Costa Rica beaches & volcanos holiday
Description of Costa Rica beaches & volcanos holiday
If you are looking for the perfect balance between activity and relaxation, then this just might be the holiday for you. You will get to experience Costa Rica, from the beaches on the Caribbean coast, the nation parks and stunning landscapes of the volcanic areas, to the Pacific coast and stunning sunsets.
How do you feel about a beautiful beach with a jungle backdrop? Imagine waking to the ocean, snorkelling on a pristine coral reef, and then exploring a jungle teeming with wildlife. This is just the start of your holiday! A little further inland explore on foot or get your adrenaline pumping, with more adventurous activities such as ziplining in the forest canopy, horse riding then soothe your aching muscles in the hot springs and bubbling mud baths. There is some amazing scenery as you traverse the country. The majesty of the volcanic areas, and their sheer scale! Don’t forget, one is still active! But then there are the lakes and plantations surrounding these awe-inspiring natural areas and incredible national parks.
After all this activity the Pacific coast and its beaches beckons. Very different from the Caribbean coast but no less stunning. Your last night will be back in San Jose where you started. Each destination is different from the next on this holiday, but throughout it all the constant is the excellent hospitality this country shows its guests and a chance to experience local areas, the culture and the Costa Rican cuisine.
This is a tailormade holiday, so please tell us if you would like to shorten or change to suit you. We can also provide the freedom of making this a self-drive holiday. You will be given comprehensive driving notes and sat nav to help you navigate the route and can choose to set off and break journeys en-route as you please, and you can upgrade accommodations to suit.
PlanetCosta Rica is known as one of the most environmentally-friendly countries in the world. They practically invented ecotourism, and over 25% of the country is a protected reserve. During this trip you will be visiting a good selection of these important reserves. The country runs a successful conservation initiative called the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). This recognises services committed to preserving the environment and sustainability of the country. Costa Rica also has a Blue Flag programme.
Cahuita National Park was created for the purpose of protecting coastal flora and fauna in the areas as well as marine eco systems. It protects more than 57,500 acres of land and sea including almost 600 acres of living coral reef with over 35 species of coral and over 125 species of fish and sharks and are one of only two reefs in Costa Rica.
Arenal Conservation Area protects some 16 reserves between the Tilarán and Guanacaste mountain ranges is an area of outstanding beauty containing a wealth of geologic and biological complexity, including the Chato and Arenal Volcanos. Chato has been inactive for nearly 3,500 years and has a collapsed crater that contains a picture-perfect lagoon, however, Arenal is still active. Arenal plays a large role in Costa Rica's power production. You might spot deer, tapir, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys and snakes, or birds like parrots, orioles and brown magpies. Plants include various species of palms and bromeliads (including the endemic specie Pitcaimia Funkiae), guayabo de monte, bait, ceiba, cirri, laurel, higuerones, fungi, orchids, and ferns.
Rincón de la Vieja is the largest and most active volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Standing at 6,286 feet (1,916 meters) high and 9 miles (15 km) wide, the giant is called the “Colossus of Guanacaste”. The massive 600,000-year-old geological wonder has at least nine volcanic craters, and at least 32 rivers flow down its sides which bridge the Continental Divide. The impressive Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and its dormant sister Santa María Volcano form the centre of the fantastic Rincón de la Vieja National Park – part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Guanacaste Conservation Area. Rincón de la Vieja National Park is home to 300 bird species and many mammals, including white-faced, howler and spider monkeys, armadillos, collared peccaries, pumas and white-nosed coatis.
As an example of the properties we work with within Costa Rica, the Trapp Hotel in Monteverde participates in the CST programme. The CST has 5 levels of achievement based on the degree of compliance of different sustainable practices involving natural, cultural and social resource management and the Trapp Hotel is a level 4 certified property. They have a waste management program and recycling program. They do Vermicomposting, with uncooked organic waste from our restaurant and the cooked waste from the restaurant is donated for food to a local pig farm. They have a wastewater treatment plant, awareness Campaign for daily washing of towels, rainwater reuse programme, biodegradable cleaning products, as well as personal care products. They are allies of the Bellbird Biological Corridor, they support health, sports, environmental and cultural projects in nearby communities, all of their employees are from the Monteverde area or nearby communities and most of the hotel furniture and decorations were handcrafted by local and national artisans or company.
At Rio Perdido, they have been able to fit all of the key service elements into one main building, in three areas that comprise less than 1% of the total land. The Hotel has a reserve of 242 hectares, which are protected within the FONAFIFO forest regeneration program. (FONAFIFO: A public entity in charge of financing small and medium producers of forest goods and services, managing financial resources of national and international origin to support the development of the forestry sector, they have as a policy that wildlife in the household is prohibited and campaigns are made with ONGs to care and protect flora and fauna of the property. They have an energy programme where they are replacing common luminaires to ones more efficient (led light), have recently changed the refrigerant of air condition, for one more eco-friendly, they have a maintenance program for the hotel vehicle fleet of electric vehicles and bicycles for the displacement of personnel within the property and therefore they are reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. They also have a waste separation and recycling program, which is linked to the Ecolones National Program (a national program, works as an eco-money exchanging valuable materials for sustainable products and services, as an incentive for recycling).
All of the properties we use in Costa Rica are opposed to the use of single use plastics, in line with the country’s determination to become plastic free by 2021. Therefore, the use of disposable bags, cups, straws, cutlery, and bottles is discouraged, and we suggest that guests travel with a refillable bottle for drinks. The ground services provider participates in a programme which is part of the Project "Donatapa". This initiative collects plastic container lids, in order to make ramps with them, so that people with disabilities can have access to the beaches of Costa Rica. The use of stereoron is prohibited in the company, and the cleaning supplies containers are returned, to the supplier for reuse. When is possible, drums of drinking water are put into the vehicles used on the ground, in order to use refill bottles and reduce the amount of plastic bottles delivered. They have a Waste Collection Centre where they have control of the waste they generated and involve their staff and clients. Every week they weigh out the materials and deliver it to the centre that will be processing them for recycling.
The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair-trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).
For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.
As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.
As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. The company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.
Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.
PeopleLocal guides and drivers are used throughout this trip, and lodges which promote using local staff. We've weaved in visits to local villages on this trip.
Whether in San Jose, or Guanacaste, we always encourage and advise visitors to try local restaurants and buy locally-made products. Villages such as La Fortuna where we stop on this itinerary, local artisan markets such as the Mercado Nacional de Artesanias in San Jose. Many local artists sell their crafts here and are very honest about the origins of their materials, to ensure that what has caught your eye is an authentic product of Costa Rica.
The company offering this holiday works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally-owned services, hotels and restaurants etc with a clear preference for any accommodations which has great environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information allows their travellers to make informed decisions based on ecological and sustainability factors, to ensure they are really making a difference when choosing from the available accommodation options.
The company also backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more around the globe. Travellers are encouraged to donate to the company projects if they would like to give something back.