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COSTA RICA

The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders

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Road Scholar
Program #11586RJ

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13 Days | 12 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.
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. 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.
Hillary from Wilmington, DE Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 08/04/15 - 08/16/15
The trip to Costa Rica was my first Road Scholar experience and it was a most memorable one! I don't think I could have seen or learned more about Costa Rica in the 12 short days than I did with this trip. Road Scholar is the only way to travel!

Mary from Thousand Oaks, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 07/14/15 - 07/26/15
This was the best of Costa Rica!!! From start to finish, it was so much more than I expected! (How often does that happen?) If you ever wanted to go to the Rain Forest, ever wanted to see birds, ever wanted to see a volcano, ever wanted to learn about our planet, ever wanted to meet interesting, fun people, sign up for this trip! The free single supplement was what sealed the deal for me, as I'm a solo traveler. Top-notch accomodations and lots of delicious food! Leader Cristian was a marvel of knowledge in all areas. Amazing Pura Vida!!!

Elaine from Columbus, OH Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 07/14/15 - 07/26/15
This program was more than I expected. I knew that Costa Rica was rich in biodiversity and we would see amazing bird, plant, and animals. I learned more about the history and culture of this unique country than I imagined. Highly recommended!

William from Bastrop, TX Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 05/12/15 - 05/24/15
This was a wonderful program for those interested in nature and Costa Rican culture and environmental awareness. It explored most of the various Costa Rican eco-systems. We saw a broad variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. The travel between the various sites was interesting because of the diverse countryside it passed through. The different places where we were presented information on various topics all did good jobs. The accommodations were all good, and some were superior. The food was good, if repetitive. Our group leader (Christian) and driver (Luis) were excellent. All in all, a great program.

Susan from Marinette, WI Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 03/15/15 - 03/27/15
This program exposed us the wonderful diversity of Costa Rica. Caribbean turtle nesting sites, volcanic mountains, Pacific beaches, coffee plantations, and the rain forest. The wildlife, especially birds, iguanas and monkeys, were everywhere!! The group leader and speakers were excellent. Costa Ricans welcome eco-tourists with open arms.

Doris from Uniontown, OH Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 03/17/15 - 03/29/15
I just returned from the 3/17-3/29 trip to Costa Rica. I cannot say enough good things about it. I know I learned so much about CR that it is difficult to choose one thing. The guide, Christian, was amazing in his knowledge of flora, fauna, birds, culture, history. The accommodations were at times like paradise and all were excellent. The lectures added to my understanding of the progress that CR has made in improving its ecology and how the citizens of the country have bought into the concept. I highly recommend this trip. The best I have ever been on.

Wayne from Ashland, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/17/15 - 03/29/15
This was an outstanding program with visits to five distinctly different areas of Costa Rica. Our Group Leader, Cristian Gamboa, shared his encyclopedic knowledge of the birds, flora, fauna, and natural history throughout the two weeks, and along with the other instructors, wonderful accommodations, good food, and congenial group of 17, this was a delightfully satisfying, educational travel experience.

Rita from Grass Valley, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 03/15/15 - 03/27/15
This Program provides a very good overview of Costa Rica. I got a much better understanding and appreciation of Biodiversity and Eco-tourism. Visited several different areas: The Rainforests of Tortuguero and Sarapique, the beauty of the Arenal volcano and the Hanging Bridges in the Canopy; the Central Pacific Region, and lastly, the Cloud Forest and mountains of Tallamanca. Lots of birds and other wildlife. Great Trip!

Cindy from Crystal Lake, IL Number of programs attended: 49
Date attended: 02/17/15 - 03/01/15
The program is beautifully designed to give a wonderful view and variety of Costa Rica. The emphasis on Costa Rica caring for the environment, preserving and helping the life of plants and animals was very apparent. Pedro Bosques, our Leader, did a wonderful job-thoughtful, extremely knowledgeable and capable. The variety of daily activities and moving basically every 2 days to a new location was interesting. Great accomodations and surroundings, healthy food,beautiful fruit and a very nice group of 18 Road Scholars.

James from Oak Lawn, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/17/15 - 03/01/15
This was our first trip with Road Scholar and was definitely a great experience. The itinerary, accommodations, tour guide, activities, and fellow participants were exactly what we had hoped for. The flora and fauna of Costa Rica were memorable. Been thumbing through the catalogue dreaming of our next trip.

Judith from Worthington, OH Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 02/03/15 - 02/15/15
I already wrote a review.

Thomas from Neenah, WI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/17/15 - 03/01/15
One of our best vacations ever. As we considered vacation plans, people we requested advice from asked if we were interested in the rain forest areas, inland, mountain/forest areas, beach or city. We had never been to Costa Rica, so we did not know. This Road Scholar program was so well organized and inclusive that we felt we experienced all of Costa Rica, including nature (animal and plants). Activities and plans flowed so well. Our guide was fantastic and put this vacation/program over the top. GREAT JOB!

Elizabeth from Panton, VT Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/17/15 - 03/01/15
Just returned from THE BEST OF COSTA RICA: Exploring Natural Wonders and enjoyed a phenomenal trip with some friends. What a great trip that took into consideration body, mind and spirit! Our leader,Pedro, was excellent and the folks on the trip were enjoyable. Lots of interesting experiences in colorful Costa Rica! Pura Vida!

Linda from Neenah, WI Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 02/17/15 - 03/01/15
The Exploring Natural Wonders Costa Rica Road Scholar trip was the best vacation I have ever taken. Our leader was exceptional and I not only learned more than I ever expected, but also saw so many things that took my breath away.

Kenneth from Louisville, KY Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 02/15/15 - 02/27/15
This song is dedicated to our wonderful, talented Costa Rican guide, Erick Guzman, who led us on a marvelous tour of his country in a Road Scholar program, Natural Wonders of Costa Rica, Feb. 15-27, 2015. Because of his skills and enthusiasm, the group fell in love with Costa Rica, its diverse natural parks and especially birdwatching. Written by Road Scholar group member, Kenny Karem. Sung by group members Jackie, Doug, Joan, Elsa and Kenny—the “Sarapiqui Singers”. (The musical notes do not appear here). Copyright 2015 Kenny Karem, Sarapiqui Publishing Co. For Erick Viva Costa Rica! Purísima Vida! In Costa Rica, life is so much better. In Costa Rica, they treat you very well. In Costa Rica, the country is very lovely. In Costa Rica, life is very pure. Our Tico guide was Erick Guzman. He knows every natural thing. He names the birds, the planets and the mammals. To every bird, he sings its little song. In San Jose, the crazy traffic scared us. We drank coffee on the Dako farm. In Tortuguero, we floated by the caimans As fishing herons watched us all day. In Sarapiqui, we met Erick’s charming family And we rafted in the pouring rain. We finally saw the Arenal volcano While students danced the Costa Rican way. The River Narcoles had many crocodilos And pink spoonbills feeding by its banks. In Carara, we adored the loud macaws At the end, we spotted the grand quetzal! En Costa Rica, la vida es mas sabrosa. En Costa Rica, se quiere mucho mas. En Costa Rica, la vista es mas linda. En Costa Rica, todo es felicidad! PURA VIDA!

Robert from Worthington, OH Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 02/03/15 - 02/15/15
“The Best of Costa Rica” provided an exciting educational adventure for the enthusiastic learners in our group of fifteen. Our group leader, Cristian Gamboa, set the tone as we enjoyed exploring the natural wonders of Costa Rica’s tropical beauty. One of the many advantages traveling with Road Scholars is spending time with local people, allowing visitors to learn about the culture and change in Costa Rica. Learning about coffee production, biodiversity efforts in conservation, sea turtle conservancy and a visit to a local plantation to learn about agricultural practices were some of the things we learned from the locals. In Arenal, we learned about the Arenal Volcano and ended the day with a relaxing dip in the hotel’s thermal spring! Later, our group enjoyed soaking up the sunshine at the white sand and black sand beaches. Highlights of our trip included a guided rainforest hike, an exhilarating river rafting excursion, and being awakened in the early morning by the sounds of holler monkeys calling us to wake up. Wonderful were the new friendships, seeing a variety of birds, animals, crocodiles, butterflies, and gorgeous weather, good food and of course enjoying Pura Vida – the Pure Life! Judith and Bob Chosy 7th R.S. trip!

Charlotte from New Bern, NC Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 02/10/15 - 02/22/15
I am not prone to hyperbole, but I cannot accurately describe this wonderful adventure without sounding as if I am exaggerating. The itinerary was well planned and executed by what has to be one of the best guides in the world--Gloriana--who was very energetic, organized, knowledgeable, caring, and tremendously funny! The accommodations, although in some instances a bit rustic, were clean and comfortable and appropriate to their surroundings and the spirit of the tour. The meals were all well prepared and no one could go hungry traveling on this trip! At times the meals seemed a bit repetitious, but we ate what Costa Ricans eat--lots of rice, beans, fish, and chicken! We saw a tremendous amount of wildlife--over 90 different types of birds as well as sloths, an anteater, a coati, a pizote, monkeys, reptiles, and insects. The educational opportunities--lectures and visits to a coffee and a pineapple plantation as well as nature walks through various habitats--were informative and fun. We learned quite a bit about Costa Rica's intent to protect their natural resources; perhaps other countries should increase their efforts to model this behavior. This tour was well worth the money spent!!

Steve from Newtown Square, PA Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 02/09/15 - 02/21/15
A well balanced program with enticing features directing your attention to a wide range of interests: birding, eco-diversity, volcano, ethnicity, dramatic fauna of all types, etc. Also, great exercise. The tour's value-add is worthy of the best RS has to offer. Bottom line- highly recommended - you will not get bored

Marcia from Sunderland, MA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/31/15 - 02/12/15
The program gave us a superb introduction to Costa Rica’s diversity, history, geography, volcanoes, ecological ethos and wondrous natural offerings. We experienced various zones and conditions, spending nights on the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the mountains and valleys between coasts as well as the major city, San Jose. William, our guide, was a gracious and amazingly knowledgeable host. As an additional bonus, the people in our group were lovely: interesting, interested, and pleasant every day. Loved the gorgeous orchids and rain forest plants, as well as the amazing macaws, lizards, frogs, crocodiles, sloths, and rascally monkeys!

Lois from Wanaque, NJ Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 02/03/15 - 02/15/15
Every RoadScholar program in which I've participated has exceeded my expectations - the itinerary, guides and fellow "scholars" all contributed to a fulfilling and joyful adventure in learning.

Judy from Bethany Beach, DE Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 02/03/15 - 02/15/15
We had a delightful group of 15 participants who truly seemed to enjoy each other and our guide, Cristian, shared interesting and diverse information with a good sense of humor. The activities such as visits to coffee and pineapple plantations, white water rafting, hikes on suspension bridges, relaxing in natural hot spring pools while looking at an active volcano, and birding hikes highlighted the uniqueness of Costa Rica.

Nancy from Mesa, AZ Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/03/15 - 02/15/15
If you love nature, birds, turtles, biodiversity and biological preserves, this is the trip for you. Be sure you understand the activity level. It was not very hard, but it seems important to have good balance. Our tour guide was just fantastic.

John from Columbus, OH Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/31/15 - 02/12/15
The trip was exceptional. It provided a great overview of Costa Rica and how important it is to the biodiversity of our world.

Verne from Lakewood, CO Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 01/17/15 - 01/29/15
Wonderful experience that totally exceeded all my expectations! Ignacio was the best guide possible and taught us so many new, exciting things about biodiversity, and the natural world in Costa Rica. I could not have been better!

Cheryl from Calgary, AB Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/19/15 - 01/31/15
We recently returned from The Best of Costa Rica trip and have not stopped talking about it since. The experience far exceeded our expectations with not only the accommodation, the learning and the visual delights but teverything about the trip from start to finish.

Margaret from Sweet Briar, VA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 01/10/15 - 01/22/15
The Exploring Natural Wonders trip to Costa Rica is fantastic! It encompasses a wide section of Costa Rica from east coast to west coast to central valley. The variety of flora and fauna is overwhelming, and the boat rides and walks immerse you in the midst of it all. I hope you go with the outstanding guide Erick Guzman and driver Frank Alpizar—they will make it a trip you won't forget! Pura Vida!

Dorothy from New York, NY Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 01/10/15 - 01/22/15
Costa Rica is a fascinating and enjoyable place for those interested in nature, ecology and biodiversity. Its beauty and variety will remain with me forever. Erick Guzman, our superb guide, provided a comprehensive, organized and delightful tour. Frank, our excellent driver, kept us safe and on schedule. My fellow travelers were interesting and fun. Take the trip. You won't be sorry.

Deborah from Plano, TX Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/03/15 - 01/15/15
Our guide, Roger, our driver Alvaro and our boat captain, Ronnie did a fantastic job spotting and identifying the fauna and flora- not to mention great driving skill. Sloths, peccary, white faced capuchin, caiman, crocodile, green iguana, green parrot snake, eyelash pit viper, strawberry poison dart frog, Delicious pineapple and papaya and gallo pinto. Refresco welcomed us at nearly every stop. Pura Vida!

Shieky from London, ON Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/03/15 - 01/15/15
This is an amazing tour - the natural beauty, the educational value with regards to the environment, viewing and identifying the great variety of flora and fauna,expert and entertaining talks,comfortable and clean accomodations and bus,delicious meals.Roger Melendez,our tour leader was exceptional in his encylopaedic knowledge and his ability to transmit this in a passionate and clear fashion as well as being sensitive to the needs of each individual in the group, a model of patience and an infectious sense of humour.Alvaro Montero was our skilled and humourous bus driver.Cheers to all our group of motivated, concerned,inquisitive,adventurous,happy individuals!

Judith from Plymouth, MI Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 01/03/15 - 01/15/15
I highly recommend this trip for a good overview of the natural history of Costa Rica. Our field trip leader, Roger, was patient and made sure everyone got to see what animal he was discussing. I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot of new information.

Sandra from London, ON Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 01/03/15 - 01/15/15
I can't imagine having had a better holiday than my 12 day guided tour o Costa Rica. I learned so much and had a wonderful time! Every day was a new adventure. The accommodations, food and guide were just outstanding, and the country is so beautiful!


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"Boa Constrictor: Three coils worth if you look closely" Uploaded By: Larry
"Boa Constrictor: Three coils worth if you look closely" Uploaded By: Larry

"Emerald Basilisk AKA Jesus Christ Lizard because it can run across water." Uploaded By: Larry

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"It's not always about the birds and the animals. The flowers, the people and the passion of Costa Rica!" Uploaded By: Onnafay

"I got a great picture of this Quetzal pair thanks to Edwin" Uploaded By: Onnafay

"Thanks to Guide Edwin Ramirez I was able to not only see three Resplendent Quetzals I managed to get a few photos as keepsakes. " Uploaded By: Terry

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"She's not in Texas anymore! Corsicana, Costa Rica." Uploaded By: Teresa Attended: 03/15/11 - 03/27/11

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"After the deluge, full moon emerges, Pachira Lodge" Uploaded By: Teresa Attended: 03/15/11 - 03/27/11

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"Three toed sloth at Selva Verde" Uploaded By: Cindy Attended: 01/04/11 - 01/16/11

"Manuel Antonio National Park" Uploaded By: Cynthia Attended: 02/16/10 - 02/28/10

"Humingbird at Savegre Mountain Hotel" Uploaded By: Cynthia Attended: 02/16/10 - 02/28/10

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"Hummingbirds at Savegre Mountain Hotel" Uploaded By: Cynthia Attended: 02/16/10 - 02/28/10

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"Sevegre Abajo, Costa Rica" Uploaded By: James Attended: 01/19/09 - 01/31/09

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Included
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12 nights of accommodations
34 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
22 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

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