Costa Rica Marine Conservation and Natural History Expedition

Arenal Volcano

Premium Tour

13 days/12 nights with award winning biologist and marine conservation activist Randall Arauz


Marine Conservation TourVisit Costa Rica´s marine wonders and learn about its marine conservation policies. Observe turtles, dolphins, whales, and sharks in their natural habitats (beaches, islands, mangrove swamps) guided by Costa Rican biologist and marine conservation activist Randall Arauz. Learn about the efforts carried out by local artisanal fishers to reach the ecological sustainability of their activities, and how you can become a part of these conservation efforts. Being in lush tropical forests, we will also do hikes and enjoy birdwatching in famous rainforest reserves.

The expedition will be operated by Turtle Trax, a receptive tour company specializing on sustainable rural ecotourism. Turtle Trax strives to do business with companies that offer sustainability standards under Costa Rica Tourism Board criteria. We also work with small local entrepreneurs, guaranteeing the efficient distribution of wealth to local communities.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Nov. 16th) — Welcome to Costa Rica!

After clearing customs you will be greeted by one of our Turtle-Trax representatives to transfer you to your hotel near the international airport, Hotel Aeropuerto.

Day 2 (Nov 17th) ― Travel to Nicuesa Rainforest Eco Lodge

Nicuesa Rainforest Eco Lodge BungalowAfter an early breakfast, you’ll be greeted by Randall Arauz, your private guide and biologist. You will be shuttled to the airport to catch an early morning domestic flight to Golfito (approximate flight duration 50 minutes), where you will be met by a a representative of Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.  From Golfito, you will be transferred by boat to Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, located in the Golfo Dulce, one of only three tropical fjords in the world.  Once at the lodge, lose yourself in the tropical paradise that surrounds you and let the adventure begin. Stunning wildlife surrounds the lodge, a true paradise for birdwatchers! The hotel is beachfront too, in case you want to enjoy a splash upon arrival. After dinner, Randall will review the itinerary with you and answer any questions or concerns regarding your 12-day marine conservation expedition.

  • Includes lodging, three fabulous meals per day, boat transfers to and from Golfito, unlimited self-guided hikes on the preserve, and use of kayaks, snorkeling, and fishing equipment at no additional charge. Available upon request are alcoholic and soft drinks, prepared fruit drinks, and cocktails.

Day 3 (Nov 18th) — Rainforest Waterfall Hike in Piedras Blancas

Three-toed slothWaterfall Hike: This is a two hour hike (one way) that leads from the lodge to a beautiful waterfall where you can swim in a natural swimming hole tucked away in the jungle. This is a mostly flat trail that offers interesting and serious hiking but avoids steep elevation changes.

Day 4 (Nov 19th) — Golfo Dulce Dolphin Tour & Coastal Adventure

Dolphins in Golfo DulceThis is a wonderful tour of the Golfo Dulce (easy, 4 hours), a spectacular, protected gulf off the Pacific Ocean. We will have a great chance to see at least one of the three types most common Dolphins in the Golfo Dulce: spinner, spotted and bottlenose. We will spend several hours touring the blue-green waters of the gulf looking for dolphins, sea turtles and marine birds with one of the Nicuesa’s guides and boat captains. There will be time to snorkel at one of the area’s reefs and/or a secluded beach to swim and enjoy fresh coconut and other snacks. You will learn about the natural and cultural history of the gulf, one of the deepest in the world, and one of three tropical fiords in the world.  The afternoon is free for optional activities, such as the free sustainability tour or zip lining, massage, or other activities available at Nicuesa Lodge (not included).

Day 5 (Nov 20th)— Travel to Hotel Laguna Mar

After an early breakfast, boat transfer from Nicuesa Lodge to Golfito for your 7:45 am flight back to San Jose, arriving at 9:00 am. Upon arrival, private transfer in an A/C coaster bus to your lodging at Hotel Laguna Mar in Javilla, Nicoya Peninsula, approximately a five hour drive, lunch on the road. The hotel is strategically located about five minutes away from Playa San Miguel, 20 minutes from Bejuco, and 30 minutes from Caletas, where our next activities will be held. Laguna Mar Hotel is a boutique premiere hotel, offering the best of both worlds: an exotic, tropical environment and the service of a fine four star hotel.  After dinner, the group will visit a community based sea turtle conservation project in Playa San Miguel.

Day 6 (Nov 21th) — Sustainable Artisanal Fishery Tour

Offered by the Association of Artisanal Fishers of Punta Coyote
The Sustainable Artisanal Fisheries Tour will be scheduled according to the tide. Learn about the challenges local fishers face to reach the sustainability of their fishery. Accompany the fishermen on their boats and witness how the job is done. Anticipate about three hours in the water. Lunch (or dinner) will be served at Lorena’s Restaurant. Leisure time in Puerto Coyote to enjoy the sunset. Evening turtle watching in the Caletas-Arío National Widlife Refuge.

Day 7 (Nov 22th) — Mangrove Tour

Coyote MangroveOffered by the Association of Artisanal Fishers of Bejuco
The Mangrove Tour will be scheduled according to the tide. Learn about mangrove ecology and the creatures that inhabit the tanin tinted waters. Crocodiles and a variety of birds may be spotted. Turtle observation at night upon request (or just relax in the pool and take it easy, in preparation for the trip the following day).

Day 8 (Nov 23th) — Travel to Hotel El Bosque

After an early morning breakfast, we will travel to Hotel El Bosque in Monteverde, approximately a four hour drive. This will be a long day on a winding dirt road.  Spectacular views of the Tilarán mountain range.  We will arrive for lunch at Hotel El Bosque, a family operated hotel with the philosophy of preserving nature, located next to the famous Children Rain Forest and 1.25 miles from the Monteverde Cloud Forest.  After lunch we will spend time exploring the nearby town of Santa Elena.

Day 9 (Nov 23th)— Monteverde Cloud Forest

Hummingbird in MonteverdeWe’ll take an early morning 3-hour hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, on a quest to see the elusive quetzal.  Other amazing wildlife includes bell birds and an incredible array of hummingbirds. Immerse yourself in the exotic cloud forest and experience a world full of biodiversity. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in the town of Santa Elena. During the afternoon you can select from a number of optional leisure activities: butterfly farm, local serpentarium, canopy/zip lining tour, horseback riding, sky walk or hanging bridges, or even a visit to the Monteverde Cheese Factory. (all of these activities can be arranged directly from the hotel)

Day 10  (Nov 25th) — Travel to Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa

After breakfast, we will continue our expedition towards the impressive Arenal Volcano, lodging at the Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa. The hotel is perched high on a ridge only 1.7 miles from Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most spectacular volcano, offering the area’s most stunning views of the volcano and Arenal Lake. During the evening we will enjoy a delicious dinner at the Baldi Hot Springs Resort at the base of the volcano. These medicinal hot spring waters are certified by the NAL (National Water Laboratory) from the Costa Rican Government. You will enjoy pools ranging from 93°F up to 152°F, suitable to all guests.

Day 11 (Nov 26th) — Hike to Cerro Chato

La Fortuna WaterfallWe will begin our day on an adventurous six-hour hike to Cerro Chato. Arenal Volcano’s little big brother, Cerro Chato Volcano is not as high or as active as its younger sibling, but it is a wonderful destination. Pass through dense rainforest and marvel at the crystalline waters in the crater lagoon or have a dreamy paddle on its mirror surface. After leaving the crater you can hike down to the impressive La Fortuna waterfall and have a rewarding swim at the base of these magnificent falls. Box lunch will be provided by the hotel. In the afternoon you have leisure time to take one of the many optional tours such as canopy zip lining, hanging bridges, ATV tours, canoeing  Arenal Lake or just relax and enjoy the majesty of Arenal Volcano in its lush tropical setting.

Day 12 (Nov 27th) — Travel to San Jose, Hotel Aeropuerto

On the final day, after breakfast at the hotel we will be transported back to San Jose, approximately a three–hour scenic drive. Be prepared for the farewell dinner that evening at 7:00pm

Day 13 (Nov 28th) — Transfer to Airport

You will be picked up at the hotel lobby and transferred to the Juan Santa María International Airport for your departing flight. We hope to have you visit again.

About Randall Arauz

Randall ArauzRandall Arauz is a world-renowned Costa Rican biologist and marine conservation activist. His work conserving sea turtles and sharks through a combination of scientific research, on the ground conservation, advocacy, creation of public awareness and opinion, and strategic litigation, spans three decades. He graduated from the University of Costa Rica in 1988, and in 1997 he founded PRETOMA, a small grass roots NGO that has turned into one of the most influential NGOs of Latin America. He has been recognized with many international awards, such as the Neotropical Conservation Award (US) and the Whitley Gold Award (UK) in 2004, the Goldman Prize (US) and the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development (SE) in 2010.

Cost

US$2,950 per person (based on double occupancy), based on a group of at least eight.

  • Includes all lodging, meals, drinks (alcoholic beverages not included,) guide, tours where specified, and private transportation.
  • Single supplement not available for this tour. (For less than 8 guests a group surcharge applies.)

Contact Us

For more information or to make a reservation, email Marianela Arauz, International Reservations Manager, or call us at (506) 8604-1551.