Itinerary and Accommodations
Day 1: Depart for San Jose, Costa Rica We arrive in the Costa Rican capital and transfer to our hotel located in the Escazu area outside the city. This afternoon and evening are at leisure.
Day 2: San Jose After meeting our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at this morning’s breakfast briefing, we embark on an excursion to Irazú National Park, whose active volcano last erupted in 1994. At 11,260 feet, Irazú stands as Costa Rica’s tallest volcano, as well as its largest; and presents a spectacle of nature, as it rises from a flat, bare landscape coated in ash. We return to our hotel late this afternoon; tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner there. B,L,D
Day 3: San Jose/Arenal Region We leave this morning bound for the Arenal region, passing picturesque villages along the way. We stop at the Doka Coffee Estate, located on the fertile slopes of Poás Volcano, where we learn about coffee making and Costa Rica’s coffee crop, one of the country’s largest exports. Continuing on, we stop in Carrizal at the family-owned Botanical Orchid Garden, with tropical trails, exhibits, nurseries, and gardens all dedicated to the wondrous orchid plant. After time to explore here, we travel on to Arenal and our hotel, which offers magnificent views of Arenal Volcano and where we dine tonight. B,L,D
Day 4: Arenal Region This morning we visit a local elementary school to enjoy a cultural exchange with the children and learn about Costa Rica’s vaunted educational system – the country boasts a literacy rate of more than 95%. We continue on to Ecocentro Danaus, a biological reserve focused on conservation, environmental education, and sustainability. A series of trails winds through the secondary forest, where we see diverse flora, including orchids, bromelia, and heliconia, along with some of the preserve’s 150 species of birds, sloths, and bats, among other fauna. Highlights include a butterfly farm with 30 different species and a natural water spring that attracts waterfowl, alligators, and iguana. Later today there’s time for more volcano viewing before and after dinner (at a local restaurant) from a comfortable perch at our hotel. B,L,D
Day 5: Arenal Region On this morning’s visit to Arenal’s Mistico hanging bridges, we have the special opportunity to experience the rainforest from the canopy level as we traverse a series of five suspension bridges high above the forest floor. While we observe the rainforest from a unique perspective, our naturalist guide will point out some of the flora and fauna that thrive here. Then we return to our hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax amidst the beautiful grounds and thermal waters. Lunch and dinner today are on our own. B
Day 6: Arenal Region/Monteverde Cloud Forest We travel today to the “green cathedral” of Monteverde. En route we stop to visit a nonprofit handicrafts cooperative dedicated to enhancing the economic and social well-being of local women artists. After lunch on our own in Santa Elena, we continue on to our hotel, arriving late afternoon. We dine tonight at a local restaurant in Monteverde. B,D
Day 7: Monteverde This morning we embark on a guided walk through Monteverde’s biological reserve, learning about the amazing biodiversity in this relatively small area. After lunch together we visit the Monteverde Bat Jungle to learn about Costa Rica’s diverse – and important – bat population. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel for time at leisure before we dine together this evening. B,L,D
Day 8: Monteverde/Guanacaste We depart by coach this morning for Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s stunning northwest Pacific coastal region. Along the way we visit Monteverde’s delightful Butterfly Garden, with a variety of species including the stunning blue morpho and the virtually transparent glasswing. After a stop for lunch, we reach our resort hotel overlooking the Pacific mid-afternoon. B,L,D
Day 9: Guanacaste A float safari on the Tempisque River highlights this morning’s excursion to the Palo Verde region, which is both an extraordinary wetland and also one of the world’s last tropical dry forests. In this unique ecosystem, we can expect to see abundant bird- and wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. After lunch together we return to our hotel mid-afternoon, with the remainder of the day at leisure along one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful Pacific Coast settings. B,L
Day 10: Guanacaste Today is at leisure to enjoy the beautiful beach and other amenities of our hotel, including an outdoor infinity pool. Optional activities include kayaking, hiking, or visiting the lively town of Tamarindo. This evening we gather at a farewell dinner to celebrate our Costa Rican adventure. B,D
Day 11: Depart for U.S. We transfer to the airport this morning for our return flights to the U.S. B
Note: This trip includes nature walks and lengthy coach rides over bumpy dirt roads. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.
InterContinental Costa Rica, San Jose / Days 1-2, Extension / Superior First Class
The InterContinental Costa Rica hotel is well situated in Escazu, one of San Jose’s exclusive suburbs, and located within the Multiplaza Mall complex (close to shops and restaurants). The 372-room hotel has four restaurants, lounges, spa, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, fitness center, and heated outdoor pool (surrounded by tropical gardens). Each of the guest rooms has air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.
Lomas del Volcán, La Fortuna / Days 3-5 / First Class
The Lomas del Volcán Hotel sits on 370 acres of lush Costa Rican farmland, and each of its 47 wooden cabins offers a view of nearby Arenal Volcano. The hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and bar, outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, extensive nature trails, laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Air-conditioned cabins have private bath with hair dryer (upon request), in-room safe, coffee-making facilities, refrigerator, TV, and phone.
El Establo Mountain Hotel, Monteverde Cloud Forest / Days 6-7 / First Class
Nestled in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest, El Establo Mountain Hotel offers outstanding views and is just minutes from Monteverde Reserve. Amenities at the 155-room lodge include hiking trails, canopy tours, two indoor pools, tennis courts, fitness center, spa with massage and beauty treatments, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and two restaurants and two bars. Comfortable guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, safe-deposit box, coffee-making facilities, TV, phone, and private balcony or terrace overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya. The rooms are not air conditioned since the typically cool “mountain” climate at Monteverde rarely requires it.
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa, Guanacaste / Days 8-10 / Superior First Class
Situated on a stretch of pristine Costa Rican coastline, the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa offers a lush retreat in a spectacular setting. The sprawling hacienda-style resort offers five restaurants, two bars, an infinity pool, a full fitness center, an award-winning spa, and hiking/jogging trails (along with an abundance of optional activities nearby, including golf and zip-lining). Each air-conditioned guest room includes private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.
Mawamba Lodge, Tortuguero National Park / Extension / First Class
Nestled amidst gardens in the rainforest, Mawamba Lodge occupies a 15-acre waterfront property on the Tortuguero Lagoon with direct beach access. The rustic 58-room lodge offers a restaurant and bar, nature trails, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, whirlpool, outdoor pool, sand volleyball court, souvenir shop, and laundry service. Each guest room includes a private bath, ceiling fan, and in-room safe. (A limited number of hair dryers are available at reception). Although you will not have air conditioning, television, or telephone in your room, the accommodations are designed to be both comfortable and an excellent fit with the natural environment.
Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.