Canopy Tours, Butterfly gardens, Monteverde tour (Rain Cloud Forest), Rain Forest Hikes, Arenal Volcano, Tobacón Hot Springs, Manuel Antonio National Park, etc. There are lots of side tours available. Ask around, check the WEB and guide book resources for ideas.
Tobacón Hot Springs near Arenal Volcano
Monteverde – Santa Elena Area- Personally I think the road in is a government ploy to make the other terrible roads in Costa Rica seem well maintained. All they say is true, a 35 Kilometers trip and I got out of 1st gear maybe four times, a real 4x4 driving challenge.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve- So you endured the drive and the slightly overpriced services so don’t holdback now, go for the guided tour. Admission is $13 and the guide is $15 per person. And don’t be put off by the guide tour included 20-minute slide show, as unlike some, it’s a good introduction to the preserve. The guide and his spotting telescope will enable you to see wildlife that you would otherwise miss. Arrive early in the morning to maximize the chances to see wildlife and then have the option to set out on your own later as we did. The trails for the guided tour are well maintained but the preserve includes adventures for all. After the guided tour our tour guide suggested a further safe (?) route. I had mapped out another route I was interested in. His response was “you could also do that” which I can now translate was Tico for “Crazy Gringos sometimes do that”. We got the full slipping on mud holding on to thorned tree roots to avoid the 300-foot fall down to the river canyon bottom experience. After a shower and few drinks it even seems like fun as I survived to write this. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; next time I’ll trust the guide that can find a humming bird nest at 100 paces with his bear eyes.
Monteverde Skywalk- Don’t miss this one pictured above, a bargain at $15 p/p! It’s sort of an adult zip line tour that you can savor. Situated on a private cloud forest reserve of 550 acres this series of stairs, paths and suspension bridges allow you to explore the cloud forest flora and fauna at eye level with the canopy. The slightly scary trek starts with a wind blown 70 ft vertical ascension up an open spiral staircase. The total length of the walk is 2.5 km, which crosses 6 suspension bridges, the most impressive being 900 ft long and 150 feet high. Come early, walk slowly and quietly to maximize the chance of seeing wildlife. http://www.skytrek.com
Trogón Lodge – Is also located in a cloud forest but in a different location in Costa Rica than Monteverde. However, being located at 2,400 m in altitude rather than Monteverde’s 1,440 m it is colder, especially at night, which presents a different habitat for plants and animals. The hillside grounds of this lodge are well landscaped with streams running throughout and including fish ponds for raising trout and some vegetables for the restaurant. Melvin will keep you laughing and your glasses filled in the Bar. The staff in the restaurant will keep you well feed and make you feel welcomed. For a change of pace from the Lodge restaurant try the nearby but seperate Kahawa Restaurant which overlooks a stream. Energetic and friendly Greivin will check you in, show your rooms, educate you about the area, guide tours and check you out. I suspect he also builds more cabañas in his “spare” time. We were particularly fond of the bird watching tour $28 p/p. Others offer that you might see a Resplendent Quetzal but on this tour the chances are good with Greivin’s skill and the local habitat offering what this somewhat demanding bird requires including wild avocados, a primary food source. His enthusiasm as he goes from place to place with the spotting scope makes the tour fun even for those that never thought they would be bird watchers. Bring your cell phone to take pictures through his scope, to the left is one from my phone. The lodge grounds contain enough trails to give you exercise, plenty of other photo opportunities and enough lounging areas to give you relaxation. I noticed quite a few locals on vacation here which is a sign of a good place to stay. Driving there is demanding and a little scary but worth it in my opinion.
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An up close look at a coffee field as part of a Poás Volcano tour package
Zoo Ave- is 10 min from the International Airport La Garita, Alajuela. This worthwhile zoo features a large display of birds and animals and also functions as a wildlife rescue and breeding center.
Panama: Bocas Del Toro Explore a second Central American country on your trip, it’s just a short Air Panama flight away from San Jose. Nearly 100% of your local transportation will be by boat or water taxi as you explore this laid back cluster of Caribbean islands.
Las Brisas del Mar beachfront vacation condo in Playa Junquillal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica !
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