Welcome to Costa Rica! Make sure to book a flight arriving early afternoon. Exit from the airport and drive through the Cordillera Central for about an hour. The first thing you'll notice is all the diversity that Costa Rica offers: volcanic mountain ranges, green forests, racing rivers and beautiful coffee plantations along the hillsides, including Espiritu Santo in Naranjo. Many consider this Central Valley to be the heart and soul of Costa Rica-the geographical center of the country and its spiritual and cultural core. Chayote Lodge is nestled on a hilltop in the cloud forest, in the coffee region of Naranjo. It includes a beautiful restaurant with sweeping views overlooking San Jose. You'll see its valley from one-side and coffee and tomato plantations from the other. You will stay in one of 12 suites designed to resemble a classic recibidores, or coffee receiving station, providing an intimate experience combining nature, culture, and of course, coffee. Each of the 500-square-foot bungalows includes a king-size bed, private sitting area, and balcony with views to Poas, Barva and Irazu Volcanos.
Views of endless coffee plantations and the Central Valley will help you to rise and shine this morning. After a delicious Costa Rican breakfast with fresh coffee, discover the history and culture of this ancient beverage. We will visit the coffee plantation of Espiritu Santo, where you will be introduced to traditional methods that transform the coffee cherries into a premium product for export. In the afternoon, an ecological walk through the hotel's property allows you to appreciate all the enchanting species of colorful birds and plants.
At mid-morning we'll depart from your hotel and head towards the Northern Lowlands, which present a variety of pastures, wetlands, jungles, rain forests, cloud forests and river webs. On our route we'll cross different towns such as Zarcero and Florencia, all the while enjoying amazing views of the mountains. We'll arrive at the village of La Fortuna late afternoon where the mighty Arenal Volcano will welcome us with its impressive conic shape. Arenal is Costa Rica's youngest (at 7,000 years) and until recently, its most active volcano since its massive eruption in 1968. For the last few years it has been resting, a natural process for live volcanoes. Check in at the Arenal Springs hotel, where you'll find a special blend of the hospitality of the local people and the warm, tropical rain forest climate. This evening you'll unwind in the world famous Tabacon Hot Springs. With temperatures ranging between 77 and 122F, unique thermal springs emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds, surrounded by lush tropical gardens. In this ultimate oasis, relax, enjoy and rejuvenate yourself!
In the morning, a tour of the exciting Arenal Hanging Bridges has been scheduled. These are a series of 15 suspension bridges, platforms and trails in the rain forest, offering views of Lake Arenal and Volcano Arenal. The bridges form part of a two-mile self-guided interpretive trail through the rain forest, allowing you to explore the forest canopy in a safe and easy way, and giving you a bird's eye perspective of the forest's wildlife. Later in the afternoon you can explore the area at your own pace. We highly recommend a visit to the Arenal Volcano National Park (not included). The Park protects a resting volcano. Other attractions are Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, Venado Caves, La Fortuna Waterfall, river rafting and tubing, nature walks, free hot springs, canopy zip-lining, Pure Trek Canyoning, lake kayaking, hiking and horseback riding, among many others.
Today, you will travel via scenic mountain roads to the beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park, located on the Pacific Coast, and one of the most popular beach destinations in Costa Rica. Upon arrival, it is easy to see why it is so treasured: Manuel Antonio is an icon of ecotourism in Costa Rica. With incredible white-sand beaches ideal for swimming, and a tropical rain forest filled with wildlife, many of them endangered species, you have a glorious day ahead of you. But here's a warning--keep your belongings safe on the beach. Be wary of the monkeys--they are accustomed to humans and will steal your lunch if left on the picnic table! Or swing your camera from its strap, finally releasing it skyward. There are other things to do here in the Park--such as a canopy tour, where you slide from the upper reaches of the forest, tree to tree. What a way to get a bird's eye view from atop! Snorkeling and surfing are also possibilities.
Enjoy the amenities of your luxurious resort hotel, including the on-site nature trails with wildlife visitors, lounge in the pools, relax on the beach, visit the spa or choose one of the many tours offered in the area.
You can decide to extend your stay to one of these resorts or you can end your trip here.