Four wonder of Costa Rica & Nicaragua ( 20 Days – 19 Nights )

This is a sightseeing and nature tour and doesn’t require a high level of fitness, the only hike is a 2.5 hours walk/hike through mountain and the hanging bridges in Monteverde. You will discover the Poas volcano and la Paz waterfall, Arenal volcano and Monteverde rain forest in Costa Rica; in Nicaragua, start with a relaxing 3 days at the beach, and continue with the main highlights such as laid back Ometepe Island, Granada and Leon colonial cities, the mountains of Matagalpa, and en in the Caribbean beaches of the Corn Islands. Number of days at each site, places to visit, pace and activities may be fully customized to meet your requests and expectations!

day_1Day 1: San Jose airport – Villa Blanca/Central Valley

Upon arrival at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). transfer to hotel Villa Blanca 3* sup located above San Jose in the mountains. Superior Casita

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day_2Day 2: San Jose – Poas Volcano – La Paz waterfall and gardens – La Fortuna 

Today meet your bilingual driver to transfer north towards la Fortuna and Arenal volcano, via the mountains of the Central Valley. As we ascend in the mountains we will notice a change in temperature and vegetation; we will see coffee plantations as well as fern, flower and strawberry farms along the way, creating a beautiful array of colors and textures. Reach the Poás Volcano where we will not only admire the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles, but also learn about the different ecosystems in this unique and protected national park. Arrive at La Paz Water Fall Garden, visit this property. Walk through a trail, leading to a spectacular waterfall in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the park we will also visit the hummingbird gallery, the serpentarium, the bird house, the butterfly garden and the frog’s exhibit; to be enjoyed by those of all ages. Lunch included at La Paz. Continue the trip north. After scenery way in the mountains, reach the famous home of thick jungle and the Arenal volcano. Night at hotel Volcano Lodge & Springs, 2 STD rooms.

day_3Day 3: la Fortuna – Caño Negro – Optional Tabacon hot springs

Today you will be collected at your hotel around 7am. You will be transferred north to the Caño Negro wildlife refuge, from there take a boat touring the Rio Frio (“Cold River”). You will see lots of birds during the trip. Lunch included. You may also visit an iguana farm. This is a group tour today. Transfer back to Arenal, you will get there back around 3pm. Optional (not included): continue with a refreshing three hour thermal hot springs visit at Tabacon hot springs, an extraordinary natural site with hot springs and thermal waters from nearby volcano, with buffet dinner included. Just the perfect place to enjoy nature and relax after an active day! Night at hotel Volcano Lodge & Springs.

day_4Day 4: la Fortuna – Snakes & reptiles refuge – Monteverde by Jeep-Boat-Jeep

In the morning transfer to the north shore of Arenal volcano. You will visit a very interesting reptile’s refuge where you observe all varieties of snakes, frogs, tarantulas, turtles, fishes (tilapias), a caiman and more. Very educative! The 20 ft long python is also an impressive alive piece. Leave la Fortuna, transfer to Monteverde in a very original way, doing a kind of tour at the same time, and save driving time. You will be picked up at your hotel, then transferred by van (shared transfer) down to Lake Arenal, then take a boat (with roof and life vests) to cross Lake Arenal with sightseeing/animals on the way until you reach the dam instead of driving all the way around the lake, then from the dam continue in a van to Santa Elena. It is frequent to see coatis (“pizotes”) coming out of the jungle on the way. After a scenery way in the mountains, reach the famous Monteverde Cloudforest, which was founded about 40 years ago by a small group of conservation-minded Quakers who were looking for a peaceful place to live. Its Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most outstanding wild life sanctuaries in the tropics.  This high elevation rain forest offers miles of trails with excellent opportunities for bird watching.  The resplendent Quetzal is often sighted up here (mostly January to July). You may visit (on your own) the small yet picturesque village of Santa Elena, a typical mountain village. Overnight at hotel Fonda Vela 3*., located 1 mile away from the village, with a wonderful view to the cloud forest of Monteverde.

day_5Day 5: Monteverde Rain Forest adventures – Sugar mill tour

You will be picked up at your hotel to enjoy an adventurous activity: the Sky Adventure, in the hills of Monteverde rain forest. You will do three different activities in one solo day:
Sky Walk; The cloud forest from a different perspective, enjoy this guided tour where you will learn all about the flora and fauna of the area walking through and over the treetops. The naturalist guide will make this gentle walk/hike (2h alternate walk in land and suspension bridges) very interesting, showing you the wildlife on the way.
In Sky Tram explore the world famous Cloud Forest of Monteverde in a 5,249 feet ride that would lead you up to Costa Rica Continental Divide. Sky Trek: Zip in a tour full of adrenaline. Fly over the treetops through 10 different cables which in total make. 13,387 feet, with lengths reach 2,526 feet, and highs of even 460 feet.  (You also can do the bridges and/ or Sky Tram only and skip the zip lines). In the afternoon join another activity, very interesting and educational: the Trapiche tour, a project of a Costa Rican family, which offers a guided tour for approximately 2 hours. The tour begins with a walk through the farm, which may have an opportunity to observe the different plantations, such as banana plantations, bananas, arracache, macadamia nuts, oranges, sugar cane and coffee.
besides crossing a small area of forest where occasionally you can see wildlife.
During the tour in the farm you can see a project of tilapia (kind of fish), During the walk around the farm, the guide explains the process involved in growing sugar cane, natural history and also provides an opportunity to taste the sugar cane and its various derivatives. Once this is over we will show you the process of coffee, starting from the planting and continues with the process of crushing, peeled and roasted by machines. To end the tour of the farm you are invited to make a small trip in an oxcart, it starts from the sugar cane plantation and ends at the mill.
Once arrived at the mill grinding is done with oxen, to achieve the extraction of juice from sugar cane. Following is an explanation of some artifacts typical of the Costa Rican customs and culture, as the stove, the marimba, the pylon and a demonstration of the Saca De Guaro (which is distilled with pure water). After the explanation of ancient artifacts, move to the area where the artisanal process of sugar cane and different products are done. To end the tour provides an opportunity to taste a Cooked Arracache mince served with a drink (lemonade, or coffee aguadulce and be presented with a small cap from sweet sugar block to tour participants.
Transfer back to Monteverde. Overnight at hotel Fonda Vela 3*.

day_6Day 6: Monteverde – Guanacaste/La Cruz & Bahía Salinas – Nicaragua border – Tola and the beaches

Today you will leave this nature paradise to head north to the Pan Am highway to Nicaragua. On the way, visit an animal’s shelter: created 30 years ago by a Swiss couple, this wildlife refuge welcomes endangered species that have been rescued from captivity or found in the wild when babies. You will see many species of parrots, macaws, monkeys, ocelots, margays, jaguars and pumas.

Make a quick stop at al Cruz for a wonderful viewpoint “Mirador” to the Bolaños Island, and Salinas Bay that divides both countries. After crossing the north of Guanacaste, reach the border with Nicaragua, Peñas Blancas, our driver will help you to get your passport stamped and will provide all the necessary assistance to cross the border and migration point. Meet your Nicaraguan driver, end of Costa Rican portion of your trip. Transfer to Tola area in the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.
Arrival & check-in at Hotel Aqua 4*, ocean view Tree house with plunge pool.

day_7Days 7 to 8: Free days in Tola beaches – Optional sailing sunset cruise!

Days at leisure at this beautiful beach town; time to having fun at a relaxing beach! Optional activities can be organized, such as:
• Turtles watching
• Fishing
• Sailing
• Visit San Juan del Sur

Nights at Hotel Aqua 4*.

day_9Day 9: San Juan del Sur – Ometepe Island

Today return your car rental; Transfer to San Jorge port to take the ferry to Ometepe Island (50 minutes). Ometepe is the world’s largest volcanic island in a lake.  You will be picked up at the ferry at your arrival in the Island and transferred to the hotel. On the way take an excursion to discover this island, one of the most beautiful places of Nicaragua and the world’s highest lake island. Here you can enjoy one of the most spectacular views in all of Nicaragua. We will visit places like the pre-Columbian Museum, the Green Puddles lagoon, the great view of Volcano Conception and the green volcano Madera. Lunch will be taken in Santo Domingo beach. Accommodation in Hotel San Juan de La Isla 3*, situated on the waterfront. 2 “waterfront cabañas”. Breakfast and taxes included.

day_10Day 10: Ometepe Island – Granada

Today transfer to the ferry place and take the ferry back to the main land. Arrive in San Jorge and transfer to Granada, accommodation in Hotel Plaza Colon 3* sup. In the afternoon your bilingual guide will be waiting for a Granada City Tour. You will go for a traditional horseback carriage, pulled by two horses and conducted by a local driver. The tour will start going to La Casa de los Tres Mundos: art gallery, and a cultural academy, the convent of San Francisco Church, built in 1529 and decorated with elegant paintings, and pre- Columbian statues from Zapatera Island, we will visit Iglesia la Merced we hike to the tower from where you can get greats views of the city, you will go to the Old Train Station that has just been restored and it’s located in front of Sandino Park, and the last place we’ll visit is La Polvora, old fort where the Spanish stores the dynamite and weapons in the 17th and 18th century to face the attacks of English and French pirates.

day_11Day 11: Granada – Islander experience for the day! in Lake Nicaragua & Islands

In the morning transfer to Lake Nicaragua, you will go for a boat tour. See the most beautiful islands in Lake Nicaragua and their rich flora and fauna, discover some of the 356 islands “isletas”, a must see. The islands were formed thousands years ago, after an eruption of nearby Mombacho volcano (now extinct). They are now covered with lush, tropical vegetation, some of them are inhabited by natives, others have vacation houses built on them, and others are still deserted. You will be able to observe some of the many species of tropical birds that live in the islands. The inhabitants (“Isleños) live peacefully in simple yet decent conditions and dedicate themselves to fishing and small agriculture, and now to tourism too. Arrive in a private ecological island, enjoy lunch there and time at leisure, it is a truly paradise located amidst nature, in front of the Mombacho volcano. In the afternoon transfer back to the marina in a motor boat. You will be back in Granada around 4.00 Pm. Night at Hotel Plaza Colon 3* sup.

day_12Day 12: Granada – Masaya Active Volcano- Handicraft Market – White Villages – Matagalpa 

After breakfast leave Granada to the north to “Selva Negra Mountain Lodge” in Matagalpa. On the way, go for a tour around Masaya area. Transportation, bilingual guide, entrances fee & taxes included. You will start visiting Catarina, this is a small and characteristic village of Nicaragua where people work seedling nurseries, make handcraft and raise horses. Placed on top of a hill at 520 meters over the sea level, present a very agreeable climate, the temperature is between 22 and 27 degrees, from here you can have a magnificent view of the Apoyo lagoon, Mombacho volcano, Granada and Lake Nicaragua. Continue to San Juan de Oriente, famous for its ceramic arts. Then we will visit the finest Handicraft Market where you will enjoy the creativity and variety of Nicaraguan art at bargain prices. Later transfer to the First National Park created in Nicaragua in 1979, one of Nicaragua’s most interesting and beautiful natural phenomena. It comprises an area of 54 km2 with more than 20 km of scenic roads and trails, leading to and around the one impressive volcano and five formidable craters; one of them currently displays gaseous activity and incandescent lava in its interior. You can also visit the Museum that offer interesting history and legends. Hotel Selva Negra landscape is draped in green year round and the temperatures are always comfortable. There are fourteen trails, six of which are designed for horses, making this pristine cloud forest easy to explore…The Selva Negra Mountain Resort offers its visitor many experiences. From the fern plants as tall as trees to the ecological technology involved in producing an internationally known gourmet coffee. A one to three night stay will be perfect to explore the beautiful mountainous area while staying in rustic style bungalows. There is a wide variety of things to do here from the coffee plantation tours to hiking and riding. There are also excellent opportunities for bird watching and orchid spotting. Eddy and Mausi Kühl, the proprietors of the resort, are ecologically sensitive and have a keen sense of history. The resort has received many national and international ecological awards. Arrival & check-in at Hotel Selva Negra 2* sup, 2 bungalows, breakfast & taxes included.

day_13Day 13: Selva Negra – Visit to El Chile indigenous community

Pick up in Selva Negra, transfer to the indigenous community of “El Chile,” is located east of Matagalpa and is rich in history and culture. On this tour, we visit the workshop of a group of women fabric weavers where we will see the production process as well as the different products they make such as: bags, purses and backpacks. We follow with a walk through the village and a hike (30 minutes) up to the “El Chile” hill with its 360 degree view of all the surrounding mountains. Then we will get to enjoy the day even more by partaking in a typical lunch at one of the lady´s houses who will give you an inside look at their way of life.
Note: During this tour it is possible to buy handicrafts directly to women who produce them.
Transportation from Selva Negra, bilingual guide, transportation, entrance fees- typical lunch with a local family are included in this tour.
Overnight at hotel Hotel Selva Negra 2* sup.

day_14Day 14: Matagalpa – San Jacinto – Leon

Leave Matagalpa to Leon. On the way stop at San Jacinto, a small rural village located in between volcanoes. There observe the first volcanic phenomenon of your trip, the boiling mud and thermal waters; these are geysers coming out of the earth. Arrive in Leon, check in at Hotel El Convento 3* sup, double room, breakfast & taxes included.

day_15Day 15: Leon – Leon City Tour – Managua

City Tour Leon: On this wonderful tour, you will visit one of the oldest colonial cities in Central America Leon. You will have the opportunity to visit the main churches of Leon. The Cathedral of Leon also known as (Cathedral Basilica of the assumption of Leon, and whose official name is Insigne and Real Basilica Cathedral of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), here you will be able to climb the cathedrals tower for an amazing view of the city and surrounding volcanoes. You will also tour the magnificent Ortiz Gurdían Art Gallery which features many famous artists painting from Europe and Central America, this gallery is located in 2 colonial homes. Leave Leon to Managua. On the way we are going to stop and visit a village to taste the famous “Quesillo” which is a typical Nicaraguan food (white cheese served in a tortilla, with onion and sour cream) and a “Tiste” drink (juice made of corn juice). You will see the kitchen and the way tortillas are made! Eventually arrival & check-in at Hotel Los Robles 3* boutique, double room.

day_16Day 16: Managua – Managua Airport – Big Corn Island or Little Corn

Today, you will be transferred to the International Airport to board your flight to Corn Island. Accommodations at Casa Canada 3* in Big Corn or Little Corn Beach and Bungalows 2* sup in Little Corn.

day_17

Days 17 and 18: Corn Island

Days at leisure in this Caribbean paradise.

day_18Day 19: Little Corn – Corn Island – Managua

Today take the water taxi between both islands, then get a taxi back to the airstrip, from where you will take your scheduled flight to Managua airport.
Transfer & check-in at Hotel Los Robles 3* boutique, double room.

Day 20: Managua – Managua Airport

Transfer to MGA airport. End of services.

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Sample Itineraries

Sample Itineraries