20797
Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Pura Vida: An Environmental Family Adventure
Discover the natural wonders of Costa Rica with your family as you learn about an active volcano, search for wildlife walk with turtle expert and kayak along the Pacific Coast.
Rating (4.78)
Program No. 20797RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
1,899
Flights start at
455
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10 days
9 nights
26 meals
9 B 8 L 9 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San José
D
Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

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. 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. 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.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Coffee Farm, Toucan Rescue Ranch, Pool Games
San José
B,L,D
Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Activity note: The drive to the coffee farm is about 8 miles, approximately a 1/2 hour or more; to the Toucan Ranch is about 8 miles, approximately a 1/2 hour; to the hotel is about 10 miles, approximately a 1/2 hour or more depending on traffic.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Board a bus in preparation for a field trip to the Toucan Rescue Ranch. During our visit we'll learn about conservation efforts in Costa Rica and have the opportunity to observe a few of the country's iconic tropical species. The ranch is a licensed wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center located just outside of San José. The facility takes in confiscated, injured, and sick animals and rehabilitates them in preparation for release back to their natural habitats. When rescued animals are found to have long-lasting physical or behavioral issues that make them unable to survive back in the wild, they are given a permanent home at the ranch. Then travel to a coffee farm in Heredia, arriving in time for lunch.

Lunch: At the coffee farm.

Afternoon: Visit the nursery and roasting mill of a prominent coffee producer to learn about the life cycle of coffee plants and how the coffee fruit is harvested and processed for consumption. Discover how to cup (taste) coffee like the pros during a demonstration and then find out the most important steps to creating the perfect cup of joe. Return to the hotel, followed by pool games or free time to enjoy as you wish. Before dinner, we'll regroup at the hotel for an expert presentation on Costa Rica's biodiversity.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
3
Tortuguero Village & Evening Turtle Walk
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Bus drive from San José to boat dock: 3.5 hours. There will be an en route stop for breakfast at a local restaurant. River boat ride to Tortuguero: 1.5 hours. Participants will need to wear dark colored clothes and closed-toed shoes during the nighttime walk. No flash photography or flashlights allowed during this activity as they may disorient or scare off nesting turtles.

Breakfast: Early morning transfer to Tortuguero by coach. Breakfast en route.

Morning: Continue with transfer. The bus transfer presents an excellent time to practice your Spanish with the group leader and others. Board a boat to Tortuguero and enjoy a wildlife safari on your way to the lodge. The sleepy little coastal village of Tortuguero is situated on the southern end of a 6-km-long sandspit that is sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea to the East and the Laguna del Tortuguero to the West. The motorized boat ride through the waterways is just an appetizer for the avid naturalist. Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Afternoon visit to Tortuguero village to explore village life and learn about coconut processing. Return to the lodge. Time at leisure for pool games.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Evening turtle walk. Please note that dark clothes and sturdy closed-toed shoes are required for this walk. Please note that this activity is weather dependent and seeing turtles are not guaranteed. While the maze of canals and waterways fringed by luxuriant jungle boast a variety of exotic wildlife, the Green Sea Turtle is the star of the show at Tortuguero (late June-late October). Other turtles like the hawksbill and the giant leatherback frequent the region in lesser numbers, but Tortuguero is the most important Green Sea Turtle hatchery in the western Caribbean. Here an estimated 30,000 turtles come ashore annually. While scientist have gathered significant information about the land habits of the green turtle, very little is known about their migratory routes in the oceans, where they spend over 90 percent of their time. During our visit to Tortuguero we will try to unravel some of these mysteries.

DAY
4
Tortuguero National Park & Boat Safari
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Walking on unpaved, and potentially muddy, forest trails.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Early morning canal boat safari. Look for endemic and migrant birds as well as howler monkeys, caimans, bats, turtles, and more! Although wildlife observation tends to take the front seat during these activities, do not ignore the unique flora of this lush region. Some of the important trees and plants found here include the kativo, almendro, sangrillo, and pachira. Return to the lodge.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Guided walk in Tortuguero National Park. Tortuguero National Park is located in one of the rainiest regions of Costa Rica. It is also an area of incredible biological diversity, with at least eleven identified habitats. A scenic natural channel and navigable river mouths form the park from the southwest to the northeast. These riverways and swamps are the habitat of species of land tortoises, which can be seen sunning themselves on drifting logs or in the floating islands formed by vegetation. The canals also provide shelter to a variety of species in danger of extinction and are excellent locations to observe the different species of aquatic birds. Return to the lodge. Time at leisure for pool games.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Nocturnal walk in search of frogs and insects.

DAY
5
Transfer to Arenal, Introduction to Volcanoes
Arenal
B,L,D
Arenal Paraiso

Activity note: River boat ride from Tortuguero to the dock: 1.5 hours. Bus transfer to Arenal takes approximately 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: Optional early morning birding. Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Boat transfer to Caño Blanco Dock and continue by bus to Arenal. The bus transfer presents an excellent time to practice your Spanish with the group leader and others.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, en route.

Afternoon: Arrive at hotel and check-in. Free time for pool games.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Movie and popcorn at the hotel.

DAY
6
Arenal Hanging Bridges, Arenal National Park
Arenal
B,L,D
Arenal Paraiso

Activity note: Walking on unpaved forest trails and volcanic rocks.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Field trip to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a combination of natural trails and hanging bridges, through the rainforest canopy. The Hanging Bridges project consists of a system of trails covering a distance of about 2 miles, eight fixed bridges, and six hanging bridges all built with the latest techniques and designed with an eye for both beauty and safety. The entire project was designed to blend with the natural environment, leaving the forest virtually intact. The idea of the operation is to facilitate access, with the minimum possible impact, to one of the least explored parts of the rainforest: the canopy.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in La Fortuna. The small and charming town of Fortuna has changed quite a bit from the village that witnessed the eruptions of Arenal Volcano in 1968. Once a small agricultural community, Fortuna has grown in the shadow of the colossus that once burned and devastated large areas. Tourism is now the most important income for the region. Although now on a second level of economic importance, many plantations in the surrounding areas still produce important amounts of papaya, sugar cane, tapioca and ornamental plants.

Afternoon: Field trip to Arenal Volcano National Park with a walk around the base of the volcano. Arenal was once Costa Rica's most active volcano and a main draw to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano National Park. The volcano lords over the countryside with its perfectly conical shape and occasional smoke and gas emissions. While minor activity excites visitors, they are rarely acknowledged by the locals who have learnt to accept the antics of the volcano as part of their daily lives. The thermal waters emanating from the volcano, the clean air and the energy associated with Arenal, makes this a favorite destination for health spa enthusiasts and nature lovers. Return to the hotel for free time. Relax on your private porch, take a refreshing dip in the pool, or choose from the many amenities available the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Punta Leona, Tarcoles Crocodile Safari
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Activity note: Bus drive to Pacific Coast takes approximately 4 hours. If you are three people rooming together, you'll be expected to share beds at this hotel (room has 2 double beds/bed size 4'6" x 6'3"). The hotel at this site is unable to provide a rollaway or cot as a third bed. Those who don't wish to share a bed can reserve an extra room for these two nights for an additional, non-refundable fee of $75. Please call the program provider at 1-800-8667111 to reserve and pay for this additional service.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Check-out of the hotel and transfer to the Pacific Coast. The bus transfer presents an excellent time to practice your Spanish with the group leader and others.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in. Enjoy a boating field trip on the Tarcoles River in search of resident wildlife including a large population of American crocodiles often seen sunning themselves on the river banks. **Note: this activity is tide dependent and may need to be offered at a different time of day. If necessary, the Crocodile Safari and the Los Sueños Canopy Adventure will switch places on your itinerary. The Tarcoles river basin is one of the most important in the Pacific coastal region virtually draining the entire western side of the Central Valley. Tarcoles hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife along its banks and on the extensive mangrove areas near its estuary. Perhaps the most famous of all its inhabitants are the enormous crocodiles that live on its banks. These crocodiles (Crocodilus acutus) have been studied by numerous local and foreign specialists and featured in National Geographic TV specials. Continue with transfer to the Punta Leona area. Lecture: Crocodiles.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
8
Swimming & Kayaking Activities
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the small coastal village of Agujas for a sea kayak and outrigger canoe paddling adventure. Kayaks and canoes have been plying the oceans of the world for centuries. They were created as tools for survival and travel. Their design remains basically unchanged after generations of refinement. Their beauty lies in their simplicity and functionality. The canoes are now built of fiberglass and they have been working well for us for years, we use an outrigger on each side to ensure safety and give peace of mind to our clients. When you put that paddle in the water, think of the ancient traditions, and knowledge and skill that went into the canoe and it will make your experience with us even more enjoyable.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the beaches and pools.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

DAY
9
Los Sueños Canopy Adventure, Return to San José
San José
B,L,D
Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center

Activity note: Please wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes for the zip line activity. Bus drive from the Pacific Coast to San José takes approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Departure for the Canopy Vista Los Suenos for a zip lining adventure. Canopy Vista Los Suenos is situated in Herradura, on Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast. Adventurers come here to enjoy the thrill of whizzing through the forest canopy on zip lines while nature lovers rejoice in the sights and sounds of the forest. The experience begins with a leisurely tractor ride up the mountain followed by a heart-pumping descent via a network of zip lines and platforms. Enjoy beautiful views of the Gulf of Nicoya and Herradura Bay and learn about the unique flora and fauna of the park's transitional forest. Return to the hotel and freshen-up before checking out.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Transfer to San José. Arrive at the hotel and check-in. Final briefing with local coordinator.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Spend your last evening in Costa Rica chatting with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.

DAY
10
Program Concludes, In Transit from Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers at the conclusion of the program.

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

Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to North America. This concludes our program. Safe travels! If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for the next 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!