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Costa Rica

The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders

Program No. 11586RJ
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
Rating (4.95)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,899
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
500

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
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climate
Plan ahead.
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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 Standard
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Accommodation Details

Standard

Jan 10 - Jan 21, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Jan 14 - Jan 25, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Jan 16 - Jan 27, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Jan 17 - Jan 28, 2023
SOLD OUT
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 23 - Feb 3, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Jan 24 - Feb 4, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
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 3,099
 
Jan 29 - Feb 9, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Jan 30 - Feb 10, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
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 7 - Feb 18, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Feb 9 - Feb 20, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Feb 11 - Feb 22, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Feb 13 - Feb 24, 2023
SOLD OUT
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
SOLD OUT
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
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Itinerary Note

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

Feb 28 - Mar 11, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Mar 4 - Mar 15, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
Mar 6 - Mar 17, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
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.

Mar 18 - Mar 29, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,099
 
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 13 - Apr 24, 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
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
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.

Aug 12 - Aug 23, 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 10 - Sep 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.

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.

Apr 2 - Apr 13, 2024
 
Standard 3,149
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Apr 12 - Apr 23, 2024
 
Standard 3,149
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Apr 20 - May 1, 2024
 
Standard 3,149
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

May 12 - May 23, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

May 26 - Jun 6, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jun 1 - Jun 12, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jun 8 - Jun 19, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 7 - Jul 18, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 15 - Jul 26, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 22 - Aug 2, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 28 - Aug 8, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Aug 5 - Aug 16, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Aug 14 - Aug 25, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Sep 2 - Sep 13, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Sep 11 - Sep 22, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Sep 25 - Oct 6, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Oct 7 - Oct 18, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Oct 16 - Oct 27, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

DATES & PRICES

Hotel Standard
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Accommodation Details

Standard

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.

Feb 28 - Mar 11, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
 
Mar 4 - Mar 15, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
 
Mar 6 - Mar 17, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
 
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 13 - Mar 24, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
 
Mar 18 - Mar 29, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,579
 
Apr 11 - Apr 22, 2023
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
 
Special Offer

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

Apr 13 - Apr 24, 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
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
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
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.

Jul 23 - Aug 3, 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.

Aug 8 - Aug 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.

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 12 - Aug 23, 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
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.

Sep 10 - Sep 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.

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
SOLD OUT
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.

Apr 2 - Apr 13, 2024
 
Standard 3,149
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Apr 12 - Apr 23, 2024
 
Standard 3,149
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Apr 20 - May 1, 2024
 
Standard 3,149
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

May 12 - May 23, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

May 26 - Jun 6, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jun 1 - Jun 12, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jun 8 - Jun 19, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 7 - Jul 18, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 15 - Jul 26, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 22 - Aug 2, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Jul 28 - Aug 8, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Aug 5 - Aug 16, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Aug 14 - Aug 25, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Sep 2 - Sep 13, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Sep 11 - Sep 22, 2024
 
Standard 3,249
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Sep 25 - Oct 6, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Oct 7 - Oct 18, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

Oct 16 - Oct 27, 2024
 
Standard 2,899
Special Offer

No added cost for single rooms! Free singles are limited. Please call for details.

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
William Suarez
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.

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

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 José Amador
José Amador View biography
José Amador is a certified naturalist and expedition leader who grew up in Turrialba in Costa Rica's Central Valley. José was studying architecture in college when he got a job as a rafting guide. He quickly discovered he loved interacting with people and working outdoors. This “aha” moment led him to switch his academic efforts into becoming a naturalist leader. When not at work, José enjoys hiking, birding, and mountain biking. He has traveled throughout the Americas, Europe, and southern Africa.
Profile Image of José Calvo
José Miguel Calvo View biography
José Miguel Calvo is a licensed Costa Rican naturalist expedition leader, fluent in English and his native Spanish. He grew up just outside Turrialba, in an area known for its scenic hills, rivers, and farmlands. After giving farm work a try, he realized his passion for nature and conservation would be better suited to a career in ecological exploration. In addition to being certified as a naturalist and general expedition leader, José Miguel is also trained in canyoning, zip lining, and river rafting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Costa Rican Spanish
by Lonely Planet
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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12 days
11 nights
31 meals
11 B 10 L 10 D
DAY
1
Arrive San José, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San José
D
Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Activity note: Participants must book flights that arrive into San José no later than 4:30 p.m. in order to attend the program orientation. Some Road Scholar gateways require the use of overnight flights in order to arrive in San José by the suggested time. Please contact your Road Scholar Program Provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you made plans to arrive a day early and would like assistance in booking your hotel. Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: 6:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages included in the program price are coffee and water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Travel and transfers will be via air-conditioned bus unless specified otherwise. The bus does not have a restroom on board; however, there will be stops at least every two hours for program activities, meals, and/or basic pit stops to break up longer travel times. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Gold Museum, Coffee Experience
San José
B,L
Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus with several steps up/down; driving about 19 miles, approximately 1.5 hours total riding time. Walking and standing at field trip sites, up to 2 hours; mostly flat terrain, some unpaved paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation that will provide insights into Costa Rica’s famed biodiversity. We’ll then board our bus and ride to the Museo del Oro Precolombino — Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Led by an expert, we’ll explore and see some of the splendid display of artifacts from multiple indigenous Latin American civilizations. The total weight of the 2,000-piece collection is than 20,000 troy ounces, making it one of the richest spots in the nation. Next, we will return to our bus and ride to a local coffee farm in the Central Valley.

Lunch: At the coffee farm.

Afternoon: Costa Rica has been producing some of the world’s best coffee for more than a century. For most of that time, the country’s gourmet coffee was exported, leaving lower-quality beans for domestic consumption. An expert will take us on an interactive walk through the coffee farm to see how their coffee is grown, harvested, and processed for consumption. We’ll learn from a “cupper” — a professional coffee taster — the proper way to taste coffee in order to identify the quality of the brew. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: We’ll re-group at the hotel for an overview of tomorrow’s activities. Prepare for hotel-check out and early morning transfer.

DAY
3
Tortuguero National Park, Sea Turtle Conservancy
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 75 miles, approximately 3.5 hours riding time with stop. Getting on/off a river boat; riding approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: After early morning hotel check-out, we will ride to a local restaurant.

Morning: We will ride to a local dock and board a riverboat to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast, south of Nicaragua and 50 miles north of the principal port of Limón. The park comprises Caribbean beaches, swamp forest, lowland rainforest, and a network of picturesque natural waterways. There is an incredible diversity of plant and animal life including more than 100 reptile species, 60 mammal species, and hundreds of bird species. Tortuguero gets its name from the large sea turtles that come ashore each year from July through October to nest on the 27-mile long black sand beach. We will disembark at the lodge where we will be staying and check in with some time to freshen up and relax before lunch.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll take a quick boat ride to the local village where our Group Leader will accompany us on a walking exploration of the community to see how folks live. While here we’ll learn from a local resident about coconut processing. Our local resident will also share some history of the town and his family, as well as give a demonstration on how coconuts are processed for oil, milk, and raw coconut in order to make candy. We’ll then walk from the village to the Sea Turtle Conservancy field station and see a video/slide show presentation to learn about their mission and to find out why Tortuguero Beach is so important for the survival of endangered green turtles. Reboarding the boat, we’ll return to the lodge and then attend a presentation by a long-time resident on the history of Tortuguero.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: After a review of tomorrow’s activities, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Overview of next day’s activities and time at leisure.

DAY
4
Canal Safari 1, Forest Hike, Canal Safari 2
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) canal safari in Tortuguero National Park to spot local wildlife. Getting in/out of motorized river boats. Walking 1-2 miles; often muddy lodge trails; wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes you can get dirty; hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, binoculars, walking stick recommended.

Breakfast: At the lodge after our early morning activity.

Morning: We will have an early morning (pre-breakfast) canal safari. Target bird species during this activity include Green and Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Sungrebes, Northern Jacanas and Anhingas. After breakfast, we’ll set out with our Group Leader on a hike along lodge trails to learn about riparian vegetation and resident wildlife. Our walk will take us along secondary forest trails that are on the outer edges of Tortuguero National Park and are part of that same ecosystem. The park is located in one of the rainiest regions of Costa Rica, and this abundance of water plays a vital role in supporting Tortuguero’s thriving forests, canals, and wildlife. It is also an area of incredible biological diversity, with at least eleven identified habitats. A scenic natural channel and navigable river mouths form the park from the southwest to the northeast. These riverways and swamps are the habitat of black turtles, which can be seen sunning themselves on drifting logs or in the floating islands formed by vegetation. The canals also provide shelter to a variety of species in danger of extinction and are excellent locations to observe different species of aquatic birds. Concluding our walk, we'll have some time to freshen up before lunch.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: We’ll have some “down” time before our afternoon field trip. You might like to have a refreshing dip in the pool, take a stroll around the lodge, or just settle into a comfortable chair with a great book. Mid-afternoon, we’ll walk to the lodge boat dock and embark on a boat safari on local canals. As we navigate these waterways, we’ll look for resident and migrant birds as well as howler monkeys, caimans, bats, turtles, and more. Although wildlife observation tends to attract the most attention during these activities, the unique flora of this lush region including trees and plants such as the kativo, almendro, sangrillo, and pachira. We’ll return to the lodge at the end of our field trip.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: After an overview of tomorrow’s activities, our Group Leader will take us on a walk around the lodge grounds to look for nocturnal species. Then prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Transfer to Sarapiquí, Rainforest Hike, Chilamate
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a riverboat; ride from Tortuguero approximately 1.5 hours. Getting on/off a bus; driving about 65 miles approximately 2.5 hours riding time.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: After checkout, we’ll set out on a boat and land transfer to our lodge in Sarapiquí, in Costa Rica’s Caribbean lowlands. Sarapiquí is one of the richest sites for birds in Middle America with well over 400 species recorded. Nearby, the La Selva Protection Zone and the Braulio Carrillo National Park form the only significant corridor of forest on the Caribbean slope linking the highlands with the lowlands — a corridor crucial to birds and animals that undertake seasonal altitudinal migrations.

Lunch: At a restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arriving at the lodge, we’ll check in with some time to freshen up before our next activity. Later in the afternoon, we’ll go on a rainforest hike in the lodge’s private reserve with our Group Leader who will point out native flora and fauna. This private rainforest sanctuary is home to 120 mammal species, more than 330 species of trees, and an astounding 1,500 species of orchids. A well-known location on the birding circuit, the reserve boasts more than 300 recorded bird species including the endangered Great Green Macaw. We’ll return to the lodge for a presentation by a local expert who will provide us with an overview of Chilamate and discuss sustainable growth issues in the area.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: After an overview of tomorrow’s activities, the remainder of the evening is at leisure to enjoy the lodge amenities.

DAY
6
Early Morning Birding, River Rafting, Plantation Field Trip
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) birding walk in lodge environs. Wear comfortable clothes, walking shoes, insect rep