Costa Rica is the country where nature reigns. As a matter of fact, this small country has more than 5% of the world's biodiversity. Landscapes range from mountains with smoking volcano craters, rough water rivers, valleys planted with bananas and coffee, tropical rainforests and white sand beaches. Between the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, we will find the most beautiful national parks, from the most visited to the most private. Our trip begins with discovering Poas Volcano's fumaroles. After, we will escape to Sarapiquí and Arenal Volcano, and then we will travel down San Juan River, which marks the border with Nicaragua, in order to go to the Caribbean coast and the small town of Tortuguero. Rich fauna awaits us: crocodiles, iguanas, birds, etc. On the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, we will still find the indigenous Bribri and the Jamaican descendants that live on the southern beaches of the country. We will cross the breadth of the country, passing the foot of Turrialba Volcano and its coffee plantations before arriving to the Pacific coast and Corcovado National Park, the wildest in the country. Our stay ends under the coconut trees in Manuel Antonio National Park, accompanied by white-face monkeys, toucans and sloths.



    In the afternoon, settling into our accommodation and welcome, our local team is in charge.

    Transportation: 30 minutes-1 hour by bus.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: Lunch and dinner.


    POAS VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK - LA FORTUNA - HOT  SPRINGS We will leave after breakfast and the tour presentation. We will visit Poas Volcano National Park where we will have the opportunity to see its crater with blue water and fumaroles, Botos Lake and maybe the endemic squirrels. We will finish the tour by visiting the small ecological museum before taking the bus to Arenal Volcano. We well end the day with a relaxing bath in the hot springs.

    Transportation: 3-4 hours by bus.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 1-2 hours


    HANGING BRIDGES - ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK -  SARAPIQUI This morning is dedicated to visiting the tropical rain forest. In the morning, we will use the hanging bridges trail to discover the tree tops and enjoy the impressive sight of Arenal Volcano. We will end the visit to this national park by walking through its trails covered in volcanic ash. Departure heading to Pueto Viejo de Sarapiquí, whose forests are a refuge for tapirs, sloths, coatis and various species of monkeys. Settling into the hotel close to the agricultural plantations (banana, cocoa, and pineapple).

    Transportation: 2-3 hours by bus.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 3-4 hours


    TRIP DOWN SAN JUAN RIVER - TORTUGUERO Early in the morning, we will board a motorboat from Sarapiquí's river port. We will travel on Sarapiquí River and later, we will travel down San Juan River on the
    Nicaraguan border towards Tortuguero. During this tour, we will be able to observe the local flora and fauna. Arrival to the village in Tortuguero located between the
    Caribbean Sea and the jungle, at the end of the afternoon.
    NOTE: For your comfort, we recommend that you leave your main luggage on the bus and travel with a small backpack that has the things you need for 2 days/2 nights in order to travel light to Tortuguero (your luggage will be waiting on the minibus on the morning of day 6).

    Transportation: 6-7 hours by canvas boat.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.


    TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK In the morning, we are going to explore Tortuguero's channels by boat. This large aquatic national park consists of channels and lagoons in the middle of an impressive jungle. Through this unique and extraordinary network of rivers and swamps, we can discover crocodiles, toucans, turtles, monkeys (howlers among others), parrots, sloths, iguanas, colorful birds... In the afternoon, you can enjoy exploring the park's trail on your own. Note: in the season (from the end of July until the beginning of November), there is the opportunity to assist with turtle nesting at night (Option to pay directly on site 25 USD).

    Transportation: No.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 1-2 hours


    YORKIN, MEETING WITH INDIGENOUS BRIBRI We take the motorboat towards the landing stage in La Pavona where we will find ourselves with our vehicle that will take us to a Bribri community between the Talamanca Mountain Range and the souther Caribbean coast. We will go along the coast and meet with our Bribri guide in the village of Bambú. The adventure begins with a trip on the Yorkín River on a motorized canoe on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. We will arrive to the landing stage in Yorkín and continue on foot to the village where we will be received with refreshments prepared by the indigenous community ''indigenous'' being the term locally preferred to ''Indian''). We will be invited to travel through the surrounding trails between cocoa, banana and medicinal plant plantations. We will see a demonstration on traditionally preparing chocolate! Dinner and accommodation in the Bribri community.
    NOTE: For this part, you will also have to leave your large bag in the minibus and bring that necessary for spending the night. Your luggage will be waiting on the minibus the following day.

    Transportation: 1-2 hours by public boat, 4-5 hours by bus and 30 minutes-1 hour in motorized canoe.
    Accommodation: Bribri community.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 30 minutes-1 hour


    SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN We will spend the morning in the community and then after lunch, we will travel down the river in canoes to find our vehicle, which will take us to the Caribbean coast. We will arrive to our accommodation on the Caribbean coast (Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, according to the departures) with their colorful villages trapped between the sea and the mountains that owe their charm to their inhabitants who live in colorful, wooden houses, some of which are suspended over stilts. At the end of the afternoon, you are free to go to a nearby beach or tour around the village.

    Transportation: 30 minutes-1 boat and 1-2 hours by bus.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: Dinner.


    CAHUITA NATIONAL PARK - TURRIALBA Departure for the discovery of Cahuita National Park. We will visit its trail along the coast, as well as enjoy a relaxing moment and swim in the Caribbean Sea. As well as observing medicinal plants, we may see sloths, monkeys, agoutis, toucans... Departure toTurrialba Valley, whose surroundings are known for their fresh air and the active volcano. Accommodation on a farm (small farm) belonging to the Fuentes Durán family, an enchanting and cozy guest house with a beautiful view of Turrialba Volcano.
    NOTE: the guest house can be replaced exceptionally for one night in the hotel (small structure) according to departures.

    Transportation: 3-4 hours by bus.
    Accommodation: Guest house.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 2-3 hours.


    BALAICA - COFFEE TOUR Departure to Biological Corridor Balaica: the inhabitants of the different communities joined together to protect this passage between Tapantí National Park and Barbilla National Park. After an explanation of the history and objectives of the project given by your local guide, we will begin to walk through the Costa Rican fields. While we enjoy the views of Turrialba and Irazu Volcanos, we will find local farmers working in the sugar cane fields, we will observe toucans flying over us or sloths suspended in the trees. They await us for the visit to Monteclaro Farm, a coffee plantation, during which we are going to learn everything from the seed to the mug. After visiting the plantation, we will discover the roasting techniques before enjoying a good cup of coffee.

    Transportation: 30 minutes-1 hour by bus.
    Accommodation: Guest house
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 3-4 hours


    SIERPE - OSA PENINSULA Early departure to the Osa Peninsula through the Panamerican Highway, passing through the cities of San Isidro de El General and Palmar Norte. Welcome in Sierpe and we will continue the trip by boat, over the Sierpe River, which begins on the south side of Talamanca and leads to the Pacific. We will continue to Drake Bay, the name of Sir Francis Drake, English explorer that anchored his Golden Hind in March, 1579. Accommodation in our simple, family lodge on the edge of the ocean where Capuchin monkeys and red macaws have established their residence. The setting is beautiful.
    NOTE: For your comfort, like in Tortuguero and Yorkín, we recommend that you leave your main luggage on the bus and travel with a small backpack that has the things you need for 2 days/2 nights in order to travel light to Corcovado (your luggage will be waiting on the minibus on the morning of day 12).

    Transportation: 5-6 hours by bus 1-2 hours by boat.
    Accommodation: Country house.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.


    CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK Day dedicated to exploring Corcovado National Park, which is considered the jewel of tropical rainforests. By boat and on foot we will tour the largest tropical rainforest on the American Pacific coast between crystal-clear waterfalls and pools on the trails in San Pedrillo.
    We will have the opportunity to observe a great variety of birds, including red macaws. Here we will also have the best opportunity to see jaguars and tapirs, especially on the beach when the sun sets. Return to the lodge.

    Transportation: 1-2 hours by boat.
    Accommodation: Lodge.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: No.
    Hike duration: 3-4 hours.


    SIERPE - MANUEL ANTONIO Departure in the morning by boat to the small port in Sierpe and boat trip through the mangroves and the Pacific Ocean during low tide. You may be able to see many crocodiles.
    We will take the vehicle and continue the route along the coast before arriving to Manuel Antonio, a beautiful park that received its name from a Spanish conqueror.
    The region is also a popular place for sports fishing and palm oil production. Accommodation in the hotel and the end of the day is free to enjoy the beach.

    Transportation: 1-2 hours by boat 3-4 hours by bus
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: Lunch and dinner.


    MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK- SAN JOSE In the morning, we will visit Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its impressive beaches and abundant wildlife that is easily seen. We will continue to San Jose for one last night. On the way to the city, we have a stop programmed on the bridge over Tarcoles River, where you can usually see gigantic American Crocodiles. End of guide services.
    NOTE: If your return flight is at night (after 5:00 pm) on day 13, it is possible (optional) to spend the night in Manuel Antonio to enjoy the beach before going to the airport (see optional section). This option must be reserved before departure upon registering and/or during flight confirmation details.

    Transportation: 3-4 hours by bus.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: Lunch and dinner.
    Hike duration: 1-2 hours


    Depending on the hour of your transfer to the airport (arrive to the airport 3 hours before your flight), you can choose to visit the city: Gold Museum, Jade Museum, National Museum, Central Market, Artisan alley...

    Transportation: 30 minutes-1 hour by bus.
    Accommodation: Hotel.
    Meal(s) at the client's expense: Lunch and dinner.


Depending on the climate and operating conditions, your guide reserves the right to modify the tour for your safety and comfort.

IMPORTANT: The program can be modified for certain departure dates (when there are two groups at the same time). This trip offers the best conditions to observe abundant wildlife, but these animals are wild and obviously, we cannot guarantee that every animal in the program will be seen.

VOLCANO INFORMATION IN COSTA RICA: Depending on the activity of the volcanoes, it is possible that access to craters are temporarily closed for security purposes. They open and close depending on the volcano's activity and it is rarely possible to know beforehand if access will be open or closed. Currently, Turrialba, Tenorio, Rincon de la Vieja, and Poas are experiencing significant activity and may be closed. Sometimes we can enter the parks without being able to go to the crater, but in some cases, the parks close completely. However, Arenal Volcano is very calm at this time (contrary to what is written in some guidebooks that are not updated, lava flows are not currently visible). Irazu Volcano: we currently do not offer this volcano in the program because it requires a long trip in a vehicle and its acid lake became not so spectacular and the top is always in the clouds.

Dates & prices

Departures for French-speaking groups:

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Trip code: UCOC

Practical info


Our organized group trips include a French-speaking guide who is familiar with the country, and a local driver. We can also provide guide and/or driver services to independent travelers. Tourist sites usually offer Spanish and English-speaking guides. French-speaking tourist guides are hired for various days and not periodically.


Consider bringing products from your region to share in the camp at night.
Food: the daily Costa Rican cuisine is unchanging and simple, but good. A solid breakfast, a picnic at noon during the hikes and dinner is eaten in restaurants or where our hosts live.
Drinks: ''ticos'' drink little water, but a lot of fruit juices, which often substitute dessert at dinner. You can buy bottled water if you would like.


The hotels that we choose are small and sufficiently comfortable. Simpler, more eco-friendly accommodations are found in the heart of vegetation.


Comfortable minibus, boat and motor boat.

Remember to bring an original copy of your driver's license and your credit card. We recommend that you drive during the day because the highways are not always well lit and the sun rises and sets early (5-6 hours). Park your vehicle in the parking lot or in the space provided for such purpose. Do not leave anything valuable in the vehicle, or at least not in sight. In case of accident, you must not move the vehicle or leave. If someone is injured, call 911 and follow the instructions given by your vehicle rental agent. We also always recommend to take pictures.

Budget & exchange

The exchange rate is very unstable. The exchange rate is around 530 colones = 1 dollar = 0.90 Euros. Almost everything can be paid in colones or dollars, but in general, bills of more than $20 are not accepted. For daily purchases (for example, drinks, souvenirs, etc.), we recommend that you pay with colones. You will be able to get colones upon your arrival in the airport exchange bureaus, at ATMs (Visa/Mastercard) that are found in the country's main cities, or by simply paying in supermarkets with dollars as change is given in colones. When leaving the country, you will have to pay a departure tax. It is equivalent to approximately $29 (payable with credit card, or cash in dollars or colones). For food, anticipate spending between 5 and 15 Euros.


This is common practice and not mandatory, depending on your satisfaction. They must adapt to the country's living conditions and the length of your trip. This is a gesture of appreciation related to the benefit received. On the other hand, in certain institutions, prices do not include taxes (13%) or services (10%).

Traveling in groups:
with a guide and/or driver: At the end of your trip, it is customary to give your guide and the local team a tip. Typically, for proper service, this is from $3 to $6 USD a day per participant, in other words, between $45 and $90 USD for 15-day trip and between $60 and $120 USD for a 20-day trip. You may also give a small gift to the local team at the end of your stay.

Independent travel:
If you are satisfied with the restaurant service, you can leave between ₡500 and ₡1000 CRC (or, $1 to $2). If regarding a local guide during an activity, anticipate $3 to $6 USD a day per participant.

Vital equipment

Adapting to the climate:
- Mosquito Repellent
- Sun block
- Water resistant
- Hat and sunglasses
- Sweater for cold nights
- Light cotton clothing (t-shirts, shorts)
- 2 or 3 long-sleeved shirts and light pants to protect against mosquitoes
- Bathing suit
- Shoes to work, preferably with a higher top for hiking
- Comfortable sandals for the rest of the day (or even for the bus trip) for better versatility, choose those that support your feet and resist water (for water activities or a rainy day)
- Trekking poles are recommended
- Water bottle (minimum 1 liter)
- Pocket knife - Pocket flashlight or headlamp with batteries and bulbs
- Power adaptor (flat American outlet for round European-style plugs)
- First aid kit

Helpful equipment

- Binoculars. 
- Rubber boots, useful for outings in the rainy season (optional).


It is better to use a flexible travel bag with a lateral closure and a drawstring, or possibly a large backpack. There is a 15-kg weight limit for each person.You will also need a backpack (minimum of 35L) to store your daily belongings. It is possible to wash clothes halfway through, so pack your belongings accordingly.
As a precautionary measure, remember to bring sufficient things to survive the first few days in your carry-on luggage just in case your luggage does not arrive at the same time as you. This is not common, but it is better to be prepared for any possibility. We recommend that you bring, among others, underclothes, two t- shirts, walking shoes and sandals.
Do not forget to put any sharp or liquid object in your checked luggage because they are prohibited in the cabin.

Small first aid kit:
- Disinfectant gel or hand wipes
- Tissue paper
- Local, non-alcoholic antiseptic
- Contact solution or one-dose contact antiseptic
- One dose of saline solution
- Box of different size adhesive drapes
- Box of hydrocolloid dressings for blisters (Compeed)
- Box of sterile compresses
- Adhesive tape
-Expandable strips
- Compression wrap (sprains and support)
- Anti-itch cream
- Ointment or spray for surface burns and/or sunburns
- Ointment for bumps and bruises and/or a tube of 9CH homeopathic arnica
- Water purification tablets (Alta or Aquatabs Micropur).

Kit to keep in main luggage:
- Pain reliever and antipyretic (for fever), for example, acetaminophen
- Antihistamines (for allergies)
- Medicine for indigestion
- Antispasmodic (for abdominal pain)
- Anti-nausea medicine (for motion sickness)
- Intestinal antiseptic
- Anti-diarrheal medicine
- Water solution for oral rehydration in case of severe diarrhea
- Antiemetics (for nausea and vomiting)
- Anti-inflammatory gel
- Wide-specter antibiotic treatment (with medical prescription)
- Cold and sore throat treatment (pills)
- Thermometer
- Scissors
- Tweezers
- Liquid mosquito repellent with refills.


The information given is only reference for French citizens. You may be subject to changes without notification on behalf of the corresponding authority. Therefore, it is advisable to verify them in the month before departure.

Passports are valid 6 months after the return date. Upon registering, we ask that you send us your passport information (Last name - Name - Birth date - Passport number - Date of issue and date of expiration). We need this information to book your domestic flights or make entry requests in certain places.

-It is imperative that you give us the valid information of the passport you are going to take. If you need to renew your passport, wait until you receive the new one to give us the information. Otherwise, it could be denied in certain places.
-All children, regardless of age, must have an individual passport. Children registered on their parent's passport (even with a biometric passport) must obtain a visa.
-In certain cases, you may have to use a US airline, which have layovers in the United States of America and must comply with current regulations if transiting a US airport.

How do you know if your passport is valid to transit through the US?
-Former passport reference (vertical page with the picture): invalid.
-Machine-readable passport (horizontal page that contains the picture and 2 lines of code under the picture): valid if it has been issued before October 25, 2005.
-Passports issued between 26/10/2005 and 26/10/2006: valid if they are machine readable with digital pictures printed on the identification pages (the picture should not be pasted).
-Electronic and biometric passports (horizontal page containing the picture and the electronic chip symbol on the cover under the word ''PASSPORT''): valid.

Travel Authorization Form to the US.
A visa is only necessary if you are going to cross through the United States and your passport does not allow it.

Since January 2009, every passenger that travels or has a layover in the United States of America must have previously completed the ESTA application form on the following website: order to receive a travel authorization under the visa waiver program. This authorization is valid for 2 years or until the passport expires. Adults and children (regardless of age) are subject to this procedure. The form can be completed up until at least 72 hours before departure, but it is recommended to do this as soon as the trip is planned. From now on, this service costs approximately 14 USD. Correctly enter the address other unofficial sites exist on the web and charge more for the service.

Keep in mind that the software program established by the ESTA system does not determine if passports are valid to travel to the US within the framework of the Visa Waiver Program. The ESTA system is limited to register passport information provided by the traveler. It is the traveler's sole responsibility to verify if their passport complies with the required characteristics (Source: U.S. Embassy in France).

The name entered on the ESTA form must be the same that is indicated on the plane ticket (of course) and on your passport. If the name that is used on the ESTA form is different from that on the plane ticket, boarding will be denied by the airline.

Even though no vaccination is necessary, you should ensure that common vaccinations given in western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid fever) are up to date. Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B are also recommended. If you have traveled to South America or Africa less than a week prior, it is necessary to be vaccinated against yellow fever.

Contact details of the Costa Rican Embassy and Consulate: 
Costa Rican Embassy in France 
Address: 4, Plaza Rapp 75007 Paris, France,
Tel: (33) 1 4 578 9696 o (33) 1 4 578 5096
Fax: (+33) 1 4 578 9966

Contact details of the French Embassy and Consulate:
French Embassy in Costa Rica
Address: Curridabat, Mitsubishi agency, 200 meters to the south and 25 meters to the west 10177-1000 Costa Rica. 
Tel: (506) 22 34 41 67 
Fax: (506) 22 34 41 95

Health information & recommendations

Our guides have a first aid kit that includes: local antiseptics, bandages, compresses, gauze, double -skin bandages, and Elastoplast strips. We recommend to bring a small first aid kit with you for "minor every day injuries," and a second, more complete kit to leave in your main luggage. In case of special treatment, please notify the guide upon your arrival.

There are no mandatory vaccination. However, ensure that your routine vaccinations are up to date: tetanus, diphtheria, polio and typhoid fever. Malaria. The country is classified as zone 1. The risk of transmission through a mosquito bite is low. It is advised to protect yourself by applying repellent. We do not recommend the use of preventative treatments if it is not necessary. As a matter of fact, as well as the adverse effects they cause our body, they can cause resistance to plagues, and then the local population is unprotected from the disease. However, we recommend that you follow your doctor's advice.

Dengue fever exists in Costa Rica. The occurrence increases during the rainy season. It is recommended that travelers protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Very little risk, but the vaccination against yellow fever, which is not mandatory, is valid for 10 years and can be considered. In case of special treatment, let your guide know upon your arrival.

Take basic hygiene measures into account, such as washing your hands regularly, especially before eating. The water is drinkable in nearly the entire country, but bacterial and chemical contamination risks exist, especially in the capital and its suburbs. It is recommended to drink bottled water. It is not recommended to eat seafood and certain shellfish on the Pacific coast (The Nicoya Peninsula and Puntarenas province) because of the ''red tide'' that makes them inapt for eating, especially from November to May.


Applying repellent is recommended to protect yourselves. We do not recommend the use of preventative treatments if it is not necessary. As a matter of fact, as well as the adverse effects they cause our body, they can cause resistance to plagues, and then the local population is unprotected from the disease. However, we recommend that you follow your doctor's advice.


The tropical climate is hot and humid: the average temperature is around 23°C in San Jose, 31°C on the coast and in the north, and hardly cooler at night and during the year. In altitude, temperatures lower a little and the humidity remains the same, and it may be cold at: 3,000 m from 5 to 15°C.There are 2 seasons in Costa Rica: rainy from May to November (quick, but torrential rains), dry from December to April (sun and clear skies). In short, Costa Rica can be traveled throughout the year without any problems, even if it rains frequently. The country, unlike certain neighboring countries in the Caribbean, is not affected by hurricanes.

Each period of the year has its advantages, however, Costa Rica is known for its diversity and variable, sometimes capricious climate.
- From January to April: sun, wind and drought on the Pacific side (in some areas there is not one drop of rain for 4 or 5 months). The peaks of the dry season are in March and April, but it is less serious on the Caribbean side where it rains regularly all year.
- From April to May is ''spring'' and the rainy season begins.
- From June to July is ''Indian summer'' throughout the entire country (rainfall subsides).
- From August to October, there are beautiful periods of sun on the Caribbean coast (unlike the rainy Pacific).
- From October to December, there are cold fronts in the Caribbean (sunny periods interrupted by rain). The end of the rain and the return of the dry season in the pacific is announced by the trade winds.

Nature also has its calendar of events that are often discreet and sometimes spectacular: the presence of humpback whales between July and August on the Pacific side, nesting sea turtles on the Caribbean or Pacific beaches, great concentration of sea birds, simultaneous blooming of trees, mass migrations of birds of prey, butterflies...


110 V, 60 Hz, flat American outlet. Be aware that your appliances designed for 220V will charge a lot slower using 110V. For pictures and videos, anticipate getting your memory card and battery supplies before your departure.

Local time

GMT -6
During summer, Costa Rica is 8 hours behind France. When it is 18:00 pm in Paris, it is 10:00 am in San Jose. During winter, Costa Rica is 7 hours behind France. When it is 18:00 pm in Paris, it is 11:00 am in San Jose.

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  • Installed in Costa Rica since 1998
  • In love of the nature and tropical culture
  • Guided for ten years
  • Head of the agency of Altai Costa Rica
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Arenal and the North La Côte Caraïbes La Côte Pacifique
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14 days
4 to 15 people
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