Wild Costa Rica Escape: Guanacaste’s Coral Reefs & Volcanic Peaks
The Journey with Erika Team invites you to sail along this breathtaking Costa Rica Adventure exploring Guanacaste’s Coral Reefs & Volcanic Peaks. Join us this winter, departing San Jose, Costa Rica on December 4, 2021, or reach out to plan a future cruise!
Explore the dazzling natural wonders of Guanacaste
Discover the treasures of one of Costa Rica’s richest regions, Guanacaste, on a six-day voyage. Snorkel and kayak among a multicolored galaxy of tropical fish and palm-lined beaches in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hike, ride horseback, and zipline amid mist-shrouded volcanic peaks in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, where 32 rivers and streams cut their way through incredible biodiversity. As we venture from uninhabited isles to wildlife-rich jungles, bask in the “pura vida” that infuses this ecologically rich country.
Navigate the pristine coastline of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, snorkel crystalline waters, and explore wildlife-rich parks and preserves
Discover diverse tropical ecosystems while exploring via kayak and paddleboard, on foot, on horseback, and soaring by zipline
Spend an afternoon enjoying Isla Tortuga’s palm-shaded beaches before a barbecue dinner on the sand
- Explore the volcanic landscapes of Rincón de la Vieja National Park and search for exotic wildlife, from monkeys to macaws
DAY 1: San José, Costa Rica / Puerto Caldera / Embark Upon arrival in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, transfer by land to Puerto Caldera and embark our ship the National Geographic Quest. Enjoy a sunset dinner on board as we chart a course for the Guanacaste region on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
DAY 2: Zapotal Beach / Bahia Huevos Drop anchor off remote Zapotal Beach, where we’ll spend the morning soaking up the sun or snorkeling in waters fringed by offshore islets, which create outstanding habitat for a variety of tropical fish. Or choose to walk along a rarely used four-wheel-drive track, which takes us back into a beautiful gallery forest. The area is rich with bird and plant varieties, and our naturalists describe the intricate web of life in these oceanside ecosystems. After lunch on board, we cruise north to the Papagayo Peninsula, dropping anchor in Bahia Huevos. Our Zodiacs take us on an exploration of the bay and the peninsula. If conditions, permit, we drop kayaks and paddleboards and explore the nearby mangroves
DAY 3: Islas Murcielagos / Santa Rosa National Park / Guanacaste Conservation Area Today we set our sights on Islas Murcielagos (also known as the Bat Islands) in the World Heritage designated Guanacaste Conservation Area. Weather permitting, don a snorkel and fins to discover a rich underwater world or hike into the upper reaches of the islands for commanding views over the full length of this rarely visited archipelago. Back on board, we sail toward the mainland while enjoying a delicious lunch. Depending on conditions, we may choose to explore Santa Elena Bay in Santa Rosa National Park, Junquillal Wildlife Refuge, or Cuajiniquil Bay, all part of the extraordinarily biodiverse Guanacaste Conservation Area. While venturing out by kayak or taking a relaxing Zodiac cruise, we immerse ourselves in the tropical environment, alive with color. Yellow and black great kiskadee sally from exposed perches looking to capture a flying insect for an evening meal, and orange-fronted parakeets chatter overhead. Predators such as mangrove hawks may take wind, setting out on a late afternoon hunt, while ringed kingfishers, richly colored in brick red and deep blue, wait patiently, watching the shallows for a fish’s silvery flash. **Please note: National Geographic Quest will sail to Nicaragua overnight where necessary immigration requirements will be completed prior to returning to Costa Rica on Day 4.
DAY 4: Rincón de la Vieja National Park / Hacienda Guachipelin Our adventure today continues as we set off inland to explore Rincón de la Vieja National Park. This mountainous region is also a part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area and encompasses more than 34,000 acres. The area, with its forests carpeting the sides of two active volcanoes is alive with geothermal activity as gurgling, bubbling mud pots spout and steam rises above the canopy. Choose between several enticing options today including a hike through the transition zone where tropical dry habitat meets the temperate cloud forest. Here, we keep an eye out for exotic wildlife, with the possibility of encountering mantled howler monkeys and regionally special birds including the noisy and conspicuous white-throated magpie-jay. Alternatively, after a short hike into the forest, opt to swim below Las Chorreras Waterfall. Or choose to ride horseback across lush meadows, or soar through the canopy by zipline before enjoying a sumptuous lunch served poolside at Hacienda Guachipelin while local marimba guitarists play and fresh ceviche is prepared.
DAY 5: Curu National Wildlife Refuge / Isla Tortuga Along the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, and in many ways demarcating the line between the wetter jungles of the south and Guanacaste’s drier environment sits Curu National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica’s first private national wildlife reserve. Learn about the hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, and mammals that inhabit this thriving
ecosystem while exploring the park’s tracks and trails. Here we look for white-faced capuchin monkeys, Turquoise-browed motmots, and with luck, scarlet macaws. The northern tamandua resides here, and while often elusive and quiet, this primarily arboreal member of the anteater family may be spotted. Later, as we enjoy lunch on board, we cruise to a cluster of offshore islets collectively called Isla Tortuga. Choose to stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or simply relax on the beach shaded by swaying palms and tropical vegetation. As the sun begins to set on our Guanacaste adventure, a waterside barbecue dinner awaits—the perfect way to finish our voyage.
DAY 6: Puerto Caldera / Disembark / San José / U.S. Disembark after breakfast in Puerto Caldera. Drive to the airport in San José for flights home.