Day 1 - Meet & Greet at San Jose International Airport - Welcome to Costa Rica!
Coffee Plantations, Arenal Volcano and transfer from San Jose to Arenal, 2.5 Hrs. - Our adventure begins! We will stop on the way to visit Arenal Volcano for a break and refreshments. Perhaps try a locally farmed and brewed cup of Costa Rican coffee as you enjoy the view of the plantation in the background. After seeing the volcano, we will check in to our hotel, the Arenal Springs Resort, which is family owned and operated. There’s lots to see and enjoy, including mineral hot spring pools right at the hotel!
This evening, enjoy our welcome dinner, which will feature lots of veggies and healthy food. Rachel herself will help set our individual and group intentions for our experience, and our Costa Rican guide will tell us about the area and local wildlife.
Get a great night’s sleep because tomorrow is going to be so much fun!
DESTINATION ARENAL: Arenal Volcano is approximately 3,000 years old and reaches an elevation of 5,500 feet. Though in a resting phase, the volcano's geothermal activity heats the local mineral springs. Surrounded by lush rain forest, the area offers the most touring options. The area is rich in natural attractions: experience thermo-mineral hot springs, waterfall hikes, horseback riding, birdwatching, biking, and boat tours on the Cano Negro.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Arenal Springs Resort | Jr Suite Meals: Dinner
Day 2 - Hanging Bridges and Chocolate Experience
After an early breakfast, we head to the Hanging Bridges. We will traverse 15 bridges from 5 to 100 meters long, a visitor-friendly 3-kilometer circuit above the rain forest with interpretive trails constructed of paving blocks to prevent slipping. Hike with a naturalist guide who reveals a fascinating and colorful tropical rain forest world. The spectacular view of the Volcano from the bridges completes an unforgettable experience as we try to spot monkeys, toucans, coatis and more.
After a healthy local lunch, enjoy a Chocolate Experience tour of a chocolate plantation. You’ll see every step of the way from harvesting the fruit of the cacao trees to finished chocolate bars, and, of course, you can buy local chocolate!
Nocturnal Wildlife Discovery - After a relaxing late afternoon at the resort and enjoying the hot springs. At 7:45 PM you will depart for dinner at a local family-owned and operated farm, including typical Costa Rican food treats and a tortilla-making lesson. After dinner, you will enjoy a night walk to spot evening animals, such as foxes, frogs and anteaters. Then Rachel will lead us in a musical adventure, accompanied by her guitar and her open heart. It’s all part of the transformational experience of this amazing trip!
ACCOMMODATIONS: Arenal Springs Resort | Jr Suite Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Local exploration and journey from Arenal - to Villa Blanca, 2 Hrs.
Wake up early or sleep late, it’s your choice. Enjoy a freshly made breakfast at the hotel. You have the morning to enjoy the hot springs, join Rachel on the rain forest yoga deck.
Lunch is on your own.
At 1:00 PM, meet in the lobby area with your baggage. We will take a short drive to La Fortuna town for little exploration and handicraft shopping. Then we are off to the cloud forest. We will begin our climb into the mountains where we will explore different wildlife and habitats.
We arrive Villa Blanca Resort and Nature Reserve. This fully sustainable retreat offers one of the most unique and endangered types of tropical forests in a secluded cloud forest reserve.
Meet Rachel at 7:45 PM for an enticing meal thoughtfully prepared with nutritional sensibility and local ingredients that complement their exquisite flavors.
DESTINATION CLOUD FOREST: From the San Ramon Valley to the mountains of Tilaran, quiet cloud forests reside hidden from the normal tourism journeys. The area is cool, verdant, and rich in biodiversity with a multitude of micro climates. The area also boasts excellent trout fishing. Visitors can hike to the back of Poas Volcano, go horseback riding, river rafting, mountain biking, or enjoy a zipline tour throughout the canopy.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Nature Reserve | Superior Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Exploring the cloud forest and animal research station
After breakfast, meet Rachel for a morning hike into the cloud forest. You’ll move within this secret world of lush, colorful tropical life along well-designed, user-friendly trails, each showcasing the incredibly diverse tropical flora and fauna of this stunning, private mountain cloud forest reserve. You’ll see first-hand the layers of dense, diverse plant life clinging to every tree trunk and branch as they stretch toward the heights of the canopy.
Drop in to the JMA Wildlife Research Station for a quick orientation. Moving on, we do our best to spot opossums, howler monkeys, bats, kinkajous, ocelots, peccaries, hawks, hummingbirds, parrots and other forest critters! Box lunch provided.
Optional: Afternoon Ziplining With Rachel!
Experience a completely different view of the mountain cloud forest on the San Luis Canopy Tour, a pulse-quickening adventure through the lush, green canopy and across the majestic Rio Cataratitas. Add $69 per guest.
Enjoy a leisurely dinner on your own.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Nature Reserve | Superior Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 - Prehistoric crocodiles, hands-on sloth rescue and transfer from Villa Blanca to Manuel Antonio, 3 Hrs.
Enjoy an early breakfast, then we depart for the Central Pacific area in our air-conditioned motorcoach. Relax and snooze on the ride until we stop at the Tarcoles River. Here you’ll want to wake up to get a look at the giant crocodiles! We will lunch by the river at Nosavar, where we will listen to a short educational talk on crocodiles and the local ecosystem.
After lunch we will drive to Kids Saving the Rain Forest, a special conservation project started by two kids! This place is very near and dear to Rachel’s heart, we all will share something truly special to her! You will visit and volunteer for three hours this afternoon, doing whatever is needed on site.
Late that afternoon, you’ll arrive in Manuel Antonio and check into the Hotel Parador, your home for the next three nights. Located near the Manuel Antonio National Park and Beach, this delightful oceanfront property will have you gasping at the gorgeous views.
One of Costa Rica’s most prestigious eco-hotels, Parador is the epitome of “responsible luxury.” The resort is located on the Punta Quepos promontory, surrounded by 12 acres of wildlife-rich tropical rainforest with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Manuel Antonio.
This evening, enjoy one of the resort’s four ocean-view on-site restaurants or grab a taxi to the beach area for local dining.
DESTINATION: Manuel Antonio is a small oceanside village with plenty of great places to stay - from extravagant luxury condos to cozy hideaway hotels tucked into nature. Famous for its national park, this tiny yet bustling town is located off Costa Rica's central Pacific coast just a stone's throw away from Quepos which is famous for sport fishing. The region is a treasure for biodiversity, attracting nature buffs, eco-travelers and adventure-seekers alike. Better yet, if you visit, you can soak up beautiful beaches and perfect waters. Without a doubt, Manuel Antonio lies within one of the country's most celebrated spots.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Hotel Parador Resort & Spa | Tropical Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 6 - Los Campensinos Waterfall Experience
Enjoy your breakfast at leisure. We will transfer towards the mountains of the Talamanca area by coach. Only 45 minutes from our hotel, we will hike the private reserve.
The Reserve is part of the community of Quebrada Arroyo, and is managed by local Ticos that want to share the experience of their traditions—great food and rainforest knowledge. Once in the Reserve there is time to swim in a great natural pool at the base of a waterfall, see vanilla orchids, as well as other tropical flora. A highlight of the Reserve is a suspension bridge over a deep river gorge. Lunch at the reserve.
A Very Un-Valentine’s Evening Gathering and Dinner –
Tonight we will dine together at El Avion Restaurant, a special treat! The C-123 Fairchild cargo plane has been converted to a pub and a two-level bar and restaurant has been built in, over and around the plane. Everyone agrees, El Avion affords the best views in all of Manuel Antonio!
ACCOMMODATIONS: Hotel Parador Resort & Spa | Tropical Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Butterfly Sanctuary and the Titi monkeys at Manuel Antonio National Park
After a very early breakfast, this morning, we will travel to the Butterfly Pavilion Sanctuary for a visit. A Blue Morpho may gently land on your fingertip.
A quick 4-minute ride to the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park is our next destination. Rachel has teamed up with Titi monkey conservation group. Observe the Titi monkeys and learn about the latest preservation actions taken by the local community. Surrounded by emerald waters and jungle, our naturalist guide points out sloths, birds, and other animals that reside in this diverse national refuge. Head back to the resort or enjoy the local beaches by the park. Lunch on your own in town or back at the resort.
Dolphin and Marine Life Sunset Catamaran Cruise - Late this afternoon, we embark on a Sunset Catamaran Cruise and our relaxed Farewell Dinner aboard. Local “typico” food will feature fish, ceviche, chicken, and lots of fresh veggies. Cruise this spectacular coastline from Quepos to the Manuel Antonio National Park in search of dolphins, sea turtles and unique bird life, including boobies and frigate birds which nest on islands believed to be ancient Indian burial sites. The tour guide will explain the history of the Quepoa indigenous community and the geology of the area highlighting dramatic features such as blowholes beneath towering cliffs and the formation of the National Park. The tour includes a visit to the secluded beach at Biezanz Bay for swimming and snorkeling.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Hotel Parador Resort & Spa | Tropical Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Day 8 - Transfer from Manuel Antonio to San Jose, 3 Hrs.
After an early breakfast, we depart for our journey back to San Jose International Airport (SJO).
We return home bearing wonderful memories and plans, knowing that our time in Costa Rica has changed our perspective on nature and our place in the world.
Limited space available. To contact the trip organizer, Travel Planner Karen Good Satzman, please submit the form to the right or call today—direct, 310.689.5424, or toll-free, 800.825.6006, Extension 15424.