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Costa Rica 'on a Shoestring'

the volcanoes are active, but you don’t have to be! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,249,-
GROUP SIZE: 8-24 | 14 DAYS

Costa Rica 'on a Shoestring'

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Costa Rica 'on a Shoestring'

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.


There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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San José

San José

San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is big, but relatively quiet city. There are many beautiful houses and lovely markets you can discover. |Costa Rica



Cahuita is a pleasant Creole town at the East coast of Costa Rica and the gateway to the Cahuita National Park. There is a hiking path of 7 km that leads of the beach and through the jungle. While walking you might see and hear capuchins and howler monkeys. Sloths, iguanas and toucans are regularly spotted in this park.

La Fortuna (Arenal)

La Fortuna (Arenal)

In the surroundings of the Arenal you can go mountain biking, horse riding, rafting, bird spotting and climb the volcano and enjoy the Baldi Hot springs. |Costa Rica



Book a night excursion in the famous cloud forest of Monteverde and join a guide for spotting animals you cannot see over day. |Costa Rica

Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja

The park Rincon de la Vieja is a perfect place for hiking and horse riding tours, even half way to the volcano. A real kick is the canopy tour, you'll 'float' over a small canyon from one rock formation to the next in a harness. |Costa Rica



Board a ship for a dolphin excursion at Playa Samará. From July to October and between December and April you might be lucky and spot hump bag whales as well. |Costa Rica

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 San José San José
2 San José San José
3 Bus San José - Cahuita Cahuita
4 Cahuita Cahuita
5 Bus Cahuita - La Fortuna La Fortuna
6 La Fortuna La Fortuna
7 Bus La Fortuna - Monteverde Cloud Forest Monteverde Cloud Forest
8 Monteverde Cloud Forest Monteverde Cloud Forest
9 Bus Monteverde Cloud Forest - Rincón de la Vieja Rincón de la Vieja
10 Rincón de la Vieja Rincón de la Vieja
11 Bus Rincón de la Vieja - Playa Samara Playa Samara
12 Playa Samara Playa Samara
13 Bus Playa Samara - San José San José
14 San José San José - End of tour


Day 1: San José

Welcome to Costa Rica!

Your tour starts in San José, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of your travel companions will arrive later this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 8.00 hrs A.M. on day 2 in the lobby of your hotel.

San José is set in a beautiful green valley, encircled by volcanoes.

Day 2: San José

Enjoy a free day to explore this quaint capitals shopping avenues and markets. Opt to take a city tour to the Gold or National Museum and treat yourself to a delicious coffee in a coffeehouse, a favourite pastime of the friendly local people. If you prefer to escape the city you can book a day-tour to the nearby Poas volcano instead.

Day 3: San José - Cahuita

We head to the Caribbean reggae town of Cahuita and chill out with the easy-going locals. Enjoy a drink or two at one of the bars, enjoy a spot of reggae music dine in one of the welcoming restaurants. Or why not take a hike in Cahuita National Park and see if you can spot sloth, racoons and toucans.

The Corcovado Foundation

The Corcovado Foundation organizes several projects in the Corcovado National Park (Osa Peninsula) including training and hiring (more) rangers promoting conservation. The Foundation was founded by residents of the park concerned with stopping the illegal hunting and logging there. It promotes environmental education and defends the rights of local communities.

Read More

Day 4: Cahuita

Cahuita is always a hit with beach lovers. You will appreciate the wonderful bay with white sand and surfing or snorkelling on the coral reef is a must. Diving tours out to the reef can also be arranged.

Day 5: Cahuita - La Fortuna

Today we visit Arenal, until recently, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. With a bit of luck, you will still hear the rumblings deep underground and see ash columns rising up above the 1,633 metres peak. Upon arrival we can take a walk to a nearby waterfall for a refreshing swim or you can hire a horse to explore the surroundings.

How green can you go? TIP

In the evening, you can the visit the hot water springs around the Arenal, for a relaxing soak. We offer the opportunity to join an optional excursion to the beautiful Caño Negro Reserve, a watery area abundant with birds, caimans, turtles, monkeys and reptiles.

Day 6: La Fortuna

Your second day at La Fortuna. Whitewater rafting, hanging bridges, a "sky tram," zip-lines and canyoneering are all possiblilites. For nature lovers or for those who fancy something a little more sedate, why not take a visit to the nearby butterfly farm.

Day 7: La Fortuna - Monteverde Cloud Forest

The trip continues to one of the world’s most famous nature reserves, the Monteverde Cloud Forest where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. We stay two nights in a good hotel with an excellent restaurant and large garden situated close to the reserve with its butterfly garden and a beautiful hummingbird gallery. As well as walking through the reserve, you can visit the frog garden go horse riding or walk the suspension bridges built high above the cloud forest.

A hike in the cloud forest is also an enchanting experience you will never forget, the variety of dramatic microclimates, an extremely short distance from each other is extraordinary. Usually, a one-day hike provides alternating fog, sunshine and rain with an average temperature of 18 degrees. Another special feature of the cloud forest is the kaleidoscope of greens. Due to the high atmospheric humidity, the giant trees are covered with an abundance of bromelia's, orchids, ferns, hart’s horns and mosses and is also home to the beautiful yet shy, red green feathered, quetzal.

Sustainable travel

As a responsible company our mission is to increase and improve sustainability in our business. Find out more about the measures that we currently take as well as our further plans to ensure we achieve our green ambitions. Read More

Day 8: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Delight in all that Monteverde offers up, for another day here.

Day 9: Monteverde Cloud Forest - Rincón de la Vieja

We take our bus to the northern province of Guanacaste to arrive by the end of the afternoon in Rincón de la Vieja. Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a must for adventurers and nature-lovers as this tropical mountain forest is crowded with exotic birds and animals. You can choose to take wonderful hikes in the nature reserve and can cross the jungle on foot or by horse, along waterfalls. There are also sulphur springs and bubbling mud pools if you know where to look!

Day 10: Rincón de la Vieja

How green can you go? TIP

A great way to traverse the forest is by taking the Canopy Tour, in which you swing from platform to platform like Tarzan! Real go-getters can hike to the crater of Rincón volcano; weather permitting, accompanied by a local guide. This comes highly recommended!

Day 11: Rincón de la Vieja - Playa Samara

On day 10 we arrive in Playa Samara on the coast of the North Pacific. This sublime beach has a beautiful bay that’s perfect for a refreshing dip and you can also go snorkelling, diving and wind surfing.

Day 12: Playa Samara

Another nice way to spend your time here is to visit the nearby Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge to see its many bird species. White-throated Capuchin Monkeys, Raccoons, Spectacled Caimans, and Lineated Basilisk Lizards are among other creatures you may be fortunate enough to spot. The village also has bars and restaurants where you can chill out and have fun

What can I do?

Sustainable travel means taking into account the people, nature and culture so that travel remains possible in the future. The negative effects of tourism are increasingly palpable. 'So what can I do?', you may ask. Shoestring gives you 10 tips. Read More

Day 13: Playa Samara - San José

On day 13 we leave by bus for a magnificent drive to San José for the final night of our tour.

Day 14: San José

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in San José until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Costa Rica.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 14) is not included.

Extend your trip

  • Tortuguero (turtle) extension
    The trip can be lengthened with a four day tour to Parque Nacional Tortuguero, one of the most important breeding spots for sea turtles in the world. In San Jose, on day 13, you will say farewell to the group. The next day, after breakfast (included), you’ll be picked up by the local English speaking guide. The bus will bring you to a small harbour from which your journey continues to one of the most impressive national parks of Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast: Tortuguero. Besides turtles which will enter the beach to lay their eggs between June and October, you can spot monkeys, alligators, parrots, toucans, and many other tropical birds while sailing the pretty small jungle canals in little boats.

    On the last day (day 16) the journey will go back through the Braulio Carillo rainforest to San José for a last overnight before you travel back home.

    Included: English speaking specialised guides, all meals, transportation by air-conditioned bus, boat, and tour through the canals of Tortuguero. Three nights in a beautiful lodge: rooms are spacious, with fan, private toilet/shower with hot water, swimming pool , bar and restaurant.
    *Optional evening excursions are possible to observe the sea turtles; these tours are not included in the price.

    If you want to book this tour to Tortuguero as a lengthening to your normal tour, please do so while making your booking. The additional costs are €399/£359/$529 per person. If you book by yourself, a single room supplement will be charged if no one is available from the group to share a room with. Of course you can choose for a single room yourself. The additional cost will be € 99/£89/$129.

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