Explorations Inc is pleased to introduce this new natural history tour. It highlights the beauty of several Costa Rican forest ecosystems in ways not available just a few years ago. New facilities for exploring the forest canopy are now allowing us to take a much closer (and safer) look at the forest, complete from bottom to top! Not only is the scenery and flora spectacular, the locations also provide excellent wildlife viewing.
Day 1: USA Gateway - San Jose
Airport reception upon arrival in San Jose and transfer to the Hotel Irazú. This large resort hotel has its own shopping mall, tennis courts, swimming pool and sauna, casino, restaurants and bars. It also has daily minibus shuttle to the downtown area if your flight times permit exploring the city.
Day 2: Rainforest Aerial Tram
Only an hour drive from San Jose in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, the Rain Forest Aerial Tram is an unique Eco-Tourism and research facility. Your day begins around 9AM with drive through the rugged and beautiful Braulio Carrillo National Park, a 113,620 acres realm of primary forest in which some 6,000 species of plants and wildlife straddle the continental divide in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range and lead into the lowlands of the Caribbean. Next comes a one of a kind adventure aboard biologist Don Perry’s Aerial Tram. (www.rainforesttram.com) The mile and a hal
f tram ride takes about 90 minutes, with a naturalist in each cable car. On the outbound trip, the gondolas travel through the lower and intermediate levels of the forest. The way back is an exciting trip through the upper levels of the canopy, with a maximum altitude of 130 feet. The canopy is home to two thirds of all rainforest species, and the Aerial Tram site, possesses one of the richest canopy communities in the world. An exciting way to explore the biodiversity of a rainforest canopy with its countless species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. After the tram ride you will have the chance to walk the bottom forest reserve and see the tropical life close up. Lunch in the park. In the afternoon, you return to the Hotel Irazú past tropical plant and macadamia nut plantations. (B/L)
Day 3: Monteverde Cloudforest
This morning you travel to the world-famous cloudforests of Monteverde with a drive out of the Central Valley to the Tilaran Mountain Range. After checking into your mountain lodge, The Hotel Heliconia, the afternoon is free to relax and explore the hotel grounds. (www.hotelheliconia.com) The Hotel Heliconia is located in Monteverde, with a privileged location, that places it near two of the most beautiful protected tropical forests in Costa Rica, the well known Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and the Santa Elena Rain Forest Reserve (at 6 km). The hotel offers a perfect setting for the visitors who love bird-watching, nature photography and serenity of a mountain retreat. It has been designed to offer home-style comfort in the warmth of all wood construction. Every room has a single and a double bed with orthopedic mattress, private bathroom with hot water, and the luxury of a bathtub to soothe tired muscles. Other services available:
Guided natural history tours, horseback riding, rubber boots, and laundry service, Jacuzzi, transportation to and from the reserves. (Optional visits/tours available include the nearby; Butterfly Garden, Orchid Garden, Canopy Tour, Skywalk, Serpentarium, Ecological Farm, Hidden Valley Trail, Cheese Factory, or the many arts/crafts shops and the Selvatura Walkways, whose canopy walkways feature eight bridges which make up a total of 2,400 feet of total length crossing through altitudes of up to 240 feet.) (B)
Day 4: Monteverde
This morning there is a guided hike in the lush Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The local naturalist guides you deep into the reserve to explore its many trails and explain the reserve’s ecological importance. The afternoon is unstructured for relaxation and enjoyment of the lodge’s facilities such as its private forest reserve with trails, or independent optional activities and exploring the village of Monteverde. (B)
Day 5: Jacó Beach
This morning you will depart out of the tropical mountain rain forest, through the dry forest of Guanacaste, to the Pacific Ocean. Your seaside resort for the next three nights is the Best Western Jacó Beach, complete with water sport equipment, swimming pool, tennis, bicycles, restaurant, bar & discotheque, tour desk, activities program, and more! It is located on a beautiful 3-mile stretch of beach, offering 125 rooms with A/C, private bathroom, hot water, cable TV, phone. The afternoon is unstructured for relaxation, beach activities, or nearby optional tours. (B)
Day 6: Pacific Aerial Tram
A half day tour exploring the canopy and jungle with a visit to the new Pacific Rain Forest Aerial Tram. Created to raise the world's consciousness as to the importance of the tropical forests, Tram allows you to discover the hidden secrets and hanging gardens of the transitional tropical rainforest from a totally different perspective. The Rain Forest Aerial Tram - Pacific is a new eco-tourism project with 222 acres of forest. The property offers not only one of the most interesting and exuberant forests in the Americas, but also showcases small waterfalls and scenic views of the Pacific Coast, which visitors can enjoy during the Tram ride. The nature trails allow you to explore the hidden secrets of the forest where, with the assistance of a knowledgeable guide, you’ll learn how the forest grows from the ground up. Your choice of the Piedra Bruja walking trail:
Explore the forest’s secrets safely and easily while accompanied by an expert naturalist guide. (Duration: 45 minutes / Difficulty: Easy) Or the longer Waterfall hiking trail: More adventurous souls will enjoy this hiking tour up to the mountain, where you will discover stunning forest views, tumbling cascades, and more. After this exciting experience, you return comfortably on the Aerial Tram’s gondolas. Duration: 2 hours / Difficulty: High (requires good physical condition). On site to visit is a Snake Exhibition and also a Medicinal Plants Garden, where you have the opportunity to experience a complete selection of medicinal, aromatic and condiment plants, as well as learn about their practical uses and unique characteristics. The afternoon is free for relaxation. (B)
Day 7: Jacó Beach
The is a free day for relaxation, beach activities, or nearby optional tours which may be arranged at the hotel’s tour desk.
Excellent day tour options include:
1. Another day exploring the canopy and jungle with a visit to the new Rainmaker Reserve and Canopy Walkway. (www.rainmakercostarica.com) The Rainmaker Conservation Project is a privately owned Rainforest Reserve that spans over 1530 acres of 90% virgin rainforest. It is a biodiversity bank for 70% of all the flora and fauna species found in Costa Rica. This project is dedicated to the conservation and protection of the Fila Chonta mountain range on Costa Rica's pacific side. Rainmaker's unique location places it within the strategic Quepoa Biological corridor. The Rainmaker Canopy Walk consists of a suspension bridge system, built to U.S. engineering standards. The six sections total 250 meters, spanning from platforms attached to massive hardwood trees to create the most impressive Canopy Walk in Costa Rica. The design permits minimal forest impact, giving our participants an opportunity to explore the majesty of the forest canopy from a bird's eye view. The guided River Walk tour begins with hike along the Rio Seco's edge. Hand rails and easy to follow footpaths along with observation platforms allow you to observe waterfalls and capture, with photographs, the rich biodiversity this unique site has to offer. Rainmaker is home to Morpho butterflies, varieties of birds, the colorful poison dart frog, and thousands of unique plant species. Depending on the time of year, visitors are also afforded sightings of incredible reptiles and other animals that make there way down to the water. At the end of the walk a pristine waterfall pool will beckon you to enjoy a refreshing dip.
2. A day exploring and relaxing at the Manuel Antonio National Park. The park is famous for its secluded white sandy beaches, forested-backed rocky coves, nature trails and it is home to huge iguanas, white-faced monkeys and colorful birdlife. The 3,000 acres of the reserve are often considered some of the most beautiful the country. Time for nature walks, swimming, snorkeling before returning to Jacó Beach.
3. An exciting half-day tour for the adventurous to the Waterfalls Canopy. Their Canopy Tour consists of 13 platforms, 7 zip lines, a Tarzan Swing, a 3 story tree house, suspension bridges and a 90 foot rappel. While zipping over cables as high up as 100 foot above the ground, you get a bird's eye view of the rainforest canopy! Onsite nature walks in transitional rainforest and agro-forest areas teach about the 18 varieties of fruit trees, leafcutter ants, bamboo, royal palms, teakwood, the strangler fig and many other trees and plants. They also have a Butterfly Garden and a large 60 X 80 ft enclosure, where you have the chance to appreciate over 30 different species of colorful butterflies and a variety of frogs and toads.
Or, you could just sip Piña Colados on the beach! (B)
Day 8: Río Tárcoles - San Jose
A morning boating excursion on the Rio Grande de Tárcoles which borders the biodiverse Carara Biological Reserve, a transition zone between wet and dry forest ecosystems. The river is home to one of the world’s largest crocodile populations with individuals up to fifteen feet long. The area holds countless species of plants and abundance of such birds as; scarlet macaws, guans, trogons, wood storks, herons and motmots! Also commonly seen are monkeys, iguanas, basilisk lizards (aka the Jesus Christ lizard) coatimundi, and dazzling butterflies. The two-hour, guided boat tour also takes you through an estuary lined with mangrove forest. Afternoon return to the verdant Central Valley for overnight in San Jose at the Hotel Irazú. The evening is free so you can rid yourself of excess money by shopping or at the casino. (B)
Transfer to the airport for flights home. (Note: You are welcome to extend your stay in Costa Rica.) (B)
1. This program can be operated year-round with a minimum of 2 persons. Call or email for trip brochure with pricing and more details.
2. We can provide a "Land Only" package, starting and ending in San Jose, or provide air from your home city. Call regarding airfare quotes.
We specialize in customizing itineraries for individuals and groups.