The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. (Gate1 Travel )
Here's a way to see more of Costa Rica it at your own pace. The Costa Rica Fly & Drive package from Gate1 Travel starts with a drive from capital city San Jose to Arenal, known for its volcano and national park of the same name. From there, it's on to visit Monteverde and a cloud forest reserve that has a treetop walkway on suspended bridges and trails.
Drives between cities take three to four hours if you follow the recommended itinerary for this self-guided trip. Other suggested stops along the way include hot springs, coffee farms and waterfalls.
The deal: The lowest-priced land tour costs $349 a person, excluding airfare, which comes out to $50 a day for lodging, one meal and the car. (Gasoline isn't included). I found availability for a May 3 departure and added airfare from Los Angeles to San Jose for a total of $759 a person. (Flights to and from L.A. were on Copa Airlines, changing in Panama City.) Kayak.com shows round-trip airfares alone start at $584-$608 a person on the same dates.
Dates: Departure dates run from May 1-Oct. 25.
Price: $349-$399 a person (depending on date selected), double occupancy. It includes two-night hotel stays in San Jose, Arenal and Monteverde; daily breakfast; and unlimited mileage for a seven-day car rental with manual transmission. (Upgrades are available but cost more.) International airfare is extra.
Contact: Gate1 Travel, (800) 682-3333