Costa Rica Student Package

(Central America)

Prepare for a unique experience in Costa Rica while discovering the hidden treasures within its many forests, rivers, and volcanic regions.  Costa Rica, a small country covering only 19,730 square miles, which is only  0.03% of the Earth´s surface, contains an astonishing amount of plant and animal life. This  country is referred to as a "biodiverse hot spot" as it contains approximately 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity-more than that of Europe and North America. This abundance of wildlife is attributed to the country’s geographical position on a land bridge between North America and South America and strict environmental protection policies enforced by governmental agencies..

Costa Rica’s enormous diversity attracts hundreds of scientists and nature enthusiasts from all over the world. The country’s rainforests are comprised of complex biological communities where on average, over 100 species of trees may occupy one hectare of land.  The Costa Rican Forests are the habitat for more than 9,000 recorded species of plants including 1,500 species of orchids. Over 850 species of birds fly over the Costa Rican Rainforests therefore making these forests one of the biggest destinations for bird lovers of all ages. More than 200 mammalian species have been recorded in Costa Rica including a variety of monkeys, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, agoutis, coatis, peccaries (wild pigs), kinkajous, raccoons, squirrels bats and so many more!  Endangered species such as jaguars and tapirs can also be found inhabiting the jungles within this country.

Costa Rica is also home to over 2,000 species of butterflies with one of the most breathtaking being the blue morpho butterfly, occasionally seen fluttering near rivers and waterfalls..  Nature Enthusiasts also flock to this country to witness the exciting colors and sounds of Costa Rica's 150 species of exotic amphibians including
the exotic red eyed leaf frog, the spotted-thighed poison frog and the strawberry poison-arrow frog. Contributing to this biodiverse hot zone are the 200 species of reptiles and 14 species of sea turtles.   Visitors come from all over the world to experience one of the most amazing biological occurances which is the mass arrivals of the sea turtle.  Turtles, inluding the  huge Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead and the Hawksbill, arrive on both coasts of Costa Rica certain times of the year to nest and lay their eggs before returning back to the Ocean.  Capturing this awe-inspiring event is surely a nature lovers dream!

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Itinerary (10 Day Tour)

  San José, Sarapiqui, Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio

(B,L,D=Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

 

Day 1:

Flights arriving into San Jose, Costa Rica.

           Overnight in San José. (D). Country Inn and Suites

 

Day 2:

There will be a morning transfer from San Jose to Sarapiqui. While on route,  we will visit the famous Poás Volcano. Poás is  one of Costa Rica´s  most active volcanoes and one of its most frequently visited.  The view as you look down upon the crater lake will prove to be simply captivating!

           Overnight in Sarapiqui. (B,L,D). Selva Verde Lodge

 

Day 3:

After a refreshing early breaksfast, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the nature surrounding Selva Verde Lodge.   Trails  surrounding the lodge offer a glimse of such extraordinary nature!  Whether  its birds, butterflies, trees, monkeys or rich vegetation you wish to see...you will find it here at Selva Verde Lodge! After our early morning walks,  we will be going to a local farm to reforest with native species. Reforestation and forest preservation “carbon offset projects” are part of the global warming solution. Forest-based “carbon offset projects” fight climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere in trees and soil and have many co-benefits for the community and local wildlife. Forest preservation creates jobs,maintains and expands wildlife habitats, protects biodiversity, and improves local environmental quality.

 

By mid day, we will transfer to the Arenal area. Before arriving to our hotel for check in, we will visit “The Don Juan Sustainable Farm.” Don Juan has modeled his farm based on 3 principles which include production, conservation and education. While exploring his farm, we will see a large variety of tropical crops and become educated on a sustainable way of life.  Prepare to be animated as Don Juan makes his way throughout his farm giving detailed explanations of his crops while allowing us to sample some as well.

Overnight in Arenal. (B,L,D). Arenal Montechiari

          

Day 4: 

In the morning, we will get “off-road” with an ATV tour. The tour begins with an explanation of safety rules followed by instructions on how to operate the vehicles. Once ready to hit the trials, the group will be guided by qualified trail experts who will lead the pack throughout several towns and farms outside of La Fortuna and the Arenal River. We will trek through roads which can only be accessed by ATVs, which will give us a true “off the beaten track experience.” Along the way, we will take a break along the Arenal River which is a perfect area for capturing some special pictures.

 

Costa Rica is famed for its use with alternative energy sources-one of which is geothermal power.  You will be sent into paradise with your afternoon visit to one of Costa Rica’s expansive hot springs facility, Baldi Hot Springs. This facility gets its energy from the famous Arenal Volcano which has an unavoidable presence while in this part of the country.  If relaxation is on your “to do” list while on this eco-adventure, this is the perfect place for you! This is a perfect ending to a full day of adventure and education.

Overnight in Arenal. (B,L,D). Arenal Montechiari

 

Day 5:

In the morning we will transfer from Arenal to Monteverde. This will be a lengthy travel day however several stops will be made along the way which will allow us to take in the sights and culture of Costa Rica.  After our check in at the hotel, there is something quite special in store for the early evening hours.  We will discover the secrets that show up when the sun goes down at Monteverde’s Cloud Forest “Night Walk Tour.”  Guided through the forest by local naturalists, you will have the opportunity to observe a large variety of nocturnal wildlife that begin their activity after the diurnal animals have taken refuge for the night. This will be an amazing experience to witness, through both sight and sound, some of the most biodiverse species that exist on Earth.  Flashlights will be provided on this tour however you may prefer to bring your own.

Overnight in Monteverde. (B,L,D). Montaña Monteverde

 

Day 6:

In the morning we will visit Selvatura Park.  Here we will have the opportunity to hike over amazing suspension bridges to discover a unique ecosystem of Costa Rica.  The  Cloud Forest Canopy is a special  ecosystem making up a mere 2% of the rainforest yet holds a great number of unique flora and fauna. To add to this canopy adventure, prepare for a breath taking experience amidst the tree tops high in the jungle!  The Zip Line Tour is a much anticipated activity in Costa Rica.  With its 14 platforms and Tarzan jump, this activity will prove to be exhilarating.  Following a morning packed with excitement, we will spend some time winding down with an afternoon visit to the town of Santa Elena located within Monteverde.  Santa Elena is a small, quaint town filled with tasty restaurants and folksy artisan shops.  There is something for everyone here!

Overnight in Monteverde. (B,L,D). Montaña Montevede

 

Day 7:

There will be a morning transfer to yet another unique area in Costa Rica and that’s the Pacific Ocean! Our destination today will be the Manuel Antonio Region of Costa Rica.  Manuel Antonio National Park is a small biological peninsula found within an area devoted to different productive activities, such as agriculture, cattle and high tourism development. It is one of the country’s most scenic and beautiful national parks. Many visitors flock to this area to enjoy the beauty of the coastline with its amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.

 

In the afternoon, we will enjoy the Pacific Ocean aboard a catamaran. Our tour will start in the town of Quepos and we will spend several hours enjoying the Pacific…food, music, snorkeling, dolphins swimming alongside our boat, and a breath taking view of the sun setting behind the ocean.    You will be sure to make long lasting memories this day!

Overnight in Manuel Antonio. (B,LD). Los Almendros

 

Day 8:

In the morning we will take a short hike to Manuel Antonio National Park.  This park is the second most visited national park of the country. Beaches with white sand, abundant wild life and beautiful landscape are just part of the countless reasons for being a tourist “hot spot.”  Be prepared to encounter a variety of wildlife while in the park.  The capuchin monkey will be sure to entertain you while the two and three sloth will appear in and out of the tree tops.  The habitats throughout the park are like no other.  Your sightings of the wildlife here at Manual Antonio will leave you with lots to talk about in future years!

 

Early evening, we will walk a strip of beach outside the park and take part in a “beach cleanup” activity.  We will divide into groups and using eco friendly garbage bags, we will participate in a picking up trash along a ½ mile stretch. It will be shocking as to how much waste is left behind by visitors and locals which directly interferes with wildlife.

Overnight in Manuel Antonio. (B,L,D). Los Almendros

 

Day 9:

In the morning we will take the last adventure in the country with a white water rafting tour.  Our tour, led by highly experienced guides, will take you along this amazing trip, stopping along the way for great swimming spots and cascading waterfalls. This activity is a great deal of fun and it will excite you with its jolt over class 3 rapids and relax you as you make your way through calmer waters taking in all the beauty that surrounds the river. In the afternoon, we will transfer from Manuel Antonio back to San Jose.

Overnight in San José. (B,L,D). Country Inn and Suites

 

Day 10: 

Transfer San José to International airport. (B)

 

 

Good bye, Costa Rica!

 

Final Price:  $3495

 

($2495 Estimated Ground Price and $1000 Estimated Airfare)

Prices will vary slightly depending on hotel availability and airfare

 

Package Includes:

 

*9 nights of accommodations (taxes included)

*All meals as indicated in itinerary

  B= Breakfast / L= Lunch / D= Dinner

*Comfortable, air conditioned private motor

  coach

*Naturalist Guide for duration of tour

*All gratuities

*Entrance fees to parks and special tours

*Community service projects

*Costa Rica departure taxes

*General travel insurance

 (www.internationalstudentinsurance.com)

*Company t-shirt

*Water bottle

*Passport holder

*Flight into Costa Rica (SJO) 

*Luggage fees

*10 days of cultural and natural education

       Hotel Websites (subject to availability)

 

 

Hotel Country Inn and Suites (San Jose)

http://www.countryinns.com/san-jose-heredia-hotel-cr-357-2120/cossanj

 

 

Hotel Selva Verde Lodge (Sarapiqui)

http://www.selvaverde.com/lang/en/

 

 

Hotel Arenal Montechari (Arenal)

www.hotelarenalmontechiari.com

 

 

Hotel Montaña Monteverde (Monteverde)

http://www.monteverdemountainhotel.com/

 

 

Hotel Los Almendros (Manuel Antonio)

http://www.1-costaricalink.com/hotels_puntarenas_costa_rica/hotel_los_almendros_costa_rica/hotel_amenities_eng.htm