February/March 2020 • 11 Days • Price TBA
Costa Rica is an explosion of life! With a seashore to mountaintop topography, a tropical climate, and a geographical identity making it a land bridge between the Americas, it boasts a hospitable 12 ecological zones and 30 types of rain forests.
Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $75-$300 discount on the Costa Rica tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.
Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this 2020 tour! If 25 Early Birds are received for this departure, we’ll add it to our official 2020 Schedule. An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!
Costa Rica is home to an unbelievable variety of plants and animals from both sides of the equator. No other country on the planet has a greater number of species per square mile or offers so many fun and educational pursuits for the traveler in such a small package!
We start off with some fun stops to learn more about the science of coffee at a plantation in the Central Highlands area along with a visit to the village of Sarchi to view the more traditional art of crafting wooden carts. After the fun and educational chocolate (the 5th food group) tour and walk in Sarapiqui, we head west into Arenal country, home of one of the most active volcanoes on the planet.
We spend three nights here in a lovely lodge that provides a base for outstanding walks and activities in the Arenal area. The hotel is really a rural “lodge”, with expansive gardens and its own hot springs, providing a great place to unwind after hiking through the rainforest with our naturalist guide — or consider participating in the optional zipline adventure.
Arenal is becoming the centerpiece of our Costa Rica Adventure. It is complemented by long-tested WAI favorites such as early morning canal rides and walks in Tortuguero National Park, Cahuita jungle walking with howler monkeys and the afternoon sloth sanctuary visit, and several other Costa Rican “pura vida” (full of life) adventures!
- Arenal Volcano – with a rainforest walk to see wildlife, and opportunities to view lava flows from one of the world’s most active volcanoes
- Central Highlands – with a coffee tour and lunch at a remote, family-owned coffee plantation. Coffee is the bean that raised Costa Rica from Central American poverty!
- Cahuita National Park – boasting a memorable “dry jungle” trail along the Caribbean in the company of howler monkeys
- Tortuguero – two days to explore this jungle haven for iguanas, monkeys, sloths, and toucans. Cruising through rain forest canals at dawn on the lookout for critters is a lifetime experience!
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
- Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day
- All land travel as outlined
- Tourist-class hotel accommodations in remote, uniquely Costa Rican settings (all facilities en suite)
- 23 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 9 dinners as listed (BLD)
- 7 walks as listed (IVV sanctions to be applied for)
- Cultural & historical expertise of a local guide throughout
- WAI guide service throughout
- All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
- Price is based on double occupancy. Single accommodations are available for a supplement.
- Rojas Coffee Plantation visit
- Tirimbina Rainforest Center Chocolate Tour
- Arenal Hanging Bridges
- Jungle river cruise to Tortuguero
- Tortuguero National Park and wildlife canal cruise
- Cahuita National Park
- Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary
- Escazu Encanto de la Piedra Blanca Sugar and Mascarade visit
- More fun stops than we can list!
- Arenal Sky Tram OR Sky Trek zipline experience (Day 5)
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!
Click on each day for more details.
DAY 1: Arrive Costa Rica
Our Costa Rica Adventure begins today with a flight into Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport. Our hotel is set beside a lovely pool amidst tropical vegetation in nearby La Garita. Since flights generally arrive late in the evening, no group activities are planned today. Our first group activity is breakfast tomorrow morning in the poolside restaurant of beautiful Resort Martino.
DAY 2: La Garita – Sarapiqui (BLD)
A morning drive takes us through panoramas of the Central Highlands to the Rojas Family Coffee Plantation. Here, we learn about the potent little bean that revolutionized Costa Rica’s economy in the 19th century, then share lunch with our hospitable hosts in their pleasant plantation home. After stopping in the village of Sarchi to observe traditional methods of crafting wooden coffee carts, more scenic, rural roads take us to Sarapiqui, a region in northern Costa Rica boasting some of the country’s richest pockets of untouched forest.
DAY 3: Sarapiqui – Arenal Volcano Area (BD)
Chocolate Plantation Walk – 6 km, unrated
This morning’s activity is an enchanting visit to Tirimbina Rainforest Center. Here, on a plot of land that was once a cacao-growing plot, our guide shares the intriguing process of transforming cacao into chocolate. Following this fascinating hands-on demonstration, we participate in a rainforest nature hike through the reserve that crosses several bridges and introduces us to multiple ecosystems. Leaving Sarapiqui, our destination is a delightful lodge in the vicinity of Arenal Volcano, one of the more active volcanoes on the planet.
DAY 4: Activities in the Arenal Area (BD)
El Silencio Rainforest Walk – 3.5 km, rated 3C
Mystery Arenal Walk – 3 to 5 km, unrated
The El Silencio Rainforest Walk takes us into thick tropical jungle that opens onto breathtaking views of Lake Arenal and the volcano! Along the trail, watch for raucous howler monkeys, curious coatimundis, tiny whizzing hummingbirds, and brilliant Blue Morpho butterflies. After lunch, a second walk is available in the area. WAI planners scouted with local guides to develop this Arenal-area walk.
DAY 5: Activities in the Arenal Area (BD)
Hanging Bridges Walk – 3 km, unrated
Our walk this morning is a completely unique rainforest route involving sixteen footbridges, six of which are suspension bridges. The bridges offer unparalleled access to the rainforest canopy as well as views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal along significant sections of the route. The afternoon is free to enjoy the tropical surroundings of our lodge, complete with its own complimentary hot spring, Jacuzzi, and pools.
Consider, however, joining us for an optional return to the jungle canopy on the Sky Tram and Trek excursion—an excellent aerial tram/zipline experience. All of us ascend through the Arenal jungle on the slow-moving, guided Sky Tram, enjoying expansive views and an up-close-andpersonal connection to the rainforest canopy. At the far end of the tram line, those ready for an adrenalin rush return via Sky Trek—whizzing through the jungle on ziplines with hearts pumping. Those preferring the more sedate pace of the Sky Tram have time to enjoy the views before returning by Sky Tram over the same route to the bottom station, there to be reunited with Sky Trekkers. Price TBA
DAY 6: Sarapiqui area – Tortuguero (BLD)
Tortuguero Town Trail – 3 km, rated 1B
Following a morning drive through the luxuriant rain forests of Braulio Carrillo National Park, we board a jungle riverboat that winds through a labyrinthine network of canals and rivers to Tortuguero National Park. Our boat provides an idyllic viewing platform to spy on monkeys, crocs, and a seemingly limitless array of colorful birds. Our home for the next two nights, Laguna Lodge, is nestled in the Caribbean jungle, accessible only by boat or plane. Lizards, leafcutter ants, and more of our feathered friends are just a few of the critters we keep an eye out for along today’s jungle trail to the village of Tortuguero. This little strip of land sandwiched between the Caribbean and a watery world of lagoons and canals is caught in a time warp—no cars, no streets, and very few signs of post 19th century life.
DAY 7: Activities in Tortuguero (BLD)
Tortuguero Sea Turtle Walk – 3 km, rated 1B
An unforgettable early morning wildlife cruise takes us in pursuit of toucans, sloths, iguanas, monkeys, and other local residents. Following breakfast, join us for a return walk into Tortuguero to visit the sea turtle conservancy. The 35 kilometers of black sand beach here is the nesting site of more endangered green sea turtles than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. After lunch and a siesta, we explore the surrounding jungle with our guide in search of toucans, iguanas, and any other Costa Rican critters parading through this wildlife wonderland!
DAY 8: Tortuguero – Cahuita (BLD)
We leave Tortuguero this morning for a return journey downriver. Images of Humphrey Bogart on the African Queen come to mind as we float through this otherworldly tropical environment. Our final destination is further south along the Caribbean near the funky, Jamaican village of Cahuita, gateway to Cahuita National Park.
DAY 9: Activities in Cahuita area (BD)
Cahuita Nat’l Park Dry Jungle Walk – 10 km, rated 1B
The wide, palm-lined trail through Cahuita National Park parallels a crystalline, sapphire sea offering opportunities to spot a menagerie of slinking sloths, brilliant butterflies, mischievous monkeys, and more. Join us this afternoon for a visit to a nearby sloth sanctuary. We spend about an hour on a guided canoe ride through the bayous of the Estrella River Delta on the lookout for wild sloths and other rainforest critters. Next stop is the Learning Center to meet some of the resident sloths, maybe even some of the babies!
DAY 10: Cahuita – La Garita (BD)
We leave the Caribbean today to return to the Central Highlands. The day’s main activity takes place in Escazú, an atmospheric mountain town near San Jose. Here, a sugar cane mill visit provides a demonstration of traditional sugar production in Costa Rica. Don Gerardo’s mascarade workshop then offers a fun window into Costa Rican culture – a demonstration of these colorful traditional “puppets” used to celebrate festivals and parades. This evening, we’re back in the same lovely hotel in which we started the Adventure. Join us tonight for a Farewell Dinner to reminisce about our explorations throughout captivating Costa Rica!
DAY 11: Depart from La Garita (B)
We leave Costa Rica this morning on a return flight to the USA with fond memories of our adventures in this land of breathtaking beauty and diversity!
Click on each heading for more details.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.
Traveler Rewards Program
New Travelers receive a $75-$300 discount on the Costa Rica tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].
How is airfare arranged?
The official start and finish point for this Adventure is San Jose, Costa Rica (airport code SJO). More details about flight arrangements will be made available after this tour has been finalized.
What about the walks?
Walks on this Adventure are guided walks and we generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and learning about the amazing flora and fauna of Costa Rica, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Walks with less commentary generally continue at a steadier pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1-800-779-0353.
We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.
A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
What happens next?
We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.
If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 fee, bringing your deposit on tour up to $500. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.
Take a minute to peruse the draft itinerary: envision yourself lounging in geothermal hot springs beneath the shadow of Arenal Volcano, standing eye to eye with a chattering capuchin monkey on our Cahuita National Park Walk, or marveling at the multi-hued bill of a toucan in Tortuguero! Then give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants who can help you join us for an unforgettable Walking Adventure in Costa Rica!