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RAPIDS AND RAINFORESTS
By Michele Ostrove,
Costa Rica is one of the smallest countries in the Americas (it’s roughly the size of Massachusetts), but don’t be fooled by its modest size. Within this tiny footprint, you’ll find one of the most richly varied geographies in the world – including lush rainforests, cascading rivers, pristine beaches, towering mountains, and five active volcanoes. Thanks to a variety of fertile microclimates and a unique position as a land bridge between North and South America, it’s also a virtual melting pot for flora and fauna; many exotic species evolved here, and migrating animals are pulled here as if by some magnetic force. So, too, are nature-loving families looking for the vacation of a lifetime.

With so much to experience, you’ll need a specialized outfitter that can customize your trip. Costa Rica Expeditions (www.costaricaexpeditions.com), a pioneer in adventure travel and ecotourism, is one of several local companies that understand the tricky balance between staying still for too long and trying to do to much. Simply tell them how much time and money you want to spend, who will be participating, and how active you want to be – they’ll take care of the rest.

A typical itinerary begins with whitewater rafting (kids’ ages will dictate the river and thrill factor) and moves on to Tortuguero National Park, a protected tropical rainforest that’s home to more than 350 species of virds and mammals. From July to October, you can watch the giant Green Sea Turtles make their way ashore, lay their eggs, cover their nests and return to the sea. You might also visit Arenal (an active volcano near the charming town of La Fortuna), hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or enjoy some beach time on the Pacific or Caribbean coasts. With the help of boats, kayaks, horses, ziplines, surfboards, snorkels and your own trusty two feet, you’ll come face-to-face with almost every kind of creature imaginable. And, if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of that most rare specimen: the genuinely cheerful teenager.

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MY FAVORITE TRIPS

Keep a list of favorite trips by clicking the link, "Add to My Favorites" found on all itineraries.

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Creating a My favoriteS LIST

As you search for your ideal trip in the custom itineraries section of our web site, you may wish to create a list of favorite trips. To do so, click on the link above each itinerary, “Add to My Favorites.” Each itinerary you chose will be added to a personalized list of trips. You can add as many trips as you want to your list and refer back to them by clicking on the link, "See My Favorites," which will appear in the right column once you have selected a favorite.

Your list of favorites will follow you as you surf the site, allowing you to refer back to selected itineraries at any time. On your next visit to our web site, the list will reappear by clicking the link, “See My Favorites.”

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Turtle nesting in Tortuguero (July-Oct)

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