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Natural Splendors Of Costa Rica

Natural Splendors Of Costa Rica

10 days & 9 nights, Escorted Discovery Group

San Jose, Tortuguero, Arenal & Monteverde

Located between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the small country of Costa Rica is one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth. This journey visits some of the major national parks in the country and explores the astonishing variety of wildlife and contrasting habitats found here, including rainforest, cloud forest, volcanoes, lakes and canals.

  • Day 1
    Arrive San Jose

    You will be met and taken to your hotel.

    Crowne Plaza Corobici Hotel - 2 Nights
  • Day 2
    San Jose

    Poas Volcano is the most visited park in Costa Rica. It features two impressive craters: one active and one that contains a beautiful lake. The massive active crater often has sulphuric smoke rising out of the boiling muddy lake, while the other beautiful crater lake is surrounded by dwarf vegetation and lush cloud forest, with species of birds and plants native to the volcano. The road to the park passes quaint villages, coffee plantations, dairy farms and spectacular views.

    Crowne Plaza Corobici Hotel (B)
  • Day 3
    To Tortuguero

    Travel by road and boat to Tortuguero.

    Make an early morning departure and drive through the lush green Braulio Carillo National Park, which is 95% primary forest. Stop off for a typical Costa Rican breakfast en route, then continue through banana plantations to Pavona or Cano Blanco dock (subject to weather conditions). Journey time is approximately 3 to 4 hours including a breakfast stop.

    On arrival at Cano Blanco pier, you will board a boat for a scenic transfer through canals to the Tortuguero National Park (approximately 1.5 hours). On the way, you may observe different flora, fauna and wildlife.

    Note: We recommend that you pack a smaller bag for your tour to Tortuguero. There is a luggage restriction of one bag of approximately 25lb per person, plus one item of hand luggage, on the boat transfers. Your main luggage can be stored in San Jose and will be given to you when you are collected by our local agents on your return from Tortuguero.

    Note: All transfers to and from your lodge, and all excursions during your stay there, are on a shared basis.

    Mawamba Lodge - 2 Nights (B, L, D)
  • Day 4

    Today, you will take a guided tour of the canals and trails of the Tortuguero National Park, where you may observe the virgin forest's many species of birds, mammals and reptiles.

    Optional early morning (6:00 am) boat tour - please advise your guide if you would like to participate. A night walk is also available at an extra cost and can be booked locally.

    Mawamba Lodge (B, L, D)
  • Day 5
    To Arenal

    Travel from Tortuguero to Arenal via La Selva Biological Station. Total journey time is approximately 8 hours, including stops.

    From Tortuguero, take a shared boat to the Cano Blanco or Pavona dock, a journey of 2 hours. Continue by road to Sarapiqui, a journey of approximately 3.5 hours, including a stop en route for lunch.

    At La Selva Biological Station there will be a short stop to learn about the scientific and conservation work of the researchers and take a short walk in the protected rainforest reserve.

    Continue by road to Arenal, a journey of approximately 2 hours.

    Arenal Paraiso Resort & Spa - 2 Nights (B, L)
  • Day 6

    Cano Negro is one of the most important wetland regions in Central America, considered of international importance as it protects a number of endangered migratory species. Driving north through rolling agricultural land, arrive at the tiny town of Los Chiles, where you board a boat for a trip down the Rio Frio. In addition to the wide range of birds that live along the river (including the anhinga, roseate spoonbill, and wood stork) turtle, caiman, sloth and monkey may be seen.

    Arenal Paraiso Resort & Spa (B, L)
  • Day 7
    To Monteverde

    Drive to Lake Arenal and transfer by shared boat across the lake, a journey of 45 minutes. There you will continue by road to the biological reserve of Monteverde, a journey of approximately 2 hours over unpaved roads, part of which will be on a shared basis.

    This afternoon, visit the Sky Adventure Hanging Bridges and Monteverde Butterfly Garden. Located within a private reserve in the Monteverde cloud forest area, the Sky Adventure hanging bridges are a system of suspended walkways that allow visitors to stroll through the treetops of the cloud forest and get close to the flora and fauna. The tour includes almost a mile of easy trails and features six bridges of different lengths, some of which are up to nearly 800 feet.

    Continue on and visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden, where guides help visitors learn about spiders and insects as well as the great biodiversity of the Monteverde region. After this general overview, continue to the butterfly farm where each of the four butterfly gardens represents a different local habitat including hot lowlands, mid- elevation forest edge, deep forest and cloud forest. See the evolution of these colorful insects and how they are produced for purposes such as natural pest control and silk cloth, or simply to enjoy their beauty. The tour concludes at a special exhibit on leaf cutter ants, one of Costa Rica's most outstanding insects.

    Fonda Vela - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 8

    The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve covers 10,500 hectares and is a private reserve set up by the Quakers who settled in the area in the mid-20th century. A cloud forest is quite a different environment to the rainforests of the rest of the country. The cooler temperatures and high rainfall create an ecosystem which supports a profusion of plant life and a diverse variety of species of birds, amphibians, butterflies, insects and mammals. The reserve has many short and longer trails surrounded by hanging vines and flowering orchids. Take a walk to learn about the varied flora and fauna, while keeping a look out for wildlife, including the elusive quetzal. Comfortable walking shoes, rainwear and a good insect repellent are recommended.

    This afternoon is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Costa Rican traditions. Begin with a walk through the farm and learn about the production of sugarcane, coffee, and the traditional ways of cultivating bananas, arracache (a local legume), avocado, macadamia nuts and other products. There will be a chance to visit the tilapia fish project and a small-forested area where it is possible to see typical flora and fauna of the area. During the tour of the farm, visitors will have the opportunity to collect coffee, transport it to the grinding machines and see how the delicious Monteverde coffee is made. Then take a traditional ox-drawn cart to the sugarcane mill where the owners will demonstrate the process of making brown sugar and all the other types of products made from sugarcane. Learn about the extraction of guaro, a Costa Rican alcohol made from sugarcane, and the production of chocolate, starting with a brief explanation of how the cacao plant develops and the process of bean to bar. End at a spot where artisanal sugar cane candy is made. A small snack and refreshments are served, before you return to your hotel.

    Fonda Vela (B, L)
  • Day 9
    To San Jose via Sarchi

    Drive to San Jose, visiting the handicraft town of Sarchi on the way, which is famous for its painted oxcarts that are symbols of Costa Rican folklore.

    Total journey time is approximately 7 to 8 hours including stops. The first hour of the journey will be on unpaved roads.

    Crowne Plaza Corobici Hotel - 1 Night (B)
  • Day 10
    Depart San Jose

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.

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