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Natural Highlights of Costa Rica - Small Group Tour

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,925

Escape to Costa Rica for a tropical adventure, scouting through rainforests and searching for turtles along the coast of this incredible Central American nation. Get your bearings in the colonial capital of San Jose before spotting sea turtles at Tortuguero, dormant volcanoes at La Fortuna, and the cloud-wrapped forests of Monteverde.


This 8-day small group tour introduces you to the rainforests and volcanoes of Costa Rica.

Your Costa Rican vacation starts in San Jose, the national capital tucked beneath volcanoes to the north and the Talamanca Mountains to the south. While San Jose is usually treated as a jumping off point to the country’s rainforests, the city is worth exploring in its own right. Head to Barrio Amon to admire the Spanish colonial architecture and Plaze de la Cultura to see the National Theatre of Costa Rica.

From San Jose, head to the northeastern coast on the Caribbean to begin your exploration of Costa Rica’s natural highlights. Here you’ll find Tortuguero, the “Land of Turtles,” an Afro-Caribbean-inspired corner of Costa Rica and one of the best places in the world to see sea turtles. Take an early morning boat ride along the coastline to see these incredible reptiles before touring a butterfly farm in nearby Mawamba Park. Head west to La Fortuna, where you’ll find iguanas in the streets and sloths peering down from jungle canopies. This small town is most famous for Cerro Arenal or Arenal Volcano, which erupted in 1968, drastically changing the landscape and spewing lava and ash clouds for decades. Hike through the forest to the foot of the volcano to take in its imposing summit and then explore the nearby La Fortuna Waterfall.

Pass into the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica’s north to search for waterfowl in the wetlands and cougars, jaguars, tapirs, ocelots, and white-headed capuchins in the jungles. Pass south into Monteverde to hike through cloud-wrapped forests and over misty peaks. This rainforest is so impressive, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, meaning you might not be alone in your admiration. But you shouldn’t worry about the crowds—the grandeur of the cloud forest will make you forget everything else. After getting your fill of rainforests, return to San Jose to end your Costa Rica vacation.


 

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Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,925

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

San Jose

Please aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. Please advise us of your flight information to coordinate. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Park Inn Hotel by Radisson

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    Park Inn Hotel by Radisson



    Looking for a hotel in the heart of Costa Rica's largest metropolitan area? The Park Inn by Radisson San Jose, Costa Rica places you within walking distance of downtown, several business parks and the well-known Paseo Colon, the city's main avenue. Getting hungry? Stop by ...

    Looking for a hotel in the heart of Costa Rica's largest metropolitan area? The Park Inn by Radisson San Jose, Costa Rica places you within walking distance of downtown, several business parks and the well-known Paseo Colon, the city's main avenue. Getting hungry? Stop by the on-site RBG Bar & Grill for a selection of tempting dishes. You can get work done in our business center, and then reward yourself with a swim in the outdoor pool.

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Day 2

Tortuguero

Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's vast network of waterways, canals and swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is nestled on a small strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it's possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today's travel time will be in the region of five to six hours including a break for breakfast.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Mawamba Lodge

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    Mawamba Lodge



    Mawamba Lodge, located in between the Tortuguero canals and Caribbean Ocean, is a tropical lodge in the heartland of the rainforest. Mawamba Lodge has 54 standard and 4 standard superior rooms. All rooms have garden views, ceiling fan, safety box and private bathroom.

    Mawamba Lodge, located in between the Tortuguero canals and Caribbean Ocean, is a tropical lodge in the heartland of the rainforest. Mawamba Lodge has 54 standard and 4 standard superior rooms. All rooms have garden views, ceiling fan, safety box and private bathroom.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Conference Facilities
    • Restaurant
    • Swimming Pool
    • Whirlpool

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Day 3

Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways

An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river, followed by a tour of Mawamba Park, a private facility featuring a butterfly farm, frog farm and gardens. This afternoon we return to the waterways for a second boat trip along a different canal. Alternatively, the lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, visit the beach or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

To La Fortuna, near Arenal

Leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to La Pavona pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Arenal, passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations on the way. Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until fairly recently, when it entered a resting phase and can no longer be seen spitting ash, smoke or lava. However there is still a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you'll have the opportunity to visit one of the excellent hot springs this evening. Alternatively have a go on the Sky Tram / Sky Trek, departing at 5pm. In clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base, the nearby town of La Fortuna. Today's travelling time is around five and a half hours including a lunch stop.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Lomas Del Volcan

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    Lomas Del Volcan



    The hotel sits at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano, and it is surrounded by a Tropical Rain Forest, which gives you the opportunity (besides seeing Arenal) to enjoy a wide variety of plants and wildlife.

    The hotel sits at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano, and it is surrounded by a Tropical Rain Forest, which gives you the opportunity (besides seeing Arenal) to enjoy a wide variety of plants and wildlife.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Laundry facilities
    • Massage Treatments
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi

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Day 5

Boat tour of Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Frio River combine to create a humid area that is a very biodiverse and harbours a great variety of resident and migratory birds, three different species of monkeys, iguanas, sloths, turtles, and caimans. We transfer approximately 1.5 hours to the village of Los Chiles, found close to the Nicaraguan border. From here we board a boat for our river adventure, which lasts around 2.5 hours, and passes through tropical rainforest and pastures until we arrive at the marshlands. The Olivaceous cormorant makes its nests in the area and Wood storks and jabiru (the largest bird in Central America and much endangered) can also be seen. Along the river we may also see Howler monkeys, Three-toed sloths, caimans, lizards, and turtles.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 6

Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains

From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands for our first taste of a Costa Rican cloud forest. The journey provides breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we ascend the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different varieties here. Today's drive is around four hours- the last 40km of road is gravel and can be bumpy, particularly following heavy rain. In the afternoon it's possible to join an optional coffee tour to learn about the importance of this crop to the socio-economic development of the country. This evening we set off on a night walk in Monteverde Wildlife Refuge. Situated within primary cloud forest, this reserve is committed to the preservation of native flora and fauna. Taking a nocturnal walk allows for a completely new perspective on the forest, which our guides will bring to life for us!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Ficus Hotel

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    Ficus Hotel



    Ficus Hotel is a very modern and beautiful hotel located in the heart of Monteverde. It takes advantage of the natural beauty of the area and presents itself as a peaceful oasis surrounded by magnificent vegetation and diverse tropical native Costa Rican plants.

    Ficus Hotel is a very modern and beautiful hotel located in the heart of Monteverde. It takes advantage of the natural beauty of the area and presents itself as a peaceful oasis surrounded by magnificent vegetation and diverse tropical native Costa Rican plants.

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Day 7

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a favourite destination for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. A walk through the reserve will reveal huge old growth trees covered in moss whilst the surrounding mist permeates the atmosphere. The reserve's geographic, topographic and climatic conditions have allowed for a surprising biodiversity to thrive. There are four ecological "Life Zones" that harbour different ecosystems for hundreds of species - mammals, birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, insects and arachnids. We can also find a variety of mosses, vines, other plants and trees typical of the cloud forest. One of the trails of the reserve leads to a lookout point right at the top of the continental divide where, on clear days, you can be privy to the breathtaking view of both of Costa Rica's coasts: the Caribbean and the Pacific. These forests are also one of the few remaining habitats of the endangered Resplendant Quetzal.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

San Jose

After breakfast we return to San Jose Airport and the trip comes to an end. It's time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Sep 16; Oct 14; Nov 11, 18
2018: Jan 20; Feb 24; Mar 10, 24; Apr 7; Jul 28

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

OTHER INFORMATION:

Group size is from 6 to 18

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB EXODUSTSAN0117SG: WUA
18 Nov 2017
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