The November issue of National Geographic Adventure has named Wildland Adventures' 9-day Undiscovered Caribbean Costa Rica Adventure one of the "25 Best New Trips" in the World! Travel to Costa Rica exploring the mist-enshrouded rainforests of the Talamanca Mountains, searching for nesting giant leatherback sea turtles and cycling along white sand Caribbean beaches. This active Costa Rica eco-tour goes deep inside a region of Costa Rica where traditional life prevails. Travelers interact meaningfully with indigenous people, including the Bribri and Cabecar Indians and the Afro-Caribbean residents. Led by expert Costa Rica tour guides, the trip supports local ecotourism initiatives as participants join with local people to make organic chocolate, help with a reforestation project and learn to cook Caribbean-style! This diverse, off-the-beaten-path trip is a Costa Rica vacation unlike any other!
Coast Confidential: With Costa Rica's Pacific Coast looking more and more like Southern California's - overdeveloped and overcrowded - it's now a far cry from the adventure getaway of 15 years ago. And until recently, the country's other coast, the Caribbean, simply wasn't a viable alternative. But the extension of a road to the farthest points of CR's eastern side has made the beaches and parks more accessible, and inspired one outfitter to launch a new trip.
Wildland Adventures itinerary begins near the Panama border at Selva Bananito Jungle Lodge, a family-owned eco-retreat on a private, 2,000-acre preserve. You can hike through rain forest, rappel down an 80-foot waterfall, and help re-introduce a tropical hardwood forest to the area by planting native trees on a rundown 19th-century banana plantation. Caribbean culture runs deep here, and you'll get a taste of it - literally - during cooking classes in the beach town of Puerto Viejo (coconut rice, fried plantains, and fresh fruit shakes are all staples).
Then its time for serious wildlife viewing at Kekoldi Reserve, one of the worlds best places to watch the great raptor migration (prepare for up to 200,000 hawks, ospreys, falcons, and vultures), as well as a refuge for giant leatherback turtles and iguanas. This being a coastal trip, you'll have plenty of time for the water, too. From March through September the reefs light up with blue tangs, grunts, and parrot fish, and corals with names like "fire" and "elkhorn." (Undiscovered Caribbean Costa Rica Adventure, 9 days, $3,415, Departs: FebruaryNovember)