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 raft, 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 rafting and zip-lining through tropical forests, surrounded by wildlife creatures of all varieties
Eat lunch in a colonial plaza, have dinner in a tree house, and play soccer with your pen pals
See Costa Rica’s wild cats at a rescue center established to help orphaned or wounded animals.
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 on the central square, head north to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Go on a twilight forest walk when nocturnal creatures are waking up. El Establo (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. If you feel adventurous, ride a zip line through the forest canopy! Dinner is in a tree house. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Guanacaste
Head to Guanacaste Province, full of fast rivers, volcanic scenery, and deep canyons. Raft 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: maybe jaguars, pumas, ocelots, or jaguarundis. Our home for the next two nights is hidden away on a “lost river” deep in a protected forest.
Río Perdido Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 5 & 6 — Río Perdido
Adventures abound! Spend the day on a wild excursion in and around the canyons of Río Blanco. Clamber on canyon platforms, rappel down cliff faces, 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. Meet your pen pals at the local school, play soccer together, and forge friendships face-to-face. At our farewell dinner, kids share bits from trip journals and exchange contacts to stay in touch.
Day 7 — Liberia, Costa Rica/U.S.
Transfer to the airport for your flights home. (B)
ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.
Note: The expedition details on this page reflect 2014 departures. Please call us for more information about 2013 departures.
Child (under age 18)
Price is per person, double occupancy.
For 2013 departures: for a single room, add $1,000. Airfare, trip leader gratuity, and optional activities on Days 4 and 6 are not included in the expedition cost for 2013 departures. Internal air from Tortuguero to San José is $225 per person (subject to change). Round-trip economy airfare between New York and San José is from $700.
For 2014 departures: for a single room, add $800. Child prices apply to children sharing with one or two adults. On the December departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $300 per person. Economy airfare from Miami to San José and return from Liberia begins at $595 (subject to change).
What To Expect
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 in 2014 is the Kid-to-Kid Connection, which links every young traveler with a pen pal of similar age in Costa RIca.
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.