|TRAINS & TRAVEL|
P.O. BOX 312
PORTOLA, CALIFORNIA 96122
Chris@traintrips.biz Rail Tours Manager. For questions regarding tour itineraries and details.
1-800 359-4870 USA|
1-800 752-1836 CANADA
1-800 266-8751 FAX
DAY 1 TUESDAY FEBRUARY 7: (D) Independent arrivals into SAN JOSE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT by 3 PM. We will depart about 4 for Los Heroes Hotel in the Lake Arenal region, stopping for supper at Arenal Steakhouse. Hotel arrival about 9 PM.
DAY 2 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8: (B) Full breakfast in this Swiss-themed chateau, located on the shore of Lake Arenal. At 9 AM we ride the twisting 25" gauge line up 6% grades toward Costa Rica's only revolving restaurant. Purchase a beverage if you wish while gazing at Arenal Volcano, then ride the train back down (or walk if you prefer to take photos of the train whose route includes two short tunnels and a loop). Train ride is two miles each way. This afternoon take a small overnight case for a boat ride across the lake, and connecting taxi to Monteverde. Be sure to bring a sweater as it can be cool at 5,000 feet.
DAY 3 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 9: (B) Starting in 2009, the MONTEVERDE TRAINFOREST has realized a long-held dream by a Thur. local man to lay tracks through the dense cloud forest toward a platform overlooking the volcano. A 26" gauge line now offers riders a unique vantage point from open cars, with time at the turnaround for a short hike if desired. In the afternoon we head back to Los Heroes.
DAY 4 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10: (B) Option to take the Suspension Bridges Walk , or else lounge at the viewing deck. Walk is a leisurely two hours; wear sturdy footwear and prepare for some climbing on this mildly strenuous path. Monkeys, butterflies, birds and other wildlife may be viewed. We will return to San Jose by about 4 PM for check in at Gran Hotel on the Plaza, opposite the National Theatre. Stroll the Central Plaza, or ride the afternoon local trains
DAY 5 SATURDAY FEBRUARY 11: (B,L,D) If TICO TRAIN is operating, we will ride to Caledera on the Pacific, a four-hour ride aboard open window coaches. A bus takes us on to the beach at Puntarenas, where there are places to enjoy lunch during our three hour stay. Bing swimsuit and towel if you wish to enjoy the water - it is usually clear and calm. Return in the afternoon, and back to Pacific Station about 7 or 7:30. IF NO TRAIN - alternate plans will be announced. (In 2011 our group ended up riding a 7-person motor car along the line!).
DAY 6 SUNDAY FEBRUARY 12: Chance to sightsee San Jose / Cartego / Poas Volcano. Options will be announced in more detail, and the weather may determine our plans. In any case, all options are INCLUDED.
DAY 7 MONDAY FEBRUARY 13: (B,L) AM to ride / photograph the local trains, or sleep in. 10AM visit to Pacific Station and possible look inside the workshops (this was allowed in 2011, but not in 2010). PM to Limon on the Atlantic. Possible stops en route at Moin Port and banana plantation. Nite at Park Hotel.
DAY 8 TUESDAY FEBRUARY 14: (B) CHARTER TRAIN to SIQUERRES (62 Km run each way) - diesel loco and open window coach. Subject to change (this operated OK in 2010 and 2011, though line had just been repaired in 2011 from flood damage). Visit to what remains of the (still active) shops upon afternoon return.
DAY 9 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 15: (B,L) In previous years we flew between the two countries. IF we have a minimum of 12 persons we will go by bus, as far at David, Panama, this evening. Otherwise, tonight in San Jose with AM flight Thursday to Panama City.
DAY 10 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 16: (B) Continuing from David toward Panama City, about 7 - 8 hours. Time to relax at our hotel in Panama City.
DAY 11 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17: (B,L) 7:15AM TRAIN RIDE across the isthmus to Colon on the Atlantic. Ancon Expeditions will meet us at the station. Visits to Gatun Locks, and the Atlantic Intermodal Terminal of Panama Canal Railway. As time allows we will visit either Porto Bello, or Fort San Lorenzo. At 5:15 the train takes us back to near Panama City. We will have reserved dome car seats for at least one direction. Otherwise, the open viewing decks on the other cars are popular. Upon return, browse the station gift shop before the van returns us to our hotel for the evening.
DAY 12 SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18: (B,L) ALL DAY CRUISE including all six locks, aboard PACIFIC QUEEN. Breakfast is served shortly after our 7:30 departure (board at 7:00). The City skyline looms as we sail around Amador Causeway and under the Pan American Bridge. The upper deck is pleasant, often with a breeze. The air conditioned lower deck offers complimentary snacks and drinks, and a lunch buffet. This vessel, accommodating 300 guests, only makes the FULL TRANSIT once a month, and this schedule determines the dates of our tour. This is why it is important to RESERVE EARLY to avoid disappointment! After passing through the locks on the Pacific side, we sail beneath Centennial Bridge and into Culebra Cut (Continental Divide). Once clear of the nine-mile cut, we encounter the first of a fleet of southbound ships, so timed since large ships cannot pass in the cut. Pacific Queen is normally the last or close to the last ship in the northbound parade, with directions reversing every six hours. After sailing across Lake Gatun - the old railroad right of way below us in the watery depths - we descend the three-step locks, offering a chance to see Canal operation from the inside. In late afternoon, a bus returns us to the City along the new highway.
DAY 13 SUNDAY FEBRUARY 19: (B,L,D) Sightseeing day - Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal Intermodal Facility and Shops, lunch in the historic French Quarter, and Panama Viejo - the ruins from the 1500s. We will attempt to visit places of specific interest to group members as time permits. Dinner on Amador Causeway this evening as we conclude our time in Central America!
DAY 14 MONDAY FEBRUARY 20: (B) Flights for home.