Picture of Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains

There are no departures currently scheduled. But no worries, we'll be offering it again. Let us know you're interested.

Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains

Destination: San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a pioneer in the field of ecotourism, is known both for the diversity of its ecosystems and for the government's efforts to protect those ecosystems in National Parks. In fact, Costa Rica has managed to protect a larger proportion of its land than any other country in the world, with 25% receiving some form of protection. This is a country of rainforests and beaches, mountains and jungles, and Costa Rica's flora and fauna, particularly birds and flowers, are amazingly rich. In this land of jewels, we have picked out the three best, the three places that you have to visit to begin to appreciate just how diverse this country is. After arriving in San Jose we travel to Tortuguero National Park with its system of jungle canals on one side and the Atlantic Coast on the other. We then visit the Arenal area, best known for its volcano and hot springs. And finally we end in the cloud forest of Monteverde. We haven't seen it all, but in 10 days we've seen so much! Maximum group size: 12;


  • Kayaking through the jungle canals and lagoons of Tortuguero National Park
  • Rafting through the rainforest on the Sarapiqui River
  • Soaking in the hot springs in Arenal
  • Learning about the unique Cloud Forest Ecosystem
  • Enjoying Costa Rican cuisine and hospitality

Departures and Prices


  • A naturalist Costa Rican guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip there will not be an AGC guide)
  • Nine nights double occupancy lodging
  • All activities specified on the itinerary
  • Private transportation within Costa Rica
  • All meals from dinner the first night through breakfast the last
  • Airport transfer to and from San Jose (on day of arrival and departure at scheduled times)
  • Gratuities for drivers and incidental guides
Not included:airfare to San Jose; guide gratuities; departure taxes ($29); alcoholic beverages; insurance


This trip is rated 1 and is designed for active women who want to immerse themselves in the natural history of this fascinating country. While the trip is active, none of the activities are strenuous and all are designed to give you different perspectives on the flora and fauna. Rating: [1] 2 3 4 5

This trip includes hiking, walking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and ziplining (optional) Lead by a local naturalist guide, we will immerse ourselves in the natural history of this country that is small in size and amazingly diverse.

We are staying at a variety of accommodations, from a well-situated and rather conventional hotel in San Jose to more personal lodging in other places. Every place we stay is clean and comfortable, with double-occupancy rooms and ensuite bathrooms. Two single rooms are available for an additional cost.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

We'll meet you upon your arrival at the San Jose airport and transfer you to our hotel in Costa Rica's capital city. If you arrive early in the day, the hotel is located within walking distance of a small park, public plazas, and the historic city center. We'll gather as a group at 5:30 PM to begin to get acquainted and to meet our local guide, who will go over the itinerary and answer any questions. We'll then share a special welcome dinner. Overnight at Radisson San Jose Hotel or similar. (D)
Our naturalist expedition begins today for real! Our local guide will meet us at the hotel for an early morning start in our private bus. The first part of the drive takes us through Braulio Carrillo National Park with its huge expanse of primary (native tree species, where there are no visible indications of human activities) forest. We will enjoy a wonderful breakfast before leaving. We arrive at Cano Blanco dock after about a three hour drive (total) where we'll board a specially designed boat for the hour-long trip to our lodging right in the middle of Tortuguero National Park. Tortuguero (meaning "tortoise", for the sea turtles that nest there during the summer) is absolutely spectacular and a great introduction to the biodiversity for which Costa Rica is known.

After lunch we'll explore the Park waterways by kayak. Kayaking allows us to wend our way through smaller canals, stopping to watch monkeys (Spider, Howler and Capuchin Monkeys all live here) and identify birds such s green heron and caiman egrets, and perhaps spot some of the rarer wildlife that can't be seen from the larger boats. We'll have a naturalist guide who works in Tortuguero as well as our local guide, so there will be plenty of opportunity to have all of our questions answered. Quietly navigating through rivers and lagoons is an excellent way to enjoy all the natural wonders of the area. Overnight at Mawamba Lodge. (B,L,D)
After breakfast we'll have a boat tour with the company of a local naturalist guide. The small boats allow us to go deeper in the canals of the National Park and we'll get further into the park than yesterday. The extensive network of freshwater creeks and lagoons behind the beaches of Tortuguero are home to seven species of river turtles, Spectacled Caiman, Southern River Otters, a number of crustaceans, and over 50 species of freshwater fish. If we're really lucky we might spot an endangered West Indian Manatee.

In the afternoon your guide will take you on a hiking tour along a private hiking trail to look for more wildlife. The rest of the afternoon is free to visit the Village of Tortuguero or return to the hotel for some leisure time, where we can relax at the swimming pool, take a cocktail admiring the lagoon, or stroll along the beach. All our meals are served at the hotel. Overnight at Mawamba Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast we'll depart by boat, retracing our way back to the dock, and then drive to the Sarapiqui area, which is one of the first places in the world to be studied by tropical biologists. It's about a 2.5-3 hour drive to Sarapiqui and we'll stop for lunch along the way. Tonight we'll be staying at Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge, built in the style of a pre-Columbian village. After getting settled in, we can explore the on-site museum and botanical gardens, which provide a great glimpse of the surrounding rainforest's flora and fauna. After a fairly long travel day, we will restore our energy with an educational and delicious chocolate tour! Overnight at Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge. (B,L,D)
This morning we'll go whitewater rafting on the Sarapiqui River. The whitewater is moderate (class 2 - 3), interspersed with delightful tranquil stretches amidst lush scenery. The river is perfect for first time paddlers and for everyone who wants to float through lush jungle landscapes while being serenaded by tropical birds. And who can resist rapids with names like "Confusion", "Gringos' Hole" and AirForce". In between rapids we'll stop to splash and play in crystal pools.

After rafting and recharging with lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue traveling northwest to the Arenal area, known for its large lake, recently active volcano, and hot springs. We'll arrive by late afternoon. Our hotel for the following 2 nights is located right in front of the volcano, with impressive views of this massive mountain. Natural hot springs are a delightful welcome to this area, and we can enjoy them right at the hotel. Overnight at Los Lagos hotel. (B, L, D)
Another beautiful day in the Tropical Rainforest! Today we enjoy a guided naturalist walk in the forest, from the ground to the tree tops. The Arenal Hanging Bridges, for which Arenal is justly famous, give us a totally new insight into how life changes from the ground to the canopy. In addition to the many possibilities of finding wildlife, we also learn new aspects of the rainforest and its diversity of species. The trails are designed for all levels and ages and cover a total of 2 miles with about 20 bridges and cable bridges.

After the Bridges, we'll go to Casona Río Fortuna, a traditional country estate that was formerly the home of a Costa Rican president. We'll learn how to make Tico coffee and tortillas, and then eat lunch. We'll also learn about the culture, traditions, and the way of life in rural Costa Rica. In late afternoon we will return to Los Lagos to soak in the hot-springs and naturally heated pools; this is one of the best natural treatments you can give your skin as well as being relaxing and rejuvenating. Dinner and overnight at Los Lagos hotel. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we’ll drive to the Arenal Lake Dam where we'll board a comfortable boat for our trip across the lake. Along the way we'll see the volcano from different angles and perhaps spot new wildlife. Then it's up the mountain (about a 2.5 hour drive) to one of the most well-known and interesting places in Costa Rica: Monteverde, home to a well-protected cloud forest, the resplendent quetzal, and an expat Quaker community. Our hotel is close to the cloud forest, a unique type of forest found only in Costa Rica, Panama and a few Asian countries. The biodiversity of this unique habitat is greater than almost any other ecosystem and makes a visit here one of the highlights of any Costa Rican journey.

That evening we'll visit a private reserve for a night walk. Our naturalist guide will explain the many forms of life and help us appreciate the fascinating creatures that inhabit the forest at night, exposing us to a different facet of the animal life in Costa Rica. We'll then continue to one of the best restaurants in the area for a delicious dinner. Overnight at Aguti Hotel. (B,L,D)
This morning we will hike through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Our expert guide will choose the best route for us depending on weather and interests. There are 12 kms of trails within the forest and our natural history walk can take between 2 to 3 hours, stopping often to enjoy the enchantment of the forest and to learn about how animals and plants live in this kind of environment.

Later that day, we'll experience the cloud forest from a new perspective - a zipline! Ziplining combines high adrenaline with a high degree of safety. The tour starts up the mountain with amazing views of the forest and the Arenal Volcano. From here, you start riding down on a zip line track, the first of 15, that stretches across canyons and in between treetops. There is also the option to try a rappel and a Tarzan swing. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure until dinner. A variety of different exhibits within walking distance showcase Monteverde's unique plant and animal life; you can visit a butterfly farm, stop by the Bat Jungle, or visit the Orchid Garden to see some of the 400 orchid species that live in the area. Or (radical idea) you could take some down time and relax; it is your vacation after all. Overnight at Aguti Hotel. (B, L, D)
Today is our last day in this beautiful paradise! We will share a leisurely breakfast before making our way back to San Jose. It's about a 4 hour drive in total and we'll make several stops along the way, including at an artisan's shop and bakery and to eat lunch. We'll arrive in San Jose in the afternoon, in time to clean up before dinner. It's our last evening together and we'll enjoy a delicious farewell meal at one of the most exceptional restaurants in the city. Overnight Radisson Hotel. (B,L,D)
DAY 10
We will be transferred as a group to the international airport at 9 AM and you can plan to leave any time after 11 AM. If you need to leave either earlier or later, we're happy to help you arrange transportation. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

The first half of the trip was fabulous, the second a huge disappointment. Joann showed up, knowing she was sick with very bad flu, coughed with an uncovered mouth on the bus for hours and infected five of us with the terrible cough and in my case, three days of fever which severely limited my activity and enjoyment. She disingenuously insisted that it was her asthma and the humidity that affected us. Is there a policy that you can send someone home when they arrive sick? It spoiled the trip for several of us who had invested much money and hopes in the trip.

Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains 3/2/2019-3/11/2019

All of the activities such as kayaking and ziplining, the opportunity to learn about Costa Rica, the wonderful group of women, and the great guides.

Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains 3/2/2019-3/11/2019

Great itinerary. Well taken care of by our guides.

Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains 3/2/2019-3/11/2019

Zip lining in jungle canopy. Kayak in river

Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains 3/2/2019-3/11/2019

The guides were fabulous, the trip was organized . My highlights are numerous. The rafting, kayaking and of course zip lining were a few. Seeing as much of Costa Rica by boat was a great highlight.

Costa Rica: From Sea to Mountains 3/2/2019-3/11/2019

  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where you're staying. Dinner is in restaurants with typically a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we'll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.