Designed for groups of 10 to 20 persons, the tour is escorted by a naturalist guide and the use of private transportation allows for short stops and flexibility in the schedule. The accommodations were specifically chosen for their quality, lush landscaping, and surrounding nature. The itinerary can be customized to accommodate specific interests.
Day 1, Saturday: Fly to San Jose
About a 20 minute drive from the airport, the Hotel Buena Vista is a beautiful Spanish-colonial style resort. It is the only hotel in the area atop a mountain with a 360º panoramic view of 3 volcanoes; Poas, Barva and Irazú. The hotel is located on a large plot of land with extensive tropical gardens including many fruit trees and planted with coffee. In addition to an amazing overlook of San Jose, the property even has its own nature walk/coffee trail (takes about 30 minutes) where you can experience a microcosm of the ecosystem. The use of native plant species also encourages a variety of butterflies and birds to visit the property. Thanks to their altitude, Hotel Buena Vista maintains a pleasant year-round temperature of 80 degrees during the day. The charming resort offers spacious rooms with free WiFi and satellite TV.
Day 2, Sunday: San Jose - Guacimo (B/L)
Located in Guácimo adjacent to a small river, the Hotel Los Rios features an outdoor swimming pool and garden. This hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and flat-screen TV. Guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar and free WiFi is available.
First stop along the way is a Farmers Market (la Feria del Agricultor). The outdoor market provides a look at the great crop diversity in Costa Rica and a chance to buy some fruit for snacks.
The next stop is for lunch and then a tour at the Atlantic Rainforest Aerial Tram founded by Dr. Donald Perry. The tram is on the Eastern flank of Braulio Carrillo National Park in a privater reserve. An open gondola takes you on a two level tour of the rainforest canopy. It traverses a valley and climbs a small mountain through the treetops as much as 170 feet off the ground. Each gondola carries up to four passengers and a naturalist guide. There are also kilometers of excellent hiking trails. The very first of its kind in the country, the tram allows easy exploration of every level of the dense Costa Rican rainforest from the ground to the treetops. The Aerial Tram Tour lets you see secrets the forest keeps while you guide above the treetops and experience magnificent views of the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the private reserve. An immersive nature experience over the forest canopy, it is the longest and only guided tram tour in the country. The 1.10 hours gondola ride includes a guided natural walk on paved nature trails, a visit to the beautiful and specialized Butterfly Garden, a walk through the orchid garden comprised of orchids rescued from fallen tree trunks and finally a visit to the Terrarium to see interesting amphibians and reptiles species.
Day 3, Monday: EARTH University (B/L)
Arriving around 9:00 am, we first have orientation and watch a short introduction video about EARTH’s vision & mission.
After a tour of the campus facilities, we can learn about their Academic Projects like the Banana Plantation. Their banana farms are managed under the ideals of sustainable production and utilization of human resources. In addition to viewing the banana plantations, we can learn about the complete process: fruit harvesting, transportation, processing, and packaging. EARTH bananas are sent to markets in the United States and across Europe.
After lunch on campus, we visit the fruiting trees plantation academic area. We can learn about their extensive fruiting trees collection, from their farm manager and faculty.
Later we visit the Ethnobotanical Garden and learn about different plant properties and their medicinal use by locals.
Day 4, Tuesday: EARTH University (B/L)
The small, upscale hotel is built in the style of a hacienda and all rooms have a balcony for enjoying nature. It is located in the heart of the verdant Turrialba agricultural region. This beautiful place is bordered by La Angostura Lake, complete with WiFi, pool and bar. With time permitting, in the late afternoon we may visit a nearby sugar cane mill, a coffee facility where Costa Rica's superior beans are prepared, or a processing plant for the flavorful macademia nut.
Day 5, Wednesday: CATIE (B/L)
While at CATIE we tour their botanical garden and enjoy tropical fruit tastings. The botanical garden, also allows the viewing endemic birds and serves as an introduction to plant life in the tropical climate.
We will also view the extensive collections located at the CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center. It has some 95 species of exotic trees and plants spread out across 25 acres of land. CATIE conserves thousands of genetic samples from various parts of the world. A major species conservation task, such as germplasm banks for plants from tropical America, constitutes a real treasure for CATIE in the field of crop research, preservation and improvement. This treasure consists of the International Coffee Collection, the International Cocoa Collection and the Germplasm Banks for peach palm, annatto, guava and exotic fruits.
We also learn about their The Forest Seed Bank which has an annual distribution of 8-12 tons of seeds to more than 15 countries. You may be able to purchase seeds and bring them in legally with proper s and bring them in legally with proper a “small lots of seeds permit” from the USDA (www.aphis.usda.gov).You must secure the permit in advance.
Day 6, Thursday: Lankester Gardens (B / L)
After breakfast there is free time to enjoy the gardens and forests of Casa Turire or maybe arrange kayaking on Angostura Lagoon or horseback riding.
Late morning we depart (1 - 1.5 hour drivetime) for a private tour of the famous Lankester Gardens, started in the 1940’s.The 27 acres of grounds contain trails and impressive display of more than 3,000 unique plant varieties in the gardens, including rare orchid species that most people will never see in their lifetimes. While the local animal life tends to be shy, you may catch glimpses of tree frogs, colorful birds and monkeys. The public garden functions also as a research center for the University of Costa Rica. The gardens feature bromeliads, palms and cacti growing amid secondary pre-montane forest, and many visitors come to Lankester to view the more than 1000 orchid species.
In the late afternoon, we have a 15 minute drive to the amazing Rio Perlas Resort and Spa for the overnight. http://www.rio-perlas.com/en/overview/about-us.
Day 7, Friday: Cartago - San Jose (B / L)
Midday, we depart to visit a feria, (or farmers markets) to see, taste, or buy from the variety of agricultural products; fruits, vegetables, food vendors, etc. Another great chance to sample many of the country’s flavorful fruits.
We will avoid travel to Cartago today as it is a religious holiday (Virgen de los Angeles, Costa Rica’s patron saint) and there may be more a 1 million people in downtown Cartago. It is an annual pilgrimage to the Lady of the Angels Basilica.
Taking back roads to various sight seeing places, we can still visit a beautiful village church, a strawberry farm enjoy a late lunch at a local restaurant popular for its delicious tortillas with cheese and “aguadulce,” a sugarcane drink.
Later afternoon return to the Hotel Buena Vista in San Jose (about an 1.5 hour drive) for the overnight.
Day 8, Saturday: Departure (B)
Transfers to the SJO airport for international flights out.
All airport / hotel transfers as listed
All lodging, including hotel taxes
Private transportation and guides
Meals as listed (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
All tours as listed including entrance fees
Gratuities for local guides are NOT included
Estimate $1,800 per person, in double occupancy with a group size of 10 to 20.
A single supplement is additional $450.
Call us for a at 1-239-992-9660, or toll free at 800-446-9660, or email us at travel "at" GoExploring.com
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