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  • The small group
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What People Are Saying About Us

I have come to expect excellence from Odysseys Unlimited and have never been disappointed.

Michael E. Leahy
Oak Lawn, IL

We have been to many, many places all over the world, with many different tour companies.  None of them compare to the Odysseys Unlimited small group experience.

Nancy & William Sondervan
Sherrills Ford, NC

The small group is wonderful and the quality of tour directors is exceptional.

Bill Jones
Vancouver, WA

All that was advertised was delivered. Consider this tour to be a real value as to sites visited, itinerary, hotels, and travel between sites.

Susan & Paul Krupp
Georgetown, TX

Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.

Barbara Schoetzau
New York, NY

Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX

Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.

Jean Hall
Prairie Village, KS

We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

Roger Soder
Seattle, WA

The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.

Patricia Joyce
Peoria, AZ

We love the small group experience.

Dave & Alice Wilson
Williamstown, MA

Odysseys is the best company we have traveled with. You have first-rate tours at affordable prices, with great itineraries, excellent guides, and outstanding accommodations.

Jane & Ronald Decker
Chicago, IL

Odysseys tours are just right for us: great value, nice group size, complete trips, sufficient free time.

Laurin & Phyllis LeTart
Shepherdstown, WV

This trip far exceeded our expectations: the small group size, the quality of the tour director (the best we’ve ever had), the ability to have dinners on our own, the lower cost without a significant reduction in the quality of the accommodations.

Barry & Bobbi Rosner
Somerset, NJ

I thought I would not like traveling in a group but I was wrong! [Our tour director] was so good at making the group seem as one that it turned out to be the best part of the trip.

Donna Stevenson
Dublin, OH

It was the best value in travel we’ve ever had. It was a wonderful experience.

Trish Merrill & Mac White
Austin, TX

This was my 7th trip with Odysseys and they keep getting better and better.

Merle Frank
Miami, FL

Love the small group format and the ease of traveling with arrangements made for us.

Ken & Carolyn Helm
Newburgh, IN

Tour exceeded my expectations having never taken a group tour. An excellent experience – can’t wait for my next one!

Ronni Goldberg
New York, NY

Absolutely the best bang for the buck – organization, quality, consistency.

Harvey Wine
Dallas, TX

I like the small size of Odysseys tours. [You] have excellent Tour Directors, great itineraries and spend more time in areas than some of the other tour companies.

Lynn Bafaloukos
Glendale, AZ

Because of the group size and outstanding guides, you make travel easy for us!

Sharon Irwin & John Akamatsu
Kent, OH
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Six-time honoree Travel + Leisure's World's Best Tour Operators awards

Explore the Region

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Poas Volcano excursion
  • Doka Coffee Estate
  • Carrizal’s Botanical Orchid Garden
  • Visit with schoolchildren
  • Ecocentro Danaus Biological Reserve
  • Arenal hanging bridges Sky Walk
  • Night viewing of Arenal Volcano
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest biological reserve
  • Tempisque River float safari
  • Three-night Guanacaste stay at a beachfront resort
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart for San Jose, Costa Rica We arrive in the Costa Rican capital and transfer to our hotel located in the Escazu area outside the city. This afternoon and evening are at leisure.

Day 2: San Jose After meeting our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at this morning’s breakfast briefing, we embark on an excursion through the Central Valley to Poas Volcano National Park. Here we view one of the world’s largest craters, a steaming, bubbling cauldron; and also take a guided walk along park trails. We continue on to the Doka Coffee Estate, located on the fertile slopes of Poas Volcano, where we learn about coffee-making and Costa Rica’s coffee crop, one of the country’s largest exports. After lunch at the Doka Estate, we return to our hotel late afternoon. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. B,L,D

Day 3: San Jose/Arenal Region We leave this morning for the Arenal region, passing picturesque villages along the way. We stop in Carrizal at the family-owned Botanical Orchid Garden, with tropical trails, exhibits, nurseries, and gardens all dedicated to the wondrous orchid plant. After time to explore here, we travel on to Arenal and our hotel, which offers magnificent views of Arenal Volcano and where we dine tonight. B,L,D

Day 4: Arenal Region This morning we visit a local elementary school to enjoy a cultural exchange with the children and learn about Costa Rica’s vaunted educational ­system – the country boasts a literacy rate of more than 95%. We continue on to Ecocentro Danaus, a biological reserve focused on conservation, environmental education, and sustainability. A series of trails winds through the secondary forest, where we see diverse flora, including orchids, bromelia, and heliconia, along with some of the preserve’s 150 species of birds, sloths, and bats, among other fauna. Highlights include a butterfly farm with 30 different species and a natural water spring that attracts waterfowl, alligators, and iguana. Later today there’s time for more volcano viewing before and after dinner (at a local restaurant) from a comfortable perch at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 5: Arenal Region On this morning’s visit to Arenal’s hanging bridges Sky Walk, we have the special opportunity to experience the rainforest from the canopy level as we traverse a series of five suspension bridges high above the forest floor. While we observe the rainforest from a unique perspective, our naturalist guide will point out some of the flora and fauna that thrive here. Then we return to our hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax amidst the beautiful grounds and thermal waters. Lunch and dinner today are on our own. B

Day 6: Arenal Region/Monteverde Cloud Forest We travel today to the “green cathedral” of Monteverde. En route we stop to visit a non-profit handicrafts cooperative dedicated to enhancing the economic and social well-being of local women artists. After lunch on our own in Santa Elena, we continue on to our hotel, arriving late afternoon. We dine tonight at a local restaurant in Monteverde. B,D

Day 7: Monteverde This morning we embark on a guided walk through Monteverde’s biological reserve, learning about the amazing biodiversity in this relatively small area. Next we tour the Hummingbird Gallery, where feeders attract several different species of the delicate hummingbird. After lunch together we visit the Monteverde Bat Jungle to learn about Costa Rica’s diverse – and important – bat population. Late this afternoon we return to our hotel for time at leisure before we dine together this evening. B,L,D

Day 8: Monteverde/Guanacaste We depart by coach this morning for Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s stunning northwest Pacific coastal region. Along the way we visit Monteverde’s delightful Butterfly Garden, with a variety of species including the stunning blue morpho and the virtually transparent glasswing. After a stop for lunch, we reach our resort hotel overlooking the Pacific mid-afternoon. B,L,D

Day 9: Guanacaste A float safari on the Tempisque River highlights this morning’s excursion to the Palo Verde region, which is both an extraordinary wetland and also one of the world’s last tropical dry forests. In this unique ecosystem, we can expect to see abundant bird- and wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. After lunch together we return to our hotel mid-afternoon, with the remainder of the day at leisure along one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful Pacific Coast settings. B,L

Day 10: Guanacaste Today is at leisure to enjoy the beautiful beach and other amenities of our hotel, including an outdoor infinity pool. Optional activities include kayaking, hiking, or visiting the lively town of Tamarindo. This evening we gather at a farewell dinner to celebrate our Costa Rican adventure. B,D

Day 11: Depart for U.S. We transfer to the airport this morning for our return flights to the U.S. B

Please note: This trip includes nature walks and lengthy coach rides over bumpy dirt roads. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels
  • 23 meals: 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an expert Costa Rica naturalist as your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019/2020 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

2019Oct 14

2020Mar 23
Mar 30
2019Oct 31

2020Mar 7
Mar 12
2020Jan 13
Jan 20
Jan 23
Jan 27
Feb 1
Feb 6
Feb 13
Feb 20
Feb 27
Miami$3,481 $3,581$3,781
Atlanta, Boston, Char,
Dallas, Hou, Los Ang,
New York, Orlando,
San Francisco, Tampa,
Washington, DC
$3,781 $3,881$4,081
Balt, Chicago, Cinc,
Cleve, Minneapolis,
Philadelphia, Seattle
$3,881 $3,981$4,181
Denver, Detroit,
Phoenix, Port (OR)
$3,981 $4,081$4,281

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $186, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $995. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2019/2020 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

A visa is not required for this tour.

Accommodations
    InterContinental Costa Rica, San Jose / Days 1-2, Extension / Superior First Class

    The InterContinental Costa Rica hotel is well situated in Escazu, one of San Jose’s exclusive suburbs, and located within the Multiplaza Mall complex (close to shops and restaurants).  The 372-room hotel has four restaurants, lounges, spa, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, fitness center, and heated outdoor pool (surrounded by tropical gardens).  Each of the guest rooms has air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Hotel Arenal Manoa, Arenal Region / Days 3-5 / First Class

    The Hotel Arenal Manoa offers panoramic views of Arenal Volcano while surrounded by meditative gardens and a Costa Rican farm. La Palma River runs through the property, nourishing a gallery forest complete with a vast selection of bird and plant life. The 80-room hotel features a restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, walking gardens, Jacuzzi, spa, and outdoor pool with swim-up bar. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    El Establo Mountain Hotel, Monteverde Cloud Forest / Days 6-7 / First Class

    Nestled in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest, El Establo Mountain Hotel offers outstanding views and is just minutes from Monteverde Reserve. Amenities at the 155-room lodge include hiking trails, canopy tours, two indoor pools, tennis courts, fitness center, spa with massage and beauty treatments, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and two restaurants and two bars. Comfortable guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, safe-deposit box, coffee-making facilities, TV, phone, and private balcony or terrace overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya. The rooms are not air conditioned since the typically cool “mountain” climate at Monteverde rarely requires it.

    JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa, Guanacaste / Days 8-10 / Superior First Class

    Situated on a stretch of pristine Costa Rican coastline, the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa offers a lush retreat in a spectacular setting.  The sprawling hacienda-style resort offers five restaurants, two bars, an infinity pool, a full fitness center, an award-winning spa, and hiking/jogging trails (along with an abundance of optional activities nearby, including golf and zip-lining).  Each air-conditioned guest room includes private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Mawamba Lodge, Tortuguero National Park / Extension / First Class

    Nestled amidst gardens in the rainforest, Mawamba Lodge occupies a 15-acre waterfront property on the Tortuguero Lagoon with direct beach access. The rustic 58-room lodge offers a restaurant and bar, nature trails, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, whirlpool, outdoor pool, sand volleyball court, souvenir shop, and laundry service. Each guest room includes a private bath, ceiling fan, and in-room safe. (A limited number of hair dryers are available at reception). Although you will not have air conditioning, television, or telephone in your room, the accommodations are designed to be both comfortable and an excellent fit with the natural environment.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Pre-Tour Option

Tortuguero National Park

4 days/3 nights for $745 total price
Single Supplement: $145

Encounter exceptional biodiversity, from rainforest to marsh, where fresh water meets the sea to form canals, lagoons, and wetlands; and also to provide an important turtle nesting reserve. An ecological tour de force!

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip transfers San Jose/Tortuguero by van and boat
  • 3 nights’ accommodations: 1 night in San Jose at InterContinental Costa Rica (Superior First Class); 2 nights in Tortuguero National Park at Mawamba Lodge (First Class)
  • 8 meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Included sightseeing: Tortuguero town and Caribbean Conservation Center; two boat safaris along the Tortuguero canals
  • Services of expert staff and guides at Mawamba Lodge

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Oliver Acosta

“Oliver was outstanding as a tour director in every way! He was very professional, knowledgeable, efficient, thoughtful, had good communication skills, and was enjoyable to be with!”
Jane Jenkins
Dubuque, IA

Jose Barquero

“So calm, helpful, and knowledgeable. He provided great information, but wasn’t intrusive. He checked in frequently to see how we were doing.”
Kate Murphy
Dansville, NY

Olivier Esquivel

“We cannot praise Ollie enough! He was delightful, knowledgeable, unbelievably helpful, and he is an incredible ambassador for both Costa Rica (which he obviously loves) and Odysseys.”
Peg & Ray Dutcher
Wellesley, MA

Andres Herrera

“Outstanding, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, kind, good sense of humor.”
Bob & Susan Vaughn
Mentor, OH

Herman Medford

“Herman made this trip an adventure! His knowledge about all we saw and the history of Costa Rica was amazing! Sense of humor and a caring nature, spirituality, and kindness describes Herman – lucky you!”
Dr. & Mrs. W.R. Blevins
St. Thomas, KY

Odir Morales

“Odir is truly a credit to Odysseys. You have a reputation for excellent tour directors, and certainly Odir fits easily into this category. He is knowledgeable, articulate, organized, and caring.”
David Jacobsohn
Rockville, MD

Randall Obsney

“Randall’s love for and knowledge about Costa Rica was extraordinary. He was efficient in making arrangements and making sure they were carried out.”
Lisa Keir
Reisterstown, MD

Allan Oporta

“Allan deserves a rating beyond ‘excellent’! His knowledge and obvious love for his country was amazing. He was in a perpetually good mood and so helpful at all times. Incalculable addition to the experience.”
Richard & Donna DeFrancesco
Lynnwood, WA

Olman Vargas

“Don’t let go of Olman Vargas. He is a gem of a tour director; passionate about his country and his work. He is beyond outstanding.”
Stephanie Belvedere
Pine, AZ

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Adrian Hepworth
Wild Costa Rica
This beautiful, informative survey of the habitats, wildlife and protected areas of Costa Rica features 200 color photographs and chapters on natural history and conservation.

Barbara Ras
Costa Rica, A Traveler’s Literary Companion
These 26 well-chosen stories by Costa Rican writers introduce the people, culture and land.

Twan Leenders, Robert Dean, Jim Zook, Fiona Reid
The Wildlife of Costa Rica, A Field Guide
This Zona Tropical guide includes 450 of the most common, interesting and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that you are likely to encounter. Each has exquisite full-color illustrations by Fiona Reid (mammals), Robert Dean (birds) and friends.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide Costa Rica
This superb guide, divided geographically, features color photographs, dozens of excellent maps and a strong focus on wildlife.

National Geographic
Costa Rica Adventure Map
A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.

Joseph Franke
Costa Rica’s National Parks and Reserves
With trails, maps and travel details for 46 parks and reserves from Guanacaste to Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero and La Amistad.

Lonely Planet
Costa Rican Spanish
A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.

Jane Koutnik
Culture Smart! Costa Rica
History, religion, daily life, food, health and safety are all covered in this accessible pocket guide to Costa Rican customs, etiquette and culture.

Hector Perez-Brignoll
A Brief History of Central America
A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.

Michael Reid
Forgotten Continent
Economist editor Reid draws on his years in the cities, presidential palaces and shantytowns of Central and South America in this portrait of a region rich in oil, farmland and culture, with consideration on its prospects in the face of globalization.

Richard Biesanz
The Ticos
This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people details their culture, history and society.

Larry Habegger (Editor), Natanya Pearlman (Editor)
Travelers’ Tales Central America
Organized thematically with contributions set in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, this collection of eyewitness reports includes Joan Didion, P.J. O’Rourke and Paul Theroux.

Adrian Forsyth, E.O. Wilson (Introduction), Michael Fogden (Photographer)
Nature of the Rainforest, Costa Rica and Beyond
Our favorite biologist-writer returns to the Neotropics in this beautifully illustrated, oversized overview of the rainforest. With chapters on Monteverde and Guanacaste, plants, frogs and snakes, birds, monkeys and jaguars, the sloth, peculiar insects and biodioversity, the book is a marvelous, anecdotal introduction to ecology, evolution and conservation.

David Rains Wallace
The Monkey’s Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America
Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource.

Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Tropical Nature
Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.

Alexander Skutch
A Naturalist in Costa Rica
A warm account of living and studying ornithology in the Pacific hills of Costa Rica over the last 35 years at what is now Los Cusingos Neotropical Bird Sanctuary. Skutch died on his ranch in 2004 just short of his 100th birthday.

Adrian Hepworth
Costa Rica, A Journey Through Nature
Dividing the book by ecosystem and geographic area, BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Hepworth’s color photographs showcase the diversity of Costa Rica’s wildlife and habitats.

James Kavanagh
Costa Rica Birds
A handy, laminated fold-up card with full-color illustrations of birds commonly found in Costa Rica. Great for kids, too.

Les Beletsky
Costa Rica, Travellers’ Wildlife Guides
This handy field guide features 350 color illustrations of commonly encountered birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. With chapters on habitats, parks and conservation.

Pocket Naturalist
Costa Rican Wildlife
Put it in your pocket! This handy, fold-up card includes color illustrations of dozens of typical birds, mammals and reptiles.

Fiona Reid
Mammals of Costa Rica
A palm-sized guide to 65 native mammals, with handsome full-color illustrations and helpful descriptions. Includes a map, viewing tips and a checklist.

Richard Garrigues, Robert Dean (Illustrator)
The Birds of Costa Rica
This new edition covers 903 species of birds with hundreds of new, supplemental or revised color illustrations by Robert Dean and revised color-coded range maps.

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