(San José, Manuel Antonio)
The day the jungle finally met the beach, monkeys howled in delight and vibrant toucans took to flight.
Christened “the rich coast” by Spanish conquistadors in 1502, Costa Rica is one of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions with lush jungles, pristine beaches, looming volcanoes and wondrous mountain ranges. Explore mangrove swamps and rainforests in search of colorful exotic animals almost too marvelous to be real. Kayak winding canals, stroll gorgeous beaches or just relax in hammocks as gentle ocean breezes kiss your sun-warmed skin. In the evenings, unwind in serene accommodations that offer all the comforts of home.
Visit Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic has called “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity,” and catch a glimpse of crocodiles, jaguars, ocelots, pumas, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, poison dart frogs and all manner of snakes. Stay in undeniably exotic accommodations with a contrast from jungle to beach and explore both eco-systems in luxury. There are a myriad of activities to choose from throughout your trip (and of course you may want to simply enjoy some beach time on one of the spectacular beaches along the way!
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
Relax during your short, 30 minute private airport transfer in San Jose.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a country map, and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Grano de Oro is the hotel of choice for those who visit San Jose, with a reputation for hospitality and fine quality. The 40 rooms are magical and full of allure, each possessing a carefully chosen color scheme and theme. Pleasant features such as a fountain or balcony add to the appeal of each room. Grano de Oro's restaurant is recognized for its culinary success, surpassing the expectations of even the most critical guest. Set under a high ceiling, or in the romance of the outdoors, each dish is prepared with local and international influences. The subtle ambiance of the restaurant is what makes visitors return. Spend time lounging on the lawn beds of the rooftop garden terrace or choose to sink into relaxation in the jacuzzi.
Enjoy your flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. The flight duration is approximately 30 minutes.
You will be met at the air strip in Puerto Jiminez and transferred to the Lapa Rios Eco lodge along with other guests of the lodge on a beautiful—occasionally bumpy—45 minute trip in one of the property's jungle taxis. Be prepared for a few bumps and river crossings. The driver will point out birds and monkeys along the way, and depending on the road condition you should arrive at Lapa Rios within an hour. The hotel staff will welcome you, get you checked in and provide an eco lodge orientation: what to do/not to do, outline tours and activities, explain ecotourism’s sustainable practices and answer questions. If you arrive during a mealtime, feel free to proceed to the restaurant; check-in and orientation will follow. By the time you complete your Lapa Rios welcome, your luggage will have been delivered to your beautiful bungalow.
Avail of any (or many!) of the variety of guided tours that are included during your stay at Lapa Rios.
Tours include a bird tour where you can see numerous species of birds, morpho butterflies and other mammals. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is a top birding destination in Central America and nestled in more than 1000 acres of rainforest, the Lapa Rios property is home to many of the more than 319 bird species that inhabit the Osa Peninsula. An alterative activity is to visit a local primary school, or partake in a local medicine tour where you can follow local guides through the primary rainforest as they explain traditional medicinal uses of plants and seeds. For beach lovers, a guided hike along nearby beaches and secondary forest having a guide point out some of the most lively and active creatures of the rainforest may be of interest.For some evening fun, why not consider experiencing the magic of the rainforest at night and, with the help of a guide, you can uncover unusual nocturnal creatures and their habitats. This is a great opportunity to see frogs, bats, insects, kinkajous and other wonders of this hidden, nocturnal world. Other guided hiking options include a guided hike along the Osa Trail which descends through the reserve’s most remote and pristine forest filled with enormous trees and breathtaking views of the rainforest. A Rainforest ridge walk is also a possibility as is a starfish walking tour where you can learn about the marine biology of the Golfo Dulce, one of only four tropical fjords in the world. Eco-sustainabllly focused tours include the option to contribute to the Lapa Rios reforestation program by transplanting a primary rainforest seedling to an area of secondary growth as well as a guided tour on Interpreting Sustainable Practices. All guided hikes include complimentary walking sticks, stainless steel water bottles, binoculars, and rubber Wellington-style boots as needed. Please speak with your Sales Advisor if you would like to add any of these tours into your customised program.
Included during your stay, you'll get to enjoy a hiking tour to beautiful wild waterfalls. Hike through the virgin rainforest to pristine waterfalls and splash back along the Carbonera River. This is a fun rainforest experience for hardy hikers with adventurous, challenging hiking and a chance to swim under a waterfall. This is a medium to difficult hike.
The unimaginably gorgeous Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is perched on the last of the Costa Rican lowlands, on a huge private nature reserve lined by the Golfo Dulce. The 16 thatched-roof bungalows are surrounded by the thick vegetation and rainforest that mark Costa Rica’s stunning beauty. A troop of seven local men are in charge of the lodge’s cuisine, throwing in a hint of the jungle and a bit of everything else, pleasing even the most discerning of taste buds. Take a hike through the rainforest, or perhaps just camp out in this wild oasis and play witness to nature’s orchestral soundscape.
Included during your stay, you'll get to enjoy a rainforest ridge walking tour. Hike down along the cool ridges of Lapa Rios’ most impressive primary and secondary forest as your guide highlights the hidden treasures of the rainforest. This is an excellent opportunity to see rare and unusual flora and fauna, and a great hike to truly immerse yourself into the wonders of the rainforest. This is a medium to difficult hike.
Enjoy a guided sunset walking tour as you search for rare and exotic birds - highly recommended for wildlife enthusiasts and novices alike. High quality binoculars are available and your guide will help to identify the myriad of birds who call this jungle home.
You will be transferred from Lapa Rios Eco lodge to the airstrip in Puerto Jiminez along with other guests of the lodge.
Upon arrival at Puerto Jimenez, you'll proceed to Manuel Antonio in a private chauffeur driven vehicle. The drive should take approximately 4 hours from Puerto Jimenez.
It is important to note that an alternative method of transportation today is to take a flight from Puerto Jimenez to Manuel Antonio, routing through San Jose. There is little time savings, but if this is preferable, please speak with your Sales Advisor so that alternative arrangements can be made for you.
You will be met at the airport, upon clearing the normal custom processes, by your driver whom will provide a transfer service in a privately driven vehicle. The approximate travel time is about 30 minutes.
Arenas Del Mar is located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica about 2 miles from the nearest airstrip located in the town of Quepos. The resort is situated on a cliff with direct access to two pristine sand beaches: Espadilla Beach and Playitas Beach. The property overlooks the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park and is located within walking distance of Costa Rica’s most visited national park. Guest rooms at Arenas Del Mar offer stunning views of Manuel Antonio National Park, the Pacific Ocean, the properties secluded beaches and surrounding rainforests. Enjoy breathtaking views from your private deck while listening to the sounds of the rainforest and crashing waves. The Arenas Del Mar is committed to sustainability in all practices at the property including the culinary offerings. The staff buys most of the food locally, and whenever possible organic products are used. The property has a hydroponic garden onsite that provides some of the greens on the menu. A variety of on property activities are made available for guests to enjoy including bird watching, rainforest trekking, surfing lessons, white water rafting and much more.
You will be warmly greeted by the driver of your private vehicle for your transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park for a private guided tour. Get ready to relax on beaches with troops of monkeys that frequent the area. The park consists of mangrove swamps, rainforests and marshy woodlands and is bordered by the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is a haven for over 100 mammal species including the highly endangered squirrel monkey, or "mono titi". For your convenience, morning or afternoon departures are available. The tour will span approximately 3 fun-filled hours and a return transfer to the hotel is provided at the conclusion of the tour.
You will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the tour start point. Your adventure aboard a catamaran begins as you sail down the scenic coast, past the beautiful beaches and islands of Manuel Antonio National Park. As the boat glides quietly under sail, you are likely to see dolphins which frequently swim in the boat's wake. Occasional whales and sea turtles are a special thrill, and the abundance of ever present sea birds is enjoyed on this cruise. Snorkel with the many colorful fish in Bisanz Bay. The cruise will stop in a scenic jungle bay where you can swim or snorkel in the calm, refreshing water. All snorkel gear is provided - just bring a towel and your bathing suit with you. Snacks and juice will be served onboard.
Morning Departure May 1- Nov 30 | Afternoon Departure Dec 1- Apr 30 Duration: 3 Hours (approximately)
With most hotels in the Manuel Antonio area, one has to choose between the view and the beach. At Arenas Del Mar you are spoilt as you have both! The property is nestled high enough in the rain forest to enjoy stunning views of the Pacific and Manuel Antonio National Park, but low enough to walk to the two beautiful beaches right in front of the property: Playa Espadilla and Playitas Beach. Both beaches have the coveted and prestigious Blue Flag Award, which guarantees that you are visiting a safe and clean, public beach. And at both beaches chairs and towels are provided and a security guard is on site to watch your things while you swim.
Playa Espadilla is a stunning beach on the south side of the grounds with natural rock outcroppings protecting warm tide pools and where tropical shore birds are seen to roost. The natural jungle which surrounds Arenas Del Mar touches the sand, offering natural shade where you can relax in comfort while watching the glorious panorama of the waves breaking onto the shore. This beach is 2 kilometers long and connects to the National Park, which makes it ideal for taking a long walk or run and yet is secluded and offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean with its 85 degree water.
This spectacular Playitas Beach is a cozy beach on the north side of the grounds, which ends at Punta Quepos, a peninsula of primary forest and beautiful rock formations. Surrounded by trees, there are beach chairs that can be set up in the sun or the shade—the perfect place for lounging. In either case, staff are on hand to help you. The Playitas restaurant and pool, along with a private bathing house (for a quick shower), are located right behind this beach.
A privately driven vehicle will provide you with a transfer from Manuel Antonio to San José today. The approximately travel time is 3 hours.
Steve Walling ,
January 20, 2014
"We are home safe and sound from the best vacation I can remember. It seemed seamless to us but I know that you worked very hard to make our experience so good.
The guides and drivers were always punctual and reliable. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and funny. They provided us with very helpful information and helped us work on expanding our Spanish. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms were very nice.
I especially appreciate our ability to update our plans while we were in Costa Rica. The zip lines were the highlight of our trip. I hate to think we almost missed out by not including it in our original plan.
You have made a friend and supporter for life. I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know going to Costa Rica. Thank you, again.
Steve and Andrea
Merrel Bowles ,
November 07, 2013
"I would highly recommend this company for overseas travel. We had personal drivers that spoke perfect English and were also very knowledgeable in conversation pertaining to their country. Drivers were always early and eager to please. Your wish was their command!!!Every tour included educated guides who knew how to make our experience fun and exciting! I loved having personal drivers and guides, as well as many inclusive meals. We will definitely use this company for future travels."
April 09, 2013
"Our Costa Rica trip was amazing. The whole family thinks its the best we've ever taken! Kensington did an excellent job of organizing everything. The two hotels they picked were amazing.
Arenal -- The Springs Resort & Spa was almost too good since as soon as the family saw it they wanted to cancel activities so they could take full advantage of all it offered. We ultimately did cancel the safari to give us a free day to spend a day at the spa, pools and Club Rio (riding the river in innertubes!). The activities Kensington setup were excellent and very adventurous. Our favorite was canyoneering (repelling), We were all terrified at the first drop-off! It's more thrilling the zip lining (also lots of fun) and river rafting (a blast as well).
Manuel Antonio -- The Preserve at Los Altos was very nice. It was like staying in a 3 bedroom apartment at a boutique hotel (same feel as Athenum in London but nicer). The drive to get there was a bit long but worth it when our driver made a surprise stop at the the "crodillio bridge". The tour through Manuel Antonio National Park is a must do for nature lovers (3 types of monkeys, sloths, etc). Our guide was excellent. If you go MA NP, try Kapi Kapi for dinner.
I'd highly recommend using Kensington (Brandi was our rep) for a Costa Rica trip. Thanks for hooking us up with them.
L Huber ,
April 03, 2013
We returned yesterday from our wonderful Costa Rican vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. We loved staying at the El Silencio (the kids would have liked to stay even longer so we could have taken some of the nature hikes). Being surrounded by the cloud forest was an amazing sensation that really helped us to feel that we were in a completely different world and was a perfect way to begin the trip. Maria Lucia was a very kind tour guide and showed us the all sites in a huge day (the waterfalls, Poas volcano, the coffee plantation & Sarchi). The staff at El Silencio was wonderful and Jeff and I very much enjoyed the food and the very elaborate wine tasting there.
In La Fortuna the activities ruled. We loved everything, the exhilarating waterfall rappelling, the zip lining (& tiger swing - the kids LOVED IT) the volcano hike and we had a FANTASTIC time on the river safari with Gerald and his friend Tom. Gerald was a great guide and was able to share many stories while letting us see the wildlife. We saw a spectacular Toucan flock and of course the monkeys were a huge hit. Ending up at the farm was a fun end note to the trip. Of course we enjoyed the hot springs at the Tabacon - they are pretty amazing. Jeff and I had a chance to have a massage at the Tabacon spa and it was spectacular. The service at the hotel was lovely and our room did have a beautiful view of the volcano. I think the hot springs & spa are far superior at the Tabacon.
Alex drove us from both El Silencio to La Fortuna and then from La Fortuna to Punta Islita (that is a lot of driving and he did a great job - he was so friendly and made the travelling very enjoyable). On the way to La Fortuna he made a point of showing us the Iguana restaurant and it was a great wayside stop for everyone.
Punta Islita was stunning. Our villa Ilan Ilan was ideal, the view and the setting were spectacular. The kids loved the pool (when they weren't swimming & playing in the ocean), Jeff loved being able to finally drive around a bit like a native (the villa came with a small 4 wheel car), and I enjoyed waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the cliffs at the ocean's edge, and hear the incredible variety of birds (and on the last day even the howler monkeys). We enjoyed so many of the activities the hotel had to offer. Andrey & Hector and the whole staff were so warm and hospitable. They really worked hard and made every effort to make our stay so much fun. Hector helped us plan some more zip lining, surf lessons, a dolphin sighting/fishing boat trip and a sunset horseback ride which was the perfect way to wrap up the trip.
Ronald picked us up and got us to the airport in plenty of time. Ronald was very interested in showing us the wildlife as we drove through the different areas and we really enjoyed that.
Everywhere we went the people were absolutely wonderful, kind, and proud to show us their country and it made our trip spectacular.
Erika, thank you for all you did to help make the trip such a huge success.
Anthony Sokol ,
March 11, 2013
We are home with many good memories from our stay in Panama.
We found your guides and drivers to be always on time and very instructive, especially in David/Bouquette/Amistad. We liked the Panamonte Hotel in Bouquette.
Since the Amistad Park was closed due to rain on the day we arrived, we toured a Race horse breeding farm, Cerre Punte, which was magnificent and might be a consideration for your future guests
Your choice of itinerary in Panama City was quite informative and complete considering the limited time we had.
All in all, we were quite pleased with Kensington Tours in general.
Anthony and Barbara
Karen Werner ,
February 12, 2013
P and I want to thank you so much for all of your help in setting up our trip! It was a wonderful week in Panama--we loved every minute. And we especially appreciated you taking care of the hotel reservation glitch. Your partner in Panama was really great to work with--they did a wonderful job and were very professional. Everything worked like clockwork with them. We look forward to working with you again!
K and P Werner "
January 13, 2013
"My husband and I are "Boomers" and veteran world-wide travelers, from our early days with Eurail passes and VW Vans to the present! As such, we are not content with the group tours that "herd" you around and show you the tourist photo-op sites. However, as a busy medical professional I don't have time to carefully put together the type of trip that we want to have in places we have never been before. What a delight and relief to have discovered Kensington tours! Our trip to Costa Rica was the epitome of personalized, professional, and exceptional service. All our drivers and guides were wonderful - Barbara Franz, our naturalist guide in Manuel Antonio National Park was a standout. Our hotels and lodges in San Jose, Tortuguero, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio were unique, lovely, and very comfortable. We are recommending Kensington to all our friends and are already trying to decide where we will go next. Maybe Africa, maybe New Zealand! We cannot say enough about Kensington's commitment to excellence! When it can be hard to wade through the mediocre, such professionalism is refreshing. Thank you Brandi for all you did to make our trip memorable!"
jack Lester ,
February 06, 2013
"Had a wonderful experience with Kensington and our agent Nella. Everything went very smoothly and we loved the accommodations. The trip was an adventure we will never forget and Kensington made it a worry free trip.
Kimberly Dellinger ,
August 22, 2012
Ariana & I absolutely LOVED our trip to Costa Rica. This trip was even better than we had hoped or expected. The quality of the different hotels was excellent, and I was quite frankly surprised at how "deluxe" our rooms were when I was expecting more "average" type of lodging. We were thrilled & loved each place we stayed and we have told all our friends & family about this exceptional customer service. The tour guides were AMAZING, so knowledgable, friendly, spoke great English, & were willing to help us learn Spanish & the culture. We were so happy that we were able to do the different activities-- Canyon Rappelling in Arenal, Venado Cave Tour near Arenal, ziplining in Monteverde, The Springs, and the different rainforest tours. All these activities-- and the other activities along the way-- were WONDERFUL, and we felt very safe and well-cared for during our excursions. The travel arrangements & private vehicles were great- we were very comfortable & the drivers were very professional & prompt. We were treated so well that we felt like royalty!
I am telling all my friends, co-workers, family members and my patients ( I work in a dental office) about how wonderful the Costa Rica trip was with my daughter & how great the service & planning was with Kensington Tours. I have given your name to several people & hope that you'll get referrals from those I've talked with! I am definitely planning on traveling abroad again and plan to go through you and Kensington Tours when I do. My next goal is to plan a trip (maybe Europe or return to Costa Rica?) for my teenage son & I to do together in the next year or so.
My sincerest gratitude to you for making our Costa Rica trip SPECTACULAR! Well done! Below, you will see my responses to the survey (as you can see, I'm not very prompt about checking email, but eventually I get around to it!) you sent a few days after we arrived back home. Let me know if there's any problems reading my responses-- I rated everything "excellent" because that's what it was/is!
Kimberly (& Ariana) Dellinger
Dana H ,
July 09, 2012
"The trip was excellent and everything was very smooth. The hotels & guides were all great. I would definitely travel with Kensington Tours again & recommend it to family & friends! Additionally, I would like to start thinking about planning my Africa trip. I am interested in Kenya & Tanzania."
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