Dec. 26, 2025-Jan. 3, 2026 From fertile volcanic slopes, verdant rainforests teeming with life, and pristine beaches, experience the incredible ecosystems and species unique to Costa Rica.

We invite you and your family to ring in the new year on a natural history adventure in Costa Rica, a friendly destination that appeals to all ages. Renowned for preserving over 25 percent of its land as reserves, this tiny nation is famous for its biodiversity, with 850 species of birds, hundreds of waterfalls, pristine beaches, tropical rainforests, and cloud forests, along with an astonishing array of wildlife. We'll look out for the endangered scarlet macaws and white-faced capuchin monkeys, and sail by catamaran to snorkel and search for dolphins, migrating humpback whales, sea turtles, and manta rays. Our carefully designed trip offers professional naturalist guides, three distinctive hotels, and a variety of activities.

  • When: December 26, 2025-January 3, 2026
  • Activity level: Moderate
  • Good for families: Yes
  • Price: $6,325-$7,615 (based on party size)

Save your spot!


Click the "Register now" button below to reserve your spot through our tour partner, Royal Adventures.

Please note: You must be an Academy member or donor to register for this trip.


Image of Amber Mace

Your Academy expert

Amber Mace, PhD, Managing Director and Chief of Strategic Partnerships

Dr. Amber Mace, an intrepid explorer, is trained as a marine ecologist, scientific diver, and submersible pilot. She is responsible for guiding the Academy's work on strategy and partnership alignment.

Sloth in tree in Costa Rica

Trip highlights

  • From the fertile slopes of the Poás Volcano to the tranquil La Paz Waterfall Gardens, your trip will take you through Costa Rica’s iconic landscapes.
  • The variety of activities during this trip ensure there’s something for everyone: Take swims in waterfalls, horseback ride through lush forests, zipline through the canopies, hike in national parks, and snorkel in protected lagoons.
  • Two-toed sloths, scarlet macaws, coatis, and armadillos are just a few of the creatures that call Costa Rica home.
  • With lodgings next to a national park, you’ll stay close to nature throughout your trip.

Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica! Arrivals will be received at the airport and taken to the Cariari Hotel.

Day 2: Appropriately, the first stop of our trip is at a coffee farm located along the arable slopes of Poás Volcano. During the visit, you’ll learn about production, harvesting, roasting, and packaging of the “Golden Bean” and why Costa Rica boasts perfect growing conditions for gourmet coffee beans. Continue to the top of Poás Volcano, where, weather permitting, you will have a view of active fumaroles and the blue-green lake at the bottom of the immense crater—one of the largest in the world. Next stop is La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private reserve with many waterfalls, hiking trails, and hummingbird and butterfly gardens—all of which offer beautiful photo opportunities. We will arrive in Arenal and transfer to La Fortuna de San Carlos, home of Arenal Volcano. The next three nights we will spend at the Hotel Tilajari.

Day 3: Today you will visit La Fortuna Waterfall through a combination of hiking and relaxed horseback riding. Admire the density of the forest of Mistico Arenal Park, and access the pastures located on the highest hills, which overlook the volcano and lake below. This outing to La Fortuna Waterfall will offer some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Costa Rica, as well as a refreshing swim. Alternative options will be available for those who do not wish to travel by horseback.

Day 4: Take in views of the forest from a different perspective today with a ride on the Sky Tram gondolas, a zip-line experience on Sky Trek, and a walk on the Sky Walk. Soar above the rainforest and enjoy a view of Arenal Volcano and Arenal Lake. Then, take a closer look at the complex canopy ecosystem with a Sky Walk over bridges and platforms. Relax after the day’s adventures with a visit to the Hot Springs at Ecotermales.

Day 5: Leave Arenal and enter Nectandra Cloud Forest, a horticultural display garden landscaped to exhibit the immense richness of flora and fauna of Costa Rica. The premontane cloud forest of this region has one of the highest densities of species in the world. Then, arrive at Tarcoles River for lunch and a safari boat tour to look for crocodiles, iguanas, and a variety of waterbirds, including roseate spoonbills, herons, and storks. Carara National Park, which is near our next accommodation, is home to nearly half of Costa Rica’s avian species, including the largest population of endangered scarlet macaws. The local species often visit the forested grounds of Hotel Villa Lapas, your home for the next 3 nights.

Day 6: Manuel Antonio National Park is our next stop, and is considered one of the most beautiful and scenic parks in the entire park system. White sand beaches are backed by lush tropical forests, which are home to a variety of monkeys, two-toed sloths, agoutis, and iguanas. You may also spot coatis, armadillos, and parrots. The jagged coastline, stunning beaches, and sheltered tide pools showcase abundant marine life. Then, return back to the hotel for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with your group!

Day 7: Happy New Year! Start off 2026 with a catamaran cruise and search for spotted dolphins, migrating humpback whales, sea turtles, and manta rays as we sail down the coastline of Manuel Antonio National Park. We’ll see mysterious islands, jagged cliffs, and unique rock formations, which are all home to numerous species of marine birds including frigates, pelicans, yellow-footed boobies, and white ibises. We will anchor in a protected cove for a snorkeling adventure in the warm Pacific waters.

Day 8: We’re touring Carara National Park today, which is an area of 4,700 hectares and home to nearly half of Costa Rica’s aviary species. With this tour, you’ll see the importance of the region, as it is situated in a transitional region between the tropical dry forest and the humid Pacific rainforest. This National Park showcases colorful species of flora and fauna as well as a varied ecosystem. You may get the opportunity to see white-faced and howler monkeys, iguanas, toucans, trogons, and scarlet macaws. Head to Hotel Villa Lapas to take in the sunset and a festive farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.

Day 9: We will bid you a fond farewell as you return to Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José for your return flight home.



  • $6,325 (per person based on double occupancy)
  • $7,615 (based on single occupancy)
  • $5,690 Discount pricing for children 12 and under!

Payment schedule:

  • $850 deposit is required per person.
  • Final Payment is due on September 25, 2025.
  • Cancellations received on or before March 31, 2025 are eligible for a full refund.
  • Cancellations received after March 31, 2025 and before June 2, 2025, are eligible for a refund less a cancellation of $450 per person
  • Cancellations received after June 2, 2025 are subject to a 100% penalty of all deposits and payments.

What's included:

  • All accommodations and meals in trip itinerary
  • All transportation within trip itinerary
  • Guided field trips, excursions, and tours
  • Professional English-speaking tour guides throughout

What's NOT included:

  • International roundtrip airfare from the USA to Costa Rica
  • Room service
  • Personal room charges (phone calls, baggage charges, laundry, etc.)
  • Travel or medical insurance

Travel insurance:

  • We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance as the cancellation penalty listed above and in the trip registration will apply. An application for trip cancellation insurance will be available upon confirmation. Most insurance plans must be purchased within 14 days of paying the initial deposit in order to waive preexisting medical conditions as well as to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance.