A land-based adventure from mountain to coastal rain forest

Discover the wild, rugged beauty of Costa Rica’s mountains, the Caribbean coast, and much more on an inland adventure to a mist-shrouded cloud forest, volcano, lake, and a car-free, jungle village. The day-to-day itinerary outlines what you’ll do, but we always remain flexible in our approach to take advantage of sightings and opportunities for discovery.


  • DAY 1: Home/San José

    Fly to the airport in San José, Costa Rica, transfer to your hotel, the Costa Rica Marriott Hacienda Belen. Meet your naturalist guide and enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)

  • DAY 2: San José/Tarcoles River/Monteverde

    Search for American crocodiles on the Tárcoles River. Transfer to Monteverde, where after lunch, we walk the trails of Curi-Cancha Reserve, listening for the mournful song of the black-faced Solitaire or searching the undergrowth for agoutis, a shy mammal of the Latin American tropics. We’ll check into a family-owned retreat, converted from a cattle farm into an eco-lodge and nestled in the misty cloud forest of Monteverde offering the best views of the surrounding mountains, with the Gulf of Nicoya in the distance. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 3: Monteverde

    After breakfast, we visit the renowned Bat Jungle, featuring over one hundred species, where we learn about these fascinating night creatures, essential to the health of tropical forests. After lunch, we venture into the legendary Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, seeking out white-headed capuchins and the agile, long-limbed spider monkeys. A variety of hummingbirds--up to an astonishing 30 species--are located here, including the violet sabrewing with its purple glowing iridescence. With luck, we may spot the rare and beautiful resplendent quetzal. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4: Monteverde/Arenal

    We begin our day at a butterfly farm where we’ll have the opportunity to see dozens of local species, including individuals of the morpho genus appearing brown with closed wings, only to open and spread to display their fantastic azure coloration. After, we drive to Lake Arenal and cross in small boats for a striking perspective on the volcano. Once on the far side, we check into and enjoy our elegant hotel surrounded by tropical forests, gardens, and pastures. Here we have views towards the cone of the smoldering Arenal Volcano, a truly classic Costa Rican scene. Later, relax in some of the naturally heated thermal pools which dot the Arenal landscape. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 5: Arenal Volcano

    Following breakfast, our morning excursion brings us to the Finca Don Juan. During our walking tour, we learn about the the finca’s sustainable farming practices before enjoying an organic lunch. This afternoon, we walk the Arenal Mistico Hanging Bridges, strung more than two miles through the rainforest canopy, on the lookout for three-toed sloths, mantled howler monkeys, and stunning tropical birds including rufous motmots, great antshrikes, and blue-and-gold tanagers. Or, for a more active exploration of the tropical canopy, you may choose to travel by zipline. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 6: Arenal/Tortuguero

    Today we depart Lake Arenal and make our way to Tortuguero, a spectacular lowland forest on Costa Rica’s northeast coast. In the afternoon, we stroll through the car-less village to browse in small shops before visiting the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the largest green sea turtle rookery in the Western Hemisphere, which also contains nesting populations of leatherback and hawksbill sea-turtles. At the conservancy, you’ll learn about the history of the region and important conservation work taking place on Tortuguero’s beaches. We dine tonight at Miss Junies, a restaurant with a rich heritage and Afro-Caribbean flair, overnighting in our rustic lodge at the water’s edge. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 7: Tortuguero

    This morning, we set out by guided boat to explore Tortuguero National Park’s canals, keeping an eye out for sungrebes, rufescent tiger-herons, American crocodiles, and mammals such as white-lipped and collared peccaries, white nosed coatis, and Geoffroy’s spider monkeys. In the early afternoon, choose between additional excursions into the canals or relax to enjoy the lodge’s amenities such as the pool or optional spa treatments (spa treatments at an additional cost). (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Tortuguero/San José

    After breakfast, we board the charter flight to San José where we visit a workshop at Sibu Chocolatier followed by chocolate tasting. After lunch, we visit the San Jose Gold Museum before checking into our hotel, the Costa Rica Marriott Hacienda Belen. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9: San José/Home

    Transfer to the San José airport for flights home. (B)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

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