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Turtles & Rainforest

Tortuguero - Example 8 Day Tour
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This 8-day Costa Rica tour begins with a trip to Tortuguero National Park and discovery of the rare nesting grounds the green sea turtle. The journey continues to the Selva Bananito Reserve. The reserve’s 2100 acres of untouched rainforest is the most rugged and unexplored region in Costa Rica and is just waiting for the adventurous traveler! An exciting whitewater trip down the Pacuare river tops off this wild and wet Costa Rica vacation!
A baby sea turtle heads for the oceanGetting ready for another rapidJusto, a honeymooner, and a crayfishZipline!Digging for baby sea turtles at the Pacuare Nature PreserveA time for reflection.Exquisite flowers Why not relax after a day in Paradise?Our first baby turtle found!Tortuguero canalsWhite water rafting on the Pacaure RiverFrog-finding in Costa RicaA monkey relaxes in a treeA monkey looks for her next branchRafting with Kenneth
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive San Jose

Arrive San Jose and overnight.

Day 2: Meet Tortuguero

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 3: Jungle Explorations in Tortuguero

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 4-6: Rainforest Retreat

  • Hotel
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
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. You can also add the option to rappell down the falls - Let us know if you want to add this to your adventure. At the end of each day, locally grown food is served by candlelight before you retire to the tranquil retreat of your jungle cabana.

Day 7: Pacuare River Rafting

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.

Day 8: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast


Selva Bananito Lodge

Tortuguero - Hotels

San Jose - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Turtle season runs from Mid June through end of October.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Wifi is only available at the main office and it won't reach the lodges.
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Air-conditioning


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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