Fantastic nature and impressive biodiversity.

Florence’s travel profile

Mum of 3 teenage boys (11-18),
Active family who enjoys keeping busy.
Values places conveniently located.
Loves the outdoor sensation, animals and nature.
Our active family was seeking thrilling and authentic explorations in Costa Rica while being immersed in the ravishing fauna and flora. The protected jungles, wild beaches and rich biodiversity were a notable part of this small but varied paradise. We discovered the rich ecosystems by zip lining in Arenal National Park and kayaking in Playa Panama. The Costa Rican communities were extremely welcoming and my three children were constantly amazed and entertained.  

Activities include: sunset watching, hot spring, nature immersion, zipline, kayaking & paddle-boarding, boating & snorkeling.

Photo @florencedwyer ©
Departure airport: New York, US.
Stopover in El Salvador
Arrival airport: San José, Costa Rica.
with Jetblue Airlines or United Airlines
5 hours travel (direct flight)
Zip line in Arenal National Park
Boat trip in Playa Panama
Boutique Hotel Nayara in Arenal


Total/person: $1,260 for 8 nights
Lodging : $720/pp for 8 nights
Intl Flights : $500/pp
Car Rental: $40/pp


All the details of the trip
Lodging and activities
Good to know and pictures
Watch them

A snapshot


Taxi shuttle + Car Rental: 10 hours on the road-545 km
T to 1: 15 km/25 min
1 to 2: 150 km/3h30
2 to 3: 150 km/2h45
3 to T: 230 km/3h30

15 km/25 min

  • We stayed at Alta Las Palomas, located only 15 km from the Intl airport. This hotel has excellent services and a selection of three restaurants. The ambience of the hotel set the tone as soon as we arrived.
    We relaxed at the hotel and enjoyed the swimming pool.
    If we had stayed longer, we could have hiked around and visited the coffe plantation nearby. 



150 km/3h30

  • We stayed at Nayara hotel, an authentic and fabulous lodge with its unique rainforest experience. The staff was very knowledgeable about activities and the local environment. The hotel also provided full menu of authentic local food.

  • Day 1: Relaxation by the swimming pool and then a guided tour around the volcano. We then dipped in the hot springs and watched the sunset. 

    Day 2: Hike at the “Hanging Bridge”. This was an incredible experience as we were surrounded by the fauna and flora. We saw some snakes, birds and spiders.
    Day 3: Our next adventure was the zipline called “Sky Adventure”. This was a very thrilling experience.

150 km/2h45

Playa Panama
  • We stayed at  El mangrove, Gulf de Papayo. The food was not exceptional but the hotel is located in a remarkable geographical area on the beach.

  • Our morning consisted of discovering local and remote creeks thanks to the hotel’s recommendation.

    We also borrowed kayaks and paddle boards provided by the hotel. 

    In the afternoon, we rented a boat and were accompanied by a guide and a captain. The highlight of this activity was the snorkeling stop and the light dinner on the boat. We also admired the breath-taking sunset on the Pacific Coast horizon. 

230 km/3h30

Back to San Jose
  • We stayed at Courtyard Mariott hotel at the International airport of San José. We arrived at 11.30 pm and took a flight back early morning. This was a practical arrangement as we managed to get a couple of hours sleep before our departure. 


  • Be prepared and equipped for rainy weather in Arenal
  • Easy trip to organize, not difficult to find nice hotels, tourism is present in Costa Rica but not overcrowded with tourists
  • All guided tours via hotel were organized in small groups (max one other family, intimate activities)
  • Book flight early to get a direct flight from San Jose. We did not book early enough and therefore flight delays caused issues with picking up car rental on time.
  • Book rental car in advance, double check that reservation is kept if flights are delayed
  • It is safer to drive during the day because roads are narrow