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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 (4.92)
Program No. 11586RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
2,629
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
2,629
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
500
Program No. 11586 RJ

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

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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
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climate
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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
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Mar 29 - Apr 9, 2022
Hotel 2,829
Special Offer

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

DATES & PRICES

Hotel
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Jan 15 - Jan 26, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Jan 16 - Jan 27, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 27 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Jan 22 - Feb 2, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Itinerary Note

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

Jan 23 - Feb 3, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Jan 25 - Feb 5, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Jan 31 - Feb 11, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Feb 13 - Feb 24, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879
Feb 26 - Mar 9, 2022
Hotel 2,879
Itinerary Note

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

Mar 5 - Mar 16, 2022
Hotel 2,879
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 17 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Mar 12 - Mar 23, 2022
Hotel 2,879
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 23 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Mar 29 - Apr 9, 2022
Hotel 2,829
Special Offer

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

Apr 23 - May 4, 2022
Hotel 2,829
Special Offer

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

Apr 25 - May 6, 2022
Hotel 2,829
Special Offer

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

Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the May 7 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

May 2 - May 13, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

May 14 - May 25, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Jun 6 - Jun 17, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Jul 11 - Jul 22, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 16 - Jul 27, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 2 - Aug 13, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 12 - Sep 23, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 17 - Sep 28, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 10 - Oct 21, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Oct 23 - Nov 3, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Oct. 15 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Dec 6 - Dec 17, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,879

DATES & PRICES

Hotel
Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Jan 8 - Jan 19, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Jan 11 - Jan 22, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Jan 15 - Jan 26, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Jan 16 - Jan 27, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Jan. 27 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Jan 22 - Feb 2, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Itinerary Note

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

Jan 23 - Feb 3, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Jan 25 - Feb 5, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Jan 31 - Feb 11, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Feb 1 - Feb 12, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Feb 5 - Feb 16, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Feb 13 - Feb 24, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Feb 22 - Mar 5, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Feb 26 - Mar 9, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Itinerary Note

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

Mar 5 - Mar 16, 2022
Hotel 3,329
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 17 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Mar 12 - Mar 23, 2022
Hotel 3,329
Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Mar. 23 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Apr 23 - May 4, 2022
Hotel 2,829
Special Offer

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

Apr 25 - May 6, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,009
Special Offer

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

Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the May 7 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

May 2 - May 13, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,809
Special Offer

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

May 14 - May 25, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Jun 6 - Jun 17, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Jul 11 - Jul 22, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,809
Special Offer

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

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 16 - Jul 27, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 2 - Aug 13, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 12 - Sep 23, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 17 - Sep 28, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

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 10 - Oct 21, 2022
Hotel 2,629
Special Offer

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

Oct 23 - Nov 3, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 2,809
Special Offer

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

Itinerary Note

This departure can be combined with the Oct. 15 date of Program #20774- Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise

Nov 8 - Nov 19, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329
Dec 6 - Dec 17, 2022
SOLD OUT
Hotel 3,329

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 interaction 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
Cristian Gamboa
Cristian Gamboa was born in Chitaria de Turrialba, a small town in the country’s Northeastern side. From his early years he showed a natural interest for nature, a passion that led him to follow a career in sharing the ecological wonders of his country with others. He studied in the Professional Technical High School in La Suiza town, where he obtained a technical degree in agronomy, followed by a bachelor’s degree at the University of Costa Rica, and several other courses in the same area by Costa Rica’s National Learning Institute (INA). Cristian has worked as a resident naturalist guide with the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) in La Selva Station in Sarapiqui, as well as with Hacienda Rancho Humo in Guanacaste. He also worked with the Tropical Agronomical Center for Research and Education (CATIE) as one of their educators and garden logistic coordinators. Cristian now works as a freelance excursion leader.

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

Profile Image of Cristian Gamboa
Cristian Gamboa View biography
Cristian Gamboa was born in Chitaria de Turrialba, a small town in the country’s Northeastern side. From his early years he showed a natural interest for nature, a passion that led him to follow a career in sharing the ecological wonders of his country with others. He studied in the Professional Technical High School in La Suiza town, where he obtained a technical degree in agronomy, followed by a bachelor’s degree at the University of Costa Rica, and several other courses in the same area by Costa Rica’s National Learning Institute (INA). Cristian has worked as a resident naturalist guide with the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) in La Selva Station in Sarapiqui, as well as with Hacienda Rancho Humo in Guanacaste. He also worked with the Tropical Agronomical Center for Research and Education (CATIE) as one of their educators and garden logistic coordinators. Cristian now works as a freelance excursion leader.
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 Reimer Palma
Reimer Palma View biography
Reimer Palma is a self-proclaimed “nature guy.” He fondly recalls, at an early age, accompanying his father on walks through the rainforest to go fishing or for work. Those quiet outdoor explorations further fueled his appreciation for and an awareness of his natural surroundings. When Reimer attended a course in ecotourism at his high school, he became intrigued with the idea of becoming a naturalist guide. In 2009, he began attending natural history courses at La Selva Biological Field Station in preparation for his certification. As a naturalist leader, Reimer enjoys introducing visitors to many of Costa Rica’s beautiful protected areas; although the lush Caribbean lowlands, where he grew up, still hold the number one spot in his heart. When Reimer isn’t leading groups or enjoying time with his family, you will most likely find him hitting his college books in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in biology.
Profile Image of Tomás Calleja
Tomás Calleja View biography
Tomás Calleja grew up in the eastern Central Valley in San José, Costa Rica. He spent his childhood amid nature and was so inspired by it that he chose to study biology at the University of Costa Rica. He first realized his love of birding in 2009, participating in the Christmas bird count at Tirimbina Biological Reserve in Sarapiquí. He has since been involved and focused on environmental education, conservation, and outdoor adventure activities. Tomás plays guitar, writes songs, and is a big soccer fan.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Costa Rican Spanish
by Lonely Planet
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.





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