Latin America Vacations
Costa Rica Family | Unique Holiday | Arenal to Uvita
Give your family the gift of exploration, play, and relaxation over the holiday season in the tropical paradise of Costa Rica
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Welcome to Costa Rica – a land of unspoiled scenic beauty and a protected ecological habitat. Celebrate the holidays in one of the world’s most family-friendly destinations! Explore by foot two of Costa Rica’s most intriguing national Parks searching for crawling bugs, sleepy sloths, twisting vines, and blooming buds. Horseback ride through forests and pastures to reach postcard-perfect views of iconic Arenal Volcano. Peek into the dense vegetation of Arenal National Park to catch a glimpse of screeching toucans, endangered poison dart frogs, and curious spider monkeys. Relax in the volcanically heated waters of Tabacón Hot Springs at your hotel. Surf in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and search for camouflaged wildlife on a boat tour through the mangroves of the Sierpe River.
- Traipse through the lush tropical rainforest in the Arenal region, stopping for a lunch at the beautiful La Paz Waterfall Gardens
- Learn about traditional Costa Rican farming at Arenal Vida Campesina Organic Farm
- Ride into the picturesque vistas of Arenal Volcano on horseback, galavanting through cattle fields and primary forest along the way
- Gear up for a canyoning adventure, a guaranteed way to get your adrenaline pumping
- Spot sweet-smelling orchids and ferns while keeping an eye out for sloths, iguanas, basilisks, bats, frogs, and unique insects
- Take private surfing lessons from an instructor on the Marino Ballena — “Mae” (“dude”) let’s go surf!
- Head out on the Sierpe River for a boat tour exploring the beautiful maze of canals, river mouths, and estuaries that flood the largest untouched expanse of mangroves in all of Costa Rica
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Learning about the natural world: Costa Rica boasts unmatched flora (including over 3,000 species of wild orchids), world-class rivers, active volcanoes, and more species of mammals and birds than the continental United States and Canada combined!
The food: Chow down on authentic Costa Rican food that is fresh, flavorful, and memorable, especially on your visit to a local organic farm!
The water adventures: From surfing to walking on the beach to boating around the canals and mangroves, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the cool Costa Rican waters!
San Jose, Costa Rica SJO
San Jose, Costa Rica SJO
Arrive at the San José International Airport and transfer to your hotel for the evening. Once you arrive, you are free to explore the expansive private forest reserve at the resort, take a dip in the sunset pool, and enjoy a delectable local meal on your own.
About Xandari Resort
Xandari Resort & Spa offers the quintessential Costa Rica experience. The property’s forest reserve, with five waterfalls and miles of trails for bird-watching, provides the nature guests expect from a visit to Costa Rica.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens / Vida Campesina
Meet with your guide for a trip orientation over breakfast. Begin the four-hour shuttle to the Arenal region, stopping along the way first at a coffee plantation and then for a hike through lush tropical rainforest and lunch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Finish up the day learning about traditional Costa Rican farming at Arenal Vida Campesina Organic Farm followed by an authentic meal.
About The Springs Resort
Towering one thousand feet above the Arenal Valley, the 165-acre Springs Resort is the peak of luxury accommodation in Costa Rica. Indulge in natural cold and hot springs, a 14,000 square foot full-service spa, and five unique dining experiences during your time at this gorgeous resort. You’ll relax after a long day of adventure with your feet up in a modern room with full amenities; anything your heart desires is available at the ring of your room phone!
Arenal National Park
Choose to take a birding walk in the early morning for anyone interested. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and take off on a brief transfer to our horseback ride. Mount a horse and ride off into the picturesque hills of Arenal Volcano, riding through cattle fields and beautiful primary forest along the way. Take in views of the Arenal Volcano, dense forests, and the vast Arenal Lake, and afterward, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Gear up for an afternoon of canyoning and get your adrenaline pumping. After a day full of adventure, return to the resort for dinner.
Danaus Reserve / Uvita
This morning takes us to the Danaus Nature Reserve on a guided nature hike. Savor the sweet smell of orchids and ferns, keeping an eye out for resident sloths, iguanas, basilisks, bats, frogs, and butterflies. Check-in for a short charter flight to Quepos near Costa Rica’s Pacific shore. Transfer one hour by road to Uvita, stopping for lunch en route. Check into our accommodation for the next three nights and enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.
About Cristal Ballena Hotel
Cristal Ballena Hotel offers you everything you need for your dream beach, adventure, and nature vacation in Costa Rica. This beautiful four-star Mediterranean-style hotel rests on a rainforest-covered hill overlooking the famed Ballena Marine National Park, a crucial site for the world’s Pacific Humpback Whales to reproduce and give birth. On the expansive 12-hectare (29.6 acres) grounds near the City of Uvita, you will find luxury suites, the reception building, a souvenir shop, an immense ocean-view swimming pool, an open-air gourmet restaurant and bar, soothing Spa, and rainforest hiking paths.
Uvita / Marino Ballena National Park
Meet your instructors on the beach for private surfing lessons on the Marino Ballena shore. Break for lunch at a local restaurant. Shuttle back to the hotel and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure: hang out by the swimming pool, walk along the hotel’s rainforest hiking path or take a shuttle to the beach.
** Sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling available in the afternoon at an extra cost.
Uvita / Marino Ballena National Park
After breakfast, we head out on the Sierpe River for a boat tour exploring the beautiful maze of canals, river mouths, and estuaries that flood the largest untouched expanse of mangroves in all of Costa Rica. Eat lunch in Palma Sur followed by a visit to Stone Spheres Park (can you figure out the mystery of how they were created and why?). After a pleasant walk on the beach, we enjoy a final dinner back at the hotel.
Have breakfast at the hotel and transfer one hour to the Quepos Airport. Sit back and relax on a charter flight to San José. From here, you can board your international flight to make your post-trip connections home.
**Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, trail, weather, and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Costa Rica Sun Tours.
Arrival & Departure
On Day 1, arrive at San José International Airport where you will be picked up and transferred to Xandari Resort. On Day 7, you will transfer one hour from your hotel to Quepos Airport for a short charter flight to San José where you may choose to extend your stay in Costa Rica or fly out of the international airport in the afternoon.
Hiking – Easy to moderately strenuous hikes ranging from 1.5 to 3 miles (1 – 3 hours) through national parks and nature reserves.
Horseback Riding– Relaxed 2.5-hour ride overlooking Arenal Volcano and Lake.
Canyoning– Tour includes a short rappel, hanging bridge, zip line, and mellow hike. Guides provide detailed instructions on how to use the equipment. No experience necessary.
Surfing – No experience necessary, kid-friendly. Guides will provide detailed instructions.
Boat Tour – Sit back and relax as you and your guide search for wildlife among the mangroves of the Sierpe River.
Our guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels.
Costa Rica, a tiny country that forms the land bridge between North and South America, is almost too good to believe. Although slightly smaller than West Virginia, it boasts a world-famous National Park system, unmatched flora (including over 3,000 species of wild orchids), world-class rivers, active volcanoes, and more species of mammals and birds than the continental United States and Canada combined. Did you know that a sloth has a unique sort of fur that is a breeding ground for algae? (The algae help it blend in with its environment!) Could you have guessed that an armadillo is a good swimmer and can hold its breath for up to six minutes? Were you aware that when a number of howler monkeys let loose their lungs in concert, often at dawn or dusk, the din can be heard up to three miles away? Discover Marino Ballena National Park which is named after the Humpback Whales that migrate there each year from December to April to mate before returning to the frigid waters to the north. Come explore “The Crossroads of the Americas!”
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire, and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners as indicated by itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Local flights on Day 4 & Day 7.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Meals as not indicated by the detailed daily itinerary.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Costa Rica Expert
Curtis brings more than 10 years of professional travel experience to Austin Adventures. During this time he has explored some of the world’s most distinctive and culturally rich destinations. Highlights include riding the rails of India, teaching rural health education in the Peruvian Andes, learning to scuba dive in Australia, gorilla trekking in Uganda, mentoring students in Costa Rica, trekking through Asia’s Golden Triangle, exploring Cuba’s countryside by horseback, and learning to tango in Buenos Aires. Curtis’s professional resume includes years on the ground in Southeast Asia supervising a destination management company as well as roles in product development with several of North America’s largest young adult and adventure travel companies. When he’s not traveling, Curtis can be found at home with his family exploring Vermont’s gorgeous Green Mountains.