Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica
Study Sustainability in Costa Rica
The Worldwide Navigators Difference
Descending into the airport of Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, will give you the first of many opportunities to witness why Costa Ricans coined the phrase pura vida. You’ll check into your accommodations and visit San Jose’s version of Central Park, Parque Metropolitano La Sabana, for some fresh air. Later, you’ll grab dinner at one of the area’s local restaurants and stroll the busy city before heading to your hotel for the night.
In the morning, after the first of many Costa Rican coffees, you’ll take the 3-hour shuttle ride to Monteverde. When you arrive, you’ll check into your eco-lodge, have a quick lunch, and not waste any time soaking in the natural beauty that makes this town famous. Up first, you’ll meet a local naturalist at Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve for a guided hike through one of Monteverde’s incredible cloud forests. Your guide will spend the day taking you through the deep trails where you’ll experience diverse wildlife and the delicate ecosystem uniquely engulfed in cloud cover.
At nightfall, you’ll get to discover the delicious world of chocolate as you learn just what goes into making your favorite dessert. Willy Wonka never explained so much, as you’ll get the lowdown on the entire process, taking you from the seed to the delicious final product: the beloved chocolate bar. Once the explanation is finished, some group members will get hands-on experience and learn how to grind the cocoa bean to make your own chocolate bar! Afterwards, you will head to the best part of the tour: tasting! You’ll get the opportunity to taste several types of chocolate such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate, and even some more exotic and lesser-known flavors.
Once this sweet adventure is over, you will get a tour of the surrounding countryside and enter the secret world of the extraordinary nocturnal species that live nearby. You’re likely to see some species of frogs and toads such as the giant toad, the chicken-eater frog, the small “jewels of the forest” like the hourglass frog and one of the most emblematic animals of Costa Rica, the red-eyed frog. These creatures may be small, but they put up quite a racket in the night air, and you’ll learn about their vital place in the ecosystem of Costa Rica.
With luck, during this part of the tour you will also get to see some species of larger animals as well, mammals such as the sloth, coati (raccoon-like creatures) and even nocturnal birds!
After breakfast, you’ll make your way over to Curi Cancha, a private wildlife reserve where you’ll get intimate views of the variety of birds and other species living in the area. Hike the trails and enjoy the quiet serenity of the reserve before commuting to Selvatura Park for the second half of your day of adventure. There, you’ll experience the biodiversity of the forest from above by walking along the park’s hanging bridges. End the evening with dinner at one of the locally-sourced farm-to-table restaurants in the area.
Start your day with a favorite local breakfast of gallo pintos, then it’s off to La Fortuna. After a taxi and boat ride, you’ll arrive at your second eco-lodge of the trip that hosts a sustainable ranch and natural hot springs on site. After you get settled in, you’ll make your way over to Arenal Volcano National Park for the remainder of the day where you’ll hike around old lava formations and get stunning views of the volcanic highlight of the area.
Today following a hearty and healthy organic Costa Rican breakfast, you’re going to get a chance to help out with one of the most unique, adorable – and, sadly – endangered animals in the world: the sloth! These adorable guys are in need of rehabilitation and care due to car accidents, predators, and babies losing track of their mothers, and at the Asis Wildlife Rescue and Sloth Sanctuary, you will get to spend all day learning about these hypnotically unique creatures. You’ll get to volunteer for most of the day, helping out with preparing the food for the two Costa Rican species of sloths that live here, as well as feeding them yourself and learning all about their biology and the challenges they face.
In addition to seeing and feeding the sloths up close and personal, you’ll also get to enjoy a wildlife tour of the nearby preserve. While you’re there you can look for colorful and noisy toucans, macaws and monkeys in the treetops, but you’ll also want to keep an eye out closer to the ground for other animals you often don’t see at home, like peccaries, coatis, wild sloths and a host of other animal species. All the while you’ll learn about the biology of these animals, the Costa Rican wilderness, conservation efforts that continue there, and the steps the Costa Rican government is taking to protect the country’s unique ecology.
Today you’ll venture just outside of town to La Fortuna Waterfall where you’ll swim, hike, have a picnic lunch, and maybe even spot a local monkey or toucan! After enjoying the epic waterfall views, you’ll make a quick commute to Ecotermales Hot Springs for a soak in one of the area’s famous volcano-fed thermal pools. After ending the La Fortuna experience on a relaxing note, it’s time to head back to San Jose where you’ll enjoy a final evening in the city.
After breakfast, you’ll be on your way to the airport with bittersweet feelings about leaving this slice of paradise so soon, but with a great appreciation for what Costa Rica is doing for the world.
This immersive experience through the “green lung” of Costa Rica truly highlights the country as one of the top leaders in ecotourism. Through green initiatives, protected lands, and marine conservation (to name a few), Costa Rica is proving that sustainability and environmental respect isn’t just a trend, it’s a lifestyle.
Interested in adding or modifying activities? No problem! All Worldwide Navigator itineraries can be customized to your liking!
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