Costa Rica Eco-Adventure
Overview / Highlights11 NIGHTS / 12 DAYS
Merely the size of the State of West Virginia, Costa Rica is a country of spectacular natural beauty boasting an array of attractions including exotic beaches and coral, volcanoes, mountains, tropical rainforests, scarlet sunsets and a very diverse range of wildlife. We designed this program to introduce you to the eco-diversity of Costa Rica. From the exhilarating white-water rafting on the Pacuare River, to Tortuguero, one of the most varied within the Costa Rica park system it boasts 11 ecological habitats, from high rainforest to herbaceous marsh communities, to the still active Arenal Volcano providing a continuous show of sight and sounds courtesy of Mother Nature, ending in Manuel Antonio, arguably Costa Rica’s most popular national park and beach carpeted by lush green rainforest, home to a robust flora and fauna communities.
CitiesSan Jose, Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio
Tour Program Summery Outline
|Click icon to enlarge map to full screen view and back |
Adventure / Beaches / Cosmopolitan Cities / Culinary / Cultural / Eco Tours / Family Adventures / Flora / Luxury / Nightlife
Day 1: Arrive San JoseMeeting services upon arrival and transfer to the boutique Grano de Ouro Hotel, centrally situated near the heart of the capital city, San Jose. The hotel exudes the charm and character of a stately mansion with the comforts and amenities of a fine hotel.
Overnight Grano de Ouro Hotel
Day 2: San Jose – Tortuguero (View Canals, visit Museum and Town)Today begins with an early drive to the Caribbean Coast. We will pass lush Braulio Carrillo National Park before stopping en route for a hearty Costa Rican breakfast. Then we continue to a small river dock, where we transfer to motorized canoes and begin our explorations through Tortuguero’s eco-rich canals. This part of the transfer is a tour itself as you will be able to spot many tropical birds and occasionally monkeys and sloth. The system of waterways making up the canals crisscross the national park and provide the perfect habitat for 57 species of amphibians, 111 species of reptiles and 60 species of mammals. We enjoy a refreshing cocktail and delicious lunch as a welcome to Manatus Hotel. After lunch, we will visit the museum, the beach area and the small and picturesque town of Tortuguero. Dinner will be served upon the return to the lodge. Overnight Manatus Hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Tortuguero (Select Activities)Optional early sunrise boat tour specially recommended for bird watchers. Regular activities start around 9am with a quick boat transfer followed by a hike along forest trails. Here you will experience firsthand the rainforest’s magic, with its luxuriant vegetation and unique residents including monkeys, sloth, toucans, red frogs, bullet ants and other incredible creatures. A more challenging option will take you to the top of Tortuguero Hill for sweeping views of the park, canals and beach. This afternoon, after lunch at the lodge, we depart on another boat excursion, conducted by our guides, who will take us to their favorite spots in the park.
Overnight Manatus Hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Tortuguero – ArenalFollowing breakfast begin the boat transfer via the canals to Siquirres where we continue by car to Arenal Volcano, a must see region when visiting Costa Rica. Arenal owes its main fame to its towering volcano, which until recently was continuously active. We arrive at the San Carlos Region and the Arenal Volcano situated amidst the northern region of Costa Rica, near the base of the magnificent Arenal Volcano. As we approach La Fortuna Arenal Volcano’s imposing silhouette will start emerging on the horizon arriving at the Nayara Springs is a new ultra-exclusive boutique hotel located in the Arenal Volcano National Park, host to one of the world’s highest concentration of tropical plants and wildlife. Sitting on an unspoiled mountain, the cluster of secluded luxury villas are surrounded by the lush vegetation of Costa Rica’s pristine rainforest, and bounded by a creek and underground mineral thermal springs.
Overnight at the Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens. (B)
Day 5: Arenal (Sky Tram & Sky Trek + Hike Arenal)This morning we experience the forest from a completely different perspective as you view the environs of the jungle from the canopy tops. We enter the Arenal Reserve, a tourism complex inside the tropical rain forest, offering adventure tours, bird watching, forest hiking, research and diverse entertainment for all ages. Our tour begins with a ride in the Sky Tram; a gondola will take you to the top of the mountain. From this point you can appreciate the forest, Arenal lagoon and Volcano, continuing with the Sky Trek a secure system of trails zip lines.
In the afternoon we visit the National Park, where you will walk along the old lava beds in the park. Along the beautiful hike, you'll learn about the active volcano, the tropical forest surrounding it and the abundant wildlife from an informative guide. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the tour is what you will learn about this captivating ecological paradise.
Next you will be going to the Tabacon Hot Springs, a truly luxurious, world renowned resort. This natural hot spring resort features a hot river that flows through a series of pools and tributaries. From cascading falls to tropical gardens, Tabacon is a very unique location, very well deserving of its immense popularity. Following the relaxing hot springs, the group will enjoy a delicious meal at the Tabacon resort before returning to the hotel. Overnight at the Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens. (B,D)
Day 6: Arenal (Whitewater River Rafting)Early morning pick you up for the transfer to the Sarapiqui River (or Rio Toro). Upon arrival to the river there will be some brief safety instructions before starting out on this incredible rafting journey. This stunning rainforest river offers an excellent choice for a first rafting trip to Costa Rica. Vegetation and thick tree canopy along the narrow, winding river are home to cormorants, kingfishers, howler monkeys, hummingbirds and much more. Depending on weather conditions, we may be able to offer Class IV rapids but those opting for Class IV adventure must have proper experience – be of excellent physical condition and at least 14 years old. After finishing return to the Arenal for this evening’s activities. Overnight at the Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens. (B,D)
Day 7: Arenal - Monteverde Cloud Forest (Butterfly Farm)Today we transfer by car and boat and car again, to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, a peaceful dairy community settled by Quakers from the United States back in 1950, most of whom were conscientious objectors of the Korean War. One of the major attributes of Costa Rica is its unique and diverse topography, boasting a broad and varied spectrum of ecosystems. Today we enter a deferent ecosystem than we have experienced thus far. A cloud forest is a unique ecosystem that typically resides in a tropical or subtropical mountainous environments characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Straddling the Continental Divide at 5,000 feet above sea level, the world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest offers a unique eco blend of mountains, rainforests and cloud forests, creating a habitat that is hospitable for huge numbers of plants and animals.
We check into the Belmar Hotel providing spectacular views and personalized service in a comfortable and rustic atmosphere combined with the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The rooms overlook either the Nicoya Gulf and Peninsula, or the rainforest.
Next we take a guided walk inside one of the world's largest live butterfly exhibitions with an area of over 29,000 square feet. It gathers more than 20 species of butterflies. Learn about their life cycle, their special abilities and behaviors that have helped them evolve into each different species. We also visit the Hummingbird Garden boasting over 100 beautiful hummingbirds flying cheerfully around you! More than 14 species of hummingbirds will amaze you with their incredible aerial maneuvers and bright lively colors.
Overnight at the Belmar Hotel. (B)
Day 8: Monteverde Cloud Forest (Cloud Forest)This morning we depart for an early visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve with your guide. Monteverde is a peaceful dairy community located 4,600 feet above sea level in the Tilaran Mountains. The most important cloud forest in Costa Rica, the reserve protects an area of approximately 20,000 acres. The temperature and humidity level in Monteverde changes dramatically over relatively short distances, allowing six different ecological communities to exist with relatively little change in elevation. Over 2,000 plant species are native to the area, including a host of wild orchids. This is home to more than 320 species of birds and 100 species of mammals. Some of the most notable species that can be found here include Baird's tapir, jaguar, ocelot, resplendent quetzal, Black guan, Three-wattled bellbird and Bare-necked Umbrella bird. You will see giant pipers, beautiful strangler figs, roadside Spanish flag orchids (epidendrum radicans) and abundant epiphytic vegetation.
Overnight at the Belmar Hotel. (B)
Day 9: Monteverde – Manuel Antonio (Villa Lapas & Carara Reserve)Morning transfer to Manuel Antonio. En-route stop at Villa Lapas situated at the outskirts of the Carara Biological Reserve that protects one of the last remnants of an ecological transition zone between Costa Rica's drier northwest and the more humid southwest and thus is rich in a collection of plants and animals. We stop for lunch and to experience the Hanging Bridges, an inspiring rainforest canopy tour on a SkyWay made up of hanging bridges teetering amid the canopy on a system of suspended bridges. Here we observe a vast variety of plant, animal and insect species which can only be seen from these elevated heights, all from a safe and comfortable point of view.
We continue our adventurous drive to arrive at Manuel Antonio and check in to the Parador Hotel. Enthroned atop a majestic bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by 400 acres of lush tropical rainforest, Hotel Parador “Boutique Resort”, is located in the most remote and pristine area of Manuel Antonio, yet within minutes from the World Famous Manuel Antonio National Park, the small sport fishing town of Quepos, and the local airport. Exciting tours such as canopying, rafting and jungle cruises are all close by. Just 10 minutes walking distance from the hotel, hidden in a secluded bay you will find the most breathtaking white sand beach surrounded by tranquil turquoise waters and jungle. The hotel was built in an elegant Mediterranean – style architecture, modeled after the Traditional Spanish Paradores and quaint European “boutique hotels”, renders the resort as one of a kind. Since opening in 1995 the Hotel Parador has been a hidden getaway in Costa Rica for many celebrities including Don Johnson, Charlie Sheen, Lorenzo Lamas, Eric Roberts and many more. Overnight at the Parador Hotel. (B,L)
Day 10: Manuel Antonio (National Park & Ocean Kayaking Tours)Morning tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, considered one of the most beautiful parks in Costa Rica. The principal natural communities are the primary forest, secondary forest, mangrove forest, lagoon and beach vegetation. The park includes 12 small islands just off the coast which are excellent bird refuges. Although impacted by uncontrolled visitation, the fauna remains varied with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds including the Fiery-billed Aracari, Chestnut-Backed Antbird, White-necked Jacobin, Baird's trogon, Orange-collared Manakin, Blue-throated Goldentail and Blue-black grosbeak. An early morning trail walk should allow you to spot Squirrel Monkeys, Three-toed sloths and Agoutis. Today we visit Manuel Antonio National Park with an easy hike through nature trails takes us into the heart of the forest to observe a variety of flora and fauna, including white-faced capuchin monkeys, raccoons, and countless tropical birds. We will also have time to take a dip in the warm waters of the Pacific. Afternoon free or take an optional horseback riding adventure.
This afternoon we experience one of Costa Rica’s most striking coastlines and National Parks, by open-seat ocean kayak. An adventure for all to enjoy themselves and submerse themselves into the beauties of the underwater world; the trip begins near the developing Pez Vela Marina in Quepos and winds along the Manuel Antonio coastline. Once you have arrived at Blezans Bay, there will be plenty of the best snorkeling spots to be pointed out by your guide. If snorkeling is not for you take a swim and enjoy the snacks and refreshments on shore. The adventure will continue towards Manuel Antonio National Park, passing nearby nesting islands and popular locations for local aquatic marine life. At the Manuel Antonio beach you will stop off to enjoy a Tico style mean before returning back to your hotel. Afternoon is free to relax or take another adventure tour.
Overnight at the Parador Hotel. (B,L)