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Costa Rica: Cloud Forest to the Caribbean
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9 days

from $7,541 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($4,960 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers can choose light or moderate activities throughout the trip. They should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, and easy hikes, with options each day for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Experience the extraordinary biodiversity of Monteverde, one of the world’s finest nature reserves.
  • Marvel at scarlet macaws, sloths, monkeys, and peccaries on a walk in Carara Park National Park.
  • Explore the rain forest surrounding Arenal Volcano on bridges suspended through the treetops.
  • Glide along the waterways of Tortuguero National Park and look for caimans and toucans.
Itinerary

Explore Costa Rica’s national parks and reserves on a journey from mist-shrouded cloud forests to volcanic landscapes and coastal jungles. Spot bright-winged birds in Carara Park National Park, and venture deep into Monteverde’s rain forest to search for monkeys, sloths, and rare orchids. Discover the ecosystems surrounding the smoldering Arenal Volcano, and encounter a wealth of wildlife along hidden waterways in Tortuguero National Park.

Day 1: U.S./San José, Costa Rica

Fly to San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and transfer to our hotel upon arrival. Gather for a welcome dinner this evening.

Day 2: San José/Tarcoles River/Monteverde

After an early breakfast, head to the town of Tarcoles, which lies in the buffer zone of Carara National Park. Enjoy a tour on the Tarcoles River where you'll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of birds and the American crocodile in its natural habitat. Continue to Monteverde and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the Curi Cancha Wildlife Refuge. Later, we'll hear from an early Quaker settler on Monteverde. Lodging tonight is a family-owned retreat with picturesque views of the cloud forest.

Day 3: Monteverde

Visit the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens to see dozens of local species. Then spend the day exploring the cloud forest. Here, the dense foliage is bathed in year-round moisture created by cooling winds coming off the ocean. Walk along trails rich with butterflies, insects, and reptiles, and cross suspension bridges for a bird's-eye view of the canopy. Identify some of the 500-plus species of orchids, and search for tapirs and mantled howler monkeys. With luck, we’ll spot the rare resplendent quetzal—a sacred bird in Maya and Aztec cultures.

Day 4: Monteverde/Arenal National Park

After breakfast, visit a family-owned farm that practices sustainable agriculture and traditional sugar processing. Take a walking tour of the farm and see the original trapiche sugar press. Then head into the northern highlands to the beautiful lake situated at the base of Arenal Volcano—one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Glide across tranquil waters in small boats, and dine at a restaurant on the lake’s far side before checking in to our hotel, featuring panoramic views of the volcano.

Day 5: Arenal Volcano

Venture into the rain forest surrounding Arenal Volcano, traversing an extensive network of bridges that loop through the treetops. From up here in the canopy, observe a variety of birds, including toucans, antbirds, and hawks, and keep an eye out for monkeys, jaguars, and coatis. This evening, take a dip in our lodge's soothing thermal pools, heated by the Arenal Volcano.

Day 6: Arenal/Tortuguero

Take a charter flight to Tortuguero and board a boat bound for the rustic Aninga Lodge. Located on the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero is a lowland wet tropical forest accessible only by water or by air. Settle into your charming private bungalow raised above the rain forest floor and enjoy lunch at the lodge’s restaurant. Later, explore the canals of Tortuguero National Park in small boats, on the lookout for howler, spider, and capuchin monkeys, and caiman, as well as ibis, tiger herons, curassow, and other bird species.

Day 7: Tortuguero

Explore Tortuguero on another boating excursion, or kayak the park waterways. Enjoy time to relax at the lodge pool, or take a walk along a nearby nature trail. Later, visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy to learn about the history of the region and important conservation work taking place on Tortuguero’s beaches. Stroll through the village and dine at a local Afro-Caribbean restaurant.

Day 8: Tortuguero/San José

Considered a food of the gods by the ancient Maya and Aztec, cacao has deep roots in Costa Rican culture. Cacao beans were used as a currency in pre-Columbian times, and chocolate was the country’s major export until the tobacco and coffee booms in the 1700s and 1800s. On our return to San José, pay a visit to one of Costa Rica’s top chocolatiers and taste a variety of exquisite confections. Then join the artisans in tempering chocolate at a workshop overlooking the mountains of the central valley. Later, celebrate our journey at a farewell dinner in San José.

Day 9: San José/U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light or moderate; travelers should be physically fit and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods and navigating uneven terrain. The itinerary suits a wide range of interests and abilities, with options for light and moderate activities or more challenging hikes. Excursions may include jungle walks on trails that may be muddy and wet, climbing steep stairs and rocky paths, and hiking in hot and humid conditions.

Accommodations
We stay in comfortable, well-equipped hotels with full amenities or luxury eco-lodges throughout this expedition.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Feb 29-Mar 8, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,541 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $8,332 AUD Per Person

  • date Mar 6-14, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,541 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $8,332 AUD Per Person

  • date Mar 20-28, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,541 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $8,332 AUD Per Person

  • date Mar 29-Apr 6, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,541 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $8,332 AUD Per Person

  • date Dec 19-27, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,936 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $9,396 AUD Per Person

  • date Jan 2-10, 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,936 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $9,396 AUD Per Person

  • date Jan 16-24, 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,936 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $9,396 AUD Per Person

  • date Jan 30-Feb 7, 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,936 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $9,396 AUD Per Person

  • date Mar 18-26, 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $7,936 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $9,396 AUD Per Person

Price is per person, double occupancy. International round-trip airfare between the U.S. and San Jose, Costa Rica is not included in the expedition cost.

  • Transfers upon arrival/departure for guests booked on recommended group flights
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages