Tropical Forests & Manuel Antonio Tour - 8 days / 7 nights

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Tropical Forests & Manuel Antonio Tour

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Accommodations

Hotel Grano de OroGuests of Hotel Grano de Oro enjoy the charm and character of a stately mansion built at the turn of the century, with all the comforts, amenities and the service expected in a fine hotel.
Arenal Observatory LodgeThe Observatory Lodge is just 1.8 kilometers across a deep valley from the active crater of Arenal Volcano. The location was specifically chosen by the Smithsonian Institute. Adjacent to Arenal Volcano National Park, the site contains 270 acres of primary rain forest with well-marked trails.
Hotel Fonda VelaThe Fonda Vela is dedicated to the idea of eco-tourism in harmony with nature, The Latin root Fonda means a place of rest or nourishment after a long journey. Vela, or candle, for us represents service and hospitality. To this we add a peaceful atmosphere that is sensitive to the local environment.
Costa Verde Hotel The Costa Verde Hotel is on a coastal rainforest bluff overlooking the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. It is a great destination for those seeking adventure travel, ecotourism, or just the tranquility of white sand beaches and magnificent ocean views.


Tours

Arenal Hanging BridgesA visit to Arenal Hanging Bridges consists of traversing 15 bridges from 5 to 100 meters long that cross the rain forest and a 3 km circuit of interpretive trails built with paving blocks to prevent slipping.
Monteverde Trapiche TourThe 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.
Monteverde Cloud Forest - QuetzalIn Newsweek's 100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear, Monteverde appears as the Americas' #14. It has also been deemed one of the Seven Wonders of Costa Rica by popular vote, and has been called by National Geographic "the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves".
White-faced Monkeys Manuel Antonio National Park is so popular because of its extensive white sand beaches backed by an evergreen forest that grows right up to the high tide line. There is quite a varied fauna with 109 species of mammals and 184 of birds.


Rates

Tropical Forests & Manuel Antonio #121
Dates Until
Nov 30 / 2012
Dec 1st 2012 -
Nov 30 / 2013
Regular Rate $1,615.00 $1,630.00
CentralAmerica.Com's
SPECIAL
$1,513.00 $1,531.00
Single supplement $541.00 $563.00
Children (3-11 yrs) $516.00 $550.00
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Rates per person based on double occupancy
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Itinerary

Day 1: ARRIVE - San Jose Airport meet & greet and transfer to hotel. Overnight in San Jose at Hotel Bougainvillea or similar (B).

Day 2: PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS & TRANSFER TO ARENAL - Your journey begins as you leave the urban center of Costa Rica's central valley and head north into the mountains. Your first stop is the renowned La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This unique, enchanting location boasts a comprehensive rescued wildlife preserve, which includes jungle cats, monkeys, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. Enjoy a walk along a sparkling clear mountain river on a trail that provides easy access and great views of gorgeous waterfalls framed by serene forested mountains. Enjoy an appetizing lunch at the facility's restaurant set amid the lush beauty of their gardens. Then continue your journey through the tropical plantations and cattle ranches of the northern central lowland plains before arriving at your hotel in the Arenal region. Overnight at the Arenal Observatory Lodge or similar. (B,L)

Day 3: ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES & TRANSFER TO MONTEVERDE - The Arenal Volcano erupted in 1968 devastating the village and farmlands in the western foothills at its base. After slightly more than four decades of activity which included smaller eruptions, hot rock avalanches (termed pyroclastic flows), and lava flows, Arenal Volcano today steams quietly, rising majestically out of the vast surrounding rainforests, and heats numerous local rivers that flow near its base. These natural hot rivers have been channeled into pools to create hot springs. Rainforests are regenerating in the areas cleared by the explosion. The volcano will likely undergo another similar active phase several hundred years from now.

Explore the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a system of suspended bridges and trails that provide access to the forest floor, and canopy layer of a beautiful rainforest. The plant and animal communities that inhabit different layers of a rainforest can be quite different from one another. The lush vegetation is composed of numerous species of palms, ferns, bromeliads, orchids, heliconias and tall trees. From some of the bridges there are panoramic views of nearby Arenal Volcano. As you walk through the rainforest, you may encounter a wide diversity of forest wildlife, including toucans, motmots, trogons, poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and white-faced capuchin monkeys. If you don't recognize the names of these animals, then ask you friendly, knowledgeable guide!.

After exploring the hanging bridges, you will travel into the mountains en route to your hotel in Monteverde. Located in the Tilaran Mountain Range of the Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, which translates to Green Mountain, is the name of both the famous cloud forest reserve and a small nearby community. Your transfer will take you through small rural Costa Rican villages, dairy farms and coffee plantations. The small mountain farms of these towns are owned by "campesinos" (country farmers). The most important regional farm products are organic coffee, which can be purchased in local stores, and milk for the local Monteverde Cheese Factory. In and around the community center there is a large selection of restaurants, and other fun activities, such as butterfly gardens, horse rentals, an orchid garden, art galleries, and an excellent educational bat exhibit.

Overnight in Monteverde at Hotel Fonda Vela (2 nights) or similar. (2B).

Day 4: "ZIP LINE" CANOPY TOUR & MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST RESERVE - After breakfast, get a different perspective of the rainforest on a "Zip Line" Canopy Tour. This is an exhilarating way to view the forest while you traverse from treetop to treetop with specialized equipment along horizontal cables that bring you to a series of platforms built amid the treetops! Suitable for children and active seniors, this tour will give you an unusual way to appreciate the magnificent beauty of a cloud forest, by literally flying through it!.

The Monteverde area offers a variety of restaurants where you can have a break for lunch after your morning tour (lunch not included).

In the early afternoon you will visit the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Hike in this reserve on well-groomed trails with your expert naturalist guide. The reserve was founded in 1972, after initially being set aside as a watershed reserve by a group of Quakers who settled here in 1950. A cloud forest is a montane forest that receives rainfall and abundant mist from low lying clouds (mostly in late afternoons into the night and early morning) and is a very rare type of rainforest, accounting for less than 2% of all rainforests. These conditions create a forest where most of the tree trunks and branches are covered by small plants (termed epiphytes) that include ferns, bromeliads and orchids. Cloud forests harbor unique species of plants and animals, including the Resplendent Quetzal which was revered by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans and which spends about half the year in Monteverde feeding and breeding. The reserve supports a remarkable biodiversity, including over 2,500 plant species (including 420 species of orchids), 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptile and amphibian species and thousands of insects. As a prime example of a cloud forest ecosystem Monteverde has been intensely studied by scientists, and is the site for pioneering research on the effects of climate change on tropical ecosystems. The income the reserve receives from visitors helps support the local economy, and conserves an important, rare ecosystem. Thus the reserve serves as a good example of how a protected rainforest can be of great value to the region's local residents.

Day 5: TRANSFER TO MANUEL ANTONIO - In the morning you will be taken overland from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio National Park. Manuel Antonio consists of multiple beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast, a lush forest growing to right to the beach’s edge, easy walking trails and an abundant diversity of wildlife. Manuel Antonio's outstanding beauty was recognized recently when Forbes Magazine listed it as one of the "World's 12 Most Beautiful National Parks". The area outside the park offers visitors a wide variety of gorgeous hotels, excellent restaurants, and many optional activities such as rafting, sea kayaking, surf lessons and horseback riding. In the afternoon your guide will return to San Jose.  Overnight at Hotel Costa Verde (3 nights) or similar. (3B)

Day 6: MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK - Today, take a hike with a local naturalist guide through the Manuel Antonio National Park's species-rich forest. This park is an important refuge for valuable rainforest trees and animal species. Visitors frequently have up-close views of white-faced capuchin, squirrel monkeys, slow-moving sloths, coati mundis, agoutis, colorful black & scarlet land crabs, and black iguanas (known locally as "garrobos"). This park is well known for bird watching. Some birds you might see in the park are: Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Baird's Trogon, Violaceous Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, White Hawk, King Vulture, Roadside Hawk, Orange-collared Manakin, Chesnutt-backed Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Black-hooded Antshrike, Fiery-billed Aracari, and Chesnut-mandibled Toucan. After hiking you can enjoy bathing in the tropical Pacific's warm waters and relaxing on white sand beaches. (3B)

Day 7: DAMAS ISLAND ESTUARY MANGROVE TOUR - In an open-seat kayak you will paddle thorough the protected inland waterways of the Damas Estuary and mangrove forest with your bilingual naturalist guide. This unusual ecosystem, adapted to life in the inter-tidal zone, is one of the most important coastal habitats for wildlife, and for people. Mangroves provide safe haven, food, nesting, and nursery grounds for important marine species, and the shorebirds and other wildlife come to feed on them. Mangroves are the Earth's natural filtering system, and are important actors in water purification. Just as importantly, mangroves stabilize the shoreline and serve as flood control and storm buffers, and of course mangroves provide both travelers and local communities the benefits associated with recreation and eco-tourism. Understanding the services provided by mangroves has fortunately resulted in an understanding in Costa Rica that mangroves are valuable as intact ecosystems, and should be protected. As you navigate the mangrove forest your guide will explain the outstanding features of this environment and help you spot local wildlife.

Day 8: DEPARTURE - Today you will fly back to San Jose and then transfer to the International Airport. Check in 3 hours before your scheduled flight home. Pura Vida!

Trip Includes: Lodging, transportation and meals as specified in the above itinerary where B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, entrance fees to National Parks and Private Reserves, tours, guide services, applicable taxes, service fees and in-country ground operator support.

Not Included: International airfare, airport departure taxes, meals not specified in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages, personal equipment, extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service), gratuities, or costs associated with changes in your itinerary for reasons beyond our control.