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Real Affordable Costa Rica

Highlights & InclusionsItineraryPricing Information Terms & Conditions
Departure Date:
Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights
Price from: $3,095
Single Room Supplement: Waived
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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 opened up to OAT clients & is 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.

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

Upon arrival at the airport, an OAT representative meets us and assists with the transfer to our hotel, where we meet our Trip Leader and our fellow travelers, including those arriving from the pre-trip extensions to Guatemala: Antigua & Tikal and Nicaragua's Colonial Cities & Volcanic Landscapes. The evening is free to relax or explore on your own.
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Indigo or similar

DAY 2 Visit coffee finca • Explore San José

Explore San Jose during a tour of Costa Rica After breakfast and a Welcome Briefing with our Trip Leader, we depart to a 100-year-old coffee finca (plantation) for an included tour and lunch. After lunch, we'll transfer to San José, where we will enjoy a city tour, including a private visit to the National Theatre, considered one of the country’s most impressive architectural accomplishments.

Tonight, we'll gather for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Indigo or similar

DAY 3 Explore Poás Volcano National Park • Overland to Sarapiquí • Discover Tirimbina's bats

This morning, after breakfast at our hotel, we’ll depart for Poás Volcano National Park, home to Poás Volcano, one of two active volcanoes near San José. We’ll get an up-close look at Poás when we hike to a viewpoint to observe its crater, which, at almost a mile across, is said to be one of the largest in the world. Weather permitting, we’ll watch as the crater’s rain-fed sulfuric pool bubbles and sends clouds of smoke into the air. Then, we’ll walk along a forest trail to an overlook of the stunning, sapphire-blue Botos Lake, a body of water that formed in one of the volcano’s dormant craters. As we hike through the lush forest, we may spot some of the many creatures that call the national park home, such as emerald toucanets, a variety of hummingbirds, rabbits, and marmots.

Later, we’ll depart for lunch at a local restaurant before embarking 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. After getting settled, we'll take a leisurely walk around the lodge's grounds, then enjoy some time at leisure.

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.
OVERNIGHT: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge or similar

DAY 4 Sarapiquí • River rafting • Optional Pineapple Farm tour OPTIONAL TOUR

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-II 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 jungle and pasturelands 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 a 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, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel.
OVERNIGHT: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge or similar

DAY 5 Tirimbina nature walk • Travel to La Fortuna • Optional The Source of Chocolate tour OPTIONAL TOUR

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. Midway across the bridge, the river flows around a natural island, which we explore in search of local wildlife before continuing along the bridge to the river's opposite bank.

This afternoon, we’ll depart for La Fortuna, the "front yard of the Arenal Volcano," a town of thermal spas and verdant hills. Our home for the next three nights, La Fortuna offers spectacular views of the beautifully cone-shaped Arenal Volcano when weather permits.

You can enjoy some time at leisure at our hotel, or you can join our optional tour to discover The Source of Chocolate. We'll hike to a plot in the rain forest where the cacao beans used to make chocolate are grown in the traditional way, then see the whole process of chocolate making and taste the delicious results. In the evening, we’ll regroup for dinner at our hotel.
OVERNIGHT: Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort or similar

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

We can opt to wake up early to take in the sights and sounds of Costa Rica, as we go in search of the area's indigenous birds with our Trip Leader. Then, 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 infectious enthusiasm, and with their colorful traditional costumes and cheerful demeanor, they may leave 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.

Your 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 gallo pinto (a zesty rice-and-bean side dish). But whatever's on the menu, you can count on the warm hospitality of your 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. You will be able to try your hand at preparing Costa Rican bocas (appetizers) during a hands-on cooking lesson before enjoying dinner on your own.
OVERNIGHT: Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort or similar

DAY 7 Nature walk • Cruise the Río Frío

Early this morning, we can elect to join a nature walk led by our Trip Leader on the trails that surround our hotel. We’ll have breakfast together afterward, then travel to the Río Frío, where we board a small boat to explore this complex inland waterway. 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 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.
OVERNIGHT: Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort or similar

DAY 8 La Fortuna • Travel to Guanacaste

Early this morning, our Trip Leader will lead an elective walk around our hotel's grounds. Then 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, and capuchin and howler monkeys, as well as white-fronted Amazon parrots, spectacled owls, and more than 270 other avian species. We'll have time to savor our lodge's mountain views and explore its lush grounds before we dine together at the lodge's restaurant tonight.
OVERNIGHT: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

DAY 9 Guanacaste • Horseback ride to hot spring • Optional Forest Canopy Ride OPTIONAL TOUR

Following breakfast, we begin our day with an elective horseback ride that takes us through the verdant 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 Leader before we saddle up and ride through gently sloping pastureland and along the tropical dry forest's narrow trails, while those who prefer a motorized means of transport will enjoy a tractor 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 pots, hot and warm 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—hilarious 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 moderate, 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 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.
OVERNIGHT: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

DAY 10 Guanacaste • Hike through Rincón de la Vieja National Park • Cooking lesson

After breakfast, we’ll venture to the sprawling Rincón de la Vieja National Park, which begins on the flanks of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. This otherworldly landscape—which is often compared to Yellowstone—is bursting with geothermic activity, featuring hot springs, bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles, and geysers, as well as Rincón de la Vieja Volcano’s active crater. However, the park is also renowned for its exceptional birdwatching opportunities, as more than 200 species of birds—as well as mammals like armadillos, coatis, and two-toed sloths—have been spotted here. We’ll keep an eye out for some of these creatures as we hike through the park’s vast terrain.

We’ll return to our hotel this afternoon and enjoy lunch, followed by some time at leisure. Later, we’ll gather for a cooking lesson, where we’ll learn how to make traditional desserts of the Guanacaste region. Tonight, we’ll have dinner together at our hotel.
OVERNIGHT: Buena Vista Lodge or similar

DAY 11 Overland to Pacific Coast • Optional Ocean Outrigger Canoe tour OPTIONAL TOUR

After breakfast, we’ll head southeast to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast—a region renowned for its sandy beaches, tropical rain forests, and diverse wildlife. We’ll stop en route to sample something else the Pacific Coast is known for: its fresh seafood.

In the late afternoon, we’ll arrive at our hotel on Playa Esterillos, a largely deserted beach that, due to its length, is comprised of three small towns: Esterillos Oeste (west), Centro (central), and Este (east). Our hotel is located in Esterillos Este, a peaceful seaside retreat. We’ll enjoy a brief orientation walk around our hotel before departing for Jacó—a vibrant beach town known for its stellar surf and energetic nightlife.

You may choose to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, or join us for an optional Ocean Outrigger Canoe tour. This evening, we’ll enjoy dinner at our hotel.
OVERNIGHT: Monterey del Mar Hotel or similar

DAY 12 Pacific Coast • Manuel Antonio National Park nature walk

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 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.

We spend a full morning at Manuel Antonio, including plenty of time for hiking or relaxing on its beaches before lunch on your own. After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll return to our hotel for time at leisure. Tonight, dinner is on your own.
OVERNIGHT: Monterey del Mar Hotel or similar

DAY 13 Pacific Coast • Cruise for crocodiles on Río Tárcoles • Overland to Santa Ana

Today, we board a small boat and drift down Río Tárcoles, a partially tidal estuary that forms a border of the park, and Costa Rica's largest habitat for crocodiles. Our naturalist Trip Leader will give us an introduction to these “prehistoric” animals, which can be up to 20 feet long, and we'll keep our eyes peeled for them as the river carries us along. The mangrove forest of Río Tárcoles is also home to many other creatures, and the birdwatching here is among the best in the country. Scarlet macaws are sometimes seen here flying overhead in pairs, and we may also spot egrets, osprey, frigate birds, roseate spoonbills, and white ibis during our journey.

Before traveling overland to Santa Ana, you'll have some time to get lunch on your own. When we arrive in Santa Ana, we’ll enjoy some time at leisure. In the evening, we'll say adios to our Trip Leader and travel companions over a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant in Santa Ana.
OVERNIGHT: Hotel Indigo or similar

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
Dec 6, 2019 $3,095 $3,095 $3,095
Your Savings* Past GWT Traveler?
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.

Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.

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.