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  1. Day 1
    Arrive San José
    Meet up with your Contiki team this morning before it’s time to start the trip right & start exploring. First up, we’ll head out into San Jose city & Poás Volcano National Park for our first look at this amazing city & its lush natural environment.
    On our way to the park, keep your eyes peeled for coffee plantations, fields packed with flowers & dairy farms & cool locals as you travel. When we reach the volcano there’s time to check out the impressive main crater with its sulfur fumaroles (or vents where volcanic gas escapes) & frame up some shots of this unique landscape and we’ll hike the trail for the chance to see the beautiful Botos Lagoon.
    This afternoon it’s back to the city, where you’ll get a look at San José’s best spots on our locally guided tour. It’s easy to see why this city is such a popular place to head – with consistently warm weather & year round events this place is always buzzing, so keep your eye out for cool locals, or maybe some music & action around the city streets. Some of the main sights include La Sabana Metropolitan Park, Costa Rican Contemporary Art Museum, the National Gymnasium & with us you’ll see them all. Get the insider knowledge from your Tour Manager before we finish up with a visit the San José Central Market & the see the beautiful National Theatre.
    Tonight, we’ll head out to a cute local nightspot after dinner with the group, it’s the perfect way to relax, get to know your travel mates & get amped for an awesome 12 days.
    Keep it moving later, San José is the perfect place to start with a night out. Known for its awesome nightlife, ask your Tour Manager where’s hot to head for what you’re into – from cute cafes & intimate bars to bigger clubs for dancing, there’s something for everyone.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Dinner (1) day

    Day 2
    San José to Tortuguero
    Say farewell to the big city vibe as we get an early start and depart San José for Tortuguero National Park. We’ll make our way there through Braulio Carrillo National Park, where you’ll check out the beautiful views & native vegetation found here.
    Tortuguero is one of Costa Rica's most popular eco-tourism destinations & is famous the world over. The canals and rivers are known as a place for studying the rainforest, freshwater and marine biology, especially its sea turtles. The park and small village of Tortuguero itself can only be accessed by boat or small aircraft, so we’ll head there by boat – perfect for a different angle on this stunning region & a cool way to get your local fix. This place will leave you impressed, with little lodges & hotels, friendly locals & is known as one of the world's major nesting sites for the Atlantic green turtle & if you’re here during July through October then you might even see them.
    We’ll make a stop for breakfast before continuing on past banana plantations to the dock where we’ll board the boat to the lodge. As we make our way through the Tortuguero canals keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way. We’ll arrive around early afternoon, where lunch will be served, then after a short stop in the village to check out the local vibe, we’ll head back to the lodge for a chilled afternoon working on your tan by the pool and getting to know your travel mates.
    Accommodations: Contiki Special Stopover
    Meals: Lunch (1) day, Breakfast (1) day, Dinner (1) day

    Day 3
    Tortuguero is all about getting deep into nature, so get ready to see some amazing wildlife up close today...the animals get up early and so will you! We’ll start out today, with a boat tour through the canals of Tortuguero to admire the awakening of the wild life of the National Park. Keep an eye out for caimans, howler monkeys and toucans. A camera and binoculars are essential!
    After the tour its back to the lodge for breakfast & time to chill before grabbing your walking shoes for a guided nature walk. Our expertly trained Tour Manager will give you the inside track on this amazing haven for wildlife, where you’ll learn all about the unique flora and fauna found here & have the opportunity to ask questions about this incredible spot.
    Later, it’s back to the lodge for lunch, with the afternoon free to explore the way you want. Maybe take a siesta, take a dip in the pool or relax. If you’re feeling like something more active then grab a kayak or go for a walk along the beach or just sit back with a book or a drink & work on your tan.
    Tonight will impress – see the National Park on a different angle as you kick back in true Costa Rican style...enjoy a drink & relax with your mates on an afternoon boat ride along the canals. Calypso beats are the perfect live music to listen to as you chill with your travel buddies on this awesome experience in a blissful setting.
    Accommodations: Lodge
    Meals: Lunch (1) day, Breakfast (1) day, Dinner (1) day

    Day 4
    Tortuguero to Sarapiqui (Pozo Azul Adventures Lodge Special Stay)
    Today is the start of the next leg of this adventure! After breakfast, it’s time to say farewell Tortuguero as we hit the water again en route to Sarapiqui, where our driver will be waiting at the end of the canal.
    We’ll make a lunch stop as we head towards Sarapiqui & our Special Stay experience at Hacienda Pozo Azul Camp, our Rainforest Special Stay overnight. These tent suites will impress – imagine waking up to the sounds of the jungle, yet in comfort, privacy & immersed in nature! It’s a seriously awesome experience. With comfy queen sized beds, ensuite bathrooms with hot water, in-room WiFi & balconies this place is the ultimate way to get back to nature & relax.
    Today you’ll discover the rainforest on our Tirimbina Chocolate tour to learn about one of mankinds favourite treats, before a delicious BBQ dinner. Then head back to your room for a blissful night sleeping in this incredibly lush environment.
    Accommodations: Contiki Special Stopover
    Meals: Lunch (1) day, Breakfast (1) day, Dinner (1) day

    Day 5
    Sarapiqui to Arenal/La Fortuna
    This morning, its all go! We leave it up to you, with choices of rafting the rapids on the Sarapiqui River, a canopy tour (zipline) for birds-eye views over the rainforest or rapelling (abseiling) for that adrenalin fix, whatever you’re into is included! With your adrenalin fix had, it’s back on land before heading to Costa Rica’s famed Arenal Volcano after lunch.
    Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape will impress, and being home to loads of outdoor activities makes it an easy place to check things off your “must-do in Costa Rica” list. The area is also known for its spa & mud pool treatments, so if you’re feeling up for it then it’s the ideal place to treat yourself & relax.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Lunch (1) day, Breakfast (1) day

    Day 6
    Arenal/La Fortuna
    This morning get into the adventure that Costa Rica is known for, adventure and nature! Maybe visit La Fortuna waterfall or try canyoneering/rappelling through a rain forest canyon. This afternoon relax by the pool or head into town for a bit of shopping.
    Later on this afternoon experience the traditional Costa Rican "Tico" way of life. Our visit to Rio Fortuna La Casona will start by introducing us to the students of a local school where they will perform their local folk dances. You’ll love meeting the local students & watching them perform live. Even better is that we are giving back too, with our visit proceeds go towards supporting the school.
    A place full of history, culture and traditions this country estate allows us a peek into the way life used to be here. We'll see how sugar cane was processed and after we'll head to a local farm where we will tour the plantation and meet the owner.
    Later, we’ll head back to La Casona for a delicious home-cooked dinner, done the old fashion way on a wood stove. It's your chance to get hands on as you learn how to make traditional Costa Rican coffee & delicious fresh made tortillas. Learning from the locals is a great way to get that authentic angle & pick up some new skills in the kitchen. We think indulging in the results is the perfect way to end the lesson too. Yum!
    You’ll love this unique meal & you’ll love the way it’s served, dished up in the traditional way on a banana leaf. No meal would be complete without some fresh coffee, famous homemade coffee liquor, with entertainment from our hosts Milton & Eli. It’s the perfect end to the day.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day, Dinner (1) day

    Day 7
    Arenal/La Fortuna to Monteverde
    Today we head to the cooler highlands for a change of pace, starting with a lake crossing on our way to Monteverde.
    Monteverde Cloud Forest is Costa Rica’s most popular reserve, founded about 40 years ago by a small group of Quakers who were looking for a peaceful place to live. Its Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most outstanding wild life sanctuaries in the tropics, filled with cloud forests, coffee plantations, monkeys, mist, and friendly locals. Its high elevation rain forest offers miles of trails with excellent opportunities for watching the species found here so you will really get back to nature today! The amazing Quetzal bird is sighted up here from January to July, so ask your Tour Manager & the locals for what to look for.
    This afternoon we hike into the Santa Elena Cloud Forest reserve. Located high on the Caribbean slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán (5,000ft/1,500m), the Continental Divide of Costa Rica, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the first community managed reserves in the country. With the help of Youth Challenge International, a Canadian Non-Profit Organization, the Costa Rican government and the Santa Elena Community, the Reserve officially opened in March 1992. The reserve comprises an area of 310 hectare or 765 acres, and together with the Children's Eternal Rainforest, the Arenal Conservation Area and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve constitutes a conservation area of approximately 28,000 hectares or 69,000 acres. Plans are underway to raise funds to buy and restore adjacent farmlands for future inclusion into the Santa Elena Reserve. Current conservation efforts in the area are centered around establishing forest corridors from the central conservation area down to lower altitudes, as many of the forest fauna, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, American pumas, jaguars, ocelots, and Red Brocket deer found here require large territories to breed.
    This evening is yours to explore the bohemian, artistic town of Santa Elena or relax in the spa at the hotel.

    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day

    Day 8
    This morning we visit Selvatura Adventure Park to walk the Hanging Bridges and visit the Butterfly & Hummingbirds Gardens for a taste of the natural landscape found here.
    After is your opportunity to do a canopy tour (zipline), for an adrenalin rush as you fly through 15 cables and 18 platforms with the option of a Tarzan Swing at the end of the adventure. Awesome!
    Selvatura Park is one of the longest Canopy Tours in Costa Rica, and it's the only canopy tour located inside the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Not ready to conquer ziplining? You can head back into town for some shopping and leisurely lunch. We'll spend this afternoon on a coffee tour.
    You've already sampled this famous Costa Rican drink, but get ready to learn even more. Our guide will take you through all the stages of production, from the plants themselves, through to harvest, drying, roasting & the grinding of the beans. Later, sit back with a delicious cup & relax.
    With your caffeine fix all done, you'll be wide awake for a night out in this eclectic, fun town.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day

    Day 9
    Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
    Pura Vida! Its all sun & good times this morning, we’re off to the beautiful beaches of the Costa Rican Central Pacific coast! First up is a stop in the surfing town of Jaco then its on to Quepos.
    Later, we’ll arrive at Manuel Antonio. This place is a popular destination for travellers, and is a haven for those who love to relax.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day, Dinner (1) day

    Day 10
    Manuel Antonio
    This morning is all about relaxing the way you want. Hit the beach for a surfing lesson, head out to explore the town or just sit with a drink & work on your tan.
    This afternoon we set sail for an awesome afternoon on the water. Chill out on deck, and keep watch for (when in season) dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and unique birds of the Manuel Antonio Marine Reserve.
    Don’t forget your swimming gear, the tour includes snorkeling equipment if you feel like getting into some underwater exploring, and includes a tour of the offshore islands for an even more in-depth look at the area.
    We also stop for a leisurely swim at one of the incredible white sand beaches & if you’re up for it you could dive on the underwater reefs. What’s better, you’ll indulge in a feast of fresh fruits, grilled fish, pasta, salads, drinks with the amazing Costa Rican hospitality that you will have come to love.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day

    Day 11
    Manuel Antonio
    It’s time to get active & walk with our expert guide through the exotic, bio-diverse tropical rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park. This afternoon join us on an optional catamaran cruise. Set sail on our awesome boat trip to spot many dolphins, whales, sea turtles & birds. Don’t forget your swimming gear for swim stops & snorkelling.
    Accommodations: Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day, Dinner (1) day

    Day 12
    Manuel Antonio to San José
    This morning you can relax in paradise or for the adventure lovers get your final fix with a kayak excursion before we head back to San José where your tour ends on arrival. Pura Vida!
    Meals: Breakfast (1) day

    San Jose
    San José tour including La Sabana Park, the Contemporary Art Museum, Central Market & National Theatre
    Visit Poás Volcano National Park
    Visit Braulio Carrillo National Park
    Look out for wildlife on our boat ride
    Contiki Special Stay: Jungle Lodge
    Wildlife boat cruise
    Only Contiki: Sunset canal cruise
    Contiki Special Stay: Rainforest Lodge
    Locally guided Tirimbina Chocolate tour
    Only Contiki: Try rafting, a canopy zipline or abseiling - your choice!
    Arenal (La Fortuna)
    See the incredible Arenal Volcano
    Guided tour of La Casona & its local industries
    Learn how traditional products are made & try making some yourself
    Cross Lake Arenal
    Hike the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
    Costa Rican coffee making tour
    Manuel Antonio
    Visit a local market
  3. Day 1
    Bienvenidos a Panama! Welcome to Central America’s most beautiful gem and home to the eponymous Canal. You are greeted at the airport by a local representative and transferred to your hotel, superbly located on Panama’s bay, the bustling Cinta Costera, just steps away from Calle Uruguay with its many popular restaurants and shops. At 6 p.m., join your fellow travel companions and your Travel Director at the hotel for a Welcome Reception.(Welcome Reception)

    Day 2
    Board your vessel and cruise the Canal, Panama's premier attraction. As you enter the most important waterway in the world, cruise down from the north end of the Galliard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the Canal, and witness firsthand the engineering wonder of the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks, the final set before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Cruise over the Continental Divide and under the Centennial Bridge and Bridge of the Americas while enjoying a relaxed morning snack and lunch. Once in the beautiful Bay of Panama, be ready for the best views of Panama City's modern skyline. Enjoy the evening in Panama City to sample local cuisine.(Full Breakfast / Lunch)

    Day 3
    Discover Panama City's role long before the Canal put it on the map. Drive by Panama Viejo, site of the ruins of the original Panama City before it was sacked by the Pirate Henry Morgan. Wander the vibrant streets of Casco Antiguo - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - in Panama's Historical District. Drive by a local fish market on the way to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center and Canal Museum. Then head for the lush vegetation and tropical climate of the rainforest. Once at your resort, join a guide on an exciting nature walk and aerial tram ride. Glide smoothly through the treetops and possibly spot birds and animals that inhabit this mountainous rainforest canopy. Visit the Observation Tower and admire the panoramic views of the Chagres River, Panama Canal and the township of Gamboa before sitting down for a delicious buffet dinner at the hotel.(Full Breakfast / Dinner)

    Day 4
    Embark on a different kind of water adventure and meet your boteros at the edge of the Chagres National Park to board motorboats. Enjoy a ride up river through the jungle, possibly sighting toucans, sloths or monkeys. Arriving at Embera' Puru, you are met with a traditional greeting and will learn about the Embera Indians' fascinating culture, lifestyle and crafts. Back at the village, enjoy a delicious traditional Local Speciality - Patacones (fried plantains) with fried fish or chicken. Then listen to local music and watch traditional shamanic dances. Back at the resort, the afternoon is free.(Full Breakfast)

    Day 5
    Fly to David and travel up the mountain slopes of the Chiriqui Province. At Cerro Punta, take in the superb views of Volcan Baru, a dormant but prominent volcano and the tallest mountain in Panama. An exclusive Be My Guest lunch awaits at a thoroughbred breeding farm situated in Cerro Punta Valley, one of the most beautiful scenic jewels in the country. As guests of the owners - one of Panama's most prominent families - explore the farm and learn how they breed these magnificent horses in a chemical-free environment. Later, arrive at the mountain resort of Boquete in beautiful Valle Escondido.(Full Breakfast / Be My Guest Dining)

    Day 6
    Visit a coffee plantation and learn how coffee - a new Local Speciality in Panama - is making a grand entrance on the world stage of gourmet grounds with several award-winning, estate-grown varietals. Learn about the coffee-making process and see the Ngobe-Bugle, the indigenous who hand-pick the red coffee berries when they are perfectly ripe. Then, enjoy some free time to do some exploring. Visit the quaint township of Boquete to feel like a local or join one of the optional activities including bird-watching, white water rafting, ziplining, hiking up a volcano, or horseback riding - the choice is yours. This evening, join your fellow travellers for dinner.(Full Breakfast / Dinner)

    Day 7
    Descend from the Chiriqui Highlands to the Inter-American Highway, the Central American section of the Pan-American Highway. Stop in Santiago for lunch on your own. On to Aguadulce and Nata in the Cocle Province, the heart of Panama's sugar cane industry. Stop in Nata to view the beautiful basilica, said to be the oldest church in colonial America. Arrive at your resort, nestled alongside the Pacific Ocean. This evening, recount cherished memories of your Panama holiday with newfound friends at a festive Farewell Dinner.(Full Breakfast / Farewell Dinner)

    Day 8
    Depart Playa Bonita and head to Panama City for your flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival, you are met by a local representative and transferred to your luxurious hotel, superbly situated in the heart of Cartagena's Old Town on the Caribbean coast. Recently declared ‘Historical Patrimony of Humanity' by UNESCO, it is one the world's jewels and a favourite with visitors across the globe. The city has some of the best-preserved colonial architecture and is considered by many as the most beautiful city in South America.(Full Breakfast)

    Day 9
    Discover the heart of the colonial city walking with your guide along the colourful streets, admiring old colonial houses, beautiful flower-laden balconies, and picturesque squares. Visit the Gold Museum, Heredia Theatre and the San Pedro Claver Church. This afternoon, visit the most important monuments outside of the Old Town. View La Popa, Convent of La Candelaria, with stunning views of the city and bay. Head to San Felipe Fort, built in the 17th century to protect the city from pirates. Stop at “Las Bovedas” (The Vaults), which were used as dungeons in days of yore and now house a variety of shops.(Full Breakfast)

    Day 10
    Today is yours to relax, explore further, or take a land or island excursion.(Full Breakfast)

    Day 11
    After breakfast, say adios to Cartagena and transfer to Rafael Nunez Cartagena airport for your onward flight.(Full Breakfast)

    Sightseeing Highlights
    Panama Canal Cruise this marvel of the modern world from the Pacific all the way to the Chagres River.
    Panama City Explore the city's main highlights including the Archaeological Site of Panama Viejo and the Historic District of Panama, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; wander the quaint streets of the Casco Antiguo; visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center and Canal Museum.
    Gamboa Rainforest Explore the rainforest at canopy level aboard an aerial tram ride; cruise the Chagres River to an Embera village aboard motorboats; meet local Embera villagers and learn about their lifestyles, culture and customs; be entertained by Embera ancestral songs and dances.
    Cerro Punta Stop at this mountain township and enjoy the best views of Baru Volcano; visit a local race horse stud farm.
    Boquete Relax with two nights at the idyllic mountain resort of Valle Escondido, known for fabulous bird-watching.
    Playa Bonita Enjoy one of Panama's most popular beach resorts ideally situated on the Pacific.
  7. Day 1 Antigua
    A cobblestoned maze of colourful buildings, leafy town squares and ornate churches, Antigua is the undisputed urban jewell in Guatemala's crown. Wander among the enchanting colonial architecture and lively indigenous markets, or settle back on a rooftop terrace offering spectacular views of the Pacaya Volcano.

    Days 2-4 Ahuachapan
    Drive through some gorgeous scenery en route to Ahuachapan in El Salvador. Head for the bright aquamarine waters of Lago de Coatepeque, setting sail on the waters themselves or climbing the surrounding mountain trails for exceptional photo opportunities. Wildlife enthusiasts should make use of some free time with a visit to the El Imposible Nature Reserve for a chance to spot some endemic wildlife.

    Days 5-6 Suchitoto
    Make like the locals and take in the sleepy atmosphere of Suchitoto, pottering about its quiet city streets or plonked down on a plaza bench. Not much happens in this picturesque lakeside town – which is precisely its charm. Those seeking some activity may fancy a leisurely hike in the Cinquera Forest, but this is really a place perfectly suited to idling away the day.

    Days 7-8 San Salvador
    Arrive in the buzz and bustle of unabashed San Salvador. Heady, hectic and utterly enthralling, this is a city that wears its heart on its sleeve. Hit the local clubs for a taste of Central America's most scintillating night-life and, whatever you do, don't leave without trying a pupusa. Barely more than beans and cheese rolled up into a doughy pocket, they're surprisingly addictive.
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