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Costa Rica

Costa Rica at a Slower Pace: Natural Wonders by Water & Land

Program No. 17988RJ
Enjoy the natural history, biodiversity and friendly attitude of Costa Rica in a non-strenuous way that allows you to learn the true meaning of “pura vida.”

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 3 - Apr 13, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Apr 10 - Apr 20, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Apr 18 - Apr 28, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Apr 24 - May 4, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Filling Fast!
May 10 - May 20, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Filling Fast!
May 22 - Jun 1, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Jul 20 - Jul 30, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Aug 1 - Aug 11, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Aug 3 - Aug 13, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Aug 12 - Aug 22, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Sep 5 - Sep 15, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Sep 18 - Sep 28, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Oct 6 - Oct 16, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Oct 15 - Oct 25, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Oct 22 - Nov 1, 2024
Starting at
2,849
Nov 4 - Nov 14, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Nov 9 - Nov 19, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Dec 1 - Dec 11, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Dec 3 - Dec 13, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Dec 6 - Dec 16, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Dec 8 - Dec 18, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Dec 10 - Dec 20, 2024
Starting at
3,049
Jan 3 - Jan 13, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Jan 8 - Jan 18, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Jan 13 - Jan 23, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Jan 18 - Jan 28, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Jan 23 - Feb 2, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Jan 30 - Feb 9, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Feb 4 - Feb 14, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Feb 6 - Feb 16, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Feb 12 - Feb 22, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Feb 15 - Feb 25, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Feb 19 - Mar 1, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Feb 27 - Mar 9, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Mar 4 - Mar 14, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Mar 10 - Mar 20, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Mar 16 - Mar 26, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Mar 20 - Mar 30, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Mar 26 - Apr 5, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Mar 31 - Apr 10, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Apr 21 - May 1, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Apr 27 - May 7, 2025
Starting at
3,249
May 4 - May 14, 2025
Starting at
3,049
May 18 - May 28, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Jul 16 - Jul 26, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Aug 10 - Aug 20, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Sep 9 - Sep 19, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Sep 23 - Oct 3, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Oct 4 - Oct 14, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Oct 17 - Oct 27, 2025
Starting at
3,049
Nov 4 - Nov 14, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Nov 7 - Nov 17, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Dec 1 - Dec 11, 2025
Starting at
3,249
Dec 11 - Dec 21, 2025
Starting at
3,249
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 3 - Apr 13, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Apr 10 - Apr 20, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Apr 18 - Apr 28, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Apr 24 - May 4, 2024
Starting at
3,259
May 10 - May 20, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
May 22 - Jun 1, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Jul 20 - Jul 30, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Aug 1 - Aug 11, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Aug 3 - Aug 13, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Aug 12 - Aug 22, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Sep 5 - Sep 15, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Sep 18 - Sep 28, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Oct 6 - Oct 16, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Oct 15 - Oct 25, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Oct 22 - Nov 1, 2024
Starting at
3,259
Filling Fast!
Nov 4 - Nov 14, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Filling Fast!
Nov 9 - Nov 19, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Dec 1 - Dec 11, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Filling Fast!
Dec 3 - Dec 13, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Filling Fast!
Dec 6 - Dec 16, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Filling Fast!
Dec 8 - Dec 18, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Filling Fast!
Dec 10 - Dec 20, 2024
Starting at
3,599
Filling Fast!
Jan 3 - Jan 13, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Jan 8 - Jan 18, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Jan 13 - Jan 23, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Jan 18 - Jan 28, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Jan 23 - Feb 2, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Jan 30 - Feb 9, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Feb 4 - Feb 14, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Feb 6 - Feb 16, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Feb 12 - Feb 22, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Feb 15 - Feb 25, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Feb 19 - Mar 1, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Feb 27 - Mar 9, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Mar 4 - Mar 14, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Mar 10 - Mar 20, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Mar 16 - Mar 26, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Mar 20 - Mar 30, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Mar 26 - Apr 5, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Mar 31 - Apr 10, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Apr 21 - May 1, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Apr 27 - May 7, 2025
Starting at
3,759
May 4 - May 14, 2025
Starting at
3,479
May 18 - May 28, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Jul 16 - Jul 26, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Aug 10 - Aug 20, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Sep 9 - Sep 19, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Sep 23 - Oct 3, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Oct 4 - Oct 14, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Oct 17 - Oct 27, 2025
Starting at
3,479
Nov 4 - Nov 14, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Nov 7 - Nov 17, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Filling Fast!
Dec 1 - Dec 11, 2025
Starting at
3,759
Dec 11 - Dec 21, 2025
Starting at
3,759

At a Glance

Enjoy the natural history, biodiversity and friendly attitude of Costa Rica at a leisurely pace that allows you to learn the true meaning of “pura vida.” Discover the rainforest, Arenal Volcano and the Pacific coastline. Interact with Costa Ricans from campesinos (farmers) to small business owners and American expatriates. Experience Costa Rica by water on boat excursions exploring the Sarapiqui and Tarcoles rivers and an ocean canoe ride. This program has been specially designed to minimize walking and travel time and maximize opportunities to connect with your surroundings.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Walking up to a few blocks unassisted and climbing stairs. Activities take place near the hotels. Program not recommended for participants with walkers/rollators or wheelchairs due to limited storage space on the bus and lack of handicap accessible locations.
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…

  • Observe the Arenal Volcano from two prime vantage points and learn how scientists monitor its activity.
  • Encounter the mighty crocodile and other creatures of the mangroves on a Tarcoles River boat excursion.
  • Enjoy several opportunities for informal conversations with Costa Rican people.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Alex Ramirez
Raised since age 5 in Chilamate, Costa Rica, Alex Ramirez developed a passion for nature working at a local rainforest lodge and nature reserve, showing a special interest in the gardens, butterflies, birds and frogs. Fluent in English, Alex has conducted important research at INBIO, Costa Rica's Institute for Biodiversity and Conservation Research.

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

Profile Image of Alex Ramirez
Alex Ramirez View biography
Raised since age 5 in Chilamate, Costa Rica, Alex Ramirez developed a passion for nature working at a local rainforest lodge and nature reserve, showing a special interest in the gardens, butterflies, birds and frogs. Fluent in English, Alex has conducted important research at INBIO, Costa Rica's Institute for Biodiversity and Conservation Research.
Profile Image of Roger Melendez
Roger Melendez View biography
In the late 1980s, Costa Rican native Roger Melendez received both practical and theoretical training on the flora and fauna of his country at the La Selva field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies. He is a talented and experienced birder with an all-encompassing knowledge of tropical wildlife. Road Scholar participants have found Roger to be a charismatic leader who gives everyone personalized attention. He is a father of three and loves spending time outdoors with his family.
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 David Mora
David Mora View biography
David Mora was immersed in the culture of birding from an early age. David’s nickname is "Bird Whistler," earned by his unique ability to mimic bird calls with uncanny accuracy. As a child, he participated in Cornell University’s Bird Detectives program at the Sarapiquís Conservation Learning Center; his formal education was at the National Learning Institution, where he earned his naturalist certification. David’s informal education continues through the reciprocal exchange shared with program participants, and, of course, through birding.
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.
Volcanoes, Crucibles of Change
by Richard Fisher
A complete primer for the volcano lover, this heavily illustrated book covers types of volcanoes and eruptions, worldwide distribution and the physics of their formation.
Costa Rica Butterflies & Moths
by James Kavanagh
A handy, laminated fold-up card with color illustrations of Costa Rica’s more visible species of butterflies and moths. Includes the distinguishing markings or behaviors of each species.
The Ticos
by Richard Biesanz
This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people accessibly explores their culture, history and society.
National Geographic Costa Rica
by Christopher P. Baker
This stylish, informative and up-to-date travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.
Costa Rican Spanish
by Lonely Planet
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.
The Birds of Costa Rica
by Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)
Built for the field, this great guide includes multiple illustrations for 820 species of birds.
A Brief History of Central America
by Hector Perez-Brignoll
A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.
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.
Culture Smart! Costa Rica
by Jane Koutnik
A guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.
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.
Monkeys Are Made Of Chocolate: Exotic And Unseen Costa Rica
by Jack Ewing
When Jack Ewing moved his family to Costa Rica in 1970 and purchased a hacienda, he saw himself becoming a cattle rancher. He could never have anticipated that one day he would devote himself to reforesting the very land he had worked so hard to clear for farming. Hacienda Barú is now a popular nature wildlife refuge and a success story for proponents of biological corridors. Ewing's storytelling talents lend themselves well to this collection of essays on nature, biodiversity and cultural traditions in rural Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.
Costa Rica, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Barbara Ras
A wonderful introduction to the character of the people, culture and land, this anthology brings together 26 stories by Costa Rican writers.
Tropical Nature
by Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its 17 marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforest
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 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.
Neotropical Rainforest Mammals, A Field Guide
by L.H. Emmons
Compact enough to slip into your daypack, this field guide to the mammals of Central and South American features 29 color plates of more than 200 species.
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
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.
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.
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.





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