Costa Rica: Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio

Costa Rica: Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio




DAY ONE: Fly to Juan Santamaria International  Airport. (SJO) Meet driver and drive 3 hours and check in to Montana de Fuego Hotel & Spa in Arenal. Dine at Hotel Restaurant.
DAY TWO: Depart early and take “Canyoneering in Lost Canyon Tour” with Desafio Adventure Tours. Late afternoon rest.  Dine in La Fortuna.
DAY THREE: Take a morning taxi to La Fortuna Waterfalls.  $10/person to enter.  Hike in Volcan Arenal National Park in the afternoon with guide.   Dine in and pack for early departure.
DAY FOUR: Depart early for a Jeep-Boat-Jeep arranged by Costa Rican Escapes and head to Fonda Vela Lodge in Monteverde. Take a 1.5 hour night hike of the Refugio Silverstre to view the cloud forest at night in Monteverde.
DAY FIVE: Take Selvatura Canopy tour and take a self-guided hike on Selvatura’s Hanging Bridges.  Dine at Tree House Restaurant and Cafe in Santa Elena.
DAY SIX: Take a 4 hour drive to Manuel Antonio and check in to Costa Verde.  
DAY SEVEN: Guided tour through Manuel Antonio National Park by Ranchos Los Tucanes tour company.
DAY EIGHT: Take Catamaran Snorkel Tour provided by Ranchos Los Tucanes.
DAY NINE: Free day in Manuel Antonio to relax and enjoy the resort.
DAY TEN: Take Costa Rica Shuttles to drive to SJO airport.

Click Here to View Itinerary


  • The whole trip was planned and booked through Costa Rican Escapes.
  • Very beautiful country with all three areas of Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio  being wonderful places to visit with many things to do in just 10 days.
  • The surrounding area of Mt. Arenal with the volcano, lake, tropical fauna and rainforest as a backdrop was gorgeous.  Hiking an active volcano makes a great memory.
  • We loved all the excursions.  The only one our youngest couldn’t participate in was the Canyoneering in Lost Canyon Tour. He joined another group with a guide hiking and paddling.
  • We thoroughly loved this itinerary and liked that it spaced bigger excursions followed by ½ day excursions and rest for an easier pace.
  • Many of the guides offer education on preserving and protecting the environment which was valuable for the kids.





  • Canyoneering in Lost Canyon Tour took us into the heart of the rainforest rappelling down amazing waterfalls.  Recommended minimum age is 12-13.
  • Selvatura Canopy Tour and Hanging Bridges Hike in Monteverde  (4 and up).



Montana Del Fuego, Arenal
Montana Del Fuego, Arenal
Montana Del Fuego, Arenal
Hotel Fonda Vela, Monteverde
Montana Del Fuego, Arenal
Costa Verde


  • Montana Fuego Hotel in Arenal had gorgeous views and is considered as casual accommodations
  • Costa Verde  in Manuel Antonio featuring incredible Pacific Ocean views, 2 cliff-side pools, 4 fabulous restaurants ending the trip on a deluxe note.
  • Hotel Fonda Vela Lodge in Monteverde an upscale option ideally located near Monteverde Cloud Forest



Tree House Cafe in Santa Elena
Tree House Cafe in Santa Elena
  • Many nights we dined at our hotels as they had multiple restaurants to choose from and we were beat in the evening!
  • Other eateries recommended in the Arenal/La Fortuna Area:  Nene’s Restaurant, Restaurante La Parada and La Choza de Laurel.
  • In Santa Elena there is a special restaurant where a massive tree grows through the center of the restaurant.


  • Bring plenty of quick drying clothes for warm and wet weather
  • Because you’re in a rainforest, for each outing, bring a backpack and fill it with bottled water, insect repellent, sunscreen and  rain jacket.
  • Most tips are included in restaurant bills at 10% in Costa Rica but not for guides.  Plan on providing tips for guides.
  • Many roads are gravelled with switch backs, so bring a comfortable pillow for the longer car rides.
  • A deck of cards at dinnertime would be helpful for the friendly, yet slower service
  • See if hotels will pack a lunch or even an extra lunch for the all day excursions for the growing kids.



  • Double check your kids passports as they require renewal every 5 years.
  • If you want to get your younger children excited about Costa Rica, consider purchasing the DVD, Travel with Kids: Costa Rica 


Keen Sandal
Keen Sandal


For hiking in wet, muddy areas through water and land, we loved our Keens.

Photo Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


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