Friday, February 14
Early arrival option:
Arrive a day early today, see San Jose and spend Shabbat with a visit to the local Jewish Community.
Saturday, February 15
Welcome to Costa Rica!
Sunday, February 16
Morning: A walking tour of downtown San Jose, including an amazing introduction to Costa Rica from a senior tour guide.
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 17
Morning: an amazing Jungle Canopy Tour near Arenal, where we will literally fly through the rainforest by zipline (gondola tour optional)!
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 18
Ginger smoothie on Finca Luna Nueva
Today we will visit the Finca Luna Nueva Farm which offers 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!
The Costa Rica Experience trip will take place from Saturday, February 15 to Sunday February 23, 2014 (8 nights in total; 9 nights for those wishing to arrive on Friday, February 14). 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 5 pm on February 15. If you decide to arrive a day earlier, please arrive by 3 pm on Friday February 14 so we can prepare on time for Shabbat. Your flight home should be no earlier than 12:30 pm on Sunday, February 23.
If you observe the Sabbath you have an option of arriving on Friday and spending the weekend in San Jose, attending services t the Jewish community – or arriving Sunday and joining the group in Arenal.
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.
- On Finca Luna Nueva, you will stay in rustic yet luxurious accommodations on the edge of the Costa Rican rain forest.
- 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 Costa Rica Experience, Greener Travel will provide you with an experienced group leader 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 Costa Rica Experience.
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Costa Rica. Airlines traveling to Costa Rica require a passport valid for at least 6 months after the initial flight date in order to board the flight. US and Canadian citizens do not need a tourist visa to enter the country. Visitors from all other nationalities should check with the Costa Rican Embassy.
Weather on the trip should be warm and comfortable. On Arenal expect it to be 75 -85 f, though it cools off a bit at night, and on the coast should be a bit hotter. It is Costa Rica, and it can rain, so please bring a poncho or a light and breathable rain coat.
No immunizations, shots, inoculations or vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has the same electric system as the United States. Electric outlets are 120 volts / 60 Hz.
Drinking tap water is safe in Costa Rica, though the water on the coast (Caribbean) has an aftertaste and visitors tend to buy bottled water. We suggest you purchase a big water jug when you reach the coast (1 gallon) and use it to refill a smaller bottle – it saves money and is better for the environment. The hotel where we will be staying has a fridge where you will be able to chill your water and store food.
The Costa Rican currency is the colón (cólones in plural), and the exchange rate is about 500 to one USD. You can change dollars at the airport, or just use a bank/credit card and withdraw money at the airport. ATMs can be found all over Costa Rica. Keep in mind that there is a few dollars fee for international withdrawals, though from experience it could be safer to travel with a bank card then with a large sum of cash that can get lost/stolen. The hotels you will be staying in will have safes where we can leave valuables and passports during the day.