Costa Rica: Nature’s Paradise
Costa Rica is sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America” because of its comfortable lifestyle, peaceful democracy and overwhelming natural beauty. With picturesque landscapes and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica is a paradise for geographers and scientists alike. As one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world, it is home to a remarkable variety of habitats including rainforests, mangroves and volcanoes. Costa Rica is considered one of the world leaders in eco-tourism and there are fewer places on Earth that can offer as many life changing, inspirational and educational experiences.
Dates throughout 2019
San Jose – Arrival
Fly from the UK to San Jose Airport. On arrival you will be met by an English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day at leisure to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities.
Poas Volcano National Park & Doka Estate
This morning, you will visit the Poas Volcano National Park in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. The volcano is the centrepiece of the park and is one of the most visited volcanoes in Costa Rica. The enormous crater, one of the largest in the world, is surrounded by an extensive forest measuring 5600 hectares, with an altitude of 2708 metres above sea level. The main crater collapsed thousands of years ago, leaving a mile-wide caldera. The National Park offers four different habitats: scarce vegetation, a stunted forest, a cloud forest, and an area of arrayans. The park is full of dense vegetation and small wildlife and sightings of 79 species of birds have been identified. Hike along the Botos Trail to the Botos Lake, a beautiful crater with a diameter of 1,312 ft (400 m) that has a beautiful jade colour. Afterwards, you will travel to the Doka Estate where you will hear about the history of the coffee farm, its owners and its traditional coffee producing methods.
Following breakfast, transfer from the hotel to La Pavona docks where you will take a boat transfer to the Tortuguero area. The Caribbean coast is home to the beautiful town of Tortuguero and its National Park. The park was previously an archipelago of volcanic islands until alluvial sediments from the interior mountains filled in the spaces and formed a network of marshy islands. Today, turtles nest on the naturally formed beaches. The exceptionally high rainfall, and rich environment where the freshwater meets the sea makes Tortuguero an area of exceptional biodiversity. Due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons.
Afternoon Boat Tour of Tortuguero National Park Water Canals
Spend another day exploring the Tortuguero National Park. Enjoy an afternoon boat tour down the canals. Look out for the all animals that call this park home. In the rivers you’ll find sensitive populations of manatees, as well as caimans and crocodiles. The forests are home to jaguars, three toed sloths, three species of monkey, Basilisk lizards and frogs also inhabit the area as well as 375 species of bird. There are also more than 400 species of tree and approximately 2200 species of other plants and flowers.
Today you will transfer by boat to Cano Blanco or Pavona Docks. From here you will travel to area of Arenal in the north west of the country. You will have the afternoon at leisure to relax.
Místico Park Hanging Bridges & Arenal Volcano National Park
Visit the Hanging Bridges of Arenal, located within the corridor followed by birds migrating between North and South America. These trails and bridges will bring closer than ever to the birds. Formed some 7,000 years ago from the adjacent (and now extinct) Chato Volcano, the Arenal Volcano looms large and ominous over the pastured green hillsides that surround its base. Enjoy a gentle hike along the base of this marvellous “Mountain of Fire”. This Laguna Volcán Chato trail will take you through the forest over recent lava flows and up to the water filled extinct crater of the volcano. The Arenal Volcano National Park encompasses four different life zones and harbours a tremendous amount of flora and fauna. In fact, nearly 75% of the total 850 species of birds that have been identified in Costa Rica can be found here. Other creatures include sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys, coati, deer and snakes.
After breakfast transfer from Arenal to journey to Monteverde where you will check in at your hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the most famous conservation areas in Central America. It is a tropical rain forest but because of its altitude (1400m), it’s classified as a Cloud Forest. A cloud forest is a highland forest characterized by nearly 100% humidity throughout the year. Here in Monteverde, warm north-easterly trade winds, filled with moisture, blow in from the Atlantic. As the winds sweep up to the Continental Divide, they cool and condense to form clouds, bathing the forest in a constant soft mist. The cloud forest is home to rare and unusual wildlife, such as jaguars and pumas, and over 450 species of birds including the world’s largest population of quetzal birds.
Transfer to Manuel Antonio which is set high above the enchanting National Park, boasting amazing views of white sandy beaches, shimmering blue waters and the fresh ocean breeze. Afternoon at leisure in Manuel Antonio.
Day 10 - 11
You will spend the next two days at leisure to enjoy the hotel’s facilities and a guided tour of the neighbouring Manuel Antonio National Park. Manuel Antonio National Park is internationally recognized as being one of the most biodiverse parks on the planet. The principal habitats are primary forest, secondary forest, mangrove swamps, lagoons and beach vegetation. There is quite a varied fauna with 109 species of mammals and 184 of birds. The park includes 12 little isles just off the coast; these often visited by a number of dolphins and, at times, migrating whales can be observed. At 72 m high, Cathedral Point lies between Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio, connected to the mainland by a narrow land bridge. Hike up to the top for a memorable view.
After breakfast, leaving Manuel Antonio where transfer back to San Jose where you will have the rest of the day at leisure to visit the capital.
Day 13 - 14
Return to the UK
Morning transfer to San Jose International Airport for your return flight back to the UK.