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Day 1: Arrive in San José
You will be met on your arrival at San José Airport and transferred to our hotel. Later in the evening, we meet our guide for dinner to discuss our upcoming adventure. Overnight in San José.
Day 2: To Caño Blanco via Braulio Carrillo National Park, Boat Ride to Tortuguero National Park
Early morning, depart San José for the Caribbean coast. Enroute, we drive through Braulio Carrillo National Park, enjoying wonderful views of the rainforest. We will make a stop at a banana plantation before arriving in Caño Blanco, where we transfer to our open roof boat for a 1 1/2 hour boat journey through the beautiful canals to get to Tortuguero, always keeping an eye out for wildlife. Upon arrival in Tortuguero, we have lunch and a welcome orientation session. Visit the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle Museum founded by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation.
Day 3: Tortuguero National Park
After breakfast, your guide will take you to the village of Tortuguero. Learn about the history of Tortuguero village, visit the park headquarters, and walk past colorful Afro-Caribbean homes. In the afternoon, you depart by boat to continue your exploration of the canals of Tortuguero National Park. This time you will visit Caño Harold (Harold's Canal), where bare-throated tiger herons, snowy egrets, boat billed herons and other species are known to nest. We return to the lodge late afternoon to relax before dinner. Overnight in Tortuguero.
Day 4: Fly to San José, Poas Volcano, Arenal
After an early departure, we transfer to the airport at Tortuguero for our flight back to San José. We depart for Arenal today but along the way, we stop at Poas Volcano with its crater lake. Our drive today will take you through many coffee plantations. Until the 19th century, Costa Rica was very poor with an economy based on subsistence agriculture. Then the introduction of coffee provided a product suitable for export. Bananas followed coffee; both remain two of the most important crops in Costa Rica today. Stop on route for lunch. Arrive at your hotel in time for an afternoon rest. In the evening, weather permitting, view the volcanic activity, which may include explosions and lava flows. Overnight in Arenal.
Day 5: Arenal
After breakfast, depart with your guide for a morning hike in the Arenal Hanging Bridges. This project sits within a 250-hectare (618 acre) reserve of fully recovered secondary rain forest. A visit to Arenal Hanging Bridges consists of traversing 15 bridges from 5 to 100 meters long that cross the rain forest and a 3 km circuit of interpretive trails built with paving blocks to prevent slipping. The bridges are made of aluminum, galvanized steel and concrete, and ensure maximum security for visitors. In the afternoon, visit the Eco-Termales Hot Springs. Doña Mireya, your host, will prepare a typical Costa Rican dinner for you, in the tradition of local hospitality. Overnight in Arenal.
Day 6: To Monteverde
After breakfast, we depart for Monteverde. This drive will show us the beauty of the countryside and traditional farms of Costa Rica. Monteverde is a peaceful community made up of dairy farmers, naturalists and tourism service providers who have joined together to create a model for sustainable development and protection of the environment that is well known throughout the world. Founded in 1954 by a group of Quakers searching for a peaceful place to live, it is the home of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the Children's Eternal Rain Forest, and the Santa Elena Reserve. After lunch, visit the town of Santa Elena visit to the art galleries, cheese factory and frog pound. At this attraction you can admire over 20 species of frogs and other amphibians. Walk with our guide and learn about species that are unique to the tropics of Costa Rica. Come see extraordinary frogs such as colorful poison Arrow frog, the very large Marine toad and the famous red eyed tree frog. Overnight Monteverde.
Day 7: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
After breakfast, guided excursion in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Founded in 1972, the Reserve extends down both slopes of the Tilaran Mountains (elevation 2,300 to 5,600 ft.), encompassing six different ecological life zones and protecting more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,500 species of plants. From January to July, depending upon your luck and patience, you may observe the resplendent quetzal in its natural habitat. Other species include the three-wattled bellbird, the emerald toucanet, and white-faced and howler monkeys. Return to the hotel midday for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Butterfly Garden where butterflies and other insects are raised and displayed in shade cloth enclosures with tropical gardens. Overnight in Monteverde.
Day 8: Guachipelin - Cattle Ranch Stay
Early morning breakfast at the hotel before our scenic 3 hour drive to Guanacaste province. Check in at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, a working Cattle Ranch. There is an interesting Ecotourism Center located close to the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano which we will have time to visit.
Day 9: Horseback Excursion to Hot Springs, Oropendola Waterfalls
Depart on horse from the hacienda stables on a trail through tropical dry woods and experience a part of Costa Rica that most don't get to see. The grounds have about 1.25 square miles allocated as a reforestation area, where species threatened by extinction are protected. In these surroundings you can see a great variety of birds, mammals, reptiles etc. At the property of the hacienda we seek trails of interest for flora and fauna and sight seeing spots instead of paved roads. On our calm and friendly horses we take you on a 45 minute trip to the National Park main gate, where we leave our horses, and enter the park on foot.
Day 10: Visit Santa Rosa National Park
The Santa Rosa National Park is the sight of Costa Rica's most important monument, the Hacienda Santa Rosa. Known locally as La Casona (meaning "large house" in Spanish), this monument marks the fall of filibuster William Walker and his professional mercenaries to a local peasant army in 1856. Today, La Casona is a museum dedicated to the memory of this battle. While inside the park, you can explore this historical sight. You'll also have the opportunity to walk through a dry forest that contains some 2% of the world's biodiversity. Along the trails, search for monkeys, birds, sloths and more. Overnight Playa Panama.
Day 11: Corobici River Floating Tour
This classic float trip is a delightful highlight, especially for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The scenery and wildlife along the Corobici are legendary. As you leisurely raft along this tranquil river, you might spot one of the more than 300 species of birds from the nearby Palo Verde National Park. Among the more commonly seen birds are ospreys, kingfishers, cormo- rants, and blue, tiger and boat-billed herons. Other wildlife in the area includes otters, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, iguanas and many other types of lizards. A delicious local lunch will be served at Rincon Corobici restaurant after you finish rafting. Later we will drive back to our hotel via Liberia City, stopping for a short city tour. Overnight in Playa Panama.
Day 12: Return to San José
Early morning breakfast before our 4 1/2 hour journey to San José, with a stop en route for lunch. This afternoon we enjoy a coffee tour where we learn about the vital role coffee has played in forging democracy in Costa Rica as well as cultivating a national identity. The coffee tour is packed with tips and tricks that will help make your next cup of coffee your best. Learn how to properly store coffee and brew a perfect cappuccino. Observe how experts distinguish good coffees from great ones - and why they ignore their mothers' warnings about slurping. Overnight in San José.
Day 13: Depart San José
Transfer To San José International airport for your homeward flight.
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