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COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s Pura Vida: An Environmental Family Adventure

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Road Scholar
Program #20797RJ
10 Days | 9 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Poas Volcano National Park 3,940 ft (visitor center) to 8,740 ft (crater rim).

Itinerary for Dec 23 — Jan 1, 2015

Expand all
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Radisson Hotel San José is conveniently situated in the commercial district near San José's historic center.

Contact info:
Calle Central y Tercera Av. 15
Calle Blancos
San José, Costa Rica
phone: +506-20106000
web: www.radisson.com

Room amenities: Private bathroom, hair dryer, air conditioning, alarm clock radio, Sleep Number® beds, Wi-Fi, in-room safe, iPod dock, coffee maker, mini bar/refrigerator, flat screen TV and cable channels, and two telephone lines.

Facility amenities: Business center, Wi-Fi, fitness center, whirlpool and pool, executive lounge, on-site casino, spacious meeting rooms, laundry services, 24-hr room service, and two on-site restaurants. The hotel is able to offer airport shuttle services for an additional charge. This service must be booked in advance, directly through the hotel. Email requests can be sent to jriba@radisson.co.cr.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for questions about room availability and prices. Room types and rates are subject to availability.


Day One: Tuesday, December 23 - Arrive in San José, Costa Rica.
Note: Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Arrive To: Fly into San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport. Flight arrival times are dependent on airlines and routes used.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim, and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. Participants on the Road Scholar group flights should use the exit door on the right. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign.

Transfer to the hotel (check-in starts at 3pm). No meals are included on this day.



Lodging: Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The Radisson Hotel San José is conveniently situated in the commercial district near San José's historic center.

Contact info:
Calle Central y Tercera Av. 15
Calle Blancos
San José, Costa Rica
phone: +506-20106000
web: www.radisson.com

Room amenities: Private bathroom, hair dryer, air conditioning, alarm clock radio, Sleep Number® beds, Wi-Fi, in-room safe, iPod dock, coffee maker, mini bar/refrigerator, flat screen TV and cable channels, and two telephone lines.

Facility amenities: Business center, Wi-Fi, fitness center, whirlpool and pool, executive lounge, on-site casino, spacious meeting rooms, laundry services, 24-hr room service, and two on-site restaurants. The hotel is able to offer airport shuttle services for an additional charge. This service must be booked in advance, directly through the hotel. Email requests can be sent to jriba@radisson.co.cr.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for questions about room availability and prices. Room types and rates are subject to availability.


Day Two: Wednesday, December 24 - San Jose - Orientation Meeting/Doka Coffee ...
San Jose -
Orientation Meeting/Doka Coffee Plantation/ Poás Volcano National Park.


Note: The viewing platform at the main crater rim at Poás Volcano National Park is approximately 8,740 ft above sea level. Any participants with elevation concerns will be able to wait at the visitors center located at the base of the volcano (approx. 3,940 ft).

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Orientation meeting, followed by an introductory Spanish lesson led by your group leader. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Field trip to the Doka Coffee Plantation to learn how coffee is grown, harvested, and processed.

The Doka Coffee Estate is owned by the Vargas Ruiz family and is located in Sabanilla, Alajuela near the Poás Volcano. The estate welcomes visitors to learn more about the rich dark brew that is loved by millions of people around the world. Here, visitors experience the subject of coffee from seedling to the cup through a hands-on walk through the plantation, processing plant, and roasting plant. If you are a coffee lover, you will enjoy plenty of opportunities to sample the finished product.


Lunch: At the Doka Coffee Plantation.


Afternoon: Excursion to Poás Volcano National Park.

The 1,600 acres that comprise the Poás Volcano National Park, include winding trails that traverse cloud forest habitats; this alone is worth the journey. However, what truly makes the site so memorable is the view that few other volcano parks can offer. At Poás, visitors have the opportunity to literally walk to the edge of the active volcano. From the top of the viewing platform it is possible to look into the flooded volcano crater. Although Poás has not erupted since 1950, the constant release of steam provides a reminder of its potential.

Return to the hotel.


Dinner: Christmas Eve dinner at the hotel.


Evening: Time at leisure.

Lodging: Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Tropical rainforest and beach resort located on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Part of the 750 acres is a nature reserve boasting 250 species of birds, a variety of monkeys, sloths, armadillos and a macaw breeding project.

Contact info:
Road to Tarcoles
Punta Leona, Costa Rica
phone: +5062 231-3131
web: www.hotelpuntaleona.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, cable TV, mini refrigerator, safety box, telephone, and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Pools, restaurants, bar, tennis court, disco, mini golf, and beach access.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Thursday, December 25 - Pacific Coast - Los Suenos Canopy Adventure...
Note: Bus drive from the Pacific coast to San Jose takes approximately 2 hours. ***The hotel at this site is not able to accommodate triples by providing a rollaway or cot. If you are three people rooming together you will be expected to share beds at this property. Participants who prefer to reserve an extra room for these two nights can do so for an additional, non-refundable, fee of $75. Please call the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 to reserve and pay for this additional service.***

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Transfer to the Pacific Coast.

Departure for the Canopy Vista Los Sueños for a zip lining adventure.

Canopy Vista Los Sueños is situated in Herradura, on Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast. Adventurers come here to enjoy the thrill of whizzing through the forest canopy on zip lines while nature lovers rejoice in the sights and sounds of the forest. The experience begins with a leisurely tractor ride up the mountain followed by a heart-pumping descent via a network of zip lines and platforms. Enjoy beautiful views of the Gulf of Nicoya and Herradura Bay and learn about the unique flora and fauna of the park's transitional forest.


Lunch: At a local restaurant.


Afternoon: Continue with transfer to the Pacific Coast.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Free time to enjoy the hotel amenities.


Dinner: At the hotel.


Evening: Time at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Punta Leona

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Tropical rainforest and beach resort located on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Part of the 750 acres is a nature reserve boasting 250 species of birds, a variety of monkeys, sloths, armadillos and a macaw breeding project.

Contact info:
Road to Tarcoles
Punta Leona, Costa Rica
phone: +5062 231-3131
web: www.hotelpuntaleona.com

Room amenities: Air conditioning, cable TV, mini refrigerator, safety box, telephone, and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Pools, restaurants, bar, tennis court, disco, mini golf, and beach access.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Friday, December 26 - Pacific Coast - Swimming and Kayaking Acti...
Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Sea kayaking from the mouth of the Agujas River to Limones Beach. Opportunity for swimming.


Lunch: At the hotel.


Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the hotel's beaches and pools.

Lecture: Crocodiles.


Dinner: At the hotel.


Evening: Free time.

Lodging: Hotel Punta Leona

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: All rooms have views of the Arenal Volcano

Contact info:
n/a
Arenal, Costa Rica
phone: +5062-460-5333
web: www.arenalparaiso.com

Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, cable TV, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, 14 hot-spring fed mineral pools, bar, zip line, and spa.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Saturday, December 27 - Arenal - Crocodile Safari Boat Ride/Transfe...
Arenal -
Crocodile Safari Boat Ride/Transfer to Arenal/Introduction to Volcanoes.


Note: Bus drive from Punta Leona/Pacific Coast to Arenal takes approximately 4 to 4.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Crocodile Safari boat ride (approx. 1.5 hours) on the Tarcoles River. **Note: this activity is tide dependent and may need to be offered at a different time of day. If necessary, the Crocodile Safari and the Los Sueños Canopy Adventure will switch places on your itinerary.

The Tarcoles River hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife along its banks and on the extensive mangrove areas near its estuary. Some of its most famous inhabitants are the enormous crocodiles that live on its banks. These crocodiles (Crocodilus acutus) have been studied by numerous local and foreign specialists and featured in natural history TV specials.

Transfer to Arenal.


Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.


Afternoon: Continue with transfer to Arenal.

Arenal was once Costa Rica's most active volcano and a main draw to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano National Park. The volcano lords over the countryside with its perfectly conical shape and occasional smoke and gas emissions. While minor activity excites visitors, they are rarely acknowledged by the locals who have learnt to accept the antics of the volcano as part of their daily lives. The thermal waters emanating from the volcano, the clean air and the energy associated with Arenal, makes this a favorite destination for health spa enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Arrive at hotel and check-in.
Free time for pool games.


Dinner: At the hotel.


Evening: Lecture: Arenal Volcano.
Nighttime observation of the volcano (weather dependent).

Lodging: Arenal Paraiso

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: All rooms have views of the Arenal Volcano

Contact info:
n/a
Arenal, Costa Rica
phone: +5062-460-5333
web: www.arenalparaiso.com

Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, cable TV, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, 14 hot-spring fed mineral pools, bar, zip line, and spa.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Sunday, December 28 - Arenal - Arenal National Park/Arenal Hangi...
Breakfast: At the hotel.


Morning: Field trip to Arenal Volcano National Park with a walk around the base of the volcano.

The national park is situated in the western side of Arenal. The hilly terrain is littered with volcanic rocks. Park trails traverse old lava fields and secondary forest.

Return to the hotel.


Lunch: At the hotel.


Afternoon: Field trip to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a combination of natural trails and hanging bridges, through the rainforest canopy.

The Hanging Bridges project consists of a system of trails covering a distance of about 2 miles, eight fixed bridges, and six hanging bridges all built with the latest techniques and designed with an eye for both beauty and safety. The entire project was designed to blend with the natural environment, leaving the forest virtually intact. The idea of the operation is to facilitate access, with the minimum possible impact, to one of the least explored parts of the rainforest: the canopy.

Return to the hotel for free time. Relax on your private porch, take a refreshing dip in the pool, or choose from the many amenities available the hotel.


Dinner: At a local restaurant in La Fortuna.

The small and charming town of Fortuna has changed quite a bit from the village that witnessed the eruptions of Arenal Volcano in 1968. Once a small agricultural community, Fortuna has grown in the shadow of the colossus that once burned and devastated large areas. Tourism is now the most important income for the region. Although now on a second level of economic importance, many plantations in the surrounding areas still produce important amounts of papaya, sugar cane, tapioca and ornamental plants.


Evening: Time at leisure.

Lodging: Arenal Paraiso

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is located on the banks of Tortuguero’s main canal, across from the local village and just five minutes from the national park.

Contact info:
On the banks of Tortuguero's main canal
Tortuguero, Limon, Costa Rica
phone: +506-2256-7080
web: www.pachiralodge.com

Room amenities: Private baths, high ceilings, large screened windows, and ceiling fans. Rooms are decorated with exotic bamboo furniture and local artwork.

Facility amenities: Pool, restaurant and bar. No laundry services are available at this lodge.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Seven: Monday, December 29 - Tortuguero - Tortuguero Village/Nighttime N...
Note: The boat ride to Tortuguero takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Early morning transfer to Tortuguero.

Breakfast en route.


Morning: Continue with transfer. Board a boat to Tortuguero and enjoy a wildlife safari on your way to the lodge.

The sleepy little coastal village of Tortuguero is situated on the southern end of a 6-km-long sandspit that is sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea to the East and the Laguna del Tortuguero to the West. The motorized boat ride through the waterways is just an appetizer for the avid naturalist.


Lunch: At the lodge.


Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Tortuguero Village to explore village life and learn about coconut processing.

Return to the lodge.

Time at leisure for pool games.


Dinner: At the lodge.


Evening: Evening walk in search of frogs and insects.

Lodging: Pachira Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is located on the banks of Tortuguero’s main canal, across from the local village and just five minutes from the national park.

Contact info:
On the banks of Tortuguero's main canal
Tortuguero, Limon, Costa Rica
phone: +506-2256-7080
web: www.pachiralodge.com

Room amenities: Private baths, high ceilings, large screened windows, and ceiling fans. Rooms are decorated with exotic bamboo furniture and local artwork.

Facility amenities: Pool, restaurant and bar. No laundry services are available at this lodge.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eight: Tuesday, December 30 - Tortuguero- Guided Walk in Tortuguero Nati...
Tortuguero-
Guided Walk in Tortuguero National Park/ Boat Safari.


Breakfast: At the lodge.


Morning: Early morning canal safari.

Navigate the natural and manmade waterways within the national park in search of wildlife. The mixed rainforest and palm swamps in this area are teeming with birds including Keel-billed Toucans, Montezuma Oropendulas, Green and Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Sun Grebes, and a variety of parrots. Be on the lookout for sunning turtles and caimans along the water's edge and howler, spider, and white-faced monkeys moving around in the forest canopy.

Return to the lodge.


Lunch: At the lodge.


Afternoon: Guided walk in Tortuguero National Park.

Tortuguero is located on the Caribbean coast, south of Nicaragua, and fifty miles north of Limon. The Tortuguero National Park embodies Caribbean beaches, with a surprising array of plant associations, including swamp forest, lowland rainforest and a picturesque network of natural waterways. Navigating through the river and canals of Tortuguero reveals an incredible diversity of plant and animal life including more than 100 reptiles, 60 mammal species, and hundreds of bird species.

Return to the lodge.

Time at leisure for pool games.


Dinner: At the lodge.


Evening: Nocturnal walk in search of frogs and insects.

Lodging: Pachira Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: The Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel and Convention Center has 229 spacious rooms with modern conveniences and a long list of amenities that are meant to accommodate business travelers as well as vacationing families. It is conveniently located a short distance from San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport. The hotel has earned a Level 3 Certification for Sustainable Tourism by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

Contact info:
General Cañas Highway
5 km south from International Airport
San José, Costa Rica
phone: +506-22099800
web: www.wyndhamherradura.com

Room amenities: The spacious, air conditioned rooms have private baths, hair dryers, satellite TVs, direct-dial phones, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, safety deposit boxes, iron/ironing board, and complimentary Internet access.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, swimming pools, a wet bar, Jacuzzis, casino, fitness center, spa services, laundry service, souvenir shop, beauty salon, business center, conference center, money exchange, travel agency, a souvenir shop, and WiFi in public areas. Wheelchair acessible elevators and public areas. Free airport shuttle service from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Free hotel shuttle service to San José attractions. Please call the hotel or check at the front desk if you would like to use this service.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: Prices subject to availability
Rates and room types are subject to availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you need assistance with booking additional hotel nights.

Check out time: 11:00 AM

Day Nine: Wednesday, December 31 - Tortuguero/San Jose - Optional Morning Bird...
Tortuguero/San Jose -
Optional Morning Birding/Return to San Jose/Farewell Dinner.


Note: The river boat ride from Tortuguero to the boat dock takes approximately 1.5 hours. The bus drive from the dock to San Jose takes approximately 3.5 hours. There will be an en route stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

Breakfast: Optional early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.


Morning: Boat transfer to Caño Blanco dock and continue by bus to San José.


Lunch: At a local restaurant.


Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Final briefing with the program site coordinator.


Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.


Evening: Free time. Spend your last evening in Costa Rica chatting with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.

Lodging: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Ten: Thursday, January 01 - Depart from San José- Arrive in the U.S.
Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).


Morning: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for international flights to the U.S.

Departure flight times are dependent on airlines and routes used. Participants must vacate their hotel rooms by the property's stipulated check-out time.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.


Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Tortuguero
Beach walk, kayak canals, boat ride, fish, hike to Tortuguero Hill, or take a canopy tour.The beach walk is famed as the nesting site of the largest population of sea turtles in the Caribbean. The turtles lay their eggs between June and September. Kayaking the canals provides the best opportunity to get close to the wildlife and is also good exercise. Boat rides are available to explore the rivers and canals. Fishing can be organized by contacting the local fishing guides. Hiking to the top of Tortuguero Hill has become a popular activity for those looking for exercise and the opportunity to get a bird's-eye view of the national park.
For additional information, visit: www.tortuguero-info.com
Socialize with the localsTortuguero is a small coastal fishing village. Visitors to the village at night are the exception rather than the rule and scholars will have the opportunity to meet some of the local people.

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
9 nights of accommodations
25 meals: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
13 Field trips

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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