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Earth Journeys, created by Tauck and BBC Earth! Life is pretty colorful on a Costa Rica vacation, where even butterflies like the electric-blue morpho make visitors gape in awe. More than 850 different species of birds make their homes here, from emerald-green parrots, scarlet macaws and bright-billed "flying banana" toucans to purple-throated hummingbirds, orange-bellied trogons, and red and green plumed quetzals. Green turtles and iguanas, red frogs and white-faced monkeys are also a big draw too, as you'll find out when you explore tropical rainforests and jungles on a rafting trip and a nature hike during overnight stays in riverfront lodges. One of our most popular trips immerses you in the Earth Journeys experience, featuring on-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts plus other select BBC Earth touches. Want to get the ultimate hands-on Costa Rica vacation experience? Soar on a zip-line adventure through the rainforest, learn all about living along a jungle river, take a pineapple tour, and see - as well as taste - how the cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate. And the best part - share it all with your family on Costa Rica: Jungles & Rainforests.
Day 1: Arrive San José
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, InterContinental Costa Rica. A transfer is included from San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport to InterContinental Costa Rica in the heart of Costa Rica's capital city, San José. Meet your fellow eco-adventurers at this evening's welcome reception followed by dinner at your hotel, where your family enjoys Deluxe Rooms.
Day 2: Toucans, chocolate & Tortuguero
A day of fun awaits your family today as you depart the capital, San José, and make your way to Tortuguero National Park, a tropical paradise in the heart of the coastal rainforest and your first taste of Costa Rica's incredible biodiversity! En route, pay a visit to the Toucan Rescue Center, where you'll tour the facilities and meet some of the toucans, sloths, monkeys and other wildlife the center's staff cares for. Next, learn everything you ever wanted to know about one of our favorite food groups - chocolate - at an artisan chocolatier! See the natural process of transforming the cacao fruit into chocolate during a hands-on demonstration, do a little tasting and have lunch. This afternoon, a boat transports you to your rustic rainforest retreat adjacent to Tortuguero National Park - where most travel is by water, toucans and blue morpho butterflies fly all around you, and howler monkeys provide a natural wake-up call! Enjoy a poolside barbecue for dinner tonight.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: The natural treasures of Tortuguero
Wake up today in your rainforest lodge near the entrance to Tortuguero National Park, where 11 different habitats have been identified in the surrounding wilderness - providing homes to 60 kinds of mammals, 57 species of amphibians, 111 varieties of reptiles and more than 309 recorded species of birds! Your day begins with a morning canal cruise, where you'll do some birding and nature viewing with our local guides, then return to your lodge for lunch. This afternoon, take a boat to explore the village of Tortuguero; learn about the medicinal benefits of coconuts, and the "tree of life" they come from, during a coconut demonstration; and, if you wish, take an optional canal cruise inside Tortuguero National Park, or just relax at your resort. And if you're traveling with us between July and August, this evening we'll take an unforgettable nighttime trip to the beach to observe nesting green sea turtles in one of the world's top nesting grounds for these endangered animals. You'll have a chance to see them make their way up the beach from the water to dig their nests in the sand, leaving tractor-tread trails behind them!
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: Sarapiqui River float trip
Head to the banks of the Sarapiqui River to take in the sights and sounds of the rainforest; a national monument today, the river played an important role in suppressing an armed incursion into Costa Rica in 1856, serving as a highway that transported soldiers, weapons and food. Board a rubber river raft for a gentle float trip* through the jungle; try to spot turtles, sloths, monkeys, iguanas and other wildlife that call the Sarapiqui region home. Continue to your thermal water spa resort, where you'll spend some time at leisure before dinner this evening.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Zip lining at Arenal & a pineapple tour
In Costa Rica's Arenal region, get an extraordinary bird's-eye view of cone-shaped Arenal Volcano, an actively "restless" volcano, on a thrilling zip-line ride* at Sky Trek Adventure Park, where you'll soar over and through the canopy of rainforest treetops! (Those not into zip lining can take a nature walk instead.) Following lunch at a local restaurant, join us for a pineapple tour on which you'll taste pineapples fresh from the field, learn how to choose the best pineapple at the supermarket, and sample some local pineapple treats. Return to your resort for some time at leisure and dinner tonight.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Across Costa Rica to coastal Guanacaste
Head out from Arenal and across Costa Rica's interior today to Guanacaste on the Pacific coast, stopping for lunch on the way. Then continue on to your eclectic oceanfront resort, El Mangroove, on the shores of the Pacific in Guanacaste.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7: Outdoor fun & a beachfront farewell
A day of fun awaits your family today at Vandara Adventure Park & Spa in Guanacaste... where the only other guests will be your fellow Tauck travelers! You can choose from activities including horseback riding, a zip-line adventure*, waterslides, a dip in volcanic hot springs, or a massage. Whichever you choose, it's a great way to wind up your family's Costa Rica vacation! After enjoying a farm-to-table lunch at Vandara featuring products from the park's own organic garden, return to your oceanfront resort, where you'll celebrate the end of your amazing eco-trip with a farewell reception on the beach, complete with traditional Costa Rican music by a marimba band, followed by a farewell dinner.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 8: Adios, Costa Rica!
Tour ends: Guanacaste. Fly home anytime. A transfer from El Mangroove to Liberia International Airport is included. You should allow a minimum of three hours for check-in at the airport.
Earth Journey, created with BBC Earth; enjoy outdoor activities including zip lining, river rafting and horseback riding; tour a pineapple plantation, visit a chocolate "workshop" and explore Tortuguero National Park by boat with naturalists
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