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NICARAGUA AND COSTA RICA ECO ADVENTURE
This trip will take you on an ecological adventure through the lush rainforest and volcanic peaks of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. You’ll have the chance to learn about sustainability and environmentalism while experiencing a dizzying array of outdoor adventure activities, from ziplining to stand-up paddle boarding. After starting out in the historical gem of Granada, you will travel to the volcanic island of Ometepe, whose name literally means ‘two volcanoes’ in the Nahuatl language. The journey will then take you across the border to Costa Rica, one of the world’s most biodiverse countries and a leading destination in ecotourism. In the magnificent cloud forest of Monteverde, your naturalist guide will help you spot an abundance of wild species as you experience the landscape through exhilarating outdoor adventures. Your next stop will be the town of La Fortuna, a small agricultural town located 4 miles (6km) from the base of the famous Arenal volcano. This region is an animal lover’s paradise with its variety of unique species from sleepy sloths to creeping crocodiles. By combining outdoor adventure with environmental education, this trip will give you the chance to discover the dazzling natural beauty of Costa Rica and Nicaragua while inspiring you to take action to preserve these lands for future generations.
Highlights of the Trip
- Enjoy a canopy walk and zipline through the magnificent cloud forest
- Trek along an active volcano and look for unique wildlife in the jungle
- Participate in educational talks on conservation, biodiversity, and the environment
- Connect with locals by visiting community tourism projects
- Experience the biologically rich island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua
Service: Deepen your understanding of MEDLIFE’s work through educational discussions. Your trip also directly contributes to our work bringing healthcare, education, and a safe home to communities.
Environment: This trip will take you to leading destinations in ecotourism as you learn about sustainability, biodiversity, and conservation through educational discussions.
Education:Learn about local culture through visits to community tourism projects. Your naturalist guides will also share their knowledge of the geological and biological influences that have shaped the environments you visit.
Life-changing experiences: This trip will leave you awe-struck by nature and inspire you to protect the beautiful landscapes and unique species that are increasingly vulnerable to climate change.
Itinerary In Brief
Day 1: Saturday
Your adventure begins in Granada with a welcome briefing at 6pm. After reviewing the itinerary together, enjoy a welcome dinner as you get to know other group members and the tour leader.
Overnight in Granada
Day 2: Sunday
Take the morning to explore the cobblestoned streets of Granada, Nicaragua’s oldest town. In the afternoon, travel to Rivas to catch the ferry across Lake Nicaragua to the island of Ometepe. Shaped like an hourglass, the island is comprised of twin volcanic peaks rising out of the lake. The fertile volcanic soil sustains a rich jungle ecosystem with a diverse wildlife population including monkeys and parrots. Your certified guide will introduce you to the natural wonders of the land and surrounding waters. You’ll also have the chance to learn about the daily lives of the farmers and fishermen who call this island home.
Overnight on Ometepe Island
Day 3: Monday
Continue exploring Ometepe Island today by selecting from a range of optional educational activities. Perhaps take a hike up to the summit of either the Concepcion or Maderas volcanoes, but be warned, these steep and challenging treks are no walk in the park! You might prefer to splash around in the natural springs, soak up the sun on the shore, or check out the island’s ancient rock carvings. In the evening, the group will head to a local indigenous community for a cooking class. You will have the chance to learn traditional techniques used to make Nicaraguan dishes like nacatamales, a dough-based snack often filled with meat and steamed in banana leaves. Wind down after an action-packed day by sharing a tasty meal with community members.
Overnight on Ometepe Island
Day 4: Tuesday
Wake up bright and early for a day of travel! The group will take a ferry to the mainland and transfer to Penas Blancas where we will cross the border into Costa Rica and board a private minibus for the five hour journey to Monteverde. After arriving in town and taking a moment to rest and freshen up, your certified guide will take you on an educational walking tour of Monteverde. Located in Costa Rica’s lush cloud forest, Monteverde is one of the world’s leading ecotourism destinations.
Overnight in Monteverde
Day 5: Wednesday
Get ready for an adrenaline-filled day of exploring the magical cloud forest! After breakfast, we’ll head to Sky Trek Adventures Arenal Park where your journey will begin by riding an open-air gondola from the ground to the highest point of the mountain. Here, you’ll be dropped off at an observation area to admire the spectacular forest views as your naturalist guide introduces you to the ecology of the area. You will then have the chance to ride an exhilarating zipline circuit that stretches across canyons, going from one mountain to another, and in between treetops. In the afternoon, continue learning about the biology of this unique environment, looking out for hummingbirds, quetzals and even lazy sloths among the mist. You may even choose to return after dusk with your guide to seek the animals and insects that only come out at night!
Overnight in Monteverde
Day 6: Thursday
Enjoy a free morning to explore and learn about sustainability in Monteverde, from organic farming practices to clean energy usage. In the afternoon, the group will begin the journey to La Fortuna, taking the scenic route along the shores of Lake Arenal. You’ll take a boat across the lake and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area before continuing the minibus journey onward. La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes from Costa Rica’s most famous volcano – the majestic Arenal.
Overnight in La Fortuna
Day 7: Friday
Take advantage of a free day of activities in La Fortuna. The region is rich in natural beauty, with stunning lush forest. Animal lovers will have a good chance of spotting sloths, monkeys, crocodiles and basilisk lizards skipping across the water on a boat tour of Cano Negro Reserve. For another perspective of the landscape, you could participate in water-based sports on Lake Arenal, like stand-up paddle boarding with the incredible backdrop of the volcano and rolling green hills. If you prefer to spend the day relaxing, the volcanic geology of the region means that there are plenty of hot springs to enjoy. Whatever option you choose, you will have the chance to delve deeper into the unique geology and ecology of the region.
Overnight in La Fortuna
Day 8: Saturday
The adventure has come to an end. After breakfast, depart La Fortuna and transfer to San Jose for onward travel or a Service Learning Trip