Day 1: Arrive San Jose
Upon arrival at San Jose International Airport, you will be transferred to your accommodation for check-in. Get settled in and enjoy the rest of the day in San Jose to explore the city on your own. Overnight in San Jose.
Day 2: San Jose to Montezuma
This morning you will be picked up from your hostel in San Jose and travel to Montezuma beach, located on the Nicoya peninsula on the northern pacific coast of Costa Rica. Surrounded by exotic beauty, immerse yourself into a conservation project that protects endangered or critically endangered sea turtles such as Olive Ridleys, Leatherbacks, Hawksbill and the Pacific Black subspecies. Upon arrival to the Turtle Conservation Centre, get settled in and enjoy a delicious dinner. Overnight in Montezuma. Please note that the shuttle will drop you off in Montezuma and you will need to make your own way to the Montezuma School. There will be someone awaiting your arrival at the Volunteer house only 50 metres away. Note: Briefings about the project can only be given in San Jose from Monday to Friday, if volunteers cannot attend the briefing in San Jose, they will receive it at the Centre.
Days 3-7: Sea Turtle Conservation Project
For the five days you’re on this project, depending on the season, you’ll help with nighttime beach patrols, reinforce the barriers of the hatcheries, monitor the baby turtle hatchery, and other maintenance. Please note that nesting season occurs during the months of mid-June to November, so you have a much higher possibility of working directly with the turtles during those months. During the months of December to early June, you will be helping the project with other tasks like maintenance and construction of the hatchery, barrier, and ditch, as well as cleaning up the beach and green areas. WORK SCHEDULE: You will work between 6 and 10 hours per day depending on nesting intensity and commitments in the community. The majority of the work will take place at night, and daytime activities will depend on the necessities of the project and the weather. ACCOMMODATION: The accommodation in Montezuma is a basic structure that consists of two apartments joined together, with a large common area and balcony, kitchen and eating area. There are three dorm rooms with bunk beds for volunteers. There are showers and toilet facilities, running water, and drinking water available. MEALS: Volunteers will receive three meals a day at the project (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Food provided is according to a typical Costa Rican diet, and consists mainly of rice, beans, salads, pastas, vegetables, and fruit. WHAT TO BRING: We recommend that you bring bedding (2 sheets and blanket), a pillow, insect repellent, sunblock, a refillable water bottle, personal hygiene items (deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, towel, toothbrush). You will need dark-coloured clothing to work at night (preferably long sleeved), a flashlight with a red LED if possible, a mosquito net, comfortable closed-toe shoes for patrols, and a waterproof jacket. Additionally, you can bring a hat, camera, video camera, and books or games for free time.
Day 8: Montezuma to La Fortuna
It is time to leave this beach paradise and continue your journey. Today you will be picked up from a hotel 250 meters from the volunteer house and depart Montezuma en route to La Fortuna at the base of the Arenal Volcano. This natural phenomenon, although currently in a resting phase, has remained the country’s most active volcano for the past decades, attracting thousands of tourists due to its volcanic activity. Check into your new accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day to relax or walk some nature trails. Overnight in La Fortuna.
Day 9: Arenal Volcano & Baldi Hot Springs
We will pick you up and take you to Arenal Volcano National Park, where you will have the chance to walk (30 min) to an amazing view-point to see Arenal Volcano. On the way, pass through the artisan town of Sarchi on your way to the therapeutic Baldi Hot Springs where you can soak for hours before returning home. Relax in one of the best natural hot springs in the area and enjoy an optional massage or other special treatment (reservations required in advance). Overnight in La Fortuna. WHAT TO BRING: Swimsuit and towel, mosquito repellent, comfortable walking shoes, sweater, bottled water.
Day 10: La Fortuna Free Day
Enjoy a free day on your own to hike to Cerro Chato, visit La Fortuna waterfall, bathe at one of the many hot springs, or just relax and enjoy the stunning nature that surrounds you. Overnight in La Fortuna.
Day 11: La Fortuna to Monteverde
Today you will be picked-up from your accommodation and depart La Fortuna en route to Monteverde's Cloud Forest. The shuttle will drop you off at your new accommodation for check-in. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was established in 1972 and initially covered some 810 acres (328 ha) of forested land. Nowadays, its protective reach extends over 35,089 acres (14,200 ha) and encompasses eight life zones atop the Continental Divide. There are over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, and 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles living within its bounds. It’s one of the few remaining habitats that support all six species of the cat family – jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays, and jaguarundis – as well as the endangered three-wattled bellbird and resplendent quetzal. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to explore the nearby Santa Elena Town or relax at your accommodation. Overnight in Monteverde.
Day 12: Sugar Mill Trapiche Tour
After being picked up from your accommodation either for the 10:00 or 15:00 tour, head inland and enjoy the misty mountain air of Monteverde. Learn about the conservation of this precious ecosystem from local guides and enjoy an included sugarcane and coffee “Trapiche” Tour, where you will learn all the ins and outs of Costa Rican culture. During the tour of the farm you will encounter a small tilapia pond, banana plantations, plantains, arracache, macadamia, oranges, sugarcane, and coffee. As you walk around the farm, you will learn about the process involved in sugarcane cultivation, natural history and also have the opportunity to taste the sugarcane and its derivatives. Later you will learn about the coffee process, from planting to crushing, peeling, and roasting. After the walk, you’re invited to make a short trip in an oxen cart (not obligatory) that will take you to the building where the cocoa process is shown. Learn about the process of cocoa from different stages, starting with a brief explanation of how the tree develops, its pollination, how to get the fruit, seed fermentation, drying, roasting and grinding cocoa, and of course how to obtain delicious chocolate. To finish the tour you will learn how to process different types of sugarcane products, such as brown sugar, traditional “perica” or “sobado” (fudge), caramel and “guaro“ (cane liquor). During the tour you will have the opportunity to interact and make your own candy before tasting a ”gallo de arracache” and an exquisite cup of coffee, lemonade or aguadulce. After the tour, you will be dropped off at your accommodation in Monteverde for overnight.
Day 13: Zip Line Experience
Swing through the treetops on a zipline tour along 14 different cables. Feel the excitement on the big tarzan swing, the 30 meters rappel, the Superman Cable measuring 1 kilometer in length, and the Underground Superman Cable through a 175 meters long tunnel. During the tour, you will observe some beautiful views of the area from the 75-150 meters high cables. To reach the major heights, mix the extreme adventure together with the majestic forest and admire the rich natural beauty of the forest and its treasures. If you're lucky, catch an awesome view of the Pacific Ocean and Lake Nicaragua on a clear day. Observe over 100 species of mammals, over 400 species of birds (including 30 kinds of hummingbirds), tens of thousands of insect species and 2,500 species of plants (including 420 kinds of orchids) in one of Latin America's most outstanding wildlife reserves. Keep your eyes open to catch a glimpse of diverse and beautiful wildlife including the jaguar, ocelot, Baird's tapir, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrella bird and the famous quetzal.
Day 14: Monteverde to San Jose
This morning you will be picked-up at the reception of your accommodation to be transferred back to San Jose for some last minute shopping. Overnight in San Jose.
Day 15: San Jose Airport Drop-Off
Today check out from your accommodation to be transferred to San Jose International Airport to catch your outbound flight. On arrival at the airport, this amazing adventure comes to an end.