Monday, May 23, 2011

Haven Sample Itin

Day 1 ------- Arrive and drive to Villa Blanca Cloud forest (Villa Blanca)

Today you will arrive and make the 1 hour and 15 minute drive to the Villa Blanca Hotel which is located at a higher elevation nothing like Naples. This will be a nice area to arrive early afternoon and then take a night hike. I happen to enjoy the insects on the night hike much more than the Spice Tour also. (Meals: None)

Day 2 ------- Zipline & Arrive to Nayara Hotel (Nayara Hotel)

Today you will spend the morning ziplining in the nearby cloud-forest. This is a great zipline because it has the tarzan swing and the last cable is a superman cable. The superman cable means you lay down and are hooked up from you back and you fly across the jungle like superman. In the afternoon you will arrive to the Nayara Hotel. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 3 -------- Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall & Visit Nature Reserve (Nayara Hotel)

Today you will start out by hiking to one of the most beautiful waterfall in all of Costa Rica. Here you will get the chance to hike 500 steps down to the bottom. It is worth the hike because you get to go swimming at the bottom of the hike. In the afternoon you will take the hike to look for some animals. Here you can for sure see a sloth in this small nature reserve and some poisonous dart frogs are often easy to find also. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 4 --------- Drive to Hacienda Tayutic (Hacienda Tayutic)

Drive time: 4 hours

Today you will drive to the Hacienda Tayutic which is one of our favorite places to stay. This is one of our favorite because it is a unique place to stay. It is small with only 6 rooms but has incredible views of the valley below. The service is excellent along with the food. The village around the Hacienda is filled with a bunch of kids that are always willing to play. We can even take the kids out to play soccer on day 5 with the locals if you think they would be up for it. There are also areas to hike to see sloths nearby the Hacienda also. We will plan on stopping along the way in an area called Sarapiqui which is known for having a lot of wildlife. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 5 -------- Raft Pacuare River (Hacienda Tayutic)

Today you will raft the Pacuare River and then drive back to the Hacienda Tayutic. All of this is in the same area is is only 45 minutes from each other.

Day 6 ---------- Rappeling Adventure & Drive to San Jose Grano de Oro (Grano de Oro)

Drive time to San Jose: 2 1/2 hours

Today you will get the chance to rappel in the nearby waterfalls. This is a great adventure that the kids will enjoy. In the afternoon we will drive back to the San Jose area to be close to the airport. (Meals: Breakfast & Lunch)

Day 7 ----------- Fly Home!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wheeler Sample Itin 2011

Hacienda Tayutic
Day 1 -------- Arrive & Travel to Turrialba (Hacienda Tayutic) Today if you arrive on a early afternoon flight we will make the drive out to the Turrialba area. This is a beautiful area with excellent views of the smoking Turrialba Voclano from your room. The Hacienda Tayutic is a very small but very upscale hotel with only six rooms and located in the mountains across the valley from the volcano. The best part is that the Wheeler kids will be studying Spanish in the nearby mountain village and we can go visit them at their hoemstays. (Meals: None)

Day 2 ------- Raft Pacuare River & Waterfall Rappel (Hacienda Tayutic)

Waterfall Rappel
Today we are going to take you on what National Geographic has as one of their top 5 rivers on the planet for whitewater rafting. This is one of our favorite days. We operate our trips privately and we will be traveling 18 miles down the Pacuare river. We will also be packing some rope gear in the raft because we will be stopping half way to rappel some of the nearby waterfalls. After the rappel we will prepare for you lunch on the river and we take pride in the quality of our river lunches.  This is an excellent adventure and plan on being wet all day. In the afternoon it is back to spend the evening at the Hacienda Tayutic. (Meals: Breakfast & Lunch)

Pacuare River
Day 3 ------- Travel to Arenal Volcano (Tabacon Resort)

Today we will make the trip to the active volcano of Arenal. This is a travel morning filled with beautiful scenery. We will arrive just after lunch and plan on making some stops along the way to educate the kids on the different areas of Costa Rica we will be passing. When we arrive you will be staying at our favorite hotel and chances are you will fall in love with it also. This is called Tabacon Resort & Spa with the best hotsprings in all the country. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 4 ------- Zipline & Visit La Fortuna Falls (Tabacon Resort)

Arenal Volcano
If the rafting was not enough adventure then today hanging 700ft above the rainforest canopy should do the trick. This is by far the best zipline in Costa Rica. Not only is it the highest and fastest but it happens to be the safest in our opinion also. The views are spectacular of the volcano Arenal and the Arenal lake below as you zip through the primary rainforest. After the zipline we will go for a hike and visit one of Costa Rica's most beautiful waterfalls where there is an area to swim at the bottom. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 6 ------- Travel to Manuel Antonio (El Parador)

Today we will travel to the Pacific Coast and the area of Manuel Antonio. This is one of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches and without a doubt easiest monkey sitings, and I am not talking about Rob Wheeler these are real monkeys from the rainforest. The hotel we have you staying at is away from the touristy area and is located with breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean.  (Meals: Breakfast)

Manuel Antonio
Day 7 ------ Visit Park and Relax at Beach (El Parador)

Today it is a nature hike in the National Park of Manuel Antonio. This is a chance to see the protected beaches of the park and see some wildlife. If the kids are up for some more adventure in the afternoon the option of doing some surf classes is always a great way to spend the afternoon. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 8 ------ Rainforest Spices tour and beach time (El Parador)

Today is a treat for all. The rainforest spice tour gives you a chance to learn where so many of the spices come from and how they are produced. This is a short tour with plenty of eating and then the afternoon can be spent at the beach or back at the hotel. If you felt you only needed two days at the beach we could put in a night in the cloud-forest at Villa Blanca. If you felt you did not want the beach in the itinerary just let us know and we can work on it till we find something that fits.

Day 9 ------ Fly home from San Jose airport!

With the new highway it is only a 2 hour drive back to the San Jose airport SJO.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Haven Family Sample Itin II

Day 1 -------------- Arrive and Drive to Manuel Antonio (Arenas del Mar)

This is just another sample itin that would include Pacuare River. This would all depend on the level for the river and chances are it would be a go but we really never know. We would start this itin out at the beach as for logistics it makes more sense. We will meet you at the airport with your private guide drive and take you to the Manuel Antonio area. (Meals: None)

Drive time: 2 hours

Day 2 -------------- Visit National Park & Beach Time (Arenas del Mar)

Today you can enjoy the hotel of Arenas del Mar and also the hike in the National Park which will allow you to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Costa Rica. (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 10 minutes

Sleeping behind a waterfall
Day 3 -------------- Spice Tour & Beach Time (Arenas del Mar)

The morning would be spent doing the spice tour and the afternoon can be at the beach relaxing or in the hotel pool. (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 25 minutes

Day 4 -------------- Enter Cave (Sleep Behind Waterfall)

If you would like to try and do the adventure of the cave then we could fit it in today. We would get an early start after breakfast and then make our way to the entrance where we take on the hike into the cavern. Again this is an intense hike but we take kids often. (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 1 hour

Day 5 -------------- Leave Cave and Drive to Hacienda Tayutic (Hacienda Tayutic)

Today we would leave the cave and arrive to the car around noon where we will then drive to Tayutic. Although this is a long drive it is the most scenic drive in all of Costa Rica as you are literally riding a ridge that is the highest in the country and you have views of both coast. We will arrive to the Hacienda Tayutic which is where luxury meets rural. (Meals: Breakfast)

Come on Haven's lets get out of here!
Drive time: 4 hours

Day 6 -------------- Raft Pacuare (Hacienda Tayutic)

We will run the Pacuare River today but if the water level is running to high we do defer to a smaller river with kids. Chances are though in June it will be runnable but we really never know. (Meals: Breakfast & Dinner)

Drive time: 30 minutes

Day 7 -------------- Drive to Airport and Fly Home!

Today we will make the drive back to the airport which is just two hours away through rural Costa Rica and also passing through the capital city of San Jose. (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 2 hours

Haven Family Sample Adventure Itin

Day 1 ------- Arrive and Drive to Arenal Volcano (Nayara Resort)

Today your private guide will meet you at the airport and make the 2 1/2 hour drive. At first I thought of sending you guys to Turrialba which is still a possibility and staying at Hacienda Tayutic or Casa Turire. The only problem with this is that starting in that direction would add a lot more car time to the trip and if the Pacuare is canceled because of water level (which is not very common in June but always possible) it would be quite a bummer. My suggestion now is to drive first to the Nayara Resort which your wife will love. All wives love Nayara. I am getting married in August Jesse and my wife is from the Arenal area and she wants to honeymoon at Nayara. It is literally 20 minutes from her house. It is a no brainer great spot and all though romantic and luxurious it is kid friendly also. (Meals included: None)
Arenal Volcano

Drive time: 2 1/2 hours 

Day 2 ------- Canyoneering Adventure & Nature Reserve (Nayara Resort)

Here you will put your waterfall rappeling skills to the test. This is a great day as the boys will get geared up and then make their way down a canyon where they can enjoy being surrounded by the rainforest. After the rappel we will head to a small not so touristy reserve where the kids can enjoy seeing some wildlife in a small area. The Danaus Nature Reserve is a great spot for kids and your naturalist guide will make it very educational. In the evening back to the hotel to relax at Nayara. Many people want to visit the hotsprings but all the hotsprings in this area are glorified pool areas. They are nice but if you're staying at Nayara we always tell the people it is a better bang for your buck just to relax in the pool. The real natural hotsprings are farther in the northern part of the country although many tours will not tell you this.  (Meals included: Breakfast)

Drive time: 20 minutes

Day 3 ------- Zipline Adventure & Stay in the Cloud-forest (Villa Blanca)

Get ready for the zipline adventure and this is the perfect one for the kids. Not only is it through the cloudforest but it has a tarzan swing and a super-man zip for the last cable. You lay down and go zipping across the last cable. This is a great chance to enjoy some adventure and see some beautiful birds as it is located in the cloud forest where you will be staying this evening. After the zipline we will take you to one of our favorite hotels which is the Villa Blanca located at a higher elevation literally in the cloud-forest. It makes for an amazing night and the kids will enjoy the night hike! We take a walk with flash lights through the trails of the hotel finding a number of different insects, sleeping birds, and the many other creatures that come out at night. Staying the night here is a great way to break up the drive to the Manuel Antonio area.  (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 1:15

Day 4 ------- Drive to Manuel Antonio (Arenas del Mar)

Today we will make the drive to the Manuel Antonio area where the kids can hang out with monkeys for the next few days. You will be staying at the Arenas del Mar which is situated perfectly and very private from the touristy area of the nearby Manuel Antonio. One of the best parts is that it has it's private beach just a walk around the edge. The rooms have great views of the Pacific and you can hear the waves crash as you are on a rock ledge looking out over the water. (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 3 hours

Day 5 ------- Spice Tour and Relax at Beach (Arenas del Mar)

This is often a favorite of many of the ladies. This is a new tour that is really interesting and doing well. It is the rainforest spice tour and a chance to see and learn about where many of the spices from the rainforest come from. This sounds boring for the boys but they do a great job letting them taste and keep them interested in the tour. In the afternoon it will be back to the hotel and relax time at the beach. (Meals: Breakfast)

Drive time: 25 minutes

Day 6 ------- Visit National Park Manuel Antonio (Arenas del Mar)
Manuel Antonio

Today you will visit the National Park of Manuel Antonio which is a great spot for the kids to get upclose look at lots of monkeys. Along with monkeys they will have the chance to see some sloths and other different animals. After you get enough wildlife it will be a nice easy hike to some of the best beaches in all of Costa Rica. In the afternoon it is relax time on the beach and your guide is always available to take you to some of the good kid-friendly restaurants for dinner. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 7 ------- Fly Home!

Today we will make the two hour drive back to the SJO San Jose Airport. This is a nice easy drive as a new highway just opened. (Meals: Breakfast)

Packages & Tours

Adventure Package

Day 1 --------- Arrive and Drive to Turrialba Eco-Lodge (Wagelia Espino Blanco)
The importance of coming on an ecotourism Costa Rica vacation is getting out into nature from the time you get off the plane. When you want your ecotourism package to have an emphasis in Costa Rica adventure there is no better place to start your tour than the area of Turrialba and the Espino Blanco Lodge. We will meet you at the airport and take you through the capital city of San Jose and then through rolling coffee plantations where you will arrive to your first ecolodge surrounded by nature like none other. (Meals: Dinner)

Day 2 --------- Visit Rural Community, Gardens, & Costa Rica Rappel Waterfall (Wagelia Espino Blanco)

When you are on an ecotourism trip it is important to make sure not only the hotel is giving back to the local  community but you and your family get to experience the community and culture also. It just so happens the community you will be visiting has a beautiful waterfall you will be able to do the adventure of a Costa Rica waterfall rappel. After the morning rappel we'll spend some time in the local rural village. We'll visit the organic garden that is used by the family and also a sustainable form of agriculture of trapping methane gases for cooking. Then we'll finish the day at the village with some of the local dance and cuisine of living in the mountains of one of Costa Rica's most beautiful villages, Sitio de Mata. We will then return to the Espino Blanco Lodge where you will rest up for your Costa Rica whitewater rafting adventure. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Pacuare River

Day 3 --------- Enter the Pacuare River 2-Day Rafting Trip (Pacuare Tent Camp)

View from Pacuare Tent Camp
When you are looking for the best in adventure Costa Rica rafting tours are some of the top on the planet. Today we will be driving down a bumpy dirt road on our way to the Pacuare River. We will be rafting for two hours today and enjoy life on the river as we stop for a river lunch and then make our way to the beautiful Pacuare River Tent Camp. We will be spending the night here in a beautiful camp site where everything is set up for your and ready to go. This is not roughing it by any means and you will be treated as first class guests of the jungle. Here we'll enjoy a happy hour of cocktails or natural juices of the jungle and then a hearty dinner to get us ready for day 2 of your Costa Rica rafting adventure. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 4 ------- Raft Pacuare Canyon & Drive to Mountain Lodge (Trogon Mountain Lodge)

Today we will enjoy the morning waking up to the sounds of the jungle and the famous River Pacuare.
The rafting today involves the Pacuare Canyon which are the more intense rapids of this river. We will be rafting the class IV rapids today. This is around another three hours of rafting and we will take some hikes to visit some waterfalls in the area. When we finish we'll take out and enjoy a nice lunch and then drive to a mountain lodge in one of Costa Rica's highest point for a lodge. You will be staying at an elevation of 9,000ft where it will be a bit more chilly than camping on the river.  (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 5 -------- Enter the Cave (Sleep Behind a Waterfall)

Waterfall Rappel
Today we will drive to the entrance of the cave where the car can go no farther and we will get ready to hike. We will load up and take only what we need for the night and make the 1 1/2 hour hike up into one of Costa Rica's most beautiful spots. This is an amazing Costa Rica ecolodge as it is made out of a waterfall which you will be sleeping behind. When we arrive we will enjoy an outstanding lunch made from the nearby permaculture garden of some of the finest fruits and vegetables of the tropics. This is an ideal spot for Costa Rica family adventure tour because after lunch we will be doing a Costa Rica waterfall rappel off the 120ft waterfall down into the area where we will be sleeping. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Sleeping in the Cavern
Day 6 -------- Visit Diamante Falls and travel to La Cusinga Lodge (La Cusinga Lodge)

With a Costa Rica family adventure there is no better place to finish than the beautiful Pacific Coast. La Cusinga Lodge is the perfect area for the ecotourist to feel close nature and the deep blue sea of the Pacific. Here you will have the chance to relax in the hammocks and enjoy the private beach below. (Meals: Breakfast & Lunch)

Day 7 -------- Costa Rica Zipline Adventure and Relax at the Beach (La Cusinga Lodge)

If you come on a Costa Rica adventure tour you have to take on the famous ziplines of Costa Rica. Today you will get the chance to zip through the jungle hundreds of feet off the ground on a ridge 1,000ft above sea-level with views of the ocean below. In the afternoon you will have time to just relax in the ocean. (Meals: Breakfast)

Day 8 --------- Drive back to San Jose Airport 

Your Costa Rica adventure tour must come to an end and if you would like to extend it a few days no problem just make the request. The drive back to the airport is around three hours which will make an afternoon flight fit best for this itinerary.

Cost: $1275/person (Based on Group of 4 +)

Includes: All private transportation with guide/driver, all meals listed, all tours and adventures, all lodging