Day 1 This comprehensive tour will have you dancing back and forth across the continental divide, experiencing the highlights of Costa Rica's numerous ecological zones. The day begins with a scenic drive through the 50,000-hectare Braulio Carrillo National Park. As you make your way up through the cloud forest, the guide will give you an overview of the day's activities. The first stop is the Danta Reserve in the lowlands of the park. At breakfast you'll get a fun crash course in natural history. Armed with this knowledge, you'll set out for a leisurely hike on cement trails through the forest. Then it's on to Puerto Viejo of Sarapiqui.
At this historical trading center between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, you'll board a canvas-covered boat for an exciting two-hour trip on the Sarapiqui river. Look for alligators lazing in the sun and listen for the sounds of howler monkeys in the trees along the banks of this biological corridor. Chances are you'll catch a glimpse of the most common birds found here, which include kingfishers, toucans, ibises and colorful and loud oropendolas. There's also a good chance of sneaking a peek at the endangered Great Green Macaw in amongst the tall trees, entwined with lianas and laden with bromeliads and orchids. You can't find this bird anywhere else in the world! After the boat trip, enjoy a typical Costa Rican lunch served in the home of Don Juan and Dona Rosa.
After lunch continue to La Fortuna and an afternoon check-in at the lodge in the Arenal Volcano area. To make your afternoon perfect, immerse yourself in the natural hot springs of the Tabacon Resort and Spa located on the volcano's slopes. These soothing springs have an outstanding view of the volcano's dazzling lava shoots. They are also reputed to have therapeutic and medicinal benefits!
Day 2 After breakfast, enjoy a 45-minute hike at Arenal Volcano National Park. This Park is known for its diverse variety of wildlife, monkeys, sloths, coatis, jaguars and ocelotes, to name just a few! The great biodiversity of the area and the exclusivity of many of its species attract scientists, bird watchers and nature lovers alike. Return to San Jose via Zarcero, a small town know for its topiary figures. Have lunch at Ceci's restaurant, then make a short visit to the town of Sarchi, a town famous for its wonderful souveniers.
Additional nights in Arenal are available.
For a small additional fee, this tour is available with Class III rafting in place of the river Safari in Sarapiqui. (Only with advance reservation.)