Multi-Day Tour | Group, Independent, Private

Complete Adventure, Costa Rica (15 days)

Costa Rica Expeditions

San Jose, Costa Rica To San Jose, Costa Rica

Valid for Departures Now Through: 10 Apr 2019

Complete Adventure, Costa Rica (15 days)

Day 5

Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Day 6

Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Day 7

Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Day 8

Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Day 12

Bajos del Toro Valley , Costa Rica

Day 13

Bajos del Toro Valley , Costa Rica

Day 14

Bajos del Toro Valley , Costa Rica

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
San Jose, Costa Rica
Hotel Grano de Oro None
Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport, after exiting the plane, first follow the signs to immigration where you will have to wait in line to get your passport checked and stamped. Continue to baggage claim and customs. There are carts in the baggage claim area that are free of charge, so grab one of those while you wait for your luggage to come out on the designated carousel.

If your flight is arriving between the hours of 7 am- 10 pm, you may be greeted by a representative from the Costa Rican chamber of tourism. If so they will give you a sticker that identifies you to customs officials as a tourist. These representatives are not always available, and if you don’t see them don’t worry, as the sticker is a courtesy and not a necessity.

Once you have your luggage, you’ll need to get in line to go through customs. Normally this consists of putting your luggage and carry on luggage on a conveyor belt to be x-rayed; when it’s your turn to put your luggage on the conveyor belt you will have to give the Customs Official the form that you filled out on the plane. Once you’ve retrieved your luggage, you can exit the airport.

Day 2
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early morning transfer from your San Jose hotel to the light aviation airport to meet your 30 minute flight from San José to Tortuguero. You will be greeted at the airstrip and will cross the Tortuguero River by boat to Tortuga Lodge.

Day 3
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tortuguero National Park Wildlife Boat Tour

After breakfast, leave the lodge by boat with your Tortuguero local naturalist guide and fellow guests to explore the creeks of Tortuguero National Park. The morning hours are especially active in the rain forest, when the wildlife is hungry and in search of their energy source for the day. It’s not uncommon to find troops of Howler monkeys in search of tender young figs or the leaves of the Monkey Plum tree. You might even encounter a River Otter hunting. The Northern Jacana is often perched on an island of Water Hyacinth looking for insects and miniature shrimp and the caiman is quietly waiting for its next meal to swim by.

This tour is a three hour trip into the back water lagoons and creeks of Tortuguero National Park. Your boat is equipped with an ice chest with water and if you’d like to have additional beverages in the boat you can ask your guide to stock the ice chest with your favorite drinks (at additional cost).

Return to the lodge in time for lunch.

Day 4
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuga Lodge & Gardens Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tortuguero Village & Sea Turtle Conservancy Center

This two hour tour of the village is led by one of our local guides at Tortuga Lodge. Today the town has a population of approximately 1500. The first inhabitants of the area were the Zambo to Miskito Indians and escaped slaves; they controlled the entire Caribbean coast raiding cacao plantations and hunting turtle. Nineteenth century sailors included the coast of Tortuguero in their route because they were able to purchase turtle meat, oil and shell to be sold in Europe. Today's descendants are mostly from Jamaica, Costa Rica's main Caribbean city of Limon (also of Jamaican descent) and Nicaragua. They came to the north Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica in the early 1940's to work for a lumber company. At that time Tortuguero residents survived on subsistence hunting, the bananas, plantains and cassava that they could grow and of course they fished. Most of the men worked logging the forest they then tied the logs together and floated the logs down river where a boat would haul them to port. Over time, the village became more focused on tourism and today most of the adults work in some form of tourism or conservation related business. The village has made a big effort to get their basic needs met such as running water, medical and dental care, garbage collection and management. Visit the local school (when in session) the Park headquarters, the general goods store and walk down the paths with colorful Afro-Caribbean homes. Stop for a chat with the locals and learn about their way of life. Next visit the museum founded by the Sea Turtle Conservation, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). The late Dr. Archie Carr began to study and tag the thousands of Atlantic Green Sea Turtles that every year, from June through October, comes to Tortuguero Beach to lay their eggs.

Day 5
Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Playa Cativo Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Cross the Tortuguero River by boat to the Tortuguero airstrip. Here you will meet your pilot, for the 30 minutes domestic flight (shared with other guests) to San Jose.

Upon arrival at the light aviation airport, transfer to the local airport to fly from San José to Puerto Jiménez, on the domestic airline SANSA (56 min flight).

A hotel representative will be waiting for a 30 min boat drive to Playa Cativo.

The Golfo Dulce is located amongst the Osa Peninsula and main land in the south of Costa Rica. The area conserves hundreds of acres of the existing rainforest, and provides different habitats for an almost untouched environment. The lodges in the Golfo Dulce regions offer excursions to several natural areas like the mangroves of Esquinas River, and different hikes through protected zones. The rainforest edge invites for birding and nature studies, and so far bird specialists have identified 340 different species of birds on the Golfo Dulce.

A new national Park was recently declared in the area: the Piedras Blancas National Park. It takes its place alongside the Golfito Wildlife National Refuge and the Golfo Dulce Forestry Reserve. The area also features several Eco-friendly Lodges. As part of the different activities in the Golfo Dulce, there’s sea-kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling, hiking, swimming and, sport fishing. The deep waters off Golfo Dulce (750 ft deep in some points) offer abundant Game Fish. Inshore, you can find Jacks, Runners, Mackerel, Amberjack, Roosterfish and large Snapper. There are two modern marinas in the area, both offering fishing charters and slip facilities for incoming yachts.

Day 6
Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Playa Cativo Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Birdwatching Tour in Playa

Playa Cativo area has an important bird diversity thanks to the location and the proximity of Piedras Blancas National Park. Over 360 species of birds have been identified by experts in Piedras Blancas. The conditions of the area permit to observe bird species in different habitats such as beaches, wetlands, grasslands, valleys & mountains.

Day 7
Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Playa Cativo Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Rainforest Waterfall Hike & Swim Tour

Meet your nature guide for a hike in the rainforest at the eastern side of Playa Cativo’s private reserve. You´ll hike the trails that will take you to the waterfall at the Quebrada del Leon, one of the main creeks in Cativo. This hiking tour provides an interesting introduction to the local ecology and how the different plants, trees, and the rest of the vegetation interact. Your guide will interpret nature and will look for wildlife species along the way. During the hike it’s possible you find toucans, trogons, manakins, honeycreepers and other different birds, insects and reptiles.

Day 8
Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Playa Cativo Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kayaking in the Rio Esquinas Mangrove

Rio Esquinas is an unspoiled river system and shows the interaction between the fresh water habitats with the ocean. Rio Esquinas has an intricate net of waterways among lush mangroves. There’re good possibilities for wildlife observation in this area such as herons, egrets, kingfishers, birds of prey and tree boas. The river mouth mangroves lead to views of the forest and remote farms. A motorboat tows your kayak to the mouth of the river where you will embark on a peaceful excursion and experience nature while cruising down the river.

Day 9
Arenal, Costa Rica
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden & Nayara Springs Breakfast

Fly from Golfito to San José, on the domestic airline.

Upon arrival meet your Spanish speaking driver and depart by minivan for the 3 - 3.5 hour drive to the Arenal Volcano.

Day 10
Arenal, Costa Rica
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden & Nayara Springs Breakfast, Dinner

Arenal Hanging Bridges Canopy Walkway

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. All the bridges are made of galvanized steel and high-strength aluminum. The safety mesh and the suspension cables are all galvanized steel. The entire project was designed to blend with the natural environment, leaving the forest virtually intact. The trails, covering a distance of about 3.1 km, are right inside the forest. 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).

Evening Visit to Ecotermales Hot Spring

After signing in at the reception, you will be given a key for your locker where you can change and store your belongings. There are two separate dressing rooms one for men and one for ladies where there are restrooms, showers, sinks, mirrors and wooden benches. You will also be given a plastic bag for your wet swimsuit when you’re done.

A path through the forest leads you to the natural thermal hot springs with 6 free-flowing pools set in a natural river gorge. Water temperature ranges from 100ºF (38ºC) to 109ºF (43ºC) depending on the pool. The high temperatures and mineral rich waters require that you spend no more than 10 minutes in the higher temperature pools and alternate an equal amount of time between hot and cold water. You have access to a cooler water pool and cold water showers so that you can cool off as needed. The time limit in the hot water pools is especially important to keep in mind when you are traveling with children.

Day 11
Arenal, Costa Rica
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden & Nayara Springs Breakfast

Arenal Volcano Hike 1968 Trail

Today you will be hiking trails around the flanks of Arenal Volcano. Your hike takes place on private land used as buffer zones to help protecting the adjacent national park. You’ll want to see our recommendations on what to wear and what to pack in your daypack, below. This hike is approximately 3 miles or 5 kms, and covers a good variety of natural sceneries and ecosystems. The trail includes relatively flat sections with no more than 10 % gradient, as well as some more serious climb on steep rocky terrain (25-35 % incline). You will gain elevation hiking from about 1600 feet (500 mts) to maximum 2200 feet (666 mts) at the summit of the 1968 old lava flow. On a clear day you can observe the Arenal Volcano and the Lake used for electric generation and recreation. The Arenal has experienced much more active periods in the past decades. The largest eruptions ever registered occurred in 1968 when Arenal suddenly woke up from an extended lethargic era. Arenal is a “young” volcano, only about 7000 years old. On your way to the top of the old lava, you’ll cross grasslands, a volcanic lake, secondary forest and patches of regenerated vegetation less than 50 years old. There are good possibilities to observe several species of birds.

Day 12
Bajos del Toro Valley , Costa Rica
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Breakfast

Today meet your Spanish speaking driver and depart by minivan for the 1.5 - 2 hour drive to Bajos del Toro Valley.

Day 13
Bajos del Toro Valley , Costa Rica
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Breakfast

Riverside Hike: Gardens & Waterfalls

El Silencio Lodge is located on volcanic slopes covered by dense cloud forest. This type of forest is a natural “water tower” which feeds numerous creeks and rivers in the area.

El Silencio Lodge offers different hikes that show this evergreen vegetation. The waterfalls hike starts at the lodge and quickly penetrates the forest thanks to well-maintained trails. The stone-surface pathway will take you along characteristic cloud forest vegetation such as epiphytic growth including bromeliads, Cyclanthaceae and wild orchids, as well as “dwarf trees” like Escalonias and Copey. There are good opportunities to spot several species of birds like Common Bush-tanagers, Redstarts and hummingbirds like the Green-crowned Brilliant or the Purple-throated Mountain Gem. As part of your hike, you will cross a one rustic hanging bridge a few feet over ground. The trail leads to the waterfalls located within the property. El Silencio did set up some tables at the last waterfalls to rest and enjoy the view. Afterwards, you will head back to the lodge.

Day 14
Bajos del Toro Valley , Costa Rica
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Breakfast

Free day to enjoy the area.

Day 15
San Jose, Costa Rica
International Airport Breakfast

Depending on your international flight departure time, today you will meet your Spanish speaking driver and depart by minivan for a land transfer back to the International Airport in San Jose (1.5 - 2 hour drive). Please keep in mind that you must be at the airport at least three hours prior to your departure time.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Food & Wine
  • Romance, Weddings & Honeymoons
  • Walking & Biking
  • Wildlife & Nature

Description

Tortuguero National Park now protects 77,032 acres or 30,812 hectares, one of the last large areas of tropical rain forest in Central America. Eleven habitats are found in the park. Three species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three-toed sloths, and River otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caiman, iguanas, River turtles, Basilisk lizards, and Poison dart (Dendrobates) frogs inhabit the area, along with more than 320 species of birds including all 6 species of kingfishers found in the new world, 3 species of toucans, 8 species of parrots, and other neotropical species such as the Slaty-tailed trogon, White-collared manakin, Purple-throated fruitcrow, and White-fronted nunbird and many more species

Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) is a large bay ringed by secluded beaches and the complex biodiversity of the region. Golfo Dulce is a good destination for nature lovers, both those seeking adventure and those who want only to relax under a palm tree on the beach. In the adjacent tropical rain forest you may encounter four species of monkey (Spider, Capuchins, Squirrel and Howler), Poison Dart frogs, Morpho butterflies, Anteaters, Agoutis, Coati mundis, Jaguars, Ocelots and Margays. Different species of birds such as Scarlet Macaws, Toucans, Hummingbirds, Great Curassows, Crested Guans, Trogons, Honey creepers, Herons and Woodpeckers are found in the region. There is of course a large variety of marine mammals that can be observed such as Dolphins and Whales.

Arenal Volcano National Park is located within the much larger Arenal Conservation Area, which protects more than 500,000 acres of rain forest, rivers, lakes and old volcanic lava fields. This area contains a great wealth of geologic and biological complexity. The volcano itself is approximately 5,500 feet high and has gone through several eruptive cycles. Within the national park, short trails pass through secondary forest as well as lava fields from previous eruptions. Arenal also plays an interesting role in Costa Rica's power production- Lake Arenal, which rests at the base of the volcano, supplies a high percentage of the country's hydroelectric energy. The area is home to a remarkable biodiversity and variety of habitats

Bajos del Toro Valley, it is located on the Caribbean Watershed of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range consist of Cloud Forest with a broad variety of epiphytic growth. The wet-cold conditions are perfect for a great number of orchids, bromeliads, lichens and moss that proliferate in the area. The forest is surrounded by National Parks in what is known as Central Volcanic Conservation Area; therefore, the different species of birds and mammals are abundant. The elevation in this area goes from 9000 to 5000 feet (2700 mts – 1300mts), forming several habitats for individuals like the Resplendent Quetzal or the Black Guans; some hard to spot species of birds. The different lodges in this area offer Cloud Forest Exploration trails, hikes and horseback riding.

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

HIGHLY recommend for a stress free vacation of your dreams!

By: Brittany A.


Reviewed on: 20 Jul 2018

Costa Rica Expeditions was absolutely incredible!! Every detail was planned out perfectly, so that my husband and I did not have to worry about a thing. The tour guides were some of the friendliest people I have ever met. They made us feel like old friends and went out of their way with kindness. This was the least stressful vacation I have ever taken and I recommend this service to everyone who has asked us about our trip. Costa Rica Expeditions will provide you with the most memorable vacation, you will not regret it!
Travel Advisor:  Charissa Popp