Boundless Journeys - vacations and travel

Costa Rica: Nature's Richness Revealed

“Thus far, the best trip I've ever taken! ”
 Tortuguero
,  Arenal
,  Monteverde
,  Santa Elena
,  La Fortuna
,  Selvatura, Costa Rica, Central America

from $3,195* per person 8 Days February, August, December
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Boundless Journeys 16 people max
  • San jose airport, san jose, costa rica
  • Culture & Nature trips
Costa Rica is nature at its inspiring best – from the wild jungles of the Caribbean coast, to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, to the impressive Arenal Volcano, it is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. Monkeys, sloths, coatimundis, and an array of colorful birds accompany us on our journey. Our adventure unfolds in the remote Tortuguero National Park, a fascinating system of islands and twisting waterways in the Caribbean rainforest. Here our naturalist guides lead us as we look for howler monkeys in the thick forests, and venture by longboats into mangrove lagoons. Next we move to the unspoiled central highlands, where we hike in the beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest, alive with butterflies and Resplendent Quetzals, and take a boat ride across serene Lake Arenal. Our grand finale is a zip line tour through the rainforest of Arenal National Park followed by a soak in the area's natural hot springs.

Locations visited/nearby

Tortuguero , Arenal , Monteverde , Santa Elena , La Fortuna , Selvatura, Costa Rica, Central America

1 testimonial about this trip

  1. Reviewer: located in S. Euclid, OH USA
    "Thus far, the best trip I've ever taken!"
    5

3 testimonials about the provider, Boundless Journeys:

  • Reviewer: located in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL USA
    "My praise for the experience I had on my Boundless Journeys adventure in the Canadian Rockies is¦well, boundless! The trip was meticulously planned and implemented with the utmost professionalism. The guides were truly superb and every facet of the trip was outstanding. I expect to be on another Boundless Journeys trip very soon!!"
    5
  • Reviewer: located in El Paso, TX USA
    "One of the best managed and most enjoyable trips I've ever taken!"
    5
  • Reviewer: located in Andover, MA USA
    "The trip was everything we hoped...beautifully planned and even better than your advertisements! Nicky herself is an absolute jewel! She is simply amazing in her knowledge of the natural world, as a tour leader and as a group leader. She is simply superb in every way! One of the most memorable human beings I have ever met."
    5

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Itinerary

DAY 1
Arrival in San José

Our trip begins upon the arrival of your flight to Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José. After clearing customs you are met by a Boundless Journeys driver and transferred to our hotel, where you can enjoy a swim or a walk in the beautiful gardens. This evening, you are free to dine on your own at the hotel or in downtown San José.
Hotel Bougainvillea, San José

DAY 2
Tortuguero National Park

Walk – easy to moderate, on nature trails, 1-2 hours.

This morning we depart San José and drive east through the central mountains, descending through valleys of banana plantations on our way to the launch point of our rainforest adventure. Next, we board our private river boat and make our way through the twisting rivers of the Caribbean lowlands to our home for the next two nights – a comfortable jungle lodge bordering Tortuguero National Park. We arrive early afternoon in time for a delicious lunch, followed by a hike in the forest where our guide introduces us to the mysteries of Tortuguero and its complex ecosystems.

Tortuguero National Park protects one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. Eleven habitats are found here, providing homes to three species of monkeys (spider, howler, and white-faced capuchin), three-toed sloths, and river otters. Caiman, iguanas, river turtles, basilisk lizards, and poison dart frogs inhabit the area as well, along with more than 320 species of birds including kingfishers, toucans, eight species of parrots, and the uniquely named Slaty-tailed Trogon, White- collared Manakin, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, and White-fronted Nunbird.

After our hike, we take a colorful walk through Tortuguero Village to the Caribbean Conservation Center where we learn about the area’s marine turtle conservation project. We may also enjoy a walk on the beach where thousands of turtles return each year between June and September to lay their eggs.

During our August departure, an optional night tour to observe the green turtle migration during nesting season may be arranged at an additional cost.

This evening we enjoy dinner together at our lodge.
Pachira Lodge, Tortuguero

DAY 3
Tortuguero National Park

Morning kayak – easy, 2 hours (no experience necessary); afternoon exploration by motor boat – approximately 2 hours.

This morning we explore the canals of Tortuguero by kayak. The wide-open canals are superb for viewing howler monkeys, Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, crocodiles, iguanas, and dozens of other species.

Lunch will be back at our lodge, perhaps followed by an early afternoon swim in the pool or a siesta on one of the hammocks hung throughout the property.

As afternoon draws to a close, we’ll venture again into the canals for a sunset tour by motor boat keeping our eyes and ears alert for forest creatures. Our guides have an amazing ability to spot wildlife that remains hidden to the untrained eye.

After our boat tour, dinner awaits us back at the lodge.
Pachira Lodge, Tortuguero

DAY 4
Flight to San José; transfer to Monteverde

Walk – easy to moderate, on hiking trails, about 2 hours.

Early this morning we say goodbye to the rainforest as we board our plane at a nearby airstrip for our flight back to San José. The approximately one-hour flight is scenic and offers us a new perspective on this special part of Costa Rica, where waterfalls cascade from the mountains below. Upon arrival in San José, we begin our overland drive to Monteverde (approximately 4 hours).

By mid-afternoon we arrive in Monteverde where we will stay for the next two nights. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of the richest and most diverse tropical cloud forests in the world, best known as home to the Resplendent Quetzal. It is also home to hundreds of other bird, mammal, and plant species.

Our first adventure in Monteverde is a visit to the Ecological Sanctuary, a 75-acre wildlife refuge with meandering trails through secondary forest. Once a working farm, the Ecological Sanctuary now plants four to five thousand trees per year for reforestation. Here you may see coatimundis, sloths, white-faced monkeys, and many other animal species.

After dinner in the village, we make ourselves comfortable at our hotel on the edge of the forest.
Hotel Fonda Vela, Monteverde

DAY 5
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Walk – easy to moderate, on hiking trails and suspension bridges, 4-5 hours.

After breakfast, we have the unique experience of seeing the wonders of the virgin cloud forest from a bird’s-eye view in the canopy, on suspension walkways high above the forest floor. Meandering through the trees at our own pace, we have the vantage point of eight different bridges of various lengths spanning nearly two miles of lush forest.

Midday we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, perhaps sampling casado (rice and beans with meat) – a favorite of the locals. The abundant fresh fruit is also refreshing at this time of day.

This afternoon we hike through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where we experience first-hand the misty, dense vegetation and majestic trees. Along the way, our naturalist guide explains the specific cycles of life in this unique and complex ecosystem. The tropical cloud forest is confined to mountain ridges where, due to frequent cloud cover, the mist moistens and fertilizes the land, resulting in the dense growth of small plants (known as epiphytes) in the trees. From the forest floor to the canopy, it is a place full of life.

Tonight we enjoy one more evening at our rainforest retreat.
Hotel Fonda Vela, Monteverde

DAY 6
Transfer to Arenal Volcano National Park

Scenic boat ride; walk – easy, on hiking trails, 1-2 hours.

In the morning we say goodbye to the cloud forest and depart Monteverde for the small town of Rio Chiquito, where we board a boat for a thirty-minute ride across Lake Arenal. As we travel across, our guide explains the history of this man-made lake and the original town of Arenal that now lies deep under the surface.

On the other side of the lake, our vehicle is waiting for a short ride to the Vida Campesina, a small organic farm owned by Erasmo Gonzales and his children. Here we learn how to make tortillas and enjoy a traditional lunch with freshly harvested vegetables.

This afternoon we walk through lush rainforest to the majestic La Fortuna Waterfall. This beautiful 200 foot waterfall receives its cool, clear waters from the pristine forested mountains of Arenal National Park. Those who brought their bathing suits may wish to take a dip in the refreshing water below the falls. All proceeds from our visit today are reinvested into local conservation efforts.

This evening we return to our lodge. perched high on a ridge less than 2 miles miles from Arenal Volcano. From our rooms we have an impressive view of the volcanic giant amidst lush tropical rainforest.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park

DAY 7
Arenal Volcano, Sky Tram and Zip Lines, and Ecotermales Hot Springs

Hike – easy to moderate, on hiking trails, 2-3 hours.

Arenal Volcano National Park encompasses thousands of acres of pristine rainforest and teems with tropical birds and wildlife – it is also our grounds for exploration today.

This morning a leisurely or heart-pounding adventure is in store – the choice is yours. We board gondolas, providing a smooth and peaceful ride through the rainforest with endless views on the way to the top. Once at the observation deck, we take some time to simply enjoy the magnificent views of the volcano’s south face.
From here, we have two options for returning to the base. The first option is to ride back down on the gondola, noticing along the way how the vegetation varies as the altitude changes once again. The other option is to zip your way to the bottom along a series of fast moving canopy zip lines – a great option for those seeking a rush of adrenaline!

This afternoon, we continue to explore the rainforest with a hike around the volcano learning about its fascinating history and current activity.

Early this evening, we enjoy the benefits of this geothermal area with a refreshing dip in the Ecotermales hot springs – one of the less-frequented but most scenic springs in the Arenal region. Here we have time to relax before a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park

DAY 8
Departure

We depart Arenal early, arriving at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José by late morning in time for mid-afternoon international flights home.

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