Costa Rica Explorer with Butterfly Pavilion

(December 6-14, 2019)


Day 1 (Fri, Dec 6) – Arrival/ Central Valley ~ Upon arrival to Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO), you will be met and transferred to your hotel. If there’s time, feel free to explore the gardens in search of your first Costa Rican butterflies, birds and more. Accommodations: Hotel Bougainvillea

Meals: None

Day 2 (Sun, Dec 7) – Central Valley/ La Paz Waterfall Gardens/ Sarapiqui ~ Our day begins as we explore the hotel’s botanical garden looking for butterflies, hummingbirds, and tropical flowers. Mid-morning departure to Saripiqui with a stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens en route.  The elegant La Paz Waterfall Gardens, located in the mountains near Cinchona, is a beautiful facility with restaurants, flower, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, aviary, rescued animal zoo, serpentarium, live frog exhibit, orchid exhibit, all surrounded by cloud forests. Stroll leisurely along the well-maintained trails to view the numerous exhibits and gardens and the famous waterfalls of the pristine La Paz River.

The Sarapiqui area in Costa Rica’s northern lowlands is one of the best locations to experience the many wonders of tropical rainforest. Monkeys, parrots, toucans, iguanas, caiman, sloths, poison dart frogs and basilisk lizards are rainforest residents regularly seen in the region.

Afternoon arrival to Selva Verde Lodge. Protecting 500 acres of primary and secondary rainforest and home to more than 370 species of birds, 100 species of amphibians and reptiles, 80 species of mammals and more than 300 species of trees, Selva Verde provides opportunities to see an array of species including Keel-billed Toucan, resident howler and white-faced monkeys, butterflies, poison dart frogs and charismatic red-eyed tree frogs. We have the afternoon to explore the lodge’s trails with our guide.  Discover nocturnal sights and sounds of the rainforest this evening during a guided nature walk.

Accommodations: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 3 (Mon, Dec 8) – Sarapiqui/ La Selva Station ~ Enjoy a private guided nature walk this morning at La Selva Biological Station. The 3853-acre Organization for Tropical Studies field station at La Selva in Sarapiqui is one of the premier rainforest research stations in the world. Researchers have published thousands of scientific papers on tropical ecology based on their studies here. La Selva teems with wildlife.

Howler monkey - Central America

Long stretches of the Sarapiqui River are perfect for a leisurely float on a raft. As we make our way down river, our guide will scan the river’s edge and point out wildlife along the way. Keep an eye out for oropendolas, monkeys, caiman, iguanas, birds, and more during this relaxing float trip.

Accommodations: Selva Verde Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 (Tues, Dec 9) – Sarapiqui/ La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano ~ Morning departure to La Fortuna followed by a guided nature walk at Arenal National Park.  One of the most visited parks in all of Central America, Arenal’s popularity is warranted. The trails in the national park aren’t strenuous so they’re great for a leisurely and informative guided hike. While at the park, it’s possible to see a wide variety of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna while learning about Arenal Volcano’s eruptive past.

Arenal Volcano

Our day continues with an afternoon walk at Mistico Hanging Bridges where we’ll look for rainforest residents in the canopy as well as on the forest floor.  This relatively easy 3 km hike passes through primary and secondary rainforest and crosses 16 bridges (six suspension bridges and 10 static bridges). Relax this evening in the thermal pools on site at our hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel Arenal Springs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 (Wed, Dec 10) – La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano ~ We’ll start our day with a photography session at Arenal Observatory Lodge located in one of Costa Rica’s largest natural areas.  A seven-mile manicured, well-marked trail system traverses the property and provides safe, easy access to breathtaking natural beauty. The trails are never crowded. There is a hanging bridge, waterfall, Cerro Chato Crater Lake and a hardened lava flow to explore! Afternoon farm tour at Arenal Vida Campesina followed by a traditional Tico dinner.

Accommodations: Hotel Arenal Springs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 (Thurs, Dec 11) – La Fortuna/ Monteverde Cloud Forest ~ Morning departure to Monteverde Cloud Forest.  Located in the Tilaran Mountains, Monteverde will astound you with its beauty, bounty, and biodiversity. Wind-sculpted elfin woodlands give way to forests where tall trees, festooned with orchids, bromeliads, ferns, vines and mosses, rise high into the sky. Another nocturnal nature walk is in store this evening.

Accommodations: Hotel Poco a Poco

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

resplendent quetzal - stock image

Day 7 (Fri, Dec 12) – Monteverde Cloud Forest ~ Morning visit to Monteverde Reserve, considered as the most well-known cloud forest in the world for its wide variety of biodiversity, important conservation contributions, and scientific research.  Home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity, Monteverde is one of the best examples of sustainable tourism initiatives in Costa Rica.  Afternoon visit to Selvatura Park for hanging bridges, ziplining (for those interested), Butterfly Garden, and Hummingbird Gallery.

Accommodations: Hotel Poco a Poco

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 (Sat, Dec 13) – Monteverde/ Central Valley ~ There’s more time to enjoy the cloud forest this morning before we make our way back to the Central Valley for our final evening in Costa Rica.

Accommodations: Hotel Bougainvillea

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Farewell Dinner

Day 9 (Sun, Dec 14) –Departure ~ Transfer back to the SJO Airport in time to connect to flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Price: $3755* per person based on double occupancy.  Single supplement: $680*.

Package includes accommodations (based on double occupancy), all meals starting with breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on Day 9, private in-country transportation and guide services, Meet & Greet Briefing on Day 1, specialist butterfly guide from Day 2-8 (Luis Ricardo Murillo H.), entrance fees, gratuities for meals and hotel staff, and sales taxes. A donation to support local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of each participant.

Exclusions: international airfare, passport/visa fees, alcohol, taxis, optional activities, gratuities for driver and guides, items of a personal nature, and travel insurance.

*Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice until deposit received and confirmed in writing. A 3% discount will be applied for payments by check.