Day 1 :
Hola San Jose
- Arrive in San José:
Costa Rica is known as the Switzerland of Central America, a country with no armed forces. Arrive in San José, the capital city, where you'll meet your tour director and check into the hotel.
Day 2 :
- LEAP Ox Cart Crafts:
Try your own hand at painting and take home your art as a souvenir.
- Hot Springs visit:
Let the volcanoes take you away. At Arenal’s hot springs, bubbling lava fields heat the waters to make nature’s own jacuzzi.
- Visit Arenal Volcano National Park:
Arenal Volcano National Park is located in the northern region of the country and is home to one of the world’s most active and impressive volcanoes. Besides the volcano, this national park has various hiking trails that wind through the tropical highland forest as well as the lowland wet forest. Also within the park is a magnificent man-made lake, Lake Arenal (the largest lake in Costa Rica), which provides over 40% of the country’s energy production.
LEAP Activity | Ox Cart Crafts
A local artisan introduces you to the origins of traditional Costa Rican craftmaking, such as Ox Cart painting. Try your own hand at painting and take home your art as a souvenir.
Day 3 :
- Canopy zip line tour:
Soar through the treetops for the unmatched close-up of the New World’s best wildlife refuge. Harness yourself to cables that run between platforms high in the trees, then step into thin air and zip from tree to tree. Experience a true birds-eye view from your new aerial perspective.
- Travel from Arenal to Monteverde:
Because of its humidity and latitude, the entire city of Monteverde can disappear in a second under a massive cloud cover. Founded by Quakers in 1951, the city boasts the best in Costa Rican creatures. Observe a proud display of howler monkeys, revered quetzals, and native frogs in the dense cover of the cloud forest.
- Montverde Cloud Forest Reserve night walk:
Step into the Monteverde Cloud Forest and be transported to the lush world of the Costa Rican rainforest. The towering trees, abundant shrubs, and vibrant flowers create a luscious oasis for a huge array of animals, including jaguars, toucans, and monkeys.
Day 4 :
- Santa Elena Biological Reserve visit:
Get your spider monkey fix as you climb into the clouds. The Santa Elena Reserve reaches high into the atmosphere, bringing the cloudy mists into its lush forests and letting you see all the way to the Arenal Volcano.
- Montverde Cloud Forest Reserve day walk:
Enjoy daytime views of Costa Rica's incredibly diverse flora and fauna.
- Plant a tree:
In 1987, a nine-year-old Swedish student asked what he could do to save the rainforests, and Children’s Eternal Cloud Forest was born. The Monteverde Conservation League oversees the planting of deforested land and virgin rainforest in the Children’s Forest and throughout the area and now owns more than 22,000 hectares. Contribute your green thumb efforts to their conservation work.
- Horseback ride:
Step back in time as you explore Monteverde on horseback, following time-worn trails through the mountains as you breathe in the mists of the rainforest.
Day 5 :
- Butterfly garden and ecological farm visit:
Fluttering wings of red and yellow hop from flower to flower in Monteverde’s impressive Butterfly Garden, founded by biologist Jim Wolfe and his wife Marta Iris Salazar. Get a broader look at Costa Rican flora and fauna at the Ecolodge, a University of Georgia satellite campus. The visitor-friendly farm offers hiking, bird-watching, and night walks, and the residents are always happy to discuss their work in sustainable agriculture throughout the area.
- LEAP Cocina Tica:
Cook Costa Rican style!
- Travel to Guanacaste:
Mosey on through Costa Rica’s “Old West.” Cows, horses, and sauderos (Costa Rican cowboys) ride across the sun-struck landscape of this arid region. Seek out the local Guancaste tree, whose oddly shaped seedpods have given it the name “Monkey Ear Tree.”
LEAP Activity | Cocina Tica
Cook Costa Rican style! Create authentic local foods and sit down to savor your delicious creations.
Day 6 :
- Guided nature walk:
Experience one of the most interesting and complex ecosystems in Costa Rica. This guided nature walk will take you through the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve, one of the only private reserves in Guanacaste, where the natural scarcity of water has caused wildlife to evolve and thrive in an environment with fewer nutrients than other tropical forests.
- Palo Verde boat tour:
Hop on this riverboat for a cruise through the murky water and into the scraggly mangroves of the Palo Verde National Park. Keep a look out for American alligators sunning themselves on the banks, white-faced monkeys swinging through the branches and colorful macaws flying overhead as you make your way through the park.
Day 7 :
Guanacaste Coast-San Jose
- Explore the National Park:
Visit Santa Rosa National Park, the oldest and most developed park in the country. It is the largest remaining stretch of tropical dry forest in Central America and the nesting site for an endangered species of sea turtle. Learn about the biological educational program of the park.
- Return to San José:
Day 8 :
- Coffee Plantation:
World-renowned Costa Rican coffee has grown to be an emblem of local culture. Join a local tour to learn how the country's elevation, eco-system, and volcanic history have all contributed to its unique taste.
- San Jose guided sightseeing:
Afternoon sightseeing brings you into the heart of San José to visit the cultural center, the National Theater, and the Gold Museum, known for its pre-Columbian treasures.
- LEAP Dance the El Torito:
LEAP Activity | Dance the El Torito
Costumed Costa Rican folklore dancers teach you the El Torito, as well as other traditional dances. After your lesson, relax and watch the pros perform.
Day 9 :
Return Home OR Extend your Stay
- Add on: San José Rafting:
Days 9 & 10: Add an extra day to your itinerary to experience a white water rafting expedition through the Costa Rican landscape.