From misty cloud forests to ancient volcanic landscapes fringed by jungle, Costa Rica brims with natural wonders. Encounter wildlife and wild places close up as we float, hike, and rappel on a fun-filled family adventure. Peer at white-faced capuchins, jaguars, howler monkeys, sloths, caimans, and toucans. Swing through the cloud forest canopy on a zip line and splash down the Corobicí River on a rafting trip. Immerse yourselves in local life on visits to a coffee plantation, a rural village, and the lively markets of San José.
Enjoy an unforgettable day of adventure in and around the treetops and volcanic canyon landscapes of Río Blanco.
Go floating and zip-lining through tropical forests, surrounded by astonishing varieties of wildlife.
Eat lunch in the National Theater, have dinner in a tree house, and visit a coffee plantation.
See Costa Rica’s wild cats at a rescue center established to help orphaned or wounded animals, like jaguars and ocelots.
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — U.S./San José, Costa Rica
Bienvenidos! Your tropical adventure begins! Meet fellow travelers and our expedition leaders—both “ticos,” or native Costa Ricans—at a lively welcome dinner.
Real InterContinental San José (D)
Day 2 — San José/Monteverde
Explore the beauties of San José—from tropical fruit stands at the Mercado Central to the Teatro Nacional and the glittering Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold. After lunch in the central square, head north to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Go on a twilight forest walk as nocturnal creatures awaken. El Establo or Monteverde Country Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 3 — Monteverde
Hike with a local expert through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Spot some of the 500-plus species of orchids and look for wildlife: howler monkeys, tapirs, sloths, leaf-cutter ants, snakes and frogs, and colorful birds and butterflies. See how coffee is grown and roasted on a coffee plantation and ride in an ox-drawn cart. Or, if you feel adventurous, ride a zip line through the forest canopy! Have dinner tonight in a tree house. El Establo or Monteverde Country Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 4 — Guanacaste
Head to Guanacaste Province, full of fast rivers, volcanic scenery, and deep canyons. Float on the Corobicí River through the tropical dry forest, keeping eyes peeled for otters, crocodiles, monkeys, and large birds like storks, herons, and roseate spoonbills. See wild cats up close at the Las Pumas Rescue Center: jaguars, pumas, ocelots, or jaguarundis. Our home for the next three nights is hidden away on a “lost river” deep in a protected forest.
Río Perdido Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 5 & 6 — Río Perdido/Colonia Libertad
Adventures abound! Spend the day on a wild excursion in and around the canyons of Río Blanco. Clamber on canyon platforms, walk across hanging bridges, zip-line above the rushing river, and swing and hike through the treetop canopy. Swim in natural thermal pools with views over ancient volcanic landscapes. Spend a day at Colonia Libertad, a community of farm workers. Kids meet their pen pals at the local school, play basketball together, and forge new friendships. At our farewell dinner, kids share bits from trip journals and exchange contact information with their new friends.
Day 7 — Liberia/U.S.
Transfer to the airport for your flights home. (B)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $800.
International airfare to San José and return from Liberia is not included in the expedition cost.
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid-to-Kid Connection, which links every young traveler with a pen pal of similar age in Costa Rica. In the village of Colonia Libertad, kids will get to know their "tico" pen pals during an afternoon of fun activities. They'll join artisans to learn how to make soap using local herbs, and teach their new friends how to play basketball at hoops that have been donated to the community.
Our dynamic Expedition Leaders enrich each experience with their insights, knowledge, and energy, and a Young Explorer Leader joins every group to facilitate fun activities that help kids get the most out of the places we go. As we travel, we’ll also meet up with fascinating people doing meaningful work in the field.