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The Southern & Central Pacific Selfdrive

San Jose - Cerro de la Muerte - San Gerardo de Dota - Golfito - Dominical - Manuel Antonio - Carara National Park (7 days / 6 nts)  From $N/A

Espadillo Beach and islands

Day 1: San Jose - Cerro de la Muerte - San Gerardo de Dota
You start your journey driving to the former capital of Costa Rica, the town of Cartago, where you can visit the Basilica, one of the most beautiful churches of Costa Rica. You continue on the Panamerican Highway, where the road soon starts to climb the Talamanca mountain range. About 80 km later you will reach the level of 3.000 meters and turn right to San Gerardo de Dota, where your room (Junior Suite) is reserved at Savegre Lodge**(*). This small village is located at a level of about 2.000 meters and is surrounded by beautiful cloud forest. This is the best place in Costa Rica to observe the Quetzal, a shy and colorful bird, which has already been admired by the Mayas and other Indian populations. Enjoy a walk through the jungle and observe birds in the later afternoon. Overnight at Savegre Lodge**(*)/ Junior Suite.

Total km today: about 90 km
Total driving time today: about 2 hours
Included meals today: none

Day 2: San Gerardo de Dota - Golfito - Golfo Dulce Lodge
The very early hours of the day are the perfect time for bird watching. But you will not have too much time to walk around today, because you need to drive quite a long way. You drive back to the Panamerican Highway and soon reach the top of the highest pass of Costa Rica, the Cerro de la Muerte 3.400 m. After many curves you will reach San Isidro del General, the capital of the southern Pacific coast. You continue on the Panamerican Highway, crossing large pineapple plantations until you reach Golfito. A representative of Golfo Dulce Lodge will await you at Samoa del Sur Restaurant, located in the center of Golfito, at about 11:30am. Here you can park your car safely at a charge of about 10. USD per night. On a 30 minutes boat trip, you have the chance to observe the beautiful green coastline, and with some luck, dolphins can be observed on this transfer. Arrival and check-in at Golfo Dulce Lodge***. Surrounded by the jungle and located at the rocky beach, this is a perfect place for nature lovers and birdwatchers. Ask the staff about the tours offered from here.
We recommend a walk in the jungle, a boat ride to the mangroves of Rio Esquinas, or the visit of a botanical garden.
Overnight at Golfo Dulce Lodge***/ Deluxe Bungalow.

Total km today: about 280 km
Total driving time today: about 5-6 hours
Included meals today: breakfast, dinner

Day 3: Golfo Dulce Lodge
Today we recommend a boat tour to Rio Esquinas, where you’ll also find mangroves. This tour is also recommended by kayak, where you paddle silently through the mangroves. Enjoy a jungle hike in the afternoon or watch birds on a platform above the rainforest. Overnight at Golfo Dulce Lodge***/ Deluxe Bungalow.

Total kms today: none
Total driving time today: none
Included meals today: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Golfo Dulce Lodge - Golfito - Cortes - Dominical
The lodge brings you back to Golfito by boat where you continue with your car again. You drive to Palmar Norte and Cortés, where the road along the coast starts. There are some nice beaches along the road, where you will be most of the time alone. You’ll reach Dominical in the evening, where your room is reserved at Hotel Villas Rio Mar***.

Total km today: about 150 km
Total driving time: about 3 hours
Included meals today: breakfast

Day 5: Dominical - Quepos / Manuel Antonio
The hotel offers various tours that can be booked right at the reception. We recommend a horseback ride to a beautiful waterfall, a hike through the jungle at Hacienda Barú, or some relaxing hours at the wild beach. Later, you will have to continue driving north to Quepos, where we reserved the room (Junior Suite) at Hotel La Foresta Lodge*** (former Rancho Casa Grande), situated next to the new road. There is a private reserve right next to the hotel, where you can enjoy a hike in the afternoon. Many other tours are offered, such as horseback riding, tour to palmoil plantations or more hiking in the jungle.

Total km today: about 50 km
Total driving time today: about 30 minutes
Included meals today: breakfast

Day 6: Quepos / Manuel Antonio
Today we recommend a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park (closed on Mondays, entrance fee US$ 10,-- per person). Apart from the beautiful beaches, there are trails through the rainforest, where you have the chance to see different species of mammals and almost for sure, you will also meet the endangered Squirrel monkeys (Mono Tití) living inside the park. Return to Hotel La Foresta Lodge *** and overnight (Junior Suite).

Total km today: about 20 km
Total driving time today: about 30 minutes
Included meals today: breakfast

Day 7: Quepos / Manuel Antonio - Carara National Park - San Jose
On the way back to San José, you have the possibility to visit Carara National Park (entrance fee US$ 10,-- per person). That is where some rare species of orchids can be observed. Nevertheless, the main attractions are the large red Scarlet Macao parrots living here. Return to San José and drop off of the car.

Total km today: 180 km
Total driving time today: about 2.5 hours
Included meals today: breakfast

Type of car: we recommend a 4-Wheel-Drive car during the whole year. Rental car price NOT included in above prices. For a small or medium size 4x4 vehicle prices range from $465 - $486 per week basic insurance included.

Note: The Tour to the South is not being offered during the months May, June and October, because the Golfo Dulce Lodge is closed during this time. On request we can quote the tour with Esquinas Rainforest Lodge instead.