By Katie Jackson /

Arenal Volcano


We have five pretty spectacular Costa Rica itineraries, so when someone asks us to name our favorite, we react like a parent who is asked to name their favorite child. That said, lately we’ve been particularly fond of our Arenal to Tortuguero package which is always a hit this time of year.So if you agree with any or all of A through Z, don’t be a stranger and contact us so we can reserve your spot!

The ABC’s

A is for Arenal Lake. Costa Rica’s largest lake is known for its boating, fishing, kayaking and incredible windsurfing opportunities. With Arenal Volcano looming in the background, the lake couldn’t be more picturesque.

B is for Bougainvillea Hotel where you’ll stay on your first night after arriving in San Jose. The property’s pride and joy? Ten acres of tropical gardens and an outdoor art collection!

C is for the Caribbean. Day 2 of this trip starts out with a flight from the interior of the country to the Caribbean coast. Notice the contrast in flora, fauna and even the people as you move east!

D is for December. December is the perfect month to visit Costa Rica because it’s the beginning of Costa Rica’s “dry season” so you’ll get plenty of sun mixed with the occasional, and refreshing, afternoon shower.

E is for early risers. On Day 3 of this trip, the early birds have a chance to go bird watching by boat before joining those who opt to sleep in for a fresh breakfast at Evergreen Lodge.

F is for Finca Rosa Blanca Resort where you’ll spend your final night in Costa Rica. This outstanding organic coffee plantation and eco-luxe resort received a Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Award when it was ranked as one of the 10 Best Small Hotels in the World!

G is for gallo pinto, Costa Rica’s signature dish. Where else can you get away with eating beans and rice for breakfast?

H is for hot springs. On Day 5, treat your muscles to a soak in the all-natural thermal pools at Ecotermales Hot Springs.

I is for island. Although it’s not technically an island, the “streets” around Evergreen Lodge & Resort are waterways so you get the privilege of arriving at this unique hotel via water transport. From the resort it’s only a five-minute trip by boat to Tortuguero National Park. (See is for Tortuguero National Park)

J is for jaguar. While we can’t promise a jaguar sighting, we can guarantee that Central America’s largest carnivore lives in Tortuguero National Park. I.e. there’s definitely a chance of capturing that shy cat on camera.

K is for kayak. Get up and close with the wetland ecosystem while exploring Tortuguero’s canals by kayak. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles and manatees!

L is for La Fortuna which TripAdvisor calls “the center of an array of geological wonders.” It’s hard to nail the quintessential Costa Rica itinerary without a stop in La Fortuna. On Day 4, take in dinner on the town with your guide who knows the best menu within a 100-mile radius. (See alumni review below.)

M is for a massage in the spa at Casa Turire where you stay on Day 3. Every vacationer should opt for at least an hour of pampering in this special country where relaxation is a way of life.

N is for nunca. As in you will NEVER forget this vacation. Nunca se olvidar de estas vacaciones!

O is for organic. Wake up to organic shade-grown coffee on Day 7. Just one of the perks of staying at a coffee plantation resort! (See is for Finca Rosa Blanca.)

P is for paddling on the Pacuare River. The experience is so epic that National Geographic Magazine includes it on its list of the world’s top ten river trips!

Q is for quetzal. The colorful quetzal is one of the most sought-after wildlife sightings in Central America. While we can’t guarantee that you’ll see one, bird experts do say that December is the start of peak quetzal watching season.

R is for rainforest. This ecosystem of extremes is home to more than half of the planet”™s flora and fauna, so you have a good chance of racking up the species count on the hikes scheduled throughout the week.

S is for Sky Tram. On Day 5, meet up with a guide and board a gondola for a climb through the rainforest canopy. Cameras are a must as the tram ride provides extraordinary vantage points of Arenal Volcano and the lake.

T is for Tortuguero National Park. Tortuga means turtle in Spanish, and Tortuguero National Park is a nesting ground for four species of sea turtles.

U is for us. Traveling with us (Austin Adventures) sets you up for a successful vacation. It’s true, success is where preparation and opportunity meet. So, your ideal vacation is at the intersection of you and Austin Adventures!

V is for volcano. Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most photographed sites, and it’s the country’s most active volcano. Unlike a lot of volcanoes around the world, Arenal still has a relatively intact cone so it appears to be very impressive in person. (And on Facebook!)

W is for waterfall. The climax of Day 5 is a “canyoneering” tour that gives you the opportunity to rappel along four different waterfalls!

X is for xtra. Okay, we know that’s not how you spell it, but we also know that our Costa Rica guides are always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that you’re having the time of your life. (See alumni review below!)

Z is for zipline. Zipping is Costa Rica’s unofficial sport, so soaring above the trees and experiencing the rainforest from 130 ft. above ground is the perfect way to spend Day 5.


Ask the Alumni:

What did you think of your Austin Adventures Costa Rica Arenal to Tortuguero vacation?  

  • “The guide’s expertise and range of activities and locales were outstanding. Jimmy was fantastic – he went way beyond the basics – even did some of our laundry at home!” – Russell, Minneapolis, MN
  • “One word, ‘amazing!’ From the time we met for the first time until our last dinner.” – Jennifer, El Paso, TX
  • “Canyoneering! Never did it before, and it was great. Another fantastic Austin Adventures adventure! Four AA adventures under our belt and can’t wait for the next one!” – Gary, Castleton, NY
  • “The activities were great and well organized. Lunch at the organic farm was excellent!” – Doug, Castle Rock, CO
  • “Great trip, I learned a lot about the culture and pulse of Costa Rica. I was as fascinated about this aspect of the trip as much as the activities.” – Ken, Ringwood, NJ
  • “Trip was fantastic and Julio (our guide) taught us more than we could imagine. Lunch at the organic farm was wonderful and the restaurant in La Fortuna where our guide knew the cook/owner.” – Caroline, Strongsville, OH
Katie Jackson

Written by: Katie Jackson

Katie grew up in Montana but considers NYC home. She lives to travel and then write about it!

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