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Tiny Costa Rica is a treasure trove of natural marvels. We’ll sample much of what this amazing and gay-friendly little country has to offer. See San Jose, Monteverde, and the gay paradise and beaches of Manuel Antonio, as well as a wealth of tropical wildlife.
We begin in the bustling capital city of San Jose, with its many museums and historic buildings, a delightfully cool climate, and Central America’s most developed gay culture.
Then we head to the Monteverde Cloud Forest for two nights. We’ll take in the unique culture of a small town near Costa Rica’s continental divide and take a walking tour through a nature-lovers paradise with a local naturalist.
The pristine Pacific coastline and jungle near Manuel Antonio National Park will be our home for the next four days. There’ll be plenty of time to frolic at the beach near our comfortable lodgings, with awesome sunset views and delicious meals.
During our stay on the coast, we’ll explore the surrounding National Park on foot and on a canopy tour, spend time on the renowned gay-friendly beach, and socialize at one of the area’s gay watering holes. We also have set aside a morning to get out on the water for dolphin watching and snorkeling in the crystal clear sea!
Back in San Jose for the last night of the trip, we’ll have a farewell dinner in one of the area’s top restaurants.
Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica
Guests should plan to arrive at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport by late afternoon. We will be greeted by our local guide and transferred to our tropically inspired hotel in San Jose. This evening we will meet for a reception then venture out for our welcome dinner to kick off our adventure. After dinner for anyone with enough energy there’ll be a Night Out City Tour to explore San Jose’s nightlife, visiting the most famous gay spots of the San Jose area.
Day 2: A Charming Town with a Unique History
After breakfast, we start our trip to Monteverde. For the first couple of hours, we follow the Pan American Highway past villages, coffee plantations, and forests. Then, starting from near sea level, we start our winding ride up the spine of a mountain to the village of Santa Elena, just below the continental divide and our home base for exploring the Monteverde Cloud Forest. In Spanish, Monteverde means “green mountain” and it is one of the most interesting and popular destinations in Costa Rica.
Upon arrival, we’ll find our charming hotel with a view of the mountains rippling into the distance. Monteverde was settled in the 1950s as a Quaker community and today continues a tradition of environmental responsibility and quality farming. This afternoon, we will have lunch together then tour the town of Santa Elena, sampling fresh dairy products and desserts with the local cheese producer. Enjoy visiting art galleries and shops and search out the small and colorful frogs who live in the rainforest. We will dine together tonight at a local restaurant.
Day 3: Into the Cloud Forest
After breakfast, we will take a 3-hour nature walk along trails of the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a private protected area with over 25,730 acres (10,415 hectares) of land encompassing eight distinct ecological zones. Vines, mosses, ferns and lichen cover nearly every inch, and more than 500 species of orchids can be found clinging to the enormous trees.
The Cloud Forest of Monteverde is a naturalist’s paradise, an outstanding sanctuary for more than 130 types of mammals, 400 kinds of birds, 30 species of hummingbirds, 5000 types of moths and 3000 species of plants. In addition to the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal, you may see the endangered Bellbird or Emerald Toucanet.
We will enjoy lunch together today before returning to the hotel for a free afternoon. You can take advantage of the Jacuzzi, pool bar or spa before getting together for dinner.
Day 4: On to Manuel Antonio
After breakfast we will journey to Manuel Antonio, with its world renowned Pacific beaches, arguably some of the most beautiful in the country. With multiple gay bars, a gay-friendly beach and a tolerant atmosphere, Manuel Antonio is certainly considered a premier gay travel destination.
We will check into our bright and airy hilltop hotel that overlooks the jungle, and beyond, a glorious waterscape. We’ll have the afternoon and evening free to lounge at the beach, head to the spa or simply sip a cocktail while watching the sun set.
Day 5: Catamaran Cruise
This morning we’ll board a 100-foot catamaran for a boating and snorkeling adventure along the coast. The boat features small pools for relaxing, netting to lay in, and slides for silly fun, as well as a large open bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments, fruits, and snacks. We’ll have lunch on board and stop at pristine Bizans Beach for snorkeling. Dolphin and whale sightings are common, so keep your eyes peeled!
Dinner will be together tonight at a quaint local restaurant.
Day 6: Wildlife Walk in the National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park has just 900 hectares, including 12 islands in its vicinity, making it the smallest, but still one of the most important National Parks in Costa Rica. We’ll take a guided walk and learn more about the Park’s importance as a transition zone where the tropical dry forest and rainforest meet. Walk through mangrove wetlands and visit some of the most beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast.
We are likely to encounter sloths, raccoons and any of the three types of monkeys (capuchin, squirrel and howler monkeys) that live in Manuel Antonio National Park. How many of the 350 species of birds can you identify? Be on the lookout for agoutis (large rodents), armadillos and iguanas!
Day 7: Canopy Tour by Zip Line!
Our tour begins with an amazing 45-minute drive through the rainforest to our canopy site near the closest town of Quepos. We’ll make stops to learn more about the colorful and abundant plants and animals of the area. Our local bilingual guide has a vast knowledge of the rainforest and will share with us many of the secrets that the canopy holds.
We’ll gear up for our zip line adventure in an area called Paso Real, near a pristine river: a spectacular backdrop for the platforms and cables carefully built in the rainforest canopy. The trained guides start us out with a short “zip,” then we experience longer and longer slides as we sail through the canopy between platforms.
After our thrilling flight among the treetops, we’ll go back to our gay paradise hotel in Manuel Antonio and dine together this evening.
Day 8: Return to San Jose
We’ll have a leisurely morning to enjoy breakfast and perhaps a last visit to the beach before our return trip to San Jose. We’ll stop for lunch along the way. The afternoon is free before we join together for our Farewell Dinner.
Day 9: Adios!
There are no activities scheduled today, so guests are free to plan whatever flights are most convenient and offer the best price. We will provide transfers to the airport for those departing today. Say farewell to your new friends, and we hope to travel with you again in the near future!
Price Includes: Lodging for 8 nights in comfortable hotels; All airport/ hotel transfers on scheduled arrival/departures dates; Private transportation between destinations and activities; Entrance fees for sightseeing, Services of a bilingual, experienced local tour guide as well as an HE Travel host (subject to minimum participation); All meals; All hotel services charges, government taxes, porterage, and gratuities for drivers and included meals. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not Included: International air fare and airport departure taxes (approximately $29); alcoholic beverages unless it is specified in the tour; personal equipment; extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service); and gratuities for local tour guide and HE Travel host.
Optional Tour Choices:
TBA Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in San Jose, Costa Rica.
No special skills are required, but you should have a moderate level of fitness to enjoy many of our adventure activities.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174