Natural Highlights of Costa Rica

Itinerary

Day 1 – San Jose
Arrive at any time. Airline transfer included.  If you arrive early enough, you’ll have time to head into the city to visit a museum, shop, or visit the main plaza in the city center. The plaza is a good place to people-watch. A mime, juggler, marimba band, magician, or storyteller may be performing for whatever is collected when the hat is passed. Artisan booths are common, creating a regular arts and crafts fair atmosphere.

Costa Rica has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and is a top destination for nature lovers. As such, there is a lot of rain, regardless of the season, allowing for its lush green rain forests and cloud forest, in which flora and fauna thrive. Please come prepared for the possibility of wet weather and variations in temperature.

  • Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
    The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.
  • Private Vehicle
    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Day 2 – San Jose/La Fortuna
Visit a G Adventures-supported coffee cooperative with a coffee tour and local lunch. Continue to the adventure hub of La Fortuna. In the evening, visit a local home and learn the art of tortilla making. Afterwards, dig into a tasty “casado” — a typical Costa Rican dish that’s made with black beans, plantains, and the tortillas you’ve made.

 Please also note that the town of La Fortuna is fairly small with shopping and some great restaurants, but most of the upgraded accommodations in this area are located outside of the main town centre – to take better advantage of the natural beauty and stunning landscapes of the area. Taxis are readily available to take you into town and back and can cost approx. $10USD each way.

  • Private Vehicle
    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle. (Travel time includes lunch and coffee tour)
  • G Adventures for Good: Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative Tour
    Find out where your cup of java comes from. Visit the Mi Cafecito coffee cooperative in San Miguel de Sarapiqui, see shade-grown coffee plants, learn about everything from harvesting, to husking, drying, and roasting the beans before enjoying the best part – a fresh cup! Enjoy a typical lunch of plantains, beans, and freshly caught tilapia fish. Feel good about all this eating and drinking knowing that you are supporting a G Adventures for Good project that helps 200 farmers and their families
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Tortilla Making and Home Dinner
    Learn the art of tortilla making from Doña Mara in her family home. Grind the corn, mix the “masa” (dough) into balls, flatten into circles, and then cook them up on a wood-burning stove. Relax with a fresh tropical fruit juice, get to know the family, and hear about the history of tortillas. Afterwards, dig into a tasty “casado” – a typical Costa Rican dish including black beans and plantains – complete with your own hand-made tortillas.

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 3 – La Fortuna
Free day in La Fortuna for optional activities. Challenge yourself with a rafting adventure, canyoneering, or embark on a nature hike.

  • Free Time
    Free day to set out and explore nature near La Fortuna

Meals Included:  Breakfast

Day 4 – La Fortuna/Monteverde
Travel from La Fortuna to the cloud forest of Monteverde — a nature lover’s paradise.

The town of Monteverde is fairly small with shopping and some great restaurants, but most of the upgraded accommodations in this area are located outside of the main town centre – to take better advantage of the natural beauty and stunning landscapes of the area. Taxis are readily available to take you into town and back and can cost approx. $10USD each way.

Accommodations tend to be a bit more simple here, with fewer amenities. Its important to remember that the cloud forest sits at a higher elevation and offers a cooler but humid climate – which is why hotels in this area do not have A/C. It can also feel damp in rooms which is unavoidable in such a climate

  • Private Vehicle
    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 – Monteverde
Enjoy a nature hike in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. After, visit the Monteverde Institute, which has served as the base for numerous National Geographic-funded explorers and researchers. Enjoy a lecture by one of the researchers outlining the various research and conservation projects that National Geographic has sponsored to support the reforestation of tropical regions. This afternoon, opt to visit a butterfly garden, zipline through the canopy, or go horseback riding.

  • Santa Elena Cloud Forest Guided Tou
    Pull on your poncho and boots. It’s time to head into the cloud-covered forest, past over-sized ferns and exotic orchids. Harness your inner Tarzan and Jane as you imagine swinging from the giant vines. Trudge along 12km (7 mi) of trails, watch for wildlife, and trek to the top of the observation tower. Be sure to stop and listen, too. Hear the haunting call of the bellbird and perhaps catch sight of the brilliant green and red resplendent quetzal. Feel good about protecting the forest and sustaining the quality of local schools through payment of your park fees.
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Monteverde Institute Lecture
    Visit the Monteverde Institute which has served as the base for numerous National Geographic-funded explorers and researchers studying the famed canopy of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Enjoy a lecture by one of the researchers outlining the various projects National Geographic has sponsored including new discoveries, insect and bird studies, and the reforestation of tropical regions.

Meals Included:  Breakfast

Day 6 – Monteverde/Manuel Antonio
Continue to the stunning Pacific coast. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the area with options to surf, go horseback riding, dolphin watching on a catamaran, or visit other nearby picturesque beaches.

Hotels in Manuel Antonio are not located on the beach, they are scattered along the cliffside road, overlooking the stunning coast line and lush jungle. The beach, National Park, markets, shops and restaurants are easily accessible by frequent public bus (safe and easy to use) or taxi.

  • Private Vehicle
    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Meals Included:  Breakfast

Day 7 – Manuel Antonio
Take an excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park, famed for its stunning beaches and abundant wildlife. Look for monkeys, sloths, and some 350 species of birds. The park has fabulous beaches, abundant wildlife, and a great trail system for those who want to spend the day hiking. Look for monkeys, armadillos, coatimundis, sloths, and some 350 species of birds that are present in the park

  • Manuel Antonio National Park Visit
    Pack your sunscreen, snack, beach shoes, and prepare for a great day in Costa Rica’s smallest yet no less stunning national park. Manual Antonio offers four white-sand beaches, separated by jagged rock outcrops and tidal pools. Swim, snorkel, surf, and sunbathe. When you’re all beached out, head to the shade of the nearby hiking trails to search for sloths, monkeys, and armadillos. Climb to the lookout to capture views of the pristine Pacific Ocean and the area’s off-shore islands

Meals Included:  Breakfast

Day 8 – Manuel Antonio/San Jose
Return to San José and enjoy an optional farewell dinner on the town

  • Private Vehicle
    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Meals Included:  Breakfast

Day 9 – San Jose
Depart at any time.

  • Departure Day
    Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

Meals Included:  Breakfast