This 14-day trip, Voluntour to La Amistad Park and Drake Bay, takes you to some of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica, but keeps prices down by staying in sustainable agricultural communities with their own lodges. You also lower your carbon footprint by using public transportation when possible. You'll be immersed in the life of two small but interesting villages, with plenty of chances to practice your Spanish!
Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica!
An ACTUAR driver will meet your flight and take you to a hostel in San José
Day 2: An ACTUAR representative will make sure that you get to the bus from San José to San Vito. A local, bilingual guide will meet you at the Las Tablas bus stop and accompany you on the bus for the last half hour to the village of Altamira, at the entrance to La Amistad International Park. The whole trip will take about 5 hours.
Beautiful La Amistad Park protects thousands of acres of animal habitat in the rugged mountains of southern Costa Rica and extends into Panamá. The Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for which the community of Altamira is an important buffer zone.
An outstanding feature of the Altamira community is the creativity, good taste and artistry with which they incorporate recycling and reusing into all their activities, demonstrating that farming, building, decorating and tourism can be done in an environmentally friendly manner.
When you stay at La Amistad Lodge, you are collaborating the with whole community, because the income from their lodge supports many local businesses: the restaurant owned by the women's group, and the community gardens, including organic pineapple production, chicken-raising, and organic coffee.
La Amistad Lodge is owned by the Farmers Association of La Amistad (ASOPROLA) in Altamira. ASOPROLA has 70 members, 45% of whom are women. Its goal is the sustainable development of the surrounding communities through environmentally friendly practices, thus helping to conserve natural resources.
ASOPROLA tries to promote community development in harmony with nature. It creates processes and activities that lead to community awareness of agricultural methods that not only provide income, but help to preserve natural resources. Five percent of ASOPROLA's coffee sales go to the protection of La Amistad International Park.
When you arrive at La Amistad Lodge, have a hearty lunch at their restaurant, the Soda Arco Iris. The restaurant showcases the creativity of the Altamira community with its floor-to-ceiling mosaic work made of broken ceramic tiles and recycled bottles. Most of the produce used in the delicious local cuisine is from the area and 80% is organic.
Get settled in to the lodge and get to know the community.
Day 3: Get to work!
There are several projects that your group could help with, such as building a playground out of discarded materials, building a hanging bridge, repairing a soccer field, or building an aqueduct. The projects will be decided based on season and need before you get there. Start to work!
Days 4, 5, 6 and 7: Help the people of Altamira!
Work on your project.
Day 8: Hike the trail of the gigantic trees!
Hike on the Sendero Los Gigantes in La Amistad International Park. In the afternoon, do the ASOPROLA Creativity Tour. Visit the organic gardens and contribute your own art to the mosaics.
Day 9: To Drake Bay and Tesoro Verde!
Say goodbye to your friends at ASOPROLA. ACTUAR will arrange transportation from Altamira to Sierpe, where you will be picked up by the boat from Tesoro Verde and taken to Drake Bay. Prepare for a "wet landing". You'll have to roll up your pants legs and wade from the boat to the beach. People will help you with your luggage. A 4WD car will take you 4 kilometers up into the hills to Los Planes, where you'll meet the community and have lunch at Tesoro Verde lodge. In the afternoon, relax, do the Tesoro Verde canopy tour, or take a hike in the lodge's reserve.
Day 10: To Corcovado!
Take a daylong trip to Corcovado National Park by boat.
Day 11: Snorkel at Isla del Caño!
Take a daylong snorkeling trip to Isla del Caño by boat.
Day 12: Swim in the waterfall pool!
Hike to the waterfall with a guide from Los Planes.
Day 13: Farewell to Paradise!
Say goodbye to your friends in Tesoro Verde, who will provide jeep transportation to the village of Drake, and boat transportation back to Sierpe. Catch the shuttle back to San José, and stay at in inexpensive hostel.
Day 14: Come back soon!'
An ACTUAR driver will pick you up in time to get you to the airport three hours before your return flight. Fly home with happy memories of Costa Rica.
All tours can be customized to meet your travel rhythm, your interests, and your budget.
To sign up for this tour or set up a travel consultation, write email@example.com