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Costa Rica Explorer


In spite of its small size, Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world— and you can explore its volcanoes, national parks, and rainforests on this 13 day educational tour. Costa Rica’s colourful creatures range from howler monkeys to sloths to toucans, all of which are plentiful and relatively easy to spot. The natural beauty of this peaceful oasis is staggering, with hidden treasures around every corner.

This is a nature-lover’s dream trip! Hike through jungles, fly above cloud forests, marvel at volcanoes, search for wildlife, float down rivers, and relax on beaches. Pura vida!


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Educational Costa Rica Explorer

Highlights Include:
  • Exploring the treetops in Monteverde
  • Searching for wildlife in the pristine national parks
  • Learning about the flora & fauna in the cloud forest from naturalist guides
  • Hiking to secret waterfalls with crystal-clear pools of water
  • Hearing about sustainable practices and conservation from students
  • Ziplining high above the cloud forest canopy

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Day 1: To San Jose

Welcome to Costa Rica! Arrival at the San Jose International Airport. After clearing immigration and customs, we board our our bus for a short drive to your hotel. San Jose is Costa Rica’s capital and home to a quarter of its population we catch a glimpse into the Costa Rican lifestyle.

Overnight: Quito Hotel

Day 2: Travel to Tortuguero

Early morning, we travel with a naturalist guide through Braulio Carrillo National Park, where we have the opportunity to see beautiful views and abundant vegetation. We have a bite to eat before boarding our covered boat at Caño Blanco, for the 90 minute ride to the lodge.The village of Tortuguero lies on the northeastern Caribbean coast, approximately 90km north of Limón and is accessible by plane, boat or car. Most people come to the region to visit Tortuguero National Park as it is one of the principal nesting grounds for the green sea turtle. During the summer, thousands of turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. The park is also home to numerous other fascinating wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, parrots, manatees, land turtles, and numerous species of freshwater fish.

The primary form of transportation in the area is a system of waterways and lagoons crisscrossing the park. Numerous boat tours are offered on the canals. You will see impressive flora and fauna from the water. Be prepared – this is the wettest region in the country!

Our lodge the staff will be waiting for us with a refreshing fruit beverage while our room while the guide explains the afternoon activities. Pachira Lodge, is strategically located on 14 hectares (34 acres) of rich flora and fauna, five minutes from Tortuguero National Park, across the main canal facing the town of Tortuguero.

After lunch, we visit the museum, the beach area and the small and picturesque town of Tortuguero.


Overnight: Tortuguero, Pachira Lodge

Day 3: Tortuguero

We rise early this morning to experience nature its best as we journey through the canals at dawn to take our best shot of a real Caribbean sunrise. Depending on the season, we may catch a glimpse of the sea turtles as they lay their eggs during nesting season. From June to October, Tortuguero boasts one of nature’s most intense events as giant green turtles lumber from the sea to dig a hole on the beach and lay dozens of eggs. Late in the season, you may witness the hatching of the eggs as baby turtles struggle to return to the sea to start their lives.

If it isn’t nesting season, we will wander the private trails of our hotel to learn about the local flora and fauna keeping an eye out for sloths, monkeys and parrots!

Overnight: Tortuguero, Pachira Lodge

Day 4: Travel to Arenal

After enjoying breakfast at the lodge we walk to the main dock for our return boat ride to the Caño Blanco dock where we are met by our bus bound for the Arenal Volcano Region. We drive through Sarapiqui rainforest region to San Carlos which is one of the country’s most productive regions, with forest and wood industries, cattle ranches and agriculture. It is the country’s top region for growing oranges, yucca and other root vegetables.

Nestled within the flat, rich lands of San Carlos, the Arenal Volcano rises up from the rainforest like a natural monument. One of many remarkable sights in the area, this mountain of fire symbolizes the adventure and mysticism of the region. With its rolling hills, cattle farms, rainforest, and Costa Rica’s largest lake, the Arenal area’s fertile landscape is a cornucopia of bio-diversity.

Overnight: Arenal – Montana de Fuego

Day 5: Agro Eco Touristic School Project

The project aims to involve agriculture, ecology, and tourism, where works strategically so that the activities compliment each other. The project intends to integrate the students from this high school in the project activities so that they can put into practice what they learned in class, according to the specialty or workshop that the student is studying: specializing in eco-tourism of tourism hospitality and special events, and specialty farming and excursions.

We stroll along a 1 km trail through secondary forest where various species of fauna such as the yigüirro, Toucan, Golden oriole, two-toed sloth, and howler monkeys can be found.

The students demonstrate their tree planting project and also give us the opportunity to learn about their agricultural education programs. Part of the trip includes also a visit to composting project and visits the hydroponic nursery which are taken care of by the teachers and students of this special educational program. The park also forms part of MINAET (national environment and energy minister) a rescue centre for birds such as the Ara macao, Peacock, pheasant and a white tail deer.

Overnight: Arenal – Montana de Fuego

Day 6: Rio Celeste
We leave early bound for Rio Celeste (Light Blue River), located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park. There is a hike of approximately 9 km waiting for us, through the tropical rain forest. We arrive “Los Teñideros” of the Rio Celeste, the site where two streams of crystalline water come together and form the heavenly colour blue that gives the river its name. We will continue our hike through the jungle to seek out the volcano’s furnace vents that expel gases of extreme high temperatures. On our decent we will get to see the spectacular Rio Celeste waterfall whose colour makes it one of a kind! Our final reward is a well earned lunch at the end of our journey.
Overnight: Arenal – Montana de Fuego
Day 7: Lake Crossing to Monteverde

Today we begin our adventurous journey to Monteverde. After a 15 minute transfer to the lake shores, we will embark on a 30 minute boat ride across Arenal Lake followed by a 2 hour drive up the picturesque mountains. This winding road will take us from an altitude of 900 meters above sea level to the Cloud Forest at 1440 meters. Marvel at the changes in vegetation and climate as you ascend to Monteverde. The rare phenomenon where climatic conditions cause cloud and mist to be in regular contact with the vegetation is called a cloud forest. Few exist in the world, and Monteverde is one of the few destinations a cloud forests is easily accessible.

If time permits, we will visit The Serpentarium – a zoo dedicated to snakes and reptiles.

Overnight: Monteverde – Hotel Heliconia

Day 8: Monteverde Reserve Guided Tour

Following an early breakfast, we will be picked up for one of Costa Rica’s most diverse natural history walks. Situated atop the Continental Divide in western Costa Rica, the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Preserve extends down both the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. The resulting combination of climatic and geographic factors creates temperature and humidity gradients which change dramatically over relatively short distances. Splendid quetzals and bellbirds fly about the canopy of the forest, and iridescent hummingbirds hover around in search of nectar. Following the tour, we return to the hotel for some relaxation.

Overnight: Monteverde – Hotel Heliconia

Day 9: Sky Walk / Sky Tram / Sky Trek

We begin with a guided Sky Walk Tour which combines trails and suspension bridges with lengths of 300 m and high above the canopy of Monteverde cloud forest. The tour gives us the opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of the area from a local guide.

Afterwards, we take the Sky Tram to observe the spectacular biodiversity of the cloud forest as well as the impressive Arenal, Tenorio, Miravalles, and Orosi volcanoes.

Our adrenaline is rushing as we fly high above the canopy on the Sky Trek. It is a unique set of zip lines that get up to speeds of 65km per hour with distances ranging up to 760m and heights of 160 m. In addition the tour offers 5 observation towers from which you can truly appreciate the spectacular views.
Overnight: Monteverde – Hotel Heliconia

Day 10: Travel to Manuel Antonio

We leave early this morning on a picturesque, winding road that brings us down from the highlands of Monteverde down to the Interamerican Road that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean, past Puntarenas and Caldera. We keep our eyes open for wildlife such as sloths and macaws. Continue along the Central Pacific through the towns of Jaco, Esterillos and Parrita en route to Quepos, a fishing town near Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio is considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in Costa Rica. It’s as if the picturesque beaches and rainforest were sculpted unlike anywhere else on earth. Imagine a series of natural terraces filled with rare flora and fauna all overlooking the Pacific.

Overnight: Manuel Antonio Eco-Lodge

Day 11: Ten in One Tour – Manuel Antonio

Today is full of adventure!! First stop is for breakfast and then a 35 minute transfer to San Antonio de Damas, where we take the Hummer vehicles while you travel down the barrel of a river. After this ride, you will have a 10 minute hike through nature trails before arriving at the main quarters. Here your guides will give you your special equipment and instructions. Now, let the fun continue as you go hiking Via Ferrata, which means that you will be walking at the borders of the canyon, attached to the walls by special ropes. You will proceed to do a combination of rappels, zip lining, and hiking. Upon conclusion of this high adventure tour, return to the hotel.

Overnight: Manuel Antonio Eco-Lodge

Day 12: Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

This morning we explore the renowned Manuel Antonio National Park with a local naturalist guide. This is one of the jewels of the Costa Rica National Park System with a chance to spot three species of monkeys, sloth’s, iguanas, coatimundis, and a wide range of birds and reptiles.

After the tour, stay in the park and relax on the pristine beaches or return to the hotel.
Overnight: Manuel Antonio Eco-Lodge

Day 13: Departure Day – San Jose International Airport
Early transfer to San Jose airport for our flights back to Vancouver.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Inclusion & Exclusion” tab_id=”1449208780765-5fd2d40a-5e8d”][vc_column_text]Tour Inclusions

  • Mandatory emergency medical insurance
  • All meals on tour (13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners)
  • 12 nights accommodation in a variety of hotels, cabins, and lodges
  • Services of an experienced Canadian tour leader
  • Services of local Costa Rican guides
  • Entrance fees to all the sites and parks mentioned in the program
  • All tips for local guides, boat captains, drivers, restaurant staff, etc
  • All transportation as per itinerary
  • All applicable taxes


Tour Exclusions

  • Services not specified
  • International return flight from Vancouver to San Jose
  • Meals in airports
  • Optional trip cancellation insurance
  • Personal items
  • Departure taxes (international if applicable)

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