(Arenal – Monteverde – Manuel Antonio)
Duration: 8 days/7 nights
This tour begins with a visit to the local fruit market in San Ramon and a visit in the lush gardens at Cocora. A delicious home cooked lunch is a great chance to meet with local people. Continue on to Arenal Volcano with occasional flows of hot lava descending its steep conical slopes. Next visit the renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and its appealing rural Quaker/Tico community. Finally experience one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful national parks, Manuel Antonio, famous for its tropical beaches and wealth of rainforest wildlife such as monkeys, sloths and iguanas.
- Day 1 Arrival in San Jose
- Day 2 Farmer’s Market, Cocora Cloud Forest and Gardens, Arenal
- Day 3 Arenal Hanging Bridges, Monteverde
- Day 4 Monteverde Reserve, Sugar Mill and Coffee Tour
- Day 5 Transfer to Manuel Antonio
- Day 6 Hike Manuel Antonio National Park
- Day 7 Day at leisure
- Day 8 To San Jose, departure
Day 1: ARRIVAL
Upon your arrival in San José, Costa Rica and after you clear customs & immigration, exit the airport terminal, take the right hand side exit door, where you will meet a representative of Costa Rica Sun Tours who will present you with land portion vouchers and transfer you to your hotel in San Jose.
Hotel: Bougainvillea or similar (1 nt)
Meals Incl: 1B
Day 2: COCORA GARDENS; TRANSFER TO ARENAL VOLCANO
Your journey will begin by traveling northwest along the Interamerican Highway to head north through the town of San Ramon. Here you will take a short break and visit the community’s agriculture town market. This market offers a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables, including some that are rarely seen outside the tropics.
You will continue on with a visit to the Cocora Private hummingbird and butterfly gardens. Cocora is located in the cloud forest belt at 3000 feet elevation and offers the visitor attractive tropical plants and colorful butterflies and hummingbirds.
After a traditional lunch at at Doña Mara´s house, you will continue on to your Arenal area hotel, travelling in the north central lowlands of Costa Rica among farmlands of tropical crops and cattle ranches. (L)
Lunch at Doña Mara´s house. In the foothills of the mountain range adjacent to Arenal volcano lives Doña Mara Rojas. She is a housewife (or domestic engineer as she prefers to say) who has lived all her life in Chachagua. Her husband Edgar is from Guanacaste and has worked as a chofer in the tourism industry and now works with the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity. They have seven children although only their youngest son Geraldo still lives with them at home. In their backyard, typical of rural homesteads in the area, they have several orange trees, coconut palms and one cacao tree (the source of chocolate).
Hotel: Arenal Observatory Lodge or similar (1 nt)
Meals Incl: 1B
Day 3: ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES; TRANSFER TO MONTEVERDE
Today in the morning you will visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges. This is a complex of suspended bridges and trails through a beautiful rain forest. As you walk through the forest, you may encounter a variety of the forest wildlife, including toucans, motmots, trogons, poison dart frogs, howling monkeys, spider monkeys and white-faced capuchin monkeys.
After your rainforest bridges walk, you will travel up into the mountains on your way to the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. A place that has been intensely studied by scientists since its founding in 1972, and is the site of important pioneering research on the effects of climate change in tropical ecosystems. Outside the reserve the most important farm products around are organic coffee and milk for the local Cheese Factory. The factory has been producing a variety of high-quality cheeses in Costa Rica since shortly after Quakers from the United States settled the area in 1950´s. Near and around the community centers, a large selection of restaurants, and other visitor attractions are found, such as butterfly gardens, horse rentals, treetop forest canopy tours, an orchid garden, art galleries, and a bat exhibit among others.
Hotel: Fonda Vela or similar (2 nts)
Meals Incl: 2B
Day 4: MONTEVERDE RESERVE, SUGAR MILL AND COFFEE TOUR
Today in the morning you will visit the Trapiche (‘sugar mill’) and coffee farm, that first began operation in 1948. The Monteverde Trapiche is run by a local family, and on your tour you will not only learn about the local process of making sugar, but also about the other most important agricultural product of the region, “café”. There you will enjoy a refreshment of sugar cane juice or lemonade, eat picadillo de arracache (a typical Costa Rican food) and make candy out of sugar cane (everyone makes their own candy!).
After lunch enjoy a guided visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the premier natural history destinations in Costa Rica. The forest consists of lush, verdant vegetation containing understory palms, majestic canopy trees, arching “ropy” lianas, bizarre “strangler” fig trees and epiphytes-small plants that grow on the trees. As you walk through the forest, you may encounter a variety of wildlife including white-faced capuchins, white-nosed coatis and two-toed sloths. Among birds, you may see the Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds, toucanets, guans and solitaires.
Day 5: TRANSFER TO MANUEL ANTONIO
In the morning you will be taken overland from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio National Park. Manuel Antonio consists of several beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast, a forest growing to the beach’s edge, easy walking trails and abundant wildlife.
Hotel: Costa Verde or similar (3 nts)
Meals Incl: 3B
Day 6: HIKE MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK
Today you will take a hike with a naturalist guide through the park’s forest, Visitors frequently have up-close views of white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkeys, sluggish sloths, racoons, agoutis, colorful black & scarlet land crabs, and black iguanas. Some birds possible to see in the park are Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Baird´s Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, White Hawk, King Vulture, Roadside Hawk, Orange-collared Manakin, Chesnut-backed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Black-hooded Antshrike, Fiery-billed Aracari, Chesnut-mandibled Toucan. After hiking you can enjoy the beautiful beaches of the park.
Day 7: Day at leisure
Day at leisure, you can choose among the many optional activities available like rafting, sea kayaking, surfing lessons and horseback riding.
Day 8, DEPARTURE
Today you will fly back to San Jose and then transfer to the International Airport to check in 3 hours before your scheduled flight home.
Included: As specified in the above itinerary, lodging, transportation within Costa Rica, meals [B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner], specified entrance fees to National Parks & private Reserves, guide services, ground operator support within Costa Rica and taxes.
Not Included: International airfare, airport departure taxes, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service), gratuities, or costs associated with changes in your itinerary for reasons beyond our control.