Costa Rica is a glorious tropical paradise, with huge swaths of beaches, cloud forests, and rainforests protected in world-famous parks and reserves. With our expert naturalist guide, you’ll enjoy nature walks in Monteverde, with its treetop canopies full of birds, follow hanging bridges suspended high in the forest near towering Arenal Volcano, hike to the base of the breathtaking, 200-foot-high La Fortuna Waterfall, and even enjoy options for zip lining. Our grand finale is Tortuguero National Park, where you’ll explore by boat through tropical forest waterways sheltering a fantastic array of wildlife. Charming lodges keep you comfortable as you experience this natural wonderland.
We thought the trip was well scheduled and our time well spent. We were kept moving and steered to different places and experiences to make the most of our trip, which was just what we wanted. The hotels were excellent, as was the food!
— Gregg S., Boise, ID
Monteverde Cloud Forest
After an overnight in San Jose, we head to magical Monteverde Cloud Forest, set in the highlands at a cool 4,700 feet. Our Trip Leader unlocks the secrets of Monteverde as we hike along paths carpeted in ferns, mosses, and shade loving plants, while high above, the dense green canopy shelters countless birds, including the resplendent quetzal, sacred bird of the Mayas and Aztecs. During our visit to the Jardin de las Mariposas, you’ll discover the shimmering blue morpho butterflies, one of 40 species represented in this enchanting garden, hike nature trails in Curi-Cancha Reserve, noted for its birdlife, and have the option of taking an exhilarating zip line ride, where you’ll see the cloud forest from a whole new perspective. We unwind after our active days at welcoming Monteverde Lodge, set in lovely gardens surrounded by cloud forest.
Crossing Lake Arenal by private boat, you’ll take in your first views of magnificent—and still active—Arenal Volcano. A perfect cone shape emerging 5,300 feet from gentle green hills, Arenal first became active in 1968 when it erupted in a spectacular fashion. A series of hanging bridges brings you right to the high rainforest canopy, where more than 350 species of birds and a colorful array of butterflies reside. A hike through forests and meadows brings you to the base of stunning La Fortuna Waterfall, where, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a dip in the cool waters below. You’ll also Soak in a gorgeous natural thermal spring, then watch for the nighttime glow and red lava flows of Arenal Volcano from our boutique resort nestled among 120 acres of primal rainforest overlooking the mountain.
Tortuguero National Park
Set along natural inland waterways of the Caribbean and accessible only by boat or air, Tortuguero protects one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. In this emerald world, you’ll head out by boat to explore its maze of tranquil blackwater canals overhung with rainforest that provides a rich habitat for caimans, manatees, monkeys, three-toed sloths, river otters, and dazzling birdlife including all six species of kingfishers found in the New World, three species of toucans, eight species of parrots, and the slaty-tailed trogon. Green sea turtles nest here (July-October) as well as leatherbacks (March-May), and we’ll be sure to visit the Green Turtle Research Station. Our classic Caribbean-style lodge—and its inviting pool—are set right at the river’s edge. Depart on Day 9, or join one of our exciting extensions.