Best of costa rica
April 8-19, 2017
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Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes and immense biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, rich with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.
YOUR 11-DAY JOURNEY
|Day 1||Fly to Costa Rica|
Enjoy your private car transfer to the airport. We greet you at Toronto Pearson airport and assist with your check in. Meet your Journey Manager and fellow travellers and board your flight to San José, Costa Rica. On arrival we are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. (D)
Overnight San José, Hotel Alta Los Palomas, 2 nights
|Day 2||San José, Poas Volcano La Paz Waterfall Garden|
This morning we travel along the Pan-American Highway towards the city of Alajuela. En-route we pass the Agriculture Monument, the Monument to Juan Santa Maria and the famous Mango Park. Ascending the volcano, there is a noticeable change in temperature and vegetation, preparing us for the pleasure of the exuberant cloud forest of Poas Volcano. At the volcano we will have time to observe the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles. Then we will hike on a trail to the beautiful Botos Lagoon that will allow us to learn about the different ecosystems in the park.
Afterwards continue to discover La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a natural park where we will walk through many spectacular trails which will take us to the White Magic Waterfall, the most spectacular one in the area. Inside the park we will also visit the largest butterfly observatory in the country that is known as the house of collections of tropical jewels and the impressive hummingbird gallery, the serpentarium, the old house, the bird house & the frog’s exhibit. This afternoon, we return to San José. (B,L,D)
|Day 3||San José, Sarchi, Arenal|
Our day begins with an introduction to San José. We pass Plaza de la Cultura, Central Park and the National Theatre. Then, we visit Sarchi and watch artisans making traditional Costa Rican oxcarts.
After lunch we continue to the area of the impressive Arenal Volcano, a magnificent natural wonder located in La Fortuna de San Carlos. To reach this wonder of nature, we will travel to the north of the country. We will make a brief stop in the famous town of Sarchi, well-known internationally for its industrious artisans that have made Sarchi famous as the birthplace of handicrafts in Costa Rica. Continuing our journey, we will pass through various agricultural and ornamental plant plantations and cattle ranches, to the town of La Fortuna. In the afternoon, enjoy the exotic and relaxing hot springs to sit back and relax in this soothing water that soaks away every aching muscle. (B,L,D)
Overnight Arenal, Arenal Kioro, 2 nights
|Day 4||La Casona|
Today we drive to the small village of Sonafluca. We will be welcomed at one of the three different rural schools of the area and received by the students beautifully dressed in Folkloric clothing and immediately directed to the classroom area, where we will enjoy of an artistic performance. Afterwards, we travel by wagon through the real Costa Rica, passing plantations, beautiful scenery and the warm greeting of the always modest villagers, to La Casona, a renowned Costa Rican historical site near the Arenal Volcano. La Casona is an elegant, turn-of-the-century country home of former Costa Rican president Rafael Iglesias. It´s considered to be one of the most-charming and authentic cultural sites in Costa Rica.
We are greeted by the owners, Elieth and Milton who are famous for their hospitality. Visitors will be welcomed on the terrace, a place full of history, culture and traditions. Enjoy some local Costa Rican Rum and fruit while learning about organic farming and plantations of pineapple, papaya, yucca, tiquisque and medicinal gardening. We receive a short lesson about making traditional coffee and fresh made tortillas.
Visit the sugar cane mill, where we will learn a little bit more about this monument to the Costa Rican rural worker and the process of the sugar cane mill as it was over a hundred years ago. Once the visit to the mill has finished, enjoy lunch, cooked the old fashioned way on a wood stove and served in the traditional way on a banana leaf, with fresh coffee and listen to live typical Costa Rican songs played by Milton & Eli. (B,L,D)
|Day 5||Hanging Bridges|
We depart our hotel for a scenic drive around Lake Arenal, visit the hanging bridges and enjoy majestic views of Arenal Volcano (weather permitting). We continue to Monteverde, a small community located at the top of the Tilarán Mountain Range and an important ecotourism destination in Costa Rica, to see its renowned cloud forest nature reserves. (B,L,D)
Overnight Monteverde, Hotel Fonda Vela, 2 nights
|Day 6||Monteverde Reserve, Coffee Plantation|
Today is a great learning experience visiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, discovering the secrets of the exuberant cloud forest. Explore its biodiversity of more than 130 mammal species, over 500 birds, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles, more than 3000 species of plants of which 500 are orchids besides thousands of insects. On this walk on Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve trails, you will be able to make your own observations.
Later continue to Don Juan´s Coffee Estate where you first enjoy lunch and afterwards a coffee tour. The tour begins with a brief insight into the wonderful world of coffee, followed by the history of Costa Rican coffee and its importance in the socio-economic development. Later on during the tour we will cover other aspects of the Costa Rican culture and traditions and a 30 minute information session on the world of chocolate and enjoying its delicious aromas and learning about its history.
You will also participate in the chocolate making process and have the opportunity to taste the fruit of the cacao and observe how the small cocoa beans are magically converted into a rich tasting chocolate drink. You will get an insight into the traditional methods that our ancestors used to roast the beans, separate the husks and grind the beans. At the end of the tour you can enjoy the taste of the chocolate you’ve made in a variety of forms; liquid chocolate, plain chocolate, spiced chocolate and of course, coffee chocolate. (B,L,D)
|Day 7||We depart for Guanacaste, stopping in the town of Liberia for lunch, and further to Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast to Tamarindo. (B,L)|
Overnight Tamarindo, Esplendor Tamarindo, 2 nights
|Day 8||Catamaran Adventure|
The morning is at your leisure to do as much or as little as you please. Relax by the pool, take the shuttle to the beach, or treat your self at the spa wellness centre. This afternoon we go on a spectacular Catamaran trip and pass some of Guanacaste’s exotic bays, white sand beaches and tropical jungles. Gaze off the bow with a cold tropical drink prepared and served by the crew as you scan the seas for dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish or even a breaching whale. Stop in a tranquil bay, drop anchor and frolic in the blue Pacific. Snorkel in the bay or stroll down the deserted white sand beach while the ever helpful crew prepares a snack of chicken or pasta salad, fruit, chips, pico de gallo, guacamole and homemade chocolate chip cookies. (B)
|Day 9||Mangrove Explorations|
Today our journey takes you to the warm Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica to Manuel Antonio. Drive towards the Central Pacific area, where you will go on the Tarcoles River, adjacent to the Carara Biological Reserve. Float through a mangrove forest and look for white and snowy egrets and the amazing nests of the montezuma oropendola. This tropical bird and wildlife sanctuary is a nesting site for the scarlet macaw. After lunch we continue to Manuel Antonio to our hotel. (B,L,D)
Overnight Manuel Antonio, Parador Resort & Spa, 2 nights
|Day 10||Manuel Antonia National Park|
Today we explore Costa Rica’s famous National Park, Manuel Antonio. Take a leisurely stroll with your guide through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rain forest preserved in a 33-year-old national treasure. The pace of this adventure is determined by your group’s abilities and interests, and the abundance of wildlife you want to stop and observe (or learn about) – all in its natural and breathtaking habitat.
Watch sloths and numerous species of monkeys travel through the tree canopy, watch out for nocturnal silky anteaters and several types of non-poisonous snakes resting in the tropical rain forest, and listen to the songs of the various birds as they glide above our group, curiously looking for adventure. The tour ends at wonderful sandy beaches, where you can relax. (B,L,D)
|Day 11||Aerial Tram|
An hour’s drive, takes us to the Aerial Tram tours near the tropical beach forests of Jaco. Enjoy the natural wonders of our ecotourism on the most enticing of all the attractions and activities. Ride the aerial tram in the transitional forest. After lunch, continue to San José. (B,L,D)
Overnight San José, Hotel Alta Las Palomas, 1 night
|Day 12||Return to Canada|
Breakfast at the hotel. At the appointed hour, you will be transferred from your hotel to San José International airport for your departure flight. (B)
|Canadian dollars per guest||DOUBLE||Single|
These journey fares include the current known fuel surcharges. Additional charges may apply at final payment date. All fares are for departure from Toronto. Other air gateways available.
Poas Volcano • Botos Lagoon • La Paz Waterfall Garden • San José City Tour • Arenal Volcano • La Casona • Coffee Plantation • Monteverde Cloud Forest • Guanacaste Catamaran • Carara Biological Reserve • Manuel Antonio National Park • Rainforest Arial Tram
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