8 Day Green Season
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2012
Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde
Day 1: Arrival
Fly into San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Explore downtown San Jose and spend the evening relaxing at your hotel.
Day 2: Canal Kayaking & Turtle Tour
Fly to Tortuguero, Costa Rica’s turtle watching hotspot with four species of sea turtles nesting along its 22 miles of shores. Arrive in time for a morning kayak trip through Tortuguero’s winding canals. Your naturalist guide will help you spot tiger-throated herons, jacanas, ibis and egrets. After dinner, dress in dark clothes and head out for a turtle tour – plan to see hawksbill turtles from March-November, leatherbacks from March-May, and loggerhead and green sea turtles from July-October.
Day 3: Boat Trip & Wildlife Watching
Take an early morning beach walk and you may see tiny turtle hatchlings scampering to the ocean (May-early December). Explore Tortuguero’s four aquatic trails (Tortuguero River, Harold Canal, Chiquero Canal and Mora Canal) aboard an environmentally-friendly motorboat. Keep your eyes trained on the riverbanks and trees; your guide may point out black turtles, green iguanas, basilisk (Jesus Christ) lizards, howler monkeys, and sloths. In the afternoon, grab your hiking boots and visit Tortuguero National Park for a trek on its easy one-mile loop hiking trail. Later, if you’re feeling daring, hop on the Tortuguero canopy tour for a ride around the rainforest canopy.
Day 4: Arenal Volcano Tour & Hot Springs
Take a morning flight back to San Jose, where you can choose between ground transportation or a flight to Arenal. Take an afternoon volcano tour to Arenal Volcano; visit a lava lookout point where on clear nights you’ll see red lava rocks bounce down the mountainside. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a therapeutic soak at one of Arenal’s volcano-fed hot springs.
Day 5: Whitewater Rafting & Waterfall Rappelling
Spend the day in an adrenaline-induced rush of whitewater rafting and waterfall rappelling. Begin by paddling down the Class II-III Balsa River or Class III-IV Toro River rapids. After lunch, discover the thrill of waterfall rappelling – belay backwards down a series of tropical waterfalls, ending at a 200-foot vertical cascade. If you’re looking for a more relaxing excursion, try a Cano Negro safari float. Sit back in comfort on a covered motorboat and keep your eyes peeled for caimans, herons, and tapirs. Since you’re visiting during green season, you’ll also be treated to views of Cano Negro Lake.
Day 6: Trainforest Ride & Night Hike
Take the fastest and most scenic route to Monteverde – begin the trip with a 4WD taxi ride to Lake Arenal, where you’ll enjoy a peaceful boat touracross the lake. On the other side, jump into a waiting shuttle bus and drive to Santa Elena. After lunch, you’ll visit the Trainforest Railroad, a scenic tourist train that winds its way through four miles of pristine cloud forest. The 90-minute ride will introduce you to Monteverde’s amazing biodiversity and take you past breathtaking lookout points. In the evening, explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve on a night hike. Flashlight in hand, investigate the cloud forest floor and canopied treetops for reflective red eyes of mammals, birds and other hidden creatures.
Day 7: Wildlife Watching & Canopy Tour
Drive to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, a small but biologically diverse private nature preserve. Join your naturalist guide for a two-mile hike, and learn about local flora and fauna. The reserve offers superb bird and wildlife watching, and today’s hike may include sightings of 30 species of hummingbird, howler monkeys, tree frogs, and the spectacular resplendent quetzal. In the afternoon, choose between a thrilling canopy tour and a ride on a tranquil aerial tram. Both afford sweeping views, nature sightings and a bird’s-eye look at the Monteverde countryside.
Day 8: Departure
A shuttle will ferry you back to San Jose, where you can catch any flight departing after 4:30 p.m. or to spend the night in the city.