Pura Vida: Costa Rica 2018

LEAD New York Alumni – Pura Vida - Costa Rica 2018
Few countries can boast of pristine ecosystems, multi-level tropical forests, fertile soils, a diversity of wildlife and a reputation for the unusual that Costa Rica enjoys.

"Pura Vida" (pure life) aptly describes this experience and for those who have travelled to Costa Rica this diversity is hugely rewarding. For some it is the beaches - for others, the experience - for those that travel with this tour something to cross off your "bucket list"!

The LEAD New York Alumni tour is truly unique and specially designed to provide our participants with an in-depth view of some of the lesser known wonders of Coast Rica - from EARTH to the Eco Lodge, research to local agriculture, we have combined tourism with insights into the rich agricultural diversity of Central America's gem... Costa Rica

Itinerary

LEAD New York Alumni – Pura Vida - Costa Rica 2018Jan. 20 San Jose (D)
Arrival. The hotel will provide the transfer from the airport to the Hotel. Balance of afternoon is free to refresh. This evening we will transfer to a special welcome dinner. Mirador Tiquicia is a magical and unforgettable place where our “Tica Night” show is performed. This night tour will take us to discover Escazú, the capital's luxury suburb. On the way a winding mountain road paved with breathtaking "views" takes us to Tiquicia. Here a traditional 150-year-old shingle farm awaits to offer a genuine Costa Rican atmosphere where we will enjoy local food along with national drinks served in the kitchen area. A typical dance performance takes place during our stay while enjoying incredible views of the entire Central Valley.
Overnight at the Hotel Park Inn, standard room.

Jan. 21 San Jose City Tour (B/L)
Visit Museo de Oro Precolombino (Museum of Precolumbian gold) located under the Plaza de la Cultura in downtown San Jose. The impressive underground building that houses the exhibit creates a mysterious and dark background for the gleaming beauty of the golden pieces that seem to float (suspended by transparent strings). These indigenous jewels depict numerous animals; frogs, birds, snakes, insects, crocodiles, lobsters and even sharks. The Museo de Moneda (the Coin Museum) is located in the same building, and its exhibit includes information on coins, as well as interesting samples.

National Theater (1897) - the National Theater is a monument to the musical and artistic heritage of Costa Rica. This magnificent architectural and cultural masterpiece of San Jose presents a variety of entertainment including theater productions, plays, shows, opera, dance, and music performances. International legends such as Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova of the Bolshoi Ballet and Andres Segovia have graced its stage. The theater's Renaissance-style facade features statues of Calderón de la Barca and Ludwig van Beethoven. During our tour we will also pass by Democracy Place and the National Museum, the Courts, Los Yoses, San Pedro Mall, Hispanidad Fountain and the Rodrigo Facio Campus in the University of Costa Rica.

This afternoon we will have a presentation on coffee export, international trade and sustainable agriculture presented by the Association of Finest Coffee (Costa Rica) and a special invited guest - the Product Manager of ICAFE (Institute of Coffee of Costa Rica). Final time and location arrangements as well as a possible guest representative from IICA are still pending.

Tonight enjoy an open evening to explore and enjoy dinner in San Jose!
Overnight at the Hotel Park Inn, standard room. Breakfast & lunch included.

Jan. 22 EARTH University (B/L/D)
After breakfast, transfer to Guapiles, EARTH University. EARTH is a private educational foundation located in the humid tropical Guapiles area of Costa Rica. Our stay here includes 2 nights lodging in the Posadas Hotel or the Finca Organica, 6 meals including a special open grill, pool side dinner of typical Costa Rican cuisine, an expert naturalist guide assisted by EARTH students who have an in-depth knowledge of all EARTH's activities. EARTH has an amazing level of biodiversity on campus, with three species of monkey, two species of sloth, armadillos, bats, ocelots, poison dart frogs, and nearly 300 species of birds. The purpose of this aspect of our tour is to provide our group accessibility to conservation and integrated agricultural ideas to ecotourism.

On arrival we enjoy a general tour through the University campus and a special presentation of their institutional video.

Recycling urban agriculture: (peri urban) Experiences for real life. Many sustainable agricultural techniques can be applied in urban settings as well as rural areas. EARTH organizes workshops and conferences where students and visitors can gain experience adapting agricultural techniques to different social and environmental contexts. Here we will be invited to participate in these workshops, and learn how recycled materials can become flowerpots, how to grow plants on small lands, and many other ways to green the urban environment.
Overnight at the EARTH University, Finca Organica + La Posada Breakfast, lunch & dinner included.

Jan. 23 EARTH University Tours (B/L/D)
Integrated Dairy Farm Tour:

Here all resources are utilized. Since1993, with the foundation of the milk production center and horse stable, the Integrated Dairy farm has been growing and incorporating various other animal production systems. Today, the farm is a diverse and completely interdependent network of different systems. The cattle are fed with natural feed, and their waste is used to make organic compost and energy which powers the farm. The water used to clean the areas is treated and reused. The pigs are fed from sugar cane residue, and their waste is transformed into food for ruminant and fish. The fish live in the last of four water-decontamination ponds, along with other aquatic flora and fauna. Cattle manure is used to feed earthworms for the production of vermicomposting. This compost is used to fortify the sugar cane crops and the tree fodder, thus forming a completely closed system. Here we will discover and learn about all of these systems.

Organic Farm:
A space born out of student initiative and interest in organic farming methods. Currently, the farm works in three main areas: animal production (including goats, pigs, and buffalo), food production (various annual plants, banana, and other perennials), as well as recycling and the production of organic fertilizers. All processes are interrelated and integrated, with waste from one system utilized in another. The farm looks to reduce the amount of imported materials needed and also to increase by half the use of Good Agricultural Practices, a set of suggestions for sustainable agriculture.

Banana Tour:
Our banana farms are managed under the ideals of sustainable production and utilization of human resources. In addition to the banana plantations, here we will experience the complete process: fruit harvesting, transportation, processing, and packaging. EARTH bananas are sent to markets in the United States and across Europe.
Overnight at the EARTH University, Finca Organica + La Posada Breakfast, lunch & dinner included.

Jan. 24 Rancho Margot / Arenal (B/L/D)
Transfer to Rancho Margot located on the shores of Lake Arenal and find our little piece of paradise. The property is owned by the Sostheim family who, upon visiting Costa Rica, fell in love with Lake Arenal and its surrounding area. As luck would have it, they were able to purchase approximately 400 acres on the shores of the lake with beautiful volcano views, primary rainforest, eleven natural springs and the largest river feeding Lake Arenal that flows through the property.

Here we will learn how the ranch began as pastureland and has now been transformed into an oasis of knowledge on sustainability. Observe the variety of unique systems created to produce all of the hot water and cooking gas needed on the ranch by taking advantage of organic matter turned into compost. We also see how electricity is made from renewable power sources. Our bilingual guides will teach us about the various medicinal qualities of plants around the ranch as well as the numerous local school and volunteer programs in progress.

Free yoga class every day. You can also enjoy natural pools river rocks filled with pure, untreated crystalline water from natural springs that cascade from the mountain. Rancho Margot has two spring-fed cold pools including one with a vanishing edge and views toward the sky and a towering mountain of primary forest.
Overnight at the Rancho Margot, Bungalow room - Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Jan. 25 Ranch Tour, Horseback or Kayak (B/L/D)
Enjoy an Adventure Tour (horseback or kayak)! Today enjoy either horseback riding or a kayak tour: Depart on horseback from our stables and behold unforgettable views of over 60,000 hectares of rainforest. Kayak towards Arenal Volcano, explore the abundance of life within the many inlets you pass along the way and feel refreshed as you jump into the lake for a swim.

Arenal Volcano Hike & Ecotermales Hot Springs
Enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano on a gentle Hike along the base of this marvelous volcano. The hike begins on one of the trails close to the volcano and takes us through the area destroyed in 1968 and now in the process of regeneration. This is approximately a 2 ½ hour walk where, at the hot springs, you can enjoy a healthy and relaxing soak before our return to the hotel.
Overnight at the Rancho Margot, Bungalow room - Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Jan. 26 Ecolodge San Luis/ Monteverde (B/L/D)
This morning we continue to Monteverde and make the Eco Lodge San Luis at the UGA Costa Rica Campus (University of Georgia) our base for exploring the Monteverde region! This is not a typical hotel experience located in the town of Alto San Luis. Located just 15 minutes’ drive from the heart of Monteverde, here we experience the charm and warm hospitality of San Luis in a very different setting than typical hotels found "up the hill."

Guests at the Eco Lodge San Luis can take advantage of a wide range of educational and nature-based activities as well as cultural activities on the campus and in the local community.

Tonight you will enjoy the Orientation and Introduction talk and Movie: Rhythms in the Clouds: Biodiversity and Conservation in Monteverde.
Overnight Eco Lodge San Luis, bungalow + cabins. Breakfast, lunch and dinner and activities included.

Jan. 27 Monteverde (B/L/D)
In the morning take advantage of a wide range of educational and nature-based activities as well as cultural activities on the campus and in the local community.

Don Juan coffee tour, chocolate tour & sugar cane demonstration
Our tour begins with a brief insight into the wonderful world of coffee followed by the history of Costa Rican coffee and its importance in the socio-economic development. Later during the tour we will cover other aspects of the Costa Rican culture and traditions. The tour begins with an introduction to the life cycle of a coffee plant starting with the coffee seed itself and taking a look at its fascinating evolutionary cycle (the harvest, drying, toasting and grinding of the bean). This is followed by our chocolate tour. On this tour you will be immersed in the world of chocolate enjoying its delicious aromas and learning about its history. You will participate in the chocolate making process and have the opportunity to taste the fruit of the cacao and observe how the small cocoa beans are magically converted into a rich tasting chocolate drink. Sugar Cane demonstration - finally we learn about the historical reason why farmers had sugar cane mills on their farms. Together we will extract the sugar cane the traditional way and then enjoy a glass of pure sugar cane juice as well as pieces of the cane itself.
Overnight Eco Lodge San Luis, bungalow + cabins . Breakfast, lunch and dinner and activities included

Jan. 28 Departure (B)
Transfer the international airport for our flight home.


Cost

Tour Pricing and Information

  • Double Occupancy: $2,750
  • Triple Occupancy: $2,705
  • Single Room / Tour Rate: $3,380*

Land ONLY Cost (Please see notes)

  • Double Occupancy: $1,875
  • Triple Occupancy: $1,830

*Single: A VERY limited number of singles are offered on this tour due to the unique accommodations used and the limited number of spaces available.

Payment Requirements
  • Deposit Requirement:
    US $750 p.p.
  • Final Payment Due:
    November 1, 2017
Cancellation Penalties
  • From date of booking to October 31, 2017:
    Loss of deposit paid
  • From final pament date to departure:
    100% non-refundable

Air Arrangements / ** Land Only Pricing

The tour includes air transportation. Should individuals wish to make their own air arrangements to and from the start of the tour the land only cost is available as shown. In the event that clients make their own way to the start and end of the tour, transfers are only provided based on the group arrivals / departures or on arrival and departure at a similar time.

In the event that we are able to find a replacement from wait-lists or other requests received for the tour between date of booking and 31-days prior to date of departure, a flat $50.00 p.p. administration charge will be accessed. Within 31-days prior, we regret that all payments become non-refundable with or without a replacement. We cannot guarantee a replacement for any cancelled passenger regardless of the date the cancellation is received in our office.


LEAD New York Alumni Tour Includes:

  • Return air flights with United Airlines and all air taxes as of August 2017 - a local exit tax is payable in San Jose on departure
  • Meet & Greet at the airport
  • Private ground transfers in an A/C motor coach
  • All hotel accommodations described on the itinerary
  • Meals described in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner) including a very special “Tica” welcome dinner and a special BBQ at EARTH University
  • All tours described on the itinerary
  • Bilingual English- Spanish naturalist guide throughout the itinerary
  • All taxes and service charges
Strictly Limited Availability:

Our Costa Rican program is strictly limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to ensure the quality of our tour, this program is limited to an absolute maximum of 30-participants.

Once the tour is filled we will accept wait-lists. As with the tour itself, wait lists will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Insurance

We strongly recommend adequate travel insurance and provide details of insurance suggestions for US citizens at the time of booking.

Flights

Newark January 20
San Jose
United Airlines 1553
Depart: 09:00
Arrive: 13:25

San Jose January 28
Newark
United Airlines 1081
Depart: 12:35
Arrive: 18:45

Accommodations

Park Inn
The Park Inn by Radisson San José, Costa Rica places you within walking distance of downtown, several business parks and the well-known Paseo Colón, the city’s main avenue. After a long day relax in a comfortable guest room or suite, each with amenities like FREE wireless high-speed internet, a mini bar and a coffeemaker. Enjoy yourself with a swim in the outdoor pool.

EARTH University
Finca Organica: Clean and environmentally-friendly lodging in the heart of EARTH’s academic campus.
Posadas Hotel: Located at the entrance of Manuel Antonio National Park, listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the 12 Most Beautiful Parks in the World. Explore all this beautiful park has to offer and it is only a three minutes walk to the most spectacular, vibrant and magical beach in all of Costa Rica-Manuel Antonio.

Rancho Margot
Our facilities are designed to give you an ideal space to relax, enjoy and disconnect with the stress of city life. We offer you a complete and personalized experience, and all our deals enable you to reconnect with the beauty of nature.


Eco Lodge San Luis
Ecolodge San Luis and Biological Station is an integrated eco tourism, research and educational project directed on-site by resident tropical biologists. The hotel is situated on 70 hectares(175 acres) at the head of the San Luis Valley in northwestern Costa Rica. The property borders the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and the Children's International Rain Forest, and shares with them a stunning diversity of wildlife. This is a birder's paradise: around 200 species of birds occur here. Notable mammals include monkeys, sloths and ocelots.

Note on our unique accommodations:

Rooms Distribution:

  • Park Inn:
    Standard room 2 queen beds
  • Earth University:
    Finca Organica 2 bunk beds / La Posada two double beds
  • Rancho Margot:
    9 x 2 queen bedded rooms plus 6 x 1 queen bed plus a single bed
  • Eco Lodge San Luis:
    Bungalows 2 bunk beds 1 double +1 single bed / Cabins 1 double + 1single + 1 bunk bed

SPECIAL NOTE:
Though some of the rooms are based on bunk beds, we are ONLY using these rooms for 2 travelers.

Contact Scott to reserve your spot!





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