Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to visit a museum, shop, or visit the main plaza in the city centre.
The plaza is a good place to people-watch. A mime, juggler, marimba band, magician, or storyteller may be performing for whatever is collected when the hat is passed. Artisan booths are common, creating a regular arts and crafts fair atmosphere.
Awake in the Costa Rican capital and take a tour of a G Adventures–supported coffee cooperative. Meet local farmers, observe shade-grown coffee plants, and gain insight into the process of coffee production, from bean to cup. After a typical lunch??accompanied by an aromatic cup of coffee??continue to the town of La Fortuna, situated at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano. This evening, we'll visit a local home to learn how to make tortillas. Chat with your welcoming hosts and dig into a traditional Costa Rican meal of black beans, plantains, and your own handmade tortillas.
Spend the day on your own, exploring La Fortuna and its surrounding areas. In 1968, the Arenal Volcano erupted after centuries of laying dormant, converting this quiet agricultural town into a hot spot for adventure travel. Choose to go stand-up paddleboarding on the tranquil waters of Lake Arenal; rappel down a rushing waterfall on a canyoning excursion; relax in the shadow of Arenal Volcano at a naturally heated outdoor spa; take a boat tour of Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, one of the world's most important wetlands; and more.
Travel from La Fortuna to the leafy cloud forests of Monteverde??a nature lover's paradise. This afternoon, choose to discover Monteverde's breathtaking wilderness on horseback, riding along picturesque mountain trails and looking out for toucans, monkeys, and sloths. Or, embark on a zip-lining adventure in the birthplace of the canopy tour, gliding high above the treetops or zooming through the misty foliage at exhilarating speed.
Set out on a hike in the stunning Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, treading past giant ferns and vibrant orchids. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the resplendent quetzal??a sacred bird in Maya and Aztec cultures. Afterward, visit the Monteverde Institute, a research and educational organization supported by National Geographic. Hear from a researcher about some of the institute's conservation initiatives, including a successful reforestation project.
Leaving the cloud forest behind, head to Costa Rica's sweeping Pacific coast and settle into your hotel in the seaside village of Manuel Antonio. Soak up the laid-back atmosphere of the area, and opt to go surfing, horseback riding, or dolphin watching on a catamaran. You can also spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach.
Discover the lush tropical forests and white-sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. Costa Rica's smallest national park??yet one of the most spectacular??boasts an abundance of wildlife, including monkeys, armadillos, sloths, iguanas, and countless species of birds. Hike through the dense forest, climb up to rocky outcrops for views of the dazzling Pacific Ocean, and go swimming in the park's lovely lagoons and tidal pools. Opt to take a surfing lesson, or head out for a snorkelling excursion on the nearby reef. The park has fabulous beaches, abundant wildlife, and a great trail system for those who want to spend the day hiking. Look for monkeys, armadillos, coatimundis, sloths, and some 350 species of birds that are present in the park.
Return to San Jose. Tonight, choose to join the group for a farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant.