August 2012 Jewish group tour
The 8-night Costa Rica Mountain and Coast Experience for young Jewish professionals next February offers a diverse adventure that combines the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica – with its breathtaking tropical beaches. It begins by sampling some of the color that San Jose, the nation’s vibrant capital has to offer ,with a visit to the Jewish community; goes on to the famous Arenal volcano and it’s just as famous hot-springs, with a visit to the Finca Luna Nueva eco-farm, surrounded by primary rainforest; continues with a whitewater rafting run and ends on the Caribbean Lowlands, with their tropical beaches, unique flora and fauna, active nightlife, and indigenous culture.
This complete tour package provides a diverse and exciting adventure-experience brimming with activities (including chill time), all in a short but long week, and all in the beautiful and peaceful paradise called Costa Rica. It offers a mosaic for all your senses, focusing on the contrast between the highlands and the lowlands-coast. So come and spend an amazing week in the Costa Rican Caribbean!
We take the environment seriously, and plan our trips in accordance with the guidelines of eco-tourism: minimizing environmental damage through low impact travel, supporting local environmental projects and indigenous communities, and learning about the culture and natural environment of the places visited.
EVERYTHING listed below is included in our trip. These adventures are paid for already – just imagine that! You may, but you do not need to spend another dollar on an adventure – it’s all priced into our packaged tour.
Saturday, February 16
Welcome to Costa Rica!
Sunday, February 17
Hotel Monte Real, Arenal
Morning: A walking tour of downtown San Jose, including an amazing introduction to Costa Rica from a senior tour guide.
The walking tour will be followed by a visit to the local Jewish Community - including a visit to the impressive synagogue and museum, and an introduction to the history of Jews in Costa Rica.
Afternoon: Drive to the town of La Fortuna, near the majestic Arenal Volcano, with a possible stop at a traditional coffee plantation along the way.
When we arrive in La Fortuna, we will check into the Monte Real hotel, which is in a great location - from your rooms you will be able to observe the magnificent Arenal volcano!
Monday, February 18
Morning: an amazing Jungle Canopy Tour near Arenal, where we will literally fly through the rainforest by zipline!
Afternoon: Arenal Volcano Tour Hike – we will enjoy a gentle hike along the base of this marvelous “Mountain of Fire”, climbing close to the crater of the volcano, which has been pretty active since 1968.
Evening: Visit the Baldi Hot Springs, Mother Nature's enormous hot tub – including an extensive buffet dinner. The hot springs are fed by an underground river heated naturally by the Arenal Volcano to the perfect temperature of 101 degrees!
Tuesday, February 19
Ginger smoothie on Finca Luna Nueva
Today we will visit the Finca Luna Nueva Farm which offeres an intimate experience of primary rainforest together with a certified organic biodynamic farm. Here, you will experience the Costa Rican rainforest, learn about the farm's sustainable practices - its 240 acres offer many opportunities to view its natural beauty- and just to relax!
Morning: We will take a tour of the Sacred Seeds Sanctuary at Luna Nueva, a dynamic collection of medicinal plants that protects and celebrates not only biological diversity in Costa Rica and the tropics, but also the diversity of cultural knowledge related to these plants worldwide.
Housing over 275 tropical plants, this collection is a delight for anyone interested in botany, herbal medicine, or indigenous culture.
The tour will be followed by some chill time - to relax in the ozonated swimming pool or solar powered hot-tub, to drink an amazing, locally sourced ginger smoothie, or to practice some yoga.
Afternoon: Time to put on your rubber boots, and head on the Cavalonga Trail hike, through amazing primary rainforest. The experienced guide will take you through the trails, which are connect to the 50,000 acre Children's Eternal Rainforest via a biological corridor. On your way, you will see many animals, and learn about the various trees and plants.
We will return to the farm, and learn about what keeps the crops healthy, from the happy water buffalo to the wiggling worms in the compost. We will stroll through the biointensive garden, where we will taste numerous plants and herbs, the same ones served daily in the farm's restaurant.
We will end the day feasting poolside on an amazing Costa Rica/Asian fusion style dinner, all organic and locally produced!
Wednesday, February 20
Today we will be heading south to the Caribbean coast, and on the way go on a rafting adventure on the nearby Pacuare River, known as one of the top five rafting rivers in the world for its scenery and rapids (Class III-IV).
Late afternoon: we will arrive at Puerto Viejo on the southern Caribbean coast - one of the most happening places in Costa Rica - a place the international crowd blend with the local Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Bribri indigenous cultures, with its pristine coastline acting as a backdrop!
After dinner, enjoy live Reggae music with moijtos, daiquiris or fresh Pina Colada!
Thursday, February 21
Night : explore the town– all while taking in the special and laid back ambiance of Puerto Viejo. We may hit one of the bars, clubs, or live music venues that dot the town…
Thursday, February 21
Morning: we will be participating in a service project with one of the indigenous communities living in the area: this could be helping to build a local school, working in a vegetable garden or tree nursery, or working with the folks from the Ara Project, the Great Green Macaw reintroduction team with the school kids. We are working with the Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation (ATEC) on the service project, and will have specifics as we get closer to the date of travel. During our time volunteering, we will learn about the Indigenous BriBri Tribal Area and the history of the native people of Costa Rica, the medicinal plants they use. We will end the day learning about the history and production of chocolate in the area– including tasting!
Later, experience the peace and tranquility of the magical waterfall at Volio. Enjoy a refreshing swim, see tropical flora, fauna, and with a little luck see animals such as birds, monkeys, sloth, blue Morpho butterflies…
Late afternoon: Time permitting, we will enjoy a sunset swim along the magnificent Punta Uva beach, thought by many as the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica!
Festive Friday night Dinner at the Israeli owned Pita Bonita restaurant, serving some of the best Hummus in Central America!
Saturday, February 23
It is Saturday, so it is time to rest and chill...
This morning, we have an option to visit the local Jaguar Rescue Center, a unique animal rescue center, where you will learn about (and hold!) some of the amazing animals (including monkeys) that call this area home.
Some other late morning / afternoon options include:
Later today it is time to bid farewell to the Caribbean Coast, and head back up to San Jose, where we will spend the night before heading home tomorrow. We will spend the evening in the small town of Alajuela, not far from the international airport.
Sunday, February 24
Time to say goodbye! Depending on our time of departure, we will be picked up from the hotel and taken to the airport.
***Please note that the time and location of an activity might change due to unexpected circumstances, such as inclement weather and hazardous road conditions.
For a full detailed itinerary of the trip, click here!
The February Caribbean Experience trip will take place from Saturday, February 16 to Sunday, February 24, 2013 (8 nights in total). We will be meeting at and leaving the San Jose (the capital) international airport (SJO).
We ask that you plan to be on a flight that will land in San Jose by 6 pm on February 16. If you decide to arrive a day earlier, please arrive by 3 pm on Friday so you can prepare for Shabbat. Your flight home can be anytime on Sunday, January 27.
You have an option of arriving on Friday and spending the weekend in San Jose, attending services in the Jewish community - let us know if you are interested in this option!
If you want to arrive a day or two earlier, or choose to leave later, please let us know how we can help you experience more of this magnificent country. We can arrange for a pick-up or drop-off in another part of San Jose at the beginning or end of the trip. Day trips from San Jose include the nearby volcanoes of Poas and Irazu. If you are interested in this option, please let us know!
- In San Jose, you will stay in a comfortable hotel which is walking distance from the Synagogue and a short ride from downtown, such as the La Sabana.
- In Arenal, we will be staying Monte Real hotel, boasting magnificent views of the volcano and a tropical backyard with resident sloths.
- On the southern Caribbean coast you will be staying in a comfortable mid-level hotel, such as the elegant Namuwoki, or the Shawandha. We will be pairing up to share the rooms, though you might choose to be in a single room for an extra fee.
For your Caribbean Experience we will provide you with an experienced guide that will escort you for the length of your trip. In various activities, we use the best local specialty guides with years of expertise in introducing tourists to the natural beauty of Costa Rica. We work mostly with local guides as well as with tourism non-profit organizations such as ATEC, which make sure that the local indigenous communities benefit from tourism revenues while protecting the environment and the traditional way of life.
We provide all transfers during the week using an air conditioned van or minibus, driven by a bilingual driver / guide.
Before departing, you will receive a comprehensive list of suggested things to bring on the Caribbean Experience.
Cost of trip
The early bird cost per person is $1700 for those registering and making a deposit by December 10, 2012. To get this early bird discount, you must use the code MORPHO while registering or making your full payment.
After December 10 the price of the trip will be $1850.
Great! How do I sign up?
To reserve your spot on the trip, click on the link to the right to make your secure deposit of $200 via the Google Wallet system. After securing your spot, please fill out our tour registration form.
Our trips have a maximum of 18 participants, and a minimum of 8.
Once we reach the minimum needed and call the trip, the $200 deposit becomes non-refundable - we need to enforce this policy in order to cover loss from last-minute cancellations.
If you cancel your attendance after January 9, 2013, we will reimburse you the sum you paid, with $200 kept as cancellation fee.
For general questions about the trip, please write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to forward this info to any friends of yours that might be interested in joining us for this week - ask us about our special registration price for groups of two or more that register together!
If you have a discount code, you will be asked to provide it before submitting a payment via Google Checkout.
The cost of the trip includes:
- Transportation and transfers to and from all locations in Costa Rica by a bilingual guide/driver.
- Full accompaniment by a Costa Rica Caribbean Experience staff person.
- 8 nights of accommodations in the capital San Jose, Hotel Monte Real in Arenal, and in a Puerto Viejo hotel. Price is for double occupancy accommodations. Single occupancy rooms are available, based on availability, for an additional fee.
- Welcome night dinner in San Jose
- Day trip: All activities and meals on the Finca Luna Nueva organic farm.
- Meals included in trip: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 6 dinners!
- Walking tour of San Jose - including intro to Costa Rica history
- Visit to main synagogue in San Jose
- Jungle Canopy Tour/ Zipline Adventure in Arenal
- Entrance to the Baldi hot-springs in Arenal, including a buffet dinner
- One day of amazing whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River (including breakfast/lunch)
- Gandoca –Manzanillo Wildlife Hike
- Caribbean cooking class
- Service project / BriBri Cacao Tour (history of local indigenous people and organic chocolate making)
- Friday night dinner at Pita Bonita in Puerto Viejo
Please note that if you do not wish to partake in the rafting, canopy tour, and zipline, you may opt out and we will reduce the cost of your trip accordingly.
The cost does not include:
- Costa Rica departure tax of $28
- Traveler insurance (we will be able to arrange this for you if needed)
- Some meals on the Caribbean coast, in San Jose and Arenal
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities
- Visit to the Jaguar Rescue and other optional activities on the coast
Our tours are organized by the Costa Rica Caribbean Experience, a destination of Greener Travel Company, LLC. The company was founded by Ami Greener, an experienced and enthusiastic environmentalist that has been captivated by the unique beauty of Costa Rica. By forming personal relationships with local providers in Costa Rica (hotel owners, activity outfitters and the staff of Finca Luna Nueva, the amazing farm that we visit), we are able to offer a tailored experience to both individuals and couples traveling alone and looking to explore the area, as well as group tours which a member of our staff or local Costa Rican associates will guide.
Though the dates for this trip are set, if you want to join and cannot take the whole week off from work, we could accommodate you for part of the trip, and price it differently as well.
If you cannot make it on these dates, but would like to plan a visit alone, with a small group of friends or a romantic getaway with a significant other - we can help you plan that trip as well with some of these amazing adventures – we regularly send couples, families and small groups of friends on a tailored Caribbean Experience!
For further information and questions, please contact us at:
The Costa Rica Caribbean Experience