Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $280 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline.
All breakfasts. All dinners.
English-speaking tour escort throughout. Special arrangements as noted.
Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.
passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.
Half-day city sightseeing: Local Guide, National Theater, National Museum of Costa Rica
Poás Volcano Visitor Center and Overlook Trail to crater rim, Artisans' village of Sarchí
Optional Sky Trek Zip Line: Round-trip transfers
Crocodile Viewing at the Tárcoles Bridge, Carara Biological Reserve
Manuel Antonio National Park
It's an easy airplane flight south (no jet lag) to the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica. Spectacular rain forests and cloud forests, and the warm climate make this Latin American country a mecca for environmentalists and nature lovers.
Over a quarter of the hinterland and almost half the coastline is protected in Costa Rica, which is situated in one of the world's most bio-diverse regions. You will have the opportunity to experience eco-friendly tropical adventures during your trip.
Enjoy a city tour in the capital city. Landmarks include notably the Catedral Metropolitana, the Mercado Central, and Parque Nacional, where monuments honor prominent figures from Costa Rica and Latin America.
A local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of San Jose, will accompany you today.
You will visit San José's most famous landmark, the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica. Built in the 1890's by the worldwide boom of coffee consumption, the building is an exact replica of the Paris Opera House. Only high quality performances are scheduled here, with a very selective process prior to admission for performing.
Admire the rich store of pre-Columbian treasures on display at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, where exhibits cover Costa Rica's history from prehistoric times to the present.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Consider a visit to the Museo de Jade Marco Fidel Tristan, which contains the world's largest collection of American jade. Jade was considered more valuable than gold during the pre-Columbian times. It was mostly carved into pendants, depicting human and animal figures. It was also used for tooth fillings and for decorating pots and vases. The museum also contains other pre-Columbian artifacts.
Try some fresh-roasted Costa Rican coffee, one of the best coffees in the world!
Set out on a scenic ride to the cloud forest.
Your coach takes you up to the summit of the 8,900-foot-high Poás Volcano, known for its bubbling and fuming crater pool. From the Visitor Center, follow the short Overlook Trail to the the viewing platform set above the crater rim: you're looking at the world's largest active crater, nearly a mile wide.
Continue through Sarchí, a small town widely known for its painted ox-carts and ox-cart wheels.
There are dozens of handicraft stores and family-operated workshops in the Central Valley town Sarchí. They offer a variety of crafts, with a predominance of carved and painted wood items, including the "World's Largest Oxcart," built in 2006 to gain a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Around town, you will notice bright colors on buildings, street curbs, and on the "wedding cake church," reached via a colorful flight of stairs.
Proceed to the reserve that was founded in 1951 by a group of Quaker dairy farmers from Alabama. Nowadays, Monteverde is perhaps the best-known biological reserve in the world.
The count is in: between 320 and 400 species of birds, between 2,000 and 2,500 species of plants, and 100 different mammals inhabit this place. (Almost certainly more, since new species are constantly being identified). Hear the mysterious call of the three-wattled bellbird echo among giant oaks and palm trees. Bring your biology notebook to this place, and your rain gear. The Monteverde "Cloud Forest" does feature rain clouds!
Board an open-air gondola for a ride into the heights. Take in the view from the observation area before setting out on your thrilling ride back down, along a zip line track stretched between treetops and across canyons.
Follow the old Spanish route to the Pacific coast today, passing through mountainous valleys planted with coffee.
Stop at the "Crocodile Bridge" in Tarcoles, the best known attraction of the Carara National Park, to catch sight of crocodiles, some ten feet long, camouflaged among the water hyacinths and other aquatic plants.
You will visit the renowned Carara Biological Reserve and experience the climatic transition from the dry north to the humid coastline of the Pacific coast. Carara is home to an abundance of wildlife including macaws, parrots, monkeys and sloths.
Travel to the Manuel Antonio area, which is hailed as one of the most beautiful regions on Costa Rica's Pacific coast.
Enjoy a bit of beaches and biology today, as you visit one of Costa Rica's most popular protected areas, the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Its white sand beaches and turquoise waters are the most beautiful in Central America; its rain forests luxuriant and inhabited by orange-and-purple crabs, three-toed sloths and squirrel monkeys. Follow the trail up to Cathedral Point where you can enjoy spectacular views.
Board your coach for the ride to San José.
¡Hasta la vista! You'll remember the warm, balmy air, the hot sun and the natural wonders.
For now, enjoy the flight home, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.
passports Educational Group Travel partners with teachers across the United States to provide high-quality educational travel experiences to their students. Educational tours visit destinations around the world - primarily France, Italy, England, Spain and Costa Rica - at low, guaranteed prices.
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