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Trip Report

Costa Rica : Northwest and caribbean coast

1 week between volcanoes, hot springs and tropical climate

by maellernvAbout Me:A french girl (27 years old) who, breaking away from the urban way of life, chose to travel the world during one year (or more ?) to set off on a adventure, on a auest for life, beauty, and above all, a quest of freedom. Ready to live a th... read more

North AmericaCosta Rica7 days / March 2021

Highs & Lows

An incredible fauna and flora

Rain showers that soak you in 2 seconds from head to toe

Itinerary Overview

After an 11-hour flight from France, I arrived in Costa Rica, in the capital of San Jose, at 9 pm local time. It is hot, very hot. I get out of the small airport and take my taxi to the hostel where I will spend the night, before leaving, the next morning, for La Fortuna!

Wake up at 7 am. Little sleep last night, the 7 hours time difference with France is felt. But no matter, the adventure can begin! To reach La Fortuna, it takes about 4 hours by bus. Arriving at La Fortuna, it's cool here, a bit cloudy, a bit of fog, but it's good to breathe this fresh air!

Palacios Arenal, this hostel is charming, relaxed and the host is very friendly. I meet a Spanish guy, and we decide to rent a scooter to visit the area together. On the road, we meet some Coatis, always looking for food. Direction, the Arenal volcano: we choose to do a tour of the volcano, for about 3 hours of walking. The view of the volcano is magnificent when the clouds disappear! On the way back, we had to visit the hot springs of Tabacon, located 10 minutes from the center of La Fortuna. We bathe in the middle of the locals and other tourists in very hot water. Day 2, we decide to go and play Tarzan in Salto, 5 minutes from the center. Sensations guaranteed! Between greenery, small waterfalls, and acrobatics, the day ends with a good meal at the hostel.

In La Fortuna, before leaving, I meet 2 English girls, and we decide to share an Uber to go to the small port of La Pavona, the boarding area for Tortuguero. The boat arrives. 1h30 later, during the crossing we had the chance to see some caimans. Arrival at the small village of Tortuguero, which is located on a sand bank covered with tropical forest, on the Caribbean coast.

It is already 4 pm. A short visit of the village (really small!) then rest in the ‘’Cabana’’.

The next day, the alarm clock rings at 6 am, because at 6.30 am i board for a canoe tour with a guide I met the day before. We observe very closely during all the crossing, caimans, toucans, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, lizard Jesus Christ. Back at 10 am with a good fruity breakfast.

In the afternoon, located at 6 km by boat from the village of Tortuguero, direction of the Tortuguero hill. After 30 minutes of walking, I arrived at the top where it is possible to admire the village from above.

The next morning, before taking the boat back to the port, I take a short walk in the Tortuguero National Park. Monkeys, monkeys, and more monkeys! They walk everywhere in the branches! Return by the beach and then by boat to La Pavona.

Departure from La Pavona with a German couple I met the day before in the cano tour. They take me nicely to my hostel in puerto viejo ! Relaxed atmosphere here, Caribbean atmosphere ! When I arrived, I discover the Playa Negra, a huge beach with black sand, very black. Then rest at the hostel.

The next day, I take the local bus to go to the Cahuita national park, located half an hour from Puerto Viejo. This park is beautiful! I walk from 9 am to 3 pm in the park along the beach. Small imperative pauses in the hot water of the Caribbean. In the park, observation of monkeys, snakes, spiders, butterflies, this place is full of life! I then return from this beautiful walk for a little rest.

The next day, I decide to take a bus this time in the other direction, to visit the national park of Manzanillo. It is necessary to arrive early because this park is very touristic. Unfortunately, I don't see much this time, except a small group of monkeys in the trees. I then decide to enjoy the sea and the beautiful beaches.

  • 2 Nights: La Fortuna
    Discover northwest costa rica
  • 2 Nights: Tortuguero
    Meeting the wildlife
  • 3 Nights: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
    National park and beach

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would not have done the manzanillo park, too touristic

  • How was the food?

    Always good to eat local food, and the carabbean food is amazing

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Try to find some people who have a car because by bus the distances become very long in Costa Rica

  • Packing tips?

    Swimwear and rain coat

  • Transportation Tips?

    Try to find someone with a car !

  • Any surprises?

    The rain, a lot of rain in the carabbean coast

  • Booking details?

    Easy to book hostels on Booking or Hostelworld