Best of Costa Rica - 9 days / 8 nights

Route

Best of Costa Rica

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Accommodations

Tiskita Jungle LodgeThe best kept secret in Costa Rica, Tiskita Jungle Lodge offers guests the opportunity to experience pristine tropical rainforest and wilderness beaches on its 800 acre biological reserve either on foot or horseback.
Arenal Observatory LodgeThe Observatory Lodge is just 1.8 kilometers across a deep valley from the active crater of Arenal Volcano. The location was specifically chosen by the Smithsonian Institute. Adjacent to Arenal Volcano National Park, the site contains 270 acres of primary rain forest with well-marked trails.
Hotel Fonda VelaThe Fonda Vela is dedicated to the idea of eco-tourism in harmony with nature, The Latin root Fonda means a place of rest or nourishment after a long journey. Vela, or candle, for us represents service and hospitality. To this we add a peaceful atmosphere that is sensitive to the local environment.


Tours

Scarlet macawsTiskita is a private rain forest reserve in the remote region of Golfito on the southern Pacific coast. Explore rain forest and trails, fresh water jungle pools and beautiful, isolated beaches. The bird watching is fabulous with over 285 species identified in the area so far.
La Fortuna WaterfallThe La Fortuna Waterfall offers some of the most gorgeous scenery in all of Costa Rica. The 70-meter ribbon of water falls into a great swimming hole, surrounded by lush tropical forest, protected by the local conservation project.
Arenal Hanging BridgesA visit to Arenal Hanging Bridges consists of traversing 15 bridges from 5 to 100 meters long that cross the rain forest and a 3 km circuit of interpretive trails built with paving blocks to prevent slipping.
Monteverde Trapiche TourThe Monteverde Trapiche tour is run by a local family who tries to teach a little more about Costa Rica culture and even though the name of the tour means sugar mill process the tour also demonstrates how coffee is produced and you will learn about other crops grown on the farm.
Monteverde Cloud Forest - QuetzalIn Newsweek's 100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear, Monteverde appears as the Americas' #14. It has also been deemed one of the Seven Wonders of Costa Rica by popular vote, and has been called by National Geographic "the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves".


Rates

Best of Costa Rica #123
Dates Until
Nov 30 / 2013
Rates $2,580.00
CentralAmerica.Com's
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$2,418.00
Single supplement $556.00
Children (3-11 yrs) $1,294.00
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Rates per person based on double occupancy
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Itinerary

Day 1: ARRIVE - San José Airport ‘Meet & Greet’ and transfer to selected San José hotel for overnight.

Day 2, 3-4: TISKITA RAINFOREST RESERVE - Fly to Golfito and overland to Tiskita Jungle Lodge. Tiskita sits on a hill in the heart of Costa Rica's wild and wonderful south Pacific, sorounded by rainforest, and overlooking the ocean with miles of unfrequented coconut palm lined beach. Over 270 bird species have been spotted here and some of the best birding and wildlife viewing in the country can be done sitting pool side at Tiskita! Toucans, parrots, and scarlet macaws, three monkey species, sloths, iguanas and many other exotic species reside here. You will enjoy guided hikes through the private reserve, and tour a tropical fruit orchard, with over 100 types of tropical fruits from around the world. Animal and bird sightings are common in the orchard because all the birds and animals in the forest know that it is the place to get food! In the afternoons you will have free time to relax or explore on your own. You may wish to walk to the nearby seaside village of Punta Banco to see how rural Costa Ricans live or visit the world class surf break at Pavones. Costa Rica.

You can also go to the beach and tide pools, bird watching, visit the waterfall and jungle pools, or sign up for horseback riding, snorkeling, massage, biking, surfing, kayaking, or sea fishing. Tiskita has pioneered educational and health programs for the local community, and several conservation projects, including reintroducing scarlet macaws, a sea turtle conservation program, and a native tree reforestation project. Overnight at Tiskita Jungle Lodge. (3B,3L,3D)

Day 5: LA PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS & TRANSFER TO ARENAL - As you travel into the highlands, your first stop is La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This unique, enchanting location boasts a comprehensive rescued wildlife preserve, which includes jungle cats, monkeys, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. Enjoy a walk along a sparkling clear mountain river on a trail that provides easy access and great views of gorgeous waterfalls framed by serene forested mountains. After your visit, you will enjoy an appetizing lunch at the facility's restaurant set amid the lush beauty of their gardens. Then continue your journey through the tropical plantations and cattle ranches of the northern central lowland plains, before arriving at your hotel in the Arenal region. (L)

Overnight at Arenal Observatory Lodge (2 nights) or similar. (2B)

Day 6: LAVA FLOW HIKE, ORGANIC FARM LUNCH & LA FORTUNA WATERFALL - In the morning, traverse a landscape shaped by old lava flows with your naturalist guide. The Arenal Volcanoe erupted in 1968 devastating the village and farmlands in the western foothills at its base. After slightly more than four decades of activity which included smaller eruptions, hot rock avalanches (termed pyroclastic flows), and lava flows, Arenal Volcano today steams quietly, and heats numerous local rivers that flow near its base. These natural hot rivers have been channeled into pools to create hotsprings. The volcanoe will likely undergo another similar active phase several hundred years from now. Rainforests are now regenerating in the areas cleared by the explosion.

After exploring the lava flows, you will tour an organic farm and educational center managed by a rural family and dedicated to preserving the traditional Costa Rican lifestyle. Here you will have a lovingly prepared typical Costa Rican lunch.

Walk off your lunch with a short afternoon hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall. This beautiful 200 foot-tall waterfall receives its cool, clear waters from the pristine forested mountains of Arenal National Park. The steep trail leads you down through dense, lush rainforest with the objective of reaching a large pool at the base of the falls. (L)

Day 7: ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES & TRANSFER TO MONTEVERDE - The Arenal Volcano erupted in 1968 devastating the village and farmlands in the western foothills at its base. After slightly more than four decades of activity which included smaller eruptions, hot rock avalanches (termed pyroclastic flows), and lava flows, Arenal Volcano today steams quietly, rising majestically out of the vast surrounding rainforests, and heats numerous local rivers that flow near its base. These natural hot rivers have been channeled into pools to create hot springs. Rainforests are regenerating in the areas cleared by the explosion. The volcano will likely undergo another similar active phase several hundred years from now.

Explore the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a system of suspended bridges and trails that provide access to the forest floor, and canopy layer of a beautiful rainforest. The plant and animal communities that inhabit different layers of a rainforest can be quite different from one another. The lush vegetation is composed of numerous species of palms, ferns, bromeliads, orchids, heliconias and tall trees. From some of the bridges there are panoramic views of nearby Arenal Volcano. As you walk through the rainforest, you may encounter a wide diversity of forest wildlife, including toucans, motmots, trogons, poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and white-faced capuchin monkeys. If you don't recognize the names of these animals, then ask you friendly, knowledgeable guide!

After exploring the hanging bridges, you will travel into the mountains en route to your hotel in Monteverde. Located in the Tilaran Mountain Range of the Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, which translates to Green Mountain, is the name of both the famous cloud forest reserve and a small nearby community. Your transfer will take you through small rural Costa Rican villages, dairy farms and coffee plantations. The small mountain farms of these towns are owned by "campesinos" (country farmers). The most important regional farm products are organic coffee, which can be purchased in local stores, and milk for the local Monteverde Cheese Factory. In and around the community center there is a large selection of restaurants, and other fun activities, such as butterfly gardens, horse rentals, an orchid garden, art galleries, and an excellent educational bat exhibit. Overnight in Monteverde at Hotel Fonda Vela (2 nights) or similar. (2B)

Day 8: "ZIP LINE" CANOPY TOUR & MONTEVERDE RESERVE - After breakfast, get a different perspective of the rainforest on a "Zip Line" Canopy Tour. This is an exhilarating way to view the forest while you traverse from treetop to treetop with specialized equipment along horizontal cables that bring you to a series of platforms built amid the treetops! Suitable for children and active seniors, this tour will give you an unusual way to appreciate the magnificent beauty of a cloud forest, by literally flying through it!

The Monteverde area offers a variety of restaurants where you can have a break for lunch after your morning tour (lunch not included).

The reserve supports a remarkable biodiversity, including over 2,500 plant species (including 420 species of orchids), 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptile and amphibian species and thousands of insects. As a prime example of a cloud forest ecosystem Monteverde has been intensely studied by scientists, and is the site for pioneering research on the effects of climate change on tropical ecosystems. The income the reserve receives from visitors helps support the local economy, and conserves an important, rare ecosystem.

Overnight in Monteverde at Hotel Fonda Vela (2 nights) or similar. (2B)

Day 9: DEPARTURE - Transfer to San José or Liberia International Airport to check in 3 hours before your scheduled flight home.

Trip Includes: Lodging, transportation and meals as specified in the above itinerary where B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, entrance fees to National Parks and Private Reserves, tours, guide services, applicable taxes, service fees and in-country ground operator support.

Not Included: International airfare, airport departure taxes, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, and room service), gratuities, or costs associated with changes in your itinerary for reasons beyond our control.