Arrive San Jose and overnight.
Early in the morning you'll be picked up from your hotel for the drive to the Atlantic coast, traveling through the lush tropical rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, which is one of the largest in the country. Banana plantations line the highway en route to La Pavona, where you will take a scenic boat ride on the La Suerte River, Tortuguero River, and through the Tortuguero Canals. The boat ride offers lovely views of the Costa Rican forest and mangrove swamps, which are teeming with such exotic wildlife as sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, coatimundis, raccoons, crocodiles, egrets, parrots, and jaguars—just to name a few!
Arriving in the island village of Tortuguero, you'll enjoy lunch at Turtle Beach Lodge, and then a free afternoon to relax and explore on your own. You'll be spending the next two nights at the lodge, which offers optional tours, a refreshing pool, and nightly turtle-watching tours.
Today is a free day to spend as you please – tour the town, visit museums or take a walk through the jungle. You can explore the canals winding through the rainforest, which is home to exotic wildlife, from egrets to crocodiles to monkeys to butterflies. And keep your eyes open for turtles! Tortuguero has many highlights, but it is best known for the four species of sea turtles that nest in the region. Tortuguero's coastline is considered one of the Western Hemisphere's most important nesting sites of the green sea turtle, which can be found by the thousands in the summer months. The baby turtles hatch from July through early November, emerging from their nests to scrabble across the sand to the waiting waters of the Atlantic.
Be sure to take advantage of the miles of beach and jungle trails in Tortuguero National Park, horseback riding, kayaking to a nearby lagoon, or fishing in the Tortuguero River for tarpon, snook, and mackerel.
After a late breakfast, you travel to Selva Bananito Reserve for more jungle discovery and adventure. Bordering Costa Rica's largest and most pristine nature reserve, Selva Bananito is part of the same rich ecosystem as the 1.5 million acre La Amistad International Peace Park, and it's alive with hundreds of species of birds, and animals such as toucans, parrots, monkeys, sloths and the elusive jaguar and tapir.
There's an adventure here for everyone. You'll have the chance to climb a giant kapok tree and enter the fascinating world of the rainforest canopy. With the encouragement of Jurgen or Sofia Stein, the brother and sister team that created the reserve, even land lovers will find themselves lost in a swinging world 100 feet off the ground and buzzing with life. There's also horseback riding through the adjacent family farm to learn about the organic tropical farming techniques that their father, Rudi Stein, has developed over the past 25 years. The farm boasts a heliconia garden brimming with enormous tropical flowers, and a half day nature trail through the surrounding primary rainforest where guests can learn about the rainforest ecology. For the adventurous there's an all day trip deep into the jungle with a dip in a pool below a 70 foot waterfall, rewarding your hard effort. At the end of each day, locally grown food is served by candlelight before you retire to the tranquil retreat of your jungle cabana.
This morning you travel east towards the Caribbean and the Class III-IV whitewater of the Pacuare River. One of Costa Rica's most exciting whitewater trips, the Pacuare plunges through spectacular mountain gorges and passes through virgin rainforests filled with howler monkeys, toucans, sloths, ocelots and more. After your river adventure you'll transfer to San Jose to complete your Costa Rica travels before returning home in the morning.
$295 single supplement
Turtle season runs from Mid June through end of October.