Costa Rica’s Natural Heritage

Costa Rica’s Natural Heritage

In this small Central American democracy kissed by nature, discover a nation’s wealth in four distinct regions, from cloud forest to rainforest, Central Valley to Pacific Coast, with a small group of no more than 18 travelers.  Enjoy a relaxed yet comprehensive 11-day exploration as Costa Rica presents its staggering biodiversity:  pristine landscapes, unique microclimates, exotic flora and fauna.  Setting out from the Costa Rican capital, San Jose, travel to Irazú Volcano National Park to view the country’s tallest volcano.  Then depart for the picturesque Arenal region, stopping to learn about Costa Rica’s prized export at the Doka Coffee Estate on Poás Volcano’s fertile slopes, and to explore Carrizal’s wondrous orchid garden.  Spend the next three nights at a hotel offering magnificent vistas of Arenal Volcano.  After meeting students at an elementary school, encounter the natural splendor of the remarkable Ecocentro Danaus Biological Reserve.  Experience the rainforest from the canopy level on Arenal’s hanging bridges Sky Walk.  Continuing on to the “green cathedral” of Monteverde, take a guided walk that reveals the amazing Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, followed by a tour of the Monteverde Bat Jungle.  Visit Monteverde’s delightful Butterfly Garden, home to a variety of species.  The Costa Rican adventure concludes with a three-night stay at a Guanacaste beachfront resort, and a Tempisque River float safari in an extraordinary ecosystem.  With a day at leisure in this beautiful setting, kayak, hike, or explore lively Tamarindo.  Discover more ecological wonders with a 4-day/3-night pre-tour option in celebrated Tortuguero National Park

Trip Itinerary:

February 27 Depart for San Jose, Costa Rica

We arrive in the Costa Rican capital and transfer to our hotel located in the Escazu area outside the city. This afternoon and evening are at leisure.

February 28 San Jose, Costa Rica

AAfter meeting our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at this morning’s breakfast briefing, we embark on an excursion to Irazú National Park, whose active volcano last erupted in 1994. At 11,260 feet, Irazú stands as Costa Rica’s tallest volcano, as well as its largest; and presents a spectacle of nature, as it rises from a flat, bare landscape coated in ash. We return to our hotel late this afternoon; tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner there. B,L,D

March 1 San Jose/Arenal Region

We leave this morning bound for the Arenal region, passing picturesque villages along the way. We stop at the Doka Coffee Estate, located on the fertile slopes of Poás Volcano, where we learn about coffee making and Costa Rica’s coffee crop, one of the country’s largest exports. Continuing on, we stop in Carrizal at the family-owned Botanical Orchid Garden, with tropical trails, exhibits, nurseries, and gardens all dedicated to the wondrous orchid plant. After time to explore here, we travel on to Arenal and our hotel, which offers magnificent views of Arenal Volcano and where we dine tonight. B,L,D

March 2 Arenal Region

This morning we visit a local elementary school to enjoy a cultural exchange with the children and learn about Costa Rica’s vaunted educational ­system – the country boasts a literacy rate of more than 95%. We continue on to Ecocentro Danaus, a biological reserve focused on conservation, environmental education, and sustainability. A series of trails winds through the secondary forest, where we see diverse flora, including orchids, bromelia, and heliconia, along with some of the preserve’s 150 species of birds, sloths, and bats, among other fauna. Highlights include a butterfly farm with 30 different species and a natural water spring that attracts waterfowl, alligators, and iguana. Later today there’s time for more volcano viewing before and after dinner (at a local restaurant) from a comfortable perch at our hotel. B,L,D

March 3 Arenal Region

On this morning’s visit to Arenal’s hanging bridges Sky Walk, we have the special opportunity to experience the rainforest from the canopy level as we traverse a series of five suspension bridges high above the forest floor. While we observe the rainforest from a unique perspective, our naturalist guide will point out some of the flora and fauna that thrive here. Then we return to our hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax amidst the beautiful grounds and thermal waters. Lunch and dinner today are on our own. B

March 4 Arenal Region/Monteverde Cloud Forest

We travel today to the “green cathedral” of Monteverde. En route we stop to visit a nonprofit handicrafts cooperative dedicated to enhancing the economic and social well-being of local women artists. After lunch on our own in Santa Elena, we continue on to our hotel, arriving late afternoon. We dine tonight at a local restaurant in Monteverde. B,D

March 5 Monteverde

This morning we embark on a guided walk through Monteverde’s biological reserve, learning about the amazing biodiversity in this relatively small area. After lunch together we visit the Monteverde Bat Jungle to learn about Costa Rica’s diverse – and important – bat population. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel for time at leisure before we dine together this evening. B,L,D

March 6 Monteverde/Guanacaste

We depart by coach this morning for Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s stunning northwest Pacific coastal region. Along the way we visit Monteverde’s delightful Butterfly Garden, with a variety of species including the stunning blue morpho and the virtually transparent glasswing. After a stop for lunch, we reach our resort hotel overlooking the Pacific mid-afternoon. B,L,D

March 7 Guanacaste

A float safari on the Tempisque River highlights this morning’s excursion to the Palo Verde region, which is both an extraordinary wetland and also one of the world’s last tropical dry forests. In this unique ecosystem, we can expect to see abundant bird- and wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. After lunch together we return to our hotel mid-afternoon, with the remainder of the day at leisure along one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful Pacific Coast settings. B,L

March 8 Guanacaste

Today is at leisure to enjoy the beautiful beach and other amenities of our hotel, including an outdoor infinity pool. Optional activities include kayaking, hiking, or visiting the lively town of Tamarindo. This evening we gather at a farewell dinner to celebrate our Costa Rican adventure. B,D

March 9 Depart for U.S.

We transfer to the airport this morning for our return flights to the U.S. B

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