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. Explore with a knowledgeable expedition team whose enthusiasm for the region and its biodiversity is contagious.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
Arrive at the international airport in San Jose, Costa Rica and transfer to your hotel. Meet your naturalist guide and enjoy a welcome dinner at the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel.
After an early breakfast head to Tarcoles which lies in the buffer zone of Carara National Park. Enjoy a tour on the Tarcoles River where you'll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of birds and the American Crocodile in its natural habitat. Once you arrive to Monteverde are, lunch will be at a local restaurant before venturing to Curi Cancha, a private reserve in the heart of Monteverde. Afterwards, you'll hear from an early Quaker settler on Monteverde. Then check in to a family-owned retreat with privacy, expansive lawns and picturesque views of the cloud forest.
Today you'll have breakfast at the hotel before visiting a butterfly farm where you'll have the opportunity to see dozens of local species in a short time. After lunch, tour the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve with trained naturalists, relying on their expertise to spot mantled howler monkeys and possibly the rare Resplendent Quetzal.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then visit a family-owned farm practicing sustainable agriculture and traditional sugar processing. A local guide will give a walking tour of the farm to see the original trapiche sugar press. Sample the local sugar cane liquor called guaro. After the tour, drive to Lake Arenal, which you'll cross in 40-passenger boats landing at a restaurant on the lake's far side. From here check into an elegant hotel surrounded by gardens and pastures with grazing animals, and every room offers a panoramic view of the smoldering Arenal Volcano.
Walk the Arenal Hanging Bridges strung more through the rain forest canopy, and then explore the Arenal bridges winding through the dense forest. In the evening, relax in thermal pools naturally heated by the volcano.
Transfer from your hotel to the Arenal airstrip for a charter flight to Tortuguero, a spectacular lowland forest on Costa Rica’s northeast coast, accessible only by water or air. A short boat ride brings you to the rustic Aninga Lodge, set on the water’s edge. Settle into your accommodations in charming private bungalows raised above the rain forest floor and enjoy lunch at the lodge’s restaurant. The lodge also has swimming pools and a walking trail to take advantage of. Later, explore the canals of Tortuguero National Park in small boats with your naturalist guides. Be on the lookout for howler, spider and capuchin monkeys as well as caiman, ibis, tiger herons, curassow and myriad other bird species. Dine tonight at the lodge restaurant, nestled in the middle of the rain forest.
Set out by boat to explore more of Tortuguero National Park’s canals. You can choose guided boats or go by kayak for a more personal exploration. In the early afternoon, you’ll have free time to enjoy the lodge’s amenities such as the pool or optional spa treatments before visiting the Sea Turtle Conservancy. There you’ll learn about the history of the region and important conservation work taking place on Tortuguero’s beaches. Later, stroll through the car-less village to see small shops before dining at Miss Junies, a restaurant with a rich heritage and Afro-Caribbean flair.
En route to San Jose, visit Sibú Chocolatier, makers of some of the world’s finest organic chocolate. Learn the Aztec & Mayan history of the cacao plant and enjoy a workshop on preparing chocolate. The day ends with a farewell dinner.
Transfer to the San Jose airport for flights home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
One-way flight Arenal/Tortuguero on Day 6; accommodations as per the itinerary; non-alcoholic beverages; park fees; use of kayaks; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; other accommodations besides what is listed in the itinerary; 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); © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Birds, Capuchin Monkeys); © C. Daley-Clark (Forest); Sven-Olof Lindblad (Kayaking, Flower);