3636
Costa Rica
Tropical Paradise: An Outdoor Adventure for Grandkids
Join experts to discover authentic Costa Rica and learn about volcanic hot springs, Latin culture and the traditional town of Tortuguero, where thousands of sea turtles nest each year.
Rating (5)
Program No. 3636RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,399
Flights start at
455
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
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, Arrival, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San José
D
Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Activity note: Participants arrive in San José, Costa Rica no later than 3:00 p.m. to attend 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. Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation: 4:30 p.m. The Group Leaders 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 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. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren during the program. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leaders will be happy to offer suggestions. 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. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. After the orientation, we will attend a lecture at the hotel given by a local expert on biodiversity in Costa Rica.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet welcome dinner with water and juice included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Tortuguero Village, Coconut Processing, Turtle Walk
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Early morning check-out and transfer; drive to boat dock is about 75 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Getting on/off a boat; boat ride is approximatley 1.5 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours total; uneven, sandy terrain. Closed toe shoes, insect repellent, hat and rain gear recommended. Turtle walk is about 1.5 miles; approx. 1.5 hours. Wear dark clothing and sturdy closed-toed shoes; no flash photography or flashlights allowed during this activity.

Breakfast: At a local restaurant en route to boat dock, we’ll have a breakfast buffet with coffee, tea, juice and water included.

Morning: Continuing our transfer, we’ll have time to practice our Spanish with our Group Leaders and fellow participants by focusing on colloquial expressions and phrases during an informal class on the road. Upon arrival at the boat dock, we’ll catch a ride aboard a motorboat to continue our transfer to Tortuguero. 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. We’ll check in at the lodge when we arrive.

Lunch: At the lodge, our lunch buffet will include coffee, juice, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After some “down” time – you may want to enjoy some fun and games at the pool – we’ll then leave the lodge via boat to visit Tortuguero and explore village life. While here we’ll learn from a local resident about coconut processing. Our local resident will also share some history of the town and his family, as well as give a demonstration on how coconuts are processed for oil, milk, and raw coconut in order to make candy. We’ll then return to the lodge by boat.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with coffee, juice, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Especially for kids: Setting out from the hotel by boat, we’ll begin our evening turtle walk on Tortuguero beach led by local experts certified by the National Park. 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. Please note this activity is weather dependent and turtle sightings are not guaranteed.

DAY
3
Tortuguero National Park, Boat Safari, Nocturnal Walk
Tortuguero
B,L,D
Pachira Lodge

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles; approx. 2 hours; well-maintained trails, even terrain, some unpaved and potentially muddy forest trails. Getting on/off boat; rides up to 3 hours. Insect repellent, sun protection (hats and sunscreen suggested) and/or rain gear recommended depending on weather.

Breakfast: Early at the lodge, we’ll have a breakfast buffet with coffee, tea, juice and water included.

Morning: Especially for kids: Setting out early in the morning from the hotel dock, we’ll board a boat and travel along canals for a safari led by our local experts and Group Leaders. Along the way, we’ll 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. We’ll then return to the lodge and have some “down” time for you to do what you wish.

Lunch: At the lodge, our lunch buffet has coffee, juice, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: On an interpretive walk of Tortuguero led by our Group Leaders, we’ll head out from the hotel and explore parts of the lodge’s natural reserve as we see and discuss the remarkable biodiversity of this tropical environment. As we search for indigenous wildlife, we’ll also learn interesting facts about the local rainforest and how it is located in one of the rainiest regions of Costa Rica. As an area of incredible biological diversity, it contains at least 11 identified habitats, a scenic natural channel, and navigable river mouths that border the park from the southwest to the northeast. These river ways 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. We’ll then return to the lodge for some “down” time.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: Especially for kids: We’ll then go on a nocturnal walk with our Group Leaders in search of frogs and insects. Our findings will allow us to see and learn how these critters thrive in their natural habitats. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Transfer to Sarapiqui, Cooking Class
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: There will be a leisurely early morning birding walk around the lodge’s grounds led by our Group Leaders before breakfast; minimal walking distance throughout the day. Getting on/off river boat; ride from Tortuguero to the dock is approx. 1.5 hours. Driving about 61 miles to Sarapiqui; approx. 3.5 hours; flat lands, rolling hills, some curvy and winding roads.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer by boat back to the dock where we will board our bus and continue to Sarapiqui.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route, we’ll have a buffet meal with coffee, juice, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Upon our arrival at the lodge, we’ll check-in and get our room assignments. Next, we’ll drive to a local home to meet a member of the Sarapiqui community who will lead us in a cooking class. We’ll have the opportunity to try our hands at making some traditional Costa Rican snacks.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with standard beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
River Rafting, Chocolate Farm Visit
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: There will be a leisurely early morning birding walk around the lodge’s grounds led by our Group Leaders before breakfast. Getting on/off rafts; assistance provided as needed. Rafting 2-3 miles on Class I and II whitewater rapids (descriptions below); speed and distance of trip dependent on volume of river. Sturdy water shoes required; no flip-flops. Walking about 1 mile at the chocolate farm. Driving approx. 23 miles total; about 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the lodge, we’ll have a breakfast buffet with coffee, tea, juice and water included.

Morning: Especially for kids: We will board our bus and transfer to the nearby Sarapiqui River to meet the local experts who will lead a safety briefing in preparation for our whitewater rafting field trip. The Sarapiquí River winds through a region of Costa Rica called the “Eternal Spring” due to its ever present thick, verdant flora and abundant corresponding fauna. The source is in the mountains and flows down through the rainforest before joining the main body of the river. We’ll then climb aboard the rafts and experience moderate rapids alternating with calm stretches of river, making this an ideal waterway for whitewater novices. We’ll also have a stop along the way to stretch our legs. (Class I: Moving water with a few riffles and small waves; few or no obstructions. Class II: Easy rapids with smaller waves, clear channels that are obvious without scouting; some maneuvering required. This classification system is only a guide; degrees of difficulty vary based on local conditions including water levels.) We’ll then return to the lodge.

Lunch: At the lodge, our lunch buffet will include coffee, juice, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Transferring from the lodge, we’ll go to a local chocolate farm to see and learn how the chocolate we eat is made. During the field trip, a local expert will provide us with expert commentary on the traditional process by which the cocoa fruit, used to make chocolate, is grown and harvested to become chocolate. There will also be opportunities to taste different kinds of chocolate! We’ll then return to the lodge where the rest of the afternoon will be free.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: Next, we’ll go by bus to a nearby reserve for an up-close and educational evening with bats. A local expert will talks about the history and characteristics of bats and, at the end of the presentation, we will have the chance to observe some bats up close that were captured by researchers to study. We’ll then return to the lodge. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Transfer to Arenal, Arenal Hanging Bridges
Arenal
B,L,D
Arenal Manoa Hotel

Activity note: Driving approx. 72 miles; about 4 hours. Walking about 2 miles, approx. 1.5 hours; forest trails and hanging bridges. Comfortable clothing, closed toe walking shoes, and a pair of binoculars are suggested for the hanging bridges activity.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the lodge, we’ll board our bus and transfer to the Rio Cuatro, “4 Rivers,” region to view semi-wild Macaws. The bus transfer presents an excellent time to practice your Spanish informally with the Group Leaders and others. Our first stop will be to a local family-owned farm that semi-wild Great Green Macaws and Scarlet Macaws like to frequent. These colorful and vocal birds can usually be spotted perched on surrounding trees or flying about the farm. During our visit our Group Leaders will introduce the group to the concept of a “biological corridor” and we will learn how this farm plays a role in that concept. We’ll then travel to La Fortuna town for lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route, we’ll have plated meals ordered from a select menu, plus juice and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Especially for kids: After arriving at the hotel and checking in, we’ll head back out by bus and go on a field trip with our Group Leaders to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a combination of natural trails and hanging bridges through the rainforest canopy. Upon arrival, we’ll go on an interpretative walk focused on diversity and ecology of the rainforest canopy for an opportunity to obtain a perspective that is usually reserved to monkeys and birds only! The Hanging Bridges project consists of a system of trails covering a distance of about 2 miles with 8 fixed bridges and 6 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. We’ll then return to the hotel for dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with coffee, juice, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Ziplining Activities, Free Time
Arenal
B,L,D
Arenal Manoa Hotel

Activity note: There will be a leisurely early morning birding walk around the lodge’s grounds led by our Group Leaders before breakfast. Driving about 8 miles to ziplining facility; approx. 1/2 hour. Minimum height required for this activity is 3 feet 11 inches. Minimal climbing required for ziplining; getting in/out of open air gondola; height of platforms varies – highest is 656 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes coffee, tea, juice and water.

Morning: Especially for kids: Get ready for our exciting canopy zip-lining adventure! We’ll ride by bus from the hotel to an establishment just outside of the Arenal Volcano National Park to begin our adventure. Thrill-seekers come here to enjoy the adventure 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 open-air gondola ride up the mountain followed by a safety lesson. Then, we will experience a heart-pumping descent via a network of zip lines and platforms before returning to the grounds via the open-air gondola. At the end of the activity, we will enjoy beautiful views of Arenal Volcano National Park while learning from local experts and our Group Leaders about the unique flora and fauna of the adjacent park's transitional forest.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon will be Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leaders will be happy to offer suggestions. You may wish to enjoy the beaches and pools, or just relax at the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Transfer to Central Pacific Area, Crocodile Safari
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Activity note: Driving about 110 miles, approx. 4.5 hours. Getting in/out of boat; ride is approx. 2 hours; Boating is tide dependent and may need to be offered at a different time of day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Once checked out, we’ll begin our transfer to the Central Pacific Area.

Lunch: En route at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Upon arrival to the Tarcoles River area, we will board a flat-bottomed pontoon boat and travel on the Tarcoles River searching these estuarine habitats of the Tarcoles River Basin for some of the local wildlife. As one of the most important in the Pacific coastal region, this basin virtually drains the entire western side of the Central Valley and hosts an amazing diversity of wildlife along its banks and in the extensive mangrove areas near its estuary. In addition to scarlet macaws, water birds and other creatures, some of the large population of American crocodiles (Crocodilus acutus) can often be spotted sunning themselves on the river banks. Our Group Leaders will offer commentary as we search and afterwards, in a special on site presentation about crocs, a local expert will provide facts that were discovered over the years by local and foreign specialists. After finishing up our boat safari, we’ll complete our transfer to Punta Leona and check into the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Swimming & Kayaking Activities, Free Time
Punta Leona
B,L,D
Hotel Punta Leona

Activity note: Driving approx. 5 miles; about 1/2 hour to playa Agujas. Getting in/out of canoes and kayaks; assistance provided as needed; about 2 hours on the water; potential for both waves and calm water; life jackets provided.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes coffee, tea, juice and water.

Morning: Especially for kids: We’ll transfer via bus to the small coastal village of Agujas for an outrigger canoe paddling adventure led by expert boating staff who will greet us and provide a safety orientation in order to familiarize us with the equipment. The canoes we’ll use are outriggers, also known as Polynesian canoes, which can carry several people at a time, plus a staff member. Easier to handle, more stable, and safer then kayaks, especially for inexperienced persons, these types of canoes have been plying the oceans of the world for centuries. They were created as tools for survival and travel and, as such, their design remains basically unchanged after generations of refinement. Their beauty lies in their simplicity and functionality. Our modern canoes are built of fiberglass and are equipped with an outrigger on each side to ensure safety and provide peace of mind. As the paddle hits the water, think of the ancient traditions, knowledge and skill that went into the canoe’s evolution. We’ll return to the hotel after our paddling adventure.

Lunch: At the hotel, our buffet will include coffee, juice, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leaders will be happy to offer suggestions. You may wish to enjoy the beaches and pools, or just relax at the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a tasty plated farewell dinner together with juice and soft drinks included, wine for adults; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow morning.

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

Activity note: Driving approx. 50 miles from hotel to airport; about 2 hours. Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (dependent on flight times). Take-away breakfasts available upon request.

Morning: There will be one morning transfer to the airport included in the program cost for those interested. This concludes the 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