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Costa Rica Trip with G Adventures
Trip to Costa Rica with G Adventures Tours
In February 2011 I set out to explore Costa Rica with (Gap) G Adventures. The tour that I took was the 16 day Costa Rica Adventure out of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. There are many other tour companies that do trips to Costa Rica but what I liked about G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures) is that they offer small group sizes, the mix of travellers is international, the tours are good value for the money, are geared for the adventurer and travel off the beaten path. What I really liked about this tour is that it visited the Caribbean Coast, Pacific Coast and the Central Mountainous region of the country hitting upon all of the main attractions that I wanted to visit.
Most tours to Costa Rica start in the capital city of San Jose - Day 2-3 Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
The trip began in San Josewhere in the evening we met the other tour members and our guide who explained to us the logistics and what to expect from the trip. The next day we set off to the Caribbean village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Before arriving there, we first stopped en route for one of the highlights of the trip, a Rafting Trip down the Pacuare River which is rated as one of the top ten whitewater rafting trips in the world, not so much because of the technical difficulty(we rafted Class III and IV rapids) but because of the incredible scenery and locale. After our exciting half day white water adventure,we arrived in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca where we would spend the next 2 nights.
The village has a very different feel to it relative to other Costa Rican places. It is a centre of vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture which is very popular with surfers. It has nice beaches and great restaurants where you can sample the catch of the day.
Tortuguero National Park - Day 4-5 Tortuguero National Park
After relaxing in Puerto Viejo then it was off to our next destination,Tortuguero National Park. Our journey started on a short bus ride to the port city of Puerto Limon. Once at Puerto Limon we took a 3-4 hr river boat ride along the canals which would take us to our river lodge in Tortuguero. Along the way we spotted spectacular wildlife like sloths, howler monkeys, caymans, crocodiles and all sort of exotic birds. Tortuguero National Park is a seasonal nesting ground for green and leatherback turtles. We spent the next day exploring the park and went on a hike to the highest point in the park which offered beautiful views of the canals and Atlantic Ocean.
Rara Avis Rainforest Lodge and Reserve - Day 6-7 SarapiquÃ Rainforest
Then it was off for a completely out of this world experience, 2 nights stay at Rara Avis where getting there is an adventure in itself. We boarded a tractor for a long and bumpy muddy ride that took 4 hours to reach our remote jungle destination. Rara Avis is located just outside of Braulio Carillo National Park where at 700m (2000 feet) above sea level the climate is generally moderate year round. Here we explored the jungle with a naturalist guide, visited a butterfly enclosure, went for a dip at the base of a beautiful tropical waterfall and even had an impromptu soccer match in the mud.
La Fortuna/Arenal - Day 8-10 La Fortuna/Arenal
Monteverde - Day 11-12 Monteverde
After La Fortuna our next destination was Monteverde. To get there we took a boat across Lake Arenal which offered great views of Arenal Volcano. After a 2-3 hours bus ride we arrived in the mountainous region of Monteverde. We went zip-lining where we swung like Tarzan and flew like Superman , visited a coffee plantation, visited Santa Elena Cloud Forest, visited a butterfly centre, and had dinner in a tree house restaurant.
Manuel Antonio National Park - Day 13-14 Quepos/Manuel Antonio Day 15 Back to San Jose
Our final destination was Quepos and Manual Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast. We arrived late in the afternoon checked into our hotel then went on a sunset catamaran cruise. The following day I spent at Manuel Antonio Park soaking up the sunshine and relaxing on the beach. Then it was back to San Jose where in the evening we had our farewell dinner. The next day we all went our separate ways. My amazing Costa Rica vacation was over. What an amazing trip!