“Natural Habitat Adventures developed an excellent, custom Costa Rica itinerary for a March Spring Break trip with my teenage nieces. We took many parts of the Family Costa Rica Adventure and added two days in Tortuguero National Park. The Saturday-to-Saturday agenda included visits to three beautiful lodges. Although the lodges had Wi-Fi, there was no television, so they provided the perfect setting to introduce the mid-teens to ecotourism. As with my first Natural Habitat Costa Rica trip in 2003, magical Tortuguero was most memorable. It’s not easy to get to—only accessible by boat or plane, but so totally worth it!

Wild hummingbird in Costa Rica

Leaving Sarapiqui, we navigated our way over both paved and dirt roads. Stopping twice, first to see a banana plantation, our guide, Julio Madriz, emphasized to the girls that this was the only employment unless you went to university. The second stop provided me with the experience of a 6-inch, tree-dwelling beetle; and I thought we had big bugs in Florida!

Arriving at the La Pavona docks, we boarded our private boat. Enjoying the breeze through our hair as we zipped through the pristine waterways, in an hour we arrived and were greeted with a welcome drink that went down way too easily. The Evergreen Lodge did not disappoint, with spacious accommodations for us all, excellent buffet meals, and best of all, a heavenly rain falling on the metal roof each night. And rain it did (Tortuguero is a rain forest, after all), but the rains were welcomed as a respite to an extended dry spell.

Family Costa Rica nature adventure

Both morning and afternoon excursions through the canals provided up-close views of monkeys (both white-faced capuchin and howler), caimans, river otters, emerald basilisk lizards, iguanas, sleeping bats, and a host of birds, including herons, egrets and parrots. Even the lodge property yielded a few snakes, many blue jeans frogs, large land crabs and a rare moth! When not actively searching for wildlife, we visited the town, adopted a turtle at the Sea Turtle Conservancy after learning about its mission, and became experts in everything coconut in a fantastic hands on demonstration, including freshly made coconut candy!

Our departure provided the girls with their first light aircraft ride, and the bonus of picking any one of the 12 seats they wanted! For people from Florida, experiencing a place where all transportation is by water (no cars!) is beautifully unique… and one to be treasured by all!

Tortuguero was just a bonus on a great trip that included zip lining (twice), white water rafting, soaking in a hot spring, a tour of sustainable chocolate farming (you can sustainably grow chocolate? I’m all in!).

Red-eyed tree frog

Even though this represented a return to Costa Rica for me (with a family-focused agenda), I was still able to add to my wildlife photo portfolio. Though I could return to hang with the hummingbirds at the Arenal Observatory Lodge for days, it won’t be long until I decide where my 15th Natural Habitat trip will lead me….”

— D. Ramsey | Custom Family Costa Rica Adventure | March 2017

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