Take a journey through Costa Rica’s diverse ecological and climatic zones. First travel to the dry lava flows, hotsprings and forest trails of Arenal Volcano National Park. Drop deep into the lush Caribbean lowlands for a night in the rainforest before continuing to the east coast and the turtle nesting grounds of Tortuguero National Park. This trip is a semi-independent tour with a mix of guided and optional tours.
Day 1 – Arrival San Jose
Arrive San Jose and transfer with driver to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 – San Jose –Volcano National Park
Scenic drive with our driver/guide to Arenal Volcano, stop en route at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for an up close view at a system of 5 different waterfalls and also for lunch. After lunch continue to Arenal. From the Observatory, which is situated only 1.6 miles south of the volcano, visitors have an impressive view of this “giant which rumbles” and erupts with spectacular displays of vapor and lava. The Observatory is the only lodge situated within the Arenal Volcano National Park, which encompasses thousands of acres of pristine rainforest and teems with tropical birds and wildlife. This offers the adventurous traveler front-row seating for one of the world’s most thrilling fireworks displays – a volcanic eruption. After having lain dormant for over 400 years, Arenal Volcano erupted violently on July 29, 1968, wreaking havoc on the local population and creating a “lava-scape” for miles around its base. Tropical flora and fauna abound about the Arenal lodge, and while here there are many self guided hiking opportunities as well as optional guided tours. Overnight at the Arenal Observatory Lodge or similar. (BD)
Day 3 – Arenal and Sarapiqui
This morning will be a guided hike from the lodge to see some of the forest and local effects of volcanic activity. Transfer from Arenal to Sarapiqui area. You go from mountain terrain to lowland Caribbean rainforest. This is a lush warm land of bromeliads, butterflies, bats, and birds. There are a number of things worth doing here and at your lodge have access to a butterfly “farm” with amazing blue morphos and walking trails along the river. (BD)
Day 4 – Sarapiqui
Today we have some interesting and fun activities. This morning you may want to take part in your choice of some optional activities: river rafting trip on a fun Class l-ll (more mild) river, a thrilling canopy zipline tour through the forest, or a tour of the nearby organic pineapple plantation. You may also elect to just enjoy a little rest time at the pool or try tubing along the river that goes past the lodge. Later this afternoon you will be taken to La Tirmbina Nature reserve for their very interesting Origins of Chocolate Tour and then dinner. After dinner, a naturalist from the reserve will do a show and tell about the really amazing nightlife in the rainforest. (BD)
Day 5 – Sarapiqui – Tortuguero National Park
This morning you’ll transfer by land to a coastal estuary for a boat trip to Tortuguero. Here you will be taken to your lodge. This area exists to protect the most important breeding areas in Costa Rica for marine turtles. Of the 8 worldwide species, 4 nest here. You can see leatherback turtles between April and June and green turtles from July to mid October. Tropical wildlife is incredibly abundant and the area is a major migratory bird route for North American birds. (BLD)
Optional Turtle Nesting Tour at night, approximately US $30.00 per person.
Day 6 – Tortuguero National Park
This morning you will board one the flat bottom boats to explore the watery creeks and canals that make up the highly productive coastal zone of the Caribbean lowlands with an expert guide. In this trip you will see an incredible assortment of tropical wildlife before returning to your lodge. Balance of day is free, you might want to take a trip to the local village and meet some of the people of Tortuguero. (BLD)
Day 7 – Tortuguero – San Jose
This morning you may take another included tour with the naturalists into the creeks before returning to the lodge for a boat back to main dock and then a ground transfer back to San Jose and your hotel. (B)
Day 8 – Depart San Jose
Departure transfer to International Airport. (B)
Special Package Features:
All transfers with a private or semi-private van and driver.
All accommodation (3-4 green leaf rating)
7 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches and 6 Dinners
Guided walks and tours as described.
****B (breakfast), L (lunch), BL (box lunch, D (dinner)