Alajuela, nicknamed City of the Mangoes, is one of the most important cities in Costa Rica. It is the capital city of the providence bearing its name and is located just 11 miles northwest (17 km) of San Jose. Just outside of town is where you'll find the Juan Santamaria International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaria), Costa Rica's principal airport.
Cool, misty cloud forest and deep green foliage is what has made Monteverde an absolute hot spot for eco-tourism in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica. This zone is home to a string of volcanoes, both active and dormant, beautiful national parks and diverse weather.
This mile-long, crescent shaped beach, also known as Playa Blanca (White Beach), is as beautiful as any of the famed beaches in Costa Rica. It is home to the nation's largest marina, and it is a favorite of deep-sea fishermen. With its gleaming white sand, Flamingo Beach hosts some of the most beautiful Hotels and condominiums that Costa Rica has to offer. As is the case with all Beaches in the Papagayo region, Flamingo Beach is rich in natural beauty. Mangroves are abundant in the area, and Salinas Point offers a stunning view of both the Potrero and Brasilito Bays.
Due to excellent facilities and its close proximity to scores of attractions, Liberia is an ideal stopover for many visitors. Daniel Oduber Quiróz International Airport offers seamless travel to the region, and Flamingo Beach can be access by way of a paved road. Alternatively, the smaller airport in Tamarindo receives domestic flights from around the country, and from this airport visitors are a short taxi or bus ride away from Flamingo Beach. From the capital of San Jose, however, the bus or car ride is about six hours along the Inter-American Highway.
ALAJUELA AIRPORT (SJO) PICK-UP WITH TRANSFER TO MONTEVERDE
CHECK-IN AT MONTEVERDE LODGE
SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE
HORSEBACK RIDE TOUR
HIDDEN VALLEY NIGHT TOUR
CHECK-IN AT FLAMINGO BEACH RESORT (3-NIGHTS)
RINCON DE LA VIEJA NATIONAL PARK HIKE - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
LIBERIA CITY TOUR
TAMARINDO CATAMARAN TOUR
BREAKFAST AND TRANSFER TO AIRPORT
We will add an adrenaline element to this tour taking you to a Canopy Tour. The Tree Top walkway is the ideal cloud forest experience to appreciate the incredible array of vegetation and exotic bird life that the region has to offer. The walkway consists of 8 suspension bridges connected by trails covering 1.9 miles (3km). The bridges vary from 150ft (50m) to 500ft (170m) in length and are suspended at heights ranging from 36ft (12m) to 180ft (60m). At almost 5ft (1.5m) wide, the bridge system is the widest and sturdiest in Costa Rica. You will have the option of taking a self-guided treetop tour, or of joining a guided Natural History Tour. You will learn about the mammals, birds and plant life – particularly bromeliads, epiphytes and ferns – living in this unique eco-system, as well as hearing some of the fascinating cultural history of the region. Tours last up to 2.5 hours. Bring long pants, suitable shoes and waterproof jackets. Selvatura's stunning butterfly garden is one of the largest on the continent. At 300ft long and 90ft wide, with a huge 50ft dome ceiling, the giant garden is host to 50 species of butterflies. Accurate and sensitive temperature controlling enables the survival of species from a range of altitudes and climate conditions throughout Costa Rica. Take a guided tour through this fascinating live exhibit and learn about the life cycle, special behaviors and evolution of these unique creatures. The tour lasts between 4.5 and 5 hours, but can be either shorter or longer, depending on your pace. The Selvatura Park hosts the world's largest private insect collection and the life work of Dr. Richard Whitten. Visitors are able to view thousands of insects, butterflies and other wonderous specimens from all over the tropics that Dr. Whitten has been collecting since age 5. In addition, watch a video that Dr. Whitten has produced titled "Jewels of the Rain Forest" and features insects from all over Costa Rica, most which can be found at Monteverde. The reptile and amphibian exhibition includes over 30 species of frogs, toads, lizards, geckos and snakes, all of which are native to Costa Rica. The live specimens are housed in an array of terrariums, each adorned with vegetation and natural lighting and humidity levels to simulate natural habitats. Everything is monitored by a permanent, on-site biologist. The exhibit is educational and informative, offering visitors the opportunity to see many unusual species, most of which are rarely spotted in the wild. Guests will also learn about breeding and feeding habits and the environmental challenges facing these diminutive creatures.
A horseback riding tour is a wonderful way to experience Monteverde's green, mountainous countryside. Until recently, horseback riding was the most common form of transport in the region, and considering the state of the roads, some would argue that it is still the easiest way to get around. Horseback riding is not permitted in the reserves, but there are a range of horseback tours on private land and trails, where you can appreciate the beauty and tranquility of rural Costa Rican life, a world away from the tourist crowds and traffic. Emiliano Arguedas, a local farmer who has lived and worked in Monteverde all his life and whose family was one of the original settling families to arrive in the region, operates a stable from his 139 hectare family farm. All the trails used are located on his land. Previously devoted to environmentally harmful dairy and forestry activities, the farm is now devoted entirely to horseback riding and grazing. The private land encompasses a large area of protected forest that is undergoing a reforestation program developed and managed by Emiliano's son, Alonzo. You will be given the rare privilege of exploring this beautiful private reserve on horseback, from where they will see amazing views of the Gulf of Nicoya and its pacific islands, as well as enjoy coffee and sugarcane plantations, primary and secondary tropical forest, open fields and an array of local wildlife that includes toucans, green parrots, bellbirds, emerald toucanets, blue-crowned motmots and white-faced monkeys. You will be able to capture the best of the weather and the clearest views and the afternoon tour offers spectacular sunset skies. All Emiliano's horses, with health certification and insurance, are easy to handle and are very well cared for. Emiliano's son Alonzo is a veterinarian and looks after the horses himself. All saddles are equipped with a rain poncho, and helmets are available on request. Some basic English is spoken, otherwise smiling and rudimentary sign-language is usually sufficient!
Nestled on the west side of the Continental Divide, the trail system offers spectacular views across the valley and out towards the Monteverde Reserve, on clear days. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the mysteries of the nocturnal forest while learning about one of Costa Rica's most important environmental conservation projects. The Children's Eternal Rainforest (CER) is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica with an Area of 22,600 hectares (55,000 acres), and it continues to grow. It was created by the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL), a non-profit organization. This was possible thanks to the help from children that started raising money in the Swedish countryside to save the rainforest near Monteverde. The idea spread, and eventually non-profits in 44 different countries were sending money to help. The CER straddles the continental divide, extending from about 600 m in elevation on the Caribbean slope, up to the highest peaks at almost 1,800 m, and down to about 900 m on the Pacific slope. Climate, and with it the flora and fauna, change very fast across the different slopes and elevation; six of Costa Rica's twelve life zones are found within the CER. It is home for about 440 species or 5% of the world's birds, 60 species or 6.5% of the world's bats, 700 species or 3% of the world's butterflies; and 360 species or 3% of the world's ferns, and just a few examples! The CER is also the watershed that feeds the dozens of communities and farms beneath it, as well as hydroelectric projects which, together, produce about one third of Costa Rica's electricity. Bajo Del Tigre trails are situated in the transition zone of the forest, traversing from pre-mountain wet to seasonal moist forest. This location and specific altitude on the Pacific slope make the area a unique habitat, distinct from other reserves in the area and home to a range of unusual flora and fauna, including thirty species of tree recently identified as new to science. The Bajo Del Tigre trails are one of the best sites in the region for observing wildlife. The CER Night Hike utilizes a separate system of trails within the reserve, most accessible only with a guide. The tour begins daily at 5:30 pm, just before sunset, giving visitors the chance to observe species preparing for nightfall and the activity of nocturnal species. After meeting your guide at the reserve entrance, you will walk to the visitor center where you will hear the inspiring story of the reserve, as well as learn about the MCL and its projects. You will then be taken into the forest to explore the nighttime wonders. All guides working with the MCL are bilingual, professionally trained and very experienced. Most are local to the region and all have extensive knowledge of Costa Rica's natural and cultural history. They are willing to answer any questions and have well-versed eyes and ears for spotting hidden forest creatures. On the Bajo del Tigre CER Night Hike visitors are likely to see snakes, tarantulas, beetles, fireflies, walking sticks, sleeping birds, bats, agoutis, coatimundis, frogs and owls. If you're lucky you may see a sloth, wide-eyed kinkajou, armadillo or a porcupine. You may even spot Monteverde's famous bat specialist, Richard Laval, as he goes about his research. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but dusk is one of the busiest times in the forest dwellers' schedule and the CER Night Hike provides the best chance to see a range of species and to experience the vastly different sights and sounds of the forest after dark. The CER Night Hike is a great family activity. All trails are well maintained and easy to navigate, even in low light. Visitors are advised to wear long pants, covered footwear and to bring a light jacket or raincoat, as temperatures can get fairly cool at night. Flash lights are provided. The tour leaves at 5:30 pm daily and lasts approximately two hours. Visitors should meet at the entrance to Bajo Del Tigre. Transport from your hotel can be arranged. A percentage of all proceeds from the CER Night Hike goes to support the Children's Eternal Rainforest. By participating in this tour, you are directly contributing to the protection of the forest.
Spanning 14,084 hectares (34,800 acres), Rincon de La Vieja National Park (World Heritage Site) is filled with a wide range of natural wonders that includes nine volcanic craters, pristine tropical forests, waterfalls, and hot springs. The park extends over six life zones, and not surprisingly, has a huge amount of biodiversity. You will have the opportunity to spot such creatures as howler monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and even pumas. Your naturalist guide will help to interpret and inform as you hike along the park's trails, ensuring an exciting and educational day spent in one of Costa Rica's most magnificent national parks. A SERIES OF ERUPTIONS AROUND THE CRATER OF RINCON DE LA VIEJA VOLCANO HAS CREATED A SAFETY HAZARD FOR VISITORS WISHING TO HIKE TO THE CRATER. PERHAPS STABILITY WILL RETURN TO THIS ACTIVE VOLCANO BUT UNTIL THEN NO HIKERS ARE ALLOWED NEAR THE CRATER.
The Marlin del Rey Catamaran Tour is a great activity for family and friends to enjoy ocean breezes and coastline scenery while sipping delicious tropical drinks. Feel the wind in your hair and bask in the sun while sailing silently past beautiful bays and sandy beaches. The sailing tours depart from Playa Tamarindo on a 66-foot sailing catamaran, the Marlin del Rey. This large boat is registered for up to 85 passengers, and it is capable of reaching 25-knot speeds under sail. A forty foot beam provides space for guests to soak up the sun and enjoy the day, while a huge main saloon hosts an open bar and snacks of chips, dip, fruit, ceviche, and salad. Catamaran departs at 8:30am and sails north to the glamorous beach of Playa Conchal. Here, the boat drops anchor, and the crew prepares snacks. Guests can enjoy both the cool temperate water and beautiful white-shell beach. Many choose to snorkel among rock reefs in search of colorful fish and eels. Others take a kayak to relax on the shore. If you choose the afternoon tour, the Catamaran departs from Tamarindo Bay at 1:30. On this tour, the boat skims along the coastline past Playa Grande and Bahia De Los Pirates. The boat then puts out anchor in tranquil bay, giving guests time to enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing the boat. Meanwhile the crew will prepare delicious snacks. Then, the tour sails back to Tamarindo for an amazing sunset over the water. Marlin Del Rey presents excellence in comfort and service with a friendly bilingual staff. While you're in Costa Rica, skim silently along the coast, feel the sun on your face, and look off the bow for dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles, and perhaps even a breaching whale.
The gorgeous Monteverde Lodge is situated up in the Tilaran Mountain range in Monteverde. Monteverde is world renowned for its mystical primary cloud forest reserve. The reserve houses an abundance of bird species, mammals, and diverse vegetation. This is a true paradise for nature lovers and eco-travelers looking to be surrounded by nothing but untouched natural beauty. 1 Forest View Balcony Room, sleeps 4.
The Flamingo Beach Resort sits on Playa Flamingo, on the northwest coast of Costa Rica. This is an intimate oasis for travelers seeking an exotic and enchanting escape. Just picture yourself lounging on the pristine white sands of Flamingo Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, framed by tall coconut palms and lush mountain foliage. 1 Family Studio -**** All Inclusive*****, sleeps 6
Private transport service offers a safe, convenient, and flexible way to travel anywhere within Costa Rica. Private transport can be scheduled anytime you wish and from any airport, hotel, private home or identifiable landmark in Costa Rica. All the vehicles used for private transportation are air conditioned, well-maintained minibuses (passenger vans) driven by reliable and punctual Costa Rican professionals, who are eager to help your group move safely about the country.
Our Natural & Cultural History Guides are the finest in the eco-tourism industry. Due to frequently asked questions from our clients about suggested guide & staff gratuities, we would like to provide you with the following universal tipping guidelines: