Costa Rica Itinerary
This is the updated Costa Rica itinerary. I say that because it's different from the one they gave us at the beginning of the trip. So I changed it to be what we actually did, rather than what we planned to do. Believe me, there were quite a few differences. Everything can change so quickly, with weather and different schedules, that lots of things were moved around. But I think this version will give you a good idea of what we did while we were there - as you can see, we were busy, busy, busy!!
Day 1 - 6/28
Arrived in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. We were met at the airport by our guide, Karla, and escorted to INBio for a picnic and tour. In the evening, we were off to our Quinta, or country home, in the town of Atenas just outside of San Jose.
Day 2 - 6/29
Leaving our Quinta for the Monteverde Cloud Forest, we stopped along the way for cold drinks and a view of the Pacific. We hiked the trails around our hotel.
Day 3 - 6/30
We went to the world famous canopy tour and skywalk where we experienced the Cloud Forest birds and animals at their level - while flying on zip lines high in the canopy. After, we rode back to the lodge on horseback and visited the Quaker cheese factory. We finished everything off with a night at the disco!
Day 4 - 7/1
Up early and off to a hike in the Cloud Forest, after which we left for Arenal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere. We stopped to watch a soccer game, arriving at the Los Lagos Hotel and Resort in time for dinner.
Day 5 - 7/2
After breakfast, we hiked to the waterfalls at La Fortuna for a swim in the whirling pools. We went out to dinner and soaked in hot springs afterwards.
Day 6 - 7/3
Off again in the morning for the lowlands of the Atlantic rainforest. We paused along the way for river rafting on the class 2 Sarapiquí River and lunch with the "River Rats", our rafting guides. Then off to Centro Neotropico Sarapiquí Nature Preserve and Alma Ata Archeological Park. We stopped for the night on a dairy farm with a Costa Rican family.
Day 7 - 7/4
We spent the day working and playing with our rural Costa Rican families. We milked cows, explored the farm, played soccer, and swam in the river. We also visited MUSA, Mujeres Unida de Sarapiquí, for a tour of a medicinal herb farm.
Day 8 - 7/5
After breakfast with our Tico family, we visited a butterfly garden. Then we continued out journey, stopping to visit a banana plantation and arriving late at the Pacuare Reserve.
Day 9 - 7/6
We awoke late and conducted labs for most of the day. We ate typical Costa Rican foods served family style by local Costa Rican residents. At night we begin our turtle studies - conducting patrols and population studies of nesting turtles, ushering hatchlings to the ocean, and transplanting the eggs.
Day 10 - 7/7
Our final day at the Reserve. We split into two groups. One went to visit a Coast Guard station and help with turtle hatchlings, and the other explored the rainforest. Later that day, we played volleyball and cooked dinner for the people at the Reserve. At night we were back on the beach for our last night of helping the endangered turtles.
Day 11 - 7/8
In the morning we left for the south Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo. We arrived in time for swimming and a local storyteller shared some the history of the region with us right before dinner. After dinner, we went to our second and last disco.
Day 12 - 7/9
Early in the morning, we crossed a river for a trek to the Bribri Indian community on the Panama border high in the Talamanca Mountains. We were guests in the village at the invitation of the Bribri people. Our EcoTeach groups are the only "outsiders" to have received this invitation. We spent the day exchanging culture through dance, music, and even a good game of soccer. We returned to our cabins in Puerto Viejo in time for dinner at one of the local restaurants specializing in Caribbean foods.
Day 13 - 7/10
After sleeping in a bit, we headed back towards San Jose. Along the way we stopped for lunch at Aviarios del Caribe, a sloth recovery center, where a surprise awaited. We returned to the Quinta in Atenas for our farewell dinner and karaoke.
Day 14 - 7/11
We departed Costa Rica with fond memories and a desire to return.