Optional Pre-Trip Extension to Panama (3 Days / 2 Nights)

Upon your arrival at Panama Tocumen International Airport (PTY), you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative who will take you to the hotel. You will enjoy the rest of the day at your own pace.

Panama's iconic capital city is unique in Central America, as it combines giant skyscrapers with cobbled colonial streets and a mix of cultures formed by centuries of immigration and trade. At times, it may feel chaotic, but this is part of the city’s charm, especially around the vibrant UNESCO-listed Old Town – Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo – where many of the best bars, restaurants and hotels can be found.

Accommodation: La Concordia Boutique Hotel or similar.

Today, you will have the opportunity to experience the wilder side of the Panama Canal through a unique boat tour. In the morning, you will be transferred from Panama City to Gamboa (a 45-min drive), at the point where Chagres River meets the Panama Canal. There, you will board the passenger boat and you will sail across Gatun Lake, surrounded by the stunning nature of the rainforest. Green iguanas, three-toed sloths, crocodiles, ospreys, various species of monkeys, the snail kite and keel-billed toucan can all be seen in this area. Also, you will get impressive views of the Panama Canal. The tour ends with a light picnic lunch before returning to the city.

Chagres National Park is located between the provinces of Panama and Colon, in the eastern side of the Canal. The park consists in 129,000 hectares and its objective is to protect the tropical rainforest that hosts rivers flowing in to the Panama Canal. As such, it plays an important role in the operation of the Canal. Next to the park, one can find Alajuela Lake: a great location for water activities and fishing.

Accommodation: La Concordia Boutique Hotel or similar.

After breakfast, you will embark on a walking exploration of the old town of Panama: Casco Antiguo. The tour will allow you to discover the history related to the Spanish Colonization in Panama and the country’s gastronomic traditions. You will visit the main highlights of Casco Antiguo, and you will enjoy some can’t-miss local delicacies, such as Geisha coffee, chocolate made with Panamanian Cacao, the popular "Raspao" in Plaza Francia, and local ceviche. Casco Antiguo has a vibe you will definitely love, while having fun in the local markets, interacting with the friendly Panamanians.

After lunch you will be transferred to the Panama International Airport for your flight to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica - Itinerary Details

Upon your arrival at San Jose, you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative who will drive you to the hotel. You will enjoy the rest of the day relaxing or exploring at your own pace, until early in the evening, when the group will assemble and you will meet your trip leader for a briefing on your upcoming adventure.

Accommodation: Hotel Hilton Garden Inn Santa Ana or similar.

After breakfast, you will check-out and head to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast (approx. a 4-hour drive).

Manuel Antonio consists of several beautiful beaches, lush forests growing up to the beaches’ edge, easy walking trails, and abundant wildlife. The park´s outstanding beauty was recognized recently when Forbes Magazine listed it as one of the World’s 12 Most Beautiful National Parks. The area outside the park offers visitors a wide variety of gorgeous hotels, excellent restaurants, and many activities such as rafting, surf lessons, and horseback riding. 

After checking-in in the hotel, by afternoon you will go for a hike in the Manuel Antonio National Park under the guidance of a local naturalist guide. Best known for its gorgeous beaches, the park is also an important refuge for rare rainforest trees and wildlife. Here you can see white-faced capuchins, squirrel monkeys, sloths, raccoons, agoutis, black and scarlet land crabs, iguanas and a variety of birds.

Hiking details:
Hiking time: 3-4 hours.
Hiking distance: 3-5kms (based on different trails)

Evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Costa Verde Manuel Antonio or similar.

Just a short drive from Manuel Antonio is the private ecological reserve at Tocori. This small authentic Costa Rican ranch is a wonderful example of people living in harmony with nature and animals, including the horses you will ride. Once on horseback, you’ll explore the countryside, Tocori Waterfall, and tropical jungle of this ecological reserve at a comfortable gate, learning about Costa Rica’s exotic plants, tropical wildlife, history, and local culture. The experience is topped off with a tasty home-cooked Costa Rican meal at the ranch!

After your lunch, you will have time to enjoy the beaches and the warm tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, and you will go surfing! It is a fun activity for all travelers, both beginners and experienced surfers, regardless of age. This half day surf lesson takes place on Manuel Antonio beach, one of the best beaches to try surfing for the first time or hone your skills. With the help of your experienced surf instructors, you will learn how to stand up on your surfboard and ride the waves.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore the area at your own pace.

Accommodation: Hotel Costa Verde Manuel Antonio or similar.

After an early breakfast, you will check-out and head to La Fortuna (approx. a 4-hour drive).

Located northwest of the capital of San Jose, the little Costa Rican town of La Fortuna rests at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano. La Fortuna serves as an excellent base for the exploration of the beautiful surrounding area, being the gateway to the scenic Arenal Volcano National Park. Prepare to enjoy magnificent views of the volcano towering over the town, some spectacular landscapes from numerous viewpoints or along the rainforest hiking trails, and the relaxing ambience of the hot springs.

Upon your arrival, if time allows, you will head to the Arenal Volcano National Park for a walking exploration of the surrounding area.

The Arenal Volcano National Park is a protected area in northern Costa Rica. It is known for its hot springs, active Arenal Volcano, and wildlife that includes jaguars and tree frogs.

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to relax, soaking in the waters of the Ecotermales Hot Springs.

This is a family-run hot springs resort featuring volcanically heated pools. The facility offers separate changing rooms for women and men, each equipped with hot showers, lockers and toilets. The landscaping includes a regenerating forest and attractive tropical plants.

Accommodation: Lomas del Volcan Hotel or similar.

After breakfast, you will head to the Sarapiqui area (approximately a 1.5-hour drive). Upon your arrival, you will go through a safety brief by a certified guide including commands and paddling instructions, before proceeding to the river for your rafting adventure. This rafting tour offers class II-III rapids with names like “Roller Coaster”, “Superman”, and “Air Force”, and it will undoubtedly fascinate you.

Afterwards, you will return to the Arenal area to enjoy the rest of the day at your own pace, exploring the city or signing up for optional activities.

Accommodation: Lomas del Volcan Hotel or similar.

After breakfast, you will check-out from the hotel, and you will head towards the Arenal Hanging Bridges for a brief 2.5km hike that will allow you to enjoy the views and the ecosystem of the rea.

The Arenal Hanging Bridges is a complex of suspension bridges and trails through the rainforest. As the terrain undulates, the trail crosses ravines with small waterfalls and travels over bridges with panoramic vistas over the treetops or views of the Arenal Volcano. As you walk, you may encounter some of the region’s wildlife including toucans, poison dart frogs, spiders and white-faced capuchin monkeys. The 2.5km trail is an easy walk for people in good condition and loops back to the starting point.

Hiking details:
Hiking time: 3 hours.
Hiking distance: 2.5 -3 kms.

Later, you will head towards Monteverde (an approximately 3-hour drive).

The Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of the world’s premier destinations for naturalists. Much of its native wildlife is unique. In addition to hiking through the forest, visitors can enjoy many other activities or attractions, including horseback riding, dining in numerous restaurants, live frog and butterfly exhibits, bird watching, crafts and gift shopping, zipline tours, bridge walks, a native orchid garden and more.

Enjoy the rest of the evening, exploring the area at your own pace.

Accommodation: Hotel Poco a Poco or similar.

After an early breakfast, you will embark on a hike along the different trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the premier natural history destinations in Costa Rica. The forest is dominated by trees densely covered with mats of small plants known as epiphytes that include mosses, lichens, orchids, ferns and bromeliads. This cool, very green and often misty forest is home to a variety of wildlife. During your guided tour you may encounter monkeys, coatimundis, agoutis and birds such as Toucanets, Chlorophonias and seasonally Bellbirds and crimson and green Resplendent Quetzals.

Hiking details:
Hiking time: 3-4 hours.
Hiking distance: 3kms (based on different trails)

In the afternoon, you will embark on a thrilling, ziplining adventure with spectacular views of mountains, forest and valleys.

The Monteverde Sky Tram/Sky Trek combines a ski lift ride with a zipline adventure in a cloud forest. The Sky Tram is a guided ride with short stops to observe the wonders of the cloud forest, while the Sky Trek is a zipline ride through a 4-km mountain stretch. Prepare to glide along a cable 760 m long at a speed of 65 km per hour, 160 m above the ground! Five observation towers en route rise above the trees offering exhilarating panoramic views. The tour begins with the Sky Tram bringing you up the mountain on the Continental Divide, and then you glide down on the Sky Trek zip lines.

Later in afternoon, you will join the best coffee tour in Monteverde, exploring the origins of coffee, its history in Costa Rica, and its importance in the country’s development. You will follow the full production process, from the seed to the cup, and you will also observe how coffee intertwines with other aspects of the Costa Rican culture and traditions.

Accommodation: Hotel Poco a Poco or similar.

After breakfast, you will check out from the hotel and head to the San Jose International airport for your flight back to home (approx. a 4-hour drive).

Note: there will be only 1 group departure transfer to the airport due to the long distance. It is recommended that your departure flight leaves after 5pm.

Alternatively, you may choose to extend your trip to visit Nicaragua.

[Travelers who choose the Nicaragua extension will be transferred to the Nicaraguan Border. (Additional transfer cost applies)]

Optional Post-Trip Extension to Nicaragua (5 Days / 4 Nights)

Upon your arrival at the Penas Blancas border coming from Costa Rica, and once you complete the necessary migration and customs procedures, you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative, and you will be transferred to your hotel in the colonial city of Granada (approx. a 2-3-hour drive / 102 km).

In the afternoon (at around 2 pm), you will embark on a guided tour through the city, finishing with a horse-drawn carriage ride along its main streets. On the way, you will discover the most significant sites of Granada including the San Francisco Convent and La Merced church, from whose bell tower you can enjoy spectacular views over the city, Lake Nicaragua, and Mombacho volcano. Your tour will end in the oldest part of the city, the area around the Xalteva church and the old city walls.
Note: Depending on the group’s preferences, the horse-drawn carriage can be replaced with bicycles or the tour can be entirely on foot.

Afterwards (at around 4:30 pm), you will stop at the Volcán Masaya (the country’s first and largest national park), where you will admire the glowing lava lake.

Masaya Volcano National Park is one of the most popular volcanoes in the pacific region of Nicaragua due to its constant activity. It offers to visitors the unique opportunity to observe at proximity an active volcano, watching the boiling lava flowing inside the crater. A visit here is an awe-inspiring experience, as you will examine a phenomenon that, once, was sacred to the pre-Columbian Nicaraguans, who were inspired by the raw power and beauty of nature.

Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Colon or similar.

After an early breakfast, you will head towards the natural reserve of the Mombacho volcano to hike through its dense cloud forest. In the afternoon (at around 3 pm), you will visit Las Isletas de Granada on a boat tour, exploring their abundant wildlife, and connecting with the fisher families.

Mombacho Volcano - Puma Trail (duration approx 6 hours)
Situated in a beautiful cloud forest and home to a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife, Mombacho Volcano is simply enchanting. You will reach the top of the volcano (1150 meters) in a 4x4 vehicle, and, after a quick trip to the scientific station, you will be guided through the mysteries of the surrounding area, following the Puma Trail: one of the most beautiful and challenging hikes of Mombacho Volcano.

Las Isletas Boat Tour
Situated at the foot of Mombacho Volcano, Las Isletas consist of around 360 small forest-covered islands, formed by a volcanic eruption 20,000 years ago. You will be transferred to the harbor where you will meet the captain and board a motorboat. During the tour, your guide will point out the exotic local flora and fauna. You will also stop at one of the islands to visit the San Pablo fort (built in the 18th century to protect Granada against English pirates). Beverages are included in the tour.

Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Colon or similar.

In the morning, after a very early breakfast, you will check out from the hotel and head to the colonial city of León (approx. a 3-hour drive / 133 km).

Upon your arrival (at around 10 am), you will visit the Cerro Negro volcano, one of the youngest volcanoes on earth. Enjoy one of Nicaragua's most iconic experiences as you go boarding down the side of an active volcano! The adventure starts with an off-road transfer from Leon city, followed by a one-hour hike to the top of the Cerro Negro volcano, during which your guide will teach you some of the geology of the area. Once at the top, safety instructions and a short practical training will be given before you start your thrilling descent.
No experience is necessary, and you can either sit down or stand up, depending on how brave you are feeling!

Afternoon at leisure in León.

Accommodation: Hotel El Convento or similar

After breakfast, you will explore Leon city on guided walking tour.

Explore the gorgeous historic center of Leon along with a local guide, learning about the city’s past and its stunning colonial architecture. You will see a number of Leon’s famous churches, as well the mighty Leon Cathedral – the largest in Central America. On route, you will visit Ortiz Gurdian museum, which houses the works of renowned classic and contemporary artists, and you will pass by the fruit and vegetable market. The tour ends with remarkable views from the cathedral’s picturesque rooftop.

After lunch, you will leave for Managua. (approx. a 2-hour drive / 88 km).
On the way, you will stop at The Ruins of Leon Viejo: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas.

The Ruins of Leon Viejo were discovered in 1967 and were declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2000. During the tour, you will see the foundations of some of the houses and partially restored buildings, such as an original church. You will also walk up the hill inside Leon Viejo, enjoying from the top great views over Lake Managua, the impressive Momotombo volcano and its little brother, Momotombito.

Upon arrival at Managua, you will check-in in your hotel and you will enjoy the rest of the evening exploring the city at your own pace.

Accommodation: Hotel Real Intercontinental Metro Centro or similar.

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Managua International Airport for your flight back home.