Friends with Benefits

Price

$4,455/Couple for 7 NIGHTS

Waterfall - Costa Rica
This exciting 8-day trip flying into Alajuela and departing from Guancaste, Costa Rica is the ultimate experience for anyone. In this adventure you will visit La Fortuna waterfall and take a swim in its famous "Blue Lagoon". While horseback riding and observing Arenal, while discovering the sights and sounds of this active volcano. During your adventure you will take a taxiboat into Monteverde to witness the sounds and sights of nocturnal rainforest. Ending this amazing journey you will be privately transported to an all inclusive beach resort while visiting Guanacaste conservation area, (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Summary

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.

One of Costa Rica's most notable natural features is the Arenal Volcano. This impressive volcano resides within the 29,960-acre Arenal Volcano National Park. Although the volcano entered into a resting phase in 2010 – meaning that its eruptions have paused – it is still a stunning sight. Rising above the rainforest that surrounds its base, Arenal frames the skyline with near perfect symmetry. The immediate area hosts a wealth of activities – including whitewater rafting, waterfall rappelling, hiking and canopy tours – as well as the friendly town of La Fortuna.

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.

Playa Hermosa, which means "beautiful" in Spanish, is an aptly named gray-sand beach that perches between two mountains. In fact there are two Playa Hermosas, the other being in the Central Pacific Coast near Jaco. Guanacaste's Playa Hermosa is situated between Playa del Coco and Playa Panama, Hermosa is seldom as crowded as its neighbors. It is a fabulous getaway for those seeking quality relaxation. Most visitors bring a blanket and sunscreen to soak up Guanacaste's burning sun, and due to its calm surf, Hermosa is a favorite for swimmers.

Due to excellent facilities and its close proximity to scores of attractions, Liberia is an ideal stopover for many visitors. With the recent opening of the Daniel Oduber Quiróz International Airport, the once sleepy cowboy town of Liberia is undergoing comprehensive metamorphosis as it transitions from old colonial town to modern-day tourism hub. Liberia's international airport, Costa Rica's second, serves famed destinations on Costa Rica's Guanacaste coast and Nicoya Peninsula.

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY #1

ARRIVAL AT ALAJUELA AIRPORT (SJO) WITH TRANSFER TO ARENAL
CHECK-IN AT HOTEL ROYAL CORIN (2-NIGHTS)

DAY #2

HORSEBACK RIDE TO LA FORTUNA WATERFALL
ARENAL VOLCANO HIKE

DAY #3

TAXI BOAT TO MONTEVERDE
CHECK-IN AT MONTEVERDE LODGE (2-NIGHTS)

DAY #4

SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE
HIDDEN VALLEY NIGHT TOUR

DAY #5

CHECK-IN AT BOSQUE DEL MAR HOTEL – PLAYA HERMOSA (3-NIGHTS)

DAY #6

RINCON DE LA VIEJA NATIONAL PARK HIKE - WORLD HERITAGE SITE
LIBERIA CITY TOUR

DAY #7

LEISURE DAY AT RESORT

DAY #8

TRANSFER TO AIRPORT

Activities

Escape the shadow of the Arenal Volcano for the opportunity to discover La Fortuna's other, more hidden natural spectacle, the La Fortuna Waterfall. Visit the radiant 70 meter (230-ft) waterfall on horseback for the chance to swim beneath one of the country's most dazzling cascades and to see the region's most impressive flora and fauna. The first part of the trip includes a spectacular hour long horseback ride through dense rain forest until reaching the trail head of the waterfall. Along the way, you may be able to observe toucans, sloths and several species of monkeys in their natural habitat. Once arriving at the trail, you will descend on foot until reaching the tide pools at the bottom of the streaming waterfall. After swimming and enjoying views of the waterfall, the journey will continue through the countryside surrounding the Arenal Volcano. The single trail is very steep, during the rainy season it can be quite slippery. We recommend this excursion for active people.

Discover the best sights and sounds of one of the world's ten most active volcanoes in the Arenal Volcano area. Here you can take a guided tour to get a first-hand experience of Costa Rica's most famed attraction. Informative tour guides will take you on the "1968 trail" through secondary rain forest and up to view points to observe the energetic volcanic activity. Along the way you will learn about the volcano, the tropical forest surrounding it and the abundant wildlife which you will see on your hike. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the tour is what you will learn about this captivating ecological paradise. From viewing monkeys and toucans to hearing the volcano rumble and watching bright red lava streak down the side, you will be fully engaged and enthralled as you enjoy your visit in the Arenal Volcano area.

This is the quickest and most popular route between Monteverde and Arenal. The trip combines comfortable door to door minivan transfers with a fun and scenic cruise across the tranquil Lake Arenal, where you will experience beautiful views of the majestic volcano and the forested Tilaran Mountain Range. You will also have the chance to see a variety of wetland birds such as king fishers, fly catchers, waders and other exotic species that abound on the lake shore. You will be picked up from your hotel in Arenal at 8:30 am and be driven to the Lake Arenal dam, where you will board a 22 person covered power boat. This is where the scenic 30 minute cruise across the lake begins. Next you will begin the impressive 1.5 hour journey up the mountainside on a steep road offering stunning views of the lush, green valley. You will be driven directly to Monteverde Lodge. All boats and mini-vans are comfortable, safe, fully insured and regularly inspected by the Department of Transport. Drivers and boat captains are experienced professionals and carry cell phones so that they can reach the main office or emergency contacts at any time. Passengers should expect to carry their bags/luggage to and from the boat. Drivers will do their best to help if you have any problems with carrying heavy bags. Just let them know in advance.

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. Visitors 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 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.

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.

Tour Highlights

  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 100% GUIDED ACTIVITIES
  • NESTLE DOWN THE SIDES OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
  • DISCOVER THE BEAUTY, MAGIC AND WONDERS WITH BIRDSEYE VIEWS OF YOUR TROPICAL FORESTS
  • FACE STREAMS, ENCOUNTER WATERFALLS, AND IDENTIFY THE FLORA AND FAUNA OF YOUR RAINFORESTS
  • ADMIRE THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF ACTIVE VOLCANOES
  • SWIM BENEATH A 80-FT WATERFALL

Lodging

Hotel Royal Corin

The hotel Royal Corin is a luxury resort in La Fortuna Arenal, with views of the majestic Arenal volcano. This large and modern hotel is a perfect place to stay at whilst you explore this area. With its comfortable accommodations, the hotel Royal Corin provides ample opportunity to relax after a long day of discovering Arenal. 1 Standard Room, sleeps 3. 1 King size beds or 2 Queen size bed.

Monteverde Lodge

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.

Hotel Playa Hermosa "Bosque del Mar'

Hotel Playa Hermosa "Bosque del Mar' is located in the sunny province of Guanacaste, on Playa Hermosa. This beach features an ideal combination of clear ocean waters and beautiful soft sand beaches. Come relax and enjoy the tranquility while watching the monkeys and iguanas play in the surrounding trees. 1 Ocean View Suite, sleeps 5. 2 Queen beds and 1 Sofa bed

Transportation

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.

Not Included

  • MEALS (U.N.O.)
  • INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE
  • GRATUITIES
  • HOTEL EXTRAS

What to Bring

  • Binoculars (preferably 7x35 or bigger, also available for purchase at FTS online store)
  • Camera with extra batteries & film
  • Flashlight with extra bulb & batteries
  • Insect repellant, Sunscreen, bathing suit
  • Hat, Day pack / dry sack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight/quick dry cotton clothes
  • Sandals, sneakers / hiking boots
  • Long pants, Rain gear, Windbreaker
  • Money in small denominations
  • Toiletries & personal medications

What to Expect

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:

  • Naturalist guide/Tour leader: US$10.00-US$20.00 per person/day
  • Day tour guide: US$10.00 per person/day
  • Transfer driver: US$2.00 per person
  • Tour driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Tour boat driver: US$5.00 per person/day
  • Hotel bellman: US$1.00 per person per suitcase
  • International airport bellmen (red caps): US$1.00 per piece of suitcase
  • Prices and itineraries are correct at the time of printing, however they are subject to change due to tidal/weather or local conditions, availabilities or factors beyond our control.
  • Weight restrictions apply to luggage in domestic flights as follows: each passenger is allowed 1 bag of up to 25 lbs. (11 kg) per person. Carry-on luggage is limited to 10 lbs. passenger (4.5 kg).
  • Passengers are responsible for excess baggage fees and are subject to US$1.00 per extra pound and only allowed depending on flight occupancy.
  • Name or date changes on flight tickets are subject to a service fee of US$15 per change (taxes included).
  • Ticket cancellations with more than 30 days before your trip are subject to a service fee of US$25 per ticket (taxes included). Within 30 days from your arrival our regular cancellation policies apply.
  • Penalty for no show is 100% of all applicable fares, taxes and surcharges.
  • Surcharge for transportation of a pet or a surf board is US$30 per item per route.