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Exploring Costa Rica - San José - Tortuguero National Park - Arenal Volcano - Hot Springs of Tabacón - Monteverde Cloud forest Region - Manuel Antonio National Park & Beaches
Day 1: San José

Arrival at San José International Airport. Reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Tortuguero (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Early pickup from your hotel and trip through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, passing along pastureland and banana plantations, stopping for a typical Costa Rican breakfast. From the small village of Caño Blanco, we will take the boat that leads us through the main channel of Tortuguero to the comfortable rustic lodge located between the channels and the Caribbean Sea.

One of the country's main attractions is the 47,000 acres Tortuguero National Park with its innumerous lagoons and canals. It protects a terrestrial area of 18956 hectares and 52265 hectares of marine habitat.

Tortuguero (derived from the Spanish word tortuga = turtle) is an one of the most important nesting sites for the Green Sea Turtle, the Leatherback and the Hawksbill Turtle in the whole Caribbean. These are best observed between July and September at night. North of the National Park, the village of Tortuguero is located on a narrow land strip To the east, the Atlantic ocean with a strong surf and population of sharks, swimming is not recommended. In the small canals where the bordering vegetation forms amazing tunnels, nature presents itself from the most beautiful tropical side: caiman, crocodiles, sweet water turtles, poison-arrow frogs, Basilisk lizards, oropendolas, toucans, Anhingas, Amazon kingfishers, bats, howler monkeys and manatees are just a few examples of Tortuguero's abundant fauna.

Tortuguero Village and National Park are accessible by boat only, so individual traveling in this area might become difficult. After lunch your naturalist guide takes you to the small village of Tortuguero for a short tour and visit of the turtle museum, you then walk back to the lodge along the beach. After dinner there is a possibility for an optional guided night hike along the beach to observe the nesting of the sea turtles. (Season March-April and July -October, approx. US $15 per person).

Day 3: Tortuguero (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

A full day, starting in the early morning with a tour to admire the awakening of the wildlife of Tortuguero. Return for breakfast. Then you will go on another boat tour through the small channels of the National Park, where you will observe the flora and fauna of this unique area. Return for lunch and free time for a "siesta", on the pool or go for a walk on the beach. In the afternoon you can either participate in another boat tour or stay in the Lodge to explore the jungle trails around the Lodge. You also may visit the open butterfly garden. Dinner at the Lodge.

Day 4: Arenal Volcano, Tabacón Hot Springs (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

After breakfast, you will embark the boat around 9 a.m. leaving for Caño Blanco. From there, the bus will take you to a typical Costa Rican restaurant near Guapiles. After lunch, journey to Arenal Volcano.

Arenal has been in a dormant strato-volcano with young deposits on the slopes of the volcano but it had not erupted in recent times. Arenal's status changed dramatically in July 1968, when an explosive eruption produced hot avalanches and ejected blocks that devastated the west flank of the volcano and killed 78 people. Arenal has been continuously active since 1968. It rises 1,633m above sea level and casts an almost flawless silhouette on the land below it. Arenal's last explosion was in 1969 but this volcano is far from dormant. Its constant rumblings are Arenal's most popular characteristics. Often spewing ash and smoke, the volcano provides a striking backdrop for photographs and video. There are several excellent look out points along the highway and several resorts and spas have developed in the area. In the evening at the hot springs of Tabacon, you will enjoy a bath in the sulfur water formed by the natural pools in this geologically active area. Chance of viewing some volcanic eruptions. Buffet dinner at Tabacon.

Day 5: Monteverde Cloud Forest Region (Breakfast)

Today the Shuttle Bus will take you around Arenal Lake and then on the Interamericana highway. We will turn left on a gravel road, that will take us on a 35 km difficult ride to Sta. Elena in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Region.

Day 6: Monteverde Cloud Forest Region (Breakfast)

The early morning gives you the best chance to observe birds, so we recommend an optional walk through the Monteverde or Sta. Elena Nature Reserve. At the entrance, you will already meet many different kinds of hummingbirds that come very close to their feeding stations (transportation and entrance fees not included).

In the afternoon, you will be picked up at the hotel for a "walk in the clouds". Here, "walkways" - a complex of suspended bridges, platforms and trails, built within the cloud forest, will allow a unique perspective of the forest and an opportunity to explore the tops of the trees, the canopy of the cloud forest. The bridge system is located along a 1.7 mile trail designed to be walked by people of all ages and all physical conditions. With 8 suspension bridges that add up to a total distance of 1200 feet of total bridge length, the trail goes through 90% of primary cloud forest.

Day 7: Manuel Antonio National Park & Beaches (Breakfast)

After breakfast, a shuttle bus will take you back to the Interamericana highway and alomg the coastline to the town of Jacó. Ask your driver to stop at the bridge over Rio Tarcoles, where you have the opportunity to observe large crocodiles. Arrival to Manuel Antonio and your hotel in the afternoon.

Day 8: Manuel Antonio National Park (Breakfast)

Free day in Manual Antonio. Optional tours include a visit to the Manuel Antonio National Park (entrance fee approx. $7 p.p.), where a hike of about 1.5 hours will lead you through the rainforest and to the fantastic beaches within the park. Here you can observe capuchin monkeys, sloths, iguanas, anteaters and various species of birds whilst exploring the hiking trails through the rainforest. Trip ends with relaxing on the beach on the Pacific Ocean.

Day 9: San Jose (Breakfast)

After breakfast, shuttle bus transfer back to San José. Free day with an opportunity to visit one of the various museums or just go sightseeing or shopping.

Day 10: San Jose (Breakfast)

Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.