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A “Naturally” Thrilling Tropical Adventure

Overview

Costa Rica is a glorious tropical paradise, with huge swaths of cloud forest and wilderness beaches protected in world-famous parks and reserves. With our expert naturalist Trip Leader, we enjoy nature walks in Monteverde, whose sheer diversity of terrain supports six different ecological zones, follow hanging bridges suspended high in the forest near Arenal Volcano, hike to the base of the cascading La Fortuna waterfall, and soar through the cloud forest on a zip line. Our grand finale is Tortuguero National Park, where tropical waterways shelter a fascinating range of wildlife, from manatees to three-toed sloths. Charming lodges give us a warm welcome as we experience this natural wonderland.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Monteverde Cloud Forest

Set at a cool 4,700 feet, Monteverde is a pioneering private nature reserve established in 1972 and now encompassing more than 35,000 acres. Its dense cloud forest is home to about 100 species of mammals, 1,200 species of amphibians, and 400 species of birds, including the resplendent quetzal, sacred bird of the Mayas and Aztecs. In the reserve’s Jardin de las Mariposas, we discover more than 40 shimmering species of butterflies, and we hike nature trails in the private Curi-Cancha Reserve, with its hummingbird garden and view of the continental divide. Keep your camera handy for sightings of white-faced capuchins and howler and spider monkeys. We also have the option of an exhilarating ride on the canopy zip line.

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Days 4-5
Arenal Volcano

A perfect cone rising 5,300 feet from gentle green hills, Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Americas. It first became active in 1968 when it erupted in spectacular fashion and is now protected as a national park. We cross hanging bridges right into the high rainforest canopy below Arenal, hike to the picturesque waterfall called La Catarata de La Fortuna, and watch for the nighttime glow and red lava flows of Arenal from our boutique resort hotel.

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Days 6-9
Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero protects more than 50,000 acres of lowland forest, mangroves and tropical beaches on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. In this emerald world, we head out by boat to explore a maze of tranquil blackwater canals overhung with rainforest. They provide 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. Tortuguero is also one of the best places in the world to see turtles. Green sea turtles nest here (July-October) as well as leatherbacks (March-May), and we’ll visit the Green Turtle Research Station. Our riverside lodge offers us fantastic access to this wildlife haven. Depart on Day 9, or join one of our exciting extensions.

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Highlights

Highlights

Boat in pristine rainforest, hike in cloud forest, and walk hanging bridges (plus optional zip line) through a treetop canopy alive with birdlife
Monteverde Cloud Forest, with its paths draped in orchids and bromeliads
Arenal Volcano’s inviting thermal springs and waterfalls
Tortuguero National Park, a rainforest realm of caimans, spider monkeys, and toucans
Our fantastic naturalist Trip Leader shares in-depth knowledge of Costa Rica’s ecosystems

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $4295  
Arrive: San Jose, Costa Rica
Depart: San Jose, Costa Rica
Lodging: 4 nights hotels, 4 nights well-appointed lodges in beautiful settings
Meals: All meals included except Day 1 (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Walking
Trip Level:

Easy forest hikes and nature walks, optional zip lines

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