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Howler monkey, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa RicaCerro de la Muerte cloud forest, Costa RicaGranular poison frog, Tiskita Private Biological Reserve, Costa RicaCerro de la Muerte, Costa RicaWhite-faced capuchin, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa RicaTiskita Jungle Lodge, Costa RicaHotel Cristal Ballena, Uvita, Costa RicaResplendant Quetzal, Cerro de la Muerte cloud forest, Costa RicaSquirrel Monkey, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa RicaBlack-mandibled Toucan, Tiskita Private Biological Reserve, Costa Rica
Patrick J. Endres: Cerro de la Muerte cloud forest, Squirrel Monkey
Eric Rock: Tree frog, Cerro de la Muerte
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Home Mexico & Central America Costa Rica Wilderness Explorer Itinerary

Costa Rica Wilderness Explorer

Discover a Wilder Side of Costa Rica on a Guided Adventure into Remote Natural Realms
Day 1: San José, Costa Rica
Arrive in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, where our ecotour begins with a welcome dinner.

Days 2 & 3: Tiskita Jungle Lodge
This morning, fly to Tiskita Jungle Lodge in the heart of a 300-acre private rain forest reserve on Costa Rica’s remote south Pacific coast. Squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins and sloths swing through the trees, and some 270 bird species thrive in the lush habitat. Tiskita’s hand-built cabins, crafted from fallen hardwood trees, survey the sea from a high ridge. Meals are prepared with fresh local fare, including more than 125 types of organic tropical fruit grown on the estate. On a hike through the grounds, we’ll examine a wide array of exotic fruit trees, and, if certain fruits are in season, we may get to taste some unfamiliar varieties. This is also an excellent chance to see birds and monkeys that are attracted to the orchards and open areas. We’ll also take an in-depth rain forest hike and walk to the beach village of Punta Banco.

Day 4: Sierpe River / Costa Ballena
Driving up the coast, we stop at the Sierpe River to explore this vast mangrove ecosystem aboard our private boat. Floating down the river, we may see American crocodiles, rainbow boas, green iguanas, white-face capuchin monkeys, long-nosed bats, roseate spoonbills, ospreys, kingfishers, frigate birds and a variety of egrets and herons. En route to Dominical this afternoon, stop at Palmar Sur to see the mysterious pre-Columbian stone spheres, perfectly carved orbs that range in size from a bowling ball to massive spheres weighing 16 tons. By late afternoon we reach our hotel adjacent to Ballena Marine National Park, a system of coral reefs and islands that's home to some of the richest undersea life in Costa Rica. 

Day 5: Manuel Antonio National Park
This morning we travel by private chartered boat from Bahia Ballena to Manuel Antonio National Park, keeping a keen eye out for marine life. Making a wet landing on the beach, we enter the park via its spectacular expanse of white-sand shoreline fringed by one of the most verdant rain forests on the planet. The park is part of Costa Rica's Central Pacific Conservation Area and is renowned for its natural beauty. Exploring its stunning biodiversity, we look for monkeys, iguanas and agoutis inhabiting the forest, and colorful crabs that dot the rocks guarding turquoise lagoons. Despite the park's small size, it is home to more than 100 different species of mammals, including two types of sloth and three of Costa Rica's four monkey species, as well as nearly 200 different bird species.
 
Day 6:  Cerro de la Muerte 
This morning after breakfast, we drive into the Talamanca Mountains, crossing the Cerro de la Muerte, the highest point along the Costa Rican section of the Pan-American Highway. On hikes through the cloud forest, we’ll pass colorful bromeliads and orchids as we scout for wildlife. This region is home to Baird’s tapir, wild boar, monkeys and coati. The rich habitat is also the territory of six species of neotropical cats including jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay, oncilla and jaguarundi, though we are not likely to see them as they are extremely elusive. Ferns and mosses flourish in the constant drip of the mists, while birds add dashes of color to the canopy. We’ll hope to spot the famously elusive resplendent quetzal, the highlight among the 600 different bird species found here. Overnight at Savegre Mountain Hotel at 7,200 feet, within a private biological reserve replete with tropical birds.

Day 7: Los Quetzales National Park
This high-altitude habitat will thrill bird lovers, as it is home to a multitude of vibrant species including many endemics. A morning nature walk reveals a wide array of birds, and we may see the emerald toucanet, golden-browed chlorophonia and spangle-cheeked tanager. This habitat is ideal for the resplendent quetzal, a revered and endangered bird of striking beauty. Listen for their deep, melodious calls as we quietly track these elusive birds. An afternoon walk along a flowing stream reveals a cascading waterfall fed by the Savegre River. This evening we bring our adventures to a close over a farewell dinner
 
Day 8: San José / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to San José for flights home. Those who have added the Arenal Volcano extension will continue to Arenal today.

Physical Rating: Moderate / Flexible



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