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Humpback Whale, New England, USA

North & Central Pacific Coast

The Pacific Coast stretches from the Nicoya Peninsula in the north to the Osa Peninsula in the south. This coastal plain rises up to become the Talamanca and Tilaran mountain ranges.

Scores of fishing hamlets and villages dot the coastline, which is easily accessible from San Jose and consequently a popular beach choice for both Costa Ricans and visitors.

Carara National Park was once part of the largest hacienda in Costa Rica before it was protected in 1978. It contains many pre-Columbian archaeological sites, some of which date back to 300BC. It is also host to an amazing diversity of plant life with over 750 recorded species.

Views to the Gulf of Nicoya, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Senda Monteverde Hotel, Monteverde, Costa Rica


The Guanacaste province in the north comprises of arid lowlands and the Nicoya peninsula, that sweeps some 140kms to its tip, boasts some of the most secluded beaches in the country. Tropical dry forests such as Carara National Park give way to the greener Central Pacific zone and tropical rainforest. The wildlife is abundant in both ecosystems and are common commuters between the two. The lively town of Jaco with its long stretches of golden sand and bustling nightlife is popular with surfers.

Flycatcher, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s leading attractions, is situated just south of Quepos on the Central Pacific Coast, and is less than three hours by road from the capital. This is the country’s smallest nature reserve and one of the few remaining habitats of the endangered squirrel monkey. The park is also home to the two-toed sloth, pacas, agoutis, iguanas and a vast array of bird species. Manuel Antonio offers that rare combination of a few days at a tropical sandy beach with crystal clear waters and a National Park of tropical forest teeming with wildlife.

Humpback Whale, Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Rica
Costa Rica

Ballena Marine National Park

Continuing south of Manuel Antonio are the smaller coastal communities of Matapalo, Dominical and Uvita, between which can be found long stretches of deserted coastline. Ballena Marine National Park is host to bottle-nosed dolphins, turtles and is a good spot to see humpback whales (December to April and August to October). Frigate birds, white ibis and brown pelicans nest on Las Tres Hermanas and Isla Ballena. Activities along the North and Central Pacific Coast include whale-watching, bird-watching, horse-riding, surfing, kayaking, snorkelling and swimming in the azure waters of the pacific.

Biking, Rio Perdido, Costa Rica
Liberia, Costa Rica

Our Specialists' "Must Do"

While in Manuel Antonio, you should take the “Santa Juana Mountain Tour”. This fantastic trip takes you up into the Fila Chonta Mountains, birthplace of the Rodeo and Paquita rivers, for a full day of walking forest trails, swimming under waterfalls, horse riding and learning about coffee and sugar production whilst surrounded by tremendous birdlife. You can try your hand at fishing for tilapia and even add on a white knuckle zip-line experience. A delicious Tico campesina lunch is included to recharge the batteries. On a clear day, you have views from the mountain top down to the coast.


What do you really love doing? We’ll tailor your itinerary to suit you.

Keel-Billed Toucan, Costa Rica

Wildife of Tortuguero

Peacefully meander down the waterways of Tortuguero National Park by canoe, getting up close and personal with birdlife, colourful frogs and lizards, playful monkeys and sloths. You are surrounded by the warm Caribbean sea, where you can watch baby turtles taking their first steps towards the sea.

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Green sea turtle hatchling

Turtle Conservation

Visit Tortuguero, one of the world’s major nesting sites for Atlantic green turtles.

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Canopy Camp, Humming Bird, Dari�National Park, Panama

Hike the Rainforest

With a Kuna guide, explore and hike the rainforest in the San Blas Archipelago.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Underground cave system in Belize

Cave Exploration

Going Underground – dip into an ancient network of caves that were sacred places for the Maya

Suggested Holiday Idea

San Blas, Kuna Yala, Panama

Snorkel in San Blas

Snorkel in crystal waters.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Manta Ray off Cano Island

Snorkel Adventure

Snorkel with manta rays and turtles.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Kuna Woman Creating Molas, Panama

Kuna Culture

Immerse yourself in the Kuna culture and traditions.

Suggested Holiday Idea

El Silencio Lodge & Spa, Waterfall, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica

Adventures in the Tree Canopy

Raft and zip line through the jungle canopy and abseil down waterfalls.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Cheese board, farm to table, Senda Monteverde Hotel, Costa Rica

Cookery Class

Join a local family for a cooking class, extract juice from sugarcane, milk a cow and make cheese.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Poas Volcano crater, Costa Rica

Volcano Adventure

Walk up to the ridge of the active Poas volcano for a peek into the steaming abyss of its caldera, the largest in the world.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Need Holiday Inspiration?
Browse our Costa Rica holiday ideas.

Our Costa Rica experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.

Where to Stay

Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.

More luxury accommodation

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

John Faithfull

Costa Rica is simply the best spot in Central America for nature lovers, and is always John’s top recommendation for those wishing to hike, swim, zip, raft, ride or float through outstanding scenery and rich biodiversity.

Talk with our experts
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We found it extremely helpful to visit the Steppes office and have a face to face discussion with James about what our requirements were for our adventures in Costa Rica. He really listened and made sure that the trip was tailored to our needs.

Destination: Costa Rica
Travel Expert: James

Great work from John. The additions of zip-lining and surfing lessons were exciting experiences that we would not have considered without his expert guidance.

Destination: Costa Rica
Travel Expert: John

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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