COSTA RICA B – ECOLOGY FIELD COURSE
COSTA RICA B – 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 JOSE
Following your arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport, outside of San Jose, you will be met by staff members and transferred to your San Jose hotel. Following dinner, there will be a brief orientation session about our Costa Rica Workshop. Overnight San Jose.
DAY 2 SAN JOSE – BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK – CAHUITA
Following an early breakfast, we will depart for Costa Rica’s Caribbean slope. On the way we will pass by Braulio Carillo National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions in Costa Rica. If weather permits it we would stop briefly to experience and discuss the 6 different life zones present here.
Driving towards the Caribbean, our group pass through the Caribbean port village of Limon, where Christopher Columbus first landed in 1502. Following lunch, we drive on to the village of Cahuita, access point to Costa Rica’s only marine sanctuary, famous for its’ coral reef. Once in Cahuita, we will settle into our hotel, have dinner and overnight.
DAY 3 SNORKELING CAHUITA NATIONAL MARINE RESERVE – RAINFOREST HIKE
Following breakfast this morning, our group will have an introduction to snorkeling. The remainder of the morning will be spent snorkeling in the Cahuita National Marine Reserve.
We will return to the mainland for lunch and have a follow-up session about our marine experience. In the afternoon, our group will have a guided hike into the rainforest of Cahuita National Park. Dinner and overnight Cahuita.
DAY 4 BANANA PLANTATION TOUR – TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
Early today we will depart Cahuita for 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, we will travel by boat through an inland waterway to Tortuguero National Park and John H. Phipps Biological Station.
Upon arrival, we 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 will 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.(All the activities described directly related with turtles are available just during the turtle nesting seasons)
DAY 5 TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, participants will travel through the canals of Tortuguero National Park and observe some of the lush surrounding rainforest.
Some call this “Costa Rica´s Amazon”, as eleven different life zones have been identified within the Park. 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 kingfishers found in the New World, 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 a beach clean-up, which helps to remove debris that may hamper female turtles from coming ashore 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. These will be brought back into a hatchery and released just before sunset to increase their chances of survival. Dinner and overnight Tortuguero.
DAY 6 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 1968.
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 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 day and they are easy to see if the sky is clear, but we can not guarantee you will see one. Overnight in a lodge near Lake Arenal.
DAY 7 ARENAL VOLCANO LAVA FLOWS – LA FORTUNA WATERFALLS – LAKE ARENAL -MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST 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 lake 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, This is a peaceful community, considered an example of conservation, Arround this little village we can find several reserves (the Children´s Eternal Rain Forest and the Santa Elena Reserve among others), here we will visit the famed Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica.
After a very full day, we will have dinner and overnight Monteverde.
DAY 8 MONTEVERDE CLOUDFOREST RESERVE HUMMINGBIRD GALLERY – CHEESE FACTORY -CASEM ARTISAN’S COOPERATIVE
After breakfast this morning, we will have a chance to hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. 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 species 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. At the end of our journey in the reserve our group will visit the 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, our group will visit 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 is produced daily and well known for its’ quality in Costa Rica and throughout Central America. Dinner and overnight at Monteverde.
DAY 9 MONTEVERDE BUTTERFLY FARM
Early this morning, our group will travel a short distance to a local butterfly farm. Here, we will have a guided tour through and we will have the chance to see hundreds of spectacular butterflies found in Costa Rica, learn about their complex life cycle and the importance of butterflies in the wild.
Following the butterfly tour our group will visit 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. After lunch, we will return to San José, have dinner and overnight.
DAY 10 POÁS VOLCANO – SARCHÍ MARKET – SAN JOSÉ – FAREWELL DINNER
Early this morning we will depart for famous Poás Volcano. Poás is known for having one of the largest craters of any active volcano on earth. While here, we will also have a chance to hike in a very unique high altitude cloudforest near the volcano.
After lunch, we will visit Sarchí Market, one of the best places in Costa Rica to see and purchase traditional handicrafts. We will hear from local artisans about the building and painting of famed Costa Rican ox-carts. Participants will also get a chance to observe as carts are painted. In the afternoon, we will return to San José for our Farewell Dinner and overnight.
DAY 11 SAN JOSÉ – DEPARTURE
After an early breakfast and farewells to our Costa Rica Field Course Staff, you will be transferred to Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José for your return flight home.
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 in the country without spending half of your vacation in traffic or navigating potholes.