Costa Rica Geological and Ecological Tour

10 Days - Easy to Moderate Touring & Walking

Day 1
August 3, 2002

ARRIVE SAN JOSE: Arrive Juan Santamaria International Airport where you will be met at the baggage area and helped through immigration and customs and transferred to our hotel.

Grano de Oro (Meals Aloft)

Day 2
August 4

SAN JOSE TO POAS AND MONTEVERDE: This morning, enjoy a delicious welcome breakfast. Then, we'll drive about an hour to Poas Volcano National Park. Poas is one of the deepest active volcanoes in the world and emits steam from vents deep within its main crater. A second crater, with a rain-fed lake surrounded by highland rainforest, is located a half mile away via a trail through a rare dwarf cloud forest. Following lunch, we begin the descent to the Pacific Ocean. Upon reaching the turnoff for Monteverde, we start to climb back up into the mountains, driving on a gravel road with views of hillside pastures and beyond to the Gulf of Nicoya. We'll arrive in Monteverde this afternoon, and view a private slide show about this beautiful area.

Monteverde Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 3
August 5

MONTEVERDE: After breakfast, we'll have a guided excursion (by foot) in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Founded in 1972, the Reserve extends down both slopes of the Tilaran Mountains (elevation 2,300 - 5,600 ft.), encompassing eight different ecological life zones and protecting over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, and 1,500 species of plants. Return to our hotel around midday for lunch and perhaps a siesta in your room. In the afternoon, visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden where butterflies from the various microclimatic zones of Costa Rica are raised. Jim Wolf, owner of the Butterfly Garden, will give us a lecture on the ecology of the area.

Monteverde Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4
August 6

MONTEVERDE TO ARENAL: After breakfast, we drive about four hours from Monteverde to our hotel in the Arenal area. On our drive we will pass around the northern end of Lake Arenal and near the Arenal Volcano, which has been active since 1968. Arrive at the hotel in time for an afternoon rest. In the evening, after a lesson about the area's volcanoes and geology with specialist Jorge Barquero, we will view the volcanic activity for ourselves, which may include explosions and lava flows (weather permitting).

Volcano Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5
August 7

ARENAL: This morning we will view a slide show about Monteverde. Afterwards, you will have the option of a guided walk in Arenal National Park to the lava flows, or you just relax at the hotel. Tonight, we will be the guest of Dona Mireya at the Hidalgo Family's Hot Springs, as she prepares a delectable barbecue in our honor.

Volcano Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6
August 8

TORTUGUERO: After an early breakfast, we drive about 4 hours to Freeman dock, where we will meet the boat for the 2-4 hour ride to Tortuguero. Upon arrival we will be transported to Tortuga Lodge. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Tortuga Lodge (B,L,D)

Days 7 & 8
August 9 & 10

TORTUGUERO: We will have two full days to explore the Tortuguero area including two boat excursions with local Tortuguero guide, and a visit to the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) Museum to learn about the Atlantic green turtle. On one of the afternoons, we will enjoy lunch at Miss Junie's house, as she prepares us her homemade local specialties. There will also be time to wander on the primitive, deserted beach (swimming prohibited for safety reasons) across from the Lodge where thousands of green sea turtles come to nest from June through October (there are special night excursions available in this season). Originally intended to protect the major nesting beach of the Atlantic green sea turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 51, 870 acres, one of the largest remaining areas of tropical rain forest in Central America.

Tortuga Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 9
August 11

RETURN TO SAN JOSE: Early morning departure from Tortuga Lodge for a short flight to Atirro. We'll take a Class I-II white water rafting excursion on the Reventazon River (children 10 and older). After our exhilarating rafting adventure, we'll return to San Jose and transfer to our hotel. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner.

La Condesa (B,L,D)

Day 10
August 12

DEPART SAN JOSE: Transfer to the international airport about two hours before your flight's scheduled departure time.

(Meals Alfot)

Trip Dates:

August 3 - August 12, 2002

Land Cost (per person, double occupancy):

$3465 (based on 10 - 16 full-paying participants)

Child Rate (12 or under, sharing with 2 adults):

$2585 (based on 10 - 16 full-paying participants)

Single supplement: $325

[ Triple accommodations are available. ]


Included in Land Cost

  •   All accommodations as specified in the itinerary (or similar)
  •  Services of a Master Naturalist Guide throughout
  •  All ground, water, and air transportation within Costa Rica as noted in the itinerary
  •  All meals as specified in the itinerary
  •  Special dinners and lunches
  •  Bottled water daily
  •  Service charges and taxes
  •  Park entrance fees (subject to change by government)
  •  All gratuities (except to LPI representative)
  •  Special Geological activities/lectures
  •  Geographic Expeditions' Medical and Accident Insurance and Assistance Plan

Not Included in Land Cost

  •  International airfare USA/San Jose/USA
  •  Airport departure taxes of about $20 US per person
  •  Meals not specified in the itinerary
  •  Passport fees
  •  Items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, tips, laundry,  telephone, and cable charges
  •  Trip cancellation travel delay or baggage insurance. (Note: This optional  coverage is highly recommended and can be purchased through Geographic  Expeditions)
  •  Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond Geographic Expedition's  control.

Inquiries & Reservations

The Treasure Site®, Inc.

Voice: 703 758-7846

International Air

Your international air arrangements are not included in the Land Cost. Geographic Expeditions' air department will be happy to assist you with these arrangements and in any other additional extensions you may wish to add to your trip itinerary.

Trip Grade

Easy to Moderate touring and walking. There are no special physical requirements just normal good health, but flexibility, a sense of humor, and openness to the unexpected are necessary for full enjoyment. All hotels are comfortable with private bathrooms, electricity, hot/cold water, and often other amenities such as swimming pools, etc..

There is quite a bit of driving on Costa Rica trips - this is the best way to get around and definitely the best way to see the country. The roads vary from excellent 2 lane paved roads to rough, unpaved roads. The rough roads are usually compensated for by the beautiful scenery en route or at your destination! Frequent rest stops will be made for refreshments and restroom facilities as well as stops for sightseeing and wildlife-bird viewing along the way.

The hikes are moderate with some steeper sections in Monteverde and there may be some muddy trails at Tortuguero in the rainforest and also probably at Monteverde. Rubber boots are available for rental at both places for about $1 a day.

Approximate Temperatures and Elevations:

  •  San Jose: 69 F (4250 feet)
  •  Poas: 61 F (8865 feet)
  •  Monteverde: 65 F (6500 feet)
  •   Arenal: 78 F (500 feet)
  •  Tortuguero: 79 F (sea level)
  •   Reventazon: 72 F (1650 feet)

Refunds for Unused Portions of the Trip

Because our rates are based on group participation, no refunds can be made for any accommodations, services, or features not taken. If cancellation occurs while the trip is in progress, there will be no refund for any unused portion.

** Baggage on Light Charter Flights and Boats **

When travelling on a light charter aircraft or boat, luggage weight limitations of 25 pounds per passenger are strictly enforced. This includes cameras, clothing etc. Your San Jose hotel will be happy to store extra baggage for you until you return to San Jose.

Also, please note that the baggage compartments of light charter planes are not pressurized. Toiletries tend to leak. We strongly advise putting bottles of spillable liquids in zip-lock bags.

Pre-Departure Packet

After you sign-up on the trip, a detailed packet of information on health and safety, travel documents, clothing, background information and suggested reading will be sent to you.


Citizens of the United States do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica but do need a valid passport upon arrival.

Immunizations and Health Matters

No immunizations are required at this time.


Trip itineraries and hotels/lodges are subject to change and are meant as a guideline only. Trip routes are subject to revision due to weather, volcanic activity, trail conditions, transportation, government restrictions and other reasons beyond our control. Depending on weather and available boats and planes, the itinerary routing may be adjusted.

The People Organizing Your Trip at Geographic Expeditions

Starr Barron joined Geographic Expeditions in 1994 and has since risen to the ranks of Regional Director. After graduating with a degree in Tourism and Recreation from the University of Colorado, Starr worked in member services for PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association). To gain first hand knowledge of the travel world, she embarked on a fascinating journey that took her roaming throughout Asia and the South Pacific. Since then she has expanded her travel curriculum vitae sailing the coast of Turkey, trekking in Peru, and exploring Costa Rica and the Galapagos. Starr heads our Turkey, Italy, Patagonia, Peru, Costa Rica, Ecuador & Galapagos programs.

Brady Binstadt joined Geographic Expeditions in May of 1999 and is now the Country Manager for our Latin America, Turkey, Alaska, Antarctica, and Japan programs. He has traveled and worked throughout Europe and South America, including a year-long stint teaching English in several idyllic Chilean towns. There he developed a love for the Spanish language and the history and cultures of Latin America. Brady graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with degrees in Psychology and International Economics.

Geographic Expeditions

Geographic Expeditions is a professional travel management corporation, which provides a broad range of travel and location management services for individuals, travel agents and corporations. It also supplies an array of location and marketing support services and specializes in remote locations and complex logistics. The company has operations throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific.

Geographic Expeditions was organized in 1981 (as InnerAsia Expeditions) to develop and operate specialized travel programs in central Asia. It was the first American company to negotiate protocols with the Chinese government to operate treks into Tibet and western China. Nepal, India and Bhutan were added soon thereafter. It has pioneered travel in Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Burma, Patagonia and remote sections of the former Soviet Union. Over the years, Geographic has expanded from its Central Asian roots to the rest of the world. Currently the company provides travel services for approximately 4,500 passengers a year.

Geographic has acted as tourism development consultants to numerous governments and non-governmental organizations. Another expanding and significant area of Geographic's services is location consultation and management for a grand variety of companies such as ABC Television, Boeing, Sotheby's, the Walt Disney Company, ESPN, the BBC, Travel and Leisure, the National Geographic Society, Fox Broadcasting, HarperCollins, and CBS Television. The company also arranges special interest trips for a variety of non-profit organizations such as: the American Museum of Natural History, the Audubon Society, Stanford Alumni Association, the Tibet House, World Monuments Fund, the University of Chicago, Houston Museum of Science, Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology Outward Bound, the California Culinary Academy, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Nature Conservancy and many, many more.

Operating Standards

The staff of Geographic Expeditions is dedicated to preserving the character of the lands and cultures they visit. They invite you to call them for a description of the steps they are taking to promote environmental and cultural preservation.

Copyright Geographic Expeditions 2001

For further information regarding this trip and available dates, please contact:

The Treasure Site®, Inc.

Voice: 703 758-7846

The Treasure Site®, Inc. is dedicated to inspiring scientific, technological, and cultural exploration.

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