ABOUT THE PACKAGE
By popular demand we have combined two of the hottest destinations in Central America in an itinerary that offers a perfect balance of nature and civilization. Featured are the Arenal Volcano region, the Monteverde cloud forest, Panama City, and the Panama Canal Basin.
1 Arrive in Costa Rica: Unwind and relax (San Jose)
After clearing customs and immigration, proceed to the reception area, where our local guide will be holding a board with your name on it. You will be greeted with a “Bienvenidos a Costa Rica” and transferred to your hotel, a haven of peace and tranquility located in San Jose’s environs. Free evening.
2 To the land of fire (Arenal)
This morning our driver will pick you up at your hotel for the three-hour transfer to Arenal. This afternoon, we suggest you relax in the rushing waters naturally heated by the volcano and channeled into the pools of the area’s numerous hot springs. At night, the most active of all Costa Rica’s volcanoes may display a true show of fiery explosions.
3 Hike across lava fields and trot to a pristine waterfall (Arenal)
This morning don your hiking boots and join our guide for a hike around the growling volcano. You will trek across fields of solidified lava enjoying stunning vistas of Lake Arenal before entering a dense rain forest where you may spot howler and white-faced monkeys, coatis, toucans and parrots. Return to the hotel in time for lunch and a short siesta. In the afternoon jump on horses for an easy ride to the truly beautiful La Fortuna Waterfall. You may take a dip in the clear waters before returning to the hotel.
4 Take a break or maybe not (Arenal)
Today you may take a break from our eventful schedule. But if you are still in the mood for some more action, here are some ideas: Raft the Sarapiqui River, a class III, take advantage of Lake Arenal’s excellent conditions for windsurfing, visit the Venado Caves, go mountain biking or sign up for the full day tour to Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. Or you may take a stroll in the surrounding countryside, catch up with your reading or revisit the hot springs. At night, we will be expectantly waiting for the volcano to offer one of its fiery performances.
5 Time for the cloud forest (Monteverde)
Frequently draped in mist and clouds, Monteverde captures the imagination of even the most cynical among us. It emanates a sense of ancient and enduring life. Algae, mosses and lichens get a foothold on the constantly wet surfaces, providing a place for orchids, bromeliads, ferns and innumerable other plants to cling to. So prolific is this growth in the cloud forest that bare branches are virtually non-existent. You will be arriving in this exuberant region around mid morning, just in time to check in at our hotel, freshen up and have lunch. In the afternoon, soar over the forest on the “sky tour” or the exhilarating “sky trek”, a system of three platforms suspended above the ground in the midst of tree boughs, zip lines, observation platforms, cables and suspended bridges that will give you an unconventional look at the canopy through jumping, flying and gliding.
6 In search of the resplendent quetzal and other usual suspects (Monteverde)
This morning get up early and head out on a guided hiking tour of famous Monteverde Reserve. As the forest awakens to a new day, venture into the reserve trails among lush foliage. You will walk slowly, taking glimpses at a myriad of colorful birds and listening to our guide’s informative explanations on flora and fauna. Later you may be blessed with a unique sight: Sitting quietly overhead, its long feathery tail swaying gently in the breeze, there is a scarlet and emerald bird that seems to embody the spirit of the cloud forest: The Resplendent Quetzal. After the fascinating hike, you will have plenty of free time to roam around Monteverde on your own. We suggest you visit the cheese factory, owned by the Quaker community, check out the butterfly farm, hike in the Santa Elena Reserve or go horseback riding.
7 Wrap it up in style! (Central Valley)
Free morning. In the afternoon drive back to the Central Valley, where you can spend your last day at the charming Alta or the posh Finca Rosa Blanca, one of Latin America’s top boutique hotels. A great way to wrap up this fabulous trip!
8 On to Panama City (Gamboa)
Today our local representative will be transferring you to the airport in time for your departure flight to Panama. Our local guide will be waiting to take you on a private city tour of Panama City and the Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal. Later you will be transferred to Gamboa on the shores of the Chagres River, your home for the next three nights. Overnight.
9 Jungle Adventures by boat (Gamboa)
We meet our naturalist guide at the lobby and walk to the docks where we board our expedition boat. Our voyage takes us across the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships that make contrast with the natural surroundings. Along the way we may spot sloth, green iguanas resting on tree branches, ospreys, snail kites, toucans and other bird species. We stop for a visit to the Primate Reserve and Sanctuary of Panama located on a set of islands in Gatun Lake. Here we have the opportunity to interact with white-faced capuchins, red-napped tamarinds, howler monkeys and two sub-species of spider monkeys and learn about their behavior.
10 At leisure in the forest (Gamboa)
Free day to enjoy the resort’s eco options including an aerial tram, nature trails, and different ecological and educational exhibitions. You may also rent a kayak and paddle in the canal, take a bird watching tour at nearby Soberania National Park, visit an Embera Indian community, or just relax at the resort and indulge with a spa treatment or a massage by the pool.
11 Depart Panama
Farewell Eco Voyagers! Today our local representative will be transferring you to the airport in time for your departure flight. We wish you a pleasant trip back home and hope to enjoy your company in another exciting adventure very soon.