Phone: (607) 756-8676
Our Experience, Your Discoveries
We want to show you the world, and to have you truly inspired by it - exploring its breathtaking diversity. Our enthusiasm is stronger than ever to reach out and expand your horizons.
We hope you accept this invitation and join us on one of our journeys so that our experience becomes one of your many discoveries.
Discovering Costa Rica's Biodiversity
If you are interested in the incredible flora, fauna, and birdlife of Costa Rica, this is the tour for you. This tour encompasses the majestic beauty of the active Arenal Volcano, the Turriabla region to view the wide variety of hummingbirds, orchids, and plant life, south of San Jose in search of the Resplendent Quetzal, and north to spend a day at the La Selva Biological Station.
Day 1: Home - San Jose
Board your flight to San José, the country's capital city. The quaint hotel is located in a scenic neighborhood of San Jose, surrounded by gardens and designed with nature in mind, offering a warm welcome.(D)
Days 2 - 3: San José / Turrialba Area
After breakfast depart for the Turriabla region. Rancho Naturalista, is located in the Tuis Valley, at the northern limit of Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains. At 900 meters elevation on the Atlantic slope of the country, Rancho’s forests, farmlands, and surrounding area offer an impressive 300 species of birds – many of which are difficult or impossible to see in other parts of the country. You will be impressed with the famous hummingbird pools where Snowcap and Purple-crowned Fairy are regular bathers. The numerous hummingbird feeders offer a wonderful opportunity to photograph White-necked Jacobin, Green Violet-ear, and Green-crowned Brilliant species. The beautiful old tree off the veranda that is covered with bananas, attracts Fiery-billed Aracari, Passerini Tanager, and other topical birds.
Near our lodge, you will see several species of morphos and a large variety of butterflies and orchids. Of the more than 12,000 species of Moths to be found in Costa Rica, a sizable percentage can be found around the lodge. The Rancho itself is somewhat eclectic, an attractive combination of main house - in bed and breakfast style - plus additional hotel-style rooms in separate but nearby buildings. Balanced, nutritious meals are prepared in the newly remodeled kitchen and served family-style in the cozy dining room. (B, L, D both days)
Days 4 - 5: Trogon Lodge
Make your way through the Cerro de la Muerte area, stopping along stunning mountain roads to view birds and local sights. Your final destination today is a charming lodge, a Costa Rican owned property hidden away in the picturesque San Gerardo de Dota Valley of Costa Rica’s southern Talamanca Mountain range. The misty and beautiful surroundings provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the views and sounds of the cloud forest, as well as discover the wonders of Costa Rica's unspoiled ecology. In this virtually undiscovered location, you will get comfortable in your new mountain environs, consisting of lovely tropical gardens, clear mountain stream, and forest landscape.
Today you will have a relaxing day, taking opportunities to discover this unique lodge, looking for great shots of the Resplendent Quetzals, hummingbirds, and many others. (B, L, D both days)
Day 6: Trogon Lodge – Arenal Volcano
After breakfast make your way to the Arenal Volcano Area. Arenal, a spectacular, cone-shaped volcano rising out of the flat San Carlos Plains. It is the most active volcano in the country and the frequent, loud booms can be heard as far away as Monteverde. In the afternoon enjoy the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs, an exclusive retreat for those looking for a relaxing respite in natural springs heated by Arenal Volcano. Family owned and operated, the springs are surrounded by tropical foliage and set near an authentic ranch house complete with Costa Rican curiosities, such as a coffee grinder (pilot) and farming equipment. The four pools are landscaped with large, smooth river rock taken from the area and are large enough to offer plenty of room to spread out and find a private corner to relax among peaceful environs. The hot springs are not open to the public. (B, L, D)
Days 7 - 8: Sarapiqui Area
This morning take time to enjoy the lodge premises, perhaps taking a hike to enjoy the spectacular views of the volcano. Afterwards travel to the Sarapiqui area, this region is one of the most exuberant and luscious places in Costa Rica, especially with respect to the rainforest. It is named after a river and rests at the base of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range.
The Sarapiquis Neotropical Center includes a hotel designed to resemble a fifteenth century indigenous village, an archeological site, a small biodiversity museum, and organic vegetable gardens. Three huge thatched-roof bungalows house comfortable rooms with covered terraces, handmade bamboo furniture, ceiling fans, spacious bathrooms, telephones, and Internet connections. Many of the rooms have an outstanding view of the rainforest canopy, while others are nestled in the bright and fragrant gardens.
The center, which is owned by a Belgium non-profit conservation association, is adjacent to the 350-acre Tirimbina nature reserve, which preserves lush lowland primary rainforest nourished by the Sarapiqui River. The reserve’s environmental education center is run by another non-profit organization in cooperation with the Milwaukee Public Museum and Riveredge Nature Center.
The botanical garden holds 400 native and endangered plants and was designed in cooperation with the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. The Sarapiquis grounds are a bird watchers’ paradise and are visited by Honey Creepers, Banana Quits, Toucans, and many other species.
La Selva Biological Station is a rainforest reserve and research station owned by a consortium of U.S. Universities and the University of Costa Rica known as OTS (Organization of Tropical Studies). Founded in the late sixties, La Selva is perhaps the longest running and, certainly, one of the most prestigious research stations on tropical rainforest anywhere in the world. The property encompasses more than 1500 hectares including a variety of ecosystems characteristic of the wet lowland tropical zone. It forms part of a much larger protected area, which includes Braulio Carrillo National Park. Within La Selva, visitors can experience virgin forest, secondary forest at different stages of growth, forest edge vegetation, lowland rivers, swamps, and cultivated areas around the buildings.
The trails are very easy to negotiate, ranging from paved to hard-packed earth. The station’s primary function is research; it also serves as an educational center for a wide variety of courses in different aspects of tropical biology. (B, L, D both days)
Day 9: San Jose
Visit the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, with its spectacular Butterfly Observatory and mesmerizing cascades of five magnificent waterfalls. The waterfall trail is quite steep and therefore not for everyone, rest assured there are several areas to view the beautiful gardens. A series of observation decks built on the cliffs of the verdant canyon are perfect places to simply sit back and feel the falls’ refreshing mist. The hummingbird garden and feeders attract several different species of birds you can photograph along with the beautiful orchids. (B, L, D)
Day 10: San Jose - Home or Panama City
After breakfast at the hotel transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport to take flights back home, or on to Panama for the extension.(If you are attending the extension, Strabo Tours can book San Jose-Panama City ticket to assure all participants are on same flight as leaders, estimated cost $250, to be charged to passenger credit card). (B)
After breakfast at the hotel we transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport to take our flights back home, or on to Panama for the extension.(Estimated airfare San Jose-Panama City estimated cost $250, to be charged to passenger credit card).
Day 1: San Jose - Panama City
Those participants traveling to Panama will be taken to the airport in order to depart on your flight to Panama City's Tocumen Airport. Our guide will meet us at the airport and we begin our drive to Gamboa, a small town located on the shores of the Panama Canal, site of the Panama Canal's Dredging Division. This afternoon we have time to ride on the Canopy Aerial Tram (optional), visit the natural exhibits (optional) or relax and enjoy the lodge’s amenities.
Days 2 - 3: Soberania and Chagres National Parks
This morning we take a short drive to Soberania National Park where we will enjoy a nature walk and have access to the new Avifauna panoramic tower. We will board an expedition boat and depart on an adventure that will include a voyage across Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal passing by gigantic cargo ships transiting the waterway, making contrast with the natural surroundings. There will be opportunities to spot Green Iguana and sloth resting on tree branches, crocodile, osprey in the hunt for Peacock Bass, Snail Kite and Keel-billed Toucan among other species. Our expedition boat will allow for close approximations to rainforest-covered islands in Gatun Lake to search for White-faced Capuchin, Howler Monkey, Spider Monkey and the endemic Red-napped Tamarin. Later this afternoon we will view the remnants of a colonial town on the historic Las Cruces Trail. (b, l, d)
Our next day begins on the in El Corotu on the shores of Madden Lake, here, we board a motorized "piragua" (dugout canoe) and travel up the Chagres River to the Embera Indigenous village of Embera Drua. The dugout canoe journey takes us through the rainforest of the 194,000-acre Chagres National Park, the largest of the National Parks protecting the Panama Canal Watershed. Along the Chagres River, we may be able to spot Little Blue and Green Heron, Great Egret, Anhingas, Neotropical Cormorant, Amazon, Ringed, and Green Kingfishers, along with Keel-billed Toucans and ospreys flying above. At the Embera village we will be greeted with dancing and music. We will learn about Embera customs and their relationship with nature. There will be handcrafts available for sale and we will have a chance to be painted with the traditional 'jagua', a natural dye the Embera use to adorn their bodies. This afternoon we will have time on our own to relax at Gamboa Lodge. Two overnights at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort (b, l, d)
Day 4: Chagres National Park - Panama City
We take a short drive to Summit Botanical Gardens where we will have the morning to explore the grounds of the gardens along with the Baird’s Tapir and Harpy Eagle exhibits. Before leaving we will also walk around Summit Ponds to look for more wildlife. From here we proceed to Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, we will have the opportunity to see ships being raised and lowered in the lock chambers. We will then have a walking tour of the old quarters at Casco Viejo, with lunch, followed by a tour of the ruins at Old Panama, and the nearby rainforest. Overnight at Miramar Intercontinental Hotel (b, l, d)
Day 5: Panama City/Home
We check out from the hotel after breakfast and are transferred to Tocumen Airport, for flights home. (b)
Tour land cost: $0 US Dollars based upon minimum of 2 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: Please contact us for more details about the single room supplement. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
Extension land cost: $0 based upon minimum of 2 paying participants.
Note: The land costs on international tours is based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic programs) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.
Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities listed as optional, or those taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.
Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties.
Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.
Fitness and Health
If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).
You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.
Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.
There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.
Subject to Change
This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best this destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Above is a summary of typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.