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COSTA RICA

Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

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Road Scholar
Program #20774RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
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.
If you’re looking for a more flexible schedule with ample independent time and several meals on your own, then our FLEX learning adventures are made for you.
Elevation Note
7,000 ft Savegre/Cerro de la Muerte

Itinerary for Feb 8 — Feb 16, 2014

Expand all
Type: Hotel

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

Contact info:
Avenida Central (between 7th & 9th Streets)
San Jose, 3344-1000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-22225022
web: www.balmoral.co.cr

Room amenities: Cable TV, air conditioning, private bath, hair dryer, minibar, safety deposit box, and telephone.

Facility amenities: Conference rooms, restaurant, business center, gym, bar, and casino.

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: 3:00 PM


Day One: Saturday, February 08 - Flights from the U.S./Arrivals in San Jose, Costa...
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.

Note: This is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3 p.m.

Lodging: Hotel Balmoral

Type: Lodge

Description: The Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa is located in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. The hotel is at an elevation of approximately 7,220 ft and is situated in a private cloud forest reserve that borders the Los Quetzales National Park. Its private reserve has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to spot the elusive Resplendent Quetzal--one of the country's most colorful birds. To reach this attractive highland property it is necessary to travel on switchbacks and narrow mountain roads reaching elevations of up to 11,000 ft at Cerro de la Muerte.

Contact info:
San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-27401028
web: www.savegre.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private baths and heating system or fireplace. No air conditioning is necessary since the hotel is located in a mountainous region (approximately 7,220 ft above sea level) known for its clean and crisp air.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, spa services, gardens, nature reserve, trails, and laundry service.

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


Day Two: Sunday, February 09 - Gourmet Coffee in the Valley of the Saints/Sundow...
Gourmet Coffee in the Valley of the Saints/Sundowner with Chacon Family Member.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Program orientation at the hotel.
Exit San José and the Central Valley and head south to the Valley of the Saints.

While driving near the farm owned by President Pepe Figueres' family, we will stop for coffee and cookies.

Lecture: Pepe Figueres' Political Legacy in Costa Rica.

Don José “Pepe” Figueres Ferrer holds hero status in Costa Rican history; a position earned through a lifetime of political activism. Don Pepe, as he was known locally, was a key figure in the 1948 revolutionary movement that led to the ousting of President Teodoro Picado and the creation of a new constitution. During a brief period, Don Pepe served as Costa Rica’s provisional president before handing over the reigns to the popularly elected Don Otilio Ulate in November of 1949. In later years, Don Pepe had the opportunity to once again serve as head of state after winning the 1953 and 1970 presidential elections. Among other things, President Figueres is credited with abolishing the national army, building highways and schools, including the National University and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, guaranteeing public education. promoting tourism, and strengthening the country’s middle class.

Field trip to a local gourmet coffee plantation to learn about coffee farming and processing and also sample some world-class brews.

The Valley of the Saints, located in the Tarrazu region of Costa rica, is well known among the local population for its production of superior coffees. Similar to wine, the quality and flavor of coffee is affected by the climate and soil in which its fruit is grown. The Valley's landscape, acidic soil composition, and well defined dry and rainy seasons all lend themselves to raising coffee. Harvesting is done during the region’s dry season (November – March). The limited rainfall during those five months gives the fruit an opportunity to ripen evenly and also facilitates the sun drying process.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the home of one of the owners of the coffee cooperative.

Afternoon: Arrive at the lodge and check-in. Time at leisure to get settled in your accommodations, relax and explore the lodge's grounds.

Before dinner, enjoy sundowners with a member of the Chacon family for rare insights into this pioneering family's long relationship with the Savegre Valley.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Lodging: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve and Spa is located in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica. The hotel is at an elevation of approximately 7,220 ft and is situated in a private cloud forest reserve that borders the Los Quetzales National Park. Its private reserve has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to spot the elusive Resplendent Quetzal--one of the country's most colorful birds. To reach this attractive highland property it is necessary to travel on switchbacks and narrow mountain roads reaching elevations of up to 11,000 ft at Cerro de la Muerte.

Contact info:
San Gerardo de Dota.
San Gerardo de Dota, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-27401028
web: www.savegre.com

Room amenities: Rooms have private baths and heating system or fireplace. No air conditioning is necessary since the hotel is located in a mountainous region (approximately 7,220 ft above sea level) known for its clean and crisp air.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, spa services, gardens, nature reserve, trails, and laundry service.

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


Day Three: Monday, February 10 - In Search of the Quetzal/Optional Activities.
Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: This morning we will search for the bird of ancient royalty, the colorful and elusive Resplendent Quetzal. Embark on a guided nature walk on forest trails leading to the 400 year-old oak forest situated on the upper slopes of the valley.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy many optional activities (additional cost) in and around your lodge such as fishing, horseback riding, spa treatments, bird watching, walking/hiking, and more.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Lodging: Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Luxury tented camp built on 750 acres of rainforest along the Savegre River. The safari tents, imported from South Africa, have their own bathrooms with running water and a porch overlooking the rainforest and mountains. Lit paths lead from the tents to the main building that serves as a restaurant, bar and lounge area.

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

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


Day Four: Tuesday, February 11 - Nature Walk on Forest Trails/Jungle Safari/Sundow...
Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Depart for the Pacific coast and the transitional Pacific jungle.

Arrive at the tented camp in time for lunch.

Lunch: At the tented camp.

Afternoon: After lunch, learn about the resident plants and wildlife during a guided nature walk along the lodge's forest trails. Site lecture: Reintroduction of the Tapir- A Dream or Reality?

Embark in a jungle safari with site lecture in four-wheel drive vehicles. Explore the region, observing the transitions from pasture land to secondary and primary forests.

Sit back, relax, and experience one of the Pacific region's beautiful sunsets during a jungle sundowner.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner with the owner of the camp and learn the fascinating story behind Rafiki.

Lodging: Rafiki Safari Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Luxury tented camp built on 750 acres of rainforest along the Savegre River. The safari tents, imported from South Africa, have their own bathrooms with running water and a porch overlooking the rainforest and mountains. Lit paths lead from the tents to the main building that serves as a restaurant, bar and lounge area.

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

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


Day Five: Wednesday, February 12 - Rafting on the Savegre River/Cultural Interaction...
Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: After a preparatory session with local experts, embark on an envigorating rafting adventure on the Savegre River. Delight in the swells and dips of the rushing river; a natural roller coaster ride that will make your inner child cheer and laugh out loud (even as you get a good upper-body workout!).

Return to the camp.

Lunch: Sample some Costa Rican cuisine during a traditional meal at the home of a local resident of the small town of Santo Domingo.

Afternoon: Return to the camp.

Afternoon at leisure to enjoy optional activities at the camp such as: hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, bird watching, and walking on local trails.

Dinner: At the camp.

Lodging: Rafiki Safari Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Attractive resort-style hotel located near the entrance to the Manuel Antonio National Park, within walking distance to Manuel Antonio Beach.

Contact info:
Next to Manuel Antonio National Park entrance
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
phone: +506-27775333
web: www.hotelsanbada.com

Room amenities: All rooms have a private balcony with garden or ocean views, private bathroom, air conditioning, cable TV. WiFi, minibar, safety deposit box, and phone.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, 3 pools, snack bars, bar, laundry service, tour desk, and concierge services.

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


Day Six: Thursday, February 13 - Boat Safari/Swimming and Snorkeling.
Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: Transfer from the lower Savegre Valley to Manuel Antonio. Stop at El Avion ("The Airplane") restaurant for refreshments and learn about the aircraft's interesting connection to the United States' Iran-Contra Affair.

El Avion restaurant is as famous for its unique decor as it is for its food and drinks. First-time visitors will most likely do a double take at the sight of the large aircraft parked within the open sided building. No--your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this is the real thing. The airplane (a Fairchild C-123) was one of a handful of aircrafts purchased by the U.S. to secretly aid the counter-revolutionary movement in Nicaragua in the 1980s. If having drinks in the refurbished cabin of this historic cargo plane is not entertaining enough, take a moment to check out the scenic views of the Pacific coastline from the restaurant's porch.

Arrive at the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Afternoon boat safari, cruising along the Pacific coastline. Enjoy a group leader-led overview of the Manuel Antonio National Park.

Take part in swimming and snorkeling activities (equipment will be provided), culminating in a Pacific sunset.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Lodging: Hotel San Bada

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Resort

Description: Attractive resort-style hotel located near the entrance to the Manuel Antonio National Park, within walking distance to Manuel Antonio Beach.

Contact info:
Next to Manuel Antonio National Park entrance
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
phone: +506-27775333
web: www.hotelsanbada.com

Room amenities: All rooms have a private balcony with garden or ocean views, private bathroom, air conditioning, cable TV. WiFi, minibar, safety deposit box, and phone.

Facility amenities: Restaurants, 3 pools, snack bars, bar, laundry service, tour desk, and concierge services.

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


Day Seven: Friday, February 14 - Independent Exploration of Manuel Antonio.
Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: On this free day, explore Manuel Antonio and its full range of dining and entertainment opportunities.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Continuation of your free day.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Lodging: Hotel San Bada

Meals Included: Breakfast
Day Eight: Saturday, February 15 - Manuel Antonio National Park/Transfer to San José...
Manuel Antonio National Park/Transfer to San José/Free Time/Farewell Dinner.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast, participate in a guided walk in Manuel Antonio National Park with a site lecture. This is one of the best areas in the country in which to view monkeys. In fact, three of the country's four species of monkey can be found here, including the highly endangered Titi Monkey (Grey Crowned Red-backed Central American Squirrel Monkey) which can only be seen here and in the Corcovado region.

Manuel Antonio National Park is probably the most popular destination for travelers to Costa Rica and is a “must” on anyone’s itinerary. From sloths to monkeys, the park encompasses an amazing range of biodiversity. Despite the park’s fairly small size (about 1,700 acres) visitors can enter in a rainforest and walk straight to the beach. Unfortunately, the park’s beauty has also exacerbated its problems. As more people make their way to Manuel Antonio National Park, the potential for its degradation increases and because of this, park officials have begun limiting the number of daily visitors. The natural beauty of this park will surely bring out the photographer in you, so pack plenty of memory sticks for your camera!

Depart for San Jose.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arrive in San José.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
Free time to work on your packing, enjoy hotel amenities, or get some rest before dinner.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Nine: Sunday, February 16 - Departures/Flights to the 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: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Manuel Antonio National Park
Dining and Dancing
For additional information, visit: www.costaricauncovered.com
Hiking, rafting, Catamaran tours, kayaking, horseback riding, canopy tours, boat tours, & fishing.Take advantage of Manuel Antonio's many attractions during your free time. Admire the flora and fauna of Carara National Park and Manuel Antonio during nature walks, paddle kayaks along the Pacific coastline, try your hand at fishing, or enjoy horseback riding on forest trails.
For additional information, visit: www.iguanatours.com
Lower Savegre Valley
River rafting, horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, hiking, swimming and birding.The following activities are available at the Rafiki Safari Lodge: river rafting and kayaking on the Savegre River, horseback riding through the mountain terrain, and river fishing on the Savegre River. Hike on your own or with a guide through more than 700 acres of rainforest. Swim in the natural spring pools or slide down the waterfall.
For additional information, visit: www.rafikisafari.com
Savegre
Bird watching, horseback riding, spa services, and nature hikes.The Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa offers its guests a variety of services (at an additional cost) that include horseback riding on lodge trails, guided bird watching excursions, and hikes to local attractions. The on-site Del Rio Spa offers a large menu of services including hot stone massage, Swedish massage, body wraps, reflexology, exfoliation, facial treatments, and use of their sauna, steam bath, and Jacuzzi.
For additional information, visit: www.savegre.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 ...
7 nights of accommodations
19 meals: 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
6 Field trips

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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