Day 1: Arenal
After breakfast, we depart Savegre Lodge, making our way down out of the Talamanca Mountains to San José, then on to Arenal. Late this afternoon we arrive at Arenal Observatory Lodge, where we'll spend the next two nights. The lodge is set high on a ridge facing the famous volcano, surrounded by thousands of acres of tropical rainforest. Seismologists from the Smithsonian Institute and the National University of Costa Rica intensively monitor the volcano from their research station at the lodge. Though Arenal Volcano is currently in a dormant phase, the juncture of the two tectonic plates that lie beneath it creates periodic friction, forcing molten rock up through fissures where it emerges as fiery magma.
Day 2: Arenal Hanging Bridges / Danaus Eco-Center / Hot Springs
After breakfast at the lodge, we take a natural history walk over the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a series of suspension bridges overlooking a dense canopy of primary rainforest with views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. One the most beautiful ecotourism projects in Costa Rica, the bridges range from 16 to 330 feet long and form part of a two-mile trail that loops through the rainforest. Along the way we'll see lush vegetation, colorful flowers and migratory birds that fly between North and South America. Later, on a visit to Danaus Eco-Center in La Fortuna, we have the opportunity to view Costa Rica’s famed red poison dart frogs and other wildlife as we walk among the conservation project’s 300 species of tropical plants. Where there is volcanic activity, there is usually geothermal activity, and this afternoon there's a chance to relax and enjoy a soak in the nearby thermal hot springs.
Day 3: Bird Walk / San Jose / Home
After an optional early morning bird walk and our last breakfast in the shadow of the volcano, we return to San José to connect with flights home. Please schedule flights to depart no earlier than 2:30 pm today.