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Costa Rica: Cloud Forest to the Caribbean

Costa Rica Expedition

Summary : Discover the wild, rugged beauty of Costa Rica’s mountains, the Caribbean coast, and much more on an inland adventure to a mist-shrouded cloud forest, volcano, lake, and a car-free, jungle village. On this expedition you’ll explore the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Costa Rica, inland rain forests, mountains, and see wonderful wildlife. Walk suspension bridges in the dense forest surrounding Arenal Volcano and relax in nearby hot springs, hike through the mist-shrouded cloud forest reserve in Monteverde with great bird watching, and visit the remote, car-less town of Tortuguero and venture into the rain forest via green-canopied canals.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography


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Day 1
San Jose, Costa Rica

Arrive at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, and transfer to your hotel. Meet your naturalist guide and enjoy a welcome dinner.

Day 2
San Jose / Tarcoles River / Monteverde

Search for American crocodiles on the Tárcoles River. Transfer to Monteverde, where after lunch, you walk the trails of Curi-Cancha Reserve, listening for the mournful song of the black-faced Solitaire or searching the undergrowth for agoutis, a shy mammal of the Latin American tropics. Check into a family-owned retreat, converted from a cattle farm into an eco-lodge and nestled in the misty cloud forest of Monteverde offering the best views of the surrounding mountains, with the Gulf of Nicoya in the distance.

Day 3

After breakfast, visit the renowned Bat Jungle, featuring over one hundred species, where you learn about these fascinating night creatures, essential to the health of tropical forests. After lunch, venture into the legendary Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, seeking out white-headed capuchins and the agile, long-limbed spider monkeys. A variety of hummingbirds--up to an astonishing 30 species--are located here, including the violet sabrewing with its purple glowing iridescence. With luck, you may spot the rare and beautiful resplendent quetzal.

Day 4
Monteverde / Arenal

Begin your day at a butterfly farm where you’ll have the opportunity to see dozens of local species, including individuals of the morpho genus appearing brown with closed wings, only to open and spread to display their fantastic azure coloration. After, you drive to Lake Arenal and cross in small boats for a striking perspective on the volcano. Once on the far side, check into and enjoy your elegant hotel surrounded by tropical forests, gardens, and pastures. Here you have views towards the cone of the smoldering Arenal Volcano, a truly classic Costa Rican scene. Later, relax in some of the naturally heated thermal pools which dot the Arenal landscape.

Day 5
Arenal Volcano

Following breakfast, your morning excursion brings you to the Finca Don Juan. During your walking tour, learn about the the finca’s sustainable farming practices before enjoying an organic lunch. This afternoon, walk the Arenal Mistico Hanging Bridges, strung more than two miles through the rainforest canopy, on the lookout for three-toed sloths, mantled howler monkeys, and stunning tropical birds including rufous motmots, great antshrikes, and blue-and-gold tanagers. Or, for a more active exploration of the tropical canopy, you may choose to travel by zipline.

Day 6
Arenal / Tortuguero

Today depart Lake Arenal and make your way to Tortuguero, a spectacular lowland forest on Costa Rica’s northeast coast. In the afternoon, stroll through the car-less village to browse in small shops before visiting the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the largest green sea turtle rookery in the Western Hemisphere, which also contains nesting populations of leatherback and hawksbill sea-turtles. At the conservancy, you’ll learn about the history of the region and important conservation work taking place on Tortuguero’s beaches. Dine tonight at Miss Junies, a restaurant with a rich heritage and Afro-Caribbean flair, overnighting in the rustic lodge at the water’s edge.

Day 7

This morning, set out by guided boat to explore Tortuguero National Park’s canals, keeping an eye out for sungrebes, rufescent tiger-herons, American crocodiles, and mammals such as white-lipped and collared peccaries, white nosed coatis, and Geoffroy’s spider monkeys. In the early afternoon, choose between additional excursions into the canals or relax to enjoy the lodge’s amenities such as the pool or optional spa treatments (spa treatments at an additional cost).

Day 8
Tortuguero / San Jose

After breakfast, board the charter flight to San José to visit a workshop at Sibu Chocolatier followed by chocolate tasting. After lunch, visit the San Jose Gold Museum before checking into your hotel, the Costa Rica Marriott Hacienda Belen.

Day 9
San Jose, Costa Rica

Transfer to the San Jose airport for flights home.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.


Transfers between airport/ship if booked on recommended flights; charter flight to San Jose on Day 8; land accommodations as per itinerary; kayaking; park fees; meals as per itinerary. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare except mentioned as included; optional extensions; luggage/accident/cancellation insurance; passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages and laundry; gratuities at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photos ©: Mark Cappelletti (Arenal Volcano); C. Daley-Clark (Forest); Ralph Lee Hopkins (Birds, Capuchin Monkeys); Sven-Olof Lindblad (Kayaking, Flower)

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