Caroline Chisholm Catholic College Costa Rica Conservation Journey

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College Costa Rica Conservation Journey

Trip Highlights

  • Experience exotic wildlife and the Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Explore the vibrant city of San Jose
  • Trek the Arenal Hanging Bridge
  • Explorer Herpetarium and insect gallery
  • Visit Gandoca, a center for one of the worlds largest turtle migrations
  • Explore Cahuita National Park hiking and snorkling
  • Experience the Jaguar Rescue centre on a public and private tour

Trip Summary

For biology students and outdoor enthusiasts it would be hard to beat the National Parks and reserves of Costa Rica for an experiential learning journey. From our well-appointed lodges and hotels our naturalist guide leads us on day walks through areas of huge biodiversity including pristine rain forest, spectacular beaches and the cloud forests of the highlands. Expect to view many species of animals, some endemic to this region, and unique ecosystems as we explore this beautiful country. Highlights include the Jaguar Rehabilitation center, the hanging bridges canopy in the Arenal Volcano region and walking the jungle trails of the Monteverde cloud forest. This private tailor made program designed especially for the students of Caroline Chisholm Catholic College is a learning journey to get excited about

Itinerary

After months of planning and preparation the time has finally come to embark on your journey! Please make your way to Melbourne airport for your flight to San Jose aboard United Airlines. 24JUN19 UA 99 MELBOURNE TO LOS ANGELES DEP 0925 ARR 0635 24JUN19 UA1233 LOS ANGELES TO HOUSTON DEP 1130 ARR 1645 24JUN19 UA1565 HOUSTON TO SAN JOSE DEP 1812 ARR 2047 Welcome to the land of pura vida! After arriving at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José you will meet your guide and driver and head to your hotel for some much needed rest after your long flight. Overnight Casa Orquideas Boutique Hotel

Meals:  D

After breakfast, we will have a full trip and safety briefing then begin our transfer to Monteverde. Our journey will last approximately 3 hours. On arrival in the Monteverde area, we will take the afternoon to explore Santa Elena, a charming town with Quaker influences known for excellent coffee and cheese. This evening, we have the chance to experience the local wildlife when it is at its most active, after dark on a special guided night tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. A naturalist will accompany you along with your guide and point out sloths, armadillos, and kinkajous, as well as sleeping birds and frogs. The Reserve has an extremely high biodiversity, consisting of over 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species and thousands of insects. Overnight Monteverde Mar Inn Today or tomorrow you may get the opportunity to enjoy zip lining in the Monteverde National Park. This activity is not included in the trip cost and is approximately USD$60 per person. Your guide will discuss this opportunity with the group on arrival. O

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll head to the "Green Lung” of Costa Rica, known so due to its rich biodiversity. Located in the mountainous northwest region of the country, Monteverde is most well known for the 26,000-acre Cloud Forest Reserve, home to countless wildlife species. Suspension bridges throughout the reserve allow for walks above the forest canopy, with plenty of opportunities to spot the colorfully-plumed resplendent quetzal. Among the reserve’s exotic flora are over 500 species of orchids. In the afternoon you'll visit the Selvatura Park to enjoy a guided tour of the Herpetarium and Insects Gallery. In the Reptile and Amphibian Exhibition (Herpetarium) you will find frogs, lizards, geckos and snakes, more than 30 species! In this guided tour, you will be able to observe live reptiles and amphibians inside terrariums with specialized climate control which provides these wonderful creatures a home-like habitat. You will also enjoy the largest private insect collection in the world. Look closely at thousands of insects, butterflies, and other amazing specimens from the world of arthropods that you would not normally see. Appreciate the Bio-art Exhibition "Jewels of the Rainforest" made by the world famous Dr. Richard Whitten who has dedicated his life to collecting insects since he was 5 years old. It absorbs the knowledge that Dr. Whitten has captured in his special "Rainforest Jewels" video production which features insects from all over Costa Rica, many of which can be found in Selvatura Park, Venha and share knowledge and beauty of our Bio-art exhibition. Overnight Monteverde Mar Inn

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, after breakfast at our hotel, we will be transferred around Lake Arenal to our hotel near La Fortuna, the closest town to Arenal Volcano. In the afternoon, you will make a visit to Arenal 1968, a private reserve named for the volcano’s eruption of that same year, which transformed some of the region’s topography: lava fields now predominate on one side of Arenal. Trails wind through those lava fields as well as through the rainforest, offering beautiful views of the volcano. Afterward, soothe your muscles with a dip in the mineral-rich waters of Baldi’s hot springs, where dinner will be also included. Overnight Hotel Vista del Cerro

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, you will experience the best of the Arenal Volcano region. We head out early to Mistico Hanging Bridges Park, where the students will get a kick out of crossing 15 bridges—some that are hundreds of feet long—for a once-in-a-lifetime view of Arenal Volcano. You'll also get an up-close look at the incredible biodiversity that occurs in this region, where uplands and lowlands rainforest meet. More than 350 bird species can be found here alone. Next, it’s time to head to La Fortuna Waterfall, at the base of the dormant Chato volcano, a short drive outside town. The falls drop some 210 feet, and a 1,500-foot downhill hike provides the opportunity to see it from the bottom up. Swim and relax in the La Fortuna River below the falls before heading back to your hotel to unwind. Free afternoon to explore the town and relax at the hotel. Overnight Hotel Vista del Cerro

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at your hotel, you will start your drive to the south Caribbean coast of the country to the beach village of Cahuita, where you will stay just a block away to the main entrance of Cahuita National Park and beaches. The drive is a long one over around 6 hours so we will stop at scenic locations and take the opportunity to stretch our legs. Depending on our arrival time we can head to one of the surrounding beaches in the area for a swim (Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva, Colces or Manzanillo) Overnight Cabin Vaz Cahuita National Park

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, you'll be taken to Cahuita National Park for an easy jungle hike followed by a swim at the pristine beach. Fronted by the turquoise sea, hikers will find flat, well-maintained trails that run parallel to the beach, allowing you to weave back and forth between the sand and trail for frequent swimming and snorkeling breaks. On land, keep an eye out for colorful crabs, white-faced and howler monkeys, as well as several species of exotic birds. Meanwhile, the seafloor off the coast of Cahuita is as much a jungle as the rainforest, with tropical fish, stingrays, octopus, and nurse sharks on view for snorkelers. This afternoon is free to relax by the pool of your cabins. Overnight Cabin Vaz Cahuita National Park

Meals:  B,L,D

Our daily tour at the Jaguar Rescue Center is unlike any animal experience you’ve had before. Our world-class tour will bring you in direct contact with monkeys, wild cats, sloths, anteaters and more. You’ll see monkeys in the trees, birds flying free, and the most venomous snakes in Costa Rica, a house in terrariums imitating their natural habitat. Guided by professionals who have extensive training with the animals, you will see things you wouldn’t even have known to look for, and learn things you could never imagine. This afternoon is free to enjoy the crystal clear, blue water lining the coast. The close town of Puerto Viejo is also famous as a surfing destination. It has a relaxed atmosphere with a mix of Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Bribri indigenous cultures. Locals usually speak their own language called Patois (pronounced “patua”) which is a mix of Afro-Caribbean English, Spanish and French. Puerto Viejo is a lively place for tourists to have a fun and relaxing experience. This area offers a lot of attractions and activities. At night, you will be transferred to Gandoca, a center for the one of the world’s largest turtle migrations. On this nature tour your guide will introduce you to the eclectic history and ecological facts of the amazing Leather Back Turtles. The leatherback turtle is the biggest turtle in the world; it can be as large as 2 meters long and 650 kg of weight. We will have an unforgettable night walk along the Gandoca Beach and will experience a different perspective of this spectacular experience. You will observe these mothers in the important work of laying eggs and at the same time you will learn important things about the natural history of these special animals in danger of extinction. Please remember that these living animals are free and we therefore cannot guarantee that you will see turtles during the tour. Also, please note that neither flashlights nor photography are permitted on the beach in turtle nesting areas as they disorientate the turtles. Overnight Cabin Vaz Cahuita National Park

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, you will have a more personal experience with the animals. This private behind the scenes morning gets you up close and personal with the animals and the volunteers working at the centre. By noon, you will begin your 5 hrs drive to the capital, passing by the impressive Braulio Carrillo National Park. Overnight Casa Orquideas Boutique Hotel https://www.lasorquideashotel.com/en-us

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we can explore the city of San Jose. San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, sits in the Central Valley region with the Talamanca Mountains to the south and volcanoes to the north. The city is distinguished by its Spanish colonial buildings, like the ornate, neoclassical National Theatre of Costa Rica overlooking downtown’s Plaza de la Cultura, a popular gathering spot. Our guide and driver can escort you to some of the most popular spots and visit sites that interest the group. No entry fees to museums or sites are included today. Overnight Casa Orquideas Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

It is time to say "adios" to Costa Rica! After breakfast we will meet our driver for the brief trip to the airport for check in to your flight back to Melbourne. 04JUL19 UA1099 SAN JOSE TO HOUSTON DEP 1330 ARR 1825 04JUL19 UA1842 HOUSTON TO LOS ANGELES DEP 2015 ARR 2200 04JUL19 UA 98 LOS ANGELES TO MELBOURNE DEP 2235

Meals:  B

05JUL19 UA 98 ARRIVE MELBOURNE 0725

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • International lights ex Melbourne to San Jose via USA on United Airlines
  • teachers accompanying the students
  • all meals as per itinerary
  • accommodation on a twin-share basis throughout
  • all internal transport in private vehicles
  • all guide fees and entrance costs in itinerary
  • an expert bi-lingual guide accompanying the group from start to finish
  • naturalists and specialist guides joining the group for hikes and at research centres

What's Not Included

  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Optional Zip Line experience in Montverde Cloud Forrest (approx USD$60)

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:12 Days
Starting Point:Melbourne
Activities:Wildlife Safari
Day hikes
Trip Code:SOG5494