Visit: Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo, National Park Arenal, Monte Verde, Quepos, San José
Activity: Hiking, Canyoning, Mountain Biking, Local Culture & Cuisine, whitewater rafting, Kayaking, Swimming, Local Markets, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries
Every year thousands of tourists travel to Costa Rica but few get to experience this charismatic country's real way of life. On this Classic Costa Rica trip you'll uncover jungle gems in Tortuguero and Sarapiqui; hot springs, waterfalls and a live volcano in La Fortuna; and white sandy beaches at Quepos - all set to a sizzling samba beat. This adventure into the heart of tropical paradise will surely leave you wanting more.Trip HighlightsStroll through lively markets in San JoseExplore the jungle in the Tortuguero National ParkChill out to the sounds of nature in SarapiquiSoak off the day in La Fortuna hot springsGet close to the coalface at Arenal VolcanoDiscover the sultry Monteverde cloud forestCatch a fish 'that big' off the Pacific CoastShake your booty to the samba soundtrack of Costa RicaTrip InformationStart: San Jose, Costa RicaFinish: San Jose, Costa RicaGroup size: Min 1 , Max 12Ages: Min 15 Included ActivitiesMonteverde - Cloud Forest hikeOrientation walkTortuguero National Park - Walking Tour
Product Code: 128268
Guide Language: english
Starts: San Jose, Costa Rica
Finishes: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 15 days
Physical rating: Basic
Price does not include airfare (to the Trip start & from the end location)
Trip Price may include accommodation, transport/transfer, activities, services of a professional guide & more. (Please refer to the include/excludes section for details)
Tour packages spare you the hassles of trip planning, a la carte booking, organizing and managing the logistics at a foreign location.
Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica!
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
The following day your leader will take you on an orientation walk around San Jose.
With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping head to the out door market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
We leave San Jose and descend to the Caribbean lowlands by bus and boat to Tortuguero National Park (approx. 5 hours).
This area has long been associated with the catching of turtle (tortuguero means turtle-catcher). The original indigenous inhabitants used turtles as a sustainable resource, but the arrival of Europeans led to major exploitation. Tortuguero National Park, established in 1970, is now home to 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals. Among them are manatees, ocelots and jaguars, as well as over 300 bird species. First and foremost, however, it is the nesting ground of the green turtle, which comes ashore between July and October to lay its eggs on the sandy beaches. Lesser numbers of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, plus loggerheads, and giant leatherback turtles also nest within the park at different times of year.
The following day your leader will lead you on a walk around the park's main paths. Keep your eyes peeled to spot monkeys, birds, frogs and perhaps a sloth or two.
Early in the morning we travel to Sarapiqui in the heart of Costa Rica's banana growing region.
On the banks of the Puerto Viejo River and next to the Braulio Carrillo National Park, this budding town is surrounded by virgin forests, and banana and pineapple plantations. Sarapiqui is also known as one of the richest areas in Costa Rica for bird watching. The diversity of lowland bird life is impressive. A biological research station and several nearby forest lodges have made this undisturbed habitat accessible to scientists and travellers.
There is plenty of free time to explore the jungle that surrounds the town by mountain bike or on foot, or find a comfy spot to watch the colourful birdlife glide by. Alternatively you may wish to satisfy your sweet tooth on a chocolate tour.
A 2 hour trip takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds.
La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. The views here are spectacular as the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Besides the panoramic views the town offers a range of other activities such as the 70 metre high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.
The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has a number of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been turned into a number of thermal pools and waterfalls, often surrounded by foliage, an ideal chance to relax.
Grab a warm jacket because today we travel for about 4 hours along rutted dirt roads, through the mountains, to reach the cool and windy cloud-forests of Monteverde.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour through the Monteverde National Park. Alternatively, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk or watch butterflies at play in the specially created butterfly garden. The local guides are very knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation and in the local communities there are several cooperatives worth visiting. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers; they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. It is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
After a 5 hour travel day, we arrive in Quepos, where we base ourselves while visiting Manuel Antonio National Park.
Located close to the beautiful Pacific beaches and exotic wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos is a laid-back town with a vibrant nightlife.
Spend your time here enjoying all the park has to offer. Head out for a hike along its many trails, keeping one eye on the great views and the other looking for the abundant wildlife. Monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds are among the species you maybe be able to spot. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches, perfect for swimming, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing, fishing or surfing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.
A 4 hour journey takes us back to San Jose in time for you to pick up an last minute souvenirs at the city's colourful and vibrant markets. Then we can head out for an optional dinner and a final night on the town sampling the huge variety of nightlife. The perfect way to end our adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
This was my first time on a group trip and I have to say I have no regrets. The tour guide was outstanding. He was knowledgeable, hilarious and accommodating. He was always concerned about the group and was willing to go the extra mile. I can only hope the next tour leader on my next trip lives up to that standard. The trip itself, what it offered as well as the activities offers were amazing. It was the perfect mixture of wildlife, adventure and relaxation. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone.
Trip Name: Explore Costa Rica
From Price: 1566
Trip Code: 128268
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