At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to Costa Rica scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. Please keep in mind that Costa Rica is a very diverse country and EcoQuest Travel offers many different itineraries to Costa Rica – the trip listed below is just one example. If you are interested in Costa Rica as a destination please contact us for further information.

THE BEST OF COSTA RICA

Incredible Wildlife, Lush Forests & Active Volcanoes

14 – DAY ITINERARY – OPTIONAL 5-DAY CORCOVADO EXTENSION

Day 1 – Saturday, December 2: US to San Jose, Costa Rica

You will need to arrive at your home airport no later than two hours prior to your scheduled departure time for your flight to Miami and on to San Jose, Costa Rica. Once you arrive in Miami please proceed to our departure gate for San Jose and Dave Davenport will be there to meet you. Once we arrive in San Jose, and after clearing customs and immigration, we will transfer to the Hotel Bougainvillea. The Hotel Bougainvillea is a modern comfortable hotel that is surrounded by lush tropical gardens that attract a variety of birds. After settling into our rooms we will travel to nearby InBioParque for a fantastic introduction to Costa Rica’s biodiversity. In the late afternoon we will travel back to the Hotel Bougainvillea for dinner and overnight. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday, December 3: San Jose to Sarapiqui

This morning, after breakfast, we will depart on a two hour journey to the city of Sarapiqui – the gateway to the Caribbean slope forests of La Selva. We will check into our accommodations at Selva Verde Lodge, have lunch and will have the afternoon to look for birds and wildlife on some of the trails near the lodge. Selva Verde Lodge is located close to the Sarapiqui River and is built on an elevated platform allowing each room to have a spectacular view of the surrounding rainforest. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Monday, December 4: La Selva Biological Station

This morning, after an early breakfast, we will explore the fantastic rainforest that surrounds La Selva Biological Station. Operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies, La Selva is both a world class research institution and an important wildlife reserve. We will have the entire day to explore the many trails through the reserve. Due to many years of protection and human presence the wildlife of La Selva tends to be more visible than in other areas of Costa Rica. With luck we could spot agoutis, collared peccaries and comical coatimundis. The birdlife is terrific and could include great tinamous, crested guans, ornate hawk-eagles, spectacled owls and if we are really lucky the bizarre bare-necked umbrellabird. Reptiles and amphibians are also abundant and we could spy red-eyed treefrogs, glass frogs and strawberry poison-dart frogs. We will eat lunch at La Selva and continue our explorations during the afternoon. In the early evening we will return to Selva Verde Lodge for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Tuesday, December 5: Selva Verde and Tirimbina Reserves

Today we will have a chance to visit two private reserves that protect important areas of Caribbean slope rainforest. Both of these reserves are similar to La Selva, but a few species are easier to spot here, especially the spectacular great green macaw. We should also see keel-billed toucans, mealy parrots and many colorful hummingbirds and tanagers. We will overnight at Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Wednesday, December 6: Sarapiqui to Tortuguero National Park

After breakfast we will depart for the adventure of getting to Tortuguero National Park. There are no roads that lead to the park itself, so after a three hour drive we will board our boat for another three hour journey to the Park. We will have lunch en route and the boat ride will provide a fun and scenic way to access this remote park. Upon arrival we will transfer to the Tortuguero Lodge for dinner and overnight. Tortuguero Lodge is a very environmentally aware resort built in harmony with nature and features comfortable accommodations and excellent food. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Thursday, December 7: Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero is most famous for the huge numbers of sea turtles that nest on the beaches from March through October. In fact, it was originally set aside as a national park due to the importance of the nesting beaches. Even when the turtles are not nesting, Tortuguero is a fantastic place to visit with over 51,000 protected acres of coastal rainforest and swamp habitats. Access to the park is by boat and we will spend both the morning and afternoon gliding up Tortuguero’s winding rivers and muddy streams in search of wildlife. Powered by very quiet electric outboard motors our boats will have the advantage of stealth as we hope to see: green iguanas; caiman; white-faced capuchin, mantled howler and spider monkeys; three-toed sloth; and green basilisk lizards that can run across the surface of the water. If we are really lucky we might even spot the elusive tapir. Throngs of water birds will be present including bare-throated tiger-herons, sungrebes and all six species of kingfisher that occur in the Americas. Birds of the forest we might encounter could include such colorful species as purple-throated fruitcrows, chestnut-mandibled toucans, and slaty-tailed trogons. We will overnight at Tortuguero Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Friday, December 8: Tortuguero to San Jose and on to Arenal NP

After breakfast this morning we will board our charter flight from Tortuguero to San Jose. After our arrival in San Jose we will depart for our three hour journey to Arenal National Park. We will arrive at the Arenal Observatory Lodge in the afternoon with time to explore some of the Lodge’s many trails. Arenal is an extremely active volcano and the frequent eruptions are spectacular to witness – especially at night. The Observatory Lodge is perched safely on a ridge only 2 kilometers from the volcano and we hope this proximity will lead to great views of the volcano’s activities. In fact, our rooms, the Smithsonian Rooms, offer the best views and are accessible via a suspension bridge over a plunging ravine. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Saturday, December 9: Arenal National Park to Palo Verde National Park

The forests of Arenal National Park are rich with birds and other wildlife and we will visit Arenal’s hanging bridge early this morning for a bird’s eye view of the rainforest and a chance to spot trogons, motmots, white-faced capuchin monkeys and coatis. The hanging bridge is a canopy walkway that extends for over 3 kilometers and will allow us unique access to the treetops. A host of birds and other wildlife could be spotted from our lofty vantage point both at eye-level and even below us. After we descend from the trees we will travel to the Hildalgo Family’s private farm and hot springs. The geothermally heated springs consist of 5 free-flowing pools set in a natural river gorge. After a hot soak in the springs we will enjoy a sumptuous Costa Rican home style lunch before departing for the dry tropical forests of the Pacific Slope and Palo Verde National Park. We will arrive in the late afternoon/early evening to our accommodations at the Hotel Laguna. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Sunday, December 10: Palo Verde National Park

Today we will have a full day to explore Palo Verde National Park. Palo Verde is an excellent example of one of the most endangered habitats in the world – the dry tropical forest. It is also unique because unlike many dry tropical forests it has extensive marsh areas associated with the Tempisque River. The Park has abundant wildlife and with luck we could see mantled howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, coatis, collared peccaries and lots of lizards and snakes. If we are really lucky we could spot one of the rare small cats like the ocelot, jaguarondi or margay. Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, tamandua and Mexican prehensile-tailed porcupines might be seen in the trees. Birds are attracted to the varying habitats in the Park and are diverse and abundant. Roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets, black-bellied whistling ducks and even the rare jabiru stork stalk the marshlands. Thicket tinamou, Inca doves, orange-fronted parakeets, black-headed trogons, turquoise-browed motmots and white-throated magpie-jays and just some of the bizarre and colorful birds, more typical of the drier forests, that we could see. We will overnight once again at the Hotel Laguna. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Monday, December 11: Palo Verde to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

This morning we will have another opportunity to explore the wonders of Palo Verde. Alternatively, there will be an optional morning of horseback riding for those interested in a different mode of exploration. After lunch we will depart for one of Costa Rica’s most famous protected areas – Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The reserves of Monteverde, and adjacent Santa Elena, are famous for the variety of wildlife found within their mist-shrouded forests. We will arrive in Monteverde, and our accommodations at the Hotel Fonda Vela, in afternoon. We should have plenty of time to look for birds and other wildlife in the late afternoon prior to dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Tuesday, December 12: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde protects over 26,000 acres of middle elevation rainforest and high elevation cloud forest and is home to incredible biodiversity. We will have a full day to observe wildlife as we hike through the Reserve. Although mammals such as three-toed sloth, tayra (large bushy-tailed members of the weasel family), spider monkeys and tapir are found in the forest, the Reserve is most famous for the 450 species of birds found within it. The deafening “bonk” of three-wattled bellbirds echo through the canopy. Black guans and white-throated wood-quail stalk the undergrowth as a riot of colorful tanagers, dacnis, barbets and toucans flit among the bromeliad festooned branches. Monteverde is also home to perhaps the most recognizable bird of Costa Rica, the resplendent quetzal. This spectacular bird dressed in brilliant green and flashy red with long trailing tail feathers was sacred to the Aztecs and the Mayans. With luck we will see this special bird as Monteverde is one of the best places to find it. After our explorations in the reserve we will have a chance to enjoy the Hummingbird Garden located just outside the reserve. The Hummingbird Garden is full of feeders and food plants that attract hummingbirds in droves including the endemic coopery-headed emerald as well as up to 30 other species. After a full day in the Reserve we will return to Hotel Fonda Vela for dinner and overnight (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Wednesday, December 13: Santa Elena Reserve

After an early breakfast we will continue to explore the Monteverde area with a visit to the Santa Elena Reserve. This reserve is adjacent to the Cloud Forest Reserve and contains similar species, but it is less visited and has a canopy tower from which we can observe the mixed species foraging flocks that work their way through the treetops. After a full morning to explore the reserve we will have lunch at a local restaurant before visiting Selvatura reserve in the early afternoon. Selvatura is a private reserve that contains both butterfly and hummingbird gardens, canopy walkways and a fantastic insect exhibit called Jewels of the Rainforest. After visiting Selvatura we will return to the Hotel Fonda Vela with time to relax or go birding before dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – Thursday, December 14: Monteverde to San Jose

This morning, after another opportunity for morning birding and breakfast, we will depart for San Jose. We will have lunch along the way and once we arrive in San Jose we will transfer to the Hotel Bougainvillea. The rest of the day will be free to relax and pack for either the departure home or the trip extension to Corcovado National Park. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Friday, December 15: San Jose back to the US or on to the Corcovado extension

After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport for our departing flight to the US. For those participating on the extension we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Carate and Corcovado National Park. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.

OPTIONAL 5-DAY EXTENSION TO CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK

Day 14 – Friday, December 15: San Jose to Carate and on to Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp

We will depart from San Jose on our charter flight to the village of Carate on the Osa Peninsula. Carate is one of the access points for Corcovado National Park – one of the greatest national parks in all of Central America. Upon arrival we will hike 30-45 minutes up the beach to our accommodations at Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp. Our luggage will be transported to the Lodge. Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp is situated on the southeastern boundary of the Park and consists of comfortable safari-style luxury tents with double beds. The beautiful beach and the blue of the Pacific will be right in front of our tents and the lush green wall of the rainforest will be at our back. We will arrive in plenty of time to spend the afternoon searching for the prolific wildlife of the area. (L,D)

Day 1 – Saturday, December 16: Corcovado National Park: Sirena Station – The Heart of Corcovado

After a very early breakfast we will walk back to Carate for our 10-minute charter flight to the heart of Corcovado NP – Sirena Ranger Station. Sirena is only accessible by air and few people get the privilege to explore this part of the park. Once we land at Sirena’s airstrip we will look for the red-backed squirrel monkeys that forage near the ranger station. These comical little monkeys are only found in southwest Costa Rica and Panama and should be one of the highlights of Corcovado. After looking for the monkeys we start off on our full day (six to seven hours) hike through Corcovado NP and back to camp. Corcovado covers 136,347 acres and is considered to be one of the most biologically diverse rainforests in Central America. Our hike through the primary forests, coupled with our remote location, may give us the opportunity to see some of Corcovado’s big mammals like tapir, jaguar, puma and peccaries. Smaller mammals like tayra, coatimundis and kinkajous are common and once in a while an ocelot is seen. Brilliant poison-dart frogs hop throughout the forest floor and an enormous variety of birds flit among the branches. The most famous of these is the scarlet macaw and we should see large flocks of more than 20 individuals feeding in the almond trees. This will be a long, hot tiring hike, but the rewards should be well worth the effort! (B,L,D)

Day 2 – Sunday, December 17: Corcovado National Park: Canopy Platform and Night Hike

This morning will be spent up in the lofty heights of the rainforest canopy as we ascend into Corcovado Lodge’s tree platform. Located in Corcovado Reserve, adjacent to the national park, the canopy platform is nestled into the branches of a giant emergent tree 100 feet above the earth. Once on the platform a world rarely seen will unfold in front of us as we witness life in the treetops. Birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians are all abundant in the canopy and even a few mammals might be discovered. Scarlet macaws and king vultures may fly overhead and incredible birds like turquoise cotingas, fiery-billed aracari, bat falcons and white-necked puffbirds may perch at eyelevel. After a morning in the canopy we will descend for lunch back at the lodge. This afternoon will be free to relax or hike some of the trails close to camp. After dinner we will depart around 7:30 for the Bamboo Trail. This trail provides an excellent chance to see many of the nocturnal animals of the rainforest. We could see frogs, boa constrictors, cat-eyed snakes and nocturnal mammals like agouti and paca. As the trail winds close to the beach land hermit and colorful moon crabs will likely scurry through the leaf litter and we could get lucky and see a sea turtle. Tracks of tapir and jaguar are often found on the beach. It promises to be a wonderful evening of wildlife watching under a blanket of stars. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Monday, December 18: Peje-Perrito Lagoon

We will have an early breakfast this morning prior to hiking south along the beach to Carate. From Carate we will walk on a quiet country road to Peje-Perrito (literally fish-dog) Lagoon. This lagoon has both an inland side and a beach side each with a variety of habitats that attract wildlife. Wading birds frequent the mangroves and mangrove hawks, yellow-headed caracaras and chestnut-mandibled toucans are some of the species we are likely to see. All four species of monkey that occur in Costa Rica also occur here. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach before returning to camp. The afternoon will provide a chance to begin packing and perhaps explore more of the trails near camp. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Tuesday, December 19: Corcovado to San Jose

After breakfast we will pack up and hike back to Carate. The exact time of our departure depends on the tides. Once in Carate we will catch our charter flight back to San Jose. Upon arrival in San Jose we will transfer to the Hotel Bougainvillea and have the rest of the day free to explore the hotel gardens or the city. Lunch and dinner will be on our own today. (B)

Day 5 – Wednesday, December 20: San Jose to Miami and Home

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our departing flight from San Jose to Miami. Upon arrival in Miami we will clear customs and immigration before transferring to our flights home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.