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Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica

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This holiday will suit romantic couples and honeymooners looking for a slow-paced itinerary combining exquisite natural locations, including the wild-life rich Osa Peninsula, with plenty of time for relaxation on Nicaragua's unsullied beaches at the end.

Spend a few days at a luxury rainforest lodge on the Pacific’s Osa Peninsula. Move on into Nicaragua to a boutique lodge on one of over 300 islets. Later, move on to a renowned upmarket lodge and working farm enveloped in jungle on a cliff overlooking a long soft-sand beach. In each place there are opportunities to take excursions into the countryside, engage in outdoor activities or laze by the pool.

The tropical republics of Costa Rica and Nicaragua share gorgeous landscapes of volcanoes, lakes, palm-fringed beaches, citrus plantations, fertile slopes smothered in coffee bushes, and a huge diversity of flora and fauna. Costa Rica has long had a network of accessible national parks with extensive hiking trails, as well as adventure activities from zip-lining to white-water rafting. Nicaragua is new to this kind of development but is gaining a reputation for responsible tourism with top-end wellbeing-focused eco-lodges opening all over the country.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in San José. Transfer to your hotel in the countryside outside the city.

Day 2

Tour of Doka Estate coffee farm.

Day 3

Fly to Pacific coast Puerto Jiménez, transfer to rainforest lodge.

Days 4-6

At leisure or enjoy one of the many activities on offer.

Day 7

Fly to San José, connect with flight to Managua; transfer to Granada.

Day 8

Granada guided city tour and visit to Masaya volcano.

Day 9

At leisure in Granada area.

Day 10

By boat and road to a lodge on the Pacific coast.

Days 11-12

At leisure on the Pacific coast.

Day 13

Return to Managua and connect with your international flight home.

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Places visited on this holiday

Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica

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San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Central San José
Costa Rica’s busy capital, San José, is a city on the move, where the choking traffic and crowds are mitigated by the eager friendliness of the people. There are some good museums and excellent restaurants but no colonial core: it’s a modern place, full of offices, North American style bars and malls - many US citizens visit or are resident in the country and their cultural influence is strong. The landscapes around however are delicious, both in the rolling coffee country of the highlands and in the fertile central valley, watched over by the smouldering Poás and Irazú volcanoes.
When's the best time to go to San Jose and central highlands?

If good weather is your priority, choose the dry season Dec - Apr when there is plenty of sun. The green (i.e. rainy) season is quieter in terms of number of visitors. San José, at 1,150m, has a pleasant climate with temperatures averaging 15-25°C.

What's the official language of San Jose and central highlands?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in San Jose and central highlands?

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too.

What's the time difference between San Jose and central highlands?

GMT -5 hours.

What places combine well with San Jose and central highlands?

A visit to the Caribbean or Pacific coasts for a beach wind down; Arenal, in the north, the most spectacular volcano; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for excellent bird watching. There are light aircraft flights from San José airport to many destinations. Costa Rica is a tiny country so road journeys, even winding ones through the highlands, are relatively short. Some roads are in good condition while others are poor and  require 4WD vehicles

How do I get to San Jose and central highlands?

There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to San José (11 hrs) as well as non-direct flights via US and European hubs.

What are the cultural events in San Jose and central highlands?
International Arts Festival: San José, Mar. Music, dance, film art exhibitions.
Independence Day: San José, 15 Sep. music and dancing in the streets starting the evening before.
El Tope: San José, 26 Dec. A horse parade through the city is followed by fairs, fireworks and bull-running south of the city.

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Osa Peninsula
Osa Peninsula
At the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, the Osa Peninsula’s rainforest vegetation contrasts with the open pastures of the northern Nicoya Peninsula. Here, in a remote region not easy to navigate in the wet season, there are opportunities for outdoor adventure and getting enveloped by nature. Wildlife reserves have been established throughout this lush region, notably Corcovado National Park, with magnificent biodiversity, sheltering rare species of mammals including the Central American squirrel monkey, white-faced capuchins, ocelots and tapirs. Caimans and crocodiles lurk watchful in the dark lagoons; a rare harpy eagle may circle overhead.
When's the best time to visit Osa Peninsula?

If good weather is your priority, choose the dry season Dec-Apr when there is plenty of sun. The green (i.e. rainy) season is quieter in terms of number of visitors. It’s hot and humid all year round.

What's the official language of Osa Peninsula?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Osa Peninsula?
Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in San José using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. Stock up with your local currency needs before travelling to the Osa Peninsula.
What's the time difference between Osa Peninsula and UK?

GMT -5 hours.

What places combine well with Osa Peninsula?

Arenal, in the north, the most spectacular volcano; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for excellent bird watching; Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast for wildlife and turtle watching. Costa Rica is a tiny country so road journeys, even winding ones through the highlands, are relatively short. Some roads are in good condition while others require 4WD vehicles.

How do I get to Osa Peninsula?

By light aircraft from San José to Palmar Sur. By road along the Pan-American Highway to Puerto Jiménez. From Puerto Jiménez there is an air taxi service to Carate and San Pedrillo.

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Granada
The gorgeous colonial city of Granada is a paradox: now the country’s principal emblem of restoration and beautification, it has a history of piracy and pillage. The oldest city in Central America is nowadays quiet, peaceful and easily explored on foot, but increasingly seen by foreigners as an attractive place to buy a home, as is the case in Antigua, Guatemala or San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.  Squatting on the lakeshore and at the foot of Mombacho volcano it has a romantic setting almost unequalled on the continent.
When to go

Granada has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round May-Nov is rainy season, but the countryside looks its best at this time. It can be windy Nov - Feb. Hurricanes possible Jun - Nov.

Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency

Córdoba. There are several banks with ATMs where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave the UK and amounts may be limited.

Time difference

GMT -6 hours.

Combines with
A visit to Granada’s historical rival, colonial León (114 km); Ometepe Island, reached by road and ferry (50 km).
Getting there

An hour’s drive from Managua.

Key events

La Hípica, Granada, 2nd week Sep. Horse riding events preceded by bull running through the town’s streets.

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Pacific coast
Pacific Coast

On the Pacific side yawning beaches defined by jungle-covered cliffs are pounded by agitated rollers. It’s an isolated coastline but gradually being opened up to eco-tourism and  development. San Juan del Sur is a pleasant base for surfers.
When to go
The coast has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round May - Nov is rainy season, but rain is usually restricted to short tropical showers and the foliage is beautifully verdant. The coastal forest dries out in the dry season; in Dec/Jan it is still green but there is little rain. The sunniest and driest months are Feb - Apr. Easter and Christmas holidays are very busy. Hurricanes possible Jun - Nov.
Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency

Córdoba. Notes can be obtained from exchange houses and also from banks which will supply advances on a debit or credit card. There are ATMs in large towns where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave the UK, and amounts may be limited. Obtain your local currency needs before travelling to the coast.

Time difference

GMT -6 hours.

Combines with
A stay on laid-back, but Latin, Ometepe Island on Lake Nicaragua; a visit to colonial Granada on the shores of the lake; a boat adventure down the tropical San Juan river near the frontier with Costa Rica; a stay on the tranquil historically and culturally fascinating islands of Solentiname in the southern part of Lake Nicaragua.
Getting there

It’s a 3 hour drive from Managua to San Juan del Sur.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
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Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica

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