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A true journey of discovery: enjoy active volcanoes, picturesque cities and dive with sharks, turtles and mantas in the Gulf of Papagayo.

Visit Arenal volcano and take in Tabacon Hot Springs before heading over to the Gulf of Papagayo on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Travel south to dive the south Pacific coast before finishing your trip in the capital, San José.

Suggested itinerary

  1. Day 1: Fly to San José

    Arriving later the same day, you will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation.

  2. Day 2: Arenal volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs

    Today, take a scenic drive to the Arenal national park. After slumbering for more than 400 years, Arenal erupted with tremendous force in July 1968, and since then activity has decreased significantly.

    Relax at the Tabacon Hot Springs with its five thermo-mineral swimming pools, jacuzzi, waterfalls and exotic gardens. Overnight at the Hotel Arenal Paraiso (or similar).

  3. Day 3: Day of activities

    Spend the day at leisure exploring this fascinating area. Optional activities include white water rafting, a trip to Venado Caves or La Fortuna Waterfalls or a tree top canopy walk.

  4. Day 4: Arenal to the north Pacific coast

    Transfer around the picturesque Arenal Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Costa Rica. The whole area is surrounded by lush rainforest, farms and mountains. You will pass by the picturesque city of Tilaran and then Canas to continue through the Guanacaste Pampa to arrive at the Papagayo Gulf.

  5. Days 5-9 : Dive the Gulf of Papagayo

    You will be based at the charming Bosque del Mar hotel located right on Hermosa beach (or similar).

    Each day you have the opportunity for two guided dives; most of the Gulf of Papagayo’s 41 dive sites are accessible within a 30-minute boat ride. Experience the ultimate diving adventure, with massive schools of fish, rays, jacks, whale sharks, giant mantas, turtles, mobula rays, bull sharks, white-tip sharks, dolphins and many more.

  6. Day 10: Papagayo Gulf to Herradura Beach

    After an early breakfast, take a private transfer along the Central Pacific Coastal Road to Herradura Beach and the Punta Leona Resort. Costa Rica’s magnificent Central Pacific Coast provides an awe-inspiring setting for Punta Leona; a unique tropical rainforest and beach resort. This nature lover’s paradise offers guests a wonderful blend of charming accommodations in an exotic setting.

    Part of the 300 hectare property is officially a wildlife reserve, and home to numerous animals, including spider monkeys and coati. Guests also enjoy three beautiful pristine beaches featuring white sand and the clear blue waters of the Pacific.

  7. Days 11-13 : Pacific Coast Diving

    You have two dives per day to experience a different area of Costa Rican marine life. A high nutrient content heralds an impressive, and abundant, variety of marine life in the waters off the coast of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. Humpback whales, dolphins, reef sharks, giant manta, mobula, and stingrays, octopus, turtles, groupers, snappers, angel fish, moorish idols, trumpet fish, various types of eels, crustaceans, huge schools of barracuda, jacks and much more. Soft and hard coral formations are common but not as colourful or abundant as some other areas of the world.

  8. Day 14: Transfer to San José

    Spend the morning exploring or relaxing before transferring by road back to San José for an overnight stay.

  9. Day 15: Explore San José and depart

    Spend the morning exploring San José before catching your transfer to the airport for your flight home.

  10. Day 16: Arrive UK

Key info

Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 16 days from £3,075 pp
  • When to go: Nov-Apr: Daily throughout the year. November to April best for diving.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Flights from the UK
    • 14 nights accommodation
    • Daily breakfast
    • Transfers
    • 16 dives
    • Tanks and weights
    • National park entrances
Featured locations:

Gulf of Papagayo

The Gulf of Papagayo is a large bay on the north Pacific coast; its striking panoramic views and sweeping beaches have made it one of Costa Rica’s top destinations. Its waters support a huge amount of marine life, with large schools of fish and numerous pelagics.

  • Ideal for viewing: devil ray, green turtle, olive ridley turtle, leatherback turtle, pacific cow-nose ray
  • Excellent for: Resort based diving, Shark diving, Manta ray

Volcan Arenal National Park

The most spectacular of Costa Rica’s volcanoes, Arenal is now dormant after its most recent eruptive period between the late 1960’s and 2010. The surrounding national park contains fascinating lava landscapes, and is home to howler monkeys and a wealth of bird species.

  • Excellent for: Hiking, Wildlife

San José

Costa Rica’s capital has the main international airport, so you will probably need to spend a night or two here during your dive holiday. It is a busy, vibrant Latin American metropolis, and has the country’s pristine national parks on its doorstep.

  • Excellent for: City stopover