Costa Rican Explorer

November 1 - 8, 2014
$2995 (includes one internal flight)

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 through rain forest, swim at a white sand 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.

Annie S, GA - I have had many friends who have returned from Costa Rica, praising their time there with insipid platitudes such as “ pleasant experience”, “friendly people”, “delicious food”, “gorgeous scenery”, blah, blah.  Not really anything that would compel someone to go visit the place.  I think I can do so much better with my own adjectives:  astonishing views of volcanoes, eye-popping glimpses of flora and fauna, bracing water, hair-raising zip-lining, intriguing exposure to a different history and culture, heart-rending look at the sloth rehab, and how about those baby turtles?!!  (There just are no words).  God really unleashed her infinite imagination when she created Costa Rica, didn’t she?

Deanna B, VA "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."

Sidra S, CO - It's a beautiful world Cheryl.  I'm so glad you go there! 

Susan O, CA - 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!

Meg W, PA - 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! 

Jen O'S, PA - What a fun adventure!  Loved the volcano and white water rafting in particular.  Thanks for such a relaxing and rejuvenating trip. 

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Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to janestravel@gmail.com  Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips.

Saturday
We’ll be arriving at 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. 

Sunday
Wander the beautiful gardens at our hotel before meeting for breakfast together at 8am.  Depart at 9am and travel by coach to the beachside community of Jaco on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica.  Its great fun to climb into two outrigger canoes and paddle across the calm and beautiful turquoise water to a secluded white sand 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 coach.  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 and after dinner you can soak in the hot pools under the stars. If it’s a cloudless night we may see the glow of the lava on Arenal volcano. 

Monday
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 is great fun and totally safe.  The zip distances vary from 100’ to 2400’.  Experts rate this the best zip line in the world!  After lunch in the small town of Fortuna there’ll be time for shopping for some treasures to take home.  It’s a two-hour drive to our nature lovers resort for a two-night stay.  Perhaps you’d enjoy a soak in the hot pool next to the river before dinner? 

Tuesday
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 to the pools and you have a choice of either hiking back to the resort or riding a hay wagon.  Our spacious rooms have huge hot water showers and private decks that overlook the adjacent San Rafael River.  It’s great to enjoy an umbrella drink and soak up the sounds of the rain forest at dusk.

Wednesday
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 a short safety briefing we’ll climb into the rafts and begin this memorable journey downriver.  A picnic lunch will be served at the take-out.  Change into dry clothes in private restroom facilities.  From here we’ll board our coach for an afternoon trip down to the Caribbean Coast and a two-night stay at a beach cabana resort.  Dinner will be adjacent to our resort - delicious local Caribbean fare with many seafood choices.

Thursday
Marvin and his coach will be ready for us at 8.30am.  This morning we’ll split into two groups with one group saddling up for a marvelous horse ride and the other will visit the sloth sanctuary.  After lunch together at a small soda (restaurant) in Puerto Veijo you’ll switch and do the opposite activity from the morning.  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.  The sloth sanctuary is one of the highlights of our trip to Costa Rica.  Its amazing to see these adorable creatures up close and you’ll be pleased to have bought milk powder with you to help the baby sloths thrive.  We should be back at our hotel by 4pm with a couple of hours to relax by the pool or at the beach before dinner.  

Friday
This morning we’ll transfer to the port at Moen 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, otters and flamingos.  We’ll lunch at our resort inside the park 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 to see the 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.

Saturday
A very early breakfast is available to us before boating across the canal to the small Tortuguero airstrip.  Our 6.30am flight back to San Jose assures fabulous views of the park and the countryside outside San Jose.  Upon arrival at a regional airport we transfer to the best zoo in the country.  It has the largest bird collection in Central America and is also a wildlife rehabilitation center.  Macaws fly free and we’ll see the famous Resplendent Quetzal.  We’ll also see the hard-to-see Costa Rican mammals like the peccary and puma. Transfer to the international airport by 10.30am where the trip ends.  Check in for our flights to the US - departure tax is $28.

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