Costa Rica Eco-Adventure: Tortuguero, Sarapiquí, and Arenal

Costa Rica Eco-Adventure: Tortuguero, Sarapiquí, and Arenal

About this trip

This active exploration of Costa Rica’s rich environments will enliven all your senses with a wide variety of excursions. Venture to the Caribbean coast and remote Tortuguero National Park, one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in the world. Then journey inland to discover the rainforests of Selva Verde, our private eco-reserve set on 500 protected acres. These distinct locations offer the perfect introduction to Costa Rica’s biodiversity, which you’ll also encounter in the forests and lava fields of Arenal Volcano National Park, driving through Braulio Carrillo National Park,and on a whitewater rafting excursion.See firsthand how the country’s national park system protects its natural resources, and learn about the ecological benefits of responsible agriculture.

Highlights

  • Kayak the waterways of Tortuguero in search of reptiles, monkeys, butterflies, and birds.
  • Ride a boat to Tortuguero Village and visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy museum.
  • Hike in Selva Verde’s private rainforest reserve, part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
  • Visit a macaw rescue facility, where previously caged or abused macaws fly free.
  • Go whitewater rafting on the Río Sarapiquí’s Class I, II, and III rapids.
  • Relax in thermal hot springs in the shadow of Arenal Volcano.
  • Learn how crops like pineapples, bananas, and coconuts play an important role in the local economy.
11 Travelers

$2,595

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$2,295

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

San José

Day 1

Upon arrival, after clearing customs and immigrations at the airport, meet your driver and transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea. Before dinner at the hotel, gather with your fellow travelers for your program orientation. In order to arrive in time for orientation, participants must book flights that arrive in San José no later than 4:30 pm.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Tortuguero

Day 2

This morning check out early and begin your transfer from San José to Tortuguero, first by bus. Located on the northern Caribbean coast, Tortuguero consists of a series of natural interconnecting canals and provides a unique opportunity to observe wildlife by boat. Throughout the year Tortuguero is an important nesting site in the western Caribbean for the endangered green and leatherback sea turtles. En route, admire the beauty and biodiversity of the rainforest while driving through Braulio Carrillo National Park. In Guápiles, stop for a hearty breakfast buffet, and if time and weather allow, visit a banana processing plant to learn more about one of Costa Rica's prime exports. Continue your journey to the dock, where you will board a private boat for the water transfer to Pachira Lodge in Tortuguero. Upon arrival at the lodge, relax with a cocktail and lunch. This afternoon, take a quick boat ride across the canal waterway to Tortuguero Village and visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) museum to learn about sea turtle conservation. The STC has conducted research and monitoring programs in Tortuguero since 1959. Take a walk on the beach, explore the town, then meet with a resident of Tortuguero who will give an interactive presentation on the importance of coconuts in the village. Return to the lodge for dinner. If traveling between the nesting months of July through September, there is an optional sea turtle nest walk available at additional cost.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Pachira Lodge

Tortuguero

Day 3

This morning have breakfast at the lodge and then experience the flora and fauna of the Tortuguero National Park while kayaking the waterways of Tortuguero. The extensive network of freshwater creeks and lagoons in Tortuguero are home to seven species of river turtles, spectacled caimans, southern river otters, many crustaceans, and more than 50 species of freshwater fish. You may also see spider, howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, several different species of birds, three-toed sloths, and crocodiles. If lucky, you might spot an endangered West Indian manatee. Return to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon, set out on an interpretive hike along the lodge's trails to explore the mysterious jungle of Tortuguero. This evening, take a night walk around the lodge grounds to see nocturnal creatures like snakes, frogs, sloths, and tamanduas (a type of anteater).

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Pachira Lodge

Sarapiqui

Day 4

This morning transfer to Selva Verde Lodge & Rainforest Reserve, first by boat and then by bus. Located in the lush lowlands of north central Costa Rica, Selva Verde comprises an ecolodge and a private tract of primary and secondary tropical rainforest. After settling in, receive an orientation on the lodge's facilities and 500-acre private reserve, then hear a lecture by a local naturalist to learn about the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a stretch of terrain spanning from southern Mexico to Panama. The rainforest surrounding Selva Verde Lodge constitutes just one small part of this important conservation zone. Enjoy time to relax in your room, or stroll about the property before a buffet-style dinner in the upstairs dining room. After dessert, explore the world of the rainforest after sundown during a short night hike in search of nocturnal amphibians, mammals, owls, and insects.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Sarapiqui

Day 5

This morning after breakfast, embark on an exciting whitewater rafting adventure! The river has a gentle current with several minor class I, II, and III rapids. A professional river guide escorts all rafting trips and all of the necessary safety equipment (helmet, life jackets, etc.) is provided, along with a lesson on rafting safety instructions and procedures. For those not interested in rafting, a boat trip along the river can be arranged as an alternative. Return to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon, visit a local pineapple plantation to learn about organic farming and harvesting techniques. The pineapple industry is an important source of foreign exchange for Costa Rica.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge

Arenal

Day 6

This morning hike the Almendro trail in the Selva Verde Reserve which is home to one of the oldest and largest remaining Almendro trees in all of Central America. This towering beauty is nearly 600 years old and provides food and shelter to thousands of organisms, including the endangered Great Green Macaw, who favors the fruit of the Almendro. Afterwards travel to La Fortuna town; enjoy lunch en route. Upon arrival at Arenal Springs Hotel, check in and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax in the thermal hot spring pools heated by the nearby Arenal Volcano. Dinner this evening is in the dining room. Weather permitting, the hotel affords excellent views of the immense volcano from every room.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Springs Hotel

Arenal

Day 7

This morning take a hike in Arenal Volcano National Park, then return to hotel for lunch. This afternoon, visit Arenal Vida Campesina, an organic farm and education center dedicated to advancing environmentally-friendly agriculture. Enjoy a traditional lunch prepared with fresh produce from the farm, then get hands-on as you learn how to make tortillas. The hospitality is as heartwarming as the shot of their farm-fermented liquor - a traditional farewell gesture, and fitting end to a memorable visit.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Springs Hotel

San José

Day 8

This morning after breakfast, check out and head to Arenal Hanging Bridges, a reserve that abounds with wonderful trails, suspension bridges, and outstanding natural areas. There are 15 bridges in the park, six of which are suspended in the upper canopy, allowing for an eye-level view of the abundant wildlife living there. Return to San Jose. Lunch en route. This evening attend a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Wyndham Herradura Hotel, Standard

Farewell!

Day 9

This morning transfer to the airport via hotel shuttle for flights back to the U.S.

Breakfast- included