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
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9 days
8 nights
19 meals
8 B 6 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive in San José, Check-in, 6PM Orientation
San Jose
Hotel Balmoral

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: 6 p.m. program orientation at the hotel. Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare. Your group leader will be available to offer dining suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Valley of the Saints Coffee, Sundowner with Chacon Family
Savegre
B,L,D
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Activity note: The drive to Savegre takes about 2.5 hours. Travel is broken up with stops for lunch and a program activity. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

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: Enjoy lunch at the home of one of the owners of the coffee cooperative.

Afternoon: Arrive at the lodge and check-in. Time at leisure to get settled in your accommodations, relax and explore the lodge's grounds. Before dinner, enjoy sundowners with 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 (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: This morning we will search for the bird of ancient royalty, the colorful and elusive Resplendent Quetzal. Embark on a guided 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, spa treatments, bird watching, walking/hiking, and more.

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: Depart for 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. Embark on a guided nature walk along the lodge's forest trails to learn about the resident plants and wildlife. Site lecture: Reintroduction of the Tapir- A Dream or Reality? Before dinner, 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

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: Embark in a jungle safari with site lecture in four-wheel drive vehicles. Explore the region, observing the transitions from pasture land to secondary and primary forests. After a preparatory session with local experts, embark on an invigorating rafting adventure on the Savegre River. Delight in the swells and dips of the rushing river; a natural roller coaster ride that will make your inner child cheer and laugh out loud (even as you get a good upper-body workout!). Return to the camp.

Lunch: At the camp.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure 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
Manuel Antonio National Park
B,L
Hotel San Bada

Activity note: The transfer to Manuel Antonio takes approximately 1-1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: Transfer from the lower Savegre Valley to Manuel Antonio. 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. Time at leisure for independent activities in Manuel Antonio.

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

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Morning boat safari, cruising along the Pacific coastline. Enjoy a group leader-led overview of the Manuel Antonio National Park. Take part in swimming and snorkeling activities (equipment will be provided). The rest of the day will be at your leisure to explore Manuel Antonio and its full range of dining and entertainment opportunities.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Continuation of your 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: After breakfast, participate in a guided 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. The natural beauty of this park will surely bring out the photographer in you, so pack plenty of memory sticks for your camera! Depart for San José.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arrive in San José. Arrive at the hotel and check-in. Free time to work on your packing, enjoy hotel amenities, or get some rest before 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, Flights to the U.S.
In Flight
B

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






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