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This was my first adventure trip and I enjoyed every minute – from the beautiful resorts to the howling monkeys, watching the baby turtles run to the ocean, the volcano Arenal and especially rafting the Pacuare. Thank you for a truly memorable experience. — Deanna B, VA
|Costa Rica, Central America||November 5 – 12, 2016||$2,995|
A short plane ride from the United States, Costa Rica is the only Central American country that has invested in education instead of a military. This peaceful nation is blessed with gorgeous beaches, volcanic mountains and dense, tropical rain forests supporting a bird and animal kingdom more varied than any country on earth. In the wild we’ll see howler, capuchin and spider monkeys, crocodiles, orchids, butterflies, turtles, toucans, iguanas and scarlet macaws. The wide range of habitats makes Costa Rica a perfect destination for adventure travelers. Raft exciting white water on a pristine river, horse ride on a beach, zip line near Lake Arenal, outrigger canoe, soak in hot pools and maybe even see lava flowing from Arenal volcano. Staying in quaint family-owned haciendas and hotels, beach cabanas and rain forest lodges we’ll meet the conservation-conscious locals who delight in sharing their friendly country with us.
We’ll be arriving at the San Jose airport from 1pm through 9pm and drivers with Canyon Calling signs will meet our flights outside the airport and transport us to our lush and luxurious hotel in San Jose.
Wander the beautiful gardens at our hotel before meeting for breakfast. Depart for the beachside community of Jaco on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica. Its great fun to climb into outrigger canoes and paddle across the calm and beautiful water to a secluded beach. Relax in the ocean or explore the beach. It’s a short walk to a fabulous waterfall and the water is warm enough to wash off the salt from our swim in the ocean. Our lunch on the beach will include the tastiest pineapple and watermelon in the world! After paddling back to Jaco we’ll change into dry clothes before re-boarding our van. We pass through coffee plantations and peaceful country towns on our drive to Arenal. Check into our beautiful resort located just in front of the 5300’ Arenal volcano, one of the most active in the world. We’ll dine at the outdoor restaurant at the resort. If it’s a cloudless night we may see the glow of the lava on Arenal volcano.
Wow, what a great trip. The highlights for me were the thrill of watching 70 baby green turtles crawl to the sea and being massaged by a hot waterfall! — Susan O, CA
After breakfast it’s a short drive to our zip-lining adventure. We ride a Sky Tram high in the forest to a platform giving us wonderful views of Lake Arenal and the volcano. Guides will stop the tram for bird and monkey sightings along the way. At the top we’ll put on our equipment and get a safety briefing for our zip line canopy trip back down to the base. We’ll zip-line down 1.7 miles on eight cables above the treetops. This zipline is a breathtaking, life-affirming, soul-awakening experience – exhilarating! And totally safe. The zip distances vary from 100’ to 2400’. Experts rate this the best zip line in the world! We’ll have a delicious Costa Rican lunch served family style and then enjoy a wonderful soak in natural volcanic springs of thermal water in the small town of Fortuna. It’s a two-hour drive to our nature lovers resort for a two-night stay.
After a sleep-in and a lazy breakfast we’ll take a nature hike with our biologist guide. She introduces us to the amazing biological diversity that is Costa Rica. We hike to waterfalls and swim in the adjacent pools. Blue morpho butterflies and bright birds fly nearby and monkeys chatter from high perches in this private rain forest reserve. Lunch will be served near the pools and we’ll ride back to the resort on a hay wagon. Our spacious rooms have huge hot water showers and private decks that overlook the adjacent San Rafael River. You’ll have the afternoon free to enjoy the spa or pool, knowing this hacienda has attracted major film stars due to it’s secluded location. We’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at our jungle retreat, and perhaps an umbrella drink, and soak up the sounds of the rain forest at dusk.
You plan a hell of a trip! – so much activity with just the right amount of relaxation. Best of all – putting nine women together and just laughing! — Meg W, PA
After breakfast it’s a short transfer to the nearby Sarapiqui River for our white water rafting trip. The rapids are rated 2’s and 3’s so it’s a perfect river for those with little rafting experience yet a fun day’s rafting for all. Winding through the region of the “Eternal Spring,” the Sarapiquí has its origins in clear mountain streams that tumble down through thick rain forest to merge with the crystal waters of the beautiful Sarapiquí. If Matisse had come to Costa Rica, this is what he would have painted! After the usual safety briefing we’ll climb into the rafts and begin this memorable journey downriver. A tasty picnic lunch will be served at the take-out. Change into dry clothes and from here we’ll board our van for an afternoon trip down to the Caribbean Coast and a two-night stay at a beach cabana resort. Dinner will be close to our resort – delicious local Caribbean fare with many seafood choices.
After breakfast this morning we’ll saddle up for a marvelous horse ride on the beach. It’s relaxing to ride along the beach and marvel at the crashing surf and stunning views. We cross a couple of small rivers and the trail meanders in and out of the jungle where we often see sloths and monkeys. After lunch in a small soda (restaurant) in Cahuita, we’ll head back to Puerto Viejo for our Chocolate Tour. We’ll experience a guided hike through the cacao forest while learning of the history and science of chocolate. We will have a chocolate tasting of several chocolates of single origins from small farms in Costa Rica, an Aztec ceremonial drink to fine European style chocolate bars mixed with locally gown spices and herbs. We should be back at our hotel late afternoon with time to relax by the pool or at the beach before dinner.
What a fun adventure! Loved the volcano and white water rafting in particular. Thanks for such a relaxing and rejuvenating trip. — Jen O’S, PA
This morning we’ll transfer to the port at Moin and board a boat for a three-hour cruise north along the canals of Tortuguero National Park. Our guide will stop along the way to view crocodiles, monkeys, sloths, lizards and all kinds of beautiful Costa Rican birds. This cruise is a photographer’s dream! We’ll lunch at our Eco resort and relax in the pool. Caimans and Jesus Christ lizards can often be seen in the nearby smaller channels. Later we’ll boat across the canal to the beach side and walk to the nearby ocean with hopes to see baby turtles hatching and racing for the sea. It’s fascinating and heart wrenching to watch their struggle in this up-close version of Mother Nature in action. Tonight we’ll celebrate our journey through Costa Rica with a farewell dinner at our lodge. You’ll sleep soundly despite the eerie sounds of the howler monkeys in the surrounding rainforest.
An early breakfast is available to us before boating across the canal to the small Tortuguero airstrip. Our half hour flight back to San Jose assures fabulous views of the park, perhaps an active volcano, and the countryside outside San Jose. Upon arrival at a regional airport we transfer to the best wildlife rehabilitation center in the country. Macaws fly free and we’ll see the famous Resplendent Quetzal. This is a humanitarian zoo, one that educates and is also a wildlife rehabilitation center. We may have some time for shopping before our transfer to the international airport late morning to check in for flights. U.S. Departure tax is $29.
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