2019 Costa Rica Escape with TORTUGUERO
Forget the big city crowds and high prices—now is your time to vacation in Costa Rica! With its abundant wildlife and splendid beauty, it’s no wonder Costa Rica is synonymous with pura vida—the good life. On this Costa Rica tour, spend two nights each in San José, Tortuguero, Monteverde, and Arenal.
In Tortuguero National Park, enjoy a cruise into the biodiverse rainforest and watch for white-faced capuchin, howler, and spider monkeys; toucans; manatees; jaguars; and much more. During your guided nature walk into the rainforest, learn about the flora found here. In the verdant cloud forest of Monteverde, search for wildlife as you explore Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve—home to jaguars, resplendent quetzals, pumas, monkeys, sloths, and many species of birds and plants—with an expert Naturalist. In Arenal, located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano (considered one of the world’s most active volcanoes), visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Made up of 15 bridges suspended in the treetops, be sure to have your camera ready for when your Naturalist points out monkeys, sloths, butterflies, birds, and other animals commonly seen here.
This tour is only 9 days rather than the 14-day tour which includes Guatemala, but it avoids the miserable hotels in Antigua and Lake Atitlan. The tour is available most of the year – including Jan-Mar.
Day 1, Thu, Mar 14 Arrive in San José, Costa Rica
Arrive in San José where you will be met by a Globus representative. NO FOOD. Hotel: Park Inn Radisson (STC)
Day 2, Fri, Mar 15 San José—Tortuguero National Park
(BLD) This morning, depart San José for the Caribbean shores where you will find Tortuguero National Park, a must-see when visiting Costa Rica! After a drive to the east coast, embark on a CRUISE which takes you to the bio-diverse rainforest of TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. Your expert Naturalist will accompany you and point out the many species that can be found in this area including white-faced capuchin, howler, and spider monkeys, toucans, macaws, tapirs, ocelot, manatees, and even jaguars! The area is also famous for the five species of turtles that repeatedly come her each year to lay their eggs. Upon arrival at the lodge, enjoy a welcome drink and briefing before some time to explore prior to dinner this evening. Hotel: Evergreen Lodge (FC) – 2 nights
Day 3, Sat, Mar 16 Tortuguero National Park
(BLD) This morning, take a Naturalist-guided CRUISE of the remote yet extensive Tortuguero canals famous for its abundant wildlife. Your eagle-eye guide will help you spot some of the fauna that call this region home which includes more than 125 species of mammals, 124 species of reptiles, and over 375 species of birds. Return to the lodge for a NATURE WALK into the rainforest led by your guide who explains the flora commonly found here and its uses. This afternoon, visit the small town of Tortuguero consisting of a few shops and restaurants, no cars, and dirt roads. Here, visit the SEA TURTLE CONSERVANCY MUSEUM and learn about the various endangered sea turtles that come here annually to nest and lay their eggs. This area was declared a National Park in 1975 to protect these turtles and today Tortuguero is home to the largest green turtle rookery in North America. Other turtles found here include the Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead, and Olive Ridley. If you are lucky, you may be able to observe some of these turtles nesting on the beach during an optional night walk on the beach.
Day 4, Sun, Mar 17 Tortuguero National Park—Guapiles—Monteverde
(BL) A morning boat transfer begins your journey to the Guapiles area. After lunch in Guapiles, your guide will take you on a short NATURE WALK to explore the nearby forest trails for local flora and fauna. Continue to the cloud forest of Monteverde. Situated on the continental divide under a misty cloud coverage, Monteverde is one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet. Exploring the trails here reveals green habitats teeming with life. Over 3,000 species of plants, 400 species of birds, 60 species of bats, 1,200 species of amphibians and 700 species of butterflies to name a few call this area home. It is also one of the last remaining places in the world that is home to all six species of cats: ocelots, jaguars, jaguarundi, pumas, oncillas, and marguays. If you are lucky, this is also a great spot to catch a glimpse of one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful birds, the resplendent quetzal. Hotel: Jaguarunde (MFC) – 2 nights
Day 5, Mon, Mar 18 Monteverde
(B) Today, visit SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE during a Naturalist-guided walking tour. Established in 1989, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve comprises an area of 765 acres, and is home to forest fauna such as the sloths, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, coatis, and numerous species of birds. With almost 100% humidity throughout the year, the cloud forest experiences almost 12 feet of rain per year. This afternoon, you may wish to explore this verdant area further or perhaps head into town or venture into the rainforest canopy for a bird’s eye view of the region.
Day 6, Tue, Mar 19 Monteverde—Arenal
(B) Depart Monteverde for the must-see town of Arenal located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. Currently Arenal Volcano is in a resting phase but prior to 2010 the volcano was known for its consistent lava flows and gas emissions. Arenal is home to cascading waterfalls, thriving rainforests, abundant wildlife, and a plethora of outdoor activities. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s pool and Jacuzzis or consider a walk along the nearby nature trails in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, poisonous frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the area. Hotel: Magic Mountain (FC – city very modern hotel - not out in the forest) – 2 nights
Day 7, Wed, Mar 20 Arenal
(B) Today will be spent exploring Arenal and its vast primary rainforest, and learning about its rich biodiversity. Venture into the jungle canopy on the ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES, which consist of 15 bridges suspended in the treetops and allows your Naturalist to point out various species of plants, birds, butterflies, monkeys, sloths, and other animals commonly found here. On a clear day you will get a 360-degree view of the tropical rainforest, as well as stunning views of Arenal Volcano. This afternoon, is free to explore at your leisure. Tonight, perhaps take an optional tour to the world-famous Tabacón Hot Springs. These natural hot springs are the result of rainwater heated by magma in the Earth’s interior that then rises to surface, taking with it minerals found in the Earth’s crust. Enjoy time to relax in the waters that are so beneficial to your skin and body.
Day 8, Thu, Mar 21 Arenal—Sarchi—San José
(B) 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. Enjoy time here for lunch before continuing to San José for a short city TOUR to see the historic National Theater and the Metropolitan Cathedral, and other sites in downtown San José. Hotel: Park Inn Radisson (STC)
Day 9, Fri, Mar 22 San José
(B) Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.
San Jose: Night 1, 8: Hotel: Park Inn Radisson (STC)
Tortuguero: Night 2-3: Hotel: Evergreen Lodge (FC)
Monteverde: Night 4-5: Hotel: Jaguarunde (MFC)
Arenal: Night 6-7 Hotel: Magic Mountain (FC – very modern hotel)
MEALS: 10 meals to buy