Costa Rica - Rainforest Adventure

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Day 1: Arrive in San Jose

You will be met on your arrival at San Jose Airport and transferred to our hotel. Later in the evening, we meet our guide for dinner and orientation meeting.

Overnight in San Jose.

 

Day 2: To Tortuguero N.P. via Braulio Carrillo N.P.

Early morning, depart San Jose for the Caribbean coast. Enroute, we drive through Braulio Carrillo National Park, enjoying wonderful views of the rainforest. Upon arrival in Cano Blanco or La Pavona (depending on weather conditions) we transfer to our 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 visit the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle Museum founded by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. The late Dr. Archie Carr began to study and tag the thousands of Atlantic green sea turtles that every year from June through October come to Tortuguero Beach to lay their eggs. Originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic green sea turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 51,870 acres, one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. Eleven habitats are found in the park. Three species of monkeys (spider, howler and white-faced), three-toed sloths and river otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caiman, iguanas, river turtles, basilisk lizards and poison dart Dendrobates frogs inhabit the area. 320 species of birds including all 6 species of king fishers, 3 species of toucans, 8 species of parrots and other neotropical species such as the slaty-tailed trogon, white-collared manakin, purple-throated ruitcrow and white-fronted nunbird all inhabit the area. We will have the opportunity to observe them during our ride through the creeks of Tortuguero National Park.

Your guide will also take you to the village of Tortuguero to learn about the history of the village, visit the park headquarters and walk past colorful Afro-Caribbean homes.

Dinner and overnight in Tortuguero.

 

Day 3: Wildlife of Tortuguero National Park

Today we travel by boat to explore the canals of Tortuguero and Cano Harold (Harold's Canal) in Tortuguero National Park. During our visit to Cano Harold, we have the opportunity to see bare-throated tiger herons, snowy egrets, boat billed herons and other species which are known to nest here. We return to the lodge in the late afternoon to relax before dinner. There may be an opportunity of an afternoon optional garden walk with your Guide.

Dinner and overnight in Tortuguero.

 

Day 4: Canals of Tortuguero, to Sarapiqui

After breakfast, we depart via the stunning wildlife rich canals of Tortuguero to Cano Blanco or La Pavona (depending on weather conditions) where we transfer to our vehicle and continue to Sarapiqui, stopping for lunch on our way to the hotel.

Upon arrival at the hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the surrounding grounds of lush vegetation, lakes and rivers.

Dinner and overnight in Sarapiqui.

 

Day 5: Sarapiqui Rafting Adventure

This morning, enjoy an exciting river rafting adventure (Class III). (Rafting is optional.) Make sure you keep an eye out for birds and wildlife while enjoying your adrenaline rush.

After lunch, we will visit a certified organic pineapple farm. Considered to be one of the pioneers in organic production, we will learn about the cultivation of pineapples in harmony with nature.

Return to the hotel in the late afternoon where you have some time to relax before dinner.

Overnight in Sarapiqui.

 

Day 6: To Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs

After breakfast, we will explore the secrets and wonders of one of mankind's favorite foods: chocolate. Our tour will demonstrate the traditional methods and how it was prepared in ancient times.

We then make our way to Arenal, driving by many large cattle farms, as well as yuca, plantain and papaya plantations. We stop for lunch in La Fortuna in San Carlos Valley, the town at the base of Arenal volcano. Arrive at the hotel in time for an afternoon rest before we enjoy the Eco-Termales Hot Water Springs followed by dinner.

Overnight in Arenal and if mother nature permits, view the volcanic activity.

 

Day 7: Waterfall Walk and Arenal Hanging Bridges

In the morning, we visit La Fortuna Waterfall and hike down stairs to where the water plummets 200 ft (65 m) into an emerald pool. If you're feeling adventurous, you can swim in the chilly water.

After lunch, enjoy an afternoon hike in the Arenal Hanging Bridges with your guide. 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 16 bridges (8 hanging) from 5 to 100 meters long that cross the rain forest and a 3 km circuit of interpretive trails.

Overnight in Arenal.

 

Day 8: To Monteverde Cloud Forest

After breakfast, we depart for Monteverde. Enroute, we take a 2-hour boat journey across Lake Arenal to Rio Chiquito, to meet the locals and learn about their village life. We meet up again with our bus to continue our journey to Monteverde. 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, is the home of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest, and the Santa Elena Reserve. In the afternoon, enjoy a walk in the Monteverde Lodge Gardens with your guide.

Dinner and overnight in Monteverde.

 

Day 9: Monteverde and Ziplining

After breakfast, we drive to Selvatura Park to enjoy one of the best ziplines in the country with 15 cables and 18 platforms in a 850 acres secondary forest. (Ziplining is optional.) As you and your adrenaline return to terra firma, enjoy a visit to a butterfly garden where we can see many of the 425 species of butterflies that can be found in Costa Rica.

After lunch, we continue driving to Monteverde Cloud forest. Founded in 1972, the Reserve extends down both slopes of the Tilarán 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.

Dinner and overnight in Monteverde.

 

Day 10: Rincon de la Vieja, Local Communities

Today we travel to Rincon de la Vieja. The continental divide has created a dry forest on one side of Rincon de la Vieja National Park and lush rainforest on the other. Not only is the area naturally fascinating but offers the opportunity to visit some of the local, untouched communities. We visit the community of El Gavilan, where we will meet the town mayor, Don Gerardo and have lunch with some of the local families in their homes.

After lunch, arrive at our hotel where you can enjoy a visit to the botanical gardens, hot springs or even a mud bath
.
Dinner and overnight in Rincon de la Vieja.

 

Day 11: Blue River - Horseback Riding, Hiking, Waterfalls and River Swim

The Blue River is not only a naturally beautiful volcanic river but also offers health giving minerals. We set out on our journey by horseback until we reach our destination at the Blue River. (Traveling by horseback is optional.) We then begin our hike to a beautiful waterfall that is the perfect setting to enjoy our picnic lunch. Be sure to bring along your swimsuit, as there are several opportunities to enjoy a refreshing dip in the beautiful and aptly named Blue River. This is a perfect setting to enjoy a restful yet exciting afternoon and cool off in the beautiful blue waters.

Dinner and overnight in Rincon de la Vieja.

 

Day 12: To Manuel Antonio N. P., Indigenous Pottery Village & Crocodile Safari

Enroute to Manuel Antonio, we have the unique opportunity to visit with an indigenous village famous for pottery making. Here in the village of Guaitil, the native Chorotegas make pottery the same way their ancestors did over 900 years ago. It is one of the few remaining villages of pre-Columbian Costa Rica that was a land rich in trading for the Inca and Mayan Empires.

We will also make a stop at a crocodile safari on the Tarcoles River before we arrive at Manuel Antonio National Park for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 13: Manuel Antonio N. P.

Today we will have a guided tour of Manuel Antonio with its impressive landscapes and many coves with white sand beaches amidst great mountains and tropical forests. Despite being Costa Rica's smallest national park, its biodiversity is impressive. You can see sloths, mantled howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, white-headed capuchin monkeys, iguanas, common basilisk, 184 bird species (including toucans, woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, turkey vultures, parakeets and hawks). It is also possible to see dolphins as well as the occasional migrating whale.

After lunch, you will have free time to enjoy the park in search of wildlife, go for a hike, a swim or do absolutely nothing but relax and enjoy our surroundings.

Dinner and overnight in Manuel Antonio National Park.

 

Day 14: To San Jose, Coffee Tour

Today we return to the capital of San Jose where will have time to reflect on our adventure during our farewell dinner this evening.

Along the way, we will visit Doka Estate, the oldest humid coffee processing plant declared an Architectural Heritage for Humanity, that works with hydralic power. We learn about the vital role coffee has played in forging democracy in Costa Rica, as well as cultivating a national identity. The introduction of coffee provided a product suitable for export along with bananas. Today, both remain two of the most important crops in Costa Rica. The coffee tour is packed with tips and tricks that will help make your next cup of coffee your best and learn how to properly store coffee. Of course, there is always the opportunity for great birding anywhere in Costa Rica.

Farewell dinner and overnight in San Jose.

 

Day 15: Depart San Jose

Transfer to San Jose International airport for your homeward flight.

 
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