve, an innovative education and research center devoted to the preservation of this endangered tropical forest ecosystem. We'll enjoy a nature walk along the reserve's woodland trails, crossing the nearly 860-foot suspension bridge over the Río Sarapiquí.

After an included lunch, we’ll depart for our hotel in Chachagua, located on a private rain forest reserve. Along the way, we’ll stop to visit a local Aguas Zarcas market, where we’ll discover some of the fresh produce of Costa Rica. Then, as we continue on to Chachagua, we’ll learn to speak as the locals do during a Spanish language lesson.

After arriving at our hotel, we’ll take an orientation walk around its lush grounds and spend some time at leisure. Dinner tonight is at our hotel.

DAY 6 A Day in the Life of a Costa Rican village • Home-Hosted Lunch

OVERNIGHT: Chachagua Rainforest Hotel or similar

After breakfast at our lodge, we’ll enjoy a unique opportunity to spend A Day in the Life of a Costa Rican village, including a visit to a local elementary school supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation. The children will warmly welcome us with their colorful traditional costumes and cheerful demeanor, leaving a lasting impression on all who meet them. In fact, past travelers have found this to be a highlight of the trip.

During our visit, we’ll spend some time with the students one-on-one, talk with their teachers and parents, and learn about Costa Rica's universal educational system. Long a national priority—and a focus of government spending following the abolition of its army—Costa Rica's policy of universal education has resulted in a literacy rate of 96%. While successful in educating their students, many school systems in Costa Rica suffer from a lack of funding, and the school we visit today has benefited from a Grand Circle Foundation grant, used to improve and expand the school building and grounds by constructing a new ceiling, classrooms, sidewalks, and even (at the San Francisco School) a self-sustaining microfarm project, which provides the students and their community with much-needed nutrition and revenue.

Our day also includes a visit to a local village for a Home-Hosted Lunch. Costa Rican cuisine is simple and wholesome, and a typical meal features chicken, beef, or fish (sometimes grilled), served with tortillas and rice and beans. But whatever's on the menu, we can count on the warm hospitality of our hosts, who may share some of their experiences of rural life in Costa Rica with us.

Then, we return to our hotel, where the afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps you’ll discover Costa Rica’s native flora during a stroll around the property, or you may try to catch a glimpse of the region’s wondrous wildlife, including toucans and sloths. Before enjoying dinner at the hotel this evening, you can join your Trip Experience Leader and fellow travelers for a lesson on Costa Rican “Bocas,” a local version of tapas that are served during celebrations or gatherings.

DAY 7 Organic Farm visit • Travel to La Fortuna • Arenal Volcano National Park

OVERNIGHT: Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort or similar

We’ll have breakfast at the hotel before journeying to the Jauri Tropical Don Juan Organic Farm. Here, we’ll get an intimate glimpse of rural Costa Rica as we follow a local farmer around the property to learn about day-to-day activities, including the production of sugar cane. Costa Rica’s sugar cane industry is vital to the country’s economic success. Total exports per year add up to more than 140,000 tons of sugar, which is distributed to America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and the Bahamas.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll depart for La Fortuna. Known as the "front yard of the Arenal Volcano," La Fortuna is a town of thermal spas and verdant hills. Our home for the next two nights, it offers spectacular views of Arenal Volcano when weather permits.

This afternoon, we will visit Arenal Volcano National Park for a nature walk along the Peninsula Trail, where we’ll get a closer look at the volcano—one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes—and an opportunity to spot the tropical wildlife. The national park is home to more than 500 species of birds, including toucans and the resplendent quetzal, as well as monkeys, jaguars, and coati.

After we check in to our hotel, we’ll enjoy an orientation walk and some free time. Dinner tonight is at our hotel.

DAY 8 Nature walk • Cruise the Río Frío

OVERNIGHT: Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort or similar

This morning we’ll have breakfast then travel to the Río Frío, where we board a small boat to explore this complex inland waterway. With the help of our Trip Experience Leader and their expertise in the region and its wild inhabitants, we'll keep an eye out for wading birds—like northern jacanas and wood storks—as well as turtles and butterflies during our cruise. Keep your binoculars and camera ready—we might be lucky enough to spot larger animals, like the spider and howler monkeys, sloths, and caimans that live by the river.

After lunch, we’ll return to our hotel, where the balance of the afternoon is at leisure.

Dinner is on your own this evening.

DAY 9 La Fortuna • Travel to Guanacaste

OVERNIGHT: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

Today, our Costa Rica travel continues with a drive to the Guanacaste Province in the northwestern part of the country, a large section of which has been set aside for preservation and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dominated by the Guanacaste mountain range, this region has a distinctive dry tropical climate and is famous for its thermal pools, which we'll enjoy later in our stay.

Our lodge is situated in the foothills of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. We'll arrive in the late afternoon and take an orientation walk. From the lodge, local trails lead into wild expanses of tropical dry forest where we may spot peccaries, armadillos, motmots, capuchin, and howler monkeys, as well as white-fronted Amazon parrots, spectacled owls, and more than 270 other avian species.

Tonight, we’ll have dinner together at the lodge's restaurant.

DAY 10 Guanacaste • Horseback ride to hot spring • Optional Forest Canopy Ride

OVERNIGHT: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

Following breakfast, we begin our day with an elective horseback ride that takes us through the jungle and into the remarkable thermal area near our lodge. Those of us looking to travel by horseback will get a safety talk and riding lesson from our Trip Experience Leader before we saddle up and ride through sloping pastureland and along the tropical dry forest's narrow trails. Drawing on their knowledge of the area and horseback riding, our Trip Experience Leader will guide our small group and help us appreciate the surrounding landscape. Those who prefer a motorized means of transport will enjoy a tractor or pick-up truck ride instead. Either way, everyone is heading for the same destination: the thermal baths.

We can thank the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano for creating this rustic, open-air retreat. Subterranean thermal currents produce warm mineral mud, heated pools, and even natural saunas. Getting close to nature is part of the Costa Rica experience, as we'll discover firsthand this morning.

We'll begin by participating in a typical therapeutic mud regimen, starting with a pore-opening sauna near a fumarola, a thermal vent in the Earth's crust. Next, we'll enjoy a "facial"—Costa Rican style—by covering our faces with warm, mineral-rich mud transported here from bubbling pools deep within the mountain. Finally, when the mud hardens, we'll rinse it off and dip into a warm, relaxing thermal pool to wash the rest of our tensions away. It's a tranquil, rejuvenating, and—when several group members are caked in soothing gray mud—amusing experience!

This afternoon, you can join us as we fly above the rain forest on an optional Forest Canopy Ride. We’ll begin our optional excursion with a 20-minute uphill hike, followed by a safety talk. Then, strapped into our harnesses and wearing thick leather gloves, we’ll head to the first of ten platforms high up in the treetops, where we're sent off on the ride of our lives. Whizzing from tree to tree on the zip-line, we’ll witness stunning panoramic views of the forest below.

Or, spend the afternoon at leisure at the lodge, where you can enjoy a nature walk on your own, relax and write in your journal, or go for another round of independent birding on the grounds. We conclude the day with dinner at our hotel.

Please note: Travelers on May-November departures can enjoy today's optional Forest Canopy Ride tour before breakfast, followed by all other activities as described. Forest Canopy Ride - $65/person

Take a thrilling ride through Costa Rica’s lush forest canopy. A moderate, 20-minute uphill hike is followed by a safety talk at the departure point. Then, strapped into your harness and wearing thick leather gloves, you walk to a platform where the instructor sends you off on the ride of your life. Whizzing from tree to tree on a zip-line, you experience the thrill of flight while being safely suspended. For those more comfortable with a little assistance, a “taxi ride” is also available. This means that you and an instructor zip through the canopy together—the instructor handles the braking while you enjoy the ride.

Please note: This tour should be reserved prior to your departure to guarantee space. The tour can also be booked on-site, but space is limited.

DAY 11 Pacific Coast • Visit fishing cooperative

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Punta Leona or similar

Today, we will depart for Central Pacific, enjoying lunch on our own along the way. This afternoon, we’ll visit Coope Tárcoles, a fishermen’s cooperative founded in 1986 with the goal of promoting environmental and social responsibility. Members of this cooperative—who often rely on fishing for their livelihood—follow a strict set of rules to ensure they are fishing responsibly and protecting marine resources. We’ll learn more about sustainable fishing in Tárcoles today when we meet members of the cooperative.

This afternoon, you may enjoy lunch on your own, followed by free time to explore. Tonight, we’ll gather for dinner at the hotel.

DAY 12 Manuel Antonio National Park nature walk

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Punta Leona or similar

We’ll spend our morning in Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. One of the smallest—and also most popular—of Costa Rica's national parks, this lush reserve encompasses four beaches, island bird sanctuaries, coral reefs, and a luxuriant rain forest. Manuel Antonio is also one of only two habitats in the country for the endangered squirrel monkey. As we walk about a mile along the nature trails here this morning, we'll keep an eye out for these friendly primates as well as two- and three-toed sloths, capuchin monkeys, giant iguanas, and more. Please note: Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays. If this day falls on a Monday, we will instead visit Carara National Park—which is home to the Central Pacific’s only transition forest, resulting in a mix of flora and fauna that live in both dry and humid forests. The park is known as an ideal birding destination with its collection of exotic bird species, including the endangered Scarlet Macaw.

We spend a full morning at Manuel Antonio, including plenty of time for hiking or relaxing on its beaches before lunch at a nearby restaurant. This afternoon, we’ll return to our hotel for time at leisure. Tonight, you may stay at the lodge to enjoy dinner on your own, or you may venture to a nearby beach town to seek out dinner in a beachside restaurant. Your Trip Experience Leader will be happy to provide you with dinner recommendations.

DAY 13 Outrigger canoe ride • Overland to San José

OVERNIGHT: Holiday Inn Express San José Forum

This morning, we’ll set off for Agujas Beach, a beautiful protected cove. Once we reach the beach, we’ll be briefed on safety procedures before embarking on an outrigger canoe to catch the spirit of pre-Columbian Costa Rica as we paddle along the ocean, passing steep cliffs and sandy beaches (and keeping watch for wildlife). We’ll disembark at Limoncito Beach and enjoy a picnic lunch at the beach followed by some time at leisure. Perhaps you'll stroll along the white sand beach and enjoy the stunning views of this Costa Rican treasure. Later this morning, we’ll return to Agujas Beach to shower and change our clothes (if desired). Then, we'll spend some time along the Tárcoles River where you can do some shopping or buy an ice-cream cone.

We’ll travel overland to San José this afternoon, enjoying some time at leisure once we arrive. In the evening, we'll say adios to Costa Rica over a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant with our Trip Experience Leader and travel companions.

DAY 14 Santa Ana • Return to U.S. or begin your post-trip extension


We'll rise before daybreak for an early breakfast and transfer to the airport in San José for our flight home. Travelers taking our optional Tortuguero National Park: Ultimate Rainforest Experience post-trip extension will transfer overland to Tortuguero this morning.


Pricing Information

View Specials & Promotions
Arrival DateSingleSharedDouble
Jul 19, 2019 $2,495 $2,495 $2,495
Your Savings* Past GWT Traveler?
Pre-trip: Nicaragua $1,245
For further information call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
24/7 booking capability is available via this via the "Request to Book" button listed above.

Be sure to mention booking code G9-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!

*Discount and savings are subject to change, please call reservations (866.464.8879 for the actual price. The discount is not valid on all itineraries and will be verified at time of booking. The discount is valid for guests who’ve traveled with Gutsy Women Travel within the last five years. Other conditions apply. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change.

In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2019 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.

We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.

This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is designed for GWT clients however if room block is not sold by 120 days prior to departure date, the trip can be opened up to OAT clients and will be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.

Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price

Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.

For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
For online 24/7 booking capability is available via this website.

Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.