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Day Tours: Transport for cruise ship clients only for tour 1 due to time constraints. It is suggested that foreign travelers purchase some form of traveling insurance. We recommend contacting www.insuremytrip.com. Fees include transportation, guide services, lunch and entrance cost.The indicated per person fee is less for persons under age 12.
1. Carara National Park plus Mangrove Birding Tour on the Tarcoles River.
Total time for this tour is about 6 hours and is especially convenient for passengers on cruise ships docking at Puntarenas. Among some of the the animals most commonly viewed at Carara include the White-nosed Coati, Central American Agouti, Mantled Howler Monkey, Green and black Poison Dart Frog as well as numerous bird species (over 360 have been identified), including one of the largest remaining populations in the Country of the Scarlet Macaw. After a lunch break, we take a 2-hour Mangrove Birding Tour on the Tarcoles River where you can expect to observe upwards of 65 species of water birds and several species of hawks. Fee: $110/per.
2. Else Kientzler Botanical Garden Tour and artisan products markets Located in Sarchi the 7 hectares botanical garden exhibits a collection of over 2000 tropical plants from around the world, including palmtrees, aquatic plants, bromeliads, fruit trees, tropical woods, succulents and orquids. After the 2.5-hr. garden tour and a lunch break, the tour will continue with a visit to nearby renowned artisan market sites. Fee: $85/per.
3. Poas Volcano National Park and The La Paz Waterfall Gardens The Volcano has the largest active crater in the world measuring 1,050 feet deep and nearly a mile across. The crater is surrounded by lush vegetation and has a lagoon at its center with steaming sulfur emissions. The high point in the park is near lake Botos with an elevation close to 8900 feet. Two main trails meander through the primeval cloud forest displaying elfin forests and epiphytic bromeliads, ferns and orchids. For viewing Costa Rica's wildlife up close, La Paz Waterfall Gardens offers over 100 species of animals, including jungle cats, butterflies, hummingbirds (24 species) and a variety of other birds, frogs, monkeys, and snakes. Also present amongst the landscape are assorted theme gardens with ornamentals, bromeliads, heliconias and orchids. Several trails pass through rainforest vegetation and a single trail follows adjacent to 5 sequential waterfalls, the highest being 120 feet high. You have a choice of including an all-you-can-eat buffet with your entrance fee. Fee: $135/per. ($120/per. if Poas Volcano is closed)
4. Ocean Ranch Park
Combine a horseback ride or ATV tour, waterfall rappel, and ziplining (ab. 5-hours total) in a 850-acre private river valley that is full of monkeys and toucans. After lunch the tour will continue to Jaco for sightseeing and beach time. Cost: $165/per. Minimum 2 persons.
Seven-day Botanical Garden Tour: Includes transportation, rooms, guide and entrance fees. Cost: $1250/person.
Day 1: Arrival at the Juan Santa Maria International Airport and transport to your host’s overnight facilities at the Atenas Monte Real Bed and Breakfast (www.cozyrica.com) or El Paraiso Verde Atenas B&B. Includes dinner and a slide/video presentation.
Day 2: Following breakfast our tour begins by visiting the Else Kientzler Botanical Garden located in Sarchi. The Garden features mostly tropical plants of Central and South America, and to a lesser extent flora from other tropical regions of the world. After lunch we will visit several popular handicraft shops displaying a wide variety of items related to the culture of Costa Rica. Afterwards we will return to the Atenas Monte Real B&B facility or El Paraiso Verde Atenas B&B.
Day 3: After breakfast our tour will continue to Lankester Garden located in Paraiso southeast of the City of Cartago. The Garden is home to over 600 species of orchids in addition to species of heliconias, palms and bromeliads among others. After lunch we will proceed to Trogon Lodge located in the San Gerado de Dota region at an elevation of 7000’ admidst cloud forest habitat.
Day 4: After lunch we will go to the Wilson Botanical Garden, considered to be the most famous Botanical Garden in Central America, located near San Vito. The Garden consists of a variet of tropical and subtropical representatives of unusual plant families and rare and endangered plants from Costa Rica. It also contains the second largest collection of palms in the world. Also present are ferns, aroids, bromeliads, gingers, heliconias, and marantas, among others. Two nights will be spent at the Las Cruces Biological Station and includes all meals.
Day 5: Full day at the Wilson Boanical Garden and surroundings.
Day 6: Return to Atenas and overnight stay at the Atenas Monte Real B&B or El Paraiso Verde Atenas B&B.
Day 7: Departure. Transport to the Juan Santa Maria International Airport. If your destination is other than the Airport, an additional fee may apply.
Permaculture Tour (10 days)
Permaculture, by definition, involves the design of an agricultural system that assists people to become more self reliant via the development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms. The methods for accomplishing this comes from such disciplines as agroforestry, organic farming, sustainable development and applied ecology.
Included is transportation, rooms, guide and entrance fees.
Day 1. Arrival. Juan Santa Maria International Airport or hotel (San Jose/Alajuela) pickup. Travel to the Monte Real B&B or Paraiso Verde B&B located in Atenas for overnight lodging. An introduction and slide show will be provided.
Day 2 & 3. After breakfast we will proceed to the La Flor Agroecology Farm (www.la-flor.org) located near Paraiso. The farm is a sustainable living organic farm utilizing solar cooker, biofilter and permaculture techniques. The 10 Ha farm includes forested areas, a botanical garden and a medicinal plant collection. All meals (included) are organic from products produced on the farm. Other optional activities include a bird-watching tour, forest night-walk, visit to a trapiche site (sugar cane processing facility) and lectures on healthy Tico cooking.
Day 4 & 5. After breakfast we will travel to the Chocolate Iguana Farm in Mastatal that is a family owned and run farm that has been producing organic cocoa for more than 25 yrs. A biodigester is used on the farm to convert pig manure into methane gas for cooking; also, a cob oven and a composting toilet are utilized in support of a sustainable living environment. Included during our stay on the farm will be a tour of the chocolate plantation and facilities, a day trip to the San Miguel hot springs, and a tour of the Zpaton indigenous community.
Day 6. Following lunch we will return to the Atenas B&B facilities for an overnight stay.
Day 7 & 8. After breakfast our tour will continue to the Caribbean coast to Punta Mona, a remote 85 acre sustainable living site where the food is grown organically for local consumption, the homes have been built from fallen trees, and solar panels are used to provide electricity. One can view hundreds of species of tropical fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants and bamboo for building materials on the property. Tours of the area include identifying which plants are used for medicinal purposes in addition to types of plants used for local cuisine.
Day 9. Following lunch we will return to the Atenas B&B facilities for an overnight stay.
Day 10. Departure to the International Airport or a hotel in Alajuela or San Jose.