Costa Rica: Pure Life!

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Discover volcanoes, primeval forests and dream beaches by hiking

We hike through the cloud forest by day and by night, searching for the Aztec bird of the gods. In between we marvel at the blue sky of the Rio Celeste – and keep meeting fisherwomen and other energetic women.

Costa Rica is a Central American country with a rugged geography, including tropical forests and coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Although its capital, San José, is home to cultural institutions, such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Approximately a quarter of its area corresponds to protected forests, full of fauna, such as the spider monkey and the quetzals.

OVERVIEW

  • Irazu Volcano
  • Nicoya Peninsula: mangrove forests and fishing village
  • Dream beaches Sámara, Carillo and Cahuita
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Region and Santa Elena Preserve
  • Arenal Volcano and thermal springs
  • Today we arrive in our European homeland and should give ourselves some time to settle in and acclimatize.

Travel Program

Today our journey in Costa Rica begins. Our guide will be waiting for us at the airport and will take us to our hotel in San José. There we have the rest of the day to get to know the city better. How about a trip to the Escalante district? There have been numerous, colorful and inviting restaurants and bars for a few years. This is also a great place to enjoy your first cocktail!

  • Journey time: 30-45 min.

Overnight stay in the hotel (Hotel Fleur de Lys or similar) (-/-/-)

Today we drive to the “vegetable garden” of Costa Rica on the slopes of the Irazú volcano. Potatoes are still grown here at an altitude of 3,000 m! In the indigenous language, the volcano is called Iaratzu – rumbling mountain – and at 3,432 m is the highest and most active volcano in Costa Rica. On a clear day you can see both seas at the summit, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific. Following a serpentine road we wind our way up into the treeless páramo vegetation of the national park. Arrived at the starting point, we take a walk in the lunar landscape on the edge of the turquoise shimmering sulfur lagoon of the 1,050 m wide and 300 m deep main crater. Then we go on a hike in the mixed forest of Parque Prussia, which is also part of the national park. Pines, eucalyptus and other trees tower high above our heads. The park also provides habitat for numerous different bird species, we might spot some of the more than 40 different species. We will have lunch in Cartago, the capital of the province of the same name (optional) where the first Spanish settlement in Costa Rica was founded in 1563. Afterwards we will return to San José where we will end the evening with a meal together.

  • Driving time: approx. 2 hours
  • Hike: approx. 3 hours (10 km, +/- 400 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel (Hotel Fleur de Lys or similar) (B/-/D)

The day starts early this morning. Via the highlands of Puriscal – characterized by coffee, tobacco and sugar cultivation – it goes down to the lowlands on the Pacific to Puntarenas, the old sea resort and Pacific port of the country. This is where a very special experience begins: we cross the Gulf of Nicoya and dock on the Isla de Chira. The world seems to have stood still on this fishing island. We get off the bus at Playa del Muerto beach and enjoy the silence of the mangrove forests. At low tide we walk along the beach to Montero to Lodge La Amistad and at high tide we hike along trails along the road. We then visit the women’s project Damas de Chira, which brought sustainable tourism and environmental awareness to the island. After lunch, continue to Palito Port, Starting point for a boat trip through the San Pablo mangrove forest, which is home to countless herons, pelicans, white-tailed eagles, frigate birds, pink spoonbills and many other animals. With a bit of luck you can also see a crocodile. Back on the Nicoya Peninsula, we continue to Hojancha in the nearby Monte Alto Forest Reserve. Here a citizens’ initiative protects existing forest stands and reforests the surrounding mountain slopes in order to secure the water supply of the place and the biodiversity of the Rio Nosara. Dinner and overnight in a beautiful lodge in the middle of the forest. It is possible to sleep under mosquito nets in the semi-open “rancho” – a very special one offers the pink spoonbill and many other animals. With a bit of luck you can also see a crocodile. Back on the Nicoya Peninsula, we continue to Hojancha in the nearby Monte Alto Forest Reserve. Here a citizens’ initiative protects existing forest stands and reforests the surrounding mountain slopes in order to secure the water supply of the place and the biodiversity of the Rio Nosara. Dinner and overnight in a beautiful lodge in the middle of the forest. It is possible to sleep under mosquito nets in the semi-open “rancho” – a very special one offers the pink spoonbill and many other animals. With a bit of luck you can also see a crocodile. Back on the Nicoya Peninsula, we continue to Hojancha in the nearby Monte Alto Forest Reserve. Here a citizens’ initiative protects existing forest stands and reforests the surrounding mountain slopes in order to secure the water supply of the place and the biodiversity of the Rio Nosara. Dinner and overnight in a beautiful lodge in the middle of the forest. It is possible to sleep under mosquito nets in the semi-open “rancho” – a very special one Here a citizens’ initiative protects existing forest stands and reforests the surrounding mountain slopes in order to secure the water supply of the place and the biodiversity of the Rio Nosara. Dinner and overnight in a beautiful lodge in the middle of the forest. It is possible to sleep under mosquito nets in the semi-open “rancho” – a very special one Here a citizens’ initiative protects existing forest stands and reforests the surrounding mountain slopes in order to secure the water supply of the place and the biodiversity of the Rio Nosara. Dinner and overnight in a beautiful lodge in the middle of the forest. It is possible to sleep under mosquito nets in the semi-open “rancho” – a very special one

nature experience!

  • Driving time: to the port of Costa de Pajaros 2.5 hours / from San Pablo to Monte Alto 45 minutes
  • Boat trip: approx. 2 hours
  • Hike: approx. 2 hours (6 km, +/-50 m)

Overnight stay in a lodge (Monte Alto Lodge) (B/L/D)

After a bird concert at dawn – howler monkeys often wake you up – we enjoy a typical breakfast with “Gallo Pinto” in the middle of the forest. Then our guide brings us closer to the biodiversity of the forest reserve and we get to know the diverse orchid species of the Nicoya Peninsula on the orchid trail. At a visual presentation at the end of the morning, we receive information about the history of the citizens’ initiative, which is supported by the German tropical association Tropica Verde. We also receive information on environmental protection initiatives. Together with the surrounding schools, the local farmers and the university in Nicoya, environmental education takes place with the aim of raising the awareness of the local population. In the afternoon we hike to the “Ceiba” (Capuk tree) halfway to the highest point of the reserve, the Mirador (viewpoint). If you want, you can continue hiking to the highest point, from where we have a view of the entire area. We also have the opportunity later to track down and observe the animals in the reserve on our own – just like the next morning before breakfast. We might also spot a group of howler monkeys along the way, high up in the treetops, their howling getting louder the closer we get to them. We also have the opportunity later to track down and observe the animals in the reserve on our own – just like the next morning before breakfast. We might also spot a group of howler monkeys along the way, high up in the treetops, their howling getting louder the closer we get to them. We also have the opportunity later to track down and observe the animals in the reserve on our own – just like the next morning before breakfast. We might also spot a group of howler monkeys along the way, high up in the treetops, their howling getting louder the closer we get to them.

  • Morning hike: approx. 1.5 hours (approx. 2 km, +/- 200 m)
  • Afternoon hike: approx. 3 hours (approx. 6 km, +/- 400 m)

Overnight stay in a lodge (Monte Alto Lodge ) (B/L/D)

After breakfast we leave Hojancha towards the Pacific: Vamos a la Playa!

We drive past the Camaronal wildlife sanctuary, along rolling hills covered with palm trees and extensive teak plantations. On the way there is a fantastic view over the bay of Carillo. In Sámara we move into our hotel, which is only a few minutes’ walk from the palm beach of the town and can already imagine how we will organize the next one and a half days individually. The beach invites you to go for a walk and, when the weather is nice, to breathe in the sun’s rays and the fresh pinch. The beach bars and cafés on the beautiful Pacific coast also invite you to enjoy life – Pura Vida!

  • Travel time: approx. 2.5 hours.

Overnight stay in the hotel (Hotel Belvedere or similar) (B/-/-)

Today’s day can be arranged individually according to your mood: you can swim in the bay of Sámara, take a walk on the beach or enjoy a cocktail. Optionally, you can book a guided boat tour on the Pacific Ocean to watch dolphins (with a bit of luck you can also see turtles and whales), a kayak trip to Chora Island for snorkeling, canoeing and biking, horseback riding, paragliding or a canopy tour. At night, turtles can be seen at Camaronal Wildlife Sanctuary, a beautiful natural beach. Once a month there are also numerous turtles in Ostional, the second most important turtle beach in the world.

Overnight stay in the hotel (Hotel Belvedere or similar) (B/-/-)

We leave the Pacific coast and drive past the second oldest colonial church in the country, which can currently only be admired from the outside due to renovation work. Then continue back to the mainland via the Tempisque Bridge in Palo Verde National Park. In Limonal we stop to stretch our legs and watch the scarlet and blue macaws high in the treetops. We continue via the former gold mining town of Las Juntas de Abangares along cattle pastures and coffee plantations to the central Cordillera and Monteverde. The cloud forest region of Monteverde is the cradle of the country’s ecotourism and boasts tremendous biodiversity. Wafts of fog swirl around the dense jungle, creating a mystical atmosphere amidst this complex ecosystem full of colors and smells!

  • Driving time: approx. 3.5 hours
  • Hike: approx. 3 hours (10 km, +/- 200 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel (El Bosque or similar) (B/L/-)

Today is entirely dedicated to the cloud forest, we walk through the primary and secondary forests of the Santa Elena Reserve. With a bit of luck you can see the bird of the gods of the Aztecs, the quetzal. This bird was hunted in pre-Columbian times for its magnificent plumage, which served as a headdress for the priests. However, because he was worshiped as a deity, he was not killed, only captured and released. Killing a quetzal was punishable by death. Many myths surround this magnificent animal. Monteverde is the country’s first private sanctuary – founded by the American Quakers who settled here, who wanted to secure the water supply for their dairy industry.

After lunch together, the rest of the day’s program is freely available to us. We can choose one of the other hiking trails in the reserve. A visit to the various facilities in Santa Elena is also recommended. In the butterfly garden, for example, numerous different insects await us in addition to the fluttering creatures that can be found in the different layers of vegetation in Costa Rica. The frog garden and the serpentarium are also recommended. If you want to make your free afternoon a little more adventurous, you can go on a canopy tour.

  • Driving time: approx. 50 min.
  • Hike: approx. 3 hours (3 km, +/- 300 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel (El Bosque or similar) (B/L/-)

Early in the morning we drive along a panoramic road of the Cordillera through coffee plantations and cattle pastures to Tilarán and on to the large Arenal reservoir. During the trip we have a view over the entire lake and in the distance we can already guess the volcano. Continue through lush tropical vegetation to the active Arenal Volcano. The dam wall offers a unique view of the volcano’s lava fields. The vegetation that is offered to us here only emerged after the historic 1968 eruption. It is amazing to see how nature is taking back this once destroyed habitat and filling it with life. We hike on the “Silencio Trail” to the cooled lava rocks. We then continue to the lodge at La Fortuna, which is east of the volcano. The afternoon is free and the small town invites you to stroll. In the evening we visit the hot thermal springs in Arenal Paradise together, which invite you to relax.

  • Driving time: to the Arenal volcano approx. 4.5 hours, to La Fortuna approx. 20 minutes.
  • Hike: approx. 3.5 hours (5 km, +/-200 m)

Overnight stay in the hotel (Arenal Oasis or similar). etc.) (F/-/A)

Today’s day trip takes us into the rainforest in Tenorio National Park and to the light blue shimmering Rio Celeste. The sky-blue river owes its name to the light, almost turquoise-blue, slightly milky color that results from a natural chemical reaction at the confluence of two rivers that have completely different chemical properties and whose reaction produces the coloration. This place is called Dyer’s Square and is hidden in the middle of the dense rainforest. We then return to La Fortuna where the afternoon is at leisure.

  • Driving time: approx. 4 hours
  • Hike: approx. 3 hours (6 km)

Overnight stay in hotel (Arenal Oasis or similar) (B/-/-)

Strengthened by breakfast, we start our onward journey towards the Caribbean coast, but before that we go to the Pozo Azul recreation area in the Sarapiqui Valley. There you have the opportunity to learn more about organic production in Costa Rica and to taste different delicacies. 80% of the processed products are produced regionally. We move into our accommodation, lace up our hiking boots and hike to a small waterfall.

In the evening a little surprise awaits us accompanied by salsa rhythms.

  • Driving time: approx. 3 hours
  • Hike: approx. 2.5 hours (15 km)

Overnight stay in a hacienda (La Quinta or similar) (B/-/-)

Today we begin our onward journey to Cahuita. The path leads us past numerous pineapple and banana plantations. We are slowly approaching the small fishing village where we can get to know the delicious and rich Caribbean cuisine!

In the afternoon we have some free time to go to the beach. There is a relaxed atmosphere here that invites you to relax. In the evening we can let ourselves be spoiled in one of the numerous restaurants. How about a freshly caught, grilled fish in a Caribbean sauce.

  • Driving time: 4 hours
  • Hike: approx. 4.5 hours

Overnight stay in the hotel (Hotel El Encanto or similar)

(B/-/-)

This morning we hike through the Cahuita National Park along beautiful Caribbean beaches, where we can observe capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, sloths and many other animals. Afterwards, the palm beach invites you to bury your feet in the sand and let your soul dangle.

The afternoon can be designed freely: If visibility is good, it is a good idea to go on a snorkeling tour at the national park reef. With a bit of luck, there are numerous sea creatures to discover, including fluorescent fish species, rays, turtles and much more. A trip to the nearby sloth hospital is also highly recommended. A small boat tour through green aquatic plant carpets is also included here.

  • Driving time:
  • Hike: approx. 1.5 hours (6.5 km) or approx. 3 hours (14.5 km)

Overnight stay in the hotel (Hotel El Encanto or similar)

(B/-/D)

We still have some time in the morning to say goodbye to the Caribbean coast and start our return journey to San José. We cross the second largest national park in the country, Braulio Carillo, which extends over 450 square kilometers. The national park was established in the 1970s and provides habitat for a wide variety of animals and plants. It can happen that saying goodbye to the green heart of Costa Rica is difficult.

In San José there is still some time in the evening to walk along the Alter Zoll cultural center to the old Caribbean train station in the parliament quarter or to see the National Theater, a replica of the Paris Opera.

If you want to stay a few more days on the beach, you can extend your stay in Cahuita, Puerto Viejo or Bocas del Toro in Panamá. More information on this on request.

  • Driving time: approx. 4.5 hours.

Overnight stay in the hotel (Fleur de Lys or similar) (B/-/D)

Today it is time to say goodbye to Costa Rica. We will be taken to the airport for our flight back to Europe.

  • Driving time: approx. 30-45 min.

Overnight Hotel (B/-/-)

Today we arrive in our European homeland and should give ourselves some time to settle in and acclimatize.

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What's Included

Services included in the prices:

  • Scheduled flight with Iberia. Departure airports Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Berlin-Tegel and Hamburg. Vienna and Munich with a surcharge (price on request, recommended value: €100 – €200 per person). In the case of short-term inquiries less than 2 months before the start of the trip, the flight is usually associated with a surcharge. ATTENTION: Appointment in February without a flight!
  • 13 nights in small hotels, 2 nights in a simple jungle lodge (on a double room basis*) and 1 night in a hacienda (simple huts including private bathroom) with daily breakfast
  • Half board on the 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th & 14th day, full board on the 3rd & 4th day *
  • German-speaking or English-speaking, qualified tour guide
  • Entrance fees for visit/sightseeing program
  • All transfers by private minibus or boat
  • Costa Rica travel guide & other travel information
  • The departure tax of $29 is already included in the flight price
  • Certificate for supporting the “Monte Alto” reforestation project
  • 50% single room surcharge for half a double room booking if no other participant(s) can be found

* Double rooms on these two days cannot be guaranteed.

Not included:

  • from 4 people small group surcharge per person 150€
  • 4-8 people English-speaking tour guide, from 8 people German-speaking tour guide
  • Meals not included in the daily program
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs, tips
  • Additional costs in case of illness, mountain rescue, change of route due to force majeure
  • Individual excursions and visits outside the program
  • Single supplements
  • Tips around 80 USD
  • insurances
  • vaccinations

Prices & Dates

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FROM/TO

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— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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FROM/TO

PRICE (USD)

TRAVEL STATUS

— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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FROM/TO

PRICE (USD)

TRAVEL STATUS

— JUL 2023 / — AUG 2023

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» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays

Prices (per person):

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— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD— USD

Deposit for reservations: — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!

Places: 🟢 *Available
Trip-code: Number ►CRI-
Duration: 16 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Costa Rica
Mountain Guide: Eric Albino Lliuya
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!

3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023

Legend Booking-information:
EZZ Single room supplement
🟢 On this trip, places are still available.
🟡 On this trip, only a few places left.
🔴 This trip is sold out / closed.

Eric Raul Albino Lliuya

Expert guide certified by AGOMP
General Sales Manager of Peru Expeditions

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