GAP trip to Costa Rica, 15-30 November 2003

Day 1 Arrive San Jose

Arrive in San Jose at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city.

Day 2, Day 3 Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

We begin with an incredible bus ride over the mountains to the Caribbean coast. The picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca's white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation. There are several optional activities available. Rent a bike, or hire a boat to Manzanillo and hike through the Gandoca - Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Try snorkelling or take it easy and succumb to the beauty of this tropical paradise.

Day 4 Tortuguero National Park

A morning boat ride takes us from Moin to Tortuguero, with spectacular wildlife viewing en route. The beaches host the nesting grounds of the Green and Leatherback sea turtles. This unique village has walking paths that extend into the National Park. Another boat trip takes us to the Caribbean coast. We'll travel on the Sarapiqui River with its incredible variety of birds and animals, stopping for lunch at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.

Day 5, Day 6 Rara Avis

The trip up to the Waterfall Lodge is half the adventure as we travel from the small town of Las Horquetas on a tractor- drawn cart across 15km of rugged terrain. We enter into primary rainforest bordering Braulio Carrillo National Park. At 700m (2000 ft) above sea level, the climate is cool and comfortable year-round. A naturalist guide is on hand to interpret the nature trails, butterfly farm or point out a swimming spot at the twin waterfalls. There is also an option to climb to a viewing platform 30m (100 ft) above the jungle floor.

Day 7, Day 8, Day 9 La Fortuna / Arenal

La Fortuna, at the foot of Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for area explorations. You can take a night hike around the base of the Arenal Volcano for an unforgettable adventure accompanied by the sounds of monkeys in the trees above and the distant rumbling of the volcano. Other optional activities include a day of white water rafting, horseback riding, a tour of the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, or a relaxing soak in the lush, cascading hot springs of Tabacón Resort.

Day 10, Day 11 Monteverde

From the central valley, we ascend into the cool, misty mountain air of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. We have the opportunity to travel by horse from Lago Arenal up the alluring green mountain trail to Monteverde. Here we'll spend a couple of days exploring the town and the Forest Reserve, truly a bird lover's paradise. This unique community has several co-operatives worth visiting. Other optional activities include the Sky Walk, a butterfly garden and a canopy tour.

Day 12, Day 13, Day 14 Quepos / Manuel Antonio National Park

This small town on the Pacific coast is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun and sea. Manuel Antonio National Park offers excellent hiking, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife viewing. There are beautiful white sand beaches and the warm turquoise water is ideal for swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing.

Day 15 San Jose

Return to San Jose for some last-minute shopping and a final night on the town.

Day 16 Depart San Jose

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