3636
Costa Rica
Tropical Paradise: An Outdoor Adventure for Grandparents & 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
2,356
Flights start at
524
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, 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
University of Costa Rica, Toucan Rescue Ranch, Pool Games
San José
B,L,D
Radisson Hotel San José - Costa Rica

Activity note: The University of Costa Rica is approximately a 3 mile ride to the east of San Jose. The walk to the biology building is approximately 60 yards. Transfer to the Toucan Ranch is approximately 45 minutes, 9 1/5 miles.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will check out of the hotel and transfer to the University of Costa Rica in San José. The Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) is a public university and is the oldest, most prestigious and largest institution of higher learning in Costa Rica. Originally it was established in 1940, it remains as one of the leading research institutions in the country. After a short walk to the Biology School we will be welcomed by the students as they present a lecture about the biodiversity of Costa Rica and its’ iconic tropical species. This will be followed by a visit to the nearby butterfly garden and forest where students will feature their current research projects allowing for a hands-on learning opportunity with time for questions and answers. After the lecture, and depending on the weather, be prepared to participate in a treasure hunt or interpretation course.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch, 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. Transfer to the hotel, followed by pool games or time at leisure.

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 Flight
B

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

Morning: Transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport for flight to U.S. This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels. Note: 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.