Travel Counsellors’ Sonia Murray-Smith reports from a fam trip to La Fortuna, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio National Park
After meeting the group in San Jose, we headed to La Fortuna. We stopped at the Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative on the way for lunch and learnt so much about the coffee-making process. Later, we went to a local family home to learn how to make traditional tortillas – it was a great group bonding session with lots of laughs with our hosts.
We woke up as the sun rose, to a stunning view of the volcano. Today I opted for a canyoning session. It was so energising and fun. In the afternoon we hiked around the base of Arenal, where we saw the difference in landscapes – jungle in one spot, black lava sections from previous eruptions in others. We also spotted our first wild toucans.
We headed to Monteverde for Central America’s longest zipline. Whizzing through the forest and zigzagging through the canopy – I went right through a cloud! Then in Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve I had the most amazing wildlife experience – a tiny hummingbird hovered so close to us, I could feel the wind from its wings on my cheek.
Then at the Monteverde Institute we learnt all about reforestation and planted some trees. A highlight was the night walk – we saw red-eyed frogs, scorpions, sleeping sloths and snakes!
The next day we arrived in Manuel Antonio National Park and stopped at a bridge to stretch our legs. As we looked over the edge, we saw a big group of crocodiles bathing in the river below.
The diversity of the park was amazing, with white sandy beaches and calm waters on one side, then rugged black beaches with great surf on the other, and a forest filled with blue butterflies, sloths and monkeys. We headed into Manuel Antonio beach area and sampled some local restaurants and spent the afternoon kayaking through the mangroves.
We headed back to San Jose to relax by the pool at the hotel before getting ready for our last evening together. The group had gelled over the week. We all felt genuinely sad that our adventure was coming to an end.
The trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time! It’s been great for my customers to see me on the road travelling, and has given them the confidence to go and book.
G Adventures’ nine-day Natural Highlights of Costa Rica costs from £1,399, including accommodation, some meals, all transportation on the ground, but not flights.