Price Starting at $3,295.00
Overnight at HOTEL BOUGAINVILLEA.
Resume your drive through banana plantations to a jetty where you board your speedboat for your ride to Tortuguero, which consists of a vast alluvial floodplain. Tortuguero’s tropical moist to wet forest is accessible only by small plane or boat, along the famous Tortuguero Canals. This system of rivers and man-made channels parallels the coast and cuts through beautiful primary forest. One of the wettest regions in the country, it is also one of the areas with the greatest biological diversity. There are 11 distinct habitats, ranging from littoral woodland and berm, to very moist high forest and swamp forest where the predominant species can grow up to 130 feet tall such as wild tamarind. The water hyacinths are so thick in places that boats cannot get through. The wildlife is rich and varied with unusually large populations of monkeys, anurans (60 species), birds (309 species) and fish. Some of the resident mammals are the elusive tapir which feeds mainly on plants and seeds, jaguar (rarely seen), ocelot, kinkajou, collared and whitelipped peccary, Neotropical river otter, tayra, olingo, three-towed sloth, spider monkey and howler monkey. A fascinating mammal that lives in the swamps is the fishing bulldog bat which is one of the largest bats in the country. Three unusual anurans live in this wilderness – the smoky frog which abounds on the banks of streams, the glass frog which has such transparent skin that its internal organs can be seen and the poison dart frog which is dangerous to the touch. Resident avian species include the Green Macaw which prefers to move about in the upper canopy of the rain forests and mainly feeds on seeds of the wild almond tree, Great Curassow, Keel-billed Toucan, Turkey Vulture, Whitenecked Jacobin, Violaceous Trogon, Great Tinamou which is a very terrestrial bird that feeds on seeds, berries and small insects caught in its flight path, Neotropical Cormorant, Anhinga, and Montezuma Oropendula. The channels and marshes are home to seven species of land turtles which can be seen sunning themselves on logs in the middle of the water or on islands of floating vegetation. Here, too, you can find the West Indian manatee – one of the most endangered Caribbean species – crocodiles, caimans, and green iguanas. There’s also a great variety of crustaceans and about 30 species of freshwater fish, including the gar – considered to be a living fossil and amazing when spawning, eel, bull shark, Caribbean snook, tarpon, red snapper and mackerel.
Renowned naturalist Archie Carr and author of the 1956 book The Windward Road did much of his work on sea turtles at Tortuguero and was instrumental in establishing the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) – his “Casa Verde” research station is still here. In fact, Tortuguero gets its name from the Spanish word for turtle and is the most important nesting site in the entire western half of the Caribbean for the green turtle – which gathers in large numbers to nest between July and October. Other species of sea turtles that also nest on the wide beaches of the park and refuge are the leatherback and hawksbill. The green turtle population is believed to have come perilously close to extinction in the 1960s when nearly every female turtle arriving to nest in Tortuguero was taken for the export market for turtle soup.
CCC was established in 1959 specifically to study and protect Caribbean green turtles. Working closely with the Costa Rican government, CCC helped establish Tortuguero National Park in 1970, a move that offered protection to the turtles and strictly limited the number of turtles that could be taken.
The Evergreen Lodge is ideally situated within Tortuguero National Park, the perfect place from which to explore this unique and magical area. One of the canals runs right in front of the lodge and all around you the towering trees and vegetation that adorn the surroundings combine to create a truly beautiful setting. Evergreen offers lodging in 16 lovely bungalows all equipped with en-suite facilities. Because of their design you can virtually do all of your birding without having to leave the comfort of your bed. The bungalow is almost completely surrounded by windows enabling you to be one with the surrounding jungle and wildlife.
Overnight at the EVERGREEN JUNGLE LODGE.
The green turtle nesting is one of the most interesting natural phenomena and one of nature’s amazing spectacles. There is no doubt this is an experience that you should not miss when visiting the Tortuguero area during the months of July. The best time to view turtles are at night. After walking along a long walk along the beach (be sure to wear strapped sandals or shoes) you’ll come upon a nesting turtle. Only 1 of 5000 Sea Turtles are going to be adults, so it is really important that people do not disturb them while digging the holes in the sand to put their eggs in. No bright flash lights please! The average tour last between 2 – 4 hours.
Overnights at the EVERGREEN JUNGLE LODGE.
Overnight at the SARAPIQUI RAINFOREST LODGE
Your afternoon activity will involve La Tirimbina where you will be led across a suspension bridge through a sector of the Tirimbina forest to a former cacao-growing plot. During the hike, the natural and cultural history of the cacao tree will be explained.
On arrival at the plot, the artisanal process by which cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate will be demonstrated (harvest, fermentation, drying, etc.), while the story of pre- and post-colonial chocolate is told. Here you will finally get to taste the various types of chocolate while watching it being prepared in the traditional way.
Overnight at the SARAPIQUIS RAINFOREST LODGE
Spend the afternoon relaxing at Tabacon Hot Springs, you will be transported to a higher level of vitality. From the heart of the volcano spring fountains of thermo mineral water which form the Tabacon River, running at a soothing 102ºF, forming cascades, waterfalls, and natural pools through exotic tropical gardens. The resort features mineral water pools, indoor Jacuzzi, therapeutic massages and mud treatments (at an extra cost), restaurant with international and Costa Rican cuisine, tropical bars, souvenir shop, lockers, changing rooms, and showers. You may want to indulge yourself with a massage, a swim in the hot springs, or any other of the facilities offered before your included dinner here.
The Arenal Springs Resort & Spa is conveniently located just outside of La Fortuna. All rooms have incredible views of the volcano, private terraces, television, WiFi, and mini bar. Enjoy the rainfall showers equipped with organic shampoo, conditioner, and soap made on site using ingredients from the gardens. The resort has its own natural hot springs, and a pool with swim up bar for cooling off.
Overnights at the ARENAL SPRINGS.
OPTIONAL TOUR~ DON JUAN’S FARM ($78 PER PERSON, ADDITIONAL)
Today’s morning drive takes you in a small town called Jaurí where you will visit Don Juan’s Farm. This adventure is one of the most educational activities you will find in Arenal, and you can have lots of fun while learning. In this farm, more than 30 different crops with strict organic techniques are grown, livestock semi-confined, methane gas production, tilapia and manufacture of organic compounds, including worm farming, bio fermenter, fertilizers, fruit, herbs, among others; you will not only learn about these various agricultural elements, but you can even help to produce them.
OPTIONAL TOUR~ MISTICO ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES ($42 PER PERSON, ADDITIONAL)
Visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, one of the most beautiful environmentallyfriendly projects in Costa Rica. Located in front of the Arenal Volcano, within the corridor followed by birds migrating between North and South America, the trails and bridges of this project will bring you as close as you could ever hope to get to the birds, the flowers and the lush vegetation of the primary rainforest. Walk right into the forest, thanks to the imposing hanging bridges overlooking the canopy and easy, safe and beautiful trails with views of the Volcano. Set in dense rainforest these 15 suspension bridges are a great way to observe the natural beauty of the Arenal Rainforest and Volcano area.
The Hanging Bridges project consists of eight (8) fixed bridges, ranging in length between 26 and 72 feet, and six (6) hanging bridges, built with the latest techniques and designed with an eye for both beauty and safety. The hanging bridges are between 157 and 321 feet long. All the bridges are made of galvanized steel and high-strength aluminum. The safety mesh and the suspension cables are all galvanized steel. The entire project was designed to blend with the natural environment, leaving the forest virtually intact.
The trails, covering a distance of about 1.9 miles, are right inside the forest. As you walk, you be able to appreciate the great diversity of flowers and wildlife that are typical of the rain forest. Given the roughness of the terrain, the trails are joined by the eight fixed bridges and six hanging bridges described above. The trails have been laid out with a maximum grade of 7 degrees, so that anyone can walk on them.
In the afternoon, embark on the Arenal Sky Tram. Gently gliding in gondolas through the Arenal Reserve, your guided 20-minute journey brings you to an observation deck where you can rely on your own two feet as you explore one of the many short trails available. But your adventure is not over! Zip along the treetops on the Sky Trek – a series of eight cross-sectional cabled zip lines that create a web of almost two miles – each with a distance between 100 to 2,460 feet. The maximum height will be 660 feet but you will feel like you are floating through the clouds as you will have amazing panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and lake at your fingertips – or toe tips! Overnight at the ARENAL SPRINGS.
Overnight at HOTEL BOUGAINVILLEA.
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