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 LA PAZ, ARENAL & GUANACASTE (06B09)
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* SUMMARY * 06B09. PRIVATE NATURE TOURS IN ARENAL & STAY AT PUNTA ISLITA IN GUANACASTE (9 Days/8 Nights)
Nature Discovery in the Arenal Volcano Area and Punta Islita Resort
From US$4,950 per person in double occupancy ($550 per person per day), depending on the season and category of rooms booked.*

With a private Naturalist Guide, visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Butterfly Farm, take a float trip on the Peas Blancas River and walk the Hanging Bridges Project in Arenal Before leaving Arenal, an evening soak in a natural hot springs is planned. Then spend four nights at the upscale, Punta Islita Hotel near the beach in Guanacaste Province. Canopy tour included.

Meal codes: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.

Day 1: Arrival Costa Rica (No meals.)
Overnight at Xandari Plantation (ultra room).

Day 2: San Jose / La Paz Waterfalls Gardens / Arenal** (B,L,D)
This morning you will meet your private naturalist guide and driver, both of whom will accompany you during the next two days in Arenal. With them, depart for the 3 1⁄2-hour drive to Arenal. En route stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for lunch. Also walk the trails and visit the butterfly observatory before continuing to Arenal. In the evening you will visit the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs. Dinner is included. Overnight at The Lost Iguana Resort.

Day 3: Arenal / Penas Blancas River Float & Hanging Bridges Trails (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive 20 mins. to the Peas Blancas River for a Safari Tour led by your Naturalist Guide. The first part of the tour begins with a two-hour trip on an inflatable boat (no motor). It is easy to spot Howler monkeys, crocodiles, toucans, two species of sloths and different types of local birds. Near the end of the safari, walk into the tropical rainforest. Return to your hotel. In the afternoon walk the Arenal Hanging Bridges trails. Overnight at The Lost Iguana Resort.

Day 4: Arenal / Fortuna / Hotel Punta Islita (B)
Your guide and driver will accompany you on the 30-min. van transfer to La Fortuna airstrip. (End of Naturalist Guide services.) Here you will board a chartered flight to Punta Islita (40 mins). Overnight at Punta Islita Hotel (suite w/private Jacuzzi).

Day 5: Punta Islita / Canopy Tour (B)
Soar through the forest canopy as you safely glide on a steel cable zip line. This tour offers views of the rugged coastline (1-3/4 hours). Overnight at Punta Islita.

Days 6-7: Punta Islita (B)
Days to explore the area at your leisure or participate in optional activities (at additional cost). Overnight at Punta Islita.

Day 8: Islita / San Jose (B)
You will be driven to the Islita airstrip to board a chartered flight back to San Jose (40 mins). Overnight at Xandari Plantation (ultra room).

Day 9: Departure (B)
Transfer to the International Airport, arriving at least 2-3 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time.

*Pricing can vary considerably depending on the number of people in your group and travel dates. Please contact us for an accurate quote on this or any other trip on our web site.

**See Arenal Safety Guidelines.

IMPORTANT: There is a 25-pound weight limit on domestic flights in Costa Rica. Please remember to pack light. If you would like to leave some of your belongings behind, we will do our best to catch it up to you when you arrive at the next destination in your itinerary.
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* DETAILED * 06B09. PRIVATE NATURE TOURS IN ARENAL & STAY AT PUNTA ISLITA IN GUANACASTE (9 Days/8 Nights)
Nature Discovery in the Arenal Volcano Area and Punta Islita Resort
From US$4,950 per person in double occupancy ($550 per person per day), depending on the season and category of rooms booked.*

With a private Naturalist Guide, visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Butterfly Farm, take a float trip on the Peas Blancas River and walk the Hanging Bridges Project in Arenal Before leaving Arenal, an evening soak in a natural hot springs is planned. Then spend four nights at the upscale, Punta Islita Hotel near the beach in Guanacaste Province. Canopy tour included.

Meal codes: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.

Day 1: Arrival Costa Rica (No meals.)
Arrive at San Jose's Juan Santamara International Airport. After passing through Immigration you will be met by a Costa Rica Expeditions' representative who will give you a sticker that will facilitate clearing customs. When you leave the building after clearing customs, look for a sign that says, "Costa Rica Expeditions" with your name on it. A Costa Rica Expeditions guide wearing an orange shirt is holding the sign. He or she will take you to your hotel. Overnight at Xandari Plantation (ultra room).

Day 2: San Jose / La Paz Waterfalls Gardens / Arenal** (B,L,D)
This morning you will meet your private naturalist guide and driver, both of whom will accompany you during the next two days in Arenal. With them, depart for the 3 1⁄2-hour drive to Arenal. En route stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for lunch. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is designed around five waterfalls accessed by 3 kms of paved trails and viewing platforms. It also includes a butterfly observatory with over 20 different species of butterflies with an on-site laboratory that allows guests to follow the lifecycle and metamorphosis of these amazing creatures from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. There is a hummingbird garden with 24 different species of the birds and a serpentarium with 30 of the most beautiful and deadly snakes of Costa Rica, such as the Bushmaster, Fer-De-Lance, Green Vinesnake, and Golden Eyelash Viper. An exhibit with frogs of the Central American rainforest includes the Red Eyed Tree frog, the Flying frog and various species of Poison Dart frogs. Finally, visit the "Casita" (little house), built using only the tools available to the average farmer a century ago. Step back in time and taste some fresh milk (right from the cow), take a ride in an ox-driven cart, sample freshly made tortillas and see how the Ticos (Costa Ricans) lived and worked on rural farms. The altitude in the park ranges from 4,300-5,000 feet and includes both cloud and rainforest. After lunch, continue on to Arenal.

In the evening you will visit the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs, the ideal alternative to the mass tourism hot springs in Arenal. When we first met the Hidalgo Family in 2000, they were reluctant to open up their family farm to visitors. Finally they agreed to try it by appointment only on a trial basis. They found, perhaps to their surprise, that they enjoyed having foreign guests on this basis and have now put in changing rooms and a restaurant. The springs consist of five free-flowing pools set in a natural river gorge. Water temperature ranges from 100F (38C) to 109F (43C) depending on the pool. A Costa Rican Home style meal in the restaurant, modeled after the first house that Don Manuel and Dona Hortemida Hidalgo built when they settled on the Farm in 1940 is included. Overnight at The Lost Iguana Resort.

Day 3: Arenal / Penas Blancas River Float & Hanging Bridges Trails (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive 20 mins. to the Peas Blancas River for a Safari Tour led by your Naturalist Guide. The first part of the tour begins with a two-hour trip on an inflatable boat (no motor). While you enjoy sounds from nature your guide will describe the flora and fauna around you. It is easy to spot Howler monkeys, crocodiles, toucans, two species of sloths and different types of local birds. At the end of the safari, it is time to put on your long pants and get ready to hike into the Primary Tropical Rainforest where you will find trees 100 or more years old and look for the "Blue Jean Frog " (Dendrobates pumilio). Here you may also spot one of the smallest flying mammals in Costa Rica. Continue floating and admiring the flora and fauna for about forty minutes towards Boca Arenal. Return to your hotel.

In the afternoon visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a project that consists of eight fixed bridges, ranging in length between 8 and 22 meters, and six hanging bridges, built with the latest techniques and designed with an eye for both beauty and safety. The bridges and trails, which cover a distance of 3 kms, were designed to blend with the natural environment, leaving the forest virtually intact. As you walk, you be able to appreciate the great diversity of flowers and wildlife that are typical of the rainforest, along with the imposing views (weather permitting) of Arenal Volcano. Overnight at The Lost Iguana Resort.

Day 4: Arenal / Fortuna / Hotel Punta Islita (B)
Your guide and driver will accompany you on the 30-min. land transfer to La Fortuna airstrip. (End of Naturalist Guide services.) Here you will board a chartered flight to Punta Islita (40 mins). Upon arrival, a representative from the hotel will be waiting to drive you to the resort (15 mins). Overnight at Punta Islita Hotel (suite w/private Jacuzzi).

Day 5: Punta Islita / Canopy Tour (B)
Soar through the forest canopy as you safely glide on a steel cable zip line. This tour offers views of the rugged coastline (1-3/4 hours). Overnight at Punta Islita.

Days 6-7: Punta Islita (B)
Days to explore the area at your leisure or participate in optional activities such as biking, fishing, and or horseback riding (at additional cost). Overnight at Punta Islita.

Day 8: Islita / San Jose (B)
You will be driven to the Islita airstrip to board a chartered flight back to San Jose (40 mins). Upon arrival, atransfer guide will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Overnight at Xandari Plantation (ultra room).

Day 9: Departure (B)
Transfer to the International Airport, arriving at least 2-3 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time.

*Pricing can vary considerably depending on the number of people in your group and travel dates. Please contact us for an accurate quote on this or any other trip on our web site.

**See Arenal Safety Guidelines.

IMPORTANT: There is a 25-pound weight limit on domestic flights in Costa Rica. Please remember to pack light. If you would like to leave some of your belongings behind, we will do our best to catch it up to you when you arrive at the next destination in your itinerary.
Xandari Plantation
Xandari Plantation consists of 16 spacious villas on a 40 acre coffee and fruit plantation overlooking Costa Rica's Central Valley... The creation of architect Sherrill Broudy and artist Charlene Broudy, who envisioned a paradise reflecting the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

Lost Iguana Resort
"This hotel offers large and luxurious rooms with great views of the volcano...All rooms feature a private balcony or porch." -Frommers.com (2006) From your terrace, soak in a jacuzzi while listening to the sounds of toucans and Howler Monkeys. Amenities include: A/C, Jacuzzi baths, kitchenettes, safe deposit box, satellite TV and hair dryer in all rooms.

Punta Islita Hotel
This resort complex is located south of Carillo and Samara on the Nicoya Peninsula near the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge. Rooms have private patios with hammocks, some with outdoor jacuzzi or private pool. The beach is below the lodge after a 10-min. walk or short shuttle ride. Good nouvelle French-style seafood in the lodge's Palapa Restaurant. There is a cascade swimming pool with Jacuzzi, swim-up bar, restaurant, boutique and conference room. Tennis courts, driving range, gym and spa are also featured. Hot climate.

INCLUDED:
Accommodations: As featured in the itinerary. Meals: As indicated in the itinerary: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner. Transfers: Included in fixed departure (group) programs, on arrival and departure, when arriving and departing on the first and last scheduled days of the tour. For all other tours, transfers are included as indicated. Porterage: The handling of two bags per person. Baggage and personal effects are at the owner's risk throughout the tour. Taxes & entrance fees: Hotel taxes, entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest in effect at the time of booking are included unless otherwise specified. Sightseeing: As specified in the itinerary.

NOT INCLUDED:
Costs of obtaining passports, visas or tourist cards; excess baggage fees; personal expenses such as room service, beverages and laundry; gratuities for tour escort, guides or driver; personal communications charges; international airfare and airport departure taxes (US$26 per person as of April 2009) excess mileage carried out at the request of the passenger; sightseeing or meals not specified in the itinerary; personal insurance coverage (strongly recommended).

HOLIDAY PAYMENT POLICY: APPLIES TO CHRISTMAS, NEW YEARS, PRESIDENTS WEEK AND EASTER
A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required to guarantee your reservation upon acceptance of proposal. The balance is due 60 days prior to the start date of departure. Any trips that are reserved less than 90 days prior to arrival must make full payment before hotel reservations can be confirmed. Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotels, guides and services are non-refundable.

PAYMENT POLICY FOR DATES OTHER THAN HOLIDAY DATES:
A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required to guarantee your reservation upon acceptance of proposal. The balance is due 30 days prior to the start date of departure. Any trips that are confirmed less than 60 days prior to arrival must make full payment before hotel reservations can be confirmed.

CHANGE POLICY:
Guests occasionally may want to make changes at the last minute, even after having arrived in Costa Rica. These changes involve a considerable amount of extra work requiring a series of phone calls, emails and printed documents. For this reason, Costa Rica Expeditions charges $75.00 for any changes made to the vacation after final services have been confirmed. This fee is in addition to any costs or penalties imposed by the companies impacted by the newly requested or cancelled services.

PRICES CHARGED:
The rates that Costa Rica Expeditions receives from lodging and other suppliers of services may be the same or even higher than the prices that the suppliers offer the public via the Internet or other channels of distribution. The prices we charge reflect our costs and a reasonable profit for our services in planning and operating the trip. We do not claim that individual services that may appear to be or actually be similar to the services we resell can never by obtained for prices lower than ours.

PRICE BREAKDOWNS:
We do not give price breakdowns. The reason is that we have found through the years that, if we do so, we spend so much time having to explain every cost that we would have to charge considerably more for arranging the trips then we do now. Even more important, in almost all cases cost breakdowns would not help our clients choose a better vacation or a better value. The way we see it, our job is to concentrate on all the details and try to give our clients their ideal vacation at the best possible price. The travelers' job is to look at their holiday as a whole and decide whether our proposal will provide the vacation they want at a price they can afford. The best way for us to help travelers make the right decisions is to give them the most accurate descriptions possible of the experience, and a clear explanation of what is and is not included in the cost. A detailed breakdown takes attention away from the overall quality of the experience. We acknowledge that we may occasionally inadvertently over-charge. If the price we are quoting seems excessive, please say so. Someone other than the person who prepared the original quote will recheck it. If there is an error we will make the adjustment. (We have also been known to accidentally leave out charges that should have been included. If we discover that this is the case after the first payment, we will not charge you.) We are also aware of the possibility that the quote may be more than you want to spend. Please let us know if this case and, if feasible, we will quote a more affordable itinerary.

CHANGE POLICY:
Guests occasionally may want to make changes at the last minute, even after having arrived in Costa Rica. These changes involve a considerable amount of extra work requiring a series of phone calls, emails and printed documents. For this reason, Costa Rica Expeditions charges $75.00 for any changes made to the vacation after final services have been confirmed. This fee is in addition to any costs or penalties imposed by the companies impacted by the newly requested or cancelled services.

HOLIDAY CANCELLATION POLICY: APPLIES TO CHRISTMAS, NEW YEARS, PRESIDENTS WEEK AND EASTER.
Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotel, guides and services are non-refundable. In the case of cancellations 90 days or more prior to the start date of the scheduled trip, there is a full refund minus hotel deposits and guide fees, in addition to a cancellation fee of $300 or 15% of the entire cost of the trip, whichever is less. In the case of cancellations received in our office from 89 to 46 days prior to the start date of the trip, there is a 50% refund, minus hotel deposits and guide fees. There will be no refund for cancellations made 45 or fewer days prior to the trip. This policy may not apply to hotels or tours in which Costa Rica Expeditions, S.A., acts only as an intermediary, in which case the individual policies of the suppliers may apply. We strongly suggest that you purchase trip cancelation and travel protection insurance. Given that this insurance is easily available and relatively inexpensive we don’t give refunds for last minute cancelations.

CANCELLATION POLICY FOR DATES OTHER THAN HOLIDAY DATES:
Deposits that are made to secure peak season hotel, guides and service are non-refundable. In the case of cancellations 30 days or more prior to the start date of the scheduled trip, there is a full refund minus hotel deposits and guide fees, in addition to a cancellation fee of $300 or 10% of the entire cost of the trip, whichever is less. In the case of cancellations received in our office from 29 to 15 days prior to the start date of the trip, there is a 50% refund, minus hotel deposits and guide fees. There will be no refund for cancellations made 14 or fewer days prior to the trip. This policy may not apply to hotels or tours in which Costa Rica Expeditions, S.A., acts only as an intermediary, in which case the individual policies of the suppliers may apply. We strongly suggest that you purchase trip cancelation and travel protection insurance. Given that this insurance is easily available and relatively inexpensive we don’t give refunds for last minute cancelations.

INSURANCE: TRIP CANCELLATION & TRAVEL PROTECTION
Costa Rica Expeditions strongly recommends that you buy Trip Cancellation and Travel Protection Insurance. Here are some of the coverage’s:

  • Trip cancellation or interruption because of a covered medical problem that you, your traveling companion, family member or business partner may develop between the time you book and the end of your trip.
  • Trip cancellation or interruption because of burglary of your or your traveling companion’s residence within 10 days of your departure or during your trip.
  • Non-delivery of services bankruptcies or financial defaults of airlines or tour operators.
  • Expenses arising from an accident or sickness during your trip including evacuation or repatriation to a hospital near your home if your situation is acute or life threatening.
  • Payment for lost and delayed baggage. If you do not have this kind of insurance and any one of these or several other situations covered by the policy should arise you would have to cover the expense out of your own pocket.
  • The policy we recommend even covers you for pre-existing medical conditions if purchased within 10 days of the date you pay for or deposit your trip. Our travel insurance contact in the United States is Preferred Adventures Ltd, St Paul, MN. If you wish to purchase insurance, please access their website at the link below. When you purchase Travel Insurance you will need a location number, the location number is 23-0428.

https://www.travelex-insurance.com/consumer/welcome.aspx?location=23-0428

PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS:
All foreign citizens entering Costa Rica must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date they enter the country. As of April 2007, Citizens of the United States are required to have a valid passport for at least 30 days after the date they enter into the country.

Please visit

http://www.costarica-embassy.org/consular/travel/documents.htm

Citizens of the United States and many other countries do not need visas to enter Costa Rica. Citizens of countries other than the United States, Canada and the European Economic Community should check with the nearest Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate. Please note effective January 23, 2007 all nationals, including U.S. citizens, will be required to hold a valid passport to enter the United States by air. This also applies when coming from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The new passport requirement means that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, who are departing the U.S. and intend to re-enter the United States are required to hold a valid passport upon departure from the U.S. A word to the wise: In years past entrance requirements were much less strictly enforced than they have been lately. Airline counter personal in the country of origin are responsible for enforcing entrance requirements. Although they may still occasionally be lax, if you do not have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your date of travel, it is highly probable that they will not let you board the plane.
A pre-paid airline ticket to exit Costa Rica (either to return to your country or to go to another country) a visa (if required) is required for entry as well.

VACCINATIONS:
Regarding malaria, the US Center for Disease Control has a single recommendation for the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama, despite the fact the danger of contracting malaria varies greatly from country to country and from region to region within the countries. The CDC recommends taking Chloroquin, which, if you choose to use it, you should start taking at least 2 weeks before possible exposure. (To cover their backs the CDC says a month to 6 weeks.)

Our Costa Rican doctor, who has no bureaucratic needs to cover his back and whose judgment in these matters we have come to respect, does not agree with the recommendation, He points out that while there is a slight chance of getting malaria in Costa Rica, there is also a slight chance of side effects from Chloroquin, which is at least as serious as the strains of malaria that have been recorded here. What we who live here do, if anything, is use insect repellant that contains DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide) when there is a likelihood of getting bitten.   (Be sure to follow the precautions on the label.)  Not only will this minimize the possibility of getting malaria, but also it will help protect you from getting other insect born diseases---not to mention itchy bites.   While we are talking about prevention of disease, make sure your tetanus inoculation is current. 

This all said, finally you have to make your own decision about whether to use malaria prophylaxis or not.  (The CDC is not the only ones who cover their backs.)

IF YOU ARE COMING FROM THE EASTERN HEMISPHERE, PANAMA OR SOUTH AMERICA:
Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Costa Rica, the government requires travelers arriving from Click for list of countries:

http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh4-YellowFever.aspx#667

Countries where yellow fever is present requires to present proof of yellow fever vaccination.  If you will be traveling to one of these countries where yellow fever is present before arriving in Costa Rica, this requirement must be taken into consideration.

As well as countries in the Eastern Hemisphere from which we almost never have arriving guests, among the countries listed are Latin American Countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Bolivia.  This is very important take into account.  If you are coming from any of the listed countries and do not have a current vaccination certificate they will be denied boarding on flights to Costa Rica. By the way, the same requirement applies for entry in many other countries including the US.

GENERAL TERMS & CONDITIONS RESPONSIBILITY:
Costa Rica Expeditions, S.A., (its owners, associates, agents and employees) give notice that they assume no responsibility for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, thefts, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, discrepancies or change in transit or hotel service over which it has no control.

Costa Rica Expeditions is not responsible for loss of life, personal injury, cancellations, delays, over-bookings, loss or damage of baggage and/or loss of services as a result of the same caused by any domestic flights within Costa Rica. For an additional charge, when advisable, charter flights may be arranged through Costa Rica Expeditions. Should clients decide to book a charter flight; Costa Rica Expeditions will not assume responsibility for cancellations, delays, over bookings, any loss of services from the same.

Costa Rica Expeditions reserves the right to adjust the U.S. dollar prices without notice, to reflect fluctuations in the Foreign Exchange Markets. Costa Rica Expeditions also reserves the right to withdraw a tour or any part of it, to make such alterations in the itinerary as it deems necessary for the comfort or well-being of the participants and to pass on to tour members any expenditure or losses caused by delays or events beyond its control. With advance deposit to Costa Rica Expeditions or any of its agents, the depositor therefore agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions.

MEDICAL AND HEALTH:
We have a 24-hour medical service. Guests with existing medical conditions should make them known to Costa Rica Expeditions well before their arrival to Costa Rica, given that guests will be, at some time during their trip, in some of the most remote places in Costa Rica. Under certain circumstances, evacuation could be prolonged, difficult, expensive or impossible. Guests should take special care. If they feel sick, they should tell us so we can start making arrangements for evacuation should it become necessary. Leaders on all of our wilderness trips carry a fully stocked first-aid kit. Hospital facilities are excellent in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Expeditions assumes no liability for costs of evacuation or provision of medical care. We strongly recommend that trip participants purchase short-term traveler?s insurance covering baggage, accident/life and trip cancellation.

CONDUCT:
Costa Rica Expeditions and its designated representatives reserve the right to disqualify any person as member of any trip or tour, should such persons actions or general deportment impede the operation of the trip or the rights or welfare or enjoyment of other members of the trip. Refunds are usually not given under these circumstances. In such extraordinary instances when a refund is granted, it is agreed that a refund based on the actual cost of the unused land services is the limit of Costa Rica Expeditions?

LIMIT OF LIABILITY FOR LOST BAGGAGE:
Costa Rica Expeditions makes every possible effort to protect the baggage placed in our care. In the unlikely event that baggage or its content is lost, Costa Rica Expeditions will compensate the owner of said baggage for the value of the baggage and it´s contents or four hundred dollar currency of the United States of America (US$400), whichever is less. Under no circumstances do we make compensation for claims of lost cash or cash equivalents such as traveler’s checks. Alleged verbal representations by employees of Costa Rica Expeditions or any other person to the effect that Costa Rica Expeditions will take responsibility for amounts greater than the limit stated above are not valid.

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