Costa Rica Nature Explorer

Overview

Costa Rica is a country rich in biodiversity and synonymous with spectacular natural scenery. This 11 Night/12-day exploration trip takes guests from Caribbean to the Pacific between turtle nesting grounds to coastal rain forests and around stunning lakes to iconic volcanos. You will wind your way through dramatic scenery that jets from volcanic heights to the shores of the Pacific, all the time immersed in natural playground. The renowned friendly Pura Vida spirit welcomes us at each new location.

Highlights

• Enjoy secluded wilderness ecolodges, search for exotic birds and jungle wildlife on guided rain forest hikes, get a bird’s eye canopy view on a hanging bridges walk, and end each evening with spectacular sunsets of the Pacific.
• Explore the lunar-like landscape and green lagoon filled Irazú volcano crater, cruise by boat through the Amazon like Tortuguero canals, Discover the most stunning views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal and relax in the volcanic hot springs.
• Get the inside track with your esteemed local naturalist guide and travel aboard comfortable private transportation throughout your trip.

Includes

Local guide accompanies group throughout trip
Guided visit to Irazú Volcano and beautiful Orosí Valley
Wildlife Boat Tour of Tortuguero Canals
Visit Tortuguero Village & Turtle Museum
Entrance to Tortuguero National Park
11 kilometers of hiking trails on the hotel’s 870-acre (352-hectare) property (Arenal)
Adventure choice Arenal (Pick between Raft & Rappell or Chocolate Tour, Waterfall & Tortilla making)
Guided trek on the Hanging Bridges in Arenal
Ecotermales natural volcanic mineral-rich hot springs
Guided Night Hike in the cloud forest
Visit to CASEM (the Cooperativa de Artesanas de Santa Elena y Monteverde) local woman’s artist cooperative.
Guided Hike in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve & Hummingbird Gardens
Stop at Monteverde Cheese & Ice Cream Plant
Adventure choice Manuel Antonio (Pick between Mangrove Kayaking or Catamaran Coastal Sail)
Breakfasts (11), Lunches (6), Dinners (9)

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival to San Jose

Arrival in San José at Juan Santa Maria International Airport. Depending on your arrival time you may want to visit the Gold or Jade Museum.

If you head to Juan Mora Fernández Square and Avenida Central, you can take in the local culture, sip some delicious Costa Rican coffee or visit the “Teatro Nacional,” a replica of the Paris Opera House.

There is also a vibrant night scene in the neighboring suburb, Escazú, with a large shopping malls, restaurants and bars. Lunch and Dinner are on your own today.
Overnight San José hotel

Day 2 - San José / Irazú Volcano / Orosí Valley

Breakfast at the hotel. Costa Rica has many active and inactive volcanoes, and few are as spectacular to see and photograph as Irazú Volcano. The incredible blue color of the water in the crater, surrounded by giant leafed foliage contrasted against the barren volcanic landscape and rubble make it stand out even more.

Standing at an elevation of more than 12,000 feet, it can get quite chilly, so you will want to bring a jacket. This memorable, picturesque spot is only the beginning of your amazing journey, but it will definitely be one that makes a lasting impression. Our visit to Irazú is followed by a stop to the Orosí valley village to see the Costa Rica’s oldest church built in 1743 and is still in use with a stop for lunch at one of the local restaurants. Dinner included in the evening
Overnight San José hotel

Day 3 - San Jose - Braulio Carrillo National Park / Banana Plantations / Tortuguero

Early morning departure from the hotel allows you to get out of the city and on your way to the northern Carribbean coast with a breathtaking drive through the amazing green walls of Braulio Carrillo National Park. You will stop and enjoy the fresh, tropical air while eating a delicious typical “Tico” breakfast.

As you pass through a banana plantation you will learn about the cultivation and production processes of this popular fruit. After you reach the dock, you will continue on your journey via boat trip that leads to the remote Tortuguero canals to your rustic but comfortable ecolodge located on the waterway canals. After you arrive at the lodge and check in, you will enjoy lunch.

This afternoon you will visit the quaint village of Tortuguero, a picturesque community accessible only by boat. Your guide will give you time to explore the green sea turtle museum and the beautiful Atlantic beach. Enjoy some time in the hammock or by the pool before enjoying a delicious dinner. While sleeping tonight, you will be lulled to sleep by the sounds and rhythm of the jungle.
NOTE: Day 2 and 3 schedules may be reversed, depending upon your day of arrival. Guide will go over scheduled activities at check-in.
Overnight at Tortuguero area hotel.

Day 4 - Tortuguero

Breakfast at the lodge. Today, you will explore the canals of Tortuguero, known as the “Amazon of Costa Rica,” in search of wildlife and reptiles with your experienced guide. The small boats make it easy to get close to the many species of birds, monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, manatees and fish native to Tortuguero National Park.

This afternoon you will be free to hike, explore, rent a kayak or get out the binoculars for some great wildlife viewing on the property. Relax and take a dip in the pool and a refreshing shower before dinner at the lodge.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you might consider this optional activity: Turtle Nesting Tour (July-October) or Guided Hike.
Overnight Ecolodge Tortuguero

Day 5 - Tortuguero - Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna)

Your return journey from Tortuguero takes you back to the dock and the van that will be waiting for you. Enjoy lunch before heading to the northern interior of Costa Rica. When you catch your first glimpse of Arenal Volcano you will be mesmerized by its beauty, so have your camera ready. This sight will leave an unforgettable image in your mind, you will treasure.

You are very likely to see monkey, coatimundis and toucans along the way. Arenal Observatory Lodge is a renowned destination for bird watching in Costa Rica, with more than 500 species of birds noted so far in this dense forest. Nature calls early in Costa Rica. What you will see is worth rising at first light. Wake to the sounds and sights of howler monkeys and birds as your natural alarm clock each morning.
Dinner at your hotel in Arenal.
Overnight Arenal hotel

Day 6 - Your trip - Your adventure! / Volcanic Hot Springs

Breakfast at the lodge. You pick your adventure. Choose between the high adrenaline Raft and Rappel adventure OR get a taste of Arenal with the Chocolate Tour, La Fortuna waterfall and Tortilla making with Doña Mara.

Option # 1 Raft and Rappel Combo – This high adventure tour lets guests enjoy the the renowned natural paradise of the La Fortuna area on this combo rappelling and rafting tour. Descend down a series of tropical waterfalls before rafting down Class II and III rapids on the Balsa River, all with the assistance of a guide who helps ensure your safety and entertainment.

Option # 2 Chocolate Tour, La Fortuna Waterfall and Tortilla making with Dona Mara Get a taste of Arenal and be pampered by the chocolate flavors and aromas during the chocolate tour where we learn how chocolate is processed bean to bar followed by the great natural beauty of La Fortuna Waterfall. Take in the jungle surroundings and cool off in the in crystalline waters After the waterfall, Doña Mara will welcome us into her home for a traditional lunch and tortilla making lessons.

Day 7 - Arenal Volcano - Monteverde Cloud Forest / Hanging Bridges / Night Hike

Breakfast at the lodge. Today as you transfer around Lake Arenal, you will get parting shots of Arenal Volcano and see the lake from different angles. Before we head around the lake you will enjoy birds eye views of the canopy on the hanging bridges guided walk. Monteverde, set in a unique region in the heart of the cloud forest is renowned for many species of birds, both native and migratory birds, including the Resplendant Quetzal and the three-wattled Bell Bird.

Once you arrive at your hotel, you can stroll or hike around the grounds or just relax and breathe in the extremely fresh air and enjoy the sounds of nature that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and energized. But you will want to be on your balcony with your camera ready in time for nature’s show, because experiencing a sunset here will leave an imprint on your soul and mind. From here you can enjoy the breathtaking vista of the Gulf of Nicoya and the valleys below, which seem to extend forever. Tonight, your guide will take you on a Night Hike at Valle Escondido where you can visit the nocturnal vibrations of the area wildlife. Dinner included at your hotel.
Overnight Monteverde hotel

Day 8 - Explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest area

Early morning and late afternoon when birds are roosting are great times to hike and listen to the sounds of nature. Your early morning guided tour in the Monteverde Cloud Reserve is your chance to spot the Resplendant Quetzal, Three-Wattled Bell Bird, trogons, tanagers and many species that either live in the region or migrate to this birdwatching paradise annually. And, as you stand very still in the gardens on the outskirts of the reserve, you will be surrounded by hundreds of hummingbirds flittering and around you, a simply unforgettable experience.

After your visit to Monteverde Reserve, you will get a chance to meet CASEM (the Cooperativa de Artesanas de Santa Elena y Monteverde), a non-profit group dedicated to enhancing the economic and social well-being of local female artists. Spend time on your own getting to know the quaint town of Santa Elena in the heart of Monteverde where you will have time to shop and have lunch on your own — one of our top picks would be the tree-house restaurant wrapped around an enormous, stately ficus tree! While in town, you can stop at the Monteverde cheese factory, a main source of income for the region, where you can purchase an incredibly creamy ice cream cone or shake — chocolate-cherry is an excellent combination to try! Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight Monteverde hotel

Day 9 - Monteverde Cloud Forest - Pacific Ocean (Manuel Antonio)

Breakfast at the hotel.
Breathe in the cool, fresh air of Monteverde this morning as you take in the lush greenery and sounds of the cloud forest. Today you will be experiencing a change in both climate and temperature when you reach the South-Central Pacific beaches of Costa Rica. Along the way you will wind through the mountains, then to the lower elevation where you may see scarlet macaws. After you reach Manuel Antonio, you will have free time to explore, hike or head to the beautiful beach and blue waters of the Pacific.

On the grounds of the hotel, you can enjoy hiking through the rainforest paths and tropical gardens, filled with trees and offering abundant opportunities to view the diverse number of bird species that live or migrate here. Toucans, flocks of parrots and hundreds of butterflies grace the grounds, inviting you to explore nature
Dinner at your hotel.
Overnight Manuel Antonio area hotel.

Day 10 - Your trip -Your adventure! - Manuel Antonio

Breakfast at the hotel.
Today you will have your choice of adventures.

Option # 1 – Mangrove Kayaking: Depending on tide paddle protected waterways and explore the coastal mangrove areas and a diversity of tropical plants and wildlife. You will kayak through Damas Island and spend the next two hours kayaking through the narrow canals of the mangroves, while learning about this unique ecosystem and hopefully spotting some interesting wildlife

Option # 2 – Catamarán Coastal Sail Catamaran Coastal Cruise. Motor along the central pacific coast of Quepos and Manuel Antonio and see the Manuel Antonio coast line from the water. This 3 to 4-hour trip lets guests relax on a boat while taking in beautiful scenery, take a dip into the refreshing Pacific Ocean and snorkel around the famous Biesanz rock beach. Drinks and snacks are included

Final group dinner at the El Avion
We will enjoy our last evening at the beach at the famous El Avion restaurant. El Avion is built into and around an actual, real, historical airplane that was part of the scandal that involved Oliver North and the illegal selling of arms of rebels in Nicaragua. Get the full story from your waiter and a great meal with spectacular ocean views.
Overnight Manuel Antonio area hotel.

Day 11 - Manuel Antonio – San José

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning you are free to enjoy a walk on the beach or go hiking along paths in the rainforest and tropical gardens before packing up for the drive to San José.

Free evening to explore and enjoy the vibrant capital city of San José. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and discos in San José, but if night life is not your style maybe you want to stop by the grocery store to stock up on Costa Rican coffee, tabasco, salsa inglesa, chocolates or perhaps some of the hand-crafted artisenal items like wooden bowls, feathers painitngs or leather products.
Overnight San José area hotel

Day 12 - Departure

Breakfast at your hotel. You will transfer to Juan Santa Maria International Airport for your flight home. You head will be filled with memories of Costa Rica, the charming, genuine “Ticos” you have met and the indelible experiences you have had along the way.

Now you know the meaning of Pura Vida!

Available in:

- THIS TEXT IS JUST FOR REFERENCE, COULD BE REMOVED-

  • Papagayo
  • Arenal
  • Tamarindo
  • Flamingo
  • Conchal

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*Prices reflect the least expensive rates during low season and are subject to change at any time. You will receive a 100% accurate price when you inquire with us. The rates listed here, are per person, double occupancy accommodation and include taxes, domestic transport, tours and hotels as described, unless otherwise indicated. Price does NOT include international airfare or optional travel insurance or any other services not expressly mentioned. Prices are expressed in US dollars unless indicated otherwise.