Ecotourism | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Lake of the Poas, Costa Rica,

    Introducing Coast-to-Coast Travel in Costa Rica

    <h2>Atlantic to pacific, the diversity is off the charts.</h2>   <p>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank">soundtrack of a day in Costa Rica</a> is a crazy mash-up. The macaws caw in a different key than the howler monkeys that are totally out of tempo with the tree frogs. But somehow, all of the twitters, raspy roars, buzzes, hoots, whirrs, howls, soprano trills and chuffs work just fine together until — as if somebody flipped a switch — they fade in unison at dusk.</p> <p>That’s the sound of biodiversity, and there’s more of it in this West Virginia-sized country than anywhere else on earth. That’s what makes <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">coast-to-coast travel in Costa Rica</a> so amazing. After all, this is a nation where a “transcontinental” flight takes about an hour. It’s a land with Afro-Caribbean culture and cowboys. Don’t even try to count the keeled-bill toucans, orchids and river otters or the surprisingly different habitats where they live.<br><br><img alt="Toucan" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">Coast-to-coast is how we took in Costa Rica’s diversity on our latest trip,</a> and now we’ve transformed our gee-whiz week into the newest Classic Journey. We start on the Caribbean side at Tortuguero National Park, a coastal landscape laced with freshwater creeks and lagoons. On a single kayak ride, you could spot white-faced Capuchin monkeys, caimans, tiger herons and … well, you get the idea. The local beach is one of the world’s most important nesting sites for sea turtles. In season, you may see the hatchlings emerging from the sand and making a break for the waves. In an isolated village (no cars, no streets), we hang out with the locals, visit their school and learn about their Afro-Caribbean heritage.</p> <p>Even a quick morning flight comes with a built-in geography lesson like no other. From the window, you get an egret’s-eye view of the rainforest and a trio of volcanoes … and you appreciate in a way no textbook ever taught you just how skinny Central America is. By early afternoon, you’re in a raft on the Tenorio River near the continental divide, ready to take on Class III/IV rapids or taking a walk to Llanos de Cortez waterfall. By dinner, you’re <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">in a Pacific-view room at a resort in Guanacaste National Park</a>, on one of the country’s most pristine beaches.<br><br><img alt="Whitewater rafting" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rBr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Up there in Costa Rica’s northwest corner, the climate’s a little dryer, and ranches stretch toward the Nicaraguan border. In season, we check out the cowboy and rodeo festival. In these parts, we go for a<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank"> guided walk near the volcano in Rincon de la Vieja National Park</a>. The forest is ideal for a quintessentially Costa Rican zipline ride through the treetops. And this is habitat for a full cast of monkey species, sloths, tapirs, collared peccaries and even jaguars and pumas. Just in case you haven’t already racked up enough unique experiences, we’ll also head out for a catamaran-based snorkeling trip or, alternatively, you can go for a surfing lesson on Pacific waves.</p> <p>Sound like fun? Here’s a bit of news that will make you even happier. Every activity on the trip is included in the price you pay upfront; you won’t run into a single surcharge or equipment rental fee the way you do on cruises or some other tours. We’re also offering the trip two ways: as a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">Luxury Eco-Adventure</a> and as a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoastfamily/" target="_blank">Multisport Family Journey</a>. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/coasttocoast/" target="_blank">Coast to coast, Costa Rica has more than enough variety</a> to spice up your life like no vacation ever has!</p>

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  • Group white water rafting in Costa Rica

    A Surprise Family Vacation to Costa Rica

    <h2><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costaricafamily/" target="_blank">FOR ONE CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY, A SURPRISE VACATION LED TO MORE DISCOVERIES THAN THEY EVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED.</a></h2>   <p>It’s Saturday morning and the Blumenfeld family is at home in San Diego, paging through a photo album of their vacation to Costa Rica with Classic Journeys in December, 2010. Evan and Elliana sit with their mom and dad, Tina and Vince. Oldest son, Jack, is on the phone from across the country in Syracuse, where he’s recently started his freshman year of college.</p> <p>Evan points to a photo of the kids singing karaoke. “Hey Mom, remember this?” he says.</p> <p>Tina laughs.</p> <p>“Of course. How could I forget? The kids all had their iPods and a microphone and all of them, even the shy ones, took turns singing karaoke,” she says. “We called it Costa Rica Idol. They really got into it.”</p> <p>Spend 6 days and 5 nights having fun and making memories together on a Costa Rica Family Journey, our most popular eco-tour. The trip was a surprise gift from Tina and Vince to their children. On Christmas morning, Jack, Evan and Elliana opened an envelope addressed to them and learned that the family would be leaving the next morning for a weeklong vacation in Costa Rica.</p> <p>“It was really exciting and also a bit of a shock to realize that we’d be leaving the next day for a big trip,” Jack says. “We all immediately started packing.”</p> <p>“Thankfully Classic Journeys gave us a very specific packing list, which made it really easy to pull it together and get out the door the next day,” Tina adds. “It was also exciting to know there were going to be other kids of similar ages as mine on the trip.”</p> <p>When Tina asks about the kids’ favorite memories from the vacation, their responses have a similar effect as looking through the family album—a bigger picture revealed through singular moments in time.</p> <p>“I loved the beach, but the whitewater rafting really made it for me,” Evan says. “I remember the guide got out of the boat at one point, ran up a cliff and did a backflip into the water. It was crazy.”</p> <p>“Zip-lining was my favorite,” says Elliana, who also mentions visiting an animal sanctuary where butterflies flitted and landed all over her head and arms.<br><br><img alt="Zip lining in Costa Rica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7md&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002p7n" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Jack enjoyed a special birthday dinner—he turned 15 on the trip—in a restaurant at the base of Arenal Volcano, with views of glowing lava from the table. He also recalls the guides encouraging him to ask a girl to dance on New Year’s Eve, just before the big fireworks display.</p> <p>Tina mentions the time Kenneth, their head guide, arranged a soccer game between the Classic Journeys teams and a group of local kids, where Elliana scored the winning goal. She also recounts sampling raw sugar cane and fresh cow’s milk on an organic farm, hiking to the volcano, and delivering supplies to a local grammar school.</p> <p>The family also fondly remembers many competitive games of Rummikub in the evenings, as well as relaxing swims in the resort pool after an active day, where the kids would order virgin Piña Coladas from the swim-up bar.</p> <p>“Bored was not a thing on this trip,” Jack says. “There was always something new to do, look forward to or learn about.”</p> <p>“It wasn’t just the Christmas morning surprise. Classic Journeys kept the surprises coming the whole trip,” Tina says. “Something as simple as having pizza one night—the kids were dying for pizza—or finding out that we were going whitewater rafting.”</p> <p>The family also found it is easier to relax and go with the flow while traveling with a small group and not having to worry about the logistics of keeping up with an itinerary. Splitting the week between two resorts—one in the rain forest and one on the beach—with just one transfer also added to everyone’s enjoyment.</p> <p>“We lead really busy lives,” Jack says. “We’re theater people. We’re athletes. We’re always doing something. So it’s nice to go on trips like this and just slow down and be together.”</p> <p>Back in the swing of their daily lives and several years removed from their Costa Rica vacation, the special memories of time spent together still remain. Even the name of the beach resort where they stayed—Si, Como No Resort, Spa and Wildlife Refuge—has a special place in family lore.<br><br><img alt="Si Como No in Costa Rica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7md&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002p7s" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>“We still say it now,” says Evan.</p> <p>Translated to English, it means, “Yes, why not?”</p>

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  • Sloth in Costa Rica

    Why Our Costa Rica Itineraries Just Made an Evolutionary Leap

    <p>My first scouting <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica Adventure Tours">trip to Costa Rica</a> about 20 years ago wasn’t what you would call an unqualified success. Among other things, I ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere on the road to Monteverde Cloud Forest. Fortunately, a farmer had a few gallons to spare – and the native ingenuity to turn a banana leaf into a funnel so he could get the fuel into my tank.</p> <p>Misadventures aside, I fell in love with Costa Rica, and ultimately our guests did too. For most of the last two decades it has been a top selling destination for Classic Journeys. Because of its proximity to the U.S. and a climate that’s mild all year, the country makes for an easy getaway in just about any season. Families really love all of the activities it offers. And the people of Costa Rica just do a better and better job of preserving their amazing eco-system and enhancing their tourism infrastructure.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica adventure tours">LEARN MORE ABOUT ADVENTURE TRAVEL TO COSTA RICA </a></h3> <p>So why did we decide near the end of 2014 to rethink our itinerary – when we could have just as easily left well enough alone? Our philosophy at Classic Journeys has always been that we want our trips to be exactly the kind of trips we’d like to take ourselves. And my family and I had one very special (and slightly different) experience that last time we went to Costa Rica. We’d been even busier than usual at home. So we decided to streamline things a bit and go to just two of our favorite parts of the country, rather than three as we had in the past. We spent a few days at a resort near the foot of Arenal Volcano – walks on hardened lava flows, hot springs, ziplining and forest canopy walks. And then we went straight to Manuel Antonio Park – Howler monkeys, amazing Pacific beaches, river-rafting and kayaking.<br><br><img alt="Arenal Volcano" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mn&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pQG" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>In the middle of the week, we had one of those “aha” moments. “Wait,” my wife and I marveled to each other, “we can do Costa Rica, but only re-pack and unpack once!” With a single transfer between two great boutique resorts, we also spent less time in transit from place to place. On top of that, we scheduled a slightly earlier flight back home on our last day. Some guests had told us that they’d rather end soon enough on the last day to fly right out, rather than spending an extra night in San Jose. The fact is, we still had a great final day…AND made it to the airport with time to spare.</p> <p>Back at home, we experimented by turning our own experience into a revised itinerary to test how it would work. We brainstormed with our local guides and hoteliers, and everybody agreed that a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica-walking-tours/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica adventure tours">6-day, 5-night trip </a>would work beautifully. By simplifying the in-country logistics a bit, we were actually able to reduce our costs – savings that we pass along to guests. And we can continue to offer all included activities at no extra cost. So, unlike other companies, the options we offer such as ziplining and whitewater rafting don’t up the price of the trip. The whole trip fits very comfortably into a week, though if you’re looking for a longer vacation, you can also pair it up with the Galápagos or add an extension to Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica.</p> <p>Just like that, the new itineraries for both our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica vacation packge">luxury eco-adventure</a> and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costaricafamily/" target="_blank" title="Costa Rica family journey">Family Journey </a>came together. They take effect with departures in March. We’ll keep on asking every guest what they think of our Costa Rica trip, and we’ll factor their comments in just like always. We’re also thinking that we should just go back ourselves again as soon as humanly possible to enjoy the trip again. Field research that includes counting butterflies and kayaking in a mangrove lagoon is really tough work, but we’re happy to make that sacrifice for you!</p> <p>Read more about Costa Rica:</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/the-true-account-of-how-classic-journeys-does-a-costa-rica-family-vacation/" target="_blank" title="The true account of how Classic Journeys does a Costa Rica Family Vacation">First-hand account of a family’s Classic Journey to Costa Rica</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/guides-favorite-moments-costa-rica-morocco-croatia/" target="_blank" title="Guides Favorite Moments: Costa Rica, Morocco, Croatia">Guides Favorite Moments</a></p> <br> 

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