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Costa Rica: Wildlife Rescue

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A student at Proyecto Asis holding the hand of a rescued spider-monkey.
At this wild animal rescue center in the tropical rain forests of Arenal Volcano students first get to know each animal and their story before learning why animal conservation is important, how it should be done, and what impact they are making on the animals they met.
It's a profound immersion experience that develops and deepens environmental consciousness.

Itinerary

On our 8-Day program you will experience everything for which Costa Rica is famed: volcanos, fumaroles, mud baths, thermal springs, sky-blue waterfalls, crystal-clear swim holes, bird watching, horseback riding, rainforest zip-lining, caving, a river cruise, surfing lessons, amazing beaches, great food, and the best chocolate and coffee in the world!
But the main reason students choose this itinerary is to spend a day volunteering at a wildlife rescue clinic where you can get up close (even touch) wildlife you would normally only see from a distance.
Day Destination Overview
1 La Fortuna de San Carlos
Natural Hot Springs
Meet your Group Director at the airport for an early morning flight to Costa Rica! Arrive in San José, meet your local driver/guide and board your your private shuttle for a transfer to your hotel La Fortuna de San Carlos, a small town on Lake Arenal with easy access to natural hot springs, Arenal Volcano, Chato Volcano, and La Fortuna Waterfall. On arrival in the late afternoon we’ll check into the the hotel, change into swimsuits, and head out to enjoy the hot springs before ending the day exploring the different food options on a typical Costa Rican dinner menu.
2 Wildlife Rescue
Arenal Hanging Bridges
Wake up to the smell of Costa Rican coffee and enjoy buffet breakfast before taking a ride to a wildlife rescue center where you can spend the morning helping prepare meals suited to the diets of the various animals, getting up close to the animals. Enjoy lunch near Fortuna Waterfall then hike down to watch the water fall 200’ feet to an emerald green pool. Swim, take pictures, hang out. Next you’re off to the rainforest where a local guide will join us for a hike along a system of bridges hanging way up in the forest canopy. We’ll keep our eyes open for toucans, spider monkeys, lizards, turkeys, birds and the rarely spotted sloths. Freshen up at the hotel before exploring the menu of another local restaurant.
3 Volcano Hike
Lake Arenal Kayaking
Santa Elena
Enjoy an early breakfast then take a quick ride to the 1968 Lava Trail at Arenal Volcano or the Crater Trail at Chato Volcano. The 1968 Trail is the easier of the two: a gentle climb to the lava flow summit crosses lava fields being slowly reclaimed by the jungle since the dramatic eruptions of 1968. The Cerra Chato trail is more challenging: a steep climb through lush jungle ends with astonishing views of the emerald green lagoon inside the crater. Both trails have incredible views of Arenal Volcano. Take a well deserved rest over lunch before taking a short ride to Lake Arenal where local guides will teach you the basics of kayaking before taking you on a wildlife tour of the lake shore. Back on the shuttle for the ride around the lake and up to Santa Elena, a small town on the perimeter of the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve. Check into the hotel, freshen up, then head into town to choose a restaurant for dinner.
4 Dawn Birding Hike
Zipline Tour
Cocoa & Sugar Cane Tour
Early breakfast! Today you’re off in search of Costa Rica’s most sought-after birds and morning is the best time to hear (and then find) them. Monteverde is home to more than 400 species of bird including the Quetzal, azure-hooded jay, prong-billed barbet, black-faced solitaire and orange-bellied trogon. Next up, the canopy zipline tour: You’ll zipline from tree to tree hundreds of feet above the ground, sometimes crossing valleys on with cable distances over 1km! Students looking for an even bigger adrenaline rush can try the tarzan swing. The canopy tour is followed by a Cocoa & Sugar Cane Tour where you’ll learn about cocoa, cocoa butter, chocolate, coffee and sugar. Back to the hotel to freshen top before heading back to town to choose another restaurant for dinner.
5 Cortez Waterfall
Rincón de la Vieja
Sunset Horseride
Late/relaxed breakfast, so sleep in a bit! Board your shuttle for a transfer to somewhere completely different: you’re off to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano Park in Guanacaste. Along the way there are two stops, one to visit a secret waterfall with a wonderful swimming hole, and another for lunch at a restaurant where you can usually get great pictures of brilliantly colored scarlet macaws. On arrival at the hotel in the late afternoon we’ve arranged a guided sunset horse ride to a waterfall ending at the top of a mountain. Enjoy a relaxed dinner.
6 Palo Verde Cruise
Choratega Pottery
Tamarindo
Today you leave for the surfer's paradise of Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula. Along the way there are stops in Palo Verde, and in Guaitil de Santa Cruz: Palo Verde National Park is home to the Rio Tempisque, which you’ll experience up close on a guided river cruise; and Guaitil is home to Choratega Pottery where you’ll meet a local potter who’ll demonstrate how to form and decorate a simple pot before helping you create your own. On arrival in Tamarindo we’ll get oriented with a walk around town and then we'll have some free time to explore before meeting for dinner.
7 Surf Lessons
Beaches Tour
Souvenirs
Surf's up! After a relaxed breakfast we meet our instructors for two hours of surfing lessons in warm, crystal-clear, turquoise waters. After the lessons we’ll take some time with our boards to hone our new skills then we’ll board our private shuttle to go swimming at the top three beaches in Tamarindo. We’ll start with the beach that has the best restaurant (it’s right on the beach), then we’ll go to the one with the best views, then we’ll end with the one that has the nicest sand. The day ends with final souvenir shopping in Tamarindo before farewell dinner.
8 Airborne Board your private shuttle for a ride to the airport. Flight home. ¡Adiós Costa Rica!