Skip to main content

“Experience paradise as soon as you arrive…” Trip of the week: Viva Costa Rica

girls on beach in costa rica

If you’re in the mood to live your best Indiana Jones life and trek through sweaty and tropical rainforests while making unforgettable memories along the way, then we have just the trip for you!

Join us for NINE whole days of pure adventure and bliss in Costa Rica, one of the world’s most beautiful wonderlands. La Fortuna Waterfall, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Hot Springs: don’t the names just have your heart pounding with wanderlust? Costa Rica has beaches and vibrant cities, and it has the best coffee which you’ll get to drink so much every morning as you wake up in paradise.

We spoke to our expert Trip Manager Olivier to get the Costa Rican scoop and tell us every way that you’ll be living la vida pura on Contiki’s Viva Costa Rica trip. Read on and get your booking finger ready!

Hey Olivier, can you give me 3 reasons why I’ll love this trip?

Costa Rica with Contiki is all about adventures, friendship, and exploring tropical habitats.

“Costa Rica is a natural playground: it’s just filled with the most amazing forests and National Parks. I think it’s why most people travel to Costa Rica and for good reason!

“We also organise a lot of adventures on this trip like white water rafting, canyoneering, and ziplining. I think this trip is a really great opportunity for travellers to get out of their comfort zones and let their hair loose.

“One of the best parts though is that the group really bonds with each other, and travellers get to explore this beautiful country with brand new friends from all over the world. I always love watching that happen.”

Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica

Image source:Contiki

This trip is for me if…

You’re ready for new experiences.

“If you can open your mind to new places and meet people of a different culture and experience that culture, then this trip is definitely for you! You’ll really get the full feel of what it’s like to live in Costa Rica here and you’ll get to meet so many beautiful and friendly people. If you like that, then this trip is definitely for you.”

What’s the most spellbinding view?

The view of Manuel Antonio Beach.

“This is a really hard question (Olivier gave me 3 choices because he couldn’t pick one!) but I’ll say the view of Manuel Antonio Beach. As you’d expect, it’s a beach in Costa Rica, so it’s pretty spectacular, but what really makes it special is that it’s surrounded by a lush rainforest all around it.

“Being there feels like you’re on your own private island.”

What’s the tastiest food experience?

Dinner on the first night.

“What better way to welcome everyone on the trip than to all get together for a big homemade meal? People bond best over food, so we organise a big dinner filled with local dishes so people can get an authentic taste of Costa Rica straight away.

“It’s really great to see the group start to bond directly, and then the trip is filled with lots of wild fun after that so this is a nice moment to relax and kick off the adventures.”

Costa Rica is the surprising foodie haven you need to know about

Costa Rica is the surprising foodie haven you need to know about

Dominic Oliver
by Dominic Oliver Jan 01, 2021

Sweetest stay?

The Arenal Montechiari hotel.

“We stay here on the first two nights and it’s located right next to Arenal National Park. It has a beautiful tropical garden which offers just a small taste of what the park is actually like. It’s nice that the guests get to experience the full extent of this paradise as soon as they arrive.”

How about the best spot for culture vultures?

The north pacific region.

“The whole leg of the trip when we are in the north pacific region of Costa Rica is the best one to really dive deep into Costa Rica’s culture. 

“While we travel through Tamarindo Beach and the Province of Guanacaste we get to learn about blue zones (we’d tell you what those are, but you’ll just have to go on the trip to find out…) as well as Costa Rican folklore and all about coffee. 

“There’s an experience we do in Tamarindo where people can discover how chocolate is made (and of course have a taste!), and we also get the chance to go on a guided tour of a family-run coffee farm to learn more about where coffee comes from and how it’s made. It’s really valuable to get these insights and the travellers are always so curious and it’s great to give back.”

costa rican coffee

Image source:Contiki

What’s the most jaw-dropping included experience?

The hike and swim at La Fortuna Waterfall.

“We get to take a gorgeous hike in Arenal National Park all the way to the waterfall with a tour around the jungle. It’s the perfect photo opportunity for those that want to make all the memories, and then once we get to the waterfall we all get to go for a swim!

“It’s the perfect reward after the long hike because the water is cool and we’ll most likely all be quite sweaty and hot…”

Which Free-Time Add On will give my friends the most FOMO?

Canyoneering in La Fortuna.

“Now this is a real life adventure and it’s not necessarily for everyone, but it’s so worth the effort of doing it. We’re all fully equipped with harnesses and ropes and helmets – the safety’s all there. Then we set off to trek through waterfalls and the lush jungles.

“You’re surrounded by all this gorgeous greenery and wildlife – it really is an adventure like no other and you’ll have the best story to tell next time you’re back home at the bar with your friends. And if you like that, then you can cool off and relax afterwards in the Arenal Hot Springs for a warm soak…”

What’s the weather like in Costa Rica?

Predicting the weather is fairly impossible.

“Costa Rica is a tropical country without seasons, but we also have fairly high mountains and jungles, and each of these zones have their own microclimates so trying to predict the weather from one day to the next is basically impossible.

“Generally it’s good to prepare for rain, and if you’re staying near the coast the temperature there is always going to be high which makes the beach experiences outstanding! But, yeah, pack a mixed bag.”

Costa Rica is living, breathing proof that sustainable living makes us happier

Costa Rica is living, breathing proof that sustainable living makes us happier

by Seth Maxwell May 19, 2017

What will surprise me about the trip?

How diverse Costa Rica is.

“Even though the country is only 2000 square miles and not that big, the ecosystems and biomes here are so diverse. There’s thick jungles of course, along with mountains and volcanoes, and then there’s all the coasts and the sandy beaches, with cities dotted here and there.

“You can drive for 20 minutes and find yourself in one unique area to another just as unique but completely different area in the next.”

Costa Rica, hammock and coconut

Image source:Contiki

If this trip was a song it’d be:

“‘Feel so Close’ by Calvin Harris for all those perfect summer vibes.”

If this trip was a drink it’d be:

“A beer seeing as 2 of the destinations are hot and coastal spots: and isn’t a beer just perfect for that? 

“But I would also say it’s a shot of Chiliguaro which is a local shot that resembles a bloody mary. The ingredients include tomato juice, any kind of hot sauce, lime juice, and local sugar-cane distilled liquor. It packs quite the punch and will give you that perfect kick you need that matches Viva Costa Rica’s energy so perfectly.”

Describe the trip in 3 words:

Pura Vida. Adventure and Nature. Friendship.

“That’s not three words but who cares!”

15 best things to do in Costa Rica on your next trip

15 best things to do in Costa Rica on your next trip

by Danielle Kirk Mar 02, 2020

What kind of wildlife can I spot in Costa Rica?

Monkeys, birds, sloths…

“There’s two very big jungle areas that we visit. The first is the Cloud Forest in Monteverde and actually this place is really difficult for wildlife spotting. On really good and lucky days we get to catch a glimpse of howler monkeys and brightly coloured quetzals. For me the rarity makes it that much more special.

“Whether we see animals in Montverde or not though, it’s still a special place to see and one of the must-sees of the trip.

“When we trek through the Arenal Volcano Area we get to see all different kinds of sloths as well as white-faced capuchin monkeys, which are adorable, and a different kind of howler monkey. This place really has an abundance of wildlife and even though I run this trip I get so excited to see them every time, so you can imagine how excited the travellers are.”


Image source:Contiki

What’s the funniest story you’ve heard/seen happen on this trip?

“There was a guy on one of the trips who was determined from the start to practice his Spanish, but he would always struggle to say the “pura vida”, the Costa Rican national phrase. Instead he would always say “puta vida” which… you can look up what that means and you can imagine what comes next.

“We had a birthday celebration on this trip and during the dinner he stood up and made a toast and he said “puta vida” in his loudest voice and we all just burst out laughing because of his confidence – it was hilarious and I’ll never forget it (and neither will the rest of the people in that restaurant…)

Which part of this trip makes you love your job?

“Getting to know all the travellers that take the time to book with Contiki and visit Costa Rica. This is such a special place to me and I’m so glad that I can share it with people, and they can share their own lives and cultures with me as well. The groups bond with each other, and I bond with them as well – it’s a really special connection.”

13 best places to visit in Costa Rica

13 best places to visit in Costa Rica

Tina Burke
by Tina Burke Nov 25, 2021

Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you think I should know?

“The trip is quite active and fast paced at the beginning and then it’s slower towards the end, so prepare to get all that blood-pumping and adrenaline-rushing adventure and reward yourself with some deserved chilled days.”

surfboards on Costa Rican beach

Image source:Contiki

Here’s what our travellers say:

“Viva Costa Rica was an amazing trip and I got to meet awesome people and visit beautiful places in Costa Rica. From beach to mountains, you really do get to see it all and the Trip Manager was amazing throughout and made this experience even more valuable.”

“Amazing trip! I went solo and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Every adventure was planned perfectly, the hotels were nice as well, and the Trip Manager was awesome. I would recommend this trip over and over again!”

“This was the trip of a lifetime. The activities were awesome and the Trip Manager was excellent: he was so organised and hardworking.”

Up next

Recommended by us

Stop dreaming and make sh*t happen!