February 7 – February 17, 2019
On this wide-ranging tour you’ll experience some of Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity, learn how the coffee barons shaped the country’s history and culture, and nurture your souls by spending time with activists, artisans, artists, and musicians.
We’ll start with three nights in rustic cabins (hot water showers!) at San Gerardo de Dota in the midst of the Los Quetzales National Park; one of our goals will be to see the resplendent quetzal. There will be ample opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, waterfall gazing, or just sitting on the porch of Miriam’s Restaurant with an adult beverage.
From the mountains, we’ll move to the beach town of Uvita. We’ll be staying for three nights in a small, family-owned hotel (with air conditioning) that’s a few hundred yards from the Marino Ballena National Park. From our beach base we’ll visit Finca 6 and discover what is known and theorized about the stone spheres of Costa Rica, learn about the indigenous Boruca people and their efforts to preserve their culture, go on a whale watching tour, and hang out at the pool or beach.
The tour will end with four nights in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. While here we’ll take a walking tour of the historic city center (and street food) and the Teatro Nacional and attend a performance of the National Symphony Orchestra. For your other days in San Jose, the tour curator can help you arrange a variety of activities and tours.
Day 1: Arrive at San Jose’s international airport by 12:45 pm to be met by your tour curator and driver. Transfer to San Gerardo de Dota in the Talamanca Mountains and check in to our rustic mountain cabins. Meals included: dinner. Travelers may opt to arrive in San Jose the day before in which case BADams Travel will assist you if you wish in arranging for a hotel room at your own expense.
Day 2: We’ll use today to acclimate to the altitude (about 7,000 feet) and look for the rare resplendent quetzal in the Aguacatillo trees near Miriam’s Quetzals Restaurant. Those who feel up to it can do some bird watching and hike some of the local trails with our guide. Meals included: breakfast.
Day 3: Today our guide will lead us on a hike into Los Quetzales National Park. The park is a wealth of ecological resources. It sits along the Talamanca Mountain range and has an elevation of 5-7,000 feet. It is one of Costa Rica’s famous cloud forests. Researchers have identified three different types of rainforests and 14 distinct ecological zones each with their unique qualities. Meals included: breakfast.
Day 4: After a leisurely breakfast at Miriam’s we’ll transfer to our hotel in Uvita on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. On the way, we’ll stop in Platanillo and visit with two Costa Rican brothers and their families who are working to get a new eco-tourism project off the ground with education about the importance of tropical reforestation for the planet. Lunch in the community is included. In the afternoon you can relax by the pool or head into Marino Ballena National Park and check out the whale’s tail sandbar. Meals included: breakfast & lunch.
Day 5: We’ll start today with a visit to the Finca 6 Archeological Site, where we will learn about the mysterious pre-Columbian spheres created by the Diquís civilization between 300 BC and 1500 AD. The onsite museum screens a terrific video on the spheres’ significance and purpose. Then we’ll head to the village of the indigenous Boruca people and see how they are fighting to preserve their identity. The historical struggle against the Spanish continues to influence present day efforts to maintain the Boruca identity despite the changing culture. From their mask-making, the Dance of the Devils, and the unusual story of a group of women organizing to turn the economy around, daily life for the Boruca has changed to focus on cultural preservation. We’ll return to the hotel with plenty of time to relax on the beach or by the pool. Meals included: breakfast & lunch.
Day 6: This morning we’re going whale watching! The Boat departs from Punta Uvita Beach and visits the famous Punta Uvita Whale’s Tail, Ballena Island, Tres Hermanas Islets and Ventana Sea Caves. During the tour we search for humpback whales and two different species of resident dolphins. You might see and hear the song of the humpback whales or observe the acrobatic displays of the dolphins. Others species that are sometimes seen during this tour are: bryde’s whales, pilot whales, false killer whales and other marine life. You’ll have the option to Snorkel Isla Ballena (Whale Island) and Punta Uvita (whale tail) to explore the marine life of Marino Ballena National Park. Then, we’ll visit the gigantic natural sea caves of Playa Ventanas giving you an awesome perspective of this wonderful place of Uvita Bahia Ballena. Meals included: breakfast.
Day 7: This morning we’ll transfer to San Jose by way of the coastal highway. Meals included: breakfast & lunch.
Day 8: We’ll take a walking tour winding through the walkways and parks of downtown San Jose focusing on the city’s history, vibrant food scene, and the Teatro Nacional. The afternoon is free for you to check out some of the museums in the city center. Meals included: breakfast & lunch.
Day 9: San Jose. No activities scheduled for the day time. In the evening we’ll attend a performance of the National Symphony Orchestra in the historic Melico Salazar Theater. Options for daytime activities include more museum hopping; additional tours from Barrio Bird Walking Tours such as art & history ($29), artisanal food ($79), or 20th century history ($39); or a half- or full day trip with Irazu Volcano or Braulio Carrillo National Park. Meals included: breakfast.
Day 10: San Jose. No activities scheduled for today but the options from day 9 are also available today. Meals included: breakfast.
Day 11: San Jose. Transfer by cab from hotel to airport for flights home. Meals included: breakfast at the hotel.
Cost: $1,725 double occupancy, $275 single supplement. Includes:
- Transfers within Costa Rica.
- Meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner. Other meals will be on your own individually or as a group.
- Tours (including entry fees) as listed.
Minimum travelers: 5. Maximum travelers: 9.
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