loading spinner
11586
Costa Rica

The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders

With more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity, 121 volcanic formations, 801 miles of coastline and hundreds of endemic birds, Costa Rica is a true Mecca for nature lovers to explore.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 11586RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,879
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
500
Costa Rica

The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders

With more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity, 121 volcanic formations, 801 miles of coastline and hundreds of endemic birds, Costa Rica is a true Mecca for nature lovers to explore.
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,879
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
500
Length
12 days
Rating (4.95)
Starts at
2,879
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
500
Program No. 11586RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Hotel
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Nov 29 - Dec 10, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Jan 3 - Jan 14, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 14 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Jan 8 - Jan 19, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 19 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Jan 10 - Jan 21, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Jan 14 - Jan 25, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Jan 17 - Jan 28, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 28 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Jan 24 - Feb 4, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Feb. 4 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 5 - Feb 16, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Feb. 16 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 13 - Feb 24, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Feb. 24 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 19 - Mar 2, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 2 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 21 - Mar 4, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Feb 26 - Mar 9, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 9 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Mar 11 - Mar 22, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 22 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Apr 11 - Apr 22, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Apr 18 - Apr 29, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

May 8 - May 19, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Jun 6 - Jun 17, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Jul 10 - Jul 21, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Jul 23 - Aug 3, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Aug 8 - Aug 19, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Sep 4 - Sep 15, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Sep 18 - Sep 29, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Oct 3 - Oct 14, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Oct 17 - Oct 28, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Dec 2 - Dec 13, 2023
Hotel 3,099
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Dec. 13 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

DATES & PRICES

Hotel
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Nov 29 - Dec 10, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Dec 2 - Dec 13, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Dec 6 - Dec 17, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Dec 8 - Dec 19, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Jan 3 - Jan 14, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 14 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Jan 8 - Jan 19, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 19 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Jan 10 - Jan 21, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 14 - Jan 25, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 16 - Jan 27, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 17 - Jan 28, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 28 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 23 - Feb 3, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 24 - Feb 4, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Feb. 4 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Jan 28 - Feb 8, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 29 - Feb 9, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Jan 30 - Feb 10, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Feb 5 - Feb 16, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Feb. 16 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 7 - Feb 18, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Feb 9 - Feb 20, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Feb 11 - Feb 22, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Feb 13 - Feb 24, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Feb. 24 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 19 - Mar 2, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 2 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Feb 21 - Mar 4, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Feb 26 - Mar 9, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 9 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Mar 11 - Mar 22, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 22 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

Mar 18 - Mar 29, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
Apr 11 - Apr 22, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Apr 18 - Apr 29, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

May 8 - May 19, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Jun 6 - Jun 17, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Jul 10 - Jul 21, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Jul 23 - Aug 3, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Aug 8 - Aug 19, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Sep 4 - Sep 15, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Sep 18 - Sep 29, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Itinerary Note

July-September is the nesting season for Green Sea Turtles at Tortuguero. During this special time of the year, the program will include a nighttime walk along the beach led by a local guide for an opportunity to observe sea turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs.

Oct 3 - Oct 14, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Oct 17 - Oct 28, 2023
Hotel 2,899
Special Offer

No extra cost for single rooms! Free singles sell out quickly, so be sure to enroll early.

Dec 2 - Dec 13, 2023
Hotel 3,579
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Dec. 13 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise.

At a Glance

Unhurried. Active. Environmentally aware. Lush. Protected. Biodiverse. Pura Vida — the Pure Life. Costa Rica’s pervading cultural ideology unites with its natural delights to create a unique national character, in which 25 percent of the land is preserved by law and there is no standing military. This invigorating program explores the essential nature of this Central American nation, from its pristine beaches and verdant forests to its rural villages and historic capital.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 1.5 hours a day over uneven trails in hot and humid conditions. Includes a number of bus transfers; no bathroom on bus but bus stops every 1.5-2 hours. Elevations up to 4,000 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn from naturalists about the unique features of the rain forest, wetlands and transition zones.
  • Participate in cultural activities in rural communities.
  • Admire the misty beauty and unique characteristics of a cloud forest during a trail hike and expert presentation.

General Notes

This Road Scholar program offers participants the chance to explore a number of Costa Rica’s iconic ecosystems 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.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Pedro Bosques
Pedro Bosques is a veteran Road Scholar instructor and group leader, with approximately 20 years of experience in hosting lifelong learners in Costa Rica. Although born in Puntarenas, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, Pedro grew up in San José. His interest in conservation blossomed when he began working at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve as a field assistant. During this time he colaborated with researchers and biologists in projects including the study of the behavior and migration of the Three-wattled Bellbird and reforestation of the biological corridor in the Monteverde region. Pedro is a certified naturalist leader who enjoys sharing his knowledge with travelers from around the world. He looks forward to hosting you in this program and enhancing your journey in his beautiful country.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Pedro Bosques
Pedro Bosques View biography
Pedro Bosques is a veteran Road Scholar instructor and group leader, with approximately 20 years of experience in hosting lifelong learners in Costa Rica. Although born in Puntarenas, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, Pedro grew up in San José. His interest in conservation blossomed when he began working at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve as a field assistant. During this time he colaborated with researchers and biologists in projects including the study of the behavior and migration of the Three-wattled Bellbird and reforestation of the biological corridor in the Monteverde region. Pedro is a certified naturalist leader who enjoys sharing his knowledge with travelers from around the world. He looks forward to hosting you in this program and enhancing your journey in his beautiful country.
Profile Image of William Suarez
William Suarez View biography
While working for the logging industry in Honduras and seeing its negative impact on the environment, William Suarez became interested in conservation. He returned to his native Costa Rica and received training to serve as a leader for groups interested in learning about the country’s flora and fauna. Today, he specializes in the natural history and birds of Costa Rica. William is also a writer who has had three books published, as well as an outdoorsman who enjoys mountain biking, hiking and fishing.
Profile Image of Andrés Quirós
Andrés Quirós View biography
Andrés Quirós Gutiérrez grew up in the city of Cartago. In 1995, he finished the Rios Tropicales guiding school and became a rafting guide, a hiking guide, and kayaker. He graduated from Colegio San Luis Gonzaga, INA (Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje), and ICETUR (Instituto Costarricense de Educación Turística). His work has taken him to the U.S., Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand. Andrés has been a general and nature guide in Costa Rica since 1999. He enjoys mountain biking, bird watching, and wildlife photography.
Profile Image of Erick Miranda
Erick Miranda View biography
Erick Miranda hails from Costa Rica’s historic Heredia, a region dotted with coffee plantations and forests. As a young boy, he dreamed of becoming a naturalist guide. He attended a prestigious research center where he studied natural history and honed his interpretive skills. Erick has been a licensed naturalist guide and group leader for more than a decade, as well as a personal cross-training fitness coach. He has traveled extensively within Costa Rica and wishes to start adding some international destinations to his travel list.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Green Republic: A Conservation History of Costa Rica
by Sterling Evans
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.
Costa Rica, A Journey Through Nature
by Adrian Hepworth
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.
Wild Costa Rica
by Adrian Hepworth
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.
Culture Smart! Costa Rica
by Jane Koutnik
History, religion, daily life, food, health and safety are all covered in this accessible pocket guide to Costa Rican customs, etiquette and culture.
The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America
by David Rains Wallace
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.
Tropical Plants of Costa Rica
by Willow Zuchowski
Organized by habitat, this photo guide to 400 species has chapters on popular destinations, including Monteverde and Tortuguero.
Costa Rica Reader: History, Culture, Politics
by Steven Palmer (Editor), Ivan Molina (Editor)
A lively, literate sourcebook on the politics, economy and society of Costa Rica
The Birds of Costa Rica
by Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)
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.
Tropical Nature
by Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
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.
Costa Rica, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Barbara Ras
These 26 well-chosen stories by Costa Rican writers introduce the people, culture and land.
Volcanoes, Crucibles of Change
by Richard Fisher
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.
Nature of the Rainforest, Costa Rica and Beyond
by Adrian Forsyth, E.O. Wilson (Introduction), Michael Fogden (Photographer)
Our favorite biologist-writer returns to the Neotropics in this beautifully illustrated, oversized overview of the rainforest. With chapters on Monteverde and Guanacaste, plants, frogs and snakes, birds, monkeys and jaguars, the sloth, peculiar insects and biodioversity; A marvelous, anecdotal introduction to ecology, evolution and conservation.
Costa Rica Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica, A Field Guide
by Twan Leenders, Robert Dean, Jim Zook, Fiona Reid
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.
Costa Rican Spanish
by Lonely Planet
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.
The Sea Turtle, So Excellent a Fishe
by Archie Carr
An appreciative and informative account of the sea turtle, its ecology and field work in Costa Rica by the man who did so much to promote sea turtle research and conservation, first published in 1967. Karen Bjorndal, director of the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, brings the story up to date in a new foreword.
Javatrekker, Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee
by Dean Cycon
Cycon, an organic coffee roaster, journeys around the world to discover the hardships of growing and selling coffee beans, in an offbeat adventure which casts light on the global trade and culture of coffee.
National Geographic Costa Rica
by Christopher P. Baker
This stylish and informative travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.
Costa Rican Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
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.
Aroma of the World: A Journey into the Mysteries and Delights of Coffee
by Santo Versace (Foreword), Elisabetta Illy
A beautiful book for the coffee lover, this heavily illustrated compendium is equal parts history and travel journal, detailing the passage of the coffee bean from origination to current status as an icon of modern living.





Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.