COSTA RICA C – ECOLOGY FIELD COURSE
COSTA RICA C – ECOLOGY FIELD COURSE
All instruction and Guide services; food and lodging as stated on the itinerary; ground and water transportation within Costa Rica. All entrance fees to National Parks and additional tours.
Itinerary meal codes: B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner
Does not include:
Round-trip International airfare to Costa Rica; international airport departure tax (US$29.00 per person. Please check with the airline of your choice if these taxes are already included on your airfare); liquor brewages, gratuities and personal items.
DAY 1 ARRIVAL SAN JOSÉ-FIELD COURSE ORIENTATION
Following your arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside of San José, you will be met by our Costa Rica Field Course Staff and transferred to your hotel. After dinner, there will be an orientation session to our Costa Rica C Field Course. Overnight San José.
DAY 2 BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK-BANANA PLANTATION TOUR-TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
After an early breakfast, we will depart for Costa Rica’s Caribbean slope. En route, we will stop and hike in Braulio Carillo National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions in Costa Rica. Six different life zones are present in the Park. Following our hike we will visit a nearby banana plantation.
Here, our group will learn how bananas are raised and processed in Costa Rica. The history, economic importance and ecological impact of the banana industry will also be considered. Following lunch, participants will journey to world-famous Tortuguero National Park.
Once arriving on the shores of the Caribbean, we will travel by boat through an inland waterway to the Park and the John H. Phipps Biological Station. Upon arrival, participants will be welcomed by Research Staff and given an orientation session about the Station, its’ history and work that is being done here by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC).
After dinner, we will assist CCC Staff and Volunteers in their sea turtle conservation efforts. Five of the world’s eight species of sea turtles species breed offshore and nest on the beaches of Tortuguero. Participants may have the opportunity to observe tagging and measuring of turtles, as females come ashore to lay eggs. Some nests are created below the high tide line and eggs laid here have little or no chance to develop and hatch.
In an effort to increase survivorship, some of these nests are relocated to higher ground. Our presence on the beach, especially at night, is also a great deterrent to poachers, who collect and eat or sell the eggs. Dinner and overnight Tortuguero.
Note: Turtle breeding and nesting are seasonal and often unpredictable. Observation of sea turtles or research on live sea turtles is NEVER guaranteed.
DAY 3 TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, participants will travel through the canals of Tortuguero National Park to observe some of the lush surrounding rainforest.
Some call this “Costa Rica’s Amazon”, as eleven different life zones have been identified. Wildlife found here include three species of monkeys, river otters, three-toed sloths, caimans, iguanas, freshwater turtles and more than 320 species of birds, including all 6 species of New World kingfishers, 3 species of toucans and 8 species of parrots.
Aside from its’ diverse flora and fauna, Tortuguero is a beautiful and tranquil spot, with palm-lined beaches stretching off as far as the eye can see in both directions. Group members will also be involved in daily activities of CCC Research Staff and Volunteers.
These include beach clean-up, which helps to remove debris that may hamper female turtles from coming ashore to lay eggs or hatchlings from making their way to the ocean. Debris includes plastic goods, aluminum cans or logs brought ashore by sea currents. While walking the beach, we will also be on the look out for hatchlings attempting to make an early departure for the ocean. These will be brought back into a hatchery and released just before sunset to increase their chances of survival. Dinner and overnight Tortuguero.
DAY 4 ARENAL VOLCANO-BALDI HOT SPRINGS
Early this morning, we will depart for Arenal Volcano. One of the most active volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere, Arenal has been in a constant state of activity since it last erupted in 2005. Located on the southern shores of the Lake Arenal, it is a spectacular site, with its perfect conical shape rising from the surrounding hills.
Following lunch, we will visit Baldi Hot Springs, located at the base of Arenal. Steaming waters from the Río Tabacón form waterfalls and natural therapeutic pools that we can soak and relax in. The hot springs found here are surrounded by brilliant vegetation, while Arenal serves as a stunning backdrop. After the sun sets, we will with some luck, observe the activity of Arenal.
On a clear night, one can see bursts of fire and red-hot molten lava shooting hundreds of feet into the sky, whereas during the day only smoke and the volcano’s roar are apparent. Explosions typically occur every couple of hours. Overnight near Lake Arenal.
DAY 5 ARENAL VOLCANO LAVA FLOWS-LA FORTUNA WATERFALLS-LAKE ARENAL-MONTEVERDE CLOUDFOREST RESERVE
Following breakfast today, we will spend the morning hiking on the hardened lava flows that make up Arenal’s lower slopes. Here our group will observe the remains of the volcano’s more active past. We will also hike to the beautiful La Fortuna waterfalls.
After lunch, we will take a brief look at Lake Arenal, the largest in Costa Rica. A hydroelectric dam at one end produces 75% of the electricity used in Costa Rica.
It is also well known for its’ windsurfing and freshwater fishing. Our group will then travel to the village of Monteverde, where we will visit the famed Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. At present, Monteverde is comprised of 27,000 acres and run by the Monteverde Conservation League.
The Reserve is cool, due to its’ elevation and lush vegetation. Incredible biodiversity here includes 400 species of birds, 100 kinds of mammals, 500 butterfly species and 2500 different types of plants. Three species of monkeys, tree sloths, coatimundis, kinkajous, the spectacular resplendent quetzal, three-wattled bell birds, red-eyed tree frogs and blue morpho butterflies are just a few of the animal highlights. Dinner and overnight Monteverde.
DAY 6 HUMMINGBIRD GALLERY-BUTTERFLY FARM-CHEESE FACTORY-CASEM ARTISAN’S COOPERATIVE-FAREWELL DINNER
After breakfast this morning, we will visit the Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, where feeders are set up to attract some of the many species of hummingbirds found here. Fifty species have been recorded in Costa Rica. Following lunch, we will have a guided tour through a local butterfly farm. Here we will observe hundreds of spectacular butterflies found in Costa Rica, learn about their complex life cycle and importance in the wild.
Following lunch, we will have a guided tour through the well-known Monteverde Cheese Factory, which is run by local Quakers, one of the largest dairy producers in Costa Rica. About 2200 pounds of cheese are produced daily and well known for its’ quality in Costa Rica and throughout Central America. We will finish the day by visiting a local women’s arts and crafts cooperative called CASEM.
A wide range of hand-made work is featured here, whose themes focus on the natural beauty of the area. Late this afternoon, we will return to San José for our Farewell Dinner and overnight.
DAY 7 DEPARTURE
After an early breakfast and farewells to our Costa Rica Field Course Staff, you will be transferred to Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside of San José for your return flight home.
EXTENSION: CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK
Note: Overnight stays in San José may be required prior to and/or following our CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK EXTENSION. Hotel reservations and all transfers will be arranged by Rainforest and Reef.
LENGTH: 3 Days/2 Nights (longer extensions available upon request)
AVAILABLE DATES: Before or after any of our Field Courses in Costa Rica.
DESCRIPTION: Corcovado National Park is located in the southwestern corner of the spectacular Osa Peninsula. It protects 103,200 acres of shallow lagoons, marshes, mangrove swamps, rivers, lowland tropical rainforest, low altitude cloudforest and 29 miles of sandy coastline. This region has the greatest biodiversity of any protected area in Costa Rica, including more than 500 species of trees, 140 different kinds of mammals, 367 bird species, 40 types of freshwater fish, 117 species of amphibians/reptiles and an estimated 6,000 insect species. It is also home to large mammals, such as jaguar, tapir, ocelot, peccaries and Costa Rica’s largest population of scarlet macaws. Its’ great biodiversity and pristine condition have long attracted tropical ecologists and their research. Corcovado is certainly one of the highlights on any visit to Costa Rica.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
– Due to weather conditions and circumstances beyond the control of Field Course Staff, certain activities may be changed or done on different days in the best interest of the group.
– Can I add two additional days to the package you advertise on the homepage?
Of course! ALL of our packages are designed as guides, to illustrate potential itineraries and our personal recommendations. We know that one size does not fit all, so the best option is to give us a call and discuss what you are looking for and our in-country Travel Designers will take it from there. Disagree with their advice? We won’t be offended! We will work with you until the vacation is exactly what you are looking for!
– Does the package price include airfare?
Our packages do not include flights to Costa Rica from your home country because of the variation in price. We do include domestic flights to most of the destinations that you will be visiting. As part of the Nature Air family, we have the privilege of offering our guests the best transportation option in the country at the best possible price. You can enjoy even the most remote destinations