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 (5)
Program No. 20774RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,999
Flights start at
455
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9 days
8 nights
20 meals
8 B 6 L 6 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Arrive San José, 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: Orientation: 5:00 p.m. 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, prepare for check out and transfer in the morning, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

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

Activity note: From San José to Savegre is about 70 miles; approximately 2.5 - 3 hours. Driving on winding mountain roads. Travel is broken up with stops for lunch and a program activity.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll check-out of the hotel, board the Road Scholar bus, and 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. We'll learn about Pepe Figueres' political legacy in Costa Rica during an informal presentation by our Group Leader. 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. Next, we’ll take a field trip to a gourmet coffee cooperative in the Valley of the Saints region to learn about coffee farming and processing and also to sample some world-class brews. 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: Continuing our ride, we’ll arrive at the lodge and check-in with some time to freshen up and relax. You are welcome to explore the lodge grounds.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: We’ll gather a review of tomorrow’s schedule. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

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

Activity note: Shoes with a closed heel and toe are required for today's forest walk. Walking on irregular forest trails. 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. You might like to go bird watching, walking/hiking, or try out some of the lodge amenities (additional costs might apply). Before dinner, we'll enjoy a presentation by a member of the Chacon family, for personal accounts of this pioneering family's long relationship with the Savegre Valley.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: We’ll gather a review of tomorrow’s schedule. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

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

Activity note: The drive to the Lower Savegre Valley is about 84 miles; approximately 3 - 3.5 hours. Walking on irregular forest trails and potentially muddy conditions. Wear closed toed/heeled shoes with lug soles.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We’ll check out and depart for the Pacific coast and the transitional Pacific jungle.

Lunch: At the home of a local resident of the small town of Santo Domingo, we’ll have a meal with traditional Costa Rican cuisine.

Afternoon: Arriving at the tented camp, we’ll settle in and take some time to freshen up before our next adventure. We'll accompany a camp guide and our Group Leader on a nature walk along the lodge's forest trails to learn about resident plants and wildlife. We'll also learn about the efforts to reintroduce the tapir to this area. We’ll gather before dinner for a sunset discussion with the owner/manager of the camp to learn about the fascinating story of Rafiki.

Dinner: At the camp.

Evening: After reviewing the schedule for tomorrow, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
5
Jungle Safari, Rafting Savegre River, Free Time
Lower Savegre Valley
B,L,D
Rafiki Safari Lodge

Activity note: Driving on undulating dirt roads. 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 embark on a jungle safari in four-wheel drive vehicles. As we explore the area and observe the transitions from pasture land to secondary and primary forests, we'll discuss the flora and fauna seen along the way. Next, we'll disembark at a river drop off point for a river rafting adventure. After a preparatory session with local experts, we'll board the rafts and embark on an invigorating ride paddling down 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 you get a good upper-body workout!). We’ll return to camp at the end of our field trip.

Lunch: At the camp.

Afternoon: Free Time. You might like to enjoy activities such as bird watching, walking/hiking on local trails, kayaking, horseback riding, or simply relax.

Dinner: At the camp.

Evening: The remainder of the evening is free following a review of tomorrow’s schedule. Prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

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

Activity note: From the Lower Savegre Valley to Manuel Antonio is about 27 miles; approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We’ll check out and begin our transfer from the lower Savegre Valley to Manuel Antonio. En route, we’ll stop at El Avion — “The Airplane” — an historic restaurant literally built around a C-123 Fairchild cargo plane. We’ll learn about its fascinating connection to the U.S. Iran-Contra Affair. The plane was one of a handful of aircraft purchased by the U.S. to secretly aid the counter-revolutionary movement in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Lunch: At El Avion restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll check in to our hotel upon arrival with time to freshen up and relax. Late afternoon, at the hotel, we'll enjoy an expert presentation on the ongoing squirrel monkey (Mono Titi) conservation efforts taking place at Manuel Antonio.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: We’ll regroup for an overview of tomorrow’s schedule.

DAY
7
Boat Safari, Swimming & Snorkeling, Free Time
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: After riding to a local dock, we'll set out on a boat safari, cruising along the Pacific coastline with our Group Leader providing an overview of Manuel Antonio National Park. Next, we'll take part in swimming and snorkeling activities (equipment will be provided). We'll then return to the hotel for free time.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Manuel Antonio. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

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

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 is about 103 miles; approximately 3.5 - 4 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll accompany our Group Leader on a walking field trip in Manuel Antonio National Park to learn about the park's flora and fauna. 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. We'll walk back to the hotel and freshen up before checking out and departing for San José.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arriving in San José we’ll check in to our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll enjoy a farewell dinner. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning. Get a good night’s rest!

DAY
9
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is 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 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!






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