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 (4.93)
Program No. 11586RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,599
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
460

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 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn from naturalists about the unique features of the rainforest, wetlands and transition zones.
  • Participate in cultural interaction activities in rural communities.
  • Enjoy a bit of exercise and fresh salt air during an outrigger canoe ride along the Pacific coast.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Costa Rica Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.
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, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Barbara Ras
These 26 well-chosen stories by Costa Rican writers introduce the people, culture and land.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Costa Rican Spanish
by Lonely Planet
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.
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.
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.
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.
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.