Mention Costa Rica and people think paradise. The country has a Disney like cast of exotic creatures ranging from howler monkeys to toucans, the surf is prime, the beauty is staggering and the sluggish pace seductive. A peaceful oasis in a tumultuous region, this tiny nation draws 1.5 million visitors every year and on this great 11 day tour you can be one of them. The incredibly varied topography means you can cruise the cloud forest one day, visit an active volcano the next, and finish relaxing on a hot sandy beach. And included in this exciting tour is an adrenaline pumping raft trip through the jungles.
San Jose, Costa Rica
On arrival at the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose you will be met by one of our experienced tour representatives and taken to your hotel in the city. Today, Chepe, as it’s called by Ticos, is the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America and the once grand architecture has been eclipsed by office towers, shopping malls and fast-food restaurants. Time to explore the city before the tour begins in earnest
San Jose to Pacuare River
You will be picked up at your hotel early in the morning and driven to the Pacuare River for a day of adventure and adrenaline. This river is considered by many rafters to be one of the world's five-best tests. Professional guides and equipment will be waiting and after some safety instructions begin an incredible rafting journey. You will experience the exhilaration of riding the waves on this wild and scenic river, which courses through a tropical wilderness of dense vegetation and steep gorges. Arriving to your overnight destination, you will find a jungle oasis in the middle of an enchanting and captivating rain forest. Overnight at Pacuare River.
Day at leisure to enjoy the scenic beauty of the natural surrounds of the Pacuare River and the optional activities offered at the lodge. Thanks to its proximity to the Caribbean lowlands and the high annual rainfall, this area offers very complex life systems and exotics, formed by the extraordinary abundance of the rainforests and its exuberant vegetation which provides protection for jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, sloths and numerous species of birds and plants
Pacuare River to Turrialba Valley
After breakfast, you will launch the rafts again for the last part of your trip. Rafting becomes even more exciting as you use the skills and experience gained on this trip. Your guides will stop the rafts along the journey and lead you up paths and side streams that open onto pristine waterfalls and natural water slides. Lunch will be served along the river, and when reaching the take out, you can change into dry clothes before travelling by road to the Turrialba area where you will spend two nights at a hotel
This morning, you will take a Biking Adventure Tour at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre. This tour takes riders on top quality mountain bikes through the tropical plantations and botanical gardens and all levels of bikers can enjoy it. During the ride, a guide will explain the great diversity of the forest and tropical fruit plantations. Along the way see birds, mammals and reptiles. Finish the tour with a visit to the Botanical Garden, which has a collection of some of the most important tropical plants in the world. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Turrialba Valley to Quetzal National Park
Leave today for from Villa Florencia to the Quetzal National Park area where the Savegre Mountain Lodge is located. This lodge is set on a private reserve of primary cloud forest where the famous Quetzal lives, which makes this area a favourite spot for birdwatchers. A local family has run this hotel for more than 50 years and the warmth hospitality of the personalised service blends perfectly with the homemade food served at the restaurant. You spend two nights at this lodge.
Quetzals National Park
Early in the morning, bird lovers will have an encounter with this beautiful biological corridor that serves as a sanctuary for the 170 species of birds found in the area. Various migratory species arrive throughout the different seasons, joining the native species to add still more colourful views. Among the visitors are the Orioles, Warblers, Tennessees and Raptors - while their native hosts include Collared Trogon, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Vireo, Flame-throated Warbler, and of course the Quetzal among many others. Professional guides will take you through the trails and the afternoon will be at leisure for optional activities.
Quetzals National Park to Bahia Ballena
Continue your journey to the South Pacific area where the Ballena National Marine Park, the first protected area of the Dominical region. It is a small park that protects sandy and pebbles beaches, mangroves, cliffs islands and a coral reef. There is a marine platform that has formed in front of the park and whales and dolphins are common close to the shore because of the warm waters that create the perfect ecosystem for these amazing animals. You will stay in this lovely area for three nights.
Bahia Ballena, South Pacific
After breakfast, you will be visit the Caño Island Biological Reserve for a snorkeling tour. The island rises 90 meters above sea level to a wide plateau, which is covered with a tall evergreen forest. The real beauty of Isla del Cano is not found on its land, but underwater. It is surrounded by five platforms of low coral reefs where 15 species of stony coral have been identified. This island's virgin waters are some of the bluest in the country, and are home to a spectacular variety of stunning marine flora and fauna as well as some gorgeous coral reefs.
Bahia Ballena, South Pacific
Another day at leisure in this tropical paradise. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from or you can simply relax around the hotel pool or on one of the sandy beaches nearby. If you want another day in the sea, this area is rated as being one of the best underwater adventure diving and snorkeling spots in the world. The Isla del Cano Biological Reserve is also home to a huge variety of fish, dolphins, manta rays, barracudas, sea turtles, whales and sharks.
Bahia Ballena to Corcovado
After breakfast, we will continue to the South Pacific area of Costa Rica, specifically the area of Sierpe. Upon arrival, a boat will take you across the river and the sea to the selected Lodge. You will stay in the next three nights in Corcovado. This area of the South Pacific of Costa Rica is currently called "The Final Frontier" or "The Navel of Life”, as described by National Geographic as "the most biologically intense place on Earth". This region is home of 350 species of birds, 150 species of mammals, over 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, about 5500 insects, and 500 species of trees. Staying in this area will allow you to have a deeper contact with nature, especially for those seeking a unique and eco- tourism vacation
After Breakfast, we will enjoy an excursion to Corcovado National Park, located in the Osa Peninsula.
This is a wonderful opportunity to see the primary and secondary forest, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. The boat trip to the ranger station takes approximately 30 minutes, but it depends on the weather and the sea. Whenever possible, as we approach to the park entrance, your guide will try to show you the ocean whales, dolphins, or other marine species. The first part of the trail is a steep hill, through the secondary jungle. Large slabs of tree trunk are strategically located for an easier walk on the ground. Just before reaching the plateau, on your left side, there will be a viewpoint overlooking the resort and the Pacific Ocean. While enjoying a light lunch on the veranda and a short break, you will have the opportunity to take stunning shots, and from this point, you will be able to see whales and / or dolphins.
This morning we will enjoy visiting Del Caño Island Biological Reserve, which is located just 12 nautical miles from the coastline. The boat ride to the island takes about 45 minutes, but it depends on the weather, sea and other conditions. The island, which is located 90 meters above sea level, rises to a wide plateau, which is covered with a forest of evergreen high. On the island, it is possible to observe the stone spheres made by the first civilizations that inhabited the area. Right in front of the ranger station, there is a beach area most often used to relax and have fun. The real beauty of Del Caño Island is not in their land, but underwater, as it is surrounded by five platforms of coral reefs, where experts have identified more than 15 species of stony corals. The dark volcanic rock is home to many impressive species of marine flora and fauna. The water is relatively shallow and suitable for snorkeling, allowing an excellent opportunity to become familiar with marine life surrounding Del Caño Island
Corcovado - San Jose
The sea and land transfer will take you back to Drake airstrip, to take a domestic flight to San Jose. Upon arrival, a representative from Swiss Travel will take you to the hotel in San Jose. Depending on your arrival in San Jose, you can have some free time to explore on your own the capital of the country
Today your wonderful adventurous tour of Costa Rica comes to an end. Perhaps time for some last minute souvenir shopping or sightseeing before you are picked up at your hotel and driven to the airport for your onward flight or to begin your journey back home having seen the very best that this fascinating country has to offer.