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

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

About this trip

Discover the best of the tropics on this classic Costa Rica excursion! From rainforests and rivers to volcanoes and beaches, you’ll experience a variety of ecosystems and habitats, fun and engaging activities, and the friendly, “pura vida” attitude for which the country is famous. Begin in the country’s lush Caribbean lowlands, where pristine forests shelter a great diversity of plant and animal life. Then continue to picture-perfect Arenal Volcano and its nearby hot springs before heading to the Pacific coast for the chance to swim, snorkel, and cruise along the shoreline. A blend of nature and culture make this an ideal program for anyone seeking an informative, well-rounded exploration.

Highlights

  • Identify tropical flora and fauna during guided interpretive hikes amid primary and secondary rainforest.
  • Sample gourmet chocolate while learning about the history and cultural importance of cacao in the tropics.
  • Experience a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure.
  • Visit Arenal Volcano National Park, a great example of Costa Rica's geological activity.
  • Set sail on a scenic catamaran ride in the ocean, with the chance to swim and snorkel from the boat.
  • Observe tropical birds, howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, crocodiles, and other wildlife at El Viejo wetlands.
11 Travelers

Land Cost

$2,455 - Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2022

$2,555 - Dec 16, 2022 - Dec 15, 2023

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

Land Cost

$2,150 - Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2022

$2,195 - Dec 16, 2022 - Dec 15, 2023

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

San José

Day 1

Upon arrival, after clearing customs and immigration at the airport, meet your driver and transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner and program orientation at the hotel restaurant. In order to arrive in time for orientation, participants must book flights that arrive into San José no later than 4:30 pm. Check-in starts at 2 pm.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Sarapiqui

Day 2

This morning, gather for breakfast, and 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. The gardens provide a wonderful introduction to Costa Rica's flora, fauna, and scenic landscapes. 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, and then attend a lecture by a local naturalist on the biodiversity of the region and rainforest structure. This information will provide the foundation for understanding the complexities of Costa Rica's ecosystems and will enhance your experiences throughout the trip. Enjoy time to relax in your room, or stroll about the grounds before a buffet-style dinner in the upstairs dining room. After dessert, take a short night hike in search of nocturnal amphibians, mammals, owls, and insects.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Day 3

This morning after breakfast, embark on an exciting whitewater rafting adventure! The river has a gentle current with several minor Class I, II, and III rapids. A professional river guide escorts all rafting trips, and all of the necessary safety equipment (helmet, life jackets, etc.) is provided, along with a lesson on rafting safety instructions and procedures. For those not interested in rafting, a more relaxing boat trip along the river can be arranged as an alternative. 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. This evening, have dinner at the lodge and visit the nearby Tirimbina Biological Reserve for a presentation on the fascinating lives of bats. Learn about some of the bat species found in Costa Rica, with an opportunity to see live specimens humanely caught by local researchers, who are collecting valuable data about the abundance and diversity of bats in this region.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Arenal

Day 4

Rise early for optional morning birding on the grounds. After breakfast, set out on a hike in the primary rainforest reserve to observe this unique ecosystem up-close. A variety of wildlife can be seen along the reserve's forest trails, including sloths, monkeys, iguanas, parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, and other tropical fauna. After the hike, walk through Selva Verde's botanical garden and learn about the beautiful tropical flowers and plants. Have lunch at the lodge, check out, and then depart for Arenal, stopping at La Fortuna on the way. This picturesque town is a great place to take photos and shop for souvenirs. Upon arrival at Arenal, 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 Paraiso

Arenal

Day 5

After breakfast, head to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a reserve that abounds with wonderful trails, suspension bridges, and outstanding natural areas. Observe the rainforest canopy from up amid the treetops, where you may find epiphytic plants, butterflies, birds, and arboreal mammals. Have lunch in La Fortuna at a local restaurant, and then visit Arenal Volcano National Park. Return to the hotel for dinner and time to relax.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Paraiso

Guanacaste

Day 6

Check out after breakfast at the lodge, and 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 the wetland 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 Beachfront Hotel

Guanacaste

Day 7

Today is at leisure to enjoy the beach. The hotel faces the Gulf of Papagayo on the northern Pacific coast of Guanacaste, an area that's famous for sunshine, surfing, eco adventures, incredible biodiversity, and natural beauty. Enjoy a day of swimming, lounging, reading, or take advantage of day tours (at your own cost) such as hiking on local trails, deep-sea fishing excursions, surfing, sea kayaking, paddleboarding lessons, mountain biking on coastal trails, beach activities, and relaxing in the surrounding areas.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Papagayo Golden Palms Beachfront Hotel

Guanacaste

Day 8

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, and then board to set sail! Enjoy a picnic-style meal on board, then swim and snorkel from the catamaran in search of tropical fish, octopuses, starfish, and rays. 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, gather to share a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Papagayo Golden Palms Beachfront Hotel

Farewell!

Day 9

After breakfast, travel approximately 30 minutes to the international airport in Liberia for flights home. Flights should be scheduled to depart after 2 pm. Latest hotel check-out time is noon.

Breakfast- included