5-Day travel itinerary for Costa Rica: Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano

With so much to see and do in Costa Rica, it’s well worth having a plan in place before you arrive. 5 days may just be a short break, but you’ll be able to see plenty if you take a little time to consider your itinerary. Here, we give you a recommended plan for 5 days in the beautiful setting of Costa Rica.

Day 1: Arrive and settle in

Many itineraries that you find online will have you trekking all over on your first day, but it’s wise bearing in mind that you’ve got several full days ahead of you. This considered, we’d strongly recommend using your first day to settle into your hotel in San Jose and familiarise yourself with the surroundings. Head to a local shop to buy some water, and take a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood. You’ll stumble across many stands that sell exotic and fresh fruits that you should definitely sample.

On the evening, head over to the National Theatre and see a show if there’s anything on that you’d be interested in. You’ll have a busy few days ahead, so make sure that you get a reasonably early night so you’re well rested for your adventures!

It’s worth noting that San Jose is divided into dozens of neighbourhoods, known as ‘barrios’, and some are obviously safer than others. Stick to the tourist areas and avoid the Coca Cola Bus Station. If you need to get from A to B and are unsure about safety, it could be worthwhile getting a taxi. It will only cost you a few dollars to be taken anywhere within the city, though bear in mind that you’ll usually have to provide the name of a landmark or building rather than a street address. It’s always worth carrying a map with you.

Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Set your alarm clock for an early start and take a guided tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Having an expert guide on hand will be invaluable when it comes to making sure that you see everything. You’re likely to experience the hummingbirds just near the entrance, as well as the bat jungle and the frog pond.

It can easily fill up a whole day, so be sure to take plenty of sun cream. The temperatures can really soar during the warmer months.

Day 3: Arenal Volcano

Rent a car and take a drive up to the Arenal Volcano in the National Park. It’s an impressive site of natural beauty, and many people revel in the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

There are several natural spas in the area, so be sure to call in for a relaxing treat. There’s also plenty of places to pick up souvenirs for your loved ones back at home. After a day that will inevitably include a lot of walking, treat yourself at a luxury restaurant. Benedictus Steak House comes highly recommended and offers fantastic views and excellent service.

Though it’s possible to get a good feel for the area in just one day, many travellers feel that it isn’t quite enough to really soak up the atmosphere. If you can stay a little longer, it’s well worth it.

It takes around three hours to get from San Jose to Arenal, so you’ll need an early start. The route is a fairly easy one, but be aware that roads aren’t always maintained to the highest standards, so watch out for potholes. Car crime is notoriously high in some places, so take a wheel lock just to be on the safe side.

Day 4: Boat tour

The waters of Costa Rica are absolutely beautiful, so schedule in a little time to get out on the open seas. There are many organised tours available that will call by all the main attractions, so look out for deals. Wherever you’re staying, you’ll find plenty of options available.

We definitely recommend just kicking back and relaxing on one of the many golden beaches, though if you’re more of the adventurous type, take your hiking boots and get exploring. There are many walks that cater for different abilities. Snorkeling is also popular, so keep your eyes open for boat tours that will take you to the hotspots spots.

Day 5: Fly home

You’ll be flying home today, so it’s worth factoring in a little extra time for organisation and any last minute things that you need to take of. Especially if you’re travelling with children, it can be a stressful day! Have a leisurely breakfast from a local café, then do any shopping that you still need before leaving.

Fly back home with plenty of happy memories and photographs to show your friends and family!

There’s room for flexibility in this itinerary, so if there’s something else that you particularly have you heart set on, just do a little bit or rejigging so you can fit in everything that you’d like to do.

If you like things to be taken care of for you, you might want to consider booking through a travel provider. Click here to find out more about offerings from The Holiday Place.

Have you ever been to Costa Rica? What would you consider to be the highlights?

This article was brought to you by Ruth Richards on behalf of The Holiday Place. Click here to read more about their exotic break options, including holidays to Cuba.

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