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Drifting On A Headwind

By Jim Harlan

Adventures in travel!

Experience the wild adventures of the author as he travels in remote corners of the world. Read more...

Experts in travel to remote corners of the world

Costa Rica Explorer

> Central America > Costa Rica

Featuring: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Butterfly Garden, Arenal Volcano, White Water Rafting, and light charter flights into remote Tortuguero National Park with boats trips through the rain forest at very affordable prices.

Length: 10 Days / 9 Nights

Trip Includes:

  • Meet and greet – transfers – most meals – guides and excursions – park entrance fees.
  • Price is low season based on double occupancy
  • High season $1898.00
  • International air & $17.00 departure tax not included

Cost is subject to change based on currency exchange or availability

Itinerary Highlights:

DAY 1-Arrive San José
Arrive at San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, where you will be met by our representative at the ramp, helped through immigration and customs, and transferred to your hotel in San José. Overnight at San José Hotel. (no meals)

DAY 2- San José / Poás / Monteverde
After a welcome orientation breakfast, drive to Poás Volcano National Park (cold climate). Poás is one of the deepest active volcanoes in the world and emits steam from vents deep within its main crater. A second crater, with a rain-fed lake surrounded by highland rain forest, is located a half mile away via a trail through a dwarf cloud forest. Of the 80 species of birds reported, several are unique to this habitat. Following lunch, begin the descent to the Pacific lowlands (hot climate for about 4 hours) on the Pan-American Highway. At the turnoff to Monteverde, begin the ascent back up into the mountains, driving along a gravel road with views of hillside pastures and beyond to the Gulf of Nicoya. Dinner and overnight at Monteverde Lodge, Hotel Sapo Dorado, Hotel Fonda Vela, Hotel Belmar or similar (cool climate).

DAY 3- Monteverde
After breakfast, enjoy a guided excursion in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Founded in 1972, the Reserve extends down both slopes of the Tilarán Mountains (elevation 2,300 to 5,600 ft.), encompassing six different ecological life zones and protecting more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,500 species of plants. From January to July, depending upon your luck and patience, you may observe in its natural habitat the resplendent quetzal (occasionally a dozen or more can be seen at once). Other species include the Three-wattled bellbird, the Emerald toucanet, and White-faced and Howler monkeys. Return to the hotel midday for lunch and a siesta. In the afternoon, visit the Butterfly Garden where butterflies and other insects are raised and displayed in shade cloth enclosures with tropical gardens. Overnight Monteverde Lodge or similar.

DAY 4-Monteverde / Lake Arenal
Midmorning, drive with your guide approximately 4 hours from Monteverde to your hotel in the Arenal area, passing around the north end of Lake Arenal and near the Arenal Volcano, which has been active since 1968. Arrive at your hotel in time for an afternoon rest. In the evening, weather permitting, view the volcanic activity which may include explosions and lava flows. Overnight at Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Lodge, Montaña De Fuego or similar.

DAY 5-Arenal
Day activities include options of a guided walk in Arenal National Park to the lava flows or a visit on your own (transportation provided) to Tabacón Hot Springs. If you wish, relax at your hotel. Overnight at Arenal Observatory Lodge or similar. (no meals)

DAY 6-Arenal / Tortuguero
After an early morning breakfast on your own, drive 3 hours to Guapiles, where you will meet the light charter plane for the 20-minute flight to Tortuguero. Upon arrival you will be met at the airstrip and transported by boat on the Tortuguero river to Tortuga Lodge or similar (maximum boat time 10 minutes). After lunch, your local Tortuguero guide will take you out for your first boat trip into the forest for wildlife observation in the back waters and lagoons of Tortuguero National Park where, if you’re lucky, you may sight Spider and White faced monkeys, Slatey-tailed trogon, Great green macaw, Tiger herons, Green ibis, River otter and Three-toed sloths. Late afternoon return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

DAY 7 & 8-Tortuguero
Two full days to explore the Tortuguero area, including two boat excursions with local Tortuguero guide and a visit to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation Museum to learn about the Atlantic green sea turtle. Originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic green sea turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 51,870 acres, one of the last large areas of tropical rain forests in Central America. Additional boat trips are available at extra cost. There will also be time to wander on the deserted beach (swimming is discouraged for safety reasons) across from the Lodge where thousands of green sea turtles come to nest from June through October. There are special night excursions available in this season. Overnight at Tortuga Lodge or similar.

DAY 9-Tortuguero / Reventazón / San José
Very early morning departure from Tortuga Lodge for a 30-minute flight to San José where you will board a van for the 2-hour drive to the put-in on the Reventazón River (Tucurrique Run) where you will enjoy a day of moderate white water rafting (class II-III). An hour from San José, there will be a stop for breakfast. The drive will take you through sugar cane, coffee, and macadamia nut farms. Upon arrival at the put-in, the River Guide will give a very important safety talk. With an experienced guide, anyone in reasonable physical condition can quickly learn to paddle down the rapids like a pro. Those who choose not to go rafting will be taken to the hotel early and have the rest of the day free. The farewell dinner tonight will be held at a typical Costa Rican restaurant. Overnight at your San José hotel.

DAY 10-Depart San José
Transfer to the international airport approximately two hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time. (no meals)

Price: $1,698.00

The above is a sample itinerary. Uncommon Adventures specializes in custom itineraries to suit your specific desires and needs as well. Please feel free to consult us to design an adventure of your own.

Destinations in Central America:
Costa Rica
Uncommon Adventures specializes in unique adventure travel and expeditions to all corners of the world. Our well traveled staff is able to provide you with personal insights to the uncommon destinations on the planet. Life is short! Start your adventure today.

Photography courtesy of Randy Harwood Photography.