Upon arrival at the San Jose’s
Juan Santamaria International
Airport, meet your
complimentary hotel shuttle curbside outside the customs area. The driver will
be holding a VBT sign or a Wyndham San Jose Herradura sign. Then transfer by minibus
(approximately 5-10 minutes) to your hotel in San Jose.
The rest of the day is free to settle in and explore the
city. Choose a restaurant for dinner on your own.
Please note: Flights
from Los Angeles, JFK and Miami are early morning departures. If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 3 p.m. You may store your luggage with the Reception Desk.
Our splendid San Jose hotel, Wyndham San Jose Herradura, is located just minutes from the International
Airport and approximately 30 minutes from the center of the city. VBT provides you
with a City Information Packet in your Final Travel Booklet that includes
information and recommendations on what to see and do in San Jose during your
VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: Later this morning, an
included Panama City tour and Mirflores Locks tour will be provided en route to
the airport for your late afternoon flight to Costa Rica.
Upon arrival at the San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International
Airport, meet your complimentary hotel shuttle curbside outside the customs
area. The driver will be holding a VBT sign or a Wyndham San Jose Herradura sign. Then
transfer by minibus (approximately 5-10 minutes) to your hotel in San
Day 2 - Meet Trip Leaders/Warm-up ride/Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and
the rest of the group at 9 a.m. at our San Jose hotel (Wyndham San Jose Herradura, General Cañas Highway, 5 km. South from International
Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica, phone +506 2209 9800). Trip Leaders will
be wearing VBT staff garments. Please be dressed for your first warm-up bicycle
ride. From San Jose we transfer by private motor coach (approx. 45 mins) to the
site of our warm-up ride. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than
9 a.m., or if you are delayed, you must take a taxi at your own expense to the
Villa Blanca Cloud Forrest Hotel & Spa in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest near
the town of San Ramon (approximately $100 USD). Please contact the hotel if any
travel delays or changes; the staff will pass the message on to your VBT Trip
VBT Air Package guests and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet
your VBT Trip Leaders at your San Jose hotel at 9 a.m. Trip Leaders will be
wearing VBT staff garments. Please be dressed for your first warm-up bicycle ride.
From San Jose we transfer by private motor coach (approx. 45 mins) to the site
of our warm-up ride.
This morning participate in a safety and bike-fitting
session, followed by a warm-up ride.
Lunch is included today. After lunch, we follow “the route of the
Ox-Cart” through small historical towns as we shuttle (approximately 45 mins)
to the Los Angeles Cloud Forest and the conservation-focused Villa Blanca
Resort, one of the elite “Green Hotels of Costa Rica.” Villa Blanca strives
for absolute guest comfort while maintaining the highest standards of respect
for its natural surroundings. Villa Blanca was given a “5-leaf” rating by the
Certification Board of Sustainable Tourism, their highest score. Tonight, we
enjoy a satisfying dinner at El Sendero, the resort's restaurant.
Get to know your fellow travelers over a welcome reception
and dinner tonight at the resort.
REMINDER: It can be
cool in the evenings and on cloudy days at the elevations visited on this trip.
You will want to have a lightweight layer of warm clothing for travel in any
month of the year. You may wish to have a pair of water shoes or casual sandals
for the rafting trip.
Day 3 - Zip line through Rain Forest Canopy/Cycle to foothills of Arenal
Volcano/Tabacon Resort’s hot springs
Those interested may join expert naturalists on an optional
early morning guided bird-watching expedition through the Los Angeles Cloud
Forest. Costa Rica is home to an estimated 840 bird species, so we will be
treated to a variety of unusual sightings including a variety of colorful
tropical hummingbirds darting through the forest. We might even spot the elusive resplendent
After breakfast this morning we enjoy the thrill of a canopy
tour, ascending high into the treetops and soaring through the canopy on a
secure zip-cable line. It's an experience unlike any other, and a great way to
get a magnificent view of wildlife in the rainforest.
After flying high over the rain forest we will shuttle to
the start of today’s ride. From here we cycle through the northern lowlands
close to the Arenal Volcano. Arenal is also the youngest volcano in Costa Rica;
it erupted for the first known time around 7,000 years ago. We cycle through
small towns on paved paths and across rushing rivers to the foothills of Arenal
Volcano, which are dotted with yucca, pineapple and papaya farms.
This evening gather for a VBT private reception at the
thermal springs of our hotel Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, a member of The
Leading Hotels of the World. Enjoy the
remainder of your evening at the hot springs before dining on your own at one
of the resort’s fine restaurants.
Please note that Arenal Volacano has been dormant since 2010
and therefore most likely will not be active during your visit.
Day 4 - Lake Arenal ride/Evening in
Costa Rica's largest lake, Lake Arenal offers scenic riding
and an especially picturesque shore. The lake is a popular destination for
windsurfing, fishing, kayaking and boating, as well as shoreline hiking,
horseback riding and cycling.
This morning we ride from our resort to the Lake Arenal dam. Though you might never
know by its serene appearance, Lake Arenal is crucial to Costa Rica's energy
production, providing almost 70% of the country's electricity. The Lake Arenal
hydroelectric dam, completed in 1979, tripled the lake basin's size to about 33
square miles. We continue our morning’s ride along the lake's scenic northern
shore to the town of Nuevo Arenal where you will have time to explore the town
and enjoy lunch on your own.
After lunch we will enjoy a relaxing boat excursion on Lake
Arenal. From the lake we'll admire
rolling fields and forests, and get a different perspective of the towering
Later this afternoon, enjoy the hot springs and spa of your
5-star resort. As a guest of the
Tabacano Resort, you are entitled to unlimited access to the hot springs at any
time during your stay. Dinner tonight is on your own. Dine at the resort or at
one of several restaurants in the nearby town of La Fortuna.
Day 5 - Morning ride/Peñas Blancas River wildlife safari
Today, we cycle to a boat launch for a peaceful river-rafting
safari on the Peñas Blancas River, where we'll be on the lookout for some of
Costa Rica's diverse wildlife. The crystal-clear waters of the Peñas Blancas
are fed by surrounding cloud forests in adjacent Monteverde. We'll drift by
lush rainforest, volcanic hot springs and cascading waterfalls.
We always find this to be a mesmerizing journey. The sights
and sounds of the natural world surround us as we float through the rainforest.
Our river guide points out examples of Costa Rica's abundant and varied
creatures such as lizards, sloths, monkeys, toucans, herons and kingfishers, as
well as native plants. This is an ideal opportunity to photograph wildlife,
plants, and even butterflies up close. Before we return to land, you'll
understand more fully that Costa Rica's landscape and wildlife are among the
most diverse on Earth — and so valued that more than a quarter of the country's
land has been set aside for conservation.
Later this afternoon we will shuttle back to cooler
altitudes and Costa Rica’s central valley.
Enjoy the remainder of the evening at your leisure at our
Day 6 - Coffee/Poás Volcano/Doka Estate Coffee
This morning a shuttle transports us to Poás Volcano, which
has seen only occasional eruptions since 1828. We have time to explore before
cycling down its slopes on smooth paved roads to the charming farm town of
Here, we stop to visit a family-owned fruit stand where
we'll taste some of Costa Rica's sweetest strawberries and discuss local
agricultural practices with the farmers. Then shuttle to Doka Estate Coffee
Farm, Costa Rica's largest family-owned coffee plantation. The estate is
located in Costa Rica's “Coffee Capital,” Sabanilla de Alajuela. We enjoy a
tour of the award-winning farm and mill, learning about the coffee-brewing
tradition of chorrear and tasting some of the estate's fresh-roasted coffees.
Return to our resort by bicycle or shuttle.
This evening we gather for a festive farewell dinner at our
Day 7 - Depart for U.S./Begin optional Pacific Coast extension
Enjoy a leisurely morning at your resort with a swim in one
of its pools, a spa treatment or walks through beautiful tropical gardens.
In the late morning, we transfer to the San Jose airport for
our post-extension flight to Manuel Antonio or those flying home today will
transfer to the near-by town of Alajuela for lunch on our own.
After lunch, we will transfer to the San Jose airport for
your late afternoon flight back to the U.S.
NOTE: There is a
departure tax that needs to be paid upon departing Costa Rica. The tax must be
paid at the airport in US or Costa Rican dollars, or by credit or debit card.
The current tax is $28 US per person. VBT recommends that this be paid in cash
as using a debit or credit card will incur additional fees.
VBT No-Air Package and Air Package guests: We will assist
you to the San Jose airport, and you'll fly back to the U.S. late this
afternoon. Flight departures from San Jose airport prior to 3 p.m. are not
recommended; those departing earlier must make transfer arrangements from the
last hotel at their own expense.
VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: You will fly from San Jose
to Quepos on the Pacific Coast. Please
note that you are only allowed ONE piece of carry-on luggage, your luggage cannot
exceed 30 pounds. Please visit http://www.flysansa.com/eng/tri/bag/bagbagpol.asp?hd=5
for all luggage guidelines and restrictions. Your leaders will provide you with your flight
confirmation and details about your transfers.
Additional luggage may be stored in San Jose with a VBT local partner
until you return for your flight home. Upon landing in Quepos you will transfer
to your hotel overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park. VBT provides you with City Information in
your Final Travel Booklet to help you explore on your own. It includes
information and recommendations for your independent stay at the Si Como No
Resort & Spa.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.