2021 Costa Rica & Guatemala

GlowButts SRQ


Grab your camera and get ready for a spectacular vacation to Guatemala and Costa Rica! In Antigua, Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, step back in history as you explore the ruins of churches and monasteries along with restored colonial buildings. Perhaps pick up a unique Guatemalan handicraft to bring back home from the open-air Indian market.

Then travel to Costa Rica and witness bountiful wildlife in their natural habitat, enjoy relaxing dips in ecothermal hot springs, and learn about the Costa Rican culture. Among the many highlights of this tour is Tortuguero National Park, where you’ll take a boat ride along remote, unspoiled sections of the park to view wildlife. Your guide will look out for the wildlife—including freshwater turtles, egrets, toucans, and monkeys—so you can sit back, relax, and take plenty of pictures.

Another tour highlight is the Arenal Volcano, considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You may witness the red lava streaming down the sides as you hear the volcano’s grumbling. Relax as you soak in the ecothermal hot springs and perhaps watch the lava flow down the volcano—a spectacular sight! In Monteverde, visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, home to forest fauna such as jaguars, resplendent quetzal, monkeys, ocelot, and many species of birds—not to mention the large diversity of plant species. Be sure to grab your swimsuit and prepare yourself for the trip of a lifetime—a trip filled with wildlife, scenic waterways, tropical rainforests, and knowledgeable guides to help you learn about Guatemala and Costa Rica.


* GUATEMALA - Sightseeing in Antigua; visit a jade factory; stop in Chichicastenango to visit an open-air Indian market and the Church of Santo Tomás; cruise on Lake Atitlán; visit Santiago Atitlán; guided sightseeing of Tikal
* CARIARI - Tour a banana plantation
* TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK - Guided cruise through the canals to view wildlife; guided walk through the rainforest
* ARENAL - Tour a pineapple plantation; sightseeing of La Fortuna town; visit Natura Park, Tabacón Hot Springs, and Arenal Volcano
* MONTEVERDE - Visit the Sky Walk hanging bridges; Santa Elena Cloud Forest; Trapiche Farm tour & home-hosted lunch; farewell dinner
* SARCHI - Shop for souvenirs

I did this same (subject to itinerary changes) trip with GlowButts back in January, 2015. It was a very rainy trip.

DAY 1, Sun, Apr 9 - ARRIVE IN GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA–ANTIGUA
(D)
At least with a 9:45 departure, I won’t have to schedule the shuttle until about 6:30-7AM.

United UA 1751IAH-Guatemala City9:45A-11:35A2:50

Upon arrival, meet your Local Host and transfer to Antigua, Guatemala’s capital from 1543 until a devastating earthquake in 1776, when it was moved to Guatemala City. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua is one of the Americas’ oldest and most beautiful cities, with pastel-colored buildings, wide cobblestone streets, and a beautiful natural setting ringed by three volcanoes.

DAY 2, Mon, Apr 10 - ANTIGUA
(B)
Our morning tour of this magnificent highlands city, known for its 16th-century Spanish Colonial architecture, includes lively Plaza Mayor, flanked by the impressive Catedral de San José and Palace of the Capitanes Generales. We also see the ruins of churches and monasteries, some with hidden underground passages destroyed by the earthquake of 1776, and take a tour of a JADE FACTORY.

DAY 3, Tue, Apr 11 - ANTIGUA–CHICHICASTENANGO–LAKE ATITLÁN
(BL)
Today, reach the whitewashed highland town of Chichicastenango to visit the colorful, open-air Indian Market and the Catholic CHURCH OF SANTO TOMÁS to witness ancient Mayan ceremonies that have long been practiced there. Continue to the shores of Lake Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes and indigenous villages.

DAY 4, Wed, Apr 12 - LAKE ATITLÁN–GUATEMALA CITY
(BD)
This morning, CRUISE across Lake Atitlán. Visit the Indian village of SANTIAGO ATITLÁN and meet the Tzutuhil people, one of Guatemala’s indigenous tribes. This afternoon, head back to Guatemala City for an included dinner.

DAY 5, Thu, Apr 13 - GUATEMALA CITY–FLORES–TIKAL–GUATEMALA CITY
(B)
THIS IS NEW! Fly to Flores, where you will be transferred to the mystical archaeological site of TIKAL, located in the middle of the rainforest. Your guided tour showcases this Mayan city that was inhabited from 600–900 AD and at its height supported a population of 90,000 people. Explore the complex and its temples, main plazas, palaces, and pyramids. Later today, depart for Flores and your return flight to Guatemala City.

DAY 6, Fri, Apr 14 - GUATEMALA CITY–SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA – WASTED DAY
(B)
Fly to San José where you will be met by your Tour Director, who will help you check into your hotel. All we do is go from one town to another and don't do anything organized in either one. And only breakfast is included.

DAY 7, Sat, Apr 15 - SAN JOSÉ–CARIARI–TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
(BLD)
Journey east to the Caribbean shore and TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. On the way, stop at a BANANA PLANTATION to see one of Costa Rica’s main exports being harvested. Later, board a motor launch for your CRUISE along the Tortuguero Canals, waterways crisscrossing a national park dedicated to the protection of endangered turtles. The trained eyes of your guide and boatman help you spot freshwater turtles, caimans, herons, toucans, egrets, and monkeys. An afternoon at leisure lets you explore Evergreen Lodge until you meet for an informative slideshow presentation on the area.

DAY 8, Sun, Apr 16 - TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK TOUR & CANAL CRUISE
(BLD)
A local Naturalist accompanies you on a leisurely BOAT RIDE along remote, unspoiled sections of the park’s waterways, explaining the bountiful flora and fauna. Enjoy a fascinating stroll through an accessible portion of the nearby RAINFOREST. During the peak nesting season (mid-July to mid-October) you may be lucky enough to observe an endangered green turtle laying her eggs under the starlight on an optional tour.

DAY 9, Mon, Apr 17 - TORTUGUERO–SARAPIQUI–ARENAL
(BLD)
A morning boat transfer begins your journey to the Sarapiqui area. Tour a PINEAPPLE FARM, owned by a local family, and learn about the history, cultivation, and industry of pineapples. Continue to your hotel in the lush town of Arenal, located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s pool and hot spring-fed jacuzzi or consider a walk in the nearby nature trail in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, poisonous frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the area.

DAY 10, Tue, Apr 18 - ARENAL. EXCURSION TO ARENAL VOLCANO
(BD)
During your morning at leisure, you may wish to go on an optional horseback ride or float trip. Or, you can take advantage of your resort’s amenities by walking along the shaded trails nearby. Later this afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, offering spectacular views of the active Arenal Volcano. Visit NATURA PARK, where a Naturalist takes you on a guided tour of this ecological park that is home to a wide variety of plants and animals from the region. During your walk, keep an eye out for the toucans, iguanas, frogs, birds, butterflies, and caimans commonly seen here. Next, drive to nearby famous TABACÓN HOT SPRINGS for a dip in the curative and relaxing pools. Later, enjoy a dinner at the hot springs.

DAY 11, Wed, Apr 19 - ARENAL–MONTEVERDE
(B)
After breakfast, continue to MONTEVERDE, where you will enjoy two days in the cloud forest. This afternoon, take a guided tour on the SKYWALK hanging bridges, which combines trails and suspension bridges through the canopy of Monteverde Cloud Forest, to search for flora and fauna.

DAY 12, Thu, Apr 20 - MONTEVERDE
(BLD)
This morning, visit SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE for a walking tour. Located on the Continental Divide of Costa Rica, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve comprises an area of 765 acres, and is home to forest fauna, such as the resplendent quetzal, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, and numerous species of birds. With almost 100% humidity throughout the year, the cloud forest experiences almost 12 feet of rain per year. Later, visit the family-owned TRAPICHE FARM, where you will enjoy a homemade lunch. While here, learn about the production of sugar cane, coffee, and the traditional ways of cultivating bananas, arracacha (a local legume), avocado, macadamia nuts, as well as other products. The remainder of your day is at leisure. Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner, toasting an unforgettable discovery of Costa Rica.

DAY 13, Fri, Apr 21 - MONTEVERDE–SARCHI–SAN JOSÉ
(BL)
En route to San José, visit SARCHI Village, known as the center of Costa Rican handcrafts and where you will see the artists in their workshops making the famous oxcarts. Next stop is Grecia Village to see the metal church that was imported from Belgium to Puerto Limon in 1897. The church was transported by oxcarts to its present-day location, but sat in the plaza for 10 years before being reconstructed.

DAY 14, Sat, Apr 22 - SAN JOSÉ
(B)
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. My flight isn’t until 1:30 so there is plenty of time to get to the airport.

United UA 1099San Jose - IAH1:30P - 6:20P3:50

Home about 8PM, maybe.

All breakfasts are included and half the lunches and dinners. There are still a dozen meals to buy, but usually lots of choices:

MEALS
Day 1- - DDay 8B L D
Day 2B - -Day 9B L D
Day 3B L -Day 10B - D
Day 4B - DDay 11B - -
Day 5B - -Day 12B L D
Day 6B - -Day 13B L -
Day 7B L DDay 14B - -


AMERICAN EMBASSIES SEEN: Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, Domino's Pizza, Little Caesar's, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Chuck-e-Cheese's, Hard Rock Café, Subway, WalMart

HOTELS - same as in 2015
Not all are "FC"
NightsCityHotelRate
1-2AntiguaPorta Hotel AntiguaNOT FC
3Lake AtitlanPorta Hotel Del LagoFC
4-5Guatemala CityBarcelo Guatemala City HotelFC
6San JoseWindham HerraduraSFC
7-8TortegueroEvergreen LodgeFC
9-10ArenalVolcano-less Lodge & GardensFC
11-12MonteverdeEl Establo Mountain LodgeFC
13San JoseWindham HerraduraFC