Wilderness Eco-Safari

Pacific Coast Costa Rica: (IT-CR-HRW08)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/costa_rica_wilderness_eco_safari.aspx

Introduction
Pacific Coast Costa Rica
Our new Conquistadores Wilderness Eco-Safari adventure is a progressive trek that will immerse you in the Tropical Forest whilst experiencing an authentic rural Costa Rican way of life and witnessing an outstanding natural diversity and wildlife.  This riding adventure unfolds in the backwaters and surrounding areas of Carara National Park - a true gem harbouring  a wide range of natural habitats and high levels of biodiversity, like no other in Central America.  This ride has been designed for those Equestrians and nature enthusiasts seeking opportunities to encounter tropical wildlife and specially birds.  Amongst the most commonly seen wildlife are birds such as macaws, parrots, parakeets, toucans and mammals such as monkeys, coatis, agoutis, sloths, peccaries, tayras and possibly the elusive jaguarondi.  We comb miles of pristine tropical land and a network of dirt trails in an area which represents the meeting point of Meso-American and South-American flora and fauna, combining a wide range of life zones including Transitional Pre-montane and Lowland Forests.  During this equestrian adventure you will come close to exploring the local Costa Rican rural life following mountain trails, visiting remote villages and discovering pristine natural settings.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations.

Description
A total of 2 nights are spent at a hotel in San Jose, 2 nights local guesthouse, 3 nights farm guesthouse with shared bathroom, and 1 night at Local Pub. Bathrooms are shared at Rio Carara Lodge and Finca Galán, and private everywhere else. Laundry is not available for this trip.

Night 1 & 8: Hotel in San Jose (Park Inn or El Rodeo)
This hotel located within walking distance of San Jose’s city center offers 117 comfortable rooms with amenities including air conditioning, Wifi and TV. The private bathrooms all include free toiletries. An outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub and fitness center are available for guests’ use.


Night 2 & 3: Guesthouse
(Rio Carara Lodge)
Located in a natural corridor amidst Carara National Park, the Castro-Fernández Nature Reserve and the Turruburares Mountains.  There are no immediate neighbours or electricity, which adds to the feeling of seclusion and tranquility. Food is cooked typical style in a wood stove. Most of the ingredients used are locally sourced and grown on the property. Accommodation is at the rustic family home surrounded by spacious corridors with hammocks and offers 10 hectares with great nature trails, waterfalls, and natural pools.


Night 4, 5, & 6: Farm guesthouse
(Finca Galán)
Finca Galán is an ecological farm, which has started offering lodging to selected travelers who enjoy authentic life-changing experiences. Accommodation is in a 3-bedroom/ 2-bathroom bungalow house perched on a mountain slope at the basin of Cerro Galán on the Turrubares Mountains. There is one bedroom with two bunk beds, one with twin single beds, and one with a double bed. Water is brought to the house by gravity directly from a private natural spring source. Cooking is done by gas stove and evening are candlelit. The area is so peaceful and quiet that the only sounds in the morning will be the dozens of singing birds that eagerly await for the first rays of lights at dusk and go to be at night with candles and at the sounds of the tropical forest.


Night 7: Local Pub
(Palenque Mata de Platano)
Palenque Mata de Platano is located in Mata de Platano in the Turrubares county. This Costa Rican Pub is located by the Turrubaritos river and serves as rest stop for locals wanting a meal, a beer, or a stay. Palenque Mata de Platano offers 4 rooms with ceiling fan, private facilities, and have 2 or 3 beds. The rooms are located right above the bar and restaurant facilities, which will provide a good opportunity to mingle with the locals.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we are unable to find another rider to share. Only one single occupancy is available.
Triple occupancy is not possible.


Meals
Most meals are included in this trip from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 8, as well as breakfast on Day 9. Meals on the first day and dinner on Day 8 are not included. Due to its geographical location and climate, Costa Rica has a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; which when combined with the interplay of native and European ingredients translate into a unique Costa Rican flavour. The basics of the Costa Rican diet are: rice, beans, and tortillas, which consist primarily of corn. 
 
The ingredients used by Costa Rican cooks include simple native foods, such as "chayote" (squash), avocados, and the ever present corn. Costa Rican cuisine is also characterized by its' mildness and comes as a surprise to many visitors who might have travelled through Mexico and expect to find the same love spicy chillies in Costa Rican foods. Chillies are used to some degree, however, they are most commonly used in hot sauces with accompany broiled meats and poultry. Tubers, such as sweet potatoes and cassava, commonly known as "yucca" frequently accompany lunch and dinner meals.

In many dishes yucca is often substituted for potato, perhaps boiled and mashed, fried to exquisite crispness to accompany meat and sandwiches instead of fries, or simply boiled and served with butter and garlic. Plantains, a type of banana, are another Costa Rican favourite, and are most often boiled, mashed, stuffed with cheese, or fried to accompany meats or bean dishes. Unlike bananas, plantains are much larger and need to be cooked to be eaten. Costa Rican diet also includes plenty of meats including: Poultry, fish, beef and pork.. do not expect to find any Ecuadorian or Peruvian delicacy!!
 
Breakfast
A traditional Costa Rican breakfast consists of "gallo pinto" (Pinto Rooster), eggs, tortillas and sour cream, with coffee and fresh fruit juice. Most restaurants will offer some international options.

Lunch
Typically known as "casado" (Married), includes: rice and beans, one choice of meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), salad, fried plantain (a type of banana, very sweet and very tasty).

Dinner
Pretty much whatever you like, and fish and seafood here is excellent, well priced, and fresh, as are the fruits and vegetables. Of course Costa Rica produces some of the finest coffee in the world and it's not uncommon to see bumper stickers around proclaiming that "Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee"

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions if given prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This ride is designed for serious riders who want to discover the most complete possible grounds and scenery. This is achieved by using vehicle transportation (anywhere from 1-5 hours) only when strictly necessary due to the long distances involved between the riding bases. Riders are required to have an intermediate level of riding experience to attend this ride.

Horses
Costa Rican Criollo, Paso, and mixed breeds (Spanish, Andalusian & American Quarter). They range from 14 to 16 hands.

Non-Riders
If you are a non-rider that want to discover Costa Rica whilst travelling with your riding companion, we can organize many activities for you including: White Water Rafting, Zip-Lining, Hiking Trails, Crocodile Boat Safari, Kayaking, Snorkeling,…

Children
The minimum age to join this ride is 12. Children are expected to have a the appropriate riding experience in order to join this ride. When booking a private ride, it might be possible to have children 11 or younger join us (subject to conditions).

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José. Upon arrival you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel near the airport.
Overnight in San Jose.

Day 2: Presentation & Build-up ride
Morning short drive to Eco-Safari Ranch & Stables, located along the Trinidad river in the Dry Central Pacific Region, the starting point of your riding adventure. Following the horse assignment and our presentation, you will take a short ride in our property to ensure you feel comfortable with your horse and you get used to the local riding style and commands. As our horses are trucked to the starting point of the ride, we will visit the local town for any last minute purchases before we start to head to more off-the-beaten path trails. We will reunite with our horses at Lagunas in the Turrubares Mountains lowlands where our Tropical adventure begins riding on trails adjacent to Carara National Park to Galan (12 Km).
Overnight at local Guesthouse (B,L,D)
Riding: ~3-4 hours


Day 3: Explore Carara National Park
Today we will explore the neighbouring rainforest adjacent to Carara National Park, which in indigenous Huetar language means "River of lizards". Carara is considered a must destination amongst wildlife enthusiasts and professional birdwatchers. Created as a biological reserve in 1978 and considered nowadays to be a biological island because of the dense agriculture and livestock operations around it which go back to the Pre-Columbus era. The 4,700 ha. Carara Biological Reserve occupies a unique position at the transition zone between tropical moist forest and tropical wet forest in the Pacific lowlands. Though most of the vegetation in the reserve remains evergreen and is characteristic of the wet forest life zone, there are a number of species that lose their leaves during the dry season, showing their affinity to the drier climate found north of the reserve. 
Overnight at local Guesthouse (B,L,D)
Riding: ~4-5 hours


Day 4: Carara National Park - Sur de Turrubares - Monte Galán
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we will continue following the South Eastern trail adjacent to Carara National Park towards the remote village of Sur de Turrubares - a charming rural community tucked in a hidden Valley surrounded by an amazing tropical forest and beautiful mountains where one can really unplug oneself from the rest of the world. During school time, we may visit the local school and bring some school supplies (guests are welcome to any school materials). After a visit to the local bar (if opened), we will start to ride up towards our next destination Finca Galán. En route, there will be a few rivers to cross as we continue to gain altitude. As we head towards the Turrubares mountains, the views become more and more astounding and the breeze cooler, reaching 640 meters of elevation at the end of the day. Tucked away on a hill foot lays Finca Galán, where we will spend the next three nights. During clear days, it is possible to see the ocean surf hit the coastline. 
Overnight at Finca Galán (B,L,D)
Riding: ~4-5 hours


Day 5: Ride on the Pontenciana Mountains or Lanas & Aguas Calientes
Today we have the option to ride toward the Potenciana Mountains. The ride will be filled with spectacular mountain and distant Pacific Ocean views at the end of the rolling mountains and valleys. As we ride towards the Potenciana Mountains, we will reach higher altitudes which will reveal spectacular views at every turn. We will ride through farmlands and along a mountain trail through pre-montane and oak forest, higher up the Turrubares and Potentiana mountains, which is the only high coastal mountain range of Central America. As we continue the ascend we will be able to notice the changes in the forest constitution and its characteristics as the lower temperatures allow for more ferns, moss, and bromeliads - a day to enjoy unparalleled views of the valleys and Pacific coast line. Depending on weather conditions, if it was rainy and cloudy, we may do a countryside ride visiting Lanas Community, which sits amongst the Lanas and Tulín river basins. This area is mainly dedicated to cattle raising and the little town is made up by houses dotted along a rural road with a catholic temple, football field, a primary and secondary school.
Overnight at Finca Galán (B,L,D)
Riding: ~3-4 hours


Day 6: Non-riding Day (Day at Leisure or to join optional activities)
Today will be a rest day for our horses and will also be a great opportunity to experience the real and rural Costa Rica! You may choose to take a guided nature walk through the rainforest, help with farm work activities, or just relax on the hammock! You can part take in our farm work and learn about the seasonal crops produced, the cultivating techniques, and challenges local farmers need to endure to grow, harvest, and sell their produce.  Amongst the crops produced in this area are corn, sweet potato, cacao, beans, yucca, and sugar canes.
Overnight at Finca Galán (B,L,D)

Day 7: Ride from Galan through Delicias & San Gabriel to Mata de Platano 
After a hearty breakfast, we will start to descend the Turrubares mountains and head towards the Pacific coast lowlands, following a dirt road through to reach the cattle-raising lands in the villages of Delicias and San Gabriel. We continue on mountain farm trails to finally reaching the Turrubaritos river, which we cross on a few occasions, and ride along as it meanders its ways down towards the coastline and into the Pacific Ocean. We spend the night on the river edge in the village of Mata de Platano. Bring some swimming clothes on hand to enjoy a dip in the river swim holes and cool off!
Overnight at Palenque Mata de Platano (B,L,D)
Riding: ~4-5 hours


Day 8: Ride from Mata de Platano – through Fila Negra to Playa Hermosa on the Pacific Coast
Our final ride will take us across the Turrubaritos river, which joins with the Tulín river before finally forking into the Pacific Ocean. We will ride up through Fila Negra mountain ridge with incredible views of the coastline and then down on the lowlands ending at Playa Hermosa on the Central Pacific Coast, which is about 3 miles (5km) south of Jaco and is one of the best surf destinations in the country for its consistent wave break throughout the year. After riding along the beach, we bid farewell our equine friends and enjoy some time by the beach under the shade of the wild almond trees. We will meet our vehicle to head back to San Jose or alternatively continue to Manuel Antonio for your beach extension (at extra cost). Our equine friends will be trucked to our ranch.
Overnight in San Jose (B,L)
Riding: ~4-5 hours

Note: Should you want to extend your trip in Costa Rica we are happy to tailor-make the rest of your vacation or suggest some great add-on such as 3D/2N Tortuguero Jungle Canals, 3D/2 N Arenal Volcano, or some nights at the beach at leisure in the Central Pacific coast.

Day 9: Departure / Flight Home
Morning at your leisure and transferred to the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in time for your flight back home and we say our farewells.
Meals included:  B


** Important Note: This is a sample ride dossier, planned several months in advance. The ride can be operated in different order other than as described above. Arrangements (routes or facilities) are subject to variation by the outfitter depending on local conditions. All riding times contained in our itineraries are based upon riding at a slow/moderate pace throughout.
 


Rates and Dates for Wilderness Eco-Safari

Rates include:

Accommodations (2 nights San Jose hotel, 2 nights local guesthouse, 3 nights farm guesthouse, and 1 night at local pub), meals specified in the itinerary, 6 riding days with bilingual guide, ponchos and horse bags, entrance fees, one litre of water a day, transfers from/to the airport

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20199 day trip, AP except in San Jose$2195
    • Single supplement$395
      Solo rider supplement$1770

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2019 Transfer from San Jose airport any time, included first and last day

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 07/16 - 07/24 9d / 8n 9 day trip, AP except in San... 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 08/06 - 08/14 9d / 8n 9 day trip, AP except in San... 2 /6 Expired
A 2019 11/26 - 12/04 9d / 8n 9 day trip, AP except in San... 2 /6 Reserve
A 2019 12/24 - 01/01 9d / 8n 9 day trip, AP except in San... 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 01/01 - 01/09 9d / 8n 9 day trip, AP except in San... 2 /6 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Dinner on night 8 and meals in San Jose on Day 1 & 9, alcoholic drinks, gratuities for guides, drivers and service providers, personal and/or medical expenses, extras

Other Info
Meeting: San Jose
Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport
Transfer: San Jose Inernational Airport or hotel

Climate:
                                                    Alajuela area
 

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

82

83

85

85

83

82

82

82

81

80

81

81

Average Low Temperature (°F)

63

63

64

65

65

64

64

64

63

63

63

63

Average High Temperature (°C)

28

28

29

30

28

28

28

28

27

27

27

27

Average Low Temperature (°C)

17

17

18

18

18

18

18

18

17

17

17

17

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

0

0

1

5

16

19

14

17

21

22

11

3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Almost ideal year-round for visitors, the climate is moderate up in the highlands, whilst at the lowlands and coastal areas can range from the low 70's to the high 90's degrees Fahrenheit.

There are 2 main seasons:
- Summer, which is usually dry and lasts from December to May
- Winter, also known as the rainy season and usually running from the end of May to November

The heaviest rainfalls usually occur in September and October.

What To Bring:
For your main luggage piece, we recommend bringing a holdall-type luggage which can be more easily handled, as well as another small rucksack (8 kilo maximum) so you can pack the clothes you will need for the two nights at Hacienda Rio Carara and the night at Pakenque Mata de Platano. All small rucksack will be carried on the spare horse whilst your main luggage will be transported on 4x4 and will be waiting for you at Finca Galan (on day 4) and then delivered to you on day 8.

Recommended List
- Riding gloves
- For your safety we strongly recommend you to bring a riding helmet with a shade-rim to give you extra protection by blocking the sun from your face and neck
- Riding boots or hard-soled shoes and boots
- Rain gear (e.g. raincoat or a poncho)
- Long riding trousers or jeans
- Chaps
- Comfortable clothes of a light material, preferably cotton. T-shirts and shorts are acceptable in San José (during the day, if planning to go out in the evening trousers are highly recommended as some restaurants will not admit you in shorts or sandals).
- Loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and trousers are recommended during forest explorations or if you take any day trips out to smaller towns, where immodest attire is frowned upon. (Jeans tend to be more uncomfortable during long walk although better for horse riding)
- Pack a light sweater or jacket for San José's cool nights and early mornings and for trips up volcanoes, Monteverde, etc
- Sturdy shoes or hiking boots are essential if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and hiking.
- Waterproof hiking sandals or other footwear that lets your feet breathe are good for strolling about town, and also for beach walking, fording streams, and navigating the myriad mud holes you'll find on rain forest and cloud forest trails.
- Insect Repellent
- Sun screen lotion (spf-15 or higher)
- A small notebook and pen
- Binoculars & camera
- Any medication you may require, please consult with your G.P. for health advise.
- And but overall a great adventurous spirit! IMPORTANT: *** Please double-check the expiry date of your passport. ***

The tone here is casual wear - it is not necessary to dress up to go to dinner. Comfortable lightweight is best. In the higher elevations, San Jose, the volcanoes, or Monteverde, temperatures are cool and sweaters or light jackets are suggested.

We recommend for women to ride in leggings with a big shirt over them. The leggings are not too hot, and they dry out quickly if they get wet.

Sensible precaution
Almost all encounters with noxious insects & plants can be avoided by watching where you walk and sit, by not touching non-recognizable insects, plants, etc. by tucking pants in your socks, by using an insect repellent, by spraying shoes and ankles to avoid bites, by always following tour guide's instructions to the letter, and finally, avoid using perfumes, after-shave, or other scents that will attract insects.  Please leave your valuables at home.