20774
Costa Rica
Costa Rica: Three Jewels in Paradise
Learn the story of Costa Rica’s natural wonders and extraordinary biodiversity as you explore cloud forest reserves, the Savegre River and world-class Manuel Antonio National Park.
Rating (4.91)
Program No. 20774RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,998
Flights start at
455
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
9 days
8 nights
20 meals
8 B 6 L 6 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Arrive in San José, Check-in, 5PM Orientation
San Jose
D
Hotel Balmoral

Activity note: Participants must book flights that arrive into San José, Costa Rica no later than 3:30 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: 5 p.m. program orientation at the hotel. 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. 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 include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Unless otherwise specified, transportation during your program will be provided by air conditioned motorcoach. 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. Before we head to dinner, we'll enjoy a presentation given by a local expert. During this overview of Costa Rica, we'll be introduced to the country's history, geography and its people.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Valley of the Saints Coffee, Chacon Family
Savegre
B,L,D
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa

Activity note: The drive to Savegre takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Travel is broken up with stops for lunch and a program activity.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Check-out of the hotel and board the Road Scholar bus to begin our scenic journey to the Valley of the Saints. While driving near the farm owned by President Pepe Figueres' family, we will stop for coffee and cookies. Lecture: Pepe Figueres' Political Legacy in Costa Rica. Don José “Pepe” Figueres Ferrer holds hero status in Costa Rican history; a position earned through a lifetime of political activism. Don Pepe, as he was known locally, was a key figure in the 1948 revolutionary movement that led to the ousting of President Teodoro Picado and the creation of a new constitution. During a brief period, Don Pepe served as Costa Rica’s provisional president before handing over the reins to the popularly elected Don Otilio Ulate in November of 1949. In later years, Don Pepe had the opportunity to once again serve as head of state after winning the 1953 and 1970 presidential elections. Among other things, President Figueres is credited with abolishing the national army, building highways and schools, including the National University and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, guaranteeing public education, promoting tourism, and strengthening the country’s middle class. Field trip to a gourmet coffee cooperative to learn about coffee farming and processing and also sample some world-class brews. The Valley of the Saints, located in the Tarrazu region, is well known among locals for its production of superior coffees. Similar to wine, the quality and flavor of coffee is affected by the climate and soil in which its fruit is grown. The Valley's landscape, acidic soil composition, and well defined dry and rainy seasons all lend themselves to raising coffee. Harvesting is done during the region’s dry season (Nov. – Mar.). Limited rainfall during those five months gives fruit an opportunity to ripen evenly and also facilitates the sun drying process.

Lunch: At the home of one of the owners of the coffee cooperative.

Afternoon: Arrive at the lodge and check-in. Free time for us to settle into our rooms and to explore the lodge's grounds. Before dinner, we'll enjoy a home-hosted presentation by a member of the Chacon family, for rare insights into this pioneering family's long relationship with the Savegre Valley.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Overview of next day's activities.

DAY
3
In Search of the Quetzal, Optional Activities
Savegre
B,L,D
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa

Activity note: Shoes with a closed heel and toe are are required for today's forest walk. Prepare luggage for check out tomorrow morning.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will start our day searching for the bird of ancient royalty, the colorful and elusive Resplendent Quetzal. We'll accompany our Group Leader on a nature walk on forest trails leading to the 400 year-old oak forest situated on the upper slopes of the valley.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy many optional activities (additional cost) in and around your lodge such as fishing, horseback riding, bird watching, walking/hiking, and more. If instead you prefer to enjoy a tranquil afternoon, head to the in-house spa which features a sauna, steam room and two hot tubs. Surrounded by the cloud forest and crystal waters of the Savegre River, the Del Rio Spa offers massage, facial treatments, and body wraps. Road Scholar participants exclusively receive 25% off of rates for services at the spa.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Overview of next day's activities.

DAY
4
Forest Nature Walk, Cultural Interaction, The Rafiki Story
Lower Savegre Valley
B,L,D
Rafiki Safari Lodge

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Check out. After boarding the bus, we'll begin our journey to the Pacific coast and the transitional Pacific jungle.

Lunch: Sample some Costa Rican cuisine during a traditional meal hosted at the home of a local resident of the small town of Santo Domingo.

Afternoon: Arrive at the tented camp and settle-in. A camp guide and our Group Leader will lead us on a nature walk along the lodge's forest trails--educating us on resident plants and wildlife we spot along the way. Site lecture: Reintroduction of the Tapir- A Dream or Reality? Before dinner, we'll enjoy a sunset discussion with the owner/manager of the camp to learn about the fascinating story of Rafiki.

Dinner: At the camp.

Evening: Overview of next day's activities.

DAY
5
Rafting Savegre River, Jungle Safari, Optional Activities
Lower Savegre Valley
B,L,D
Rafiki Safari Lodge

Activity note: Water shoes or athletic strap sandals (e.g., Teva, Keens, etc.) are advised for the river rafting activity. Prepare luggage for check out tomorrow morning.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We'll board four-wheel drive vehicles and embark in a jungle safari with a site lecture. During our drive, we'll have the opportunity to observe the transitions from pasture land to secondary and primary forests. Next, we'll disembark at a river drop off point in preparation for a river rafting adventure on the Savegre River. After a preparatory session with local experts we'll board the rafts and embark on an invigorating rafting activity on the Savegre River. Delight in the swells and dips of the rushing river; a natural roller coaster ride that will make our inner child cheer and laugh out loud (even as we get a good upper-body workout!). Return to the camp.

Lunch: At the camp.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy optional activities at the camp such as: hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, bird watching, and walking on local trails.

Dinner: At the camp.

Evening: Overview of next day's activities.

DAY
6
Scenic Transfer to Manuel Antonio, El Avion, Free Time
Manuel Antonio National Park
B,L
Hotel San Bada

Activity note: The transfer to Manuel Antonio takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: Check out. We'll board the bus and begin our journey from the lower Savegre Valley to Manuel Antonio. Before arriving at our hotel, we'll make a stop at El Avion ("The Airplane") restaurant to learn about the aircraft's interesting connection to the United States' Iran-Contra Affair. El Avion restaurant is as famous for its unique decor as it is for its food and drinks. First-time visitors will most likely do a double take at the sight of the large aircraft parked within the open sided building. No--your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this is the real thing. The airplane (a Fairchild C-123) was one of a handful of aircrafts purchased by the U.S. to secretly aid the counter-revolutionary movement in Nicaragua in the 1980s. If having drinks in the refurbished cabin of this historic cargo plane is not entertaining enough, take a moment to check out the scenic views of the Pacific coastline from the restaurant's porch.

Lunch: At El Avion restaurant.

Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in. Free time for independent activities in Manuel Antonio. At the hotel we'll enjoy an expert presentation on the ongoing squirrel monkey (Mono Titi) conservation efforts taking place at Manuel Antonio. In the event the Road Scholar expert needs to adjust the time/day of this talk, the Group Leader will advise us of the new time/day of the lecture as soon as the information is available.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: Overview of next day's activities.

DAY
7
Boat Safari, Swimming & Snorkeling, Explore Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio National Park
B
Hotel San Bada

Activity note: Remember to wear a bathing suit under your clothes and pack sunscreen for the boat activities. Free time activities in Manuel Antonio are at our own expense.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our bus will take us from the hotel to a local dock where we will board a motorboat in preparation for a relaxing boat safari. As we cruise along the Pacific coastline, we'll enjoy a group leader-led overview of the Manuel Antonio National Park. There will be opportunities for us to swim and snorkel (equipment will be provided). The rest of the day will be free of activities so that we can enjoy independent explorations of Manuel Antonio and its full range of dining and entertainment opportunities.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Continuation of our free time in Manuel Antonio.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
8
Manuel Antonio Natl. Park, Transfer to San José, Free Time
San Jose
B,L,D
Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center

Activity note: The bus transfer from Manuel Antonio to San José takes approximately 3 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll accompany our Group Leader on a nature walk in Manuel Antonio National Park with a site lecture. This is one of the best areas in the country in which to view monkeys. In fact, three of the country's four species of monkey can be found here, including the highly endangered Titi Monkey (Grey Crowned Red-backed Central American Squirrel Monkey) which can only be seen here and in the Corcovado region. Manuel Antonio National Park is probably the most popular destination for travelers to Costa Rica and is a “must” on anyone’s itinerary. From sloths to monkeys, the park encompasses an amazing range of biodiversity. Despite the park’s fairly small size (about 1,700 acres) visitors can enter in a rainforest and walk straight to the beach. Unfortunately, the park’s beauty has also exacerbated its problems. As more people make their way to Manuel Antonio National Park, the potential for its degradation increases and because of this, park officials have begun limiting the number of daily visitors. We'll walk back to the hotel and have the chance to freshen up before checking out of our rooms.Once our bus is packed, we'll board and begin our journey back to San José.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: After arriving in San José, we'll check in at the hotel and then enjoy some free time to rest or pack before meeting for dinner.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure to enjoy your last night among your new Road Scholar friends or to get a good night's rest in preparation for your flights home the next day.

DAY
9
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location. 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.

Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).

Morning: Transfer to the airport for flights to North America. This concludes our program. 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!






Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback