Highlights: Monteverde Cloudforest-Arenal Volcano-Tortuguero National Park.
Day 1: Arrival San Jose, Costa Rica.
Day 2: Monteverde.
After a welcome orientation breakfast, you will be picked up for the 4 1/2-hour drive to Monteverde. The first 2 hours are on the Pan-American Highway and the last 2 are on a winding gravel road. Arrive at Monteverde hotel in time for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Ecological Farm. This small private reserve provides the chance to see flora, birds and mammals. Dinner and overnight at your Monteverde hotel (cool climate). Includes: (B), (L), (D);
Day 3: Monteverde.
After breakfast, guided excursion in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Founded in 1972, the Reserve extends down both slopes of the Tilarán Mountains (elevation 2,300 to 5,600 ft.), encompassing six different ecological life zones and protecting more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,500 species of plants. From January to July, depending upon your luck and patience, you may observe the Resplendent Quetzal in its natural habitat (occasionally a dozen or more at once!) Other species include the Three-Wattled Bellbird, the Emerald Toucanet, and White-Faced and Howler Monkeys.
Return to the hotel midday for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Butterfly Garden where butterflies and other insects are raised and displayed in shade cloth enclosures with tropical gardens. Overnight at your Monteverde Hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D);
Day 4: Monteverde/Arenal.
Midmorning drive with your guide approximately four hours from Monteverde to your hotel in the Arenal area, passing around the north end of Lake Arenal and near the Arenal Volcano, which has been active since 1968. Arrive at your hotel in time for an afternoon rest. In the evening, weather permitting, view the volcanic activity, which may include explosions and lava flows. Overnight at your Arenal Hotel. Includes: (B);
Day 5: Arenal.
After breakfast depart with your guide for a morning hike at the Arenal Hanging Bridges project, a 250-hectare (618-acre) reserve of fully recovered secondary rainforest. Here you will traverse 15 bridges from 5 to 100 meters long that cross ravines and rivers in the rainforest and follow a 3-km circuit of interpretive trails built with paving blocks to prevent slipping. The bridges are made of aluminum, galvanized steel and concrete, and ensure maximum security for visitors. Afternoon visit to the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs. Overnight at your Arenal Hotel. (No meals);
Day 6: Arenal/Tortuguero.
After an early breakfast, drive five hours to the Caño Blanco dock, where you will meet the boat for the 1 1⁄2-hour ride to Tortuguero. The last part of the drive will take you through banana plantations. Until the 19th century Costa Rica was very poor, with an economy based on subsistence agriculture. Then the introduction of coffee provided a product suitable for export. Coffee was followed by bananas, and both remain two of the most important crops in Costa Rica today. Upon arrival you will be transported to your Tortuguero hotel. Includes: (L), (D);
Days 7–8: Tortuguero.
Two full days to explore the Tortuguero area, including two boat excursions with a local Tortuguero Guide and a visit to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) Museum, where you will learn about the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle. Originally intended to protect an important nesting beach of the Atlantic Green Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 51,870 acres, one of the last large areas of tropical rainforests in Central America . Additional boat trips are available at extra cost. There will also be time to wander on the deserted beach (swimming is discouraged for safety reasons) where thousands of sea turtles come to nest from June through October (night excursions available in this season). Overnight at your Tortuguero hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D);
Day 9: Tortuguero/San Jose.
Morning departure from your hotel for a 30-minute flight to San José. Upon arrival take a shopping tour in San José (optional tours available at extra cost). After lunch (on your own), transfer to your hotel in San José. Remainder of the day is free. Farewell dinner and overnight at your San José area hotel. Includes: (B), (D);
Day 10: Depart San Jose.
Transfer to the international airport approximately two hours before your flight's scheduled departure time. (No meals).
Also see tour packages in:
Central America and Caribbean Costa Rica Nature & Wildlife Rainforest Birdwatching