Overview & Highlights
Costa Rica, with a comprehensive road network is ideal for independent exploration by self-drive 4WD car hire. This action-packed holiday visits off-the-beaten-track national parks with a backdrop of volcanoes, mangroves or jungle. Your hotels are pre-booked.
- Explore the waterways of Tortuguero National Park
- Discover off the beaten track rainforests and beaches
- Zipline or hike through lush jungles
Much of the enjoyment of self-drive in Costa Rica is getting off the beaten track and onto the dirt tracks and rural roads where you can stop to explore at leisure. Begin your adventure among the mangrove forests of the wildlife-filled Tortuguero reserve. Discover the mysterious bird-filled cloud forest with its misty landscape of ferns and orchids, scramble over hanging bridges suspended over waterfalls and forest in the shadow of Arenal volcano and end your visit on a Pacific beach.
Costa Rica is a peaceful and stable country and its people are among the friendliest in Latin America. The comprehensive network of roads means that the national parks with their extensive trails are always accessible and self-drive is the perfect way for independent-minded, confident drivers and companions to explore.
In line with its respect for the great outdoors, Costa Rica has been at the vanguard of adventure tourism, with lots of activities on offer from zip-lining to white-water rafting. The tiny country is bursting with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna.
Arrive in San José and transfer to your hotel.
Drive and boat to Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast.
Wildlife spotting excursions from your lodge.
Drive to Sarapiqui.
Explore Tirimbina Reserve. Drive to Monteverde in the cloud forest.
At leisure to discover forest trails and ride on a zip line.
Drive from Monteverde to Arenal volcano area.
Visit La Fortuna Falls and the hanging bridges.
Discover Caño Negro wildlife.
Drive to Rincón de la Vieja.
At leisure to raft, hike or go horse-riding.
Drive to Guanacaste on the Pacific coast.
At leisure on the beach.
Drop off car at Liberia airport and take international flight home.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Costa Rica / Caribbean coast
Turtle Beach Lodge
Costa Rica / Arenal and the north
Costa Rica / Nicoya Peninsula
Casa Conde Beach Front
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
La Quinta de Sarapiquí Country Inn
Costa Rica / Arenal and the north
Costa Rica / Monteverde and the cloud forest
Cloud Forest Lodge
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
"This was a very important holiday for us and we were a little apprehensive but it was a wonderful experience."HB, Perth
Where do we start? 25 condors at Colca Canyon, vicuna, llama and alpaca at every turn, fabulous weather, the surprising majesty of the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the amazing Iguassu Falls in full flow after heavy rain in the interior. 6 equally wonderful experiences.MR, St Albans
A very well organised and fascinating holiday. An excellent tour leader who helped make the experience very special. Thank you all for all your efforts on our behalf.
This is my third trip with JLA after a gap of 7 years - and they continue to deliver! A great trip and I cannot wait to go back. Excellent local knowledge, sensitive to local customs and cultures; my only complaint is that it went too quickly!SV, Dundee
I cannot imagine travelling to Latin America with anyone other than JLA. They again proved that they are the best in the business. After our first visit to South America I thought it would be a hard standard to live up to, but this trip proved me wrong.TS, Pontefract
As a first taste of South America with limited annual leave, you couldn't fault this two week itinerary for the amount of ground it covered. It has given me a real appetite to spend more time in Argentina and Chile - I feel like we literally scratched the surface of what these incredible countries have to offer - and I would definitely like to go back and spend more time exploring these two in particular. Our experience of travelling with a JLA guide was absolutely amazing - I would always recommend this.ES, Redhill
The fact that we were blessed with exceptionally good weather meant that we could make the most of every day, to the full, bar one day on Lago General Carrera. Patagonia is so beautiful - and it would have been so different if the weather had been poor or the tour leader/driver hadn't been so good. We feel very lucky to have had it all!RD, Amersham
Most memorable experience - Sitting in the bar in Leon as the thunderstorm and wind developed and listening to the wild hand ringing of the church bell. Interesting and well informed guides talking about revolutions in Nicaragua. Trip around Lake Atitlan also made more interesting by knowledgeable guide.
A well balanced and organised trip, It gave an interesting insight into the historical, cultural, political and natural elements of the countries visited. Plus you got to stay in some great hotels.WA, Kingston
The most memorable part is every day we thought it couldn't get better and it did. Perito merino glacier, Torres del Paine end of world and Iguazu. Easter island was a childhood dream and it exceeded expectations. Mount FitzRoy walk was stunning.JC, Colchester
Amazing trip, fab group, experienced guide and definitely value for money. Would highly recommend.AB, London
A really interesting, varied and contrasting tour encapsulating the spirit and culture of the region. Excellent value and made even more enjoyable by a fantastic tour guide.RG, Bishopton
Please describe the most memorable experience/aspect of your trip? "In Galapagos; swimming with a playful Sea Lion, having a penguin swim right under my tummy and watching white tipped sharks cruise by all in the same snorkel session!"
"Journey Latin America came highly recommended to us, in turn we highly recommend them to you."DM, Marlborough
The variety of places that we visited. I enjoyed every place we visited. Food was good. Colourful towns. Friendly people. Beautiful scenery.JLK, Kenley
This tour gives an excellent overall impression of each country visited.... leaving the option of digging deeper on future trips.SP, Bracknell
There were many highlights: Machu Picchu of course, also the Uyuni salt flats was unworldly, unique. La Paz, crazy city. Lake Titicaca beautiful. Great food almost everywhere. Stunning landscapes.MC, Ely
An excellent holiday made especially memorable by the leadership, thoughtfulness and humour of our guide.RL, Reading
Most memorable experiences: “Kaieteur Falls. Angel Falls. Both a wonderful experience. The holiday was described accurately, and your staff were always extremely helpful. I am pleased to have done it and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed it as did I.”PJC, Swindon
An excellent trip covering many of the key historical, geographical and political sites, and providing insight into a rapidly changing country. Go before it changes irrevocably.DW, London
"This was our third holiday with JLA and once again they did not disappoint."PP, Stafford
Everything exceeded expectations, from the printed itinerary to the excursions.SB, Mansfield
The whole trip was excellent and the tour leaders knowledge and personality enhanced it.VH, Torpoint
It was exciting just being in Patagonia. The hike in Torres and the Profunda ranch visit in El Calafate were wonderful because they were more personal than the usual tourist trips.SG, Berwick-upon-Tweed
I loved it all and it could not have been better.
This was my first trip with JLA. It was recommended by friends and as I have such a keen interest in Latin America I wanted to travel with experts like you. I am impressed by your itineraries, ethos and quality of guides. I look forward to travelling with you again in the near future.JR, London
"Travelling across the high desert surrounded by snow topped peaks with herds of wild LLama running away from us. Then vivid pink / blue lakes appeared with flamingo feeding. This experience was the best but the salt flats are dramatic and facinating."PC, Broughton-in-Furness
Lots of things, but, the statue of Christ the redeemer, iguazu falls, the tango dinner show, BOLIVIA, The group leader is a major part of the trip. A person who can bring a group of strangers together and make them join in, is worth their weight in gold?MD, Hawick
Reaching the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain and seeing views that will live with me for the rest of my life ... wow! This was a very special moment.PB, Wareham
An excellent holiday which met our wish to revisit some parts of Brazil and explore new areas; Pantanal was a real discovery and better for seeing wildlife than Manaus.PMR, Blandford Forum
One of the most memorable moments was walking up to Machu Picchu and revealed itself in front of us!!! The places we went to eat at were advised by the tour leader and local guides with really good local dishes and good quality. We were unlikely to have found them otherwise.MN, Wantage
This was a great trip taking in all the highlights of Chile and southern Patagonia before finishing off with a visit to Buenos Aires. The highlight was hiking in Torres del Paine but there were memorable moments throughout. Our tour leader was excellent throughout, helping everybody achieve their individual goals and really adding to the group holiday experience.GD, Cranleigh
Every day was memorable for some reason - the reason for being there was to see Aisen - so the cities perhaps less memorable - but our tour leader made these interesting for us with visits to Tigre and Valpariso Advice for future travellers would be to venture into the undiscovered and be prepared to enjoy the majestic, varied, beauty of Aisen. A great trip made into a superb trip by the participation, laughter and respect of all involved!CR, Isle of Mull
This trip was an unqualified success. The hotels were charming , the itinerary sensible , the excursions interesting , and the guide was the best possible person to ensure an efficient and happy holiday.PK, London
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
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.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
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.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
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 London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
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 Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
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 - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.