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Quetzal Quest - Overland Trip

3 ½ weeks: San Jose to San Jose (IMT-LAQQ)

Intro

A quest for the quetzal, sacred bird of the Mayans, takes us to the most impressive natural areas of Central America. We visit Lake Nicaragua, the Valley of the Flowers and Eternal Spring in Panama and the wild and isolated Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. Along the way there will be plenty of time to relax on some of the best beaches this region has to offer.

Group Size

Max 18

Activities

Hiking in National Parks, optional snorkeling, optional horse-riding and canopy walks

Accommodation

18 nights hotels, 2 nights hacienda, 2 nights eco-lodge

Transport

Private and public bus, 4WD jeeps, boat

Fully Escorted

By Imaginative Traveller tour leader

Itineraries

Day 1,SAN JOSE

Arrival day.

Day 2,SAN JOSE - MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

Head north to the Cloud Forest Reserve of Monteverde, renowned as one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics.

Day 3,MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

We have a full day to explore the reserve with its abundant wildlife, and we may catch a glimpse of the beautiful quetzal as well as a variety of monkeys, wild cats and reptiles.

Day 4,MONTEVERDE - GRANADA

Today we cross into Nicaragua on our way to the colonial city of Granada, located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.

Day 5,GRANADA

A morning to visit the colonial buildings of Granada. In the afternoon there's an optional tour to the Islets of Granada in Lake Nicaragua - there is an island for each day of the year.

Day 6,MASAYA - CATARINA - GRANADA

After breakfast we visit the Masaya Volcano and a handicrafts market. We stop for lunch at the village of Catarina with a breathtaking view of the volcanic lagoon Apoyo.

Day 7,GRANADA – RINCON DE LA VIEJA

Today we cross the border back to Costa Rica. We spend the night at a Costa Rican hacienda adjacent to the National Park amidst mountains and vast tropical forest. There is time for an optional horse-riding tour or a canopy walk.

Day 8,RINCON DE LA VIEJA

Early in the morning we ride to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. 257 species of birds have been identified in the park, including the quetzal.

Day 9,RINCON DE LA VIEJA - FORTUNA

We head through mountains and typical small villages to Fortuna, nestled at the base of Arenal Volcano.

Day 10,ARENAL VOLCANO

Arenal Volcano is active and emits loud rumbles as well as streams of redhot lava. We have a full day to explore around the lower slopes of the volcano or to soak in one of the hot springs. In the evening you will enjoy a perfect view of the volcano from the porch of your room.

Day 11,LA FORTUNA - MANUEL ANTONIO NP

Drive to Manuel Antonio National Park, where we spend two nights. This park has some of Costa Rica’s finest beaches.

Day 12,MANUEL ANTONIO

A full day to relax on the beach or follow hiking trails through the tropical forest, home to monkeys and iguanas.

Day 13,MANUEL ANTONIO - SAN JOSE

After a relaxing morning we travel back to San Jose.

Day 14,SAN JOSE - PUERTO JIMENEZ

We take a bus to Golfito and then a boat to Puerto Jimenez, gateway to Corcovado National Park and the coastal villages of Cabo Matapalo and Carate.

Day 15,PUERTO JIMENEZ - CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK

We use 4WD jeeps to head into one of the wildest and most isolated areas of Central America. Our lodge is located on Carate Beach, at the edge of Corcovado National Park. The wildlife roams freely, so animals can be spotted while hiking on the lodge’s trails.

Day 16,CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK

A full day to explore Corcovado, with rainforests, swamps, rivers, lagoons, marshes and beaches. The park is one of the best locations to see jaguars in the wild.

Day 17,CORCOVADO - GOLFITO - BOQUETE

Transfer by boat to Golfito and drive to the border with Panama and Boquete, the Valley of the Flowers and Eternal Spring, a coffee-growing area.

Day 18,BOQUETE

A free day to explore the surroundings. Boquete's coffee quality is the best in the Republic, and a coffee tour can be easily arranged.

Day 19,BOQUETE – BOCAS DEL TORO

We take a bus to Almirante and then a water taxi to the islands of Bocas del Toro.

Day 20 to Day 21,BOCAS DEL TORO

Two full free days to enjoy the beaches, diving, hiking and lifestyle of the islands. It is possible to take an optional day trip on a catamaran, cruising the archipelago and stopping along the way to snorkel around the beautiful coral reefs.

Day 22,BOCAS DEL TORO - SAN JOSE

After breakfast, we leave Bocas and head back to the Costa Rican border following the Caribbean coast. We continue to San Jose.

Day 23,SAN JOSE

Tour ends. (B)

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