Breakfast daily, 6 lunches, 7 three-course dinners including a special farewell dinner in Monteverde
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Day 1 ARRIVE 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. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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.
Day 2 ANTIGUA
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. You’ll also tour a local JADE FACTORY.
Day 3 ANTIGUA–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.
Day 4 LAKE 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 an included dinner.
Day 5 GUATEMALA CITY–SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
Fly to San José where you will be met by your Tour Director, who will help you check into your hotel.
Day 6 SAN JOSÉ–CARIARI–TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
Journey east to the Caribbean shore and TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. On the way, stop at a BANANA PLANTATION to see one of Costa Rica’s main exports being harvested. 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, caimans, herons, toucans, egrets, and monkeys. An afternoon at leisure lets you explore Evergreen Lodge until you meet for an informative slideshow presentation on the area.
Day 7 TORTUGUERO 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 (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. Later this afternoon, meet a local Naturalist for an informative talk on the ecology of the area.
Day 8 TORTUGUERO–SARAPIQUI–ARENAL
A morning boat transfer begins your journey to the Sarapiqui area. Tour a PINEAPPLE FARM, owned by a local family, and learn about the history, cultivation, and industry of pineapples. Continue to your hotel in the lush town of Arenal, located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s pool and hot spring-fed jacuzzi, or consider a walk in the nearby nature trail in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, poisonous frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the area.
Day 9 ARENAL. EXCURSION TO LA FORTUNA & ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK
During your morning at leisure, you may wish to go on an optional horseback ride or float trip. Or, you can take advantage of your resort’s amenities by walking along the shaded trails nearby. Later this afternoon, visit ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK, where your guide takes you on a walk through lava trails of the volcano and shows you how nature has found a way to recover from past lava flows. Next, enjoy a walking tour of the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, offering spectacular views of the active Arenal Volcano. This evening, drive to nearby famous TABACÓN HOT SPRINGS for a dip in the curative and relaxing pools. Later, enjoy a dinner at the hot springs.
Day 10 ARENAL–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.
Day 11 MONTEVERDE
This morning, visit CHILDREN’S ETERNAL RAINFOREST for a guided walking tour. Over 600 species of butterflies and 400 species of birds have been recorded inside this private reserve, along with 100 reptile and 120 mammal species that hide within the dense vegetation. Later, visit the family-owned ECOLOGICAL SANCTUARY, where you will explore the trails through coffee and banana plantations filled with endemic wildlife and beautiful scenery. After the walk, enjoy a COOKING CLASS to learn how to prepare authentic Costa Rican food like hand-made tortillas, picadillos, and gallo pinto. Dine on your creations for a homemade lunch! Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner, toasting an unforgettable discovery of Costa Rica.
Day 12 MONTEVERDE–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.
Day 13 SAN JOSÉ
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.