Day 1 – Arrival:
Arrival in San José and transfer to your city hotel El Sesteo, located 15 walking minutes from San José's city center, with a pool area in a tropical atmosphere. Overnight stay El Sesteo***.
Day 2 - San José, Poás Volcano:
After breakfast you will be picked up by your guide for a city tour in San José. Around noon time continue to Poás Volcano (about. 1.5 hours). Overnight stay Poás Lodge**.
Day 3 - Poás Volcano:
Since the early morning offers the best chance for a clear, cloudless view of the 14,000 acre nature reserve of Poás Volcano, today we start very early from the lodge. The active crater with temperatures between 104o and 158o F is located in the center of the park; the poisonous sulfur fumes do not allow any life near by but make Poás - because of the gas process - the world’s second biggest geyser. We then pass by car Costa Rica’s most impressing waterfall - Catarata La Paz - that comes down on the east slope of Poás Volcano over 3,900 feet in different cascades. We will stop at an amazing hummingbird gallery before continuing our trip to the Laguna del Lagarto Lodge. Overnight stay Lagarto Lodge**.
Day 4 - Rainforest Rio San Carlos:
The Laguna del Lagarto Lodge is situated in a 1,200 acres rainforest area in the north of the country and nestles harmonically to the surrounding landscape. Just a few years ago, the trip to this beautiful place would have meant an expedition of several days. Today, it is accessible within 3 to 4 hours by 4x4 on an adventurous gravel road. Pure jungle! Stroll alone or with a naturalist guide through tropical primary forest: different trails of more than 10 miles length give you the opportunity for unique exploration of this almost untouched paradise which shows up an unimaginable variety of animals and plants: red and green poison dart frogs, monkeys, more than 350 species of birds, amongst them macaws, toucans and humming birds. This region is one of the few where the great green macaw, in danger of extinction, can still be seen. Bordering the rain forest, several lagoons invite you to explore the area by waterway in canoes: many kinds of bromeliad, nesting bats and bright green „Jesu Cristo" lizards (so-called because they can walk on the water surface) have their home here. After sunset, you even have the opportunity to observe the caimans that live in the lagoons while they are being fed. The evenings on the covered porch with a cool drink and the background concert of the „jungle inhabitants" are unforgettable... Overnight stay Laguna del Lagarto Lodge**.
Day 5 - Arenal Volcano:
About 3 hours ride to Fortuna and Arenal Volcano, through the mountains of the Cordillera Central, passing coffee and fruit plantations. In the afternoon visit the National Park and go for a hike over the lava fields at the foot of awesome Arenal. In the evening at the hot springs of Tabacon (OPTIONAL), you may enjoy a bath in the sulfur water of a little river forming natural pools within a beautiful tropical setting, where - with some luck - you will be able to watch the fascinating volcano eruptions of red sparkling lava. Overnight stay Volcano Lodge*** or similar.
Day 6 - Vulkan Rincon de la Vieja:
Ride around Arenal Lake to Cañas. Optional: Scenic raft trip on the Rio Corobicí. The river is quite gentle, and since the guide does all the paddling, all you have to do is to sit back, relax and enjoy looking at the tropical forest with all its wildlife, especially birds. We then take the Interamericana north via Liberia to Rincón de la Vieja National Park. This 14,000 hectare national park is a volcanic massif of which the burnt-out Santa Maria (1,672 m) and the gently active Rincón de la Vieja (1896m that last erupted in November of 1995) are the highest volcanoes. Experience on a hike the fascinating fauna and flora that changes from wet and dry to cloud forest; geysers, boiling mud pools, fumaroles and hot sulfur springs will take you into the magic world of Rincón de la Vieja! You are accommodated at a rustic mountain lodge at the foot of the volcano hills. Overnight stay Hacienda Lodge Guachipelin***.
Day 7 - Rincón de la Vieja Volcano:
After breakfast, our hikes through the national parks start: we hike about 2 hours through wet forest where we have to cross several times different mountain rivers and over dry and hot plateaus with little vegetation (paramó) and finally reach the „Blue Lake" whose natural basin is nourished by a beautiful waterfall, the turquoise-blue water of which is most inviting us for a refreshing swim. After a picnic lunch we continue our hike down to the park’s main attractions: bubbling mud pools, pits of boiling hot water, vapor geysers and fumaroles (deep holes that emit sulfurous vapor) give us a very impressive idea of a volcano’s natural power. We then return in time to the lodge for our dinner. Overnight stay Hacienda Lodge Guachipelin***.
(B), (L), (D)
Day 8 - Monteverde Cloudforest:
In the morning, we take the Interamericana south and then turn left on an adventurous gravel road that will take us on a 35 km long and difficult ride to Sta. Elena. Arrival around noontime at the Arco Iris Lodge, a very personally managed hotel with rustic, nicely decorated cabinas in a beautiful garden. Overnight stay Arco Iris Lodge*** or similar.
Day 9 - Monteverde Cloudforest:
Early morning is the best time to observe birds, and so we start our walk through the Sta. Elena Nature Reserve very early. Right at the entrance, we will already meet many different kinds of hummingbirds that come very close to their feeding stations. In the early afternoon, we will go for a walk in the sky - „Skywalk" - a complex of suspended bridges (the largest is 120 m long and 42 m high), platforms and trails, built within the cloud forest, allows a vision from a different perspective which starts with a walk on the ground through the forest and takes you up to explore the tops of the trees, a world which is very close but yet unknown to most of us - the canopy of the cloud forest. The rest of the afternoon is at your disposal: relax in a hammock in a shady spot in the lodge’s garden; visit the interesting serpentarium or walk through primary and secondary forest as well as coffee and banana plantations of an ecological farm. Or would you rather prefer a visit of the Orchid Garden or horseback riding? Overnight stay Arco Iris Lodge*** or similar.
Day 10 – Return to San Jose:
Today, you will return to San José where the late afternoon is at your disposal: you will have the opportunity just to stroll around or to shop for some souvenirs. Overnight stay Hotel El Sesteo***.
Day 11 – Departure:
Transfer to the airport or transfer to the booked beach hotel.
This tour is available in 3 different versions:
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Central America and Caribbean Costa Rica Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking