From: March 4 to March 13, 2017

Destination: Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, Costa Rica

  • Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains - FULL

    Costa Rica, a pioneer in the field of ecotourism, is known both for the diversity of its ecosystems and for the government's efforts to protect those ecosystems in National Parks. In fact, Costa Rica has managed to protect a larger proportion of its land than any other country in the world, with 25% of receiving some form of protection. This is a country of rainforest and beaches, mountains and jungles, and the flora and fauna, particularly birds and flowers, are amazingly rich. In this land of jewels, we have picked out the three best, the three places that you have to visit to begin to appreciate just how diverse this country is. After arriving in San Jose, we travel to Tortuguero National Park with its system of jungle canals on one side and Atlantic Coast on the other. We then visit the Arenal area, best known for its volcano and hot springs. And finally we end in the cloud forest of Monteverde. We haven't seen it all, but in 10 days we've seen much. Maximum group size: 12

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).
  • Saturday, March 4: Arrival Day We’ll meet you upon your arrival at the San Jose airport and transfer you to our hotel in Costa Rica’s capitol city. If you arrive early in the day, the hotel is located within walking distance of the central avenue, public plazas, and several museums. We’ll gather as a group at 5:30 pm to begin to get acquainted and to meet our local guide, who will go over the itinerary and answer any questions you have. We'll then share a special welcome dinner. The evening is free for you to relax or explore on your own, although we'll have an early start tomorrow and an early bedtime isn't a bad idea. Overnight Park Inn Hotel or similar. (D)

    Sunday, March 5: San Jose – Tortuguero. Our naturalist expedition begins today for real! Our local guide will meet us at the hotel for an early morning start in our private bus. The first part of the drive takes us through Braulio Carrillo National Park with its huge expanse of virgin forest. We'll stop for breakfast in Guapiles where we enjoy what will be a typical breakfast on the trip: delicious fresh pineapple, papaya, watermelon, eggs, beans, rice, sausage or bacon, cereal, milk, tea and coffee, and juice. We arrive at Cano Blanco dock after about a three hour drive (total) where we'll board a specially designed boat for the hour-long trip to our lodging right in the middle of Tortuguero National Park. Tortuguero (meaning "tortoise", for the sea turtles that nest there during the summer) is absolutely spectacular and a great introduction to the biodiversity for which Costa Rica is known.

    After lunch we'll explore the Park waterways by kayak. Kayaking allows us to wend our way through smaller canals, stopping to watch monkeys (Spider, Howler and Capuchin Monkeys all live here) and identify birds such s green heron and caiman egrets, and perhap spot some of the rarer wildlife that can't be seen from the larger boats. We'll have a naturalist guide who works in Tortuguero as well as our local guide, so there will be plenty of opportunity to have all of our questions answered. Quietly navigating through rivers and lagoons is an excellent way to enjoy all the natural wonders of the area. Overnight at Mawamba Lodge. (B,L,D)

    Monday, March 6: Tortuguero National Park After breakfast we'll have a boat tour with the company of a local naturalist guide. The small boats allow us to go deeper in the canals of the National Park and we'll get further into the park than yesterday. The extensive network of freshwater creeks and lagoons behind the beaches of Tortuguero are home to seven species of river turtles, Spectacled Caiman, Southern River Otters, a number of crustaceans, and over 50 species of freshwater fish. If we're really lucky we might spot an endangered West Indian Manatee.

    In the afternoon we visit the Village of Tortuguero where we can learn about the traditional and relaxed way of life in the Caribbean of Costa Rica. Our guide will explain how the village developed and why the villagers changed their outlook towards turtle conservation. After returning to the hotel we'll have some leisure time, where we can relax at the swimming pool, take a cocktail admiring the lagoon, or stroll along the beach. All our meals are served at the hotel. Overnight at Mawamba Lodge (B,L,D)

    Tuesday, March 7: Tortuguero-Sarapiqui Rainforest  After breakfast, we’ll depart by boat, retracing our way back to the dock, and then drive to the Sarapiqui area, one of the first places in the world to be studied by topical biologists. It's about a 2.5 - 3 hour drive to Sarapiqui and we'll stop for lunch along the way. Tonight we'll be staying at Selva Verde Lodge and Private Reserve. After getting settled in at the Lodge, our guide will escort us through the trails of the Private Reserve, where we can experience firsthand the wonder of exploring a tropical rainforest. On the Private 500 acre Reserve we'll learn more than just the names of rainforest plants and animals; we'll understand their secret lives and fascinating natural histories. We'll be on the lookout for monkeys, mot-mots, toucans, and poison dart frogs. Home to over 400 species of birds, it’s the perfect place to learn about tropical ecosystems. Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge (B,L,D)

    Wednesday, March 8: Rafting on the Sarapiqui - drive to Arenal This morning we’ll go whitewater rafting on the Sarapiqui River. The whitewater is moderate (class 2 - 3), interspersed with delightful tranquil stretches amidst lush scenery. The river is perfect for first time paddlers and for everyone who wants to float through lush jungle landscapes while being serenaded by tropical birds. And who can resist rapids with names like "Confusion", "Gringos' Hole" and AirForce". In between rapids we'll stop to splash and play in crystal pools.

    After a morning of rafting and being recharged by lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue traveling northwest on the way to the Arenal area, known for its large lake, recently active volcano, and hot springs, arriving by late afternoon. Our hotel for the following 2 nights is located right in front of the volcano, with impressive views of this massive mountain. Natural hot springs are a delightful welcome to this area, and we can enjoy them right at the hotel. Overnight Montaña de Fuego hotel or Los Lagos hotel. (B, L, D)

    Thursday, March 9: Arenal Volcano Area, Hanging Bridges and Thermal Waters. Another beautiful day in the Tropical Rainforest! Today we enjoy a guided naturalist walk in the forest, from the ground to the tree tops. The Arenal Hanging Bridges, for which Arenal is justly famous, give us a totally new insight into how life changes from the ground to the canopy. In addition to the many possibilities of finding wildlife, we also learn new aspects of the rainforest and the different species on it. The trails are designed for all levels and ages, and cover a total of 2 miles with about 20 bridges and cable bridges.

    After the Bridges we'll go to Casona Río Fortuna, a traditional country estate that was formerly the home of a Costa Rican president. We'll learn how to make Tico coffee and tortillas, and then eat lunch. We'll also learn about the culture, traditions, and the way of life in rural Costa Rica. In late afternoon we will go to Ecotermales hot-springs where we can swim in the naturally heated pools; this is one of the best natural treatments you can give your skin as well as being relaxing and rejuvenating. Dinner will take place at an excellent restaurant in La Fortuna Village. (B, L, D)

    Friday, March 10 Arenal - Monteverde, night walk in the cloud forest After breakfast, we’ll drive to the Arenal Lake Dam where we'll board a comfortable boat for our trip across the lake. Along the way we'll see the volcano from different angles and perhaps spot new wildlife. Then it's up the mountain (about a 2.5 hour drive) to one of the most well-known and interesting places in Costa Rica: Monteverde, home to a well-protected cloud forest, the resplendent quetzal, and an expat Quaker community. Our hotel is close to the cloud forest, a unique type of forest found only in Costa Rica, Panama and a few Asian countries. The biodiversity of this unique habitat is greater than almost any other ecosystem and makes a visit here one of the highlights of any Costa Rican journey.

    That evening we'll visit a Private Reserve for a night walk, then continue to one of the best restaurants in the area for a delicious dinner. Our naturalist guide will explain the different forms of life and help us to appreciate the fascinating creatures that inhabit the forest at night, exposing us to a different facet of the animal life in Costa Rica. After enjoying the beautiful sunset, we first observe diurnal species, as they prepare themselves to settle for the night. As darkness falls, we witness the forest begin to awaken once again, as the nocturnal creatures start to emerge. Our guide will explain many of the unique sights and unusual sounds while pointing out an array of insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals that inhabit the forest at night.  Overnight at Fonda Vela Hotel (B,L,D)

    Saturday, March 11: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Hike and Zipline or Horseback RideThis morning we have two excellent and very different options: one is to go ziplining and the other is horseback riding. Ziplining combines high adrenaline with a high degree of safety. The tour starts up the mountain with amazing views of the forest and the Arenal Volcano. From here, you start riding down on a zip line track, the first of 15, that stretches across canyons and in between treetops. There is also the option to try a rappel and a Tarzan swing.

    But if that has little appeal, then horseback riding on well-trained horses is an excellent way to see more of the countryside. You'll ride through a vast forest which is home to a number of coffee and banana plantations, and numerous other cultivated areas and farmlands. Above all you will enjoy spectacular, panoramic views ending at an overlook with the best view of the Nicoya Gulf in Monteverde. No experience is needed to enjoy the ride.

    After lunch, we'll spend the afternoon exploring the amazing Cloud Forest, accompanied (of course) by our expert naturalist guide. Our guide will choose the best route for us depending on weather and our interests. There are 12 kms of trails within the forest and our natural history walk can take between 2 to 3 hours, stopping often to enjoy the enchantment of the flora and fauna of the forest and learn how animals and plants live in this kind of forest. You can stay in the reserve on your own until the closing time of 4:00PM after your tour if you choose. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure until dinner. A variety of different exhibits within walking distance showcase Monteverde's unique plant and animal life; you can visit a butterfly farm, stop by the Bat Jungle, or visit the Orchid Garden to see some of the 400 orchid species that live in the area. Or (radical idea) you could take some down time and relax; it is your vacation after all. Overnight at Fonda Vela Hotel (B, L, D)

    Sunday, March 12: Monteverde-San Jose Today we drive back down the mountain as we return to San Jose. It's about a 4 hour drive in total and we'll stop along the way at an artesan's shop and bakery and to eat lunch. We'll arrive in San Jose in the afternoon, in time to clean up before dinner. It's our last evening together and we'll enjoy a final Farewell dinner at one of the best restaurants of the city. Overnight Park Inn Hotel. (B,L,D)

    Monday, March 13: Departure day We will be transferred as a group to the international airport at 9am and you can plan to leave anytime after 11am. If you need to leave either earlier or later, we're happy to help you arrange transportation. (B)
  • $2795 (see this page for travel discounts) $400 deposit. There are a limited number of single rooms available for an additional $425. You can see our cancellation policies here.

    Trip Includes

    • A naturalist Costa Rican guide and an Adventures in Good Company leader
    • Nine nights double occupancy lodging 
    • All activities specified on the itinerary
    • Private transportation within Costa Rica 
    • All meals from dinner the first night through breakfast the last
    • Airport transfer to and from San Jose (on day of arrival and departure at scheduled times)
    • Gratuities for drivers and incidental guides
    Not included: airfare to San Jose; guide gratuities; departure taxes ($29); alcoholic beverages
    ⇐ Previous
    Next ⇒
  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    We can always accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore diets. On most trips we can also accommodate lactose-free, vegan, and other restricted diets, although in some locations the availability of special food may be limited. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Kayaking through the jungle canals and lagoons of Tortuguero National Park
  • Rafting through the rain forest on the Sarapiqui River
  • Soaking in the hot springs in Arenal
  • Learning about the unique Cloud Forest Ecosystem
  • Enjoying Costa Rican cuisine and hospitality

Register for this trip today

Register Here

Is This The Right Trip for You?