Costa Rica extends with glory from the Pacific ocean to the Carribean sea owning 200 miles of stunning coastline. The beautiful tropical beaches, great adventures, the wonders of nature, and scintillating culture; all the necessary components of a perfect vacation is available in Costa Rica. Join this Latin America journey to enjoy wonderful Costa Rica.
Visit Tortuguero's canals
Explore the Sea Turtle Museum
Experience Costa Rica's hot springs
Enjoy diverse wildlife from close
Costa Rica is famous for having comparatively more preserved land than any other country, making it ripe for wildlife tourism. What is less known is the wonderful, often strange species of animals from catatonic sloths, screaming Howler monkeys, yelling toucans and nesting Green turtles. Throw in the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines and it is easy to experience why so many love to visit Costa Rica in their Latin America journey.
Welcome to Costa Rica. We will transfer you to your hotel from the airport. Today evening you will meet your tour leader, guides and other fellow travelers. Before that explore the city on your own.
Our adventure starts early this morning, we will depart San Jose and travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. This place is accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's enormous network of waterways, canals, and swamps are exceptionally peaceful, spotless and devoid of noise pollution. On arrival at the pier, we will board a small motorboat for the one-hour fifteen-minute journey to our lodge, which is located on a small piece of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. We will spend the afternoon in Tortuguero village, where you will get the opportunity to visit the Sea Turtle Museum. Tortuguero is probably most popular as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be viewed arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October. this region is also home to the Hawksbill, Loggerhead, and Giant Leatherback turtles and during November to January baby turtles begin to prepare and make their way towards the ocean.
An early morning boat trip allows us to see the amazing flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is normally at its peak activity, and with the help of our specialist guide, we are likely to spot iguanas, monkeys, butterflies, caiman, and many of the 300+ bird species nestled here. We return to the lodge to enjoy a hearty breakfast by the river. The lodge is a peaceful spot to relax this afternoon. You can enjoy some more outdoor activities to experience the facilities, or alternatively, you can go for a second boat trip or short walking tracks through the forest.
We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived here on a small boat to the pier. We will board the bus to travel to the region of Arenal, viewing large banana, pineapple, and sugar cane farms on the way. Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until a pretty recent time when it entered a resting phase, it’s no longer ejecting ash, smoke or lava. However, you can still see a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you'll have the opportunity to experience one of the best hot springs this evening. In clear weather, there are excellent views of the volcano from our overnight base in the nearby city of La Fortuna.
There is plenty of waterfalls in the region of Arenal and this morning we visit La Fortuna Waterfall. The 65-meter cascade of water is plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest will take us to a comparatively steep set of steps that we must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit point. The hike/climb takes around 20-30 minutes and is within the capacities of anyone with reasonable fitness. Reward your efforts with a dive in one of the natural pools punctuating the foliage to cool off! Alternatively, you could reach the lookout point and wait for your fellow travelers. After lunch we take a short spectacular hike within Arenal National Park, trekking through secondary rainforest and passing some of the lava fields from past eruptions. The high vantage points on this walk offer magnificent views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the plentiful of birdlife.
From Arenal, we will travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands. Here we will experience the first glimpse of Costa Rican cloud forest. The journey offers amazing views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we hike the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants grow, especially orchids of which there are some 400+ different species here.
This morning we will start with a guided walk in Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the first community-maintained reserves in Costa Rica and an area that is famous for its biodiversity. To this day the reserve is maintained by the Santa Elena High School with funds channeled into preserving the reserve and presenting environmental education classes within the local community. Thanks to its high altitude, Santa Elena is bathed in thick hazy clouds which support a large range of flowers, ferns, mosses, vines, and orchids. Birdlife grows in the cloud forest with over 425 varieties recorded here. Santa Elena is also one of the most perfect places to encounter noisy Howler monkeys swinging through the trees! In the afternoon you can choose from an optional coffee tour to learn about the importance of this crop to the socio-economic growth of Costa Rica or join a canopy tour to get a distinct view of the forest.
Today our journey will take a south-easterly turn as we follow the Pan-Am Highway along the coastline to Manuel Antonio, passing African oil palm and tea plantations on the way. Manuel Antonio National Park consists of an enormous marine reserve as well as 1,700 acres of mangrove swamp, primary and secondary rainforest. The forest vegetation extends as far as the high-tide line and offers a beautiful backdrop to the expansive sandy beaches, forested islands, and exciting rocky headlands. We will spend the next two nights in a hotel close to the beach and the entrance of the national park.
This morning we will visit the Copley village to step momentarily into the agricultural lives of people living in the highlands of the Central Mountain Range. We take a short walk to the scenic village where some snacks will be prepared for us with a local family, which is sure to be a memorable impression of Costa Rican hospitality! A two and a half hour journey will take us back to San Jose, where we will get some time to explore the modern capital.
Your Latin America journey comes to an end today after breakfast and it's time to say costs Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. We will transfer you to the airport for your home flight.
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