19243
Costa Rica
Rim to Shore: Costa Rica Multi-Sport Adventure
Come discover the meaning of “Pura Vida” and see why there’s no better place to raft, hike, kayak and learn authentic Latin dance than the protected waters and lands of Costa Rica.
Program No. 19243RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,198
Special Offer
Flights start at
455
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11 days
10 nights
28 meals
10 B 9 L 9 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Arrive San José, Orientation
San José
D
Hotel Rincon del Valle

Activity note: Participants must book flights that arrive into San José, Costa Rica no later than 4:30 p.m. on this day if they plan on attending the program orientation. Some Road Scholar gateways require the use of overnight flights in order to get participants to San José by the suggested time. Please contact your Road Scholar program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to make arrangements to arrive in Costa Rica a day or more before your program.

Afternoon: Upon arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room assignment. Then take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: 6:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. This program includes a number of bus transfers. The air-conditioned Road Scholar bus does not have a bathroom on board. However, the program includes stops for program activities, meals, and/or basic pit stops that help to break up longer travel times. Stops are built into the schedule for every 1.5 - 2 hours of bus travel. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Welcome Dinner at the hotel with a glass of wine or beer, juice, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Hiking in Poás Volcano National Park, Coffee Plantation
San José
B,L
Hotel Rincon del Valle

Activity note: Elevation at volcano 8,900 feet; walking approximately 1.5 miles including walk to craters, lake, forest; paved trails, steps; wear sunblock, bring jacket/raingear. Elevation at coffee plantation 4,500 feet; walking approximately 3/4 mile.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet that also includes juice, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our bus and transfer to Poás Volcano National Park, the oldest designated National Park in Costa Rica. With our Group Leader, we’ll walk on trails to view the active craters, a crater lake, and four habitats including a tropical forest. The Poás Volcano is a powerful symbol of the geothermal forces that formed Costa Rica. Scientists have determined that it has had a long history of eruptions, possibly 11 million years worth. It has erupted 39 times since 1828. The last large eruption was in 1954 and since then Poás has remained relatively quiet. The crater measures almost a mile (1.6 kilometers) across and 1,050 feet (320 meters) deep, earning it a spot on the list of the world’s largest active craters. Occasionally, smoke and steam rise from the crater in geysers that can reach up to 820 feet (250 meters) high. The park also exemplifies Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity with four separate habitiats: scarce vegetation, a stunted forest, a cloud forest. and an area of Arrayan trees. Among the 79 species of birds that have been recorded in the park are robin, hummingbird, and quetzal. The Poás green-yellow squirrel is endemic to the park and shares the habitat with coyotes, long-tailed weasels, skunks, and small feline species.

Lunch: At a typical rural restaurant.

Afternoon: Arriving at a coffee plantation on the slopes of the Central Valley, we’ll have a field trip amid the clean, crisp, air. We’ll explore the plantation, walk between the rows of the coffee bushes, and have a hands-on demonstration (depending on season) of how coffee beans are picked. We’ll also learn about the history of the estate, varieties of coffee plants, coffee production from seedbed to harvesting, processing, and roasting, and sample freshly ground coffee. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax. Before dinner, we will gather for a presentation by a local expert on Costa Rica's natural history.

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: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
To Tortuguero, River Boat, Kayaking, Sea Turtle Conservancy
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: The bus drive from San José to the boat dock is about 71 miles, approximately 3.5 hours, partly on unpaved road. The bus drive includes a stop en route for breakfast at a local restaurant. River boat ride to Tortuguero is about 11 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Kayaking about 1 mile, approximately 20 minutes each way, total approximately 40 minutes round trip. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate to the field trips including hiking shoes with closed toes and heels.

Breakfast: En route, we’ll stop for a buffet breakfast, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel, board our bus, and travel in a northeasterly direction towards the Caribbean lowlands. There, we will board a covered motorboat at the dock and begin our river transfer to Tortuguero. This river journey offers a great opportunity to view riverine wildlife and local communities. We’ll transfer from the boat and check in to our lodge with some time to freshen up and relax before lunch.

Lunch: At the lodge, we’ll have a buffet lunch with juice and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: With assistance from the Group Leader and hotel staff, we’ll have kayaking practice as we paddle to the sleepy little coastal village of Tortuguero, which means “lots of turtles.” In 1975 the government of Costa Rica declared Tortuguero a national park in order to protect nesting sea turtles that find this safe haven located location between the Caribbean Sea to the East and the Laguna del Tortuguero to the West. The majority that nest at Tortuguero are green turtles but populations of leatherback and hawksbill turtles are also found from time to time in the rookery. The original residents of Tortuguero were fishermen, earning a living from what they harvested from the surrounding land, sea, rivers, and natural canals. The population of the village today is a mix of predominantly Hispanic, Miskito Indian (Nicaraguan). and Afro-Caribbean cultures. In the 1940s and ’50s, logging companies made more canals for large barges to carry their load of precious logs. Natural resources including the sea turtles were viewed as commodities and readily exploited. Thanks to the efforts of American biologist Archie Carr who was conducting studies in the area, Tortuguero became recognized internationally as a place of noteworthy biological importance. We’ll paddle across the canal to the village and then visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy, established in 1959, to learn about sea turtle conservation efforts in this region. We’ll view an informative video an explore the small eco-museum. After paddling back to the lodge, we’ll have a presentation by a member of the community who grew up in Tortuguero on its history.

Dinner: At the lodge, the dinner buffet includes juice and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Kayaking Tortuguero Waterways, Hiking Forest Trails
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Kayaking about 2 – 3 miles, approximately 2.5 – 3 hours (determined by local conditions); slow paddling. Afternoon hike over flat terrain. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate to the field trips including hiking shoes with closed toes and heels.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We’ll set out from the lodge in kayaks and paddle quietly along the waterways of Tortuguero, optimizing our opportunities to view wildlife in this natural habitat with minimum disturbance to the environment. As we glide along the edge of Tortuguero National Park, keep your eyes open for birds, monkeys, lizards, and more. This area is also home to an abundance of underwater wildlife including fresh water sharks, caimans, and hundreds of amphibians and reptiles. We’ll then paddle back to the lodge.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: With our Group Leader, we’ll head out for a hike on local nature trails. In addition to enjoying some good outdoor exercise, this will be an opportunity to look for birds, monkeys, and other wildlife that inhabit this region. We’ll return to the lodge with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Transfer to Sarapiqui, Hanging Bridges, Cacao, Latin Dancing
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: The boat ride from Tortuguero to the boat dock is about 1.5 hours. The bus drive from the dock to Sarapiqui is about 63 miles, approximately 3.5 hours including a stop for lunch; partly unpaved road. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate to the field trips including hiking shoes with closed toes and heels.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer by motorized boat and bus from Tortuguero to Sarapiquí in the Chilamate Valley, an area with one of the highest degrees of biodiversity in Costa Rica. A number of forests serve as migratory corridors for the more than 400 different species of birds that have been recorded in the area. Sarapiqui’s economy is based on eco-tourism, scientific research, small-scale ranching, and large pineapple and banana plantations.

Lunch: En route.

Afternoon: Upon arrival at Sarapiquí, we’ll check in to the lodge with some time to freshen up and relax. We’ll then ride out for a field trip to a local cacao plantation at Tirimbina Rainforest Center for an up-close look at local agricultural practices and the making of artisanal chocolate. The center currently protects 853.5 acres of mid-elevation forest. One-third of the forest is employed in ecotourism and environmental education, while the rest is left naturally intact. We’ll also explore the center's nature reserve through walks along hanging bridges and forest trails. Tirimbina is located in the La Virgen community within the northeastern lowlands of Costa Rica. It is an internationally recognized, non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest; to increase environmental awareness through environmental education to the local community, students, and eco-tourists; and to accommodate scientific research. We’ll return to the lodge at the conclusion of our field trip.

Dinner: At the lodge, the dinner buffet includes juice and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Latin dancing is recognized as an exemplary form of cardio exercise. Laugh, dance and socialize while learning the basics during a Latin dance class.

DAY
6
Rainforest Hiking, El Ganador, White Water Rafting
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: Hiking up to 2 miles, approximately 3 hours; uneven, unpaved trails. Rafting Class I and II whitewater rapids. (Class I: Moving water with a few riffles and small waves; few or no obstructions. Class II: Easy rapids with smaller waves, clear channels that are obvious without scouting; some maneuvering required. This classification system is only a guide; degrees of difficulty vary based on local conditions including water levels. Sturdy water shoes required; no flip-flops.

Breakfast: At the lodge, the breakfast buffet includes juice, tea, coffee, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: We’ll hike into the heart of the rainforest and pay homage to El Ganador — Spanish for “winner” — a giant almond tree that towers above the canopy. When the Spanish arrived in the late 1440s, it was already mature. El Ganador is enormous, standing 117 feet (54 meters) high and 46 feet (14 meters) in circumference. A keystone species, the Alemndro tree (Dipteryx panamensis) is a critical part of the endangered Great Green Macaw’s habitat. The life span for this award-winning tree is estimated to be another one or two centuries. What life secrets would you ask a 600-year-old tree that is still standing strong?

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Local experts will lead a safety briefing in preparation for our whitewater rafting field trip. The Sarapiquí River winds through a region of Costa Rica called the “Eternal Spring” due to its ever present thick, verdant flora and abundant corresponding fauna. The source is in the mountains and flows down through the rainforest before joining the main body of the river. Moderate rapids, together with calm stretches of river, make this an ideal waterway for whitewater novices. Returning to the lodge, we’ll have a presentation by a tropical biologist on the Sarapiquí biological corridor.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Transfer to Punta Leona
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Activity note: The drive to Punta Leona is about 114 miles, approximately 3.5 – 4 hours.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We’ll wake up our muscles and delight our senses on a walk around the grounds at Selva Verde as our Group Leader points out exotic plants and wildlife. We’ll then check out and begin our transfer — from the Caribbean lowlands to the Pacific Coast — on to Punta Leona. We’ll have a stop along the way to stretch our legs.

Lunch: En route.

Afternoon: Continuing our transfer, we’ll arrive at Punta Leona, a resort incorporating coastal jungle and two Pacific coast beaches. After checking in, we’ll have an orientation to the resort, with the remainder of the afternoon free. You might like to stroll on the beach or take a dip in one of the swimming pools.

Dinner: We’ll regroup before dinner for a presentation by a local expert. The date and time of this lecture are subject to change without notification based on the lecturer's schedule. We thank you for your understanding. At the hotel, the extensive buffet includes beer or wine, juice, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Sea Kayak & Outrigger Canoe Paddling, Tarcoles River Boating
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Activity note: The drive is approximately 40 minutes each way. Short walk to beach to board canoes; paddling.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: For our next field trip, we’ll ride to the small coastal village of Agujas for a sea kayak and outrigger canoe paddling field trip. Kayaks and canoes have been helping people of the word traverse waterways for centuries. They have been tools of transportation, recreation, and survival! Though canoes and kayaks are now built of fiberglass instead of wood, the design has undergone few modifications through the years. As we dip our paddles into the water, we are creating a link from our modern world to the ancient one. We’ll return to the hotel after our field trip.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll take a boating field trip on the Tarcoles River with our Group Leader, assisted by the boat captain and local expert. The Tarcoles River basin empties the entire western side of the Central Valley in the Pacific coastal region. It includes an area of mangrove swamps and an estuary that create a rich habitat for wildlife. We’ll be on the lookout for residents including crocodiles (Crocodilus acutus), often seen sunning themselves on the muddy river banks.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Canopy Zipline, Free Time
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Activity note: The drive to Herradura is approximately 45 minutes each way. Zipline introduction and safety talk conducted by local experts; safety gear provided; closed shoes required.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll take a field trip to the Vista Los Sueños Canopy amid 80 acres of lushly forested lands in Herradura, next to Jaco Beach on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Bilingual experts will explain safety procedures and instructions. We’ll then whiz along a zipline through the forest canopy with remarkable views of the surrounding area as well as birds and other wildlife that may be present.

Lunch: At the hotel, the lunch buffet includes juice, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free Time. The resort’s 750 acres include a wildlife reserve hosting hundreds of indigenous flora and fauna species, and two beaches, one white sand and the other with gray. They are the only beaches in Costa Rica with 3 Blue Flags & Triple A Rating for their water quality, cleanliness, and level of safety for swimmers.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer after lunch tomorrow.

DAY
10
Carara National Park, Transfer to San José, Farewell Dinner
San José
B,L,D
Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center

Activity note: The drive to Carara is about 1/2 hour each way; hiking approximately 2 miles; relatively level paved and unpaved trails; high temperatures and humidity. The drive to San José is about 66 miles, approximately 2 – 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll ride out to Carara National Park that protects primary and secondary transitional rainforest habitats as well as aquatic habitats. This is also the last natural nesting site for the endangered Scarlet Macaw. As it is connected with some of the forested mountains and hillsides on the Western Slope of Talamanca Range, the Carara area is an important biological corridor for many of the species that seasonally move from the lowlands to the highlands and vice-versa. We’ll learn about the transitional forest then begin our walking field trip with stops at key spots for natural history interpretation of the ecology and other forest dynamics. We’ll also stop if/when there are opportunities for wildlife sightings. We’ll return to the hotel to freshen up before lunch.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: We’ll check out of the hotel and begin our transfer to San José. Upon arrival, we’ll check into our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated farewell dinner with a glass of wine or beer, juice, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Say farewells, finish packing for departure in the morning, and get a good night's rest for the day ahead.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. 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 are on your own on this day. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation to First Location.”

Breakfast: At the hotel depending on flight departure time. 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!