The Natural Wonders of Costa Rica trip was amazing - a true adventure, informative, local and one I could not have gotten on my own. Being part of a group added to my experience and I will certainly be taking more Road Scholar trips!
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Activity note: Hotel check-in 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Check-in at the hotel then take some time to freshen up and relax. 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; coffee and water included, other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars. Prepare for hotel check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off a bus with several steps. Walking at an easy pace; mostly flat terrain.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet breakfast with juice, coffee, tea, water.
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 Nacional de Costa Rica — the National Museum. A local expert will take us on an informative museum walk detailing the country’s cultural history. The museum stands proudly in San José’s Plaza de Democracia, housed in the former Bellavista Fortress directly across from the Legislative Assembly. Its work is focused on scientific investigation, education, exhibition, and defense of the country’s natural and cultural heritage. The collections and exhibits trace significant aspects of Costa Rica’s human and natural history, culture, and heritage from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Next, we will return to our bus and ride to the Café Britt coffee farm in Barva de Heredia.
Lunch: At Café Britt, we’ll have a buffet lunch with water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: At Café Britt, the country’s first established gourmet coffee roaster, an expert will take us on an interactive walk through the coffee farm to see how coffee is grown, harvested, and processed for consumption. We will 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.
Activity note: Getting on/off a bus, on/off a river boat. Driving about 75 miles, approximately 3.5 hours including stop. River boat ride to Tortuguero approximately 1.5 hours.
Breakfast: After early morning hotel check-out, we will drive to a local restaurant for a buffet breakfast with juice, coffee, and water included.
Morning: We will drive to a local dock and board a river boat to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast, south of Nicaragua and 50 miles north of the principal port of Limon. The park comprises Caribbean beaches, swamp forest, lowland rainforest, and a picturesque network of 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. Arrive at the lodge, we will check in with some time to freshen up and relax before lunch.
Lunch: At the lodge, we’ll have a buffet meal with coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll take a quick boat ride to the local village where we’ll accompany our Group Leader on a walking exploration of the community to see how folks live. We’ll then walk from the village to the Sea Turtle Conservancy field station for 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. We’ll board the boat back to the lodge and then attend a presentation by a long-time resident on the history of Tortuguero.
Dinner: At the lodge, we’ll have a buffet meal with coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase.
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.
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 forest 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 canal safari, the breakfast buffet includes juice, coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll set out on a hike along secondary forest trails to learn about riparian vegetation and endemic wildlife. Target species in this area include caimans, monkeys, and sea and river turtles. Tortuguero National Park is located in one of the rainiest regions of Costa Rica. 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 river ways and swamps are the habitat of species of land tortoises, 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 the different species of aquatic birds. We will return to the lodge in time for lunch.
Lunch: Lodge buffet.
Afternoon: We’ll have some time to relax before our afternoon field trip. You might like to enjoy 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 embark on a boat safari on local canals. As we navigate these waterways, we will 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, 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: Lodge buffet.
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.
Activity note: River boat ride from Tortuguero to boat dock approximately 1.5 hours; bus drive from dock to Sarapiquí approximately 2.5 hours.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet.
Morning: After checkout, we’ll take 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, we’ll have a buffet lunch with coffee and water included.
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. We’ll return to the lodge for a presentation by a local expert on the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC) initiated in 1997. This system of land planning consists of four types of areas, from protected ecosystems for the preservation of species to mixed use areas and the corridors connecting them.
Dinner: At the lodge, we’ll have a buffet meal with coffee, tea, water.
Evening: We’ll have an overview of tomorrow’s activities, then enjoy the lodge amenities.
Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) birding walk in lodge environs. Wear comfortable clothes, walking shoes, insect repellent; binoculars recommended. For river rafting, wear a bathing suit and water shoes or sport sandals; apply sunscreen well before water activity.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet after returning from early morning birding walk.
Morning: We’ll enjoy an exhilarating river rafting excursion where we’ll participate in paddling. Each raft will have its own rafting expert who will sit at the back to navigate and direct participants on how and when to paddle. We’ll return to the lodge to freshen-up and change clothes, then board our bus and ride to a local heart of palm plantation. A local expert will lead our walk through the plantation to learn about the cultivation process and how the heart of palm is extracted. During lunch we’ll have the opportunity to sample dishes made with some of the freshly harvested hearts of palm.
Lunch: At the plantation, we’ll have an opportunity to sample dishes made with some of the freshly harvested hearts of palm.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll drive to a local farm to learn about cacao production and the secrets of making chocolate. We'll accompany a local expert on a brief walking exploration of the property as we learn how cacao is grown, harvested, processed, and turned into chocolate. An added treat--we will have the opportunity to sample different kinds of chocolate! We’ll return to the lodge after our field trip.
Dinner: Lodge buffet.
Evening: After an overview of the activities for tomorrow, including check-out and transfer to Arenal, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. This is a great time to listen for the rainforest’s nocturnal inhabitants. You might be relaxing in your hammock as you try to distinguish one call from another. Frogs, owls, bats, tepezquintles (pacas), moths, and various other creatures of the night come out as most of us get ready for bed.
Activity note: The drive to Arenal is about 61 miles, approximately 2.5 to 3 hours including stops. Walking approximately 2.5 miles, about 1 hour; irregular terrain including forest trails and sharp lava rocks. Opportunity to use hotel thermal pools during free time.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet.
Morning: Checking out of the lodge, we’ll begin our transfer to Arenal and the Arenal Volcano National Park. After arriving at the park, we'll set out on a walking field trip with our Group Leader along Las Coladas trail. We will observe up close views of the volcano and witness the regeneration process of the vegetation that was once affected by past volcanic activity. There are also excellent views of the Arenal Lake and surrounding areas during our walk. The National Park is situated right in the vicinity of Arenal Volcano. Although clouds often obscure the peak of the volcano, during clear days it is possible to see gases and steam rising from the cone. We will learn how periodic lava flows have contributed to the erratic growth of vegetation in the areas around the volcano.
Lunch: At a restaurant en route with coffee and water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Next, we will stop at the picturesque town of La Fortuna for a chance to take pictures and walk along its streets before continuing to the hotel. Arriving at the hotel, we will check in with some time to freshen up. We’ll then have a pre-dinner presentation by a local expert on the history of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano.
Dinner: At the hotel with coffee and water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. You might like to have a rejuvenating soak in the hotel’s thermal springs.
Activity note: Walking on forest trails and hanging bridges; wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe walking shoes. It is not mandatory to bring anything to donate to the school and/or the children. However, anyone wishing to do so might consider bringing a few basic school supplies such as pencils, erasers, pens, colored markers, children's books in Spanish, etc. to donate during the visit.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We’ll board our bus for a field trip to Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges in Fortuna de San Carlos. This private nature reserve features a network of standing bridges, hanging bridges, and trails that crisscross more than 600 acres (250 hectares) of tropical rainforest. The park’s mission is to provide natural history education in a responsible and sustainable way. We will view the rainforest from different angles and heights, from ground level to canopy level, learning firsthand about this fascinating and biologically diverse environment. We’ll then return to the hotel.
Lunch: At the hotel; coffee and water included, other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Mid-afternoon, we’ll board our bus and ride to a school for a charming dance presentation performed by local children. Next, we’ll drive to a nearby farm to learn about the history of the estate and the agricultural practices of this fertile region. We’ll also work-up an appetite while learning to make tortillas and cooking them on a traditional wood stove.
Dinner: At the farm, we’ll have a traditional meal hosted by the family.
Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: The drive to the Punta Leona/Pacific Coast is about 100 miles, approximately 4 to 4.5 hours including stops. Boat ride on Tarcoles River is tide dependent.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: After check out, we’ll begin our transfer to Punta Leona, on the Central Pacific Coast, less than 2 hours by car from San José. The area has become a popular vacation spot with Costa Rican families, with white sand beaches on one side and tropical rainforest on the other. Punta Leona is just a short distance from the important Carara National Park.
Lunch: At a restaurant en route.
Afternoon: En route to our hotel, we’ll stop for a crocodile safari boat ride on the Tarcoles River. As we navigate up the river, a local expert will provide background information on the resident crocodiles. The Tárcoles River Basin is one of the most important in the Pacific coastal region, virtually draining the entire western side of the Central Valley. Tárcoles hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife along its banks and in the extensive mangrove ecosystem. Perhaps the most famous of all the river’s inhabitants are its enormous crocodiles. These crocodiles have been studied by numerous local and foreign specialists and featured in TV series and specials. After arriving at Punta Leona, we’ll check in and settle into our rooms. Then we’ll join our Group Leader for an introduction to the hotel, followed by a presentation by a local expert on the conservation and development in the Central Pacific Region.
Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal including coffee and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Get a good night’s rest in preparation for early morning activities tomorrow.
Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) birding walk; paved lodge paths, flat trails. Wear comfortable clothes, walking shoes, insect repellent; binoculars recommended. Outrigger canoe activity lasts approximately 1 hour. Please wear a bathing suit and water shoes or sport sandals. Apply sunscreen well before water activity.
Breakfast: At the hotel, after returning from our birding walk, we’ll have a buffet meal with juice, coffee, water included.
Morning: We'll depart on a field trip to Playa Agujas for an outrigger canoe ride along the coast, with an opportunity to observe wildlife and the various geological formations. We'll then return to the hotel.
Lunch: Hotel buffet.
Afternoon: Free time. You might like to go out independently to enjoy the beaches, the hotel amenities, or just relax.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: After an overview of the activities for tomorrow, including check-out and transfer to San Jose, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.
Activity note: At Carara, walking on undulating, paved park trails; wear closed toed shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Check-out before 12:00 Noon. From Punta Leona to San Jose is about 52 miles, usually under 2 hours.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: We’ll board the bus for a short ride to Carara National Park. Once there, we will accompany our Group Leader on a walking exploration of the park trails in order to learn about the flora and fauna of this unique transition zone. Carara, 60 miles southwest of San José, lies at the northern limit of the Pacific lowland rainforest and the southern limit of the dry, deciduous forest. Its unique location within a transition zone means that plant and animal species from both habitats coexist in the reserve. In addition to conserving primary and secondary growth forests, Carara National Park also protects the Rio Grande de Tarcoles river basin and its rich wildlife. The park is a favored birding destination, with more than 350 recorded bird species including a sizable population of endangered Scarlet Macaws. If we’re lucky, we might see some of these birds that mate for life. We’ll return to the hotel after our field trip.
Lunch: At the hotel.
Afternoon: We’ll say farewell to Punta Leona and begin our transfer to San José. Upon arrival we’ll check in at the hotel with time to freshen up and relax a bit before dinner.
Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.
Evening: At leisure. Enjoy our last evening together as a group in Costa Rica. Finish your packing and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals today are on your own.
Breakfast: At the hotel depending on airport transfer and flight departure times. This concludes our program.
Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!
The Natural Wonders of Costa Rica trip was amazing - a true adventure, informative, local and one I could not have gotten on my own. Being part of a group added to my experience and I will certainly be taking more Road Scholar trips!
Well planned and executed. It was diverse and wonderful with an exceptionally talented guide.
What an awesome experience - Cristian and Hector were the ultimate professionals in taking care of us as we toured the country to discover its natural wonders. There were too many highlights to list, but every place offered a chance to see flora, fauna, and understand the connection between their beautiful biodiversity and the people/culture/history of this nugget in Central America.
An exciting journey through Costa Rica's divers flora and fauna.
Wonderful trip. Exceeded all expectations. Learning experience and opened my eyes to the beauties of Central America, People of Costa Rica were warm and welcoming. Always helpful and smiling at we tourestos .
Our guide, Jimmy Trejos, was the best guide I have ever had for any tour, ever. He was very conscious of our safety and looked after each person, without being smothering. He was sensitive to each of our personal interests. If we saw a snake he would make sure to point it out to the snake lovers. For the bird lovers, there was an endless number of birds that he pointed out and named. He was extremely knowledgeable and showed pride in his country. He made it clear that we could make decisions about what to do and not to do during our trip. If we were tired and chose to rest during a lecture, we could do so without rebuke. As a tour guide, Jimmy is simply the bet!
Our trip to Costa Rica was even better than we expected it would be. We traveled from the Caribbean to the Pacific and saw so much in between. We loved the rain forest and the birds, monkeys, sloths and other wildlife. One day we just sat quietly in a boat on the river and listened to all that was going on in the forest. Wonderful. I would do it again for sure.
I found this trip very educational and a fun way to learn the history and current state of Costa Rica. The only change I can think of would be to update the list of clothing etc. While realizing that it was probably a "One list fits all programs", I and some of my fellow travelers found we packed many things that we did not need on this particular trip. For future travelers I would say Less is More.
This program is in the top 3 of my road scholar adventures. It is an excellent introduction to the natural history of Costa Rica, covering most major life zones including both the Pacific and Carribean regions. Our guide, Pedro B. was outstanding: he was extremely knowledgeable about the natural history, cultural history and agriculture of Costa Rica. He was also great at spotting birds and other wildlife and ensured that everyone got a chance to observe them. The guest lecturers included a number of excellent talks on the ecology of the rainforest, history of conservation, as well as personal history. The program was very diverse with a major emphasis on wildlife, but also included human history, agriculture, school visits, rafting, as well as time on the beach. Finally, I felt good knowing that my money went to support people and organizations that are committed to sustainability and protecting the rainforest. Even though there are programs dedicated to bird watching in Costa Rica, I would still recommend this program to people interested in birds, because there are a lot of opportunities for bird watching and this program is one of the few that includes Tortuguero, which is a great park for observing wildlife. Plus you get to learn about other aspects of the country. For those interested in independent travel, the program introduces you to a number of locations that you may to wish to go back to on your own. We took three days at the end of the program to go back to one of the locations and take tours with the local guides. This added a lot to our overall experience.
This was a wonderful trip and focusing on the natural wonders of the country including bird watching, animal finding, eco-systems, biodiversity, agriculture, etc. William Sanchez was a good naturalist. There is a lot of bird watching but that is not the exclusive focus of the trip. A devoted bird watcher would want to pick the birding specific tour offered by Road Scholar. We really enjoyed the cultural stops and field trips to alpaca farm, textile industry, coffee plantation, heart of palm plantation & restraurant (best meal of trip) and cocoa plantation. The evening lectures by guest and the commentary about politics, education, history, etc. given by the naturalist on long bus segments were very well done and extremely educational. We liked this trip because we saw so much of the country from coast to coast and all the various eco-systems. There were long bus trip days getting between places but there does not seem to be a way around that if you want to cover a lot of ground so you see more than just a small area of the country. We only had night rain and one light morning rain during our 2 week trip in Feb. The walking is not strenuous and usually each outing is 45 minutes to 2 hours. Not all of the trails are paved so there are uneven surfaces. The lodging was upscale and in lush, interesting settings.
We cover so many different environment and regions and with the great guides and lectures I really go to know, understand, and better appreciate this amazing county. They introduce us to people that taught us so much and were so proud of their county you felt you got a taste of their life.
Wonderful program, well organized. Very busy schedule, saw fabulous birds and animals. Wonderful insight from local speakers. Highly recommend
Costa Rica may be a small country, but it has tremendous biodiversity; this Road Scholar program permits one to understand why there is such diversity and see many examples of it.
It was better than I could dream!
If you like getting out in nature, specifically rain forests environs, and you like viewing animals in their natural habitat, and you like experiencing the culture of a different country - this tour is a great one.
Great trip! Lots to learn about one of the more beautiful parts of the world. Small group and excellent guide made for a very enjoyable program.
Excellent program. Christian was a great guide - very insightful, informative and humorous. The trip attendees were an extraordinary group of people. Highly recommend this trip.
A true eco-tourism experience! This equatorial country has so very much to offer - from Atlantic to Pacific coasts, with mountains in the middle. Rain forests that are so lush, full of fantastic colors, & less dense, less colorful, drier but still beautiful still beautiful forests. There is nowhere in this country, outside of the cities, that does not offer a vast variety of wildlife & flora! The birds & vegetation especially are overwhelmingly colorful - that's stated by someone who is not a birder or gardener! I couldn't get enough of our forest walks! And the tour included adventures other than flora & fauna sightings, like white-water rafting & river & coach rides that exposed us to the vast beauties of the land.
This tour is an excellent adventure to see the REAL Costa Rica.
This tour needs to be completely reorganized to reflect conditions present at this time. The roads are very bad and require participants to spend hours on a bus on bad roads. The bus used does not have a bathroom and that requires special bathroom stops at places that charge $1 US dollar to use the toilet per person paid by the user. The bus also does not have a refrigerated compartment where bottles of water could be stored. Instead, the guide buys 3-gallon bottles of water and refills participants own bottles with the stale warm water. On my tour in Cuba we had a fully equipped comfortable bus and we were supplied with two bottles of cold water from the refrigerator every day. One would think, in Costa Rica, the same would be used. I was very disappointed with many aspects of this tour.
Road Scholar is the way to travel if your goal is to learn about the country you are visiting. My experience on this first trip with Road Scholar has convinced me to do it again when I travel. I want my travel to be a learning experience and not just relaxing at a resort.
This trip provided fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. It was my first time in these habitats so everything was new and different.
Great trip. Excellent Gui but the schedule is filled with things de and driver made us feel safe and aware of what we were seeing at all times. Guide (William Suarez) was excellent. Beautiful Scenery, very good accommodations and food. This is a very busy trip. It covers a wide range of Costa Rica in a fairly short time. There is little free time but the schedule is filled with things you will be glad you saw later.
It was interesting to experience 3 very different climatic zones. It's important to bring binoculars because the animals are often far away and the birds in flight. This tour was a very enjoyable experience and Cristian a superb guide.
Exceeded my expectations! Our skilled guide helped us see so much more wildlife than we would have seen by ourselves. So relaxing having Road Scholar handle all the details.
I really enjoyed my trip to Costa Rica with Road Scholars, it was just what I wanted, a little bit of each part of the country with 2 nights in each location to balance against time on the bus. Every day was packed with outdoor activities, presentations by local experts, and both nature and culture. The birds and wildlife we saw were amazing, and we visited several national parks, those were important for me. Our lodging was very high end, places I would not normally be able to afford, that was a treat.
This trip is terrific. The lecture on biodiversity when we arrived set the stage for what we were to see, and understand, in the days to come. The diversity of flora and fauna was amazing. The guide Roger was knowledgable and experienced. Not only was he was able to identify birds, monkeys and plants, he knew where to look for them. There were many hours of travel on this trip but worth the effort.
This trip is all it is described Wonderful ! Enjoyed the entire time.
Costa Rica is an amazing country and we experienced it with a great tour guide who was able to present Costa Rica from one side of the country to the other. It was a marvelous trip and our group left as friends and the trip seemed over far too early. Thank you Roger and our thanks to the wonderful people of Costa Rica.
This program was informative and fun. I met many interesting people and learned about biodiversity. Our guide and driver were excellent. The lecturers were well informed and gave interesting talks. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to experience a different culture and learn about nature.
This tour gave me an "eyes-on" experience of ecosystems, biodiversity, rain forests, biological corridors, sustainable agriculture, and cooperative sustenance. This is definitely a tour for those interested in saving our planet.
If you ever wanted to see tropical rain forests flora, fauna and volcanoes ....this is the trip to take in the winter.
If you've never been to Costa Rica (and even if you have) this program is a wonderful eye-opening experience that will give you a taste of the country you would never get on your own.
WOW! Thank you Road Scholar for giving us the time of our lives. We went outside our comfort zone and always felt safe. Pura Vida!
This program is THE program for experiencing Costa Rica. So many good people everywhere. The amount of wildlife is phenomenal,& our group leader Erick Guzman made sure we saw much of it. It's a trip you dislike seeing come to an end.... many wonderful experiences, forever catalogued in numerous images & videos. Great memories. And I may be back!
This was one of the best trips I have ever been on! Costa Rica was beautiful. The people were so friendly and had so much pride in their country. The trip was full of great adventures - beautiful birds, white water rafting, hanging bridges, a crocodile safari, and the lodging was wonderful. A great guide and bus driver. Better than I expected!!!
This is the second Costa Rica program that I have had the pleasure to experience. I also attended "The Taste of Costa Rica" program. Both were excellent.
Every aspect of our trip was wonderful, travel, sites, food and people. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone.
The trip to Costa Rica was a not-to-be missed learning experience. The country is not lush like Hawaii but the diversity is incredible. You may only see one or two of a particular plant, animal or bird but that makes what you do see even more inspiring. And the people are justifiably proud and very welcoming.
The website is easy to use and provides needed information when trying to decide what trip to take.
This trip is very informative and fun. Activity level is less strenuous than listed except for the hanging bridges.
The Best of Costa Rica, Exploring Natural Wonders, in January was a perfect time of year to visit Costa Rica, coast to coast. You will experience the food, culture, exotic birds, and animals, and history of this compact and complex country. Our guide was knowledgeable, personable and helpful, and the accommodations were very nice. The physical terrain is beautiful and able to be hiked with a minimum of effort. The wide range of natural forests, plants, and animal life we experienced in the time we were there was amazing. I was not an avid bird watcher before, but now I see why people visit this country just for that reason alone. North Americans who care for the environment and beautiful places share much with in common with Costa Rica.
Wonderful trip: nice accommodations, plentiful good food, fascinating ecodiversity and history, welcoming friendly people. The guide was knowledgeable , detailed, funny, organized, and a nice guy who enjoys his job and really knows what he's doing.
Excellent and diverse program on Costa Rica.
I would rate this trip 10 stars if I could! Each day was better than the last, with so many fabulous animals, birds, plants and beautiful locations to explore and learn about at each stop. Our guide and bus driver were both outstanding and made me feel very safe. The food and accommodations ranged from great to exceptional. My only regret? It ended too soon!
This was our first group tour and we were not confident that we would like the structure of the group tour. We found this tour to exceed our wildest hopes. Jorge, our group leader, made the program a huge success and the fellow travelers on the trip were wonderful. We gained much more from the tour than if we had gone on our own. We are now convinces that this is the way to travel.
Fabulous trip if you like monkeys, sloths, iguanas, morning bird walks, crocodiles, white water rafting, crossing hanging bridges in the rainforest, volcanos, beaches, hot springs...!
Costa Rica "Natural Wonders" tour packed in as much as possible and provided a great overview of the tropical in 12 days. I couldn't have asked for anything better!
This should be a must tour visit for any traveler wanting to learn about countries in Central America. Friendly absolute helpful local people. Great food, and great road scholar staff and community. Rodney Benson, Flushing, NY.
I learned so much about Costa Rica. I didn't know much about it before, but have a new respect for all they are doing for ecology. The biodiversity of the rain forest was amazing and seeing it up close was fascinating. Our guide was very competent and ran everything smoothly.
The program was perfect in every way. Logistics were handled seamlessly and I felt safe and relaxed in the care of our group leader and our bus driver. Costa Rica delivered fascinating birds and wildlife continuously throughout the trip. Our leader was an excellent spotter and inclusive; he excelled in helping everyone in the group find the elusive creature darting amongst the leaves. We saw spider, howler, and capuchin monkeys, sloths, coatimundi, agouti, crocodiles, iguanas, morpho butterflies, 8 different types of herons, hummingbirds, numerous colorful songbirds, curassow, crested guans, toucans, trogons, parrots, parakeets, macaws, and many others. Many of the meals were traditional Costa Rican, with grilled meat or fish, beans, rice, salad, and good vegetable choices. Fresh fruit and juices were available at every meal—the pineapple was exquisite and even the bananas were special. Sharing the beauty and awe with like-minded people enhanced the experience. I wish everyone could do this trip!
This trip was a wonderful immersion into how Costa Rica developed from the results of volcanic eruptions along with plate shifts due to tectonic activity and becoming a land bridge that allowed both humans and animals to migrate between North and South America. We also were educated about the exploration by navigators from Europe and the riches of coffee, bananas and other minerals for trade, the stripping of the rain forests for use by cattle ranches and expansion of plantation farming and then the realization of the important purpose of what the rain forests offered. It was that discovery that has allowed the rain forest to return and what ecotourism and the biodiversity of Costa Rica makes it a unique and worthwhile place to visit.
This program is right for anyone who wants an exciting, educational and enjoyable experience. It is sooo much more than what is described in the brochure.
Wonderful experience! On the go and learning new and exciting things every day, rain or shine! Good food and the accommodations made you feel one with nature. Our group size was 17 and it was perfect and we enjoyed each other's company. Our guide Javier was fantastic and our driver Hector was a hoot! They really made us feel part of the Costa Rican culture.
This program is interactive. Some hiking...some bus riding...very welcoming for solo travelers. It's hot and super rainy. Not near as many bugs as I thought there would be. For sure a winner!!!
We had such a great time on this adventure. The Road Scholar tour leader was exceptional and the locations chosen were fascinating and were made easily accessible to our group. Terrific value for the money!
I highly recommend this trip. I learned a lot and met great people. Pedro was the tour guide and did an awesome job
This is the most fabulous trip. Lots of activity, just enough downtime...beach, ahhh!! lovely! The guides were superb! Pedro B. is passionate about his country and what a wealth of knowledge, birds, wildlife, plant-life, he knew a lot about everything. The food just could not have been any better. Healthy foods rule in Costa Rica, lots of beautiful fruit, and seafood galore! The green turtles in September were 'out' on our night walk, at least 5 of them, huge...be careful on the beach, mud and holes to stumble into...bring your sticks, worth the tricky walk to see five foot long/four wide sea turtles laying 150 eggs. Just awe inspiring, and the monkeys, oh my...mama's crossing over the river making a bridge in the branches across the river for baby to cross. And crocs, yes crocs in the river. You will not be sorry you went on this trip. Hiked about 4 miles several days, great exercise, some exertion, but lots of help from the guides for those who need it. 2nd Road Scholar trip and will do more based on this one.
This was a fantastic tour! Top-notch all the way around. It really exceeded my expectations.
I had a fabulous time on this trip. Costa Rica is a beautiful country rich in wildlife. The people are warm and friendly.
This is a trip for the nature lovers and people who love to hike through the woods. We saw gorgeous flowers and beautiful animals and birds not seen at home. The trails were not hard to walk on and some of the safaris were by boat.
I consider this to have been the 'trip of a lifetime' and I am thankful that Road Scholar made this possible for me.
Dear Road Scholar, My wife and I each separately reviewed our trip soon after returning. However, looking at your listed reviews today (5 months after our trip), I am puzzled and surprised not to see our reviews, or any reviews from anyone from our Group's trip. How do you explain that? Marc, Program 11586 (2-26-2018)
What a wonderful trip. I was pleased to have been able to share it with my wife and all the new friends who joined us on this tour.
Think you know Costa Rica? Challenge that with "The Best of Costa Rica"! You will learn "ins and outs" of its history, development, and its future in ecotourism. The rest of the world can learn from Costa Rica's resolve to retain and share its valuable and unique flora and fauna. I certainly did!
Amazing experience at a reasonable price!
The entire experience was amazing! Our guide Roger was knowledgable and could sight things great and small. There were times he pointed something out and it still took us time to see it! If we had attempted to do this trip on our own, we would never have learned or seen the things we did.
This tour will take you to five exotic and beautiful areas of Costa Rica. The food is fresh and fabulous. There are daily opportunities to photograph unusual birds and animals.
The Road Scholar Costa Rica experience was so wonderful and rich in experiences and information. The guide, Roger, the driver, the program content, the lodging and food were all exceptional. If you like diversity, wildlife, flora, geology, culture and a rich experience with residents of this small and wonderful country there is not a better trip you could take.
Everything about this trip was 5 star from the accomadations to the food to the outings and the environmental. Without a doubt the guide was the best, he made the trip memorable by sharing what he knew regarding each area. From beginning to end the trip more than met my expectations. Photo opps were omptimal to say the least.
This trip exceeded my expectations. We had a very congenial group of 16, which is about the right size. Our tour leader, Roger Melendez was outstanding. He is a great naturalist and a very nice person to travel with. His encyclopedic knowledge of the flora and fauna was amazing and he has the sharp eyes and knowledge of animal behavior that make it possible for everyone to enjoy the experience. Our driver, Alvaro Montero was great. He took our bus down some roads that I would hesitate traveling in my car, and he and Roger diagnosed the a problem with the AC and fixed it. We stayed in first-rate lodges and resorts. The food was good, but not exceptional. (Lots of rice and beans every day, but that's the diet in Costa Rica, so it's part of the experience.) I enjoyed the wildlife viewing and absorbed just enough of the recent history of the country to prod me into doing more study of how they became the country we see today. I'm convinced that PURA VIDA is more than just a slogan. We traveled from Caribbean to Pacific, lowlands to 11000 ft. If there weren't so many places to go and so little time, I'd go back to see more of Costa Rica. Thanks for a wonderful experience.
This trip was superb! I encourage you to go if you want to experience the Costa Rican rain forest, see its animals, and learn about Costa Rica. Our guide, Cristian, was superb! It definitely is "Keep the Pace". We were on the go most days from 7 AM until 7 PM. There were some days where we had a few hours of free time in the afternoon. The accommodations are quite comfortable. In April it was hot and humid, but often cooled at night. Take comfortable clothes, walking shoes, bug spray, sun block, and binoculars. Definitely 5 Stars!
The program allows you to share your experience with others who have the same feelings about improving the earth.
This was my first Road Scholar trip and I loved every minute of it! It was extremely well organized...we did not have to worry about a thing. The speakers, the host, the driver every experience was well thought out, planned and executed with intelligence, love, kindness and grace. I could not have asked for a better experience.
WHOEVER PUT THE 16 TRAVELERS TOGETHER DID AN AWESOME JOB. THE MOST CONGENIAL GROUP I HAVE BEEN WITH.
What an outstanding trip! Excellent lectures by people who were passionate about the biodiversity, protecting and increasing their beautiful rain forests and wildlife. Even if you are not a birder, you will enjoy their beauty. This program has a good mix of wildlife, active outdoors with whitewater rafting and daily walks, tours of coffee, chocolate and hearts of palm growers, farming and a school visit. We visited 5 different environments during the two weeks. The food was healthy and tasty. Costa Rican food is not spicy. Our guide Roger Melendez was outstanding. His knowledge of bird and wildlife was excellent. Great spotting skills. He was patient and well-organized and i never felt hurried. Great trip with 16 congenial fellow travelers.
There should be an option on the post trip survey to save the draft and go back to review and edit.
This is an exceptional trip. Although a fair bit of driving is required, it allows you to visit 5 unique and distinct areas. Cristian our guide was an outstanding naturalist. This trip far exceeded any expectations I had. Loved it!!
This trip was our best ever! Excellent on all counts!!
I really enjoyed the diversity of this trip. It was amazing seeing monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, macaws, toucans, and many other creatures in their natural habitat. Our trip leader’s knowledge of these creatures and where to find them was most impressive. I also enjoyed visiting the chocolate, hearts of palm, and coffee plantations and listening to speakers talk about how they changed professions in order to help preserve the wildlife in Costa Rica.
Exceptional Program, Wonderful Fellow Travelers, Excellent Guide Pedro and Bus driver Marcos
This is a very interesting program, but it is fast paced and involves a lot of bus travel
If you are looking to be awed, this is your trip
This trip is a true “sampler” of the best of Costa Rica! Experienced so many new things, met great people, learned so much....and had great fun doing it! Nothing like waking at 5AM to howler monkeys! The biodiversity of this country is awe inspiring!
This was a great experience that I will always remember. A beautiful, lush country with an unimaginable diversity of landscape and wildlife. This is also a country that faves challenges. This program gave a thorough overview of these issues while providing a great experiential education. I would highly recommend this program to friends and family.
This program was terrific! The guide was excellent: very knowledgeable and fun. The lectures were interesting and informative, and the choices of places to see was perfect. I would highly recommend it.
The natural wonders of Costa Rica speak for themselves, this program allows you to find and experience many of them in a short period of time.
A wonderful way to see the rich wildlife and learn about the Costa Rican story of environmental stewardship. We learned so much and had a ball!
We really enjoyed this trip to Costa Rica. The diversity of locations and of experiences was great. Our guide, Javier, was excellent. We learned a lot about the country and had fun doing it.
The Best of CostaRica really lived up to it,s title. This is a fantastic program from sea to sea through lowland rainforest , transition forest and mountain rainforest , rich with exotic flora and fauna. Images that will linger in my brain forever.
This Costa Rica program was wonderful! The country's dedication to ecologically sustainable development was evident in every "Tico" we interacted with and should serve as a model for many other nations.
We just returned from "The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders." It was an amazing trip. We learned so much about how truly diverse Costa Rica is biologically, geographically, culturally, and politically. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and made every day and every activity exceptional.
This was our first Road Scholar trip and it was excellent--very well designed. Although we spent a lot of time on the bus, we conversed with other participants, had frequent stops, and were able to see lots of different areas of the country with varying climate, flora, and fauna. Our leader was excellent, and speakers provided new insights with their lectures and stories. Food and accommodations were all superb in my opinion.
A most interesting and enjoyable program. Strongly recommended, especially with William Suarez as group leader.
Got a 404 error with one of the links in the email.... https://evaluations.roadscholar.org/account/prog_eval_request..asp?Id=1-F609X5 Second link was fine
This trip expanded my knowledge of the people, customs and development of Costa Rica. I learned so much and respect this lovely country and its goals to preserve its precious natural resources and to support its citizens.
Enjoyed the tour, especially the white water rafting. Heart of palm, and coffee plantations were very interesting, also. My only complaint was the last few days we traveled many hours over winding, steep, dangerous roads to get to the highlands. We only stayed there one night after all that traveling, and only went on two short hikes. However, our guide was phenomenal. He knew so much about the country, the wildlife and vegetation. Happy that we went on the tour.
Pedro Bosques as group leader was excellent. Small group size at 17, everyone very collegial. Tour is fairly quick paced. Lectures are excellent. Only negative was changing lodging every other day. Would be nice to have a 3 day stay in middle of the tour with some downtime to recharge your batteries.
most of the descriptions are accurate, but it might be nice to note that they vary depending on what time of year the tour takes place. We didn't tour a pineapple plantation - but did a Heart of Palms tour instead. You cover that pretty good in that some changes may be made. One typo I found on this page: https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/11586/the-best-of-costa-rica-exploring-natural-wonders/itinerary/1 Day 3: Morning: We will to a local dock and ... missing a verb there.
This trip led us to five areas of Costa Rica where we looked at the natural world. Many of the lectures were above average. Except for one hotel, the accommodations ranged from very good to exceptional. Our tour guide was exceptional. I would attend this tour again.
Wonderful trip. Great overview of Costa Rica. Enjoyed the trips in to the rain forest and the interaction with guide and cultural activities.
The trip was wonderful and covered an incredible amount of the country. The lecturers were excellent. A suggestion would be to have a lecture before the trip of the day to get better insight into the area. Also, even though the group was small, we couldn't always see the birds the lecturer was pointing out if we were in the back of the line. They should use better signals such as bird at 12oclock etc. rather than saying"over here." The first hotel we stayed at didn't have grab bars in the bathroom and very slippery mats. I had an accident the first night and hit my head badly getting out of the shower. All bathrooms should have had these bars. The food was amazing except for the last night at the Wyndham. It was very disappointing and not festive for the last night. The bus driver was courteous,friendly and extremely careful on the hairpin and bumpy roads. Our guide Pedro was so wonderful nothing could have been better for us. The places we stayed at, especially the lodges were excellent. I realizes because of the many places we visited there wasn't much time to "relax" in the beautiful surroundings. Another night would be better than two nights because the first night was only to sleep getting into the places late, so either extend the program or eliminate some of the traveling which was very far between places.
The rainforest is a great teacher; birders will be delighted; history buffs will come away better informed about a world outside of the United states
I would very much encourage others who are interested in Costa Rica to take this trip. It is so rewarding and gives one a good understanding and respect for Costa Rica and its people. I heartily recommend the program.
This trip is so diverse, seeing a lot of Costa Rica. You will see so many birds and other wildlife. This was one of my favorite trips ever.
This is the program for you if you value activity, active learning and experiencing a country which is demonstrating how ecology and living in harmony with nature can increase human enjoyment as well as create economic value.
This was a fun and very educational program. I would rate it as one of my favorites! I was so impressed with our tour guide, William, a native Costa Rican, and how very well the program was organized. We moved thru all the ecological zones of the country in an organized fashion and always had a lecture first before we physically explored the area. I highly recommend this program!
One of the most interesting trips I have ever taken...You will learn so much about nature and the amazing biodiversity of plant and animal life in this country. It is a small country but packed with coastal areas, mountains, volcanoes, and a central valley. And you will see some of all of these areas on this tour.
Unless you are an avid birder or like to see animals in the wild and at a distance, think twice about this trip. Activities include an optional bird walk and a rainforest walk every day. The different types of rainforests are not different to the untrained eye. Bad weather (ie rain) can obscure the mountains and views. The other activities and steam table food did not make up for my lack of intense interest in birds and the rain meant I was almost always wet. Look for another trip if you want warmth and sun.
Loved the Costa Rica Road Scholar trip and will be traveling with them again.
The Best of Costa Rica Natural Wonders is a fantastic tour. A perfect combination of learning and activities. Our guide was the best - so knowledgeable about his country!
Really enjoyed Costa Rica with our guide Cristian. Our primary interest was birding and it did not disappoint. The people in our group, our instructors, hotel staff were all lovely; genuinely friendly and welcoming. Watching kindergarteners 'graduate' was precious.
"Pura vida"--catch it!
This program is very "nature" oriented. If you love birding and seeing mammals, reptiles and birds in their natural habitat, then this trip is for you. The hotels in the nature reserves added a special event - being awakened by Howler Monkeys and having White Faced Monkeys watch you eat breakfast. The rain becomes part of the experience and did not impact the trip at all.
The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders was the very best Road Scholar trip I have experienced. Lead by a skilled, highly effective guide experienced nature at its best, most interesting, see animals unique to that region, including sighting the very rare sighting of a jaguar. I was active every day. Well fed. Tried each night and eager for more each morning. Great adventure! Thank you Road Scholar and Holbrook Travel.
Excellent leadership and an exciting adventure with wonderful people! Exceeded all expectations! The speakers contributed to the program theme and the accommodations were outstanding! Thank you Edwin Ramirez for your knowledge, patience and leading us to the best discoveries! Pura Vida!
Costa Rica natural wonders is an exceptional program showing the broad biodiversity across the country. Extremely informative and engaging for all. Our guide was exceptional in every way making for the most enjoyable experience ever.
We wanted to experience the flora and fauna of Costa Rica's rain forest. We got to see lot's of bird varieties and animals. We stayed several nights in "eco hotels" that had no AC, but the nights were cool and we could hear the birds and monkeys through the open windows.
This program is excellent. You are given information about the history and culture along with flora and fauna.
I was able to cover much of the country of Costa Rica in 12 days! Saw amazing wildlife and nature every single day, let by an amazing guide!
This program gives a very thorough understanding of different of many diverse areas of Costa Rica and it's biology and history.
This was an excellent trip to Costa Rica. It is great for seeing nature, learning about Costa Rica, seeing all the different areas. The lodges are all wonderful places to stay at. Our tour guide, Javier, was an excellent leader, very knowledgeable, kind and caring.
We could not have been more pleased with our Road Scholar trip to Costa Rica! The gorgeous landscape, wildlife, and lovely Costa Rican people were a delight at every turn. Our guide, Edwin Ramirez, and guide-in-training Wendy made our experience remarkable. Their expertise, warmth, and professionalism are to be commended! Even our bus driver, Alvaro, was superb! We highly recommend this program!
I would recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in Costa Rica. It is a beautiful county that strives to have a better "carbon footprint" in the next few years.
A wonderful experience! Great leadership and wonderful accommodations.
The Costa Rica Natural Wonders Program was a very enjoyable learning experience and a fun vacation. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about the ecology and wildlife of this beautiful Central American country, I made new friends. I am blown away by the knowledge, sense of humor and warmth of our guide. Our van driver was also very knowledgable and extremely courteous and helpful. If you want to see alot and learn alot in a beautiful, warm, welcoming place I highly recommend this trip!
This program offers a wide variety of experiences and exposure to many parts of the country. Although there are many miles covered by bus, rest stops are well planned and additional commentary by the guide adds interest. If you are interested in nature (plants, animals and birds) this is the trip to take. Walking trips were nicely paced with much stopping to look (and learn). I rate this as one of my all time favorite trips.
The trip was outstanding. We saw so many more turtles, plants, animals and birds than I would have expected. Edwin was an excellent and knowledgeable guide, and Hector, our bus driver, was very helpful. It rained but it didn't bother us. Great Trip
We had a FABULOUS 12 day trip to Costa Rica with Road Scholar. We saw so much Magnificent Rainforest, lots of monkeys PLUS much more. Our first major stop Tortuguera was my favorite. – This is one of the few places in the world where the green sea turtles go to lay their eggs. We were there at the right time of year, and actually saw a female turtle lay her eggs (80-100) and cover them with sand from the beach. Afterwards they return to the sea. The eggs are left to hatch into turtles, and return to the sea (if lucky). We adopted a turtle - her name is Bobbi. In Tortugueroa- we didn't need an alarm clock - the Howler monkeys let you know the sun has risen. Other highlights of the trip included the cloud forest, Arenal Volcano, a crocodile and bird excursion, river rafting, and more. Our fellow travels were all very friendly and our group leader did an excellent job of meeting the diverse needs of our group. Food, accommodations, travel vehicles, places seen and educational component were all great. We highly recommend visiting Costa Rica. Over 25% of the country has been set aside to retain its natural state. For more details call Road Scholar, and then book yourself a trip of a lifetime. Costa Rica with Road Scholar was such an enlightening and invigorating; we can’t wait to book another trip with Road Scholar.
Perfect for a first time visit to Costa Rica. You see a lot of the country in a short time. If there is a place you really like, you can return when you make your second visit.