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5 Day Incredible Cultural and Wildlife Tour in Costa Rica
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


Thrilling Wildlife Tour in Costa Rica

Discover the beauty of Costa Rica wildlife in this tour and safari! This tour is designed to make you enjoy the amazing tours in the areas of Monteverde and Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. You will also visit wildlife areas and enjoy tours with cultural themes of Costa Rica. What are you waiting for? Pack your bag and prepare yourself for the unforgettable moment in your life!

Overview

  • Starting point and ending point: San Jose - San Jose
  • Main wildlife to be viewed: Monkeys, jaguar, caiman, and butterfly
  • Children policy: Children ages 3 and under go free

Highlights

  • 2 guided tours
  • Spotting crocodile, butterfly, etc.
  • Visit Selvatura Butterfly Garden and Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Cano Negro Natural Wildlife Refuge
  • Shared shuttle transport back to San Jose
  • Pick-up from your hotel in San Jose
  • Breakfast and some lunches
  • 4 nights of lodging

Styles


4 activity days
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Accommodation

For the first and second night, you will be accommodated at Monteverde Villa Lodge. While on the third and fourth night, you will be staying at Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge and Wildlife Refuge.

Monteverde Villa Lodge

Monteverde Villa Lodge is located in a quiet area in Santa Elena, Monteverde. Its position is great for visitors who want to be close to the facilities of the tiny town of Santa Elena, such as banks, restaurants, the supermarket, and tourist shops. The hotel is just 10 minutes away from the center.

The hotel is en route for all the adventure tour transport pick-ups and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is only a 20-minute ride away. This small, personal hotel has only a handful of cabins. The friendly and helpful owners, Heiner and Ana are always happy to answer any questions.

The wooden cabins of Monteverde Villa Lodge are pretty, surrounded by vegetation designed with a rustic, distinctive charm. There are a couple of rooms that are part of the main building and also individual lodges. All rooms are very spacious with wood-paneling and pretty light fixtures giving it a warm and cozy feel. Rooms are equipped with wireless internet, cable tv, hot water, and also a kitchenette (which has a fridge, coffee maker, and microwave). There is also a small bar and comfy sitting area.

Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge and Wildlife Refuge

Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge and Wildlife Refuge is owned by a local Costa Rican family. The hotel is located less than a 10-minute drive to La Fortuna in Arenal. The comfortable, rustic but charming cabins are dotted about the property alongside a small forest with its own trails. The eco-lodge is known for its sustainable practices and is geared to guests seeking family-style hospitality, wanting a different experience than staying in some of the fancy western resorts in the area.

The grounds feature an extensive collection of tropical plants and 12 acres (five hectares) of forest and trails. The lodge can arrange its own birding, natural history walks and night tours in their forest to see a variety of nocturnal animals (with luck!), reptiles and amphibians (especially frogs), and insects.

Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge accommodation is available in the form of five cabanas (bungalows or villa style). The bungalow cabins are equipped with a private bath with shower and bathtub as well as have a ceiling fan. Villa style rooms have private bath with shower and bathtub, ceiling fan, a refrigerator, and a microwave. All rooms also have a desk, wardrobe, wooden floors, and a hairdryer and toiletries.

The hotel has a restaurant called Mi Tierrita. In the morning, this is where breakfast is served. Fruit is put out for the birds and it is amazing having your breakfast whilst watching the colorful, tropical birds at the feeders.

Program

Day 1: San Jose - Monteverde

At 07:00, you will be picked-up from your hotel in San Jose (or if staying near the airport, Desafio Monteverde can pick up at Denny's Restaurant, opposite Holiday Inn Express). Desafio Monteverde can also arrange private picks from all hotels and also from Liberia for an extra price. Enjoy the scenery as you make your ascent to the beautiful green mountains of Monteverde (three to four hours). There will be a stop along the way for a bathroom stop and a snack. The views of the distant Monteverde Cloud Forest are amazing as well as the Gulf of Nicoya. Now with the road improvements to Monteverde, the journey is less of a challenge and more of a wonderful photo opportunity!

At 12:30, you will start with El Trapiche tour. Monteverde’s El Trapiche tour (which is the Spanish word for ‘sugar mill’) first started in 1948, closed for a while and then re-opened in 1989. From 2005 it was open for tourism. The Monteverde Trapiche tour is run by a local family who tries to teach a little more about Costa Rica culture and even though the name of the tour means sugar mill process, the tour also demonstrates how coffee is produced and you will learn about other crops grown on the farm. Perhaps the tour would be better named as general agriculture tour with emphasis on sugar production!

To make it more interesting, the family have made the tour partly ‘hands-on’. The bilingual guide will walk with you through their small forest, help you feed the tilapia fish, pick coffee if possible, and take you an ox-cart ride back to the main building - a unique Costa Rican experience. Here you can enjoy a refreshment of sugar cane juice or lemonade, eat picadillo de arracacha (a typical Costa Rican food), and make candy out of sugar cane (everyone makes their own candy).

Day 2: Monteverde - Monteverde Cloud Forest Park

At 07:00, you will have a guided hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. You'll be picked up at your hotel and taken to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Park entrance where your bilingual guide will be waiting. The guides at the Monteverde Reserve are some of the best in Costa Rica and they have a wealth of knowledge about the Monteverde Cloud Forest: it's fauna and flora as well as the history and the growth of Monteverde. You will go on a three-hour hike around this wonderful forest.

At 12:50, you will enjoy Selvatura walkways (hanging bridges) and guided butterfly garden tour. The walkways are a series of suspended bridges, high in the canopy of the rainforest. The tour is not just bridges but a series of trails that wind between the bridges. In total, these trails cover 3.3 kilometers. There are eight different bridges which have lengths and heights that vary between 50 to 170 meters long as well as 12 and 60 meters high. Every bridge is 1.5 meters wide and has a capacity for 60 people. The hanging bridges are designed for people of every age and reasonable physical condition. The duration of the tour is usually about one and a half to two hours.

Selvatura Butterfly Garden is one of the world's largest live butterfly exhibitions featuring an 8100 square feet dome where more than 50 different species of butterflies from all over Costa Rica can be spotted. The tour of just under an hour includes a bilingual guide.

Day 3: Monteverde - La Fortuna

On day three, you will go to La Fortuna, the nearest village to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Arenal Volcano. You will travel by what is locally known as "taxi-boat-taxi". This is a method of getting from Monteverde to La Fortuna and takes about three hours and involves the following:

  • 1.5-hour Microbus ride from Monteverde to Arenal Lake
  • 30-minute boat ride on beautiful Arenal Lake at the foot of the volcano.
  • 25-minute Microbus transport from Arenal Dam where transport to your hotel in La Fortuna.

At 13:30, you will enjoy a volcano hike as well as relaxing at Eco Termales Hot Springs and Dinner. A visit to Costa Rica is not complete without seeing Arenal's famous volcano. Hike through old lava fields at Arenal Volcano National Park as well as lush rainforest with an experienced naturalist, bilingual guide. The guide will point out flora and fauna in the primary and secondary rainforest that lines the base of the Arenal Volcano. Note that over the last few years there has been no lava activity, although you can still hear it sometimes and it is still emitting gases. The tours are still very interesting as you learn about the history of this impressive volcano.

Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours of an easy hike (although there are some muddy sections and a little uphill).

After the night hike, Desafio Monteverde will take you to Eco Termales where you can soak any aches away from the past few day's activities. Located near La Fortuna, these Arenal hot springs is a place where you can really relax. Smallest of the main hot springs in the area, there are three large hot pools, two small very hot pools, and one small cold pool (the hottest has a cool waterfall) which vary in temperature. Eco Termales has a bar, locker rooms, restaurant, and family-style, easy-going atmosphere. Towels and lockers are provided.

Eco Termales is a great choice for those looking for a quieter experience than some of the other hot springs. The pools and gardens are beautifully landscaped with lush tropical vegetation in and the water is heated naturally, pumped out of the ground. The property at night is prettily lit with large mushroom shaped lights. Evening meal included at the hot springs.

Day 4: La Fortuna - Los Chiles

Cano Negro Tour takes place on the Rio Frio on the outskirts of the refuge which is the best part of wildlife viewing. The Cano Negro full-day tour leaves La Fortuna at 07:30 (earlier from Arenal hotels) and includes lunch. The transport will pick you up at your hotel to begin the one-hour or so long drive to the city of Los Chiles at the entrance of the reserve. There is a lot to see on the journey to Los Chiles as you will pass through one of the most productive agricultural areas of Costa Rica with immense plantations of pineapple, papaya, beans, rica, and sugar cane.

Upon arrival in Los Chiles, the group departs the bus for a motorized covered boat to travel up and down the Rio Frio. This part of the river is full of fish; including large fish called snook, silver-gold tarpon, and garfish. The fish in the river attract a huge number of birds including anhinga, roseate spoonbills, storks, ducks, kingfishers, herons, and cormorants. You can also see many species of mammals along the banks including white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, two and three-toed sloths, pumas, jaguars, and bats. There are even reptiles to see; caimans, lizards, and turtles are all around.

Day 5: Los Chiles - San Jose

At 08:00 or 13:00 approximately, it will be for onward transport. Shared shuttle transport back to San Jose or to one of the main beaches if available. Desafio Monteverde can also upgrade your shuttle transport to private for an extra cost and you can choose which time your leave (before 19:00).

Included excursions

  • Guided hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Hike through old lava fields at Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Monteverde’s El Trapiche tour
  • Relaxing in Eco Termales
  • Selvatura walkways

Location

This safari will take place in several locations in Costa Rica including Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Selvatura Park, Selvatura Butterfly Garden, Eco-Termales Hot Springs, and Cano Negro Natural Wildlife Refuge.

The Monteverde Trapiche tour

The Monteverde Trapiche tour takes place on a farm located two kilometers outside of Santa Elena, Monteverde. The two-hour tour involves walk along an easy trail and at the end of the tour, there is a gift shop.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is probably the most famous and visited park in the area. It is overseen by the Tropical Science Center of Costa Rica which manages the trails and limits the number of visitors. It has an elevation of 1500 - 1800 meters (4900 - 5900 feet) above sea level. Because of the biodiversity found in Monteverde, this reserve has been praised as one of the most exceptional forests in the world. A hike will take you through well-marked trails with an optional visit to the observation point called “La Ventana”, which is one of the most popular spots in this reserve.

The reserve now covers around 10,500 hectares. Elevation ranges from 600 meters above sea level to 1800 meters on isolated peaks. This reserve, under the administration of the Tropical Science Center, is known worldwide for its biodiversity and is visited each year by many tourists and scientists.

Selvatura Park

Selvatura Park has some of the best canopy tour adventures in the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde. Have a blast on the Selvatura Canopy Tour: a thrilling zip line tour with an amazing optional Tarzan swing and superman cable!

Selvatura Butterfly Garden

Selvatura is one of the world's largest live butterfly exhibitions featuring an 8100 square feet dome where more than 50 different species of butterflies from all over Costa Rica can be spotted.

Cano Negro Natural Wildlife Refuge

Cano Negro Natural Wildlife Refuge, often nicknamed the Everglades of Costa Rica, is one of the best spots for seeing certain wildlife in the entire country. Situated on a stretch of wetlands along the Nicaraguan border, the 9,969-hectare (24620 acres, or 38 square miles) Cano Negro reserve follows the Rio Frio and eventually emptying out into a grassy marshland. The refuge and the area leading to the reserve boasts one of the highest diversities of wildlife in the Americas and is of special interest to birders.

Features

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking

General

  • Bar
  • Restaurant

Food

For breakfasts at Monteverde Villa Lodge, you have a choice of traditional Costa Rican dishes or more western style breakfast with plenty of tropical fruit and delicious coffee. You can also order dinner at very reasonable prices if you do not want to walk to the local restaurants but lunch or dinner needs to be booked in advance.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Canopy ziplines
  • Canyoneering
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Reptile or insect exhibition tour
  • Visit the hummingbirds
  • Whitewater rafting

What's included

  • Monteverde’s El Trapiche tour
  • Guided hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Selvatura walkways
  • Guided Selvatura Butterfly Garden tour
  • Arenal Volcano natural history walk
  • Visit Cano Negro Natural Wildlife Refuge
  • Shared shuttle transport back to San Jose
  • Pick-up from your hotel in San Jose
  • Breakfasts and some lunches
  • 4 nights of lodging

What's not included

  • Flights to Costa Rica
  • Hotels in San Jose
  • Evening meals and lunches
  • Optional tours or transportation to other places not included in the schedule

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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