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COSTA RICA

A Taste of Costa Rica

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Road Scholar
Program #8577RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
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
Elevations of up to 6,000 feet.

Itinerary for Nov 3 — Nov 11, 2012

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: Comfortable hotel located on the main walking boulevard in downtown San Jose. Within walking distance of the National Theater and Gold Museum.

Contact info:
Avenida Central, between 7th & 9th street
San Jose, 3344-1000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2222-5022
web: www.balmoral.co.cr

Room amenities: Cable TV, air conditioning, mini bar, coffee maker, hair dryer, WiFi, safety deposit box, and telephone.

Facility amenities: Conference rooms, restaurant, business center, gym, bar, tour desk, WiFi, souvenir shop, money exchange, safety deposit boxes, and casino. Airport transportation can be reserved at an additional cost.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: subject to availability
Additional nights are subject to hotel availability.

Check in time: 2:00 PM


Day One: Saturday, November 03 - Arrive to San José.
Arrive To: Arrive in San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport.

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

Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3PM.

Lodging: Hotel Balmoral

Type: Lodge

Description: Rainforest lodge built along the banks of the Sarapiqui River. Room modules are built on elevated platforms, surrounded by tropical vegetation. A large tract of private primary and secondary rainforest is accessible via a hanging bridge.

Contact info:
Chilamate
Sarapiqui, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +5062-766-6800
web: www.selvaverde.com

Room amenities: Safety boxes, ceiling fans, phones, screened windows, and hair dryers.

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, and bar.

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


Day Two: Sunday, November 04 - Sarapiqui - Gold Museum/Introduction to th...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.


Morning: Orientation to the program.
Lecture: An Overview of Costa Rica
Excursion to the Gold Museum with a site lecture.

This unique underground museum showcases an impressive collection of Pre-Colombian gold. The 2,000-piece collection weighs over 20,000 troy ounces making it one of the wealthiest spots in the nation. Visitors with an interest in stamp and coin collections might consider visiting the adjoining philatelic museum and numismatic museum.

Transfer to Sarapiqui in Costa Rica's Caribbean lowlands.


Lunch: Lunch en route.


Afternoon: Continue with transfer to Sarapiqui.

Sarapiquí is one of the richest sites for birds in Middle America with well over recorded 400 species. Nearby, the La Selva Protection Zone and the Braulio Carrillo National Park form the only significant corridor of forest on the Caribbean slope linking the highlands with the lowlands - a corridor crucial to birds and animals that undertake seasonal altitudinal migrations.

Arrive in Sarapiqui.
Orientation to the lodge.
Welcome to Sarapiqui – Snacks and local music on the patio.
Lecture: Introduction to the Rainforest.


Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Lodging: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Rainforest lodge built along the banks of the Sarapiqui River. Room modules are built on elevated platforms, surrounded by tropical vegetation. A large tract of private primary and secondary rainforest is accessible via a hanging bridge.

Contact info:
Chilamate
Sarapiqui, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +5062-766-6800
web: www.selvaverde.com

Room amenities: Safety boxes, ceiling fans, phones, screened windows, and hair dryers.

Facility amenities: Meeting rooms, restaurant, and bar.

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


Day Three: Monday, November 05 - Sarapiqui – River Boat Excursion/Cultural I...
Sarapiqui –
River Boat Excursion/Cultural Interaction/Pineapple Plantation/Latin Dance.


Breakfast: Early morning bird walk.
Breakfast at lodge.


Morning: Boat ride excursion on the Sarapiqui River to look for wildlife.
Field trip to a local pineapple plantation. Examine the environmental and economic impact of growing pineapples in Costa Rica -- one of the top ten producers in the world.


Lunch: Lunch at lodge.


Afternoon: Visit to Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) to meet with locals for a "charla."

In Spanish “charla” means “chat”. During this informative session, led by a local community member, you will learn about life in Sarapiqui. Topics include local ecosystems, immigration, domestic life, and local artisan work. A question and answer session concludes the activity, fostering international communication and understanding.
The Sarapiqui Learning Center (SCLC). Founded by Giovanna Holbrook in the mid-1990s, the SCLC is a registered non-profit organization whose mission is to link communities and conservation through education and ecotourism in the Sarapiqui region. Programs include environmental education, ecotourism activities, English classes, an ecology club, community outreach, a women’s group and many others.

Return to the lodge.

Time at leisure to enjoy the lodge grounds. Settle into one of the lodge's comfy hammocks, cool off in the pool, practice your photography skills, or use the opportunity to do some bird watching.


Dinner: Dinner at lodge.


Evening: Latin dance lessons with locals.

Participants learn three styles of Latin dance: Meringue, Salsa, and Cumbia. After local dancers demonstrate the style of dancing and lead the group through the dance steps, participants will have the chance to practice with a partner.

Lodging: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: The newest Resort facing the Arenal Volcano is located 1 km (0.6 miles) inland away from the road circling the volcano making it one of the safest and quietest hotels in the area while offering spectacular views.

Contact info:
5 km past La Fortuna
Arenal, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2290-0798
web: arenalspringshotel.com/

Room amenities: Vaulted ceilings, large sliding bay windows, air-conditioning and a ceiling fan, TV, telephone, safety box, mini-fridge, night tables with reading lamps, wardrobe, garden shower, hairdryer, covered porch with rocking chairs and coffee table.

Facility amenities: Pool with great views, swim bar, Jacuzzi, kids pool, access ramp for the handicapped and changing rooms.

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


Day Four: Tuesday, November 06 - Arenal - Bird Walk/River Rafting/Introducti...
Arenal -
Bird Walk/River Rafting/Introduction to Arenal Volcano.


Breakfast: Early morning bird walk.
Breakfast at the lodge.


Morning: Embark on an exhilarating river rafting excursion on the Sarapiqui River.


Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.


Afternoon: 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 the hotel and check-in.
Time at leisure.
Lecture: The Arenal Volcano.


Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Arenal Springs Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: The newest Resort facing the Arenal Volcano is located 1 km (0.6 miles) inland away from the road circling the volcano making it one of the safest and quietest hotels in the area while offering spectacular views.

Contact info:
5 km past La Fortuna
Arenal, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2290-0798
web: arenalspringshotel.com/

Room amenities: Vaulted ceilings, large sliding bay windows, air-conditioning and a ceiling fan, TV, telephone, safety box, mini-fridge, night tables with reading lamps, wardrobe, garden shower, hairdryer, covered porch with rocking chairs and coffee table.

Facility amenities: Pool with great views, swim bar, Jacuzzi, kids pool, access ramp for the handicapped and changing rooms.

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


Day Five: Wednesday, November 07 - Arenal - Arenal Volcano National Park/Hot S...
Arenal -
Arenal Volcano National Park/Hot Springs/La Fortuna Town.


Breakfast: Early morning bird walk.
Breakfast at the hotel.


Morning: Field trip to Arenal Volcano National Park with site lecture.

The National Park is situated right in the vicinity of Arenal Volcano. Although clouds often obscure the peak of the volcano, during clear days it is possible to see gases and steam rising from the cone. It is interesting to see how the periodic lava flows have contributed to the erratic growth of vegetation in the areas around the volcano.


Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.


Afternoon: Time at leisure to enjoy the hotel's hot springs.
Excursion to the town of La Fortuna.

The small and picturesque 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 as a result of tourism. 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.


Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.

Lodging: Arenal Springs Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The hotel is located in the Pacific highlands of Costa Rica (approx. 4,500 ft above sea level), just a few minutes from the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Contact info:
P.O. Box 07-5655
Monteverde, Costa Rica
phone: +506-2645-5046
web: www.monteverdemountainhotel.com

Room amenities: Each room has a private bath, telephone, and safety deposit box.

Facility amenities: Private forest reserve with trails, conference room, bar and restaurant, jacuzzi, and sauna.

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


Day Six: Thursday, November 08 - Monteverde - Arenal Hanging Bridges/Coffee ...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.


Morning: Excursion to Arenal Hanging Bridges.

Arenal Hanging Bridges is a private nature reserve in La Fortuna de San Carlos. The site features a network of standing bridges, hanging bridges, and trails that crisscross 250 hectares of tropical rainforest. The park’s mission is to provide natural history education in a responsible and sustainable way. Visitors are able to view the rainforest from different angles and heights, from ground level to canopy level, learning firsthand about this fascinating and biologically diverse environment.


Lunch: Lunch at Arenal Hanging Bridges.


Afternoon: Transfer to Monteverde via lake and land.
Field trip to coffee farm with site lecture.

Learn the about harvesting and processing of coffee as well as the history of this crop from its beginning in the Arabic countries and Ethiopia. Discover the importance of the golden bean ¨grano de oro¨ and its impact on the social, cultural, and economic development of Costa Rica. Time at leisure.
Lecture: Conservation and Development of the Monteverde Area.


Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Montaña Monteverde

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The hotel is located in the Pacific highlands of Costa Rica (approx. 4,500 ft above sea level), just a few minutes from the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Contact info:
P.O. Box 07-5655
Monteverde, Costa Rica
phone: +506-2645-5046
web: www.monteverdemountainhotel.com

Room amenities: Each room has a private bath, telephone, and safety deposit box.

Facility amenities: Private forest reserve with trails, conference room, bar and restaurant, jacuzzi, and sauna.

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


Day Seven: Friday, November 09 - Monteverde - Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserv...
Monteverde -
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve/Sky Walk/The Quaker Story.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.


Morning: Field trip to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve with site lecture.

The edges of this rich forest, often cloaked in clouds and blowing mist, are home to more than 350 avian species and a myriad of other creatures and critters. Monteverde is perhaps most famous for its breeding Resplendent Quetzals, Three-wattled Bellbird, and Bare-necked Umbrellabird. While these charismatic species can be elusive, a host of other cloud forest birds and amphibians are found in the area.


Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.


Afternoon: Excursion to the Monteverde Sky Walk.

A combination of natural trails and hanging bridges (suspension bridges) throughout the cloud forest and forest canopy. The Skywalk was built to protect the environment while allowing visitors to enjoy the forest from a different viewpoint. Enjoy the magnificent surroundings while listening to a site lecture.
This walk includes about 1 ½ miles of trails and 5 suspended bridges across deep canyons at the level of the treetops. The longest bridge is about 800 feet in length.

Lecture: The Quaker Story.

In 1951 a group of American Quakers, fearful of their nation’s growing militarism, fled the United States. The Quakers found Costa Rica, a nation without a military, to be the most inviting nation for their pacifist beliefs. This group settled Monteverde and intended to transform the area into profitable farmland. The Quakers developed a fairly successful cheese industry but they also recognized the delicate nature of the land and helped establish the area’s first wildlife sanctuary.


Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Montaña Monteverde

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Ramada Plaza Herradura is nestled in the heart of Costa Rica's Central Valley. The beautiful views of the surrounding mountains are framed by the hotel's attractive tropical gardens. Four-star services and a quiet and relaxing environment are sure to please both vacationing families and the business traveler alike. San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) is located 5 miles away and the downtown area is a short 15 minutes drive.

Contact info:
General Cañas Highway
5 km. South from International Airport
San José, Costa Rica
phone: +506-2209-9800
web: www.ramadaherradura.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, air conditioning, satellite TV, direct-dial telephone, room service- 24 hrs, and Internet access.

Facility amenities: 3 outdoor pools. 5 Jacuzzis, 2 restaurants, bar and lounge, Fiesta Casino, fitness center, business center, full service spa, and beauty salon.

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
Additional nights are subject to hotel availability.


Day Eight: Saturday, November 10 - Return to San José - Excursion to Sarchi/But...
Return to San José -
Excursion to Sarchi/Butterfly Garden/Farewell to Costa Rica.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.


Morning: Morning visit to the Monteverde Butterfly Garden.
Jim Wolfe and his wife Marta Iris opened the Monteverde Butterfly Garden in 1989. The couple has been hand raising butterflies for more than fifteen years and know their preferences and habits. These fragile creatures require extreme care as they develop and grow. Every species feeds on a different variety of plants Unlike most butterfly gardens, which buy their butterflies as chrysalides, all the butterflies you will see here were bred and raised on the premises.

Begin transfer to San José.


Lunch: Lunch en route to San José.


Afternoon: Excursion to the crafts town of Sarchi.

The town of Sarchi, just a few miles from Grecia, is well known for its centuries-old tradition of making oxcarts. The brightly colored and intricately decorated carts are a national symbol and can still be seen in use in rural communities. Sarchi is also known for its handcrafted furniture and wood housewares.

Arrive in San José and check-in at the hotel.
Time at leisure.


Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Ramada Plaza Herradura

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Nine: Sunday, November 11 - Depart to U.S .
Depart From: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for flight to U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel (depending on flight schedule).

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Arenal
Canopy zip line, horseback riding, hiking and spa activitiesHitch your self to a zip line for an adrenaline rush through the forest canopy. Spot animals while gliding through the forest. Horseback ride within the vicinity of the volcano. Spa options provide Swedish massage, reflexology and skin treatments.
For additional information, visit: www.arenal.net/lake-arenal.htm
Explore the town of La FortunaWalk around the town after dinner with the opportunity to interact with the locals.
For additional information, visit: www.lafortunacostarica.com
Horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, safari float, boat ride on Lake Arenal or windsurfingHorseback ride and hike to La Fortuna Waterfalls or through pastures and hilly terrain. Kayaking on Lake Arenal not only offers the opportunity to spot a variety of birds, but also the stunning backdrop of the volcano. A boat ride on Lake Arenal provides great opportunities to photograph the volcano and to enjoy the water birds frequenting the edge of the lake. The wind on Lake Arenal usually offers a great opportunity to windsurf.
For additional information, visit: www.arenaltours.com

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 ...
8 nights of accommodations
22 meals: 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
13 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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