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Perfectly Natural
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Costa Rica's natural diversity and incredible wildlife are waiting for travelers who want something more than the usual, and an escape from the crowds. Explore the rivers, waterfalls, paramo and cloudforest at San Gerardo de Dota right outside the door of your lodge then head to a Hacienda inside a national wildlife refuge against Playa Barú on the central Pacific coast where you'll find tropical lowland forest, mangrove estuaries, snorkeling and much more.

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Trogón Lodge (3 Nights)
Trogón Lodge (3 Nights)
Day 1 — Welcome to Costa Rica!

After your VIP greeting at the international airport it's off to the Trogón Lodge nestled in the idyllic and tranquil Savegre river valley and immersed in nature. Enjoy unrivaled birdwatching along the trails though their private reserve of tropical oaks hundreds of years old then return to the "El Quetzal” Restaurant and enjoy a family style meal that might include a rainbow trout you caught yourself if you're so inclined.
Catarata Savegre Trail
Catarata Savegre Trail
Costa Rica photos
Day 2 — A superb short hike to take from any of the lodges in the San Gerardo de Dota area. A well maintained trail along the Río Savegre with railed stairs on steep sections and a steel bridge so you can cross the river to reach the first waterfall easily and safely (1.2 km one way). This is sometimes called cave falls because of the opening that allows you to get behind the water.

From here the trail gets a little steeper and rougher for the last 0.7 km to the spectacular Catarata Savegre (total 1.9 km one way). - typically self guided, but expert naturalists are are available to accompany you on request.

Optional Resplendent Quetzales Walk
<em>Optional Resplendent Quetzales Walk</em>
Costa Rica photos
The most famous inhabitant of the cloud forest is the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomacrus mocinno) and not surprisingly San Gerardo de Dota bordering the newly created Los Quetzales National Park is the best place to see them (yes, way better than the more famous Monteverde). The best way to see them is with the aid of a pair of keen eyes, years of experience, professional grade binoculars and spotting scopes provided by your guide on this easy walk. The exact location of the walk will be determined by the guide who knows where to go when for the best viewing.

Trogon Canopy Ziplines
Trogon Canopy Ziplines
Day 3 — The cloud forest treetops are home to a whole different group of animals, plants and insects which makes this canopy zipline adventure both educational and a real blast. See and learn about the wildlife from your guides on the platforms then lock into the safest zipline system available with redundant support and comfortable waist and chest harnesses to fly to the next station.

Cerro de la Muerte
Day 4 — In the morning you'll travel over Cerro de la Muerte where the cloud forest gives way to the rainy paramo ecosystem. Most of the world's paramo is found in Ecuador but the northernmost occurrence of this unique high altitude tropical tundra habitat is in Costa Rica. A short gravel road from the pass leads to the peak, the paramo and unmatched panoramas.

Then it's all downhill more than 11,000 feet to the blue waters of the Pacific ocean.

Hacienda Barú (3 Nights)
Hacienda Barú (3 Nights)
Costa Rica photos
Hacienda Barú is one of the most incredible spots we have found in nearly two decades of traveling Costa Rica. A True Eco lodge from the recycled roof tiles and solar water heaters to the location inside the National Wildlife Refuge you won't find a more natural destination and will be amazed at the amenities and comfort possible in perfect harmony with the environment.
Snorkeling Isla del Caño
Snorkeling Isla del Caño
Costa Rica photos
Day 5 — The trip to Caño Island is a full day. The boat launches from Playa Uvita in Marino Ballena National Park south of Dominical and is nearly always accompanied by spotted, or bottlenose dolphins while crossing the Bahía de Coronado to Isla del Caño.

Snorkel from the beach or the boat in the clear warm waters featuring five coral platforms then enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade under the palms. In the afternoon take a break from the mask and fins on the well maintained hiking trails through virgin rainforest. Investigate the mysterious stone spheres and other artifacts at the pre-Columbian cemetery or climb to the mirador.

Try to resist the temptation to nap on the way back to the mainland because these waters are the calving grounds for two distinct populations of humpback whales and chances are good to see them spy hopping or breaching from July all the way through April.

Barú National Wildlife Refuge, Playa Barú
Barú National Wildlife Refuge, Playa Barú
Day 6 — Guests at the Hacienda enjoy unlimited access to the wildlife refuge and kilometers of trails though half a dozen habitats. Near the lodge there is a canopy observation tower perfect for spotting birds, pizotes, monkeys and other wildlife and the frog pond, butterfly garden and caterpillar nursery are only steps from the restaurant. You'll want to save some energy to walk the nearly deserted kilometers long playa Barú at sunset.

Optional Tree Climbing, Waterfalls, Surfing
For those with more time optional tours include mangrove estuary calm water kayaking, horseback to Don Lulo’s Cataratas Nauyaca, the "Flight of the Toucan", tree climbing and don't forget the world famous surf break at Playa Dominical borders the south edge of the refuge.

Adiós ¡Hasta Luego!
Day 7 — Hit the beach for one last stroll or swim then shake the sand out of your flip-flops and pack them away until you can join us again. Complete the loop heading north along the Pacific coast (two other Costa Rican national parks are along the way if you're not already hiked out, Manuel Antonio and Carara) and across the famous crocodile bridge (guaranteed sightings up to 20 feet long) on the Río Tarcoles. We'll schedule it so you arrive at the international airport the required 3 hours before your flight home.

Thank you for traveling with us and of course ¡Pura Vida!

Included in your Costa Rica Vacation (mouse over name to show location)

This suggested travel plan can easily be reversed if you'd like to hit the beach first. Adding the world rated Pacuare river rafting adventure (overnight in the jungle or one day) is an easy side trip.
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† Toucan Maps Inc./Costa Rica is based in Colorado and an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in good standing with an A rating.
‡ Pacific Trade Winds S.A. is based in Nuevo Arenal Costa Rica and certified by the Costa Rica National Chamber of Tourism/Camara Nacional de Tourismo (Canatur) and a green member (#900185097) in good standing of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).