Corcovado, Monteverde, Arenal Volcano, and the Pacuare River
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|Trip Length||11 days/10 nights|
|Arrive/Depart||San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Price||From $5,495 to $5,895|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
Day 1 (San Jose to Osa Peninsula) This morning we catch a short flight to the tiny river town of Palmar Sur, where we board a boat for a two-hour excursion through the largest Pacific mangroves in Costa Rica, filled with birds and wildlife. The boat delivers us to Casa Corcovado, where Steve and Betsy help us focus our thoughts—and binoculars—on the tropical birds, wildlife, and wonderland around us.
Day 2 (Osa Peninsula, Corcovado NP) Corcovado National Park is one of the most biologically rich places on Earth. Our local naturalist provides a personal introduction to this fascinating environment. With three guides, we won’t miss a bird or butterfly! In addition to our planned activities, you have access to horses, bicycles, and snorkeling equipment to enjoy at your leisure. Or use your spare moments to relax on the beach, swing in your hammock, watch the sunset, and enjoy fruit from one of the largest and most varied tropical fruit orchards in the world!
Day 3 (Osa Peninsula, Caño Island ) We catch a boat this morning to Caño Island for a day of snorkeling, beach walking, and relaxing in a true tropical paradise. The ride out to the island brings our best chance of the trip to spot whales and dolphins. We have ample time here to snorkel, relax, and walk the trail to some mysteriously carved small stone spheres.
Day 4 (Osa Peninsula to Monteverde) Relax and take in the scenery on our short but beautiful boat ride along the coast to the airport to catch a flight back to San Jose. From there we drive northwest, up to the breathtaking cloud forest of Monteverde, laden with epiphytes such as mosses, lichens, ferns, bromeliads, and orchids.
Day 5 (Monteverde Cloud Forest) Our local naturalist leads us through the lush Monteverde trails, enhancing our exploration and helping us further understand and connect with this intricate ecosystem.
Day 6 (Santa Elena Reserve) Sitting slightly higher than Monteverde, the lush Santa Elena Reserve holds a diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. Santa Elena is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see (and hear!) the howler monkey.
Day 7 (Arenal Volcano) This is our “land-boat-land” day! Our first short leg is in four-wheel-drive vehicles down to the shores of Lake Arenal, where we catch the boat. Then, it’s a half-hour ride in a covered, 22-passenger boat, with great views of the Monteverde mountain range and active Arenal Volcano. On the other side, we resume the 4-wheel-drive to Arenal. This afternoon we drive to Eco Termales Hot Springs for a soak and dinner.
Day 8 (Hanging bridges, waterfall) We head out early this morning for a natural history walk on Arenal’s famous hanging bridges, with their bird’s eye view of avian activity. Back on the ground, we hike the steep trail to La Fortuna waterfall. It’s about an hour’s hike each way, and we’ll enjoy plenty of time at the falls to savor our box lunch and take a swim in the pool at the base of the falls.
Day 9 (Pacuare River and jungle lodge) A 4-hour drive through verdant Costa Rican countryside gets us to our river put-in. It will be a short day on the river, just about an hour and a half, but we’ll run through some fun and mellow Class II/III rapids where we can practice our team paddling skills. The Pacuare is located in primordial rainforest and descends through dense vegetation that supports jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, sloths, and many other species. Once at the lodge, you’ll have the afternoon at your leisure to explore the unspoiled surroundings.
Day 10 (Pacuare River and San Jose ) Wake up to the harmonies of rushing river and tropical bird calls, and get set for today’s rambunctious ride on exciting Class III/IV rapids, through yet more spectacular scenery. This is our chance to put those team paddling skills to good use! At the final take-out, you can change into dry clothes before we board the van for the two-hour drive back to San Jose. This evening we celebrate our journey with a lovely dinner.
Day 11 (San Jose for departures home) After such an adventure it’s hard to leave, but two scheduled transfers to the airport will be available for us this morning.