Design Your Own Family-Focused Rain Forest Adventure of Fun and Discovery!
The following itinerary is a sample. To customize this itinerary to your wishes and preferences, please contact one of our Adventure Specialists at 800-543-8917.
Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica
Upon arrival in San Jose transfer to your hotel for the evening.
Day 2: San Jose / Sarapiqui — River Rafting
Head north from San Jose to the protected rain forest around Sarapiqui, an outstanding ecotourism destination where you can experience the thrill of rafting through the jungle on the Sarapiqui River. Make a visit the Tirimbina Rainforest Center to learn about the region's bats, then make a night excursion into the rain forest on foot. Out here, you'll find the mist nets that scientists put up to trap and study bats.
Day 3: Sarapiqui — La Selva Research Station & Hacienda Pozo Azul
Spend a morning learning about global efforts to conserve rain forests while taking a guided walk through La Selva, an international biological research station. Along the way, you may see monkeys, sloths, peccaries, iguanas and some of the 400 different kinds of birds that live here. After lunch, head to Hacienda Pozo Azul, a working ranch where you can explore the trails on horseback as you keep a keen eye out for howler monkeys, three-toed sloths and the thriving birdlife.
Day 4: Sarapiqui / Arenal
Learn how locally grown cacao beans are transformed into organic chocolates—and enjoy a sample before driving toward your next destination. En route to Arenal, stop off at Ecocentro Danaus for a close-up look at Costa Rica’s famed red poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, sloths and other wildlife. This private biological reserve focuses on conservation programs, environmental education, and training in sustainable land use and resource production. Trails through secondary forest reveal a wide variety of plants and animals in their natural habitat, including more than 150 different kinds of birds. One of the main attractions at Danaus is the butterfly farm, with about 30 species on site. The center's botanic gardens contain about 500 different plant species, while a medicinal plant garden showcases 60 varieties used to support health and healing. After your walkabout, enjoy a soak in the hot springs, where a waterfall offers a natural massage. Spend the night across from the famous Arenal volcano at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Although the volcano has been dormant since late 2010, it was Costa Rica's most active volcano for 43 years. Seismologists from the Smithsonian Institute and the National University of Costa Rica intensively monitor the volcano from their research station at the lodge.
Day 5: Arenal National Park
Explore Arenal National Park, where more than 15 miles of trails run through the rain forest.As you search for wildlife, enjoy views of the volcano. This region is home to 400 bird species, including an incredible diversity of hummingbirds, along with spider monkeys, howler monkeys, coati, brocket deer, tamandua anteaters and peccaries. Venture deeper into the rain forest to explore the treetops on a canopy tour. A tram transports you 125 feet above the forest floor, moving slowly to soak in the diverse rain forest life at each elevation, then you can descend via a zip line, zinging down a series of cables running between the mountains (minimum age is 8), or a via a return trip on the tram. Round out your day with a visit to Vida Campesina, a self-sustaining organic farm that produces more than 60 crop species, including native and introduced plants. Learn about the crops and the challenges and benefits of farming organically in the tropics, including techniques that support farming in an environmentally sustainable way. While you're there, learn to prepare traditional recipes, then share a delicious family dinner with your hosts.
Day 6: Arenal / San Jose
Return to San Jose for a relaxing evening at Xandari Plantation Hotel. Or, choose a beach extension and travel by road from Arenal to Costa Rica’s North Pacific Riviera today..
Day 7: San Jose / Home
Transfer to the airport for homeward flights, or continue with the Tortuguero extension.
Physical Rating: Easy