Costa Rica | Jungles, Peaks and Shores

Costa Rica | Jungles, Peaks and Shores

About this trip

View a volcano, cruise among crocodiles, and get a treetop glimpse of the forest canopy from hundreds of feet above the ground: this program features the essential highlights of Costa Rica. You’ll begin in the lush lowland rainforests of Sarapiquí, continue to Arenal Volcano to discover its geological history, thermal hot springs, and nearby cloud forests, then witness the unique biodiversity inhabiting the transitional zones of Carara National Park. Learn about Costa Rica's impressive biological footprint, and its remarkable story of conservation since the 1980s. You'll also have the chance to participate in adventure activities and hands-on demonstrations, plus meet with locals for a deeper understanding of their daily way of life. 

Highlights

  • Examine and compare the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rainforest and cloud forest ecosystems.
  • Learn how agricultural products like chocolate, sugar cane, and heart of palm play a role in the economy. 
  • Meet local students and interact with community members for authentic cultural exchange.
  • Observe the unique wildlife in Carara National Park, situated in a transitional zone where Pacific rainforest meets tropical dry forest.
  • Enjoy fun adventure activities like whitewater rafting, zip lining, and paddling along the coast in an outrigger canoe.
8 Travelers

Land Cost

$2,180 - Aug 1, 2021 - Dec 20, 2022

$2,245 - Jan 4 - Dec 15, 2023

Book 7 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

Land Cost

$2,150 - Aug 1, 2021 - Dec 20, 2022

$2,195 - Jan 4 - Dec 15, 2023

Book 14 travelers and 2 group
leaders travel for free

24 Travelers

Land Cost

$2,150 - Aug 1, 2021 - Dec 20, 2022

$2,195 - Jan 4 - Dec 15, 2023

Book 21 travelers and 3 group
leaders travel for free

San José

Day 1

Upon arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon is an orientation to get to know your guide and the amazing country that will be your home for the next week. In order to arrive in time for orientation and dinner, please book flights that arrive into San José no later than 4:30 pm.

Dinner included
Overnight at Radisson San Jose

Sarapiqui

Day 2

This morning after breakfast, learn about Costa Rica’s biodiversity during an informative presentation given at the hotel by a local expert. Depart San José and travel to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve, located in the lush lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. En route visit the nearby frontier town of Puerto Viejo. Learn about a local favorite, palmito, better known as heart of palm. See how this tender, vegetable-like delicacy is harvested and sample some locally inspired dishes made with it. Next, take a chocolate tour with a local expert at Costa Rica Best Chocolate. Then continue to Selva Verde Lodge and check in. Founded in 1985, the lodge is designed to have a minimum impact on the environment and is a proud participant in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism program (CST). After settling in, there will be an orientation to Selva Verde and free time to enjoy the pool before dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve

Sarapiqui

Day 3

After breakfast, take an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip on the Río Sarapiquí. A professional river guide escorts all trips, and all necessary safety equipment (helmet, life jackets, etc.) will be provided. Following a thorough safety orientation and basic rafting lesson, enjoy the Class II and III rapids of the Rio Sarapiquí. This afternoon participate in a community interaction activity with the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center (SCLC). The SCLC is a not-for-profit organization founded to preserve the cultural integrity of the rural community of Chilamate and aid in sustainable community development projects. Return to the lodge for some free time to spend at the pool. This evening a nocturnal hike provides a comparison between wildlife during the day and night.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve

Arenal

Day 4

Early this morning receive an introduction to the amazing tropical birds of Selva Verde during a short hike with your guide around the grounds of the lodge. The avifauna of Selva Verde is abundant, and feeding stations have been set up around the lodge to facilitate observation and identification of the many species that frequent the area. Return to the lodge for breakfast, and then set out for a nature hike through the reserve in search of new species. Your guide will discuss the complex details of the ecosystem and how life in the rainforest thrives. After lunch at the lodge, travel to La Fortuna. This afternoon you’ll have time for a dip in the hot spring pools at your hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Paraiso

Arenal

Day 5

This morning explore the rainforest at Arenal Hanging Bridges. The site consists of 15 bridges ranging from 16 to 330 feet long, offering a unique view of the forest canopy from below and above. Six of the 15 bridges are suspended in the upper canopy of this mature forest trail system. The elevation is approximately 1,900 feet. The trail system straddles different types of ecosystems, forming a transitional vegetation strip with high biodiversity where both highland and lowland species occur. Next, visit Arenal Vida Campesina to learn about agricultural practices in the region, like growing vegetables and dairy farming. While there, visit a sugar cane mill for a lesson in traditional methods of sugar cane processing. Before lunch, wake up your inner chef (and your appetite) by joining in a tortilla-making activity where you will learn how to make tortillas from scratch and cook them on a wood stove. After the farm tour, visit a school for a charming dance presentation performed by local children. This evening enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Paraiso

Central Pacific

Day 6

Transfer from Arenal to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. En route, stop at the Tárcoles River for a crocodile river safari. Cruise along the waterway in search of the large American crocodiles that call this river home. Explore the mangrove ecosystems and then have lunch at a nearby restaurant. Arrive at the hotel with time to enjoy the pool or the beach.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Punta Leona

Central Pacific

Day 7

Depart early for the nearby Carara National Park for a guided walk through beautiful transitional forest. This is the northernmost region of Pacific rainforest remaining in Costa Rica and the beginning of the transition zone into the tropical dry forests of the northwest. Trails through Carara feature thick, ancestral forest that’s remained unchanged for thousands of years, replete with towering ancient trees, vines, and dense, shady canopies that block out the light. Have lunch at the hotel and then embark on an exhilarating adventure through the forest canopy in Herradura. The experts at Vista Los Sueños Canopy will explain safety procedures and instructions before you zip through the trees along zip lines surrounded by views of the surrounding area, as well as wildlife that may be present. This evening have dinner at the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Punta Leona

Central Pacific

Day 8

This morning embark on a sea outrigger canoe from Aguas Beach. Paddle along the coast and enjoy some fruit and fun in the ocean. Return to the hotel for lunch. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the nearby beach. Gather together one last time to celebrate new friendships and the completion of your program during a farewell dinner at your hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Punta Leona

Farewell!

Day 9

Transfer to the airport for the flight home. Please make sure to book departure flights out of San José after 1 pm

Breakfast- included