Road Scholar : Home
Tropical Paradise: An Outdoor Adventure for Grandparents & Grandkids

Program Number: 3636RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/25/2013 - 8/3/2013; 7/6/2016 - 7/15/2016; 7/10/2016 - 7/19/2016; 7/12/2016 - 7/21/2016; 7/16/2016 - 7/25/2016; 7/18/2016 - 7/27/2016; 7/23/2016 - 8/1/2016; 7/25/2016 - 8/3/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Costa Rica
Price starting at: $1,869.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; Natural History
Meals: 24; 8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 12 years of age.

This Intergenerational adventure introduces Costa Rica's tropical paradise and Latin culture through hands-on experiences and immersion. Gain an understanding of volcanoes, rainforest, and biodiversity in one of the world’s most pristine ecosystems.


• Join a local expert on an evening beach walk in search of nesting turtles.
• Explore the base of an active volcano to learn about geothermal activity and swim in the volcanic hot springs.
• Zipline and walk through transitional jungle during an energizing waterfalls canopy tour and jungle challenge.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1.5 hours a day over uneven trails in hot and humid conditions, zip lining, swimming activities, and getting in and out of boats.

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-12 or 13-15, depending on the date.

Date Specific Information

7-25-2013, 7-6-2016, 7-10-2016, 7-12-2016, 7-16-2016, 7-18-2016, 7-23-2016, 7-25-2016

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

Itinerary Summary

Arrival San José, 2 nights; coach and boat to Tortuguero, 2 nights; boat and coach to Arenal Volcano, 2 nights; coach to Punta Leona, 2 nights; coach to San José, 1 night; departure.

Arrival San José
2 nights

A visit to a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center introduces young learners to animal conservation efforts in the country. At INBIO Park, interpreted nature trails and multi-media exhibits showcase Costa Rica's famed biodiversity and its many parks and reserves.

Coach and boat to Tortuguero
2 nights

Get a taste of village life and observe coconut processing in Tortuguero Village. A safari boat ride and nature walks introduce the rich plant and animal life of the Caribbean lowlands. An evening expert-led walk on Tortuguero Beach offers the chance to spot nesting turtles.

Coach to Arenal Volcano
2 nights

Experience a volcano in close proximity at the Arenal Volcano National Park and swim in thermal pools. A walk on nature trails and hanging bridges through the rainforest canopy introduce the unique flora and fauna of a rainforest.

Coach to Punta Leona
2 nights
Coach to San Jose for departure
1 night

Situated amid 750 acres of beaches, surf and walking trails is a nature reserve boasting 250 species of birds, including a macaw breeding project. Lectures on crocodile behavior highlight a mangrove boat safari. Kayak to a secluded beach for snorkeling and shell collecting.

Costa Rica

Hugged by two bodies of water and sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica’s topography, climate and geographical position are more than mere facts: they define this tiny country. Cloud rainforests, valleys of coffee and volcanic mountain peaks fill the land between Caribbean and Pacific beaches. This ecological Eden protects its natural treasures in acres of preserved land, and is the only country in the world without a standing army.

San Jose: Comfortable suburban hotel. Tortuguero: River-front lodge located near Tortuguero Village. Arenal Volcano: Comfortable hotel with volcano views and three pools. Punta Leona: Private resort on the beach surrounded by rainforest.
Meals and Lodgings
   Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites
  San José, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Pachira Lodge
  Tortuguero, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Arenal Paraiso
  Arenal, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Hotel Punta Leona
  Punta Leona, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
  San José, Costa Rica 1 night
 Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: This apartment-style hotel is built around the concept of convenience and comfort. The Casa Conde is located near the Juan Santamaria International Airport and provides visitors with a great location and a special town-like atmosphere.
  Contact info: South of Parque de La Paz
San Jose,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-22260808
  Room amenities: Two Individual Private Bedrooms: A/C, fully equipped kitchen, W/D, iron, entertainment center with TV, DVD, stereo, Karaoke, internet, closets, hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap dispenser, phone, Internet, and 4-seat table.
  Facility amenities: Pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym, souvenir shop, restaurant, cosmetology and massage services, yoga and martial arts classes.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Additional nights subject to hotel availability. Please call Holbrook Travel at 1-800-866-7111 for rates and availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Pachira Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The lodge is located on the banks of Tortuguero’s main canal, across from the local village and just five minutes from the national park.
  Contact info: On the banks of Tortuguero's main canal
Tortuguero, Limon,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-2256-7080
  Room amenities: Private baths, high ceilings, large screened windows, and ceiling fans. Rooms are decorated with exotic bamboo furniture and local artwork.
  Facility amenities: Pool, restaurant and bar. No laundry services are available at this lodge.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Arenal Paraiso
Type: Hotel
  Description: All rooms have views of the Arenal Volcano
  Contact info: n/a
Arenal,   Costa Rica
phone: +5062-460-5333
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, cable TV, and air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, 14 hot-spring fed mineral pools, bar, zip line, and spa.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Hotel Punta Leona
Type: Resort
  Description: Tropical rainforest and beach resort located on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Part of the 750 acres is a nature reserve boasting 250 species of birds, a variety of monkeys, sloths, armadillos and a macaw breeding project.
  Contact info: Road to Tarcoles
Punta Leona,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-22313131
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, cable TV, mini refrigerator, safety box, telephone, and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Pools, restaurants, bar, tennis court, disco, mini golf, and beach access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
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
  Additional nights after: Prices subject to availability Rates and room types are subject to availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or if you need assistance with booking additional hotel nights.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
All-day arrivals at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Hotel check-in begins at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites 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 Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property) the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Proof of vaccination is required from travelers arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic. If traveling with a child under 18, the adult companion/s should carry a notarized authorization letter from the parents or legal guardians showing that they are allowed to travel with the child and make decisions in the event of a medical emergency. It is always best to renew your passport before it reaches the six month validity date—especially if you plan on doing future travel. For more information about entry requirements please contact the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, DC at tel: (202) 234-2945/46 or visit
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  San José
  Nearest city or town:  San José
  Nearest airport:  Juan Santamaria International Airport
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available at the Juan Santamaria International Airport. Participants should use only licensed taxis, which are typically red with medallions (yellow triangles containing numbers) painted on the side. Fares can be paid in dollars.
  From End of Program
  Location: San José
  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.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Elevations up to 5,000 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: Arrive in San José, Costa Rica.
(Thursday, July 25)
 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.
Accommodations: Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites

Day 2: San José -
INBio Park and Children's Museum.

(Friday, July 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation meeting.
Field trip to INBIO Park to view animals and wildlife

The National Institute for Biodiversity (INBio Parkque) provides a sensory experience combining interpreted nature trails with multimedia technology in its bio-exhibits. Visitors learn about Costa Rica's biodiversity and the efforts in conservation through establishment of protected areas. As example of sustainable use of biodiversity, visitors will learn about medicinal, aromatic and ornamental plants, fruit trees and agricultural products.
 Lunch: Lunch at INBIO.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the Children's Museum.

The museum allows children to touch and experience exhibits dedicated to the universe, space technology, the Earth and its ecosystems, living animals, and the land and people of Costa Rica.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Movie and popcorn at the hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Conde Apartotel & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Tortuguero -
Tortuguero Village and Evening Turtle Walk

(Saturday, July 27)
 Breakfast: Early morning transfer to Tortuguero.
Breakfast en route.
 Morning: Continue with transfer. Board a boat to Tortuguero and enjoy a wildlife safari on your way to the lodge.

The sleepy little coastal village of Tortuguero is situated on the southern end of a 6-km-long sandspit that is sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea to the East and the Laguna del Tortuguero to the West. The three hour motorized boat ride through the waterways is just an appetizer for the avid naturalist.
 Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.
 Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Tortuguero village to explore village life and learn about coconut processing.
Time at leisure for pool games.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Evening turtle walk. Please note that dark clothes and sturdy closed-toed shoes are required for this walk.

While the maize of canals and waterways fringed by luxuriant jungle boast a variety of exotic wildlife, the Green Sea Turtle is the star of the show at Tortuguero (late June-late October). Other turtles like the hawksbill and the giant leatherback frequent the region in lesser numbers, but Tortuguero is the most important Green Sea Turtle hatchery in the western Caribbean. Here an estimated 30,000 turtles come ashore annually. While scientist have gathered significant information about the land habits of the green turtle, very little is known about their migratory routes in the oceans, where they spend over 90% of their time. During our visit to Tortuguero we will try to unravel some of these mysteries.
Accommodations: Pachira Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Tortuguero-
Tortuguero National Park and Boat Safari.

(Sunday, July 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Early morning canal safari.
 Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.
 Afternoon: Guided walk in Tortuguero National Park.
Time at leisure for pool games.
 Dinner: Dinner at lodge.
 Evening: Nocturnal walk in search of frogs and insects.
Accommodations: Pachira Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Arenal -
Introduction to Volcanoes.

(Monday, July 29)
 Breakfast: Optional early morning birding.

Breakfast at lodge.
 Morning: Boat transfer to Caño Blanco Dock and continue by bus to Arenal.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant, en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and check-in.
Free time for pool games.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Lecture: Arenal Volcano.
Nighttime observation of the volcano (weather dependent).
Accommodations: Arenal Paraiso
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arenal -
Arenal National Park/Arenal Hanging Bridges.

(Tuesday, July 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Arenal Volcano National Park with a walk around the base of the volcano.

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

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

Return to the hotel for free time. Relax on your private porch, take a refreshing dip in the pool, or choose from the many amenities available the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant in La Fortuna.

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

Day 7: Pacific Coast -
Tarcoles Crocodile Safari.

(Wednesday, July 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the Pacific Coast.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Crocodile Safari boat ride on the Tarcoles River.

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

Lecture: Crocodiles.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Punta Leona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Pacific Coast -
Swimming and Kayaking Activities.

(Thursday, August 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Sea kayaking from the mouth of the Agujas River to Limones Beach. Opportunity for swimming.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the beaches and pools.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Punta Leona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Pacific Coast-
Zipline Canopy Adventure/Return to San Jose.

(Friday, August 2)
 Arrive To: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Departure for the Canopy Vista Los Suenos for a zip lining adventure.

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

Return to the hotel and freshen-up before checking out.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer to San José.
Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
Final briefing with local coordinator.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center (previously a Ramada property)
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Depart from San José-
Arrive in the U.S.

(Saturday, August 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight times).
 Morning: 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.
Meals Included: Breakfast

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

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 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.

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.

Culture Smart! Costa Rica

Author: Jane Koutnik

Description: A guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Insight Guide Costa Rica

Author: Paul Murphy

Description: Thoroughly illustrated, this sturdy and informative guide features short essays on the natural history, culture and attractions of Costa Rica, hundreds of photographs and excellent local maps.

Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.

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.

The New Key to Costa Rica

Author: Beatrice Blake

Description: The original guide to Costa Rica, featuring up-to-date suggestions of hotels and lodges, outdoor adventures and excursions – and with a serious focus on sustainable travel.

The Penguin History of Latin America

Author: Edwin Williamson

Description: Williamson traces 500 years of history from the time of Columbus and the Spanish Conquest to the present day. An excellent and very readable history in a compact size.

The Ticos

Author: Richard Biesanz

Description: This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people accessibly explores their culture, history and society.

The Wildlife of Costa Rica, A Field Guide

Author: Fiona Reid, Twan Leenders, Jim Zook, Robert Dean

Description: Designed to take along on a walk in the forest, this latest compact Zona Tropical guide includes 450 of the most common, interesting and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that you are likely to encounter in the field. Each gets an exquisite full color illustration.

Tropical Nature

Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata

Description: A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its 17 marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforest

Tropical Plants of Costa Rica

Author: Willow Zuchowski

Description: Organized by habitat, this photo guide to 400 species has chapters on popular destinations, including Monteverde and Tortuguero.

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