Explore Costa Rica

National Geographic Journeys, San José to San José

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Costa Rica may be small but it offers big adventure. This two-week tour ventures off the beaten path to a lush and wild world. Stop in at a reforestation project, visit a sea turtle conservancy program, opt to zip-line through the jungle canopy, and have a soak in volcanic hot springs. Riding a wave of “pura vida,” experience pure travel joy.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy, Tortuguero Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Tortilla Making and Home Dinner, La Fortuna Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Monteverde Institute Lecture & Reforestation Project Your G for Good Moment: Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative Tour, Sarapiquí Your Discover Moment: La Fortuna Your Discover Moment: Monteverde Your Discover Moment: Manuel Antonio
  • Arrival transfer
  • Boat tour and wildlife viewing in Tortuguero National Park
  • Guided nature walk in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Guided excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Hear a lecture from a researcher at the monteverde institute
  • Learn how to make tortillas during a visit to a local family home
  • Spot wildlife while cruising the canals of tortuguero
  • Enjoy spectacular volcano views while soaking in hot springs
  • Learn all about sea turtles with an expert from the sea turtle conservancy

Itinerary

Day 1 San José If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to visit a museum or the main plaza in the city centre. The plaza is a good place to people-watch. A mime, juggler, marimba band, magician, or storyteller may be performing for whatever is collected when the hat is passed. Artisan booths are common, creating a regular arts and crafts fair atmosphere. Additional Notes: Costa Rica has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and is a top destination for nature lovers. As such, there is a lot of rain, regardless of the season, allowing for its lush green rain forests and cloud forest, in which flora and fauna thrive. Please come prepared for the possibility of wet weather and variations in temperature. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 2 San José/Tortuguero (1B, 1L, 1D) Enjoy a delicious Costa Rican breakfast en route as we transfer by road then boat through the famous canals of Tortuguero. This tropical eco-paradise is home to countless bird and animal species, and you will have many opportunities to view and photograph wildlife. The tropical rainforest gives way to prime secluded beaches, ideal nesting grounds for green turtles (nesting July through October), loggerhead, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles (nesting March through June). We cannot guarantee you will see turtles, but that odds are fairly good from July through October. Additional Notes: In Tortuguero National Park we stay in a remote jungle lodge that is only reachable by boat. Rooms are simple, with ensuite, electricity and hot water, but due to this remote location there can sometimes be interruptions to services. There is no A/C but each room has large-screened windows and ceiling fans to catch the breeze off the Caribbean Sea. While at the lodge during your downtime, you can enjoy the pool, bar or beach. The stunning location, wildlife and natural beauty of the location more than makes up for a few minor inconveniences. Transport: Shared van (4.00-5.00 hours) Motorized canoe (1.50 hour(s))
Day 3 Tortuguero (1B, 1L, 1D) There’s plenty of opportunity to see a variety of birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. In your downtime, relax at the secluded lodge on a hammock or at the pool or beach. You also have the option to take a kayaking excursion. Additional Notes: Occasionally, the Sea Turtle Conservancy is closed to visitors as it is an active research facility. In the event this happens, you'll visit the nearby Caño Palma Biological Station, which includes a sea turtle and marine conservation presentation, a hands-on turtle measuring experience on the beach, and optional beach clean. Included Activities: Tortuguero National Park Guided Boat Tour Guided Jungle Walk Visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy
Day 4 Tortuguero/La Fortuna (1B, 1L) Depart early and visit a G Adventures-supported coffee cooperative. Take a tour of the co-op and dig into a local lunch. Arrive in La Fortuna in the evening and relax at the pool as you take in views of the surrounding jungle and volcanoes. Additional Notes: Please also note that the town of La Fortuna is fairly small with shopping and some great restaurants, but most of the upgraded accommodations in this area are located outside of the main town centre - to take better advantage of the natural beauty and stunning landscapes of the area. Taxis are readily available to take you into town and back and can cost approx. $10USD each way. Included Activities: Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative Tour Transport: Boat (1.50-2.00 hours) Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 200km)
Day 5 La Fortuna (1B, 1D) Explore La Fortuna with numerous optional activities. In the evening, visit a local home and learn the art of tortilla making. Once the tortillas are ready, dig into a tasty “casado” — a typical Costa Rican dish that’s made with black beans, plantains, and your very own tortillas. Included Activities: Tortilla Making and Home Dinner
Day 6 La Fortuna (1B) Free day in La Fortuna. Options include rafting, waterfall rappelling, soaking in local hot springs, or taking a boat tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.
Day 7 La Fortuna/Monteverde (1B) From La Fortuna, we make our way by road and boat up to the misty mountain air of the Monteverde cloud forest region. Spend two days exploring the town and nearby Forest Reserve, truly a bird lover’s paradise. Additional Notes: The town of Monteverde is fairly small with shopping and some great restaurants, but most of the upgraded accommodations in this area are located outside of the main town centre - to take better advantage of the natural beauty and stunning landscapes of the area. Taxis are readily available to take you into town and back and can cost approx. $10USD each way. Accommodations tend to be a bit more simple here, with fewer amenities. Its important to remember that the cloud forest sits at a higher elevation and offers a cooler but humid climate - which is why hotels in this area do not have A/C. It can also feel damp in rooms which is unavoidable in such a climate. Transport: Shared van (1.00 hour(s)) Boat (1.00 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Monteverde (1B) Enjoy a nature hike in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. You’ll also have some free time after to zipline, walk along hanging bridges, or explore the town. Included Activities: Santa Elena Cloud Forest Guided Tour
Day 9 Monteverde (1B) Enjoy free time to explore all that Monteverde has to offer. Saddle up and go horseback riding, zip line through the jungle canopy, wobble bravely over suspension bridges, or visit the butterfly garden and take close-up photos. Included Activities: Monteverde Institute Lecture & Reforestation Project
Day 10 Monteverde/Manuel Antonio (1B) The white-sand beaches and warm Pacific waters are the ideal atmosphere to relax at the end of your adventure. If you opt to chill out at the beach, be sure to walk out into the sea on the incredible natural sand formation that is shaped like a whale's tale when the tide goes out. Additional Notes: Hotels in Manuel Antonio are not located on the beach, they are scattered along the cliffside road, overlooking the stunning coast line and lush jungle. The beach, National Park, markets, shops and restaurants are easily accessible by frequent public bus (safe and easy to use) or taxi. Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 267km)
Day 11 Manuel Antonio (1B) Take an included day trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. After, enjoy free time at the beach. Included Activities: Manuel Antonio National Park Visit
Day 12 Manuel Antonio (1B) Free time to explore Manuel Antonio and the National Park with options to surf, go horseback riding, or visit nearby beaches.
Day 13 Manuel Antonio/San José (1B) Return to San José for an optional farewell dinner with the group. Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 190km)
Day 14 San José (1B) Departure day, depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day
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