10 in 1 Mega Combo Tour
8AM Your day begins when you are greeted by our friendly staff who will meet you at the cruise dock or hotel. From there, you’ll be escorted to a clean, comfortable, air-conditioned tourism vehicle by one of our certified English speaking guides.
8:15AM The first stop will be in an area where we commonly spot the white-faced Capuchin monkeys, sometimes even the Howler monkeys come out for the show! But have your camera ready as these monkeys are very curious and active and sometimes come close to greet us! They might even try to steal your cookies or camera! As the tourism industry in Costa Rica is one of the strongest and largest industries, monkeys have grown accustomed to seeing people on a daily basis and are typically very friendly and smart creatures! After learning interesting information about them from our certified naturalist tour guides- (we have the MOST AMAZING GUIDES) we will board the van and travel on the new highway passing by seasonal plantations as your guide entertains you with rich history and facts of our amazing country!
9:00AM On the way we make a stop at a fresh fruit shop so you can try and learn about our various exotic fruits such as lychee, tamarind, sour sop, as well as commonly known fruits such as mango, watermelon, pineapple and more! The fruit shop, owned and operated by a Costa Rican family of farmers make some of the best tropical smoothies we have ever tasted!
10AM This is the most popular bridge in all of Costa Rica! You will have the opportunity to see up to a dozen crocodiles up to 20 feet long sunbathing under the bridge!
11AM Next is the main event – a 75-minute safari boat tour on the Tarcoles river with an experienced naturalist guide. You’ll see egrets, herons, storks, cara-caras and many other migratory birds “on vacation” here in Costa Rica, but the kings of the river are the american crocodiles, some reaching lengths of nearly 20 feet long! In addition to having one of the largest population of crocodiles in the Americas, the river also supports more than 50 species of migratory, native and coastal birds, including a variety of heron and egrets, crested cara-caras, roseate spoonbills, scarlet macaws and more. Iguanas can often be spotted along sides of the river as well. If you are lucky you will spot a rare specie of lizards famously known as the Jesus Christ lizards! These lizards have the ability to run across water whenever a predator or boat closes in. See National Geographic video
12:30 PM Your trained naturalist tour guide will work hard to spot these beautiful birds for you to photograph in the wild. You will visit an area in Tarcoles by the beach where the macaws are normally found amongst the almond trees. These beautiful red macaws birds are endangered all across the world but with a little luck we will spot them, of course we will climb off of the vehicle for photos!
1PM Afterwards, enjoy a traditional Costa-Rican style lunch with wi-fi available to upload your best photos taken so far. The restaurant providers for this tour is Los Toneles and they are the only restaurant with air conditioning and a renowned Gourmet Chef in this tropical area, Los Toneles is a delightful restaurant that has gained recognition on TripAdvisor for their amazing service and delicious meals, you will have the chance to sit down and order fresh sea-bass filet, chicken breast filet or the vegetarian option all accompanied with rice, beans, salad and natural fruit beverage- this delicious meal is included in your tour cost. The restaurant also offers local and international brewed and bottled beers for you to purchase (cervezas in Spanish).
2PM After lunch we’ll travel 1,000 feet above sea-level to a majestic lookout point overlooking the Tarcoles River, Carara National Forest, Gulf of Nicoya, and Puntarenas coastline- complete with a picture taking stop for you cherish this memory. These are also common grounds to find wild Toucans! We will climb off of the vehicle here for photos! If time and weather permits, we will enter an eco hotel on the way that was built inside the forests of Carara with a flat and leisure, paved walkway, the trees will provide use with shade and there are beautiful trees, plants to see and learn about, green iguanas and the amazing colony of leaf cutter ants that transport leafs on their backs in single file lines (nick-named the last standing Costa Rican military) are very common to spot here as well! There are colonial style architecture and trees over 400 years old that you will witness on this leisure 25 minute walk!
3:30 PM On arrival in Puntarenas, we’ll take you on a loop through town past points of interest like the church, soccer stadium, light house and ferry station, before dropping you off at your hotel or cruise port. For anyone interested in making a run to the supermarket, we can gladly take you and bring you back after the tour is finished.
4:00 PM If drop-off is at the Puntarenas or Caldera cruise ship port, be sure to admire the hundreds of artisanal handicrafts and souvenir shirts from over 100 local vendors selling their goods at the most competitive prices. These English speaking local vendors have kiosks by the pier where we drop you off, prices are duty free and you can negotiate a great deal with them.
With so much to see packed into one day, we’re confident you’ll give this, our most popular tour, two big thumbs up!!
Clean, air-conditioned transportation
Certified English speaking tour guide
Naturalist tour guide on the crocodile river & wildlife safari
Viewing wildlife in their natural habitats such as Capuchin monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Macaws, Toucans Crocodiles (up to 20 feet long)
Educational 75 minute crocodile river safari boat tour (Public, 50 passenger boats with roof & microphone)
Fruit & smoothie stop
Shopping area by the crocodile bridge (although we recommend shopping at the kiosks by the cruise ship pier in Punta Arenas and Caldera from the local vendors, they are the cheapest of all and your money will help support more local families)
City tour (scenic drive passing landmarks)
Walk on Famous Crocodile public road bridge (option to sit in the vehicle or shop by the bridge instead)
25 minute Villa Lapas Rainforest Hotel leisure leisure walking tour (option to sit in the lobby or in the vehicle )
Spectacular Ocean View Point stop for photos by the Carara National Park (home of the wild toucans)
Tarcoles Fishing Village (home of the wild macaws)
Delicious Costa Rican typical meal included at Los Toneles Seafood & Grill Restaurant #1 Restaurant on TripAdvisor (only restaurant with air-conditioning in the area)
Food options: Sea-bass fish filet, chicken breast filet or vegetarian, all accompanied by gourmet rice, beans, green salad, potato salad and plantains. Gluten Free meals are available.
OPTIONAL Visit To Punta Leona beach (also known as Playa Manta): Available for private tours or a minimum of 4 people on open tours. Please add an extra hour to the itinerary as the road is made of gravel and in bad condition. The beach is a light gray color different from the volcanic sand beaches found along the coast of Puntarenas.
What to bring:
● Closed-toed walking or hiking shoes, no flip flops
● Comfortable clothes, pants are recommended
● Sunscreen – Even though the forest provides shade, tropical rays are strong and will find a way through.
● Repellent – The rainforest is home for the insects, you are a visitor.
● Rain poncho (recommended) or rain jacket – During the months of June-November
● Binoculars (optional) –Your guide may spot something worth seeing high up in the trees.
● And of course, your camera! Don’t miss out on all the great photo opportunities.
I booked this tour with several other passengers from our Panama Canal cruise. This is probably the best off ship tour I have ever been on. The guide Exon was amazing. He was so knowledgable of both the area and the local flora and fauna. He took us to several local places to see animals in their natural habitat. As a result we were lucky enough to get some incredible photos. My photo of a baby crocodile in a pond has been admired by many. The boat ride in the river found us seeing many large crocodiles and we even got to touch the tail of one of them. We saw beautiful birds, leaf cutter ants, white faced monkeys, macaws, crocodiles, but sadly the toucans were in hiding that day. Driver Adrian was an important member of the team and we valued his safe driving throughout the day. I would not hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone lucky enough to visit Costa Rica. Excellent value for money.
Sonja G. - TripAdvisor
We were in Punta Arenas for the day off a Holland Cruise ship. This tour was recommended by Trip Advisor. It Didn't disappoint. We met the owner of the company who was very nice and directed us to our guide, Keri. The van was extremely comfortable and the excursion was very good. Saw alot of Punta Arenas and Keri was very knowledgable. Lunch at Los Toneles was wonderful. Great day!
Laurie R. - TripAdvisor
If your visiting Punta Arenas I highly recommend Thumbs Up Tours. and if you happen to get Kari as your tour guide, that's another plus This was a day stop for us from a cruise ship. We made our arrangements directly via E mail with Thumbs up. Not to say anything bad about the cruise ship book on board tours, but we have found that often you can get so much more for a lot less when booking directly We found Thumbs up by checking reviews on Trip Advisor, always a good place to start. The tour gave us a very nice trip around the Punta Arenas area of Costa Rica, filling our day with a lot, It can be hot so a hat is advised as is sunscreen The tour did provide bottled water, and at one of the stops of your tour you can purchase a very refreshing Fruit smoothie made with fresh locally grown fruit. (I suggest you be adventurous and try something you have not had before). You visit several spots to see if you can locate wild parrots ,toucans , howler monkeys and more, no guarantee of spotting them since this are wild in their native habitat. We were lucky on our tour and saw them all. You will visit rainforest areas as well. The vehicles are safe comfortable air conditioned and not too big, Our tour was about 12 people total. They have you back to your ship on time so not to worry there. Our tour included lunch at a very nice location, the food was good local nothing strange. Also included was a river boat ride where you do get up close and personal with a lot of different bird species but more important to note is the really up close with the local Crocodiles. Some over 12 to 14 foot and huge. I give them 5 stars and a big thank you for making our short stay in Costa Rica a very enjoyable one
Jessie B.- TripAdvisor
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