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Costa Rica

From Cloud Forests to Volcanoes: Costa Rica With Your Grandchild

Program No. 22538RJ
Explore cool cloud forests and awesome animals on an exciting adventure with your grandchild as you river raft, swim and hike through the wild landscapes of Costa Rica together.
Length
9 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,899 / ADULT
2,449 / CHILD
Flights start at
600

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Age 9 - 11
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jun 17 - Jun 25, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jun 17 - Jun 25, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 8 - Jul 16, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jul 8 - Jul 16, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 29 - Aug 6, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jul 29 - Aug 6, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Age 12 - 14
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jun 24 - Jul 2, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jun 24 - Jul 2, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 15 - Jul 23, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jul 15 - Jul 23, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Aug 2 - Aug 10, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Aug 2 - Aug 10, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Age 15 - 17
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jun 27 - Jul 5, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jun 27 - Jul 5, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Jul 22 - Jul 30, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Jul 22 - Jul 30, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date
Aug 5 - Aug 13, 2023
Per Adult
2,899
Per Child
2,449
Select
Aug 5 - Aug 13, 2023
-
2,899
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
2,999
/ Adult
2,449
/ Child
Select Date

At a Glance

Calling all adventurers! Are you the happiest hiker? Zippiest zip-liner? One wonderful wildlife whisperer? If you answered “Yes,” then we’ve found the perfect place for you … Costa Rica! Alongside your grandchild, step into the wild to discover misty cloud-forests unlike anything you’ve seen before. Stand in awe of beautiful waterfalls and look for white-faced monkeys as you float down the Rio Corobicí. Explore amazing landscapes from high up on hanging bridges or from a zip line. Jump right into “nature’s playground” as you search for awesome animals, hike to volcanic hot springs and sail past mangrove forests as you both monkey around in Costa Rica.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking about 2 hours a day on varied terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Trek through the cloud forest and cross hanging bridges above the forest canopy in Monteverde.
  • Search for wildlife during a scenic boat ride through the mangroves of Cipanci Wildlife Refuge.
  • Have a blast exploring thermal mud pools, fumaroles and other surprising volcanic features at Rincon de La Vieja National Park.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-11, 12-14 or 15-17, depending on the date.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Costa Rica Birds
by James Kavanagh
A handy, laminated fold-up card with full-color illustrations of birds commonly found in Costa Rica. Great for kids, too.
The Forest in the Clouds
by Sneed B. Collard III
This slim introduction to Monteverde for readers ages 6 to 8 features Michael Rothman's richly detailed paintings.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica, A Field Guide
by Twan Leenders, Robert Dean, Jim Zook, Fiona Reid
This guide includes 450 of the most common, interesting and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that you are likely to encounter. Each has exquisite full-color illustrations.
Nature of the Rainforest, Costa Rica and Beyond
by Adrian Forsyth, E.O. Wilson (Introduction), Michael Fogden (Photographer)
Our favorite biologist-writer returns to the Neotropics in this beautifully illustrated, oversized overview of the rainforest. With chapters on Monteverde and Guanacaste, plants, frogs and snakes, birds, monkeys and jaguars, the sloth, peculiar insects and biodiversity; A marvelous, anecdotal introduction to ecology, evolution and conservation.
The Ticos
by Richard Biesanz
This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people details their culture, history and society.
Nancy Drew, The Scarlet Macaw Scandal
by Carolyn Keene
Nancy and her friends head for Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park to relax and study monkeys when they stumble upon, naturally, a mystery to be solved.
Costa Rican Wildlife
by Pocket Naturalist
This handy, fold-up card includes color illustrations of dozens of typical birds, mammals and reptiles. We also carry plastic cards for Costa Rica Birds (Item CRC56) and Costa Rica Butterflies & Moths (Item CRC57), $6.95 each.
The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America
by David Rains Wallace
Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource.
A Brief History of Central America
by Hector Perez-Brignoll
A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.
The Most Beautiful Roof in the World
by Kathryn Lasky, Christopher Knight (Photographer)
A tropical botanist and her sons climb among the ropes and walkways of a rainforest canopy in this photographic odyssey. For ages 9-12.
National Geographic Costa Rica
by Christopher P. Baker
This stylish and informative travel resource features 200 photographs, many maps and good information on the country's history, nature and culture.
Costa Rica, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Barbara Ras
These 26 well-chosen stories by Costa Rican writers introduce the people, culture and land.
Culture Smart! Costa Rica
by Jane Koutnik
History, religion, daily life, food, health and safety are all covered in this accessible pocket guide to Costa Rican customs, etiquette and culture.
Sloth Slept On
by Frann Preston-Gannon
In this delightful children’s book, a group of youngsters happen upon a snoozing sloth and try to send him where he belongs. Never noticing the posters that a sloth has fled the zoo (albeit very slowly!) they finally address a package to "the rainforest." When it wakes up, this sloth is in for a BIG surprise! Written for ages 3 to 6.
The Field Guide to Rain Forest Animals
by Nancy Honovich
A unique children's guide to eight Amazon animals that includes photographs, illustrations, maps, fascinating facts and a diorama activity. Written for ages eight and up.
Costa Rica Adventure Map
by National Geographic
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.
The Birds of Costa Rica
by Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)
This new edition covers 903 species of birds with hundreds of new, supplemental or revised color illustrations by Robert Dean and revised color-coded range maps.
Costa Rica Butterflies & Moths
by James Kavanagh
A handy, laminated fold-up card with color illustrations of Costa Rica’s more visible species of butterflies and moths. Includes the distinguishing markings or behaviors of each species.
Costa Rica, A Journey Through Nature
by Adrian Hepworth
Dividing the book by ecosystem and geographic area, BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Hepworth's color photographs showcase the diversity of Costa Rica's wildlife and habitats.
Tropical Nature
by Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.
Spanish Flash Cards
by Inc. Berlitz International
A standard playing card-size deck of 50 nicely illustrated flashcards geared for younger children. Each card features a colorful illustration with the Spanish word on the reverse.
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9 days
8 nights
23 meals
8 B 7 L 8 D
DAY
1
Arrive to San José, Program Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San José
D
Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center

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. Hotel check in begins at 3:00 p.m. See your program’s "Getting There" information regarding transfers.

Afternoon: Orientation: 6:00 p.m. at the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Grandparent program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Minors are never to be left unsupervised. 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. 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. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. 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: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars. Prepare for hotel check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Biodiversity, Transfer to Monteverde, Bat Jungle
Monteverde
B,L,D
Hotel Montaña Monteverde

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about about 94 miles, approximately 3.5 hours riding time. Travel is broken up by en route stops for program activities and lunch.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will learn about Costa Rica's biodiversity during an informative presentation given at the hotel by a local expert. After checking out of the hotel, we'll board a bus and begin the transfer to Monteverde. Monteverde was founded by a group of American Quakers in the 1950's. Fearful of what they saw as growing militarism in the U.S., the group chose to make their home in a country they felt better matched their pacifist beliefs. When they began settling Monteverde, they planned to transform the area into profitable farmland. The Quakers developed a fairly successful cheese industry, but they also recognized the delicate nature of the land and helped establish the area’s first wildlife sanctuary—the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Lunch: At a restaurant en route.

Afternoon: We expect to arrive in Monteverde early in the afternoon. After checking in and settling into our rooms, we'll ride to Bat Jungle where we'll observe various bat species up close and learn about their biology and function in nature. Bat Jungle is an educational space designed and managed by respected U.S. bat biologist Dr. Richard LaVal. Informative displays help to explain about bat biology, bat diversity, and their crucial role in nature as pollinators. Bat Jungle has more than 90 bats, representing 8 different species, housed in a recreated nighttime cloud forest environment. Glass windows give visitors the rare opportunity to look inside the forest enclosure and observe bats feeding, flying, and socializing. Special microphones capture the high pitched bat vocalizations and broadcast them through loudspeakers in the bat viewing area. We will ride back to the hotel and have a bit of down time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Monteverde Dairy Farming, Sky Walk Suspended Bridges
Monteverde
B,L,D
Hotel Montaña Monteverde

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; about 15 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Walking up to 2 miles; undulating trails, suspended bridges, uneven terrain. Remember to wear sunscreen, insect repellent and tennis shoes. Do not wear open-toed shoes for today's activities.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will start the day with a bus ride to a nearby dairy farm to learn about its history, day-to-day operation, and transition to regenerative farming during a walking exploration of the facilities led by a farm employee. Fields of sugar cane slowly made way for grazing cows and milking facilities in the mid-1950s and beyond. In recent years, the farm began transitioning away from conventional agriculture and working towards a more sustainable and environmentally-responsible model. Although it remains primarily a dairy operation, the farm has set aside 20 hectares for forest conservation and added small-scale production of coffee, honey, vegetables, and animal husbandry to its business plan. During our field trip we will also delve into the impact of climate change to this region and learn about local efforts to reduce the community's carbon footprint.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will ride to the Monteverde Sky Walk, part of the Sky Adventures Park, to learn about cloudforest ecology during a walk on reserve trails and suspended bridges with a local expert. Our explorations will lead us through the lower levels of the forest and onward to its upper story, giving us a comprehensive view of this unique environment and its life forms. Concluding our day's activities we will ride to our hotel and have some time to rest and freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

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

DAY
4
Corobici River Wildlife, Transfer to Rincón de la Vieja
Rincon de la Vieja
B,L,D
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin

Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) birding at lodge; if interested, please advise the Group Leader the night before. Getting on/off a bus; driving about 97 miles, approximately 4.5 hours riding time. Getting in/out rubber rafts, approximately 2 hours riding time; wear sport sandals or water shoes, sunscreen, repellent and comfortable clothing that can get wet. Use croakies (neoprene eye wear retainers) with sunglasses.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The Group Leader will lead us on an early morning birding walk on lodge grounds. We'll return in time for breakfast, then check out and prepare luggage for loading onto the bus. We'll ride to the Corobici River dock in preparation for a leisurely boat ride in search of local wildlife. After receiving our instructions and equipment, we will board rubber rafts and begin our float on the Rio Corobicí. This gentle river has a Class I and II rating and few waves. Tropical dry forests line the edges of the river, revealing a variety of wildlife including howler and white-faced monkeys, iguanas, kingfishers, ospreys, trogons, herons and more. As we continue our river exploration we will also search for signs of crocodiles, river otters and turtles that commonly frequent these waters.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will transfer to the Rincon de la Vieja area. Once at the hotel, we will check-in and settle into our rooms followed by free time. This might be a good opportunity to enjoy spa treatments at the hotel, relax by the pool or hang out with new friends. Anyone wishing to get spa treatments during scheduled free time should consider making advance appointments at the hotel reception or spa desk. Spa services are at an additional cost. Before dinner we'll learn about the geothermal forces that have shaped this region during a presentation by a local expert.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Birding, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Hot Springs
Rincon de la Vieja
B,L,D
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin

Activity note: Early morning (pre-breakfast) birding at lodge; if interested, please advise the Group Leader the night before. Getting on/off a bus; about 20 miles, approximately 1 hour riding time. Walking up to 2.5 miles; undulating forest trails, stairs. Sunscreen, insect repellent, closed toe/heel tennis shoes, binoculars, and bathing suit are suggested for today's activities.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The Group Leader will take us on an early morning birding walk on lodge grounds. We'll return to the hotel in time for breakfast. We'll ride to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park to learn about the geological forces at work and observe local wildlife during a hike led by our Group Leader. We will follow Las Pailas Trail--a looping path that covers a variety of landscapes including a sloping forest, open field, and volcanic formations. The national park is part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area—a UNESCO World Heritage site. A well-marked system of trails allows visitors to experience the forests and volcanic features of the park including fumaroles, hot springs and thermal mud pools. Elevations range from under 2,000 feet to upwards of 6,300 feet at the peak of Santa Maria Volcano—Rincón de la Vieja Volcano’s dormant sibling. At the end of our hike we'll stop by the park restrooms then walk to a local waterfall to cool off with a relaxing swim in its plunge pool. When done, we'll backtrack to our bus and ride back to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll enjoy a bit of down time at the hotel. Later, we'll change into bathing suits and ride to the Rio Negro hot springs to treat our sore muscles to a relaxing soak in the thermal pools and/or take a volcanic mud bath. Mud baths have been used for centuries as a way to alleviate body aches and muscle pains. Spas offer mud treatments and baths for their relaxing effects as well as skin cleansing and healing properties. In addition to helping draw away skin impurities, the mud also has minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium that are believed to contribute to healthy skin. We'll have a chance to rinse off and change at the facility's bathrooms and dressing rooms before riding back to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare luggage for check out.

DAY
6
Nature Hike, Transfer to Pacific Coast
Papagayo Peninsula
B,L,D
Hotel Papagayo Golden Palms

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 37 miles, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Walking up to 1.5 miles on undulating forest trails; wear closed-toe/closed-heel shoes, comfortable clothes, bathing suit, sunscreen and insect repellent. Bring your sports water bottle.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll accompany our Group Leader on a nature hike to Poza Roja (Red Pond). At various points on the trail our Group Leader will stop to highlight plants and wildlife we encounter along the way in the tropical dry forest. We'll have the opportunity to swim at Poza Roja before we backtrack and return to the hotel to change and check out. After loading our gear on the bus we will begin our transfer to the Pacific Coast.

Lunch: At a restaurant en route.

Afternoon: After a mid-afternoon arrival at the hotel, we will check in and settle into our rooms. The rest of the afternoon is free of activities. This might be a good time to explore the beach or hotel pool.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Cipanci Wildlife Refuge, La Casona, Free Time
Papagayo Peninsula
B,L,D
Hotel Papagayo Golden Palms

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; about 84 miles, approximately 3.5 hours riding time. Getting on/off boat; bring a small pair of binoculars for nature viewing.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll start the day's activities with a scenic ride through the plains of Guanacaste as we make our way to Cipanci Wildlife Refuge in preparation for a nature boat ride in the refuge's wetlands. The expert-led field trip will take us past mangrove forests where we'll be introduced to the unique coastal ecosystem and its resident wildlife. The refuge supports a wide variety of fauna including one of the largest and tallest flying birds in the world, the Jabiru Stork. As part of the Tempisque-Arenal Conservation Area, the refuge helps protect the region's tropical dry forests and estuarine ecosystems that are home to more than 700 species of plants. Next, we will ride to Santa Barbara for a field trip to La Casona museum, housed in a historic hacienda house. Here we will learn about the culture, traditions and way of life of people in Guanacaste through presentations by museum staff and staged exhibits. Highlights include a folkloric dance performance and a demonstration by a local craftsman showing how to make traditional Guatil pottery.

Lunch: At La Casona.

Afternoon: We'll ride back to the hotel then have the rest of the afternoon free to relax at the hotel and enjoy the beach and pool.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Zip Line Adventure, Wildlife Sanctuary, Farewell Dinner
Papagayo Peninsula
B,L,D
Hotel Papagayo Golden Palms

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 30 miles, approximately 1 to 1.5 hours riding time. Wear closed toed shoes for zipline activity.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast, we will ride to Diamante Eco Adventure Park. We'll get our ziplining gear, attend a safety briefing by park staff, and then ready ourselves for a thrilling zipline adventure with views of the Pacific Ocean. We will follow this with a visit to the park's animal sanctuary.

Lunch: At the adventure park.

Afternoon: We'll ride back to the hotel then have the rest of the afternoon free to relax at the hotel and enjoy the beach and pool.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll have a Farewell Dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy our last evening together as a group in Costa Rica. Finish your packing and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
9
Transfer to Liberia Airport, Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 14 miles, approximately 1/2 hour riding time to the international airport in Liberia. Hotel check out at 12:00 p.m. See your program’s “Getting There” information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times). This concludes our program.

Morning: After checking out of our rooms and loading luggage on the bus, we'll initiate our final transfer to the international airport in Liberia. 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!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.