Self-drive in Costa Rica - Coast to Coast

Self-drive in Costa Rica - Coast to Coast 1010 , 12 Days

Costa Rica is an amazing country. Stretching from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast, and squeezed right in between North and South America, with a territory of only 51 000 square kilometers, it offers unique experiences especially for the nature lover. The country is also famous for being the most peaceful country in the Americas with very low crime level. Costa Rica has many different microclimates and therefore a wide range of wildlife. In addition to the interesting flora and fauna when the traveler stops for a short break, or an overnight stay in a town or a city, one is met by friendly Ticos (as Costa Ricans are also called) who are always ready for a chat or anxious to show you the way. Thus one of the best ways to experience Costa Rica is a self drive across the country.

We offer a variety of tours in Costa Rica - roundtrips, active tours, self-drive holidays. The itinerary below is just  one of them. You are welcome to request a special quote, if you are interested in a tour different from the one below.

Tour Highlights:

San Jose (1161m) - Costa Ricas cheerful capital; 
Tortuguero National Park on the Carribean coast offers an exceptional variety of flora and fauna; 
Arenal Volcano (1657m) - one of the youngest and most active volcanos in the world; 
Samara Beach - a popular sea resort on the Pacific.

Trip plan:

Day 1: San Jose
After arrival to San Jose a guide with a sign with your name on will take you from the airport to your hotel and present you with you your welcome kit with practical information. Overnight stay at a hotel in San Jose City.

Day 2:
 San Jose - Tortuguero
Transfer to Tortuguero National Park. Early in the morning a bilingual guide will meet you in your hotel in San Jose. Transfer to Tortuguero ("Place of Turtles"). Today you are invited to one of the most exotic regions in Costa Rica: The Tortuguero National Park. Rich flora and fauna abound in this park. The park is made up by a system of natural and man – made canals that serve as waterways for transportation and exploration. This tour would generally allow you to admire flora and fauna in their natural habitat, including orchids, birds, monkeys, crocodiles, toucans, etc., as well as the Humid Tropical Forest, where marine turtles like the Chelonia Midas (green turtles) lay their eggs (seasonal July through October). Accommodation in Tortuguero. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Tortuguero National Park
Opportunity to explore the Tortuguero National Park area. Hiking and boat trips are included. On turtle nesting season (July to October), there is an optional tour at night available upon request at the hotel (Not included). Overtnight stay in Tortuguero. (B)

Day 4:
 Tortuguero - Arenal
Transfer to Guapiles. Pick up car rental. Self drive to Arenal (+/- 130 km; 2 hrs drive). Nothing short of “awesome” is the only way to describe the feeling one has when seeing Arenal Volcano for the first time. Moving through the valleys of the agriculturally rich Northern Zone up through San Carlos and into the towering rain forest, this is one of the most inviting regions in Costa Rica. Overnight stay in the region of Arenal. (B)

Day 5:
Free day in Arenal. There are many optional activities on spot. (B)

Day 6:
 Arenal - Monteverde
Self drive to Monteverde. Founded in the 1950's by a group of Quakers from the U.S., Monteverde has gained international renown as one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics. The reserve spreads out over 10,500 hectares of land that hold six different life zones. The climate and terrain of the preserve produce an incredible bio-diversity. There are at least 400 bird species in this high elevation rain forest, including the Resplendent Quetzal, ancient holy bird of the Mayans, over 100 species of mammals, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles and an estimated 2,500 species of plants making Monteverde a true "nature lover's paradise". Delicate orchids, more than 400 species, grace the limbs of majestic trees. Their captivating colors of whites, lilacs, and yellows contrast with the emerald green of the forest. Overnight stayin Monteverde. (B) (+/- 150 km; 3hrs drive)

Day 7: Monteverde
Free day in Monteverde. (B) 

Day 8: Monteverde - Samara
Self drive to Samara.  Playa Samara is one of the nicest beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula. Not only is it a wide and beautiful, sandy beach but it is also very safe for swimming as there is a coral reef protecting the coast from waves and currents. Snorkeling, windsurfing and diving are some of the popular water sport activities available in this area. The vacation homes of many wealthy Costa Ricans dot the landscape. Even though Sámara is somewhat secluded, you can find and buy anything you might need during your stay. Overnight stay in Samara. (B) (+/- 140 km; 2.5hrs drive)

Day 09 & 10: Samara

Free days at Samara Beach or choose any of the optional activities. (B)

Day 11: Samara - San Jose

Self drive to San Jose. Rental car will be picked up at your hotel. Overnight stay in San Jose. (B)

Day 12: Departure

Transfer to International Airport Juan Santamaria. 


Practical information: Please, note that on departure from Costa Rica you have to be at the airport 3 hours prior to your flight departure. 
Standard car hiring: Thrifty Car Rental Terms and Conditions

Guarantee deposits and minimum requirements:
• A Credit Card will be solicited for insurance purposes. Thrifty Car Rental accepts all Credit Card brands (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discovery). The credit card itself must have raised numbers. Electronic Cards are not accepted.
• It is required that customers take the basic coverage (CDW). If the customer declines coverage he will lose the privilege of taking advantage of all benefits mentioned in Thrifty’s Terms and Conditions.
• License Plate Fee (LPF): $0.95 per day. This fee applies for any vehicle category. The customer has to pay this amount directly to Thifty Car Rental upon receiving the car.
• Thrifty Car Rental offers the service of two drivers free of charge. If the customer wants to include a third driver, an extra driver charge of US$ 4.99 per day needs to be paid. All drivers must meet the following requirements:
• Present valid Driver’s license and passport.
• Age to drive in the country: 21 years old is minimum age and 75 years old, the maximum driving age.*
*Drivers with the age 18 through 20 years old are obligated to take an additional coverage of US$10 per day aside from the mandatory basic coverage (CDW) and the additional coverage (AER).
• The minimum rental period is 3 days.
Coverage Information:
• COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER (CDW): this coverage is mandatory. The deductible depends on the vehicle category and it goes from $750.00 to $950.00. This amount will be blocked on the credit card presented by the customer. This waiver covers any vehicle damage and third party claims. It does not cover tires, glasses, total theft or partial theft and rescue. The cost for CDW coverage will be from US$18.00 to US$20.00 per day, depending on the vehicle category.
• ACCIDENT EXCESS REDUCTION (AER) (Zero deductible and Total Protection Package): this is an optional coverage which complements the CDW. If the customer takes this option he will not have to cover any other type of deductible; it covers tires, total or partial theft and rescue. This coverage has an additional cost of US$18.00 per day in any vehicle category. An additional $300.00 security deposit will be required at the time of rental, this amount will be blocked on the credit card presented by the customer.
Other services:
• Thrifty Car Rental offers an additional Navigation System service. The GPS service will cost US$10.00 per day. Free GPS will be provided for a rental period of at least 14 days or longer. A charge of US$250 might apply in case of loss or replacement.
• Thrifty Car Rental offers a portable Wi-Fi Hotspot service. The WIFI service will cost US$10.00 per day. A charge of US$110 might apply in case of loss or replacement.
• Emergency Road Assistance (ERA): this service is optional and it will cost US$1.99 per day for any vehicle category. This is a 24 hours road assistance service without additional charges (lost keys or locked in car), tire change, jump starts and gas service in case you run out gas, will be provided).
• Baby seats and boosters: Customers have the option of one free baby seat / booster.
Boosters are mandatory for children with a height less than 1.30 cm. An additional cost of US$10.00 may apply for the entire rental period in case the customer needs a second or third set or booster.

Recommended travel period of the year: November - April

Recommended equipment: Rain gear, light clothes, preferably with long sleeves, to protect you from occasional insect assaults, light sports shoes, mosquito repellent, sun tan oil, personal medicines... and a pocket size Spanish dictionary. 

Price Includes:
Accommodation and boarding: hotels and lodges with private facilities. B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner.
8-day car rental (Daihatsu Bego 4x4 or similar) with free mileage
personalized information,maps,brochures,vouchers
transfer from/to the airport
local Travel Program Support,24 hours emergency service
Tortuguero package: ground & boat transport from San Jose / to Guapiles
tour in the Tortuguero canals by boat (entrance fee to the National park not included - ca. 15 $ pp),visit to Tortuguero village

Not Included:
Flight tickets to/from San Jose
Basic car insurance (18-25 USD/day)
GPS (10 USD/day)
Departure fee at the Airport (29 USD - to be paid before check in at the Airport,price to be confirmed at the airport)
entrance fees
drinks and meals not mentioned in the program
optional tours that can be ordered and paid on spot
other personal expenses
personal insurance.

Additional Services:
Price of extra services: ►single room supplement: November - April : 680 EUR; May-October: 630 EUR
NB!: Additional cost may apply for trips if travelling between 20 December - 5 January and Easter week (26 March - 4 April 2018)


Self-drive in Costa Rica - Coast to Coast (Rated 4.77 / 5 Based on 275 Reviews.)
1010 EUR
12 Days
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Most of you, who are used to walking/cycling during a long weekend, will be in condition to cope with a tour of this level. You should be in a good health condition. We have successive days of longer and more difficult walking and days of lighter walking/cycling. Some parts of the day routes are done at a higher altitude. The paths are in good condition. We walk/cycle for 5/7h a day.

Group Size
Min. 2 persons
Reservation System Code
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