Road Scholar : Home
Costa Rica’s Pura Vida: An Environmental Family Adventure

Program Number: 20797RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/23/2015 - 1/1/2016; 7/13/2015 - 7/22/2015; 7/18/2015 - 7/27/2015; 7/23/2015 - 8/1/2015; 7/30/2015 - 8/8/2015; 12/21/2015 - 12/30/2015; 12/23/2015 - 1/1/2016; 12/23/2015 - 1/1/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Costa Rica
Price starting at: $2,177.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Family Programs; Intergenerational
Meals: 25; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 17 years of age.

Active. Unhurried. Environmentally aware. Live the Pura Vida — the “pure life” — of Costa Rica with three generations of your family. Explore a tropical paradise home to some of the world’s most pristine ecosystems from beautiful beaches to verdant rainforests to a living volcano. Encounter and learn about wildlife including crocodiles, turtles, macaws and more.


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

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day over uneven terrain. Activities include swimming, zip lining and getting in and out of boats. Hot and humid conditions. This program includes a number of bus transfers. Stops are built into the schedule for every 1.5 - 2 hours of bus travel.

This Road Scholar program offers participants the chance to explore a number of Costa Rica’s iconic eco-systems within a relatively short period of time. Although bus travel is a necessity, it is also an opportunity to see and experience the country up close. En-route program activities help to break-up lengthier bus transfers and provide rewarding educational experiences. Local road conditions, weather, two-lane highways, winding roads, traffic, and elevation are bigger factors in determining the length of travel than actual distance.

Date Specific Information

12-23-2015, 7-13-2015, 7-23-2015, 7-30-2015, 12-23-2015

Program date intended for grandparents, their children and grandchildren ages 9 and up. Please note that child discount applies to participants ages between 9 and 15 (inclusive). If you are a grandparent and traveling only with your grandchildren, please refer to program # 3636.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

7-18-2015, 12-21-2015, 12-23-2015

Program date intended for grandparents, their children and grandchildren ages 9 and up. Please note that child discount applies to participants ages between 9 and 15 (inclusive). If you are a grandparent and traveling only with your grandchildren, please refer to program # 3636.
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.

Days 1-2
Arrival San José
2 nights

A visit to an interactive museum in the nation’s capital introduces young learners to art and science concepts. At INBIO Park, interpreted nature trails and multi-media exhibits showcase Costa Rica’s famed biodiversity and its conservation efforts. Lodging: Comfortable suburban hotel.

Days 3-4
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 expert-led evening walk on Tortuguero Beach offers the chance to spot nesting turtles. Lodging: River-front lodge located near Tortuguero Village.

Days 5-6
Coach to Arenal Volcano
2 nights

Experience a volcano in close proximity at the Arenal Volcano National Park and swim in natural pools heated by geothermal activity. A walk on nature trails and hanging bridges through the rainforest canopy introduces you to the unique flora and fauna of this environment. Lodging: Comfortable hotel with volcano views and three pools.

Days 7-10
Coach to Punta Leona
2 nights
Coach to San Jose
1 night

Explore a coastal nature reserve whose 750 acres of beaches and forest are home to 250 species of birds and a special macaw breeding project. A mangrove boat safari includes an investigation into crocodile behavior. Kayak to a secluded beach for swimming and shell collecting. Lodging: Private resort on the beach surrounded by rainforest. Comfortable suburban hotel.

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.

Comfortable hotels, river front lodge.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Edwin Ramirez

Edwin Ramirez is a superior naturalist group leader with more than 20 years of experience in the field. As the son of a farmer, he spent his formative years working with the soil, cultivating coffee, tomatoes, cabbages and other crops while pursuing his education. After graduating from high school in 1982, he enrolled in the Universidad de Costa Rica in Heredia where he began working towards a degree in tropical biology. Edwin eventually transferred to the San Ramon branch of the Universidad de Costa Rica and decided to change his major to become an English teacher. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1990 and began teaching high school English. During his time teaching, he realized how much he missed the outdoors and decided to look for professional opportunities that would allow him to combine both his love for nature and teaching. In 1991, Edwin began working as a naturalist guide and has since become a much sought-after group leader, specializing in natural history and birding programs.
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica
  San José, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Hotel Punta Leona
  Punta Leona, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Hotel Arenal Paraiso
  Arenal, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Pachira Lodge
  Tortuguero, Costa Rica 2 nights
   Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center
  San José, Costa Rica 1 night
 Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Radisson Hotel San José is conveniently situated in the commercial district near San José's historic center.
  Contact info: Calle Central y Tercera Av. 15
Calle Blancos
San José,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-20106000
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, hair dryer, air conditioning, alarm clock radio, Sleep Number® beds, Wi-Fi, in-room safe, iPod dock, coffee maker, mini bar/refrigerator, flat screen TV and cable channels, and two telephone lines.
  Facility amenities: Business center, Wi-Fi, fitness center, whirlpool and pool, executive lounge, on-site casino, spacious meeting rooms, laundry services, 24-hr room service, and two on-site restaurants. The hotel is able to offer airport shuttle services for an additional charge. This service must be booked in advance, directly through the hotel. Email requests can be sent to
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or for questions about room availability and prices. Room types and rates are subject to availability.

 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,  000000 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

 Hotel Arenal Paraiso
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Arenal Paraiso is located just a short drive from the picturesque town of La Fortuna. Accommodations are provided in individual casitas surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, with views of the Arenal Volcano. All rooms have views of the volcano.
  Contact info: No info.
Arenal,  00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-2460-5333
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, safety deposit box, cable TV, air conditioning, and front porch with sitting area.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, bar, zip line, and spa.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 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

 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, iron/ironing board, and complimentary Internet access. En suite bathrooms feature a grab bar in the shower or bathtub/shower.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, swimming pools, a wet bar, Jacuzzis, casino, fitness center, spa services, laundry service, souvenir shop, beauty salon, business center, conference center, money exchange, travel agency, a souvenir shop, and WiFi in public areas. 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. Please call the hotel or check at the front desk if you would like to use this service.
  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 Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica 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 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: There are two types of taxi services available at the Juan Santamaria International Airport. The most reliable one is the Taxis Unidos Aeropuerto--the official airport taxi service. A Taxis Unidos kiosk is located at the airport exit. The drivers wear company uniforms and the orange taxis have the Taxis Unidos logo emblazoned on the driver's door and passenger's door. The taxis are metered and fares can be paid in dollars or colones. A cab ride to a downtown hotel should cost about $32, but this can vary depending on traffic. There are also regular metered taxis available outside the airport exit. These are typically red with medallions (yellow triangles containing numbers) painted on the side. Although these are usually a cheaper option, we suggest using the official taxis for the sake of safety and reliable fares.
  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: 8,000 ft at Poas Volcano.

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 San José, Costa Rica
(Wednesday, December 23)
 Arrive To: Fly into San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport. Flight arrival times are dependent on airlines and routes used.

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

Transfer to the hotel (check-in starts at 3pm). No meals are included on this day.
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Day 2: Orientation, Doka Plantation, Poas Volcano National Park
(Thursday, December 24)

Note: This program includes a number of bus transfers. The air conditioned Road Scholar bus does not have a bathroom on board. However, the program includes stops for program activities, meals, and/or basic pit stops that help to break up longer travel times. Stops are built into the schedule for every 1.5 - 2 hours of bus travel.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Orientation meeting followed by Introductory Spanish Lesson by Group Leader – common words. .

Get to know your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Field trip to the Doka Coffee Plantation to learn how coffee is grown, harvested, and processed.

The Doka Coffee Estate is owned by the Vargas Ruiz family and is located in Sabanilla, Alajuela near the Poás Volcano. The estate welcomes visitors to learn more about the rich dark brew that is loved by millions of people around the world. Here, visitors experience the subject of coffee from seedling to the cup through a hands-on walk through the plantation, processing plant, and roasting plant. If you are a coffee lover, you will enjoy plenty of opportunities to sample the finished product.
 Lunch: At the Doka Coffee Plantation.
 Afternoon: Excursion to Poás Volcano National Park.

The 1,600 acres that comprise the Poás Volcano National Park, include winding trails that traverse cloud forest habitats; this alone is worth the journey. However, what truly makes the site so memorable is the view that few other volcano parks can offer. At Poás, visitors have the opportunity to literally walk to the edge of the active volcano. From the top of the viewing platform it is possible to look into the flooded volcano crater. Although Poás has not erupted since 1950, the constant release of steam provides a reminder of its potential.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: Christmas Eve dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Los Suenos Canopy Adventure
(Friday, December 25)

Note: Bus drive to the Pacific coast takes approximately 2 hours. The hotel at this site is not able to accommodate triples by providing a rollaway or cot. If you are three people rooming together you will be expected to share beds at this property. Participants who prefer to reserve an extra room for these two nights can do so for an additional, non-refundable, fee of $75. Please call the program provider at 1-800-866-7111 to reserve and pay for this additional service.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the Pacific Coast.

Departure for the Canopy Vista Los Sueños for a zip lining adventure.

Canopy Vista Los Sueños 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.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue with the transfer to the Pacific Coast.

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Free time to enjoy the hotel amenities.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Punta Leona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Swimming & Kayaking Activities
(Saturday, December 26)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Sea kayaking from the mouth of the Agujas River to Limones Beach. Opportunity for swimming.

Return to the hotel.
Lecture: Crocodiles.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the hotel's beaches and pools.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Punta Leona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Crocodile Safari, Transfer to Arenal, Volcanoes Introduction
(Sunday, December 27)

Note: Bus drive from Pacific Coast to Arenal takes approximately 4 to 4.5 hours.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Crocodile Safari boat ride on the Tarcoles River (approx. 1.5 hours). **Note: this activity is tide dependent and may need to be offered at a different time of day. If necessary, the Crocodile Safari and the Los Sueños Canopy Adventure will switch places on your itinerary.

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.

Transfer to Arenal.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant, en route.
 Afternoon: Continue with transfer to Arenal.

Arenal was once Costa Rica's most active volcano and a main draw to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano National Park. The volcano lords over the countryside with its perfectly conical shape and occasional smoke and gas emissions. While minor activity excites visitors, they are rarely acknowledged by the locals who have learnt to accept the antics of the volcano as part of their daily lives. The thermal waters emanating from the volcano, the clean air and the energy associated with Arenal, makes this a favorite destination for health spa enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Arrive at hotel and check-in.
Free time for pool games.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Lecture: Arenal Volcano.
Nighttime observation of the volcano (weather dependent).
Accommodations: Hotel Arenal Paraiso
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arenal National Park, Arenal Hanging Bridges
(Monday, December 28)

Note: Walking on unpaved forest trails and volcanic rocks.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Arenal Volcano National Park with a walk around the base of the volcano.

The national park is situated in the western side of Arenal. The hilly terrain is littered with volcanic rocks. Park trails traverse old lava fields and secondary forest.

Return to the hotel.
 Lunch: At the 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: At a 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: Hotel Arenal Paraiso
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Tortuguero Village, Nighttime Nature Walk
(Tuesday, December 29)

Note: The bus drive from Arenal to the dock to takes approximately 3.5 hours. There will be an en route stop for breakfast at a local restaurant. River boat ride to Tortuguero takes approximately 1.5 hours.

 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 motorized boat ride through the waterways is just an appetizer for the avid naturalist.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Tortuguero Village to explore village life and learn about coconut processing.

Return to the lodge.

Time at leisure for pool games.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
 Evening: Evening walk in search of frogs and insects.
Accommodations: Pachira Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Expert Led Walk in Tortuguero National Park, Boat Safari
(Wednesday, December 30)

Note: Walking on unpaved, and potentially muddy, forest trails.

 Breakfast: At the lodge.
 Morning: Early morning canal safari.

Look for endemic and migrant birds as well as howler monkeys, caimans, bats, turtles, and more! Although wildlife observation tends to take the front seat during these activities, do not ignore the unique flora of this lush region. Some of the important trees and plants found here include the kativo, almendro, sangrillo, and pachira.

Return to the lodge.
 Lunch: At the lodge.
 Afternoon: Guided walk in Tortuguero National Park.

Tortuguero is located on the Caribbean coast, south of Nicaragua, and fifty miles north of Limon. The Tortuguero National Park embodies Caribbean beaches, with a surprising array of plant associations, including swamp forest, lowland rainforest and a picturesque network of natural waterways. Navigating through the river and canals of Tortuguero reveals an incredible diversity of plant and animal life including more than 100 reptiles, 60 mammal species, and hundreds of bird species.

Return to the lodge.

Time at leisure for pool games.
 Dinner: At the lodge.
 Evening: Nocturnal walk in search of frogs and insects.
Accommodations: Pachira Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Morning Birding, Return to San Jose, Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, December 31)

Note: River boat ride from Tortuguero to boat dock: 1.5 hours. The bus drive to San José takes approximately 3 hours.

 Breakfast: Optional early morning birding.

Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Boat transfer to Caño Blanco dock and continue by bus to San José.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.

Final briefing with the local coordinator.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Spend your last evening in Costa Rica chatting with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.
Accommodations: Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Program Concludes
(Friday, January 1)
 Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).
 Morning: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for international flights to the U.S.

Departure flight times are dependent on airlines and routes used. Participants must vacate their hotel rooms by the property's stipulated check-out time.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.
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

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.

Costa Rica Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic

Description: A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.

Costa Rica, A Journey Through Nature

Author: Adrian Hepworth

Description: Dividing the book by ecosystem and geographic area, BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Hepworth's color photographs showcase the diversity of Costa Rica's wildlife and habitats.

Costa Rica, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Barbara Ras

Description: These 26 well-chosen stories by Costa Rican writers introduce the people, culture and land.

Costa Rican Spanish

Author: Lonely Planet

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

Costa Rican Wildlife

Author: Pocket Naturalist

Description: Put it in your pocket! This handy, fold-up card includes color illustrations of dozens of typical birds, mammals and reptiles. We also carry plastic cards for Costa Rica Birds (Item CRC56) and Costa Rica Butterflies & Moths (Item CRC57), $5.95 each.

Culture Smart! Costa Rica

Author: Jane Koutnik

Description: History, religion, daily life, food, health and safety are all covered in this accessible pocket guide to Costa Rican customs, etiquette and culture.

Into The Volcano

Author: Donna O'Meara

Description: O'Meara's lively, illustrated eyewitness accounts of adventures in volcanology include Arenal in Costa Rica, Kilauea in Hawaii and Stromboli off the coast of Italy. Geared for grades 5 to 8, this is a great introduction to volcanoes for the whole family.

Monkeys are Made of Chocolate, Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica

Author: Jack Ewing

Description: Ewing, founder of Hacienda Baru in southern Costa Rica, weaves tales of the rainforest, wildlife, ecology and conservation in these 32 marvelous essays for the whole family.

Nancy Drew, The Scarlet Macaw Scandal

Author: Carolyn Keene

Description: Nancy and her friends head for Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park to relax and study monkeys when they stumble upon, naturally, a mystery to be solved.

National Geographic Costa Rica

Author: Christopher P. Baker

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

The Birds of Costa Rica

Author: Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)

Description: This new edition covers 903 species of birds with hundreds of new, supplemental or revised color illustrations by Robert Dean and revised color-coded range maps.

The Field Guide to Rain Forest Animals

Author: Nancy Honovich

Description: A unique children's guide to eight Amazon animals that includes photographs, illustrations, maps, fascinating facts and a diorama activity. Written for ages eight and up.

The Green Republic: A Conservation History of Costa Rica

Author: Sterling Evans

Description: For the serious reader, this book offers a vivid synopsis of the founding and expansion of Costa Rica’s National Park system, including portraits of the local heroes and institutions that fought for conservation.

The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America

Author: David Rains Wallace

Description: Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource.

The Most Beautiful Roof in the World

Author: Kathryn Lasky, Christopher Knight (Photographer)

Description: A tropical botanist and her sons climb among the ropes and walkways of a rainforest canopy in this photographic odyssey. For ages 9-12.

The Wildlife of Costa Rica, A Field Guide

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

Description: This guide includes 450 of the most common, interesting and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that you are likely to encounter. Each has exquisite full-color illustrations.

Tropical Nature

Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata

Description: Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.

Volcanoes, Crucibles of Change

Author: Richard Fisher

Description: A complete primer for the volcano lover, this heavily illustrated book covers types of volcanoes and eruptions, worldwide distribution and the physics of their formation.

Wild Costa Rica

Author: Adrian Hepworth

Description: This beautiful, informative survey of the habitats, wildlife and protected areas of Costa Rica features 200 color photographs and chapters on natural history and conservation.

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