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*** SELVA LEONA Primary Rainforest Horseback ride and Hike
The owners of Hotel La Mansion Inn, were invited 10 years ago by the owner of SELVA LEONA to visit this spectacular reserve of 180 ha.(450 acres). Before that time, this hidden treasure had never been open to the public. So they decided to open this primary rain forest for the guests of La Mansion.
This is a private tour. You will be accompanied by 2 experienced guides.
Once there you will experience a virtually untouched ecosystem of flora and fauna with the same awe the Spaniards must have felt when they arrived to this land in 1502, naming it Costa Rica (Rich Coast). With your trek into the forest you will have the chance to see many species of birds, including the birder’s holy grail, the quetzal. Three species of monkeys abound in this region with the howler monkey being the most prevalent. Reptiles such as poison dart frogs, the Jesus lizard, and numerous varieties of colorful snakes call this area home.
Your reward will be the discovery of some 3 of the 10 waterfalls that flow from the mountains into the Rio Agua Caliente (warm water river), the highest of these being 100 feet. You can refresh yourself in the cool crystal waters before your hike out.
At 7:15 the boat-man will pick you up at the front of the hotel and brings you down the lake to his boat.(Breakfast is served from 6:30.)
A covered boat on the Arenal Lake takes you to the other side of the lake. From there you will start a two hour horseback ride into the mountains. You will cross the Rio Grande several times, admiring the landscape, on views of the lake. On your entrance into the forest, you will have to leave the horses at the rancho that has been build there for you.
And will begin a hike of 3.5 hrs through the virgin cloud forest in search of birds, monkeys, flowers, and waterfalls. The trails go up and down hills, so good physical condition should be considered for this expedition.
Bring your swimming suit, a dip in the fresh water of the natural pools of the waterfalls is unforgettable.
On your exit from the forest an authentic Tico BBQ awaits you. This is a typical Costa Rican meal, served with the hospitality and humbleness that makes the Ticos such a special people.
The trip back on the horses to civilization will again take 1.5 hrs, after which you will cross the lake by boat and make the return journey to the hotel.
Clothes required: jeans, hiking boots, rain gear (it rains often in the cloud and rain forest), swimming suit, change of dry clothes, towels, camera.
Rate: $135 per person for a group of 4 people. $ 150 pp for 2-3 persons: Special rate for 5 persons and up
Departure: at 7:15 AM Return at approx 3:30 PM
** Horseback Riding in the Hills of the Arenal Lake
It’s a 3 hours ride through well-demarcated trails, with panoramic views to lakes (Arenal lake and Coter Lake) besides mountains and volcanoes (Arenal and Tenorio). This tour permits to admire an important variety of birds, butterflies, orchids and an exuberant vegetation that make of this tour an unforgettable experience.Available to experts and beginners
On the tour you will visit Coter lake, the largest natural lake in Costa Rica that experts believe is the crater of an extinct Volcano.
You can swim in its clear clean water, and enjoy its beach area.
The combination of horse riding and swimming is perfect for reducing stress.
They will choose the perfect horse for you. Safety is your motto.
$35 per person,
This price includes explanation and instructions about horse riding techniques.
Snacks during the tour, and upon returning a tasty typical Costa Rican lunch.
* Arenal Volcano Hikes
The Morning Walk
Every morning about 8:30 a.m., the guests and guide meet outside the office for the complimentary morning walk. We begin by crossing the nearby hanging bridge and head off along the Saino trail, winding our way through a combination of beautiful tropical gardens and lush rainforest. Stopping along the way to view and discuss the flora and fauna, the walk continues out to the trail that leaves the hotel grounds and makes its’ way to the primary forest trail that joins the River Danta and allows access to the beautiful jungle waterfall below. After climbing up from viewing the waterfall, the rustic trail heads for the Danta hanging bridge, crosses the river and opens out onto a path that continues between green pasture lands to one side and wild jungle vegetation along the river edge to the other. Not too much further, the path crosses the river a final time where the comfortable, open air “Jungle Bus” is waiting to bring the guests back to the hotel. The whole adventure takes about two and a half hours and with more than 250 species of birds, three types of monkeys and a whole host of other mammals, insects, reptiles and plants and flowers, each excursion provides a different look at the tropical paradise that we call home.
Over 370 species of birds have been spotted in the area around the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Well–marked, well-groomed trails through rimary forest, open pasture land, secondary forest and hardened lava flows offer numerous habitats and birding opportunities. Some of the more spectacular local residents include Three-wattled Bellbirds, Fasciated Tiger-Herons, Sunbitterns, Laughing Falcons, Red-lored Parrots, Great Curassows, Northern Jacanas, Steely-vented Hummingbirds and Keel-billed Toucans.
One of the most popular trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge. A short, relatively easy walk from the lodge (20 minutes), the trail ends at the base of a 20-foot waterfall. Hikers are refreshed by the moist air, cooled by the waterfall, and the surrounding forest, lush with ferns and palms. Duration: 1 hour roundtrip.
Old Lava Trail:
You can travel this path without a guide, leaving from the hotel and climbing down to the Agua Caliente River. From this point on, the path is closed as it is in a high risk zone that leads to the foot of the volcano. Along the way you will see how the local plants are becoming reestablished, and with luck, you’ll spot some howler monkeys. The trail also takes you to a lava field that stopped flowing in September 1992 but continues to issue steam at various points. This is a fairly difficult hiking trail due to the slope and texture of the terrain.
Duration: approximately 4 hours roundtrip.
Arenal Observatory Lodge lies in the heart of one of Costa Rica’s largest natural areas. The rich volcanic soil supports primary and secondary rainforest teeming with birds, butterflies, mammals and reptiles. Howler monkeys call from the forest every morning and late afternoon. Seven miles of manicured, well-marked walking, bike and horseback riding trail system traverses the property and provides safe, easy access to breathtaking natural beauty. A paved trail, wheelchair accessible, extends 800 meters into the rainforest allowing excellent views of the volcano and primary forest. This trail is perfect for a short night hike to immerse yourself in the exotic sounds and smells of the jungle after dark. Trail map available at the hotel desk
** GUATUSO MALEKUS INDIAN RESERVE
The Maleku are an indigenous tribe in Costa Rica located in the Guatuso Indigenous Reserve near the town of Guatuso (San Rafael de Guatuso). Around 600 aboriginal people live on the reserve, the reserve consists of various “palenques” or villages, and among them are Palenque Sol, Palenque Margarita and, the biggest, Palenque Tonjibe.
The Maleku have their own language (Maleku Jaika). While most Maleku speak Spanish, some elders speak only Maleku. Their economy relies on indigenous art: carvings, paintings, and musical instruments are their most popular items. Every member in the village, including children, makes some type of art or helps out by cutting and preparing the necessary balsa wood or fruit needed for the projects.
The Maleku use most of the money they earn to buy back the land they consider to be theirs, since their reserve is actually smaller than what is shown on maps. Surrounding fields have been sold to farmers who have cleared the Maleku forest to raise cattle.
The Maleku still invite people to visit their villages. Tourists who visit the villages get a better sense of the Maleku culture, even if it is somewhat diminished in modern times. They no longer live in their traditional houses, since the trees necessary to make them are now endangered. Today the villages mostly contain cement houses, but a couple of traditional houses still remain and are used for ceremonies as well as tourist attractions. The Maleku traditionally bury their dead directly inside their homes, so the dead are never forgotten.
Living in cement houses, the Maleku have had to acquire special permission from the Costa Rican government to bury their dead in their backyards. One can also visit the traditional local gardens of healing plants and admire the animals that still inhabit the surrounding rain forest, including toucans, frogs, and monkeys.
We grew up in the town of Guatuso, next to the Maleku Indian Reservation. We enjoy being involved in their community and appreciate the rich cultural history of the Maleku, we are part of them.
Afekapian = It means Thank you
You can visit the Indian Reservation in Malekus Guatuso (600 inhabitants, 2900 hectares), where community leaders will guide you on the trails to learn about their use of medicinal plants, graves, native farms, crafts and recovery of their language-Malekus Jaica,
The visit ends with a presentation of an ancient ceremony of the Holy God, Nature, and Man.
The reserve is about 1 hr driving from the Mansion Inn.
We recommend to combine it with the RIO CELESTE tour, which is not far away, in the same direction (North of the Mansion Hotel)
** Hiking to the Rio Celeste River
This tour introduces travelers to one of Costa Rica’s most incredible sights – the enchanting, blue-hued Río Celeste. The river’s color is the result of the chemical mixture of sulfur and carbonate, which originate in the nearby Tenorio Volcano. Seeing this sky-blue river flow through a dense rainforest is an undeniably amazing experience.
The river is at only 90 min drive from the Inn.
While on this tour, you’ll hike through both primary and secondary rainforest in the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Enjoy the trails while searching for monkeys, sloths, tropical birds and more. As the hike continues, you’ll soon arrive along the banks of the Río Celeste. Have your camera ready, because you’re going to want it! The trail winds along the banks of the river, taking you upstream as you hike. The further upriver you travel, the deeper the color of blue in the water. You’ll eventually reach the point where this color is generated – the confluence of the Buena Vista and Roble rivers.As the hike continues, you’ll soon arrive at an impressive waterfall – a wonderful place to take pictures or even swim. Once the hike is completed, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious meal and fresh fruit.
This hike is recommended for people in good physical condition. Although it is not physically grueling, it does require solid health and stamina. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera, swimsuit, and insect repellent.
Rio Celeste is the crown jewel of Northern Costa Rica. The Light Blue River, a winding body of water surrounded by amazing rainforest in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, sports one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful waterfalls, natural hot springs, as well as the unique phenomenon of clear water turning blue by means of a volcanic chemical reaction.
What does a trip to Rio Celeste involve?
A trip to Rio Celeste involves a pleasant, yet somewhat challenging, hike through the cool rainforest scenery of the TENORIO Volcano National Park. The hike will last about an hour and a half before you reach the Rio Celeste Waterfall. Take some time here to enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous cascading water crashing into the baby blue swimming hole below. The lush green tropical surroundings top off one of most aesthetically-pleasing views in all of Costa Rica.
After another hour of hiking, meanwhile taking a dip in the various hot spring pools along the way, you arrive at the spot where the Rio Celeste turns from a crystal clear water to a magnificent light blue color only found in Rio Celeste. This chemical reaction is caused by a constant flow of minerals supplied by the Tenorio Volcano.
After you’ve seen the water turn blue you can start heading back to the park entrance. This downhill hike will likely only take you an hour and a half. When you get back to the park entrance you will be satisfied by all of the exercise you got while seeing a hidden natural wonder.
** Hanging/Suspension Bridges
We recommend to do the hike as early as possible, the gate opens at 7:00 AM. If you can, take a guide, you will see much more wildlife. The tour takes approx 2 hrs.
To get there: the trail, leading to the Hanging Bridges is just before the dam of the lake, at the left side.
From the dam it is about 12 min drive to the entrance.
There is a big parking lot outside.
The rate is $ 25 pp, special rates for nationals and CR residents.
From the restaurant you have superior panorama views on the volcano.
Avoid to go with pouring rain. Wear closed, not slippery shoes.
* Safari Float Trip on the Peñas Blancas River
** ECOGLIDE CANOPY Tour
The Ecoglide tour is divided into three sections. The first section has 7 platforms and cables, whose lengths vary from 30 to 360 ft. The second section has 6 platforms and 5 cables, with lengths that range from 140 to 520 ft. Following this section, tour takers will have the option of riding the notoriously fun Tarzan Swing, which sends harnessed riders soaring out into a forest clearing. The third and final section consists of 5 platforms and 4 cables. The cables range in length from 230 to 1,410 ft
Arenal Ecoglide is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Tours take around 2-3 to complete. Customers can either choose when they would like their tour to begin or sign up for one of the regularly scheduled tours. These begin at 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM and 3:30 PM.
Rate: $ 45 adults (15 yrs and up) and $ 45 children and students.
** CANOPY by SKYTREK
Once the top is reached, visitors are invited to explore the observation deck, where they’ll enjoy magnificent views of the Arenal Volcano’s southern face. From here, one can also see Lake Arenal and the rolling hillsides that surround it. Visitors can spend as much time as they please on the observation deck before heading back down.
There are two ways to return to the Sky Tram’s base. You can ride the tram down the same route that you ascended or sign up for a fast-paced zip line tour to the bottom. Those seeking an adrenalin rush would be wise to choose the second option, which will have them flying along a series of secure cables connecting one platform to another.
At the tram’s base there is another large observation deck as well as a restaurant.
The Sky Tram is a 45-minute drive from the town of the Mansion Inn.
Rates 2012: $ 66 for adults with the canopy cable.
Venado Caves Tour
* Lake Cruise to the Arenal Volcano
The boat-man picks you up with a van in front of the hotel, and rides down to his nice, covered boat on the lake.
The boat will go slowly along the shore, so that you can observe the many water birds, and eventually monkeys, slots in the trees along the shore. The ride takes you to the volcano, so that you can observe the mountain from the lake. If it is lunchtime the boat makes a lunch-stop at the small village of EL CASTILLO, at the other side of the lake.
Departure time: variable, on request. Best at 10 AM Duration of the trip: 2.5 hrs, 3 hrs with lunch
Rate: $ 60 for adults, $ 50 for children and students. Minimum 3 people. Lunch not included.
* MOUNTAIN TRAIN
This is an option for a special lunch.
DANAUS ECO CENTER
‘Ecocentro Danaus is a Biological Reserve that develop conservation programs, training environmental education, sustainable use of the land and production. There are trails through secondary forest, where you can see in his natural habitat a wide variety of plants and animals. One of the main attractions of the place is the butterflies farm, with a special site for the display of larvae, pupae and eggs. Danaus Ecocentro reproduced about 30 different species of butterflies. We protect a natural water spring which is another major component of Ecocentro. It’s a special place to observe birds, especially waterfowl, alligators and iguanas, basilisks, this like comes from a natural spring that remains on the site and home to hundreds of species and has been documented by the UNA and UNED as nationally important site for nesting water bird colonies.
The medicinal plants garden is another attraction; to date there are over 60 species of medicinal plants labeled. The garden areas are arranged by families for easy identification, among which orchids and heliconia. It is common to see tourists interacting with the common species of the site. two and three toed Sloths, the poisonous red frog, the red-eyed tree frog, and more than 150 species of birds are easily observed on all tours.
The Ecocentro receives visitors in any time of year, from Monday to Sunday 8a.m. to 4 p.m. and by means of night walks that initiate at 6 o’clock p.m. The duration of the tour is 1.5 hour and they are attended with local experienced naturalist guides who speak English and possess an extensive knowledge in cultural and natural history of the most outstanding local species.
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Arenal Mundo Aventura
From the look out point located at our Private Wildlife Reserve: CATARATAS, you can observe the astonishing Pino Blanco Waterfall and the magnificent Arenal Volcano.
* Rapel – Canyoning
The tour begins with a 30-minute 4×4 ride into the rainforest.Stay on the lookout for monkeys, sloths, parrots and other creatures as you make your way toward the waterfalls. Once here, your guides will fit you with canyoning equipment and explain the proper way to descend the falls. When you’re comfortable with the procedure, you’ll begin rappelling down the first waterfall, whose base leads into a pristine canyon. From here on out, there are three more waterfalls to rappel down and one rock face. Once finished, your guides will help you back to the vehicles and you’ll head to the base camp.
This tour can be enjoyed by anyone in moderate physical condition. It is child friendly and no experience is needed. All guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, and there are daily safety checks on all the equipment.
There are two tours each day. The morning tour ends with lunch, while the afternoon tour begins with it. Tour Times: 7:15 AM and 12:15 PM. Tours last around 4 hours.
Includes: lunch, snacks, guides, and gear.
Cost> $ 95 pp
What to bring: Quick drying clothes (surf shorts, synthetic fabrics), hiking/water sandals, tennis shoes or light hiking boots, camera or video camera (there are dry bags for use), change of clothes, and towel.
Important: Pure Trek can only accept a maximum of 2 children under 100 lbs (46 kilos) per tour – the reason being that each child must be accompanied by an extra guide. If a member of your party weighs less than 100 lbs, the guides will determine if they’ll need to be accompanied by a guide down the waterfalls. If so, a fee of $20 will need to be paid to the operator upon arrival. If the guides determine that it is not necessary to have an extra guide, there is no additional fee.