Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Locally Hosted

The Essence of Costa Rica (9 days)

Costa Rica Expeditions

San José, Costa Rica To San José, Costa Rica

Valid for Departures Now Through: 02 Mar 2019

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
San José, Costa Rica
Hotel El Presidente None
Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport. After passing through Immigration you will see a Costa Rica Expeditions representative who will greet you and give you a sticker to facilitate clearing customs. Also, when you are exiting the building, you’ll see a Costa Rica Expeditions guide, who will take you to your hotel.

You’ll recognize your guide by their bright orange or yellow shirt. Also, he’ll be holding a sign with your name on it. You can count on their being there — even if your flight arrives early, or arrives quite late — no matter how late. After all, it’s our first chance to have you experience that every part of your vacation will go smoothly. He or she will take you to your hotel.

Day 2
Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

After a welcome orientation breakfast; with your guide, drive 1 ½ hours to Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden.

In 1997 during a vacation focusing on natural history with Costa Rica Expeditions Evelyn and David Lynette decided to devote the rest of their live to creating and caring for a Nature Reserve in Costa Rica. The result was Nectandra, 130 hectares (295 acres) of primary and secondary forest, dedicated to conservation, research and community outreach. At the center of Nectandra is the 2 hectare (5 acre) Nectandra Cloud Forest Botanical Garden. This morning hiking the gardens beautifully designed is the ideal introduction to the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.

After Lunch at the Gardens 3 – 3 ½ hour drive to the Monteverde area. The first 1 ½ hour are on the Pan-American Highway and the last 2 hours on a winding gravel road. Arrive at your Monteverde Hotel.

Day 3
Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Guided walk to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

In Monteverde farmers, biologists and tourism professionals who have joined together to create a model for sustainable development and protection of the environment that is becoming known throughout the world. Founded in 1954 by a group of Quakers searching for a peaceful place to live, Monteverde’s tradition of conservation started with 554 hectares (1,385 acres.) of tropical cloud forest that the Quakers set aside for watershed protection. Today the Monteverde family of reserves protects 28,964 hectares (72,410 acres) of forest. Among the best known are the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest, and the Santa Elena Reserve.

After breakfast, guided excursion to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Your 3.5 kilometer (2.2 miles) hike will take your through countless distinct habitats each with its unique flora and fauna. From January to July, depending upon your luck and patience, you may observe the Resplendent Quetzal (occasionally a dozen or more individuals at once).

Afternoon Caburé Chocolate Tour

For an hour you will be immersed in Chocolate. From the tree to the truffle you’ll touch it and taste it as you participate in the process that turns a bitter seed in a pod into what may well be the world’s most popular flavor. Along the way you’ll learn how chocolate evolved from bitter drink prized by the indigenous peoples of the America’s almost 2000 years before Christ to a sweet delicacy that swept Europe and the rest of the world.

This tour was exquisitely designed by Bob Carlson, a Bostonian who came to Costa Rica in 1978 as a Peace Corps volunteer for the national parks service and never left. On most tours you’ll get to meet Bob and as well as learning about chocolate, hear about how Costa Rica has evolved from the point of view of an ex-pat who has lived in the country for almost 40 years.

Day 4
Arenal, Costa Rica
Arenal Manoa Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Morning departure on a land and boat transfer to Arenal. Depart Monteverde in a 4 wheel drive vehicle for the 2 hour ground transfer to Rio Chiquito, a small town on the shore of Lake Arenal. Board a boat for the transfer across the lake (approximately 30-40 minutes depending on wind conditions). The boat will dock near the Arenal Dam where your transportation will be waiting to continue with the activities of your day. Total transfer time from Monteverde to the Arenal area via Lake Arenal is approximately 3 hours.

Day 5
Arenal, Costa Rica
Arenal Manoa Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Guided walk to the Arenal Hanging Bridges

After breakfast, depart for a morning hike to the Arenal Hanging Bridges. This project consists of eight fixed bridges, ranging in length between 8 and 22 meters, and six hanging bridges, built with the latest techniques and designed with an eye for both beauty and safety. The hanging bridges are between 48 and 98 meters long. As you walk, you can appreciate a great diversity of flowers and wildlife that are typical of the rain forest as well as some imposing views of the Volcano (weather permitting).

Sky Trek Adventure in Arenal Theme Park

After lunch drive to a private reserve near the north-facing slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán which offer volcano views, to be enjoyed from an aerial Sky Tram that rises 236 meters in a 1250 meters ride, taking visitors up to a Mirador (lookout point) where starts the Sky Trek zip line circuit. There are currently ten zip line cables and they range in height from 30 meters to 200 meters and in length from 200 meters to 750 meters.

Late Afternoon visit Hidalgo Family Hot Springs

In 1957 Don Manuel and Doña Hortemida Hidalgo started a cattle ranch in the shadow of Arenal Volcano on land that happened to have a hot spring. In 2000 we convinced a reluctant Don Manuel, Doña Hortemida and their daughter Mireya to allow our guests to visit the hot springs.

The springs consist of 8 free-flowing pools set in a natural river gorge. Water temperature ranges from 100ºF (38ºC) to 109ºF (43ºC) depending on the pool. An assortment of blended smoothies and cocktails are prepared at the bar located in the pool area (additional cost). Tonight’s dinner is Costa Rican home style meal in o restaurant, modeled after the first house that Don Manuel and Doña Hortemida built on the ranch.

Day 6
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

After an early morning breakfast, drive 4 hours to the Pavona dock, where you will meet the boat for the 1 ½ -hour boat 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; both remain two of the most important crops in Costa Rica today. Arrive at Tortuga Lodge mid to late afternoon.

Day 7
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

In 1910 Walton Martinez a sea captain of Afro Caribbean origin settled in Tortuguero. Before1947 when a timber boom brought in 100’s workers, the entire population of Tortuguero consisted of his 7 children and their families.

When the boom ended in 1972, many people left Tortuguero. Those who stayed found work helping Dr. Archie Carr, a zoologist who moved to Tortuguero to study sea turtles. Among them was Walton’s granddaughter Miss Juney Martinez who was his cook. Today we will have lunch in her restaurant which is now run by her son, Cloyd and her daughter, Noily.

In 1975 Tortuguero National Park was founded. Beginning in the early 80’s attracted by the beauty of the park and its highly diverse and abundant wild-life vanguard travelers began to discover Tortuguero. Enchanted by what they found those early travelers spread the word. Now Tortuguero, still only accessible by boat or light air-craft, is a mecca for nature travelers.

In the morning explore the creeks of the Tortuguero National park with your guide. Originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic Green sea turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 51,870 acres, one of the last large areas of tropical rain forests in Central America.

Afternoon at leisure.

Day 8
San José, Costa Rica
Hotel El Presidente Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Morning departure from Tortuga Lodge, cross the Tortuguero River by boat and board your 30 minute Costa Rica Expeditions light charter flight (seat in plane) from Tortuguero to San José. Upon arrival transportation is provided to a Coffee Plantation.

Doka Estate Coffee Tour – From the seed to the cup

Located in the coffee capital of Costa Rica, Sabanilla, Alajuela. The farm belongs to the Costa Rican Vargas Ruiz family, pioneers of coffee production for more than 70 years. The tour takes place on the Doka Estate, where you can learn all the stages off coffee production beginning with a seed bed and ending in the Coffee House with the finished product. You will also learn coffee’s vital role in the economy and culture of Costa Rica.

Day 9
San José, Costa Rica
International Airport Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Transfer to the International Airport at least three hours prior to the departure time for your flight out of the country.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Family Vacations
  • Walking & Biking
  • Wildlife & Nature

Description

Essence of Costa Rica

If you want a deep immersion in Costa Rica, its people, its culture and its flora and fauna, this option is perfect.

About Us

Created in 1978, Costa Rica Expeditions continues to set the pace with Taylor made itineraries of leisure, wilderness and nature adventures in one of the world's most bio diverse and richly-populated wildlife areas. With appeal for travelers seeking escape to remote wilderness areas, retreats and beaches with the most upscale accommodations waiting at the end of the day, Costa Rica Expeditions blends adventure-packed itineraries led by expert, bilingual naturalist guides with luxurious lodgings set in Costa Rica's wildest corners. Costa Rica Expeditions is widely recognized as the best nature and adventure tour operator in the country.

Insider Tip

Contact your Costa Rica Expeditions Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

TERMS & CONDITIONS

INCLUDED: Accommodations, Transfers, Tours and Meals: As indicated in the itinerary.

Porterage: we include the handling of two bags per person.

Taxes & entrance fees: Hotel taxes, entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest in effect at the time of booking are included unless otherwise specified.

NOT INCLUDED: Costs of obtaining passports, visas; excess baggage fees; personal expenses, gratuities for tour escort, guides or driver; international airfare and airport departure taxes; sightseeing or meals not specified in the itinerary; personal insurance coverage.

HOLIDAY PAYMENT POLICY:

APPLIES TO CHRISTMAS, NEW YEARS, PRESIDENTS WEEK AND EASTER

A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required to guarantee your reservation upon acceptance of proposal. The balance is due 60 days prior to the start date of departure. Any trips that are reserved less than 90 days prior to arrival must make full payment before hotel reservations can be confirmed. Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotels, guides and services are non-refundable.

PAYMENT POLICY FOR DATES OTHER THAN HOLIDAY DATES

A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required to guarantee your reservation upon acceptance of proposal. The balance is due 30 days prior to the start date of departure. Any trips that are confirmed less than 60 days prior to arrival must make full payment before hotel reservations can be confirmed.

PRICES CHARGED

The prices we charge reflect our costs and a reasonable profit for our services in planning and operating the trip.

PRICE BREAKDOWNS

We do not give price breakdowns.

HOLIDAY CANCELLATION POLICY:

APPLIES TO CHRISTMAS, NEW YEARS, PRESIDENTS WEEK AND EASTER

Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotel, guides and services are non-refundable. In the case of cancellations 90 days or more prior to the start date of the scheduled trip, there is a full refund minus a cancellation fee of $750 or 20% of the entire cost of the trip. In the case of cancellations received in our office from 89 to 46 days prior to the start date of the trip, there is a 50% refund, minus hotel deposits and guide fees. There will be no refund for cancellations made 45 or fewer days prior to the trip.

CANCELLATION POLICY FOR DATES OTHER THAN HOLIDAYS

Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotel, guides and service are non-refundable. In the case of cancellations 30 days or more prior to the start date of the scheduled trip, there is a full refund minus hotel deposits and guide fees, in addition to a cancellation fee of $500 or 15% of the entire cost of the trip. In the case of cancellations received in our office from 29 to 15 days prior to the start date of the trip, there is a 50% refund, minus hotel deposits and guide fees. There will be no refund for cancellations made 14 or fewer days prior to the trip.



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Reviews and Recommendations for Costa Rica Expeditions

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Excellent accomodation and tours

By: MM


Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2015

Costa Rica Expeditions is a first class operation. Their guide Donald at the Montverde Lodge and Gardens was amazing. We saw many species of birds and mammals that we would not have seen had he not been along to point then out to us. Very professional, polite and well versed in the ecology of Costa Rica. Excellent English as well. All transfers from one location to another were executed perfectly. Always on time and safe. Most drivers spoke a fair amount of English and were only too glad to stop to point out sights or to stop for a photo. shoot. The Monteverde Lodge and Gardens was very comfortable and the restaurant El Jardin was great as well. Loved the whole experience.
Travel Advisor:  Lisa and Nancy Zupancic

Pura Vida

By: Sherie


Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2015

Costa Rica....the most hospitable place on earth! Wonderful service wherever we went. Everyone we met was kind and welcoming. Such an amazing country.

Costa Rica March 2017

By: Cecile


Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2017

10+ Drivers, tour guides, hosts, lodges (especially Tortuga Lodge, but also Monte Verde Lodge), food, employees were all fabulous! We also stayed at Arenas Del Mar and that was fabulous as well!
Travel Advisor:  Susan Morley