Private Journeys

Luxury Nicaragua and Costa Rica

13 days from £5,068pp

Costa Rica / Nicaragua

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

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

You will be met at the airport by our local representative who will take you to your hotel on a working coffee plantation in the Central Valley.

Day 2

Tour of Doka Estate coffee farm.

Costa Rican coffee is among the best in the world. But how is it produced? You will be driven to Doka Coffee Estate in Sabanilla, Alajuela. The farm belongs to the Vargas Ruíz family, pioneers of coffee production in Costa Rica for more than 70 years. Your guide will explain the traditional techniques used to produce one of the best coffees in Costa Rica.

Learn about the careful process involved on the cultivation, harvesting and roasting the beans. The tour takes you through all stages, beginning with the seed bed and ending in the Coffee House with the finished product.

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Day 3

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

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Jiménez (50mins) on the Pacific coast Osa Peninsula. The verdant peninsula is famed for its profusion of wildlife; it is sanctuary to many of the country’s endangered species such as pumas, Scarlet macaws and the great Harpy eagle.

From the airstrip it is a 45-minute drive along a bumpy road to Lapa Rios Eco-Lodge. This is an exclusive and seamlessly run lodge sitting on a high ridge in the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve amidst lush rainforest, above the Pacific Ocean.

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Days 4-6

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

At leisure at the lodge. There are optional excursions available such as horse riding along a deserted beach, kayaking, fishing and guided walks, surfing and sunrise and sunset bird-watching. Take a twilight hike along one of the many rainforest nature trails, an excellent time to spot the indigenous fauna. Feeling like a spot of adventure? Get a taste for waterfall rappelling (abseiling) or whiz through the forest canopy on a zip-line.

Wild-life enthusiasts? Go dolphin spotting while snorkelling in Golfo Dulce. Three species of these beguiling creatures visit the area, along with whales and turtles. Alternatively sit by the pool overlooking the ocean, a fresh fruit cocktail in your hand and your binoculars in your lap.

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Day 7

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

Fly back to San José and transfer to the international airport to fly to Managua, Nicaragua. From there it’s an hour’s drive to the colonial city of Granada. Founded in 1524, Granada is the oldest city in the New World and lies at the foot of Volcán Mombacho. At its height the city became very prosperous on the back of the gold trade; it was regularly plundered by pirates and completely razed by American mercenary William Walker at the beginning of the 19th century.

However, Granada has since been wonderfully restored and its colourful colonial houses and cobbled streets that run down to the shores of Lake Nicaragua are a delight. The pace of life is in keeping with the atmosphere of history and tranquillity, and you transfer in a horse-drawn carriage to the marina on Lake Nicaragua for the 10min speedboat crossing to Jicaro island, one of over300 volcanic outcrops on this part of the lake, where you’ll be spending 3 days.  The vast freshwater lake resembles an inland sea and shelters a variety of eco-systems, including cloud forest.

 

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Day 8

Granada guided city tour and visit to Masaya volcano.

Return to Granada for a guided tour of the city, with its colonial churches, narrow streets and colonial mansions and convents. The historic core is so compact that much of the experience is on foot, with many of the sites within the vicinity of the main square. Later, continue to Lake Nicaragua for a relaxing boat ride around some of the islets formed by eruptions of the looming bulk of the waterside Mombacho volcano.

The vast lake, more like an inland sea, with surf-tipped waves and reflecting fiery sunsets, is the largest body of freshwater in the Americas after the Great Lakes. Climb by vehicle to the summit of the cone-shaped Masaya volcano. Walk a few steps to the sizzling, steamy Santiago crater, active since 1946, and explore the surrounding area, dotted with other volcanic formations. Visit the nearby Masaya arts and crafts market which specialises in ceramics, leatherwork, wooden furniture, and hammocks, before you head back to Granada and your island accommodation.

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Day 9

At leisure in Granada area.

At leisure on the islet. Within the property there are many ways you can relax, including yoga sessions and massage. Slightly more adventurous activities include wildlife-spotting expeditions: you can go kayaking at sunrise or sunset to observe the birds: they are especially abundant around the islands and islets. Wading birds like egrets and herons often graciously stand on the waterside, and large groups of cormorants can be seen hunting for fish or standing in the sun, drying their plumage.

Or go horse-riding along the skirts of the volcano, through the tropical plantations heavy with citrus fruit, cocoa and bananas. Zip-lining, hiking, and biking along traffic free roads and tracks are also among the various exhilarating activities offered from the lodge.

For loving couples a romantic way to end your day is with a candlelight dinner on the lake atop the lodge’s floating deck...

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Day 10

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

It’s a short boat-ride followed by a drive to your eco-lodge overlooking a sweeping bay on the Pacific coast. Here you find a clutch of crescent shaped bays harbouring soft golden sand, slapped by surf-tipped rollers and backed by rugged hills and cliffs smothered in emerald rainforest.

The lodge is at the forefront of sustainable tourism in Nicaragua, preserving primary forest, protecting and re-introducing endangered wildlife. Most of the beautifully crafted hardwood cottages are nestled into the heavily-forested hillside. The semi-open thatched restaurant serves regional, French and Asian cuisine, much of the ingredients taken from plants and animals grown or reared on premises. There is also a marvellous decent-sized swimming pool, alongside which, once again, you can relax with a cool drink.

Days 11-12

At leisure on the Pacific coast.

At leisure based at the lodge. Wildlife is abundant, and the area can be explored independently or guided on foot, by kayak, mountain bike or on horseback. You can accompany the lodge's own fishermen as they set out to sea, and visit its farm, sugar mill or butterfly collection.

In season (Aug-Jan), sea turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs.  Snorkelling, diving, surfing and sports fishing can be organised on the glorious stretch of sandy beach, where you’ll find shady palapas with sun loungers.

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Day 13

Return to Managua and connect with your international flight home.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

Meet the team