Tour: SRQ - 2013 (SRQ) - 2013 / 2014

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Itinerary

DAY 1Arrive in Guatemala City, Guatemala–Antigua

Upon arrival, meet your local host and transfer to Antigua, Guatemala’s capital from 1543 until a devastating earthquake in 1776 when it was moved to Guatemala City. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Antigua is one of the Americas’ oldest and most beautiful cities, with pastel-colored buildings, wide cobblestone streets, and a beautiful natural setting ringed by three volcanoes. (Dinner)

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The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significance.

DAY 2Antigua

Our morning TOUR of this magnificent highlands city, known for its 16th-century Spanish Colonial architecture, includes lively Plaza Mayor, flanked by the impressive Catedral de San José and Palace of the Capitanes Generales. We also see the ruins of churches and monasteries, some with hidden underground passages destroyed by the earthquake of 1776, and take a tour of a JADE FACTORY. (Breakfast)

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DAY 3Antigua–Chichicastenango–Lake Atitlán

Today, reach the whitewashed highland town of Chichicastenango to visit the colorful, open-air INDIAN MARKET and the Catholic CHURCH OF SANTO TOMÁS to witness ancient Mayan ceremonies that have long been practiced there. Continue to the shores of Lake Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes and indigenous villages. (Breakfast, Lunch)

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DAY 4Lake Atitlán–Guatemala City

This morning, CRUISE across Lake Atitlán. Visit the Indian village of SANTIAGO ATITLÁN, and meet the Tzutuhil people, one of Guatemala’s indigenous tribes. This afternoon, head back to Guatemala City for your Guatemalan farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 5Guatamala City–San José, Costa Rica

Fly to San José. Upon arrival, you will be met by your Tour Director, who will help you check into your hotel. (Breakfast)

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DAY 6San José­–Tortuguero National Park

Journey east to the Caribbean shore and TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. On the way, stop at a BANANA PLANTATION. Later, board a motor launch for your CRUISE along the Tortuguero Canals, waterways crisscrossing a national park dedicated to the protection of endangered turtles. The trained eyes of your guide and boatman help you spot freshwater turtles, caymans, herons, toucans, egrets, and monkeys. An afternoon at leisure lets you explore Pachira Lodge until you meet for an informative slideshow presentation on the area. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Tortuguero National Park serves as nesting grounds for numerous endangered sea turtles Squirrel monkey in Costa Rica Spot a red eyed tree frog in Costa Rica Sea turtle in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica 
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DAY 7Tortuguero National Park Tour & Canal Cruise

A local Naturalist accompanies you on a leisurely BOAT RIDE along remote, unspoiled sections of the park’s waterways, explaining the bountiful flora and fauna. Enjoy a fascinating stroll through an accessible portion of the nearby RAINFOREST. During the peak nesting season, from mid-July to mid-October, you may be lucky enough to observe an endangered green turtle laying her eggs under the starlight on an optional tour. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 8Tortuguero–Sarapiqui–Tilajari Resort

A morning boat transfer begins your journey to the San Carlos area. First, tour the Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite CORSICANA PINEAPPLE FARM in Sarapiqui to learn about the history, cultivation, and industry of pineapples. Continue through TILAJARI RAINFOREST RESERVE. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s BUTTERFLY GARDEN and consider a walk in the nearby tropical rainforest in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, poisonous frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the reserve. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 9Tilajari Resort. Excursion to Arenal Volcano

During your morning at leisure you may wish to go on an optional horseback ride or float trip. Or, you can take advantage of Tilajari’s amenities by walking along the shaded trails of the private, 750-acre tropical forest. Later this afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, offering spectacular views of the active Arenal Volcano. Next, drive to nearby ECOTERMALES Hot Springs for a dip in the curative and relaxing pools. This evening, view ARENAL VOLCANO, hoping to see lava glowing on its sides. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Visit the Arenal Volcano, which erupts on a regular basis 
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DAY 10Tilajari Resort–Monteverde

After breakfast, continue to MONTEVERDE, where you will enjoy two days in the cloud forest. This afternoon, take a guided tour on the SKYWALK hanging bridges, which combines trails and suspension bridges through the canopy of Monteverde Cloud Forest, to search for flora and fauna. Later, visit the FROG POND, where you can admire more than 25 species of frogs and other amphibians and learn about the various species indigenous to the area. (Breakfast)

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DAY 11Monteverde

This morning, visit SANTA ELENA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE for a walking tour. Located on the Continental Divide of Costa Rica, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve comprises an area of 765 acres, and is home to forest fauna such as the resplendent quetzal, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, and numerous species of birds. With almost 100% humidity throughout the year, the cloud forest experiences almost 12 feet of rain per year. Later, visit the family-owned Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite TRAPICHE FARM, where you will enjoy a homemade lunch. While here, learn about the production of sugar cane, coffee, and the traditional ways of cultivating bananas, arracache (a local legume), avocado, macadamia nuts, as well as other products. The remainder of your day is at leisure. Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner, toasting an unforgettable discovery of Costa Rica. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Get close-up views of the enormous crater with its deep, green lake Arenal Volcano 
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DAY 12Monteverde–Sarchi–San José

En route to San José, visit SARCHI Village, known as the center of Costa Rican handcrafts and where you will see the artists in their workshops making the famous oxcarts. Next stop is Grecia Village to see the metal church that was imported from Belgium to Puerto Limon in 1897. The church was transported by oxcarts to its present-day location, but sat in the plaza for 10 years before being reconstructed. (Breakfast, Lunch)

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DAY 13San José

Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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