Costa Rica Unplugged (From 26th March 2016)
Arrive San José
Meet up with your Contiki team this morning before it’s time to start the trip right & start exploring. First up, we’ll head out into San Jose city & Poás Volcano National Park for our first look at this amazing city & its lush natural environment. On our way to the park, keep your eyes peeled for coffee plantations, fields packed with flowers & dairy farms & cool locals as you travel. When we reach the volcano there’s time to check out the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles (or vents where volcanic gas escapes) & frame up some shots of this unique landscape and we’ll hike the trail for the chance to see the beautiful Botos Lagoon. This afternoon it’s back to the city, where you’ll get a look at San José’s best spots on our locally guided tour. It’s easy to see why this city is such a popular place to head – with consistently warm weather & year round events this place is always buzzing, so keep your eye out for cool locals, or maybe some music & action around the city streets. Some of the main sights include La Sabana Metropolitan Park, Costa Rican Contemporary Art Museum, the National Gymnasium & with us you’ll see them all. Get the insider knowledge from your Trip Manager before we finish up with a visit the San José Central Market & the see the beautiful National Theatre. Tonight, we’ll head out to a cute local nightspot after dinner with the group, it’s the perfect way to relax, get to know your travel mates & get amped for an awesome 12 days. Keep it moving later, San José is the perfect place to start with a night out. Known for its awesome nightlife, ask your Trip Manager where’s hot to head for what you’re into – from cute cafes & intimate bars to bigger clubs for dancing, there’s something for everyone.
San Jose to Sarapiqui
Next up, our overnight eco-lodge in Sarapiqui – it’s perfect for those that love to relax. You’ll discover the rainforest on our Tirimbina chocolate tour to learn about one of mankind’s favourite treats. After we head to the lodge where you can explore the trails and hanging bridges or just chill by the pool.
Sarapiqui to Arenal/La Fortuna
This morning, its all go! We leave it up to you, with choices of rafting the rapids on the Sarapiqui River, a canopy tour (zipline) for birds-eye views over the rainforest or rapelling (abseiling) for that adrenalin fix, whatever you’re into is included! With your adrenalin fix had, it’s back on land before heading to Costa Rica’s famed Arenal Volcano after lunch. Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape will impress, and being home to loads of outdoor activities makes it an easy place to check things off your “must-do in Costa Rica” list. The area is also known for its spa & mud pool treatments, so if you’re feeling up for it then it’s the ideal place to treat yourself & relax.
This morning get into the adventure that Costa Rica is known for, adventure and nature! Maybe visit La Fortuna waterfall or try canyoneering/rappelling through a rain forest canyon. This afternoon relax by the pool or head into town for a bit of shopping. Later on this afternoon experience the traditional Costa Rican "Tico" way of life. Our visit to Rio Fortuna La Casona will start by introducing us to the students of a local school where they will perform their local folk dances. You’ll love meeting the local students & watching them perform live. Even better is that we are giving back too, with our visit proceeds go towards supporting the school. A place full of history, culture and traditions this country estate allows us a peek into the way life used to be here. We'll see how sugar cane was processed and after we'll head to a local farm where we will tour the plantation and meet the owner. Later, we’ll head back to La Casona for a delicious home-cooked dinner, done the old fashion way on a wood stove. It's your chance to get hands on as you learn how to make traditional Costa Rican coffee & delicious fresh made tortillas. Learning from the locals is a great way to get that authentic angle & pick up some new skills in the kitchen. We think indulging in the results is the perfect way to end the lesson too. Yum! You’ll love this unique meal & you’ll love the way it’s served, dished up in the traditional way on a banana leaf. No meal would be complete without some fresh coffee, famous homemade coffee liquor, with entertainment from our hosts Milton & Eli. It’s the perfect end to the day.
Arenal/La Foruna to Playa Tamarindo
Today we head to the pacific coast to spend a couple of days in Playa Tamarindo, known for its great surfing beaches & party feel.? Before arriving we’ll visit Palo Verde National Park, a slice of wetland sanctuary in the middle of Costa Rica’s driest region & experience a wildlife river cruise on the Tempique River, Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of American Crocodiles, Coatis, Raccoons, Capuchin & Howler Monkeys.
Get into the laid back vibe of this beach town, try your hand at surfing, snorkelling or diving.? This afternoon join us on an optional catamaran cruise.
Playa Tamarindo to Monteverde
Today it’s on to Monteverde, Costa Rica’s most popular reserve. It’s one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics, filled with cloud forests, coffee plantations, monkeys, mist & friendly locals. This afternoon we hike into the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
This morning we visit Selvatura Adventure Park to walk the Hanging Bridges and visit the Butterfly & Hummingbirds Gardens for a taste of the natural landscape found here. After is your opportunity to do a canopy tour (zipline), for an adrenalin rush as you fly through 15 cables and 18 platforms with the option of a Tarzan Swing at the end of the adventure. Awesome! Selvatura Park is one of the longest Canopy Tours in Costa Rica, and it's the only canopy tour located inside the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Not ready to conquer ziplining? You can head back into town for some shopping and leisurely lunch. We'll spend this afternoon on a coffee tour. You've already sampled this famous Costa Rican drink, but get ready to learn even more. Our guide will take you through all the stages of production, from the plants themselves, through to harvest, drying, roasting & the grinding of the beans. Later, sit back with a delicious cup & relax. With your caffeine fix all done, you'll be wide awake for a night out in this eclectic, fun town.
Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
Pura Vida! Its all sun & good times this morning, we’re off to the beautiful beaches of the Costa Rican Central Pacific coast! First up is a stop in the surfing town of Jaco then its on to Quepos. Later, we’ll arrive at Manuel Antonio. This place is a popular destination for travellers, and is a haven for those who love to relax.
This morning is all about relaxing the way you want. Hit the beach for a surfing lesson, head out to explore the town or just sit with a drink & work on your tan. This afternoon we set sail for an awesome afternoon on the water. Chill out on deck, and keep watch for (when in season) dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and unique birds of the Manuel Antonio Marine Reserve. Don’t forget your swimming gear, the tour includes snorkeling equipment if you feel like getting into some underwater exploring, and includes a tour of the offshore islands for an even more in-depth look at the area. We also stop for a leisurely swim at one of the incredible white sand beaches & if you’re up for it you could dive on the underwater reefs. What’s better, you’ll indulge in a feast of fresh fruits, grilled fish, pasta, salads, drinks with the amazing Costa Rican hospitality that you will have come to love.
It’s time to get active & walk with our expert guide through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park. This afternoon join us on an optional catamaran cruise. Set sail on our awesome boat trip to spot many dolphins, whales, sea turtles & birds. Don’t forget your swimming gear for swim stops & snorkelling.
Manuel Antonio to San José
This morning you can relax in paradise or for the adventure lovers get your final fix with a kayak excursion before we head back to San José where your tour ends on arrival. Pura Vida!