Day 1: San Jose.
Airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Overnight accommodations at a selected San Jose hotel (Hotel Grano de Oro or similar), breakfast included.
Day 2: San Jose - Tortuguero National Park.
This morning you will be picked up at your hotel and driven through the dramatically scenic forested mountains of Braulio Carillo National Park on your journey to Tortuguero National Park in the northeastern lowlands. Descending from the mountains into the lowlands, you will have a short breakfast stop, and then continue on passing brahma cattle grazing in pastures, banana and pineapple plantations.
Arriving at the docking area you will board a boat and travel through 50 km of rivers and canals before entering rainforest at the entrance of the park. Your boat will bring you to an area lodge where you will enjoy lunch and spend the night. In the afternoon you are able to optionally visit the Tortuguero village (we recommend visiting the small natural history museum there), walk along the beach, or take an optional fishing tour with a local fisherman.
Many residents here are of Jamaican and Honduran-Caribbean descent, and speak a distinctive Patois and fish the canals in small boats or sometimes dugout canoes. During July to September, green sea turtles come ashore at night to nest on the beach and guided tours to observe them are available in the nesting season (at extra cost). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3: Tortuguero National Park.
Today you will take a two to three-hour boat ride touring side canals of Tortuguero National Park with a local guide to observe the spectacular flora and fauna. Using a system of natural and man-made canals you will travel in a lowland tropical rainforest with arching palms and massive trees with giant buttresses. With its abundant wildlife Tortuguero is one of the best areas in Costa Rica for viewing wild animals!
You will have the chance to see everything from a variety of bird species, howling, white-faced, and spider monkeys, sloths, crocodiles; iguanas, basilisk lizards and more from the comfort of your boat. The other half of the day is free for you to enjoy optional activities. You will spend the night at your Tortuguero lodge. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Tortuguero - San Jose - Arenal Volcano.
After breakfast, transfer to the Tortuguero airstrip for a 30-minute flight to San Jose. You will be met at the San Jose Airport by your English-speaking guide and depart for a scenic drive to Arenal Volcano, stopping en route at the Rainforest Aerial Tram where you may chose to ride on the 90-minute tram ride through the Canopy or for the more adventurous, the Canopy zip line tour.
After lunch continue to Arenal. Overnight at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, daily breakfast and dinner included. The Arenal Observatory Lodge was established in 1987 to study the volcano on a site chosen by these scientists for its proximity and safety. The Observatory is 1.6 miles south of the volcano and faces it on a ridge crest at an elevation of 2428 feet.
From this mid-level vantage you'll have an impressive view of the volcano as well as a spectacular view of nearby Lake Arenal. Surrounding the Observatory Lodge is the Arenal Forest Preserve encompassing thousands of acres of pristine rainforest and teems with tropical birds and wildlife. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Arenal - Monteverde.
During the morning you will explore the area near Arenal Volcano with your guide. While viewing the volcano from a safe vantage point, your guide will recount this volcano’s fascinating history and explain its various types of activity. After lunch you will travel into the mountains en route to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the world’s most diverse and richest tropical cloud forests.
As you journey to Monteverde you will pass through small Costa Rican villages and coffee and dairy farms. A cheese factory, live exhibits of butterflies, frogs, orchids, numerous restaurants, and more can be found in the communities near the reserve. Some tours may include lunch with local families or share time with Quakers to hear how they settled Monteverde back in the 1950´s and built a community out of a wilderness. You will spend the night at an attractive area hotel such as the Hotel Fonda Vela (or similar). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
In the morning visit a private reserve to explore a set of trails and canopy walkways amidst cloud forest. The treetop walkways are suitable for people of all ages in good physical condition. After, enjoy lunch in the Monteverde area at a local restaurant before the afternoon hike through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
The remarkable reserve forest is characterized by trees densely covered from top to bottom with moist “carpets” of small plants including mosses, bromeliads, ferns and orchids. This rare type of rainforest is also seasonal home of the legendary crimson and iridescent green Resplendent Quetzal as well as many resident mountain birds. Tonight you will again stay at your Monteverde area hotel. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Monteverde - San Jose.
Depart this morning for San Jose. Overnight at a selected San Jose hotel, breakfast included. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Int'l departure. You will be transferred to the international airport for your departure. Includes: (B).
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