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Costa Rica | Managing Paradise: National Parks & Private Reserves

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Delve into the lush biodiversity of Costa Rica’s national parks and private reserves on this 10-day expedition, spanning some of the nation’s most beloved destinations. Hike through the rainforest during the day — and even at night — in search of the many species that call this tropical environment home. Observe the landscape and wildlife by foot, boat, and even on horseback during this unforgettable experience.

Visit some of Costa Rica’s most awe-inspiring parks and reserves, including Manuel Antonio National Park and Carara Biological Reserve.

Learn about sustainability and conservation through a hands-on experience at a Costa Rican chocolate farm.

Take a nature boat ride on the Sarapiqui River.

View the enchanting waterfalls and the hummingbird garden at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Visit the active Irazu Volcano.

Hit the trails for a chance to see several species of tropical birds, such as the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal.

Enjoy a horseback ride along the Savegre River.

Day 1 - San José

Upon arrival at the airport in San Jose you will be met by local guide and transferred to the hotel. Overnight Hotel Balmoral

Day 2 - Chilamate

After breakfast, transfer to Selva Verde Lodge and Rainforest Reserve. Upon arrival receive an orientation to the lodge and the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center. Following lunch, visit the nearby Tirimbina Reserve for a visit to a working chocolate farm. During this hands-on experience, tie in the ancestral indigenous traditions with modern commercial needs and discuss the sustainability of commercial crops, particularly chocolate, which needs shade to grow. Discuss the importance of weaving humans into the conservation landscape to support creating sustainable livelihoods and conservation. Return to Selva Verde Lodge for dinner. This evening enjoy a lecture on the importance of Selva Verde in the creation of a biological corridor between the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Caribbean coast. This lecture will highlight the plants and animals found in and associated with the rainforest at Selva Verde. Overnight Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve (BLD)

Day 3 - Chilamate

After an early morning breakfast, hike the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve. After lunch, take a nature boat ride on the Sarapiqui River. The journey will introduce the birds and animals that frequent the riverine vegetation, including caimans and a variety of water birds. A site lecture during the boat ride will draw attention to the land use on the river banks and the human impact on the ecology of the river system. Return to the lodge for time to relax and enjoy the amenities of the lodge. Overnight Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve (BLD)

Day 4 - Jaco

Enjoy early morning birding with your guide. After breakfast depart for La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Explore the many trails and picturesque waterfalls as well as the hummingbird garden, lush botanicals, and much more. After lunch, continue to Villa Lapas, situated on a 500 acre private reserve near the Pacific coast. Overnight Hotel Villa Lapas (BLD)

Day 5 - Jaco

Rise early for birding along the forest trails. After breakfast explore the biodiversity of the transitional forest during a hike in the Carara Biological Reserve. Experience double the diversity exploring this forest, which overlaps Pacific rainforest and tropical dry forest. Next, explore the famed Tarcoles, or Crocodile River, for an up close and personal experience with the massive crocs that inhabit these waters. Return to the lodge for lunch and then hike along the hotel’s canopy walkway, a suspended bridge situated in the forest canopy. This evening there will be a lecture on macaws and crocodiles followed by a night walk to look for kinkajous and other nocturnal creatures. Overnight Hotel Villa Lapas (BLD)

Day 6 - Quepos

This morning after breakfast transfer to Manuel Antonio for a hike in the very popular Manuel Antonio National Park. The park is situated along the Pacific coast and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Spend the day exploring the park and enjoy a picnic lunch at the park. There will be some free time later this afternoon to enjoy the area at your leisure. This evening dinner is on your own to explore local fare. Overnight Hotel San Bada (BL)

Day 7 - San Gerardo de Dota

After breakfast transfer to the tropical cloud forest realm of San Gerardo de Dota’s Savegre Hotel. En route stop for lunch at Hacienda Baru for talk on Rainforest Conservation. Continue to Savegre’s almost 1,000 acre reserve, situated just 5 miles from Costa Rica’s newest national park, Los Quetzales, and home to one of Costa Rica’s treasures, the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal. Settle in to the hotel and this evening talk with a member of the Chacon family about the history of the settlement of this region. Overnight Savegre Mountain Hotel, Natural Reserve & Spa (BLD)

Day 8 - San Gerardo de Dota

Spend a full day exploring the hotel and surrounding trails. A highlight includes a horseback ride along the Savegre River. This evening is at leisure to relax and perhaps enjoy the spa. Overnight Savegre Mountain Hotel, Natural Reserve & Spa (BLD)

Day 9 - San José

Begin the day with an early morning hike to see quetzals. Breakfast is followed by departure for a visit to Irazu Volcano. Continue to Moravia for shopping and then on to the hotel for a farewell dinner. Overnight Hotel Herradura (BLD)

Day 10 - Farewell!

Transfer to the airport for the flight home. (B)


$1,997 (12 participants + 1 leader)

Cost does not include international airfare.

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