Overview & Highlights
This is a short, low cost, value-for-money-plus holiday with good quality lodges. Includes the top wildlife-rich locations, from the mangroves on the Caribbean coast to mountainous cloud forest.
- Explore the canals and waterways of Tortuguero
- Discover the cloud forest around Monteverde
- Take in the trails and spectacular volcano in Arenal
Costa Rica, famous for its huge variety of wildlife, exotic vegetation, coffee and genial population, is small enough to get around easily in a short time. This holiday can slot easily into half-term, and is a great choice for families. In just eight days you get to savour this diversity in comfort, staying at high quality accommodation but keeping the costs down by using some shared transport.
The comprehensive network of national parks with their extensive trails is always very accessible, and Costa Rica has been at the vanguard of adventure tourism, with activities on offer from zip-lining to white-water rafting.
Begin by exploring the Caribbean jungle waterways and mangrove forests of the wildlife-rich Tortuguero reserve. Enjoy a spectacular light-aircraft flight back to San José and continue by road to the Monteverde cloud forest, where the vivid birdlife can be easy to view. Descend from the mountains to the tropical, fertile landscapes around the dominant Arenal volcano, and visit picturesque La Fortuna waterfalls.
After this, it’s a road journey back to San José for your flight home, or if you have time, add a few days to enjoy the Manuel Antonio Pacific beach. Famed for its surf beaches and the monkey-filled national park nearby: there’s lots you can do here, or just relax in the shade of a palm tree.
Transfer to a vibrant pedestrian street in the centre of San José
By road and boat to Tortuguero Jungle Reserve
Wildlife spotting in Tortuguero National Park
Fly to San José, transfer to Monteverde. Guided excursion to the Cloud Forest Reserve
Transfer to Arenal volcano area
Excursion to La Fortuna waterfalls
Transfer by shuttle bus to San José
Transfer to the airport for international flight home; or continue to the Pacific beach at Manuel Antonio.
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.
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
This tour was perfect for first time travellers to the area. It was extremely well organised and the itinerary was well planned with a nice flow of events and very diverse experiences. We were amazed at all the wonderful sites, hikes and activities we had on this tour and will remember it for a lifetime.KP, USA
This isn't a specific part of the trip, but I do think that the variety of locations and activities available is excellent. It is a busy tour but, personally, I enjoyed this and am pleased that the coverage is as good as it is of such large countries as, travelling that far, I do want to see and do as much as possible. I also found the extension I did suited my requirements well.JP, Holmfirth
The Jungle was just fabulous, didn't quite know what to expect but it exceeded expectations!...Having travelled with you before and receiving excellent treatment & value we returned and you once again lived up to your reputation and promise. Exceeded our high expectations...the experience of a lifetime.GH, Morpeth
This tour packed in an amazing amount in such a large country. You might have liked longer at some sites, but that could have been very exhausting!NH, Grimsby
Many good memories - arriving at Macchu Picchu was something we had wanted to do for many years, so was probably the most memorable.CA, Wembley
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
Would be wrong to say a most memorable. Everyday was amazing. Machu Picchu was my fave. That's because I've always wanted to go there. 100's of memories all good. From places to even just having dinner with the group. Had some one in a million moments.SW, Crewe
Difficult to say as it was a trip of contrasts - two cities and some beautiful landscapes. I achieved two ambitions which was to visit the Torres del Paine National Park and to see the Perito Moreno glacier. Torres del Paine was glorious and Perito Moreno was breathtaking. All internal transfers were seamless and check in and check out of hotels were easy. The small group made the holiday feel almost personalised.TW, Hook
Amazing itinerary. Great group that bonded well and the best tour leader. All the places made it a memorable holiday. Machu Picchu, the train from Puno to Cusco and the flight of the condors added even more.DP, Hinckley
Most memorable experience? - Seeing the eruption of volcano El Fuego at Antigua - though from a distance - but we still saw the red lava. The unspoilt Pacific Coast near Leon with the turtle conservation centre and sunset beach. The jungle Chaa Creek resort with the toucans. The wonderful city of Leon.CB, Beckenham
“Everything, from the planning, through to the actual journey, was excellently arranged. All connections were smooth and punctual and there was detailed information disseminated at every stage.”DH, Tufnell Park
It is difficult to identify a highlight as the whole trip was so varied and memorable. However, the yurt and the landscapes in Torres del Paine and Iguazu were spectacular.VP, Haywards Heath
Visiting 6 countries in 3 weeks is an incredible assault on the senses. Volcanoes, pre-columbian history, Spanish influences, the distinct colours of different countries, friendly people, amazing vegetation and exotic birds and animals.HF, Maidstone
I think that given the 3 week length and fitting in 6 countries will always mean that it is a very 'busy' tour and I think it is important to realise that it is a taster of each of the 6 countries. Any one of them could easily justify a longer stay. But a lot of people could not be away for a longer period of time. I am extremely happy to have visited each of the 6 countries. An unforgettable trip.
The 6 countries in Central America we visited all have a unique and distinctive culture, geography and atmosphere. This trip has created an incredible experience which brings a warm smile whichever of the many aspects I remember.
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
For me, it was the Atacama desert. It is the driest desert in the world, and we had thunder storms!! But it left snow on the volcanos and fluffy clouds in the brilliant blue sky. Perfect for landscape photography. The great guides, and the friendly fellow travelers.MB, Chelmsford
The Penguin tour was excellent. It covered all the main places I wanted to see, from the Atacama to Patagonia. There are not many companies that cover so much, for group travellers.
Amazingly the trip was everything I had hoped it would be. Having wanted to go to Patagonia since I can remember, and having the opportunity arise fairly last minute, choosing JLA was a good decision! Great itinerary and good organisation left me to enjoy the experience!JA, Sutton
Everything was memorable, Chilean landscapes are so different...Patagonia (Torres del Paine) was my favourite because it's just stunning. Valparaiso: wonderful colourful city, Atacama Desert: incredible landscapes, and so varied from one another, Lake District: superb. Seeing so much wildlife was fantastic (penguins, vicunas, guanacos...). And great food too - fish is amazing.EG, Hove
Iguazu Falls were out of this world. Machu Picchu was very special and the desert was amazing.IM, Solihull
Northern Peru is currently a little less discovered which makes travel there more rewarding. The people have not been jaded with excess tourism and are truly welcoming. The wealth of ancient sites and beauty of the countryside means it deserves to be more visited - and it will be!CP, Manchester
There were many wonderful memories. Iguacu was amazing and Machu Picchu was intriguing. Landscapes were fascinating & the people were friendly. Lovely to see the colourful costumes & markets.JP, Nottingham
Everything exceeded expectations, from the printed itinerary to the excursions.SB, Mansfield
The tour leader was excellent as was the whole experience, especially the exciting optional excursions, kayaking, horse riding, zip linings, snorkelling and many interesting walks.MG, Glasgow
The overall Pato Andino experience was truly fantastic, the sheer number of breath taking sights to marvel at was incredible. Too many [memorable moments] to list but if I had to name one then seeing Laguna Blanca as it was the first breath taking sight of the trip for me and it wasn't just the altitude.AB, Chesterfield
I had a brilliant trip. The experiences were varied the people great company and the tour leader exceptional. What’s not to love!HL, Newcastle
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
Riding a horse back up the track at Karajia when it started to rain and the frogs started to sing! Never heard anything like it. Travelling through spectacular country & seeing the local people. The mummies at the museum at Leymebamba.CE, Halesowen
I'm very much a novice when it comes to traveling and I love history & culture. I chose this trip with that in mind. As someone who is not an experienced traveller, some of the journeys are long but they are always worth it. Seeing these wonderful sites with often very few people about is great. This is a beautiful country and this is a wonderful trip that I would highly recommend to anyone with a love of history and a desire to learn more.
It was a terrific, well-designed tour to some of the most impressive historic sites in the world. The local expert guides were of a particularly high standard and our overall tour guide was excellent even giving each of us a going-home present from her home country Guatemala.DP, Chichester
Experiencing an interesting mix of Colombian landscapes and wildlife and getting a real feel of the country and its people. Particularly liked Mompos and the Magdelena river and seeing the wax palms in the Valle de Cocora.JB. Gosport
There are two moments that I wish I could return to again and again - watching the sun go down over the jagged rock formations of the Valley of the Moon and walking on the salt flats (the beauty of the place nearly brought a tear to my eye).DK, Dover
This was my second group trip to South America with JLA and it was just as fantastic - seeing the main sites such as Machu Picchu but also less well-known or off the tourist radar such as the inside of an Inca house in Ollytaytambo that added an extra insight to the culture and local way of life.
The itinerary was fantastic and perfect for 3 weeks.AMT, Tadworth
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.
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.
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
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.
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.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
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 Head of Sales.
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.
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.
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.