Costa Rica | Riches of the Rainforest, Monteverde, Arenal Volcano, and the Pacific Coast

Costa Rica | Riches of the Rainforest, Monteverde, Arenal Volcano, and the Pacific Coast

About this trip

Discover the treasures of Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems and the efforts to preserve them. From the primary and secondary rainforest of the country’s lush lowlands; to the volcanic landscapes and nearby hot springs of Arenal Volcano; to beaches, wetlands, and tropical dry forest in the Guanacaste region, you will have an opportunity to explore the high density of biodiversity, meet researchers and conservationists, and observe marine and geological features, while experiencing the “pura vida” attitude for which the country is famous.

Highlights

  • Discover unique flora and fauna during day and night guided interpretive hikes through primary and secondary rainforest.
  • Visit a sustainable cacao plantation and experience the traditional art of making chocolate.
  • Learn about and see some of the 113 species of bats in Costa Rica, bat research, and efforts to protect them.
  • Learn about geothermal energy while taking a dip in the hot springs heated by Arenal Volcano.
  • Explore the high cloud forest of Monteverde and the research and conservation efforts of the Tropical Science Center.
  • See an incredible number of species at the El Viejo Wetlands and set sail in a catamaran on the Pacific Coast to observe or snorkel with a diversity of tropical sea life.

Meet your leaders

Page Keeley and Joyce Tugel

Page Keeley and Joyce Tugel are nationally known leaders in STEM education and professional development. As former colleagues at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, they provide professional development to school districts and projects throughout the U.S. and are frequent speakers at national conferences. Both are recipients of several national awards and Keeley’s numerous science and mathematics publications (included two books co-authored with Tugel) are used in schools and universities throughout the U.S. and internationally. Both have served as Board members of the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) and National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Keeley served as the 63rd President of NSTA. 

San Jose

Jul 11, 2022

Upon arrival, after clearing customs and immigration at the airport, meet your driver and transfer to Hotel Balmoral, situated in the heart of the city near the Gold Museum and the National Theater, along the city's famous pedestrian boulevard. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner and program orientation at El Patio featuring a variety of options including a full-service restaurant, pizzeria, coffee shop, bar, and wine cellar. Check in starts at 2:00 pm.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Balmoral

Sarapiqui

Jul 12, 2022

This morning, gather for breakfast and orientation, then depart San José, heading north to the Sarapiquí region. En route, stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens to explore the many trails and picturesque waterfalls, as well as the hummingbird garden and lush botanicals. Enjoy lunch at La Paz before continuing to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve, located in the lush lowlands of north-central Costa Rica on a private tract of primary and secondary tropical rainforest. After settling in, receive an orientation to the lodge's facilities and 500-acre private reserve, then attend a lecture by a local naturalist on the biodiversity of the region and rainforest structure. Enjoy time to relax in your room, or stroll about the property before a buffet-style dinner in the upstairs dining room. After dessert, explore the world of the rainforest after sundown during a short night hike in search of nocturnal amphibians, mammals, owls, and insects.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde

Sarapiqui

Jul 13, 2022

This morning after breakfast, visit La Selva Biological Research Station for a tour of their facilities and speak with researchers about ongoing projects. Return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the plantation and reserve at Best Chocolate to learn all about the cacao plant and how it’s processed from fruit to final product. After witnessing all stages of the process, try a taste of freshly made chocolate with a new appreciation for its origins. For those who would like to participate in an alternate activity, you can book activities such as a boat ride on the Sarapiquí River, whitewater rafting, zip lining and others, with the hotel directly at an additional cost. This evening, have dinner at the lodge and visit the nearby Tirimbina Biological Reserve for a presentation on the fascinating lives of bats. During the visit, learn about some of the 113 species of bats that can be found in Costa Rica, with an opportunity to see live specimens humanely caught by local researchers collecting data

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde

Arenal

Jul 14, 2022

Early morning birding around the lodge grounds. Depart for Arenal, stopping at La Fortuna on the way. This picturesque town is a great place to take photos and shop for souvenirs. Have lunch then continue to Arenal. Upon arrival at the lodge, check in and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax in the thermal hot spring pools heated by Arenal Volcano. Weather permitting; the hotel affords excellent views of the volcano from every room.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Manoa

Arenal

Jul 15, 2022

This morning after breakfast, head to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a reserve that abounds with wonderful trails, suspension bridges, and outstanding natural areas. Have lunch in La Fortuna at a local restaurant, and then visit Proyecto Asis Wildlife Rescue Center, which supports local, environmental, social, and conservation projects within the community. Return to the hotel. Join your group for a lecture on Volcanology before dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Manoa

Monteverde

Jul 16, 2022

Have breakfast and then transfer to Monteverde Biological Reserve by boat and Jeep. Monteverde’s consistently cool and wet environment receives over three meters of rain annually and is home to an astounding variety of flora and fauna. More than 2,500 plant species have been identified here, including 300 individual orchid species and over 200 species of ferns. The beginnings of the reserve can be traced back to a group of Alabama Quakers that emigrated to Monteverde in the early 1950s. Visiting biologists discovered that the cloud forest located around the Quaker community was rich in plant and animal life. Due to the incredible foresight of the Quakers and the Tropical Science Center, the first non-governmental scientific and environmental organization in Costa Rica, Monteverde became the biological reserve it is today. After check-in, enjoy a guided hike in the cloud forests of the Curi-Cancha Reserve. Located in the Arenal Tempisque Conservation Area at the center of Monteverde, Curi-Cancha comprises 205 acres of forest, secondary growth, and open pasture. This evening, enjoy a talk by a local Quaker family and have dinner at their home.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Montana Monteverde

Monteverde

Jul 17, 2022

Wake up early for a walk in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, home to approximately 200 species of birds, and over 2000 species of plants. You will also receive a presentation on the management, species monitoring, and conservation practices going on at the reserve. Have lunch then visit Life Monteverde Farm to learn about coffee, sustainability, organic gardens, compost, and the role of the farm animals. At the farm they will discuss the agriculture research they are conducting and its implications. As part of the Monteverde Community Fund, they donate a portion of all their sales to fund local community projects. This evening enjoy a presentation on climate change before dinner at the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Montana Monteverde

Guanacaste

Jul 18, 2022

Check out after breakfast at the lodge, and then begin the transfer to Guanacaste. En route, stop for a visit at Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, a private wildlife refuge. Here, enjoy a typical Costa Rican buffet lunch at La Casona, a historical home dating back nearly 150 years that evokes the spirit of Costa Rica's colonial era. Then, set out onto the Tempisque River on a boat tour of El Viejo Wildlife National Refuge, where you'll see an incredible number of birds, monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. Return to La Casona to enjoy a cup of coffee and some fruit before departing the hacienda and continuing to Guanacaste. Check in upon arrival, and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure to explore the hotel facilities. Dinner at the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Papagayo Golden Palms

Guanacaste

Jul 19, 2022

After breakfast, head to nearby Flamingo Beach for a scenic catamaran journey along the beautiful Pacific coast. From the dock, take a brief ride by motorized tender to arrive at the catamaran, then go aboard and set sail! Enjoy a picnic-style meal on board, then swim and snorkel from the catamaran in search of tropical fish, octopuses, starfish, rays, and pufferfish. At the end of the cruise, board the tender back to shore and return to the hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the beach or relax. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Papagayo Golden Palms

Liberia

Jul 20, 2022

Transfer as a group approximately .5 hours to the international airport in Liberia. Check-out is at 12 pm.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Farewell