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Guatemala and Costa Rica: Countries in Contrast

Program Number: 21201RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/7/2014 - 5/20/2014;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Guatemala/Costa Rica
Price starting at: $3,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 34; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

The lives of modern-day Maya are deeply entwined with the traditions and ruins left behind by their ancestors — a truth that has shaped Guatemala into a fascinating center of history. In contrast, the lush biodiversity of Costa Rica’s cloud rainforests and pristine beaches offer an entirely different legacy, and one that has inspired naturalists and scientists around the world. Immerse yourself in the human and natural legacies of Latin America as you experience Guatemala and Costa Rica — meeting native people, exploring ancient ruins and delighting in nature’s bounty.


• Learn about the ancient Maya at the Tikal National Park archaeological site, and experience the market of Chichicastenango where modern-day Maya frequent.
• Marvel in the biodiversity of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve as you walk along its hanging bridges and forest paths.
• Admire the beautifully preserved colonial architecture of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to three hours at a time over uneven terrain; cobblestones; rocky stairs without railings.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Guatemala City (Guatemala), 1 night; coach to Atitlan, 2 nights; coach to Antigua, 2 nights; flight to Flores, 2 nights; flight to Guatemala City, flight to San Jose (Costa Rica), 1 night; coach to Monteverde, 2 nights; coach to Manuel Antonio, 2 nights; coach to San Jose, 1 night; departure.

Arrival Guatemala City (Guatemala)
1 night
Coach to Atitlan
2 nights

Get a perspective into the everyday lives of modern Maya during a morning at the famous market of Chichicastenango, and examine the melding of Mayan and Christian faiths at Santo Tomás Church. Journey by boat to Santiago La Laguna to meet with a Maya priestess, and learn about the saint Maximón.

Coach to Antigua
2 nights

In Antigua, admire the colonial architecture that melds with today’s Guatemalan culture in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and explore the city with a local author and historian. Meet master weavers for an in-depth look into regional textiles, and enjoy the sounds of traditional music at the Casa K’ojom Music Museum. With the fourth-generation owners of the Finca Colombia coffee plantation, learn how gourmet coffee is created.

Flight to Flores / Tikal
2 nights

Spend a day exploring the Tikal National Park archaeological site, once an impressive Maya complex with more than 4,000 structures.

Flight to Guatemala City
Flight to San Jose (Costa Rica)
1 night
Coach to Monteverde
2 nights

Thrill in the breathtaking views from the Monteverde Skywalk, a series of bridges and forest trails that offer visitors an intimate exploration of the Cloud Forest. Discover the region’s biodiversity during a field trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Hummingbird Gallery. Learn about the historic contributions of Quakers in Costa Rica, and pay a visit to a cheese factory and bakery owned by a women’s cooperative. Spot crocodiles during a boat ride along the Tárcoles River.

Coach to Manuel Antonio
2 nights
Coach to San Jose 1 night

Spend a morning at Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful natural reserves.

Guatemala City: Comfortable airport hotel. Atitlan: Hotel on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Antigua: Historic hotel located near town square. Flores: Lake-front hotel. San Jose: Airport hotel with pool and Jacuzzi. Monteverde: Hotel near the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Manuel Antonio: Hotel near entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City
  Guatemala City, Guatemala 1 night
   Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
  Atitlan, Guatemala 2 nights
   Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
  Antigua, Guatemala 2 nights
   Hotel Peten Esplendido
  Tikal, Guatemala 2 nights
   Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center
  San José, Costa Rica 1 night
   Hotel Montaña Monteverde
  Monteverde, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Hotel San Bada
  Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Miami International Airport Hotel
  Miami, USA 1 night
 Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Attractive hotel located within 5-10 minutes drive of La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, in the city's vibrant Zona 10. Spacious rooms and a variety of amenities cater to business travelers as well as vacationing families.
  Ship Information: Not applicable.
  Contact info: 1a. Avenida 12-46, Zona 10
Guatemala City,  01010 Guatemala
phone: +502-2-4215151
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, cable TV, coffee maker, flat panel TV, hair dryer, internet access, iron/ironing board, complimentary newspaper, event rooms, mini bar, radio alarm clock, and safety deposity box.
  Facility amenities: Airport transportation (at additional cost/reservation required), business center, 24 hr bar/lounge, executive desk with internet access on most floors, gym, restaurant, WiFi, laundry services, mobile phone rental, shoe shining services, travel agency, terrace whirlpool, massage services, and shops.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Room type and rates are subject to availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
Type: Hotel
  Description: Comfortable hotel built along the shores of Lake Atitlan.
  Contact info: Final Calle Santander
Atitlan,  00000 Guatemala
phone: +502-7622326
  Room amenities: Tile floors and fireplace.
  Facility amenities: Pool, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Type: Hotel
  Description: Historic hotel located a few blocks from the town's main square. Inner courtyards, tiled roofs, fountains and antique furnishings give guests the feeling of having stepped back in time.
  Contact info: 5ta Avenida Norte No. 17
Antigua,  000000 Guatemala
phone: +502-8320291
  Room amenities: Fireplaces and antique furniture.
  Facility amenities: Conference rooms, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Peten Esplendido
Type: Hotel
  Description: Attractive lakefront property located 45 minutes away from the Tikal National Park.
  Contact info: 1 calle, 5-01, Zona 1
Santa Elena Flores,  00000 Guatemala
phone: +502-9260880
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, ceiling fan, cable TV, direct dial telephone, and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Laundry services, pool, conference room, and restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center
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
  Room amenities: The spacious, air conditioned rooms have private baths, hair dryers, satellite TVs, direct-dial phones, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, safety deposit boxes, and internet access.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary Wi-Fi, three restaurants, three swimming pools, a wet bar, Jacuzzis, casino, fitness center, spa services, laundry service, souvenir shop, beauty salon, business center, conference center, money exchange, Internet access, travel agency, and a souvenir shop. 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.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Montaña Monteverde
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: +50626455046
  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 allowed: No

 Hotel San Bada
Type: Hotel
  Description: Hotel located near the entrance to the Manuel Antonio National Park, within walking distance of the beach.
  Contact info: Next to Manuel Antonio National Park entrance
Manuel Antonio Beach,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-27775333
  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.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Miami International Airport Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Miami International Airport Hotel is located before airport security on the second floor of Miami International Airport in Central Terminal Concourse E.
  Contact info: N.W. 20 Street & Le Jeune Road
Miami, FL 33122 USA
phone: 800-327-1276
  Room amenities: Soundproof non-smoking rooms have private baths, telephone with voicemail and data port, clock radio, satellite TV with On-Demand movies, hair dryer, Wi-Fi (additional cost), and coffee maker.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant with panoramic views of the airport runways and the Miami skyline, room service (7 a.m. to 11 p.m.), concierge baggage service (24 hours), ADA accessible, lobby bar (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), business center with Internet access, banquet and meeting facilities, drop off dry cleaning service, full service Spa within walking distance, currency exchange, shoe shine service, bank and ATM's, and shops.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Room type and rates are subject to availability. Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, for assistance in reserving additional hotel nights for your program.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals in Guatemala City's international airport. Hotel check-in at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Miami International Airport Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. NA.
  Required innoculations:
Yes: Costa Rica and Guatemala require proof of yellow fever vaccination if arriving from a country where the disease is endemic.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Guatemala City
  Nearest airport:  Guatemala City has both an international airport and a domestic airport.
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available at the international airport in Guatemala City, Guatemala. If you choose to use this service, please use one of the airport's registered taxis. In the event you need assistance, please ask for help at the airport's information kiosk. Guatemala City's international airport (La Aurora) is located in Finca San Isidro, approximately 4 miles outside of Guatemala City.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Miami
  Nearest airport:  Miami International Airport.
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available at the hotel. If you wish to hire a taxi, please ask for assistance at the hotel's front desk.

Required innoculations:

Yes: Costa Rica and Guatemala require proof of yellow fever vaccination if arriving from a country where the disease is endemic.

Elevation Note: Elevations of up to 6,500 ft.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Depart the U.S./Arrivals in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
(Wednesday, May 7)
 Arrive To: International arrival in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Program includes air out of Miami and group will take the Taca flight departing in the afternoon and everyone will get together at Miami airport. Program provider can handle your connections to and from Miami, if that is not your original destination. Once you enroll, please call us for details.

Upon arrival proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting just outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign.

Transfer to your hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Atitlan - Chichicastenango Market/Lake Atitlan.
(Thursday, May 8)
 Breakfast: At hotel restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast, enjoy a program orientation led by your group leader.

Lecture: An Overview of Guatemala Today.

Depart for the highland town of Chichicastenango, for a field trip to its infamous market.

"Chichi," as it is locally known, is the site of a colorful, indigenous market. Mayans from miles around come on Thursdays and Sundays to sell their products and produce. It is also here that the locals meet to exchange gossip and information and purchase household essentials.

While in Chichicastenango, we will also pay a visit to the Santo Tomás Church to examine the melding of Maya religions and Christianity. Group leader commentary: The Religious Rituals of the People of Guatemala.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Chichicastenango adjacent to the market.
 Afternoon: After lunch transfer to Panajachel on the shores of scenic Lake Atitlan.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Enjoy some time at leisure to take in the beauty of the lake and its surroundings.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Lake Atitlan - Culture and Customs of Surrounding Communities.
(Friday, May 9)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: This morning take a boat transfer to the village of Santiago La Laguna for a visit with the notorious Maximón. Group leader commentary: Paying Tribute to Maximon, a Mayan "Saint."

Maximón is a “saint” worshipped in various forms by the Mayan people of several towns in the highlands of western Guatemala. His origins are not well known though he is believed to be a form of the pre-Colombian Maya god Mam, blended with influences from Catholicism.

Maximón is represented by an effigy which resides in a different house each year. Devotees visit offering money, spirits and cigars or cigarettes to gain his favor in exchange for good health, good crops, and marriage counseling etc. His expensive tastes in alcohol and cigarettes indicate that he is a very human character, very different from the ascetic ideals of Christian sainthood.

Visit with a Maya priestess and witness a traditional religious ceremony.

Spiritual ceremonies are a large part of the Maya culture. Their calendars provide them with many occasions to have ceremonies. Ceremonies are usually held in private areas located on sacred sites. They include purification rites followed by prayers, chanting and giving thanks and asking for certain requests. All ceremonies involve the burning of incense. The Mayas have been carrying out these ceremonies for more than 5,000 years.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Boat transfer from Santiago La Laguna to Santa Catarina. Transfer from Santa Catarina back to Panajachel.

Return to the hotel followed by time at leisure to explore Panajachel on your own.

Lecture: Lake Atitlan: One of the Most Beautiful and Mystical Lakes in the World.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Antigua - The History and Colonial Architecture of a UNESCO World Heritage Site/The Bistros of Antigua.
(Saturday, May 10)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast, check-out of hotel and begin transfer to Antigua.

In Antigua you can go back in time and also experience the newness that is part of Guatemalan culture today. By the 1980s, an array of cultural activities including art galleries, performing arts, popular arts, films, forums, and cultural life began to redirect the former focus of religious activities which previously consumed the city. This is caused in part by the numerous visitors and the more than 80 Spanish schools which provide an economic base to the city's population. Known as "La Antigua Guatemala," this colonial capital was founded with the name of Santiago de Guatemala in 1543. Today, still about the same size as in colonial times, Antigua's cobble-stone streets and colonial architecture depict more than 50 monumental buildings including convents, monasteries, churches and chapels around the main square. With the blending of the old with the new, Congress passed a Protective Law for La Antigua Guatemala for the protection of historical buildings and areas that gives much of the city its colonial character.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Lecture: History of Antigua and its Cultural Influences.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Accompany a local author and historian on a walking orientation to Antigua. Discover the cultural and political history of Guatemala's most beautiful colonial city.

Visit the Santo Domingo Museum with a local expert.

Return to the hotel.

Enjoy a pre-dinner presentation on the "Bistros of Antigua."
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Antigua - The Textilles and Music of Guatemala's Highlands.
(Sunday, May 11)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Lecture: Textiles of the Highlands of Guatemala.

Visit to the San Antonio Aguas Calientes Textile Cooperative. Spend time with some of the region's master weavers and learn about local textiles and traditional techniques during an interactive demonstration.

Return to the hotel.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Casa K’ojom Music Museum for a look at the evolution of Mayan music.

Casa K’ojom is a private, educational, non-profit research center and museum, dedicated to research, preservation, and dissemination of traditional music of the Mayan communities of Guatemala. Since 1984, founder and current Director Samuel Franco has carried out extensive field work, through several expeditions to different Maya areas during their local Patron Saint celebrations and other rituals, recording their music and photographing their contemporary ceremonies. The museum houses an important audiovisual archive including sound recordings, photographs, and video footage.

Time at leisure.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Flores - The Production of Gourmet Coffee/Fly to Flores.
(Monday, May 12)
 Breakfast: At hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Field trip to Finca Colombia coffee plantation for a visit with its 4th generation owners. Learn about the history of the farm and witness the production of gourmet coffee.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the Guatemala City airport to catch a flight to Flores.

Arrive in Flores and transfer to the hotel.

Flores is usually used as a base for trips to Tikal. The quaint town is set on an island in Lake Petén Itzá and has a Mediterranean style architecture and unique history.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Peten Esplendido
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Flores/Tikal - Tikal National Park and Museum - UNESCO World Heritage Site/Walking Orientation to Flores.
(Tuesday, May 13)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Field trip to Tikal National Park archaeological site. During this activity, enjoy on-site instruction on the history and architecture of this impressive Maya complex.

Tikal, with its massive temples rising high above the Petén Jungle, is the kind of exotic place one would expect to see in an Indiana Jones movie. Walking within this enormous archaeological complex can be overwhelming if not accompanied by a knowledgeable guide or a good map. During its apogee in the Classic Period, Tikal was the center of a powerful kingdom that dominated the region both economically and politically. The remains of this once vibrant city are still impressive and include more than 4,000 structures and six of the tallest temples of its kind (some are over 200 feet tall!).
 Lunch: Lunch at the ruins.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to continue exploring the ruins.

Return to Flores for a walking orientation to the town.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Peten Esplendido
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Fly to San José via Guatemala City/Biodiversity of Costa Rica.
(Wednesday, May 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Transfer to the Flores airport to catch a flight to Guatemala City.

Arrive in Guatemala City. While at the airport, we will obtain our boarding passes for the flight to San José and will also check-in our luggage.

City orientation to Guatemala City including a visit to a local museum.
 Lunch: At local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Return to the Guatemala City airport and board the flight to San José, Costa Rica.

Arrive in San José and transfer to the hotel.

Pre-dinner lecture: History and Biodiversity of Costa Rica.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Monteverde - Monteverde Skywalk/Conservation and Development of the Cloud Forest.
(Thursday, May 15)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast transfer to Monteverde. The drive will take about 4 hours, with some stops on the way.
 Lunch: En route at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Excursion to the Monteverde Sky Walk.

The Monteverde Skywalk gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature via a network of forest trails and hanging bridges (suspension bridges) that traverse the cloud forest. The Skywalk was built to protect the environment while allowing visitors to enjoy the forest from different viewpoints. 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: Conservation and Development of the Monteverde Area and the Cloud Forest.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Montaña Monteverde
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Monteverde -
Cloud Forest Reserve and Hummingbird Gallery/Cheese Factory/The Quaker Story.

(Friday, May 16)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Field trip to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Hummingbird Gallery to learn about the ecology and natural history of the montane forest habitat.

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

Return to the hotel to freshen-up before lunch.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon visit to a cheese factory, bakery, and shop belonging to the local cooperative of artisan women.

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 made plans to transform the area into profitable farmland. They 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 a local home - Quaker style.
Accommodations: Hotel Montaña Monteverde
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Manuel Antonio - Transfer to Central Pacific Region/Tarcoles River Crocodile Safari/Protecting Costa Rica's Squirrel Monkeys.
(Saturday, May 17)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and begin transfer to Costa Rica's Central Pacific region.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Crocodile Safari boat ride on the Tárcoles River.

The Tárcoles River Basin is one of the most important in the Pacific coastal region, virtually draining the entire western side of the Central Valley. Tárcoles hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife along its banks and in the extensive mangrove ecosystem. Perhaps the most famous of all the river's inhabitants are its enormous crocodiles. These crocodiles have been studied by numerous local and foreign specialists and featured in TV specials, including several of National Geographic Bray Barr's Wild Reptiles.

Continue transfer to Manuel Antonio. Late afternoon arrival at the hotel and check-in.

Lecture: Protecting Costa Rica's Squirrel Monkeys.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel San Bada
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Manuel Antonio - Manuel Antonio National Park/Free Time at the Beach.
(Sunday, May 18)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Morning field trip to Manuel Antonio National Park with on-site commentary by group leader.

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!
 Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore Manuel Antonio's restaurants.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure to explore the town of Manuel Antonio, do some sightseeing in the region, or lounge at the beach.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel San Bada
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Miami - Transfer to San José/Flight to Miami, USA
(Monday, May 19)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: This morning enjoy sea-kayaking with opportunities to stop and observe the wildlife along the way. There will also be an opportunity for snorkeling.

. Check-out of the hotel and begin transfer to San José.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive in San José International Airport and check-in for your flight to Miami.

Upon arrival proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport and walking to the airport hotel located at the terminal

If you are not taking the group air to Miami with Taca, upon arrival from Manuel Antonio, you will be taken to our Road Scholar San Jose hotel, where you will spend the night. If we have made your flight arrangements, a transfer will be provided to the international airport the next day for your flight back home. Hotel also has a shuttle service.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Miami International Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Arrive Home - Connecting Flights within the U.S.
(Tuesday, May 20)
 Breakfast: At hotel restaurant (dependent on flight times).
 Morning: After breakfast, connect with your domestic flights home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Guatemala and Belize: The Rough Guide

Author: Rough Guides

Description: This comprehensive guide to Guatemala and Belize includes in-depth accounts of towns and villages, with background on history, culture, and archaeology.

Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide

Author: Louise H. Emmons & François Feer

Description: This beautifully illustrated field guide contains all you need to know about rainforest mammals in Central and South America. It has color plates, range maps and detailed descriptions of each animal, including information about their biology, behavior and natural habitats.

A Brief History of Central America

Author: Hector Perez-Brignoll

Description: A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.

A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica

Author: Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch

Description: Illustrated descriptions of the major habitats, color plates and maps, help to identify more than 850 species of birds in Costa Rica.

A Neotropical Companion

Author: J.C. Kricher, Mark Plotkin

Description: From plants and animals to birds and bugs, it's all here in this wonderfully written overview of the ecology, habitats, plants and animals of Central and South America.

Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish

Author: Joseph Keenan

Description: Idioms, common mistakes in word usage, and other helpful advice on tackling spoken Spanish. You'll need some foundation to take full advantage of this book – but even a complete novice will appreciate the author's playful sense of humor.

Breaking the Maya Code

Author: Michael Coe

Description: Michael Coe chronicles the centuries-long search for the "rosetta stone" of the Mayan language, a search which received an enormous boost in 1952 when Yuri Knorosov successfully translated the Dresden Codex, a Mayan bark-paper text. The book also includes an extensive discussion of Maya studies and political activism in the wake of Knorosov's discovery.

Coffee and Power, Revolution and the Rise of Democracy in Central America

Author: Jeffery M. Paige

Description: Panoramic in scope, this scholarly history examines the emerging democracies of Central America and especially the political impact on powerful families who control coffee production.

Costa Rica's National Parks and Preserves: A Visitor's Guide

Author: Joseph Franke and Joseph Dimijian

Description: A first-rate source for the Costa Rican park system. Profiles 40 parks and preserves and their distinct tropical habitats. Franke provides regional history as well as tips on what to pack.

Lonely Planet Costa Rica Country Guide

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: Regional maps, detailed site information and general tips will be useful to travelers of all budgets and interests.

Mammals of Costa Rica

Author: Fiona Reid

Description: A palm-sized guide to 65 native mammals with handsome full-color illustrations and helpful descriptions. Includes a map, viewing tips and a checklist.

Maya Art and Architecture

Author: Mary Ellen Miller

Description: An illustrated overview of the art and architecture of the Maya, making use of the latest discoveries at Tikal, Copan and Palenque to demonstrate the range of Maya artistic influence. With 200 illustrations, 50 in color, including site plans, maps, strikingly rendered reconstructions and color photographs of key temples and buildings.

National Geographic Costa Rica

Author: Christopher P. Baker

Description: This stylish, informative and up-to-date travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.

Time Among the Maya, Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico

Author: Ronald Wright

Description: An account of travels among the contemporary Maya of Guatemala and Yucatan (with a side trip to Belize City). Organized geographically, it devotes chapters on Belize, the Peten, highland Guatemala, Chiapas and the Yucatan. Unlike most travelogues, this book includes a glossary, notes, bibliography and index. Wright (who also wrote the excellent Cut Stones and Crossroads, set in Peru) combines journalism, archaeology and a fine ear for dialogue in this engaging account.

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