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Costa Rica tour

8-Day Family Costa Rica Adventure (Best Deal)

Family Costa Rica Adventure (Best Deal) -- Trip Photo of Costa Rica tour  Costa Rica map

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Day 1 : Arrive San Jose

Visiting: San Jose, Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica! Following your arrival at the San Jose, Costa Rica Airport (SJO) after clearing customs, you are met by the arrivals manager and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. Overnight in San Jose. If time allows, be sure to stroll the downtown pedestrian mall and have an ice cream and coffee at the beautiful National Theater.

  • Meals: None
  • Standard Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Corobici or similar

Day 2 : Drive to east coast, boat ride to Tortuguero, afternoon free to explore

Visiting: Tortuguero National Park

Early this morning, you'll be picked up at your San Jose hotel for the 4-hour drive to the Atlantic coast, traveling through the verdant tropical rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, which is one of the largest reserves in the country. Banana plantations dot the highway en-route to Cano Blanco (or La Pavona), where you will take a scenic boat ride on the La Suerte River, the Tortuguero River, and onward through the Tortuguero Canals. The boat trip offers lovely views of the forest and mangroves, which are home to such exotic wildlife as sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, coatimundis, raccoons, crocodiles, egrets, parrots, and jaguars among others. Arriving at Laguna Lodge, you'll enjoy lunch and have a free afternoon to relax and explore the grounds on your own. You'll be spending the next two nights at the lodge, which offers a refreshing pool plus optional tours, including nightly sea turtle-watching tours during the season (primarily July-October).

Laguna Lodge is a great property for families - the kids will love the frog pond and pool while adults appreciate the beautiful botanical gardens and the serene natural surroundings. All of the lodge rooms feature private bathroom, hot water, ceiling fan, reading lamps, and wood benches outside each room to enjoy the peace and quiet. While Laguna is one of our favorites for it's affordability and it's ideal location, if you'd like a quote on upgraded accommodations just let us know.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Laguna Lodge or similar

Day 3 : Morning boat tour in Tortuguero National Park

Visiting: Tortuguero National Park

This morning join your guide for a fantastic boat tour exploring the rainforest canals to see unique wildlife, including up to three species of monkeys, 400 species of birds, hundreds of reptiles and amphibians, such as iguanas, crocodiles, alligators, frogs, Jesus Christ lizards, turtles, fishing bats, and more.

From approximately June 20 to October 20, highly recommended but optional night walks are on offer to see sea turtles nesting. This is easily a top 10 natural history experience in Central America and not to be missed if you can visit during the peak time. Tortuguero has many highlights, but it is named in honor of the four species of sea turtles that nest in the region. Tortuguero's coastline is considered one of the world's most important nesting sites of the green sea turtle, which can be found by the thousands in the summer months.

Between August and November you can walk to the beach - the lodge has direct access to it - to potentially see baby sea turtles emerging from their nests to scramble across the sand to the waiting waters of the Atlantic.

Night walks are offered nightly, in season, 8pm to 10pm and again 10pm to 12pm. The tour starts in the lodge lobby 15 minutes before the tour. The current charge is $35/person (2017). You pay for the tour direct at the lodge front desk while you are there.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Laguna Lodge or similar

Day 4 : Boat ride and drive to Sarapiqui / La Tirimbina Reserve

Visiting: Sarapiqui

Start the day off early with a boat ride back to the dock, then a 1.5 hour shared van transfer to Guapiles where you'll have lunch at a local restaurant on the way.

After lunch you'll take a private van to Sarapiqui (2 hours away), and spend the afternoon exploring your new surroundings at the La Tirimbina Biological Reserve. Overnight here in a Coquette room. The main lodge offers 18 rooms each with A/C, private bathroom, hot water, wifi and a small, private terrace with rocking chairs and view of the gardens. Here you can observe a variety of colorful birds, including the rare and beautiful Black-crested Coquette hummingbird.

One option this afternoon is to enjoy a self-guided walk in the hotel's private rainforest reserve. 9 kilometers of maintained trails meander through the reserve's 750-acre mid-elevation tropical forest. On the walk, you will traverse rustic trails and cross suspension bridges to discover the rainforest at your own pace. You'll receive a trail map which outlines all the trails and their distances along with important safety instructions regarding walking solo in the forest. Don't forget to ask the front desk for the brief natural history booklet with information about a few of the trails and the forest itself. Open hours for self-guided walks are between 7 am and 5 pm. No prior reservations required.

Let us know in advance if you have any interest in joining other tours at the reserve, since they require advance reservation (at extra cost). These include a 6 am bird walk plus unique evening tours that include a frog tour (7:30 pm), a naturalist guided night walk (7:30 pm), and a bat program (7:30 pm). There is also a naturalist led guided hike offered at 3 PM. The reserve also offers an educational chocolate tour on request, both during the day and at night.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: La Tirimbina Lodge

Day 5 : Half-day Sarapiqui River Rafting, afternoon drive to Arenal

Visiting: Sarapiqui River & Arena Volcano

This morning enjoy fun river rafting on a seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of the clear waters of the Sarapiqui River. You'll begin in the small community of La Virgen, and raft through exciting class II and III rapids like Hueco Gringo, Confusion, Superman, Montana Rusa y Fuerza Aerea, among others. The rapids alternate with crystal clear still-water pools, where you'll have the chance to stop for a refreshing swim and a tropical snack, savoring whatever delicious fruits are in season. You'll then continue your rafting trip, fully enjoying the wonders of the landscape with the help of your naturalist rafting guides. You'll exit the river at the tiny community of Chilamate. From here, you'll be transferred to Arenal volcano, with the rest of the day free to relax. Overnight in Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna)

*** Notes: if you have very young children, we can adjust the program. For more thrill seekers, we can also arrange the river trip to be on the Rio Pacuare instead of Sarapiqui. Minimum ages for the water trips:

For the Sarapiqui River

Rafting - Class III - minimum age: 9 years

Safari Float - Easy Class I-II - Sarapiqui river, minimum age: 6 years

For the Pacuare River:

Minimum age: 12 years

Penas Blancas River Float

Minumum age: 5 years

  • Meals: BL
  • Standard Lodging: Lomas Del Volcan or similar

Day 6 : Zipline! Plus Hot Springs and dinner in the evening

Visiting: Arenal Volcano

This morning, enjoy a visit to Arenal's thrilling Sky Adventure Park. Your zipline tour will start riding an open-air gondola from the ground to the heights where you'll be dropped off at an observation area for fantastic views. From here, we start riding down on a fantastic series of long zip line tracks stretching across canyons and in between treetops, descending the mountain, ultimately returning you to the starting point at the main building. This is the most thrilling zip line in the country! We include round-trip transportation from your hotel, entrance fees, necessary equipment, and professional bilingual guides.

*** Important notes regarding the zipline ***

This is a high intensity activity that's not recommended for people with any kind of serious health issue.

*** Child size requirements for Sky Trek zipline:

-- Children must be taller than 3'11"

-- Kids minimum weight 40 kg (88.1 lbs)

-- Waist 54 - 74 cm (21.2 - 29.1 in)

-- Legs 32 - 42 cm (12.5 - 16.5 in)

*** Adults:

-- Maximum weight 136 kg (300 lb.)

-- Maximum waist belt 84-117 cm (33 - 46 in)

-- Leg loops 57 - 67 cm (22.4 - 26.3 in)

-- Minimum Waist belt 65-96 cm (25.5 - 37.7 in)

*** Zipline Alternatives: For families not interested in the zipline, we are happy to offer one of 3 choices; switch to a guided Arenal Hanging Bridges naturalist walk (no price difference), switch to a guided hike in the park along the famous Lava 68 trail (no price difference) or switch to a thrilling canyoning experience which has a minimum age of 5 but otherwise no limits or maximums. Just add $45/person for this last option, which would also include lunch; you'll love it!

In the afternoon, visit a classic hot Springs at Arenal, with entrance fees, dinner and round-trip transportation included. Overnight in Arenal.

  • Meals: BD
  • Standard Lodging: Lomas Del Volcan or similar

Day 7 : Free time, for optional hike or canyoning, afternoon transfer to San Jose (or a beach)

Visiting: Arenal and San Jose

This morning is yours free to relax or enjoy an additional optional excursion at extra cost. Among your options includes canyoning, horse riding, or a guided naturalist hike in the park on the Lava 68 trail.

In the afternoon you will be transferred back to San Jose (about 3 1/2 hours).

*** Option: if you'd like to enjoy 2 or 3 nights on the beach, just let us know and from Arenal we'll arrange a shuttle to Samara, Manuel Antonio or Tamarindo, all of which are great Pacific beach areas with lots of activities on offer (sea kayaking, surfing classes, snorkel and dolphin cruises, and more). If interested, please contact us for an extension plan and a quote.

  • Meals: B
  • Standard Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Corobici or similar

Day 8 : Depart San Jose

Visiting: Depart San Jose

Private transfer from your San Jose hotel to Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) in time for your flight back home.

Please note that there is a $29 USD departure tax payable at the aiport with US cash or Costa Rican Colones or VISA, Matercard or American Express. This tax must be paid before you check in for your flight.

  • Meals: B

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