Travel with MPR News Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner

Explore the fabulous flora and fauna of Costa Rica

Explore Costa Rica

Escape the Minnesota winter on a sun-soaked adventure to colorful Costa Rica with Minnesota Public Radio's Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner. You'll have your mind blown by Costa Rica's stunning biodiversity — more than Europe and North America combined. Enjoy bird watching, amaizng hikes through lush jungles, leisurely strolls along starlit beaches, and encounters with exotic wildlife that'll make you feel like you've stepped into a nature documentary. You can even hang out in the magical cloud forest canopy on a gently floating bridge. Space is limited — so hurry and sign up!

Meet Your Host

Paul Huttner

Paul Huttner is a veteran broadcast meteorologist. He’s broadcast on TV and radio stations for over 30 years. Paul began his TV meteorology career includes WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, WGN-TV in Chicago and KGUN-TV in Tucson, Arizona.

In 2007 Paul was tapped by Minnesota Public Radio as their 1st ever Chief Meteorologist. He launched daily weather chats on MPR’s 40+ station network. He also created the popular Updraft blog and launched MPR’s Climate Cast in 2013, a weekly radio show that focuses on climate change news, science and solutions. Climate Cast won 1st place in the 2014 Page One Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. It also won a 1st place Sevareid Award in 2019 for a special 1-hour Climate Cast show called; Earth Rx: Climate Solutions for a Changing Planet. That show was also broadcast in Chicago, Washington D.C., and many other markets.

Paul is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul and holds a bachelor's degree in geography with an emphasis in meteorology. Paul is also a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and has been awarded the AMS Television Seal of Approval. In March 2008, Huttner earned AMS's Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) designation. In 2019, Paul hosted an MPR Custom travel excursion to Cuba.


DAY 1: Monday, February 17 - Arrive in Costa Rica

Pura Vida! Today your adventure begins as you arrive in San Jose. After clearing customs and gathering your bags, make your way to the charming Hotel Bougainvillea, located an hour east of the San Jose Airport. The gardens at the Hotel Bougainvillea make the hotel one of the most beautiful places to stay in all of Costa Rica. With its 10 acres of tropical gardens, the Hotel Bougainvillea features over 50 species of bromeliads, Costa Rican native trees, and numerous species of orchids, herb and cactus gardens; and our “coffee frog” ponds. Guests find the gardens an inspirational paradise where they can relax and discover the beauty of endemic Costa Rican plants or birds. Blue -Crowned Motmots and many other tropical birds are often spotted here. Tonight, meet your MPR host, Paul Huttner, and Earthbound Expeditions expert guide, Minor Alfaro at 5pm for a garden tour & welcome to Costa Rica feast. Sleep in San Jose (D)

DAY 2: Tuesday, February 18 - Monteverde Cloud Forest & Butterfly Gardens

Following breakfast, we’ll say “adios” to San Jose and make our way to the renowned Cloud Forest of Monteverde. Our picturesque drive will take us through the Central Valley over the continental divide. Making a number of stops where the scenery is at its best, we end our drive at Monteverde itself. Due to its high altitude – some 4,662 ft above sea level – Monteverde is privileged to receive a steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture that they contain. This moisture, often in the form of fog, catches on the branches of the tallest trees and drips down to the other organisms below. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching ecosystem, one that harbors over 100 species of mammals, 900 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, 420 of which are orchids. After checking into our mountain lodge, we visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden where you’ll get a closer look at these fragile creatures and a few of their less lovely friends. Time permitting, we’ll join your guide this evening for a sunset bird-watching walk and spend the next three nights in the midst of the Cloud Forest. Sleep in Monteverde (B, L, D)

DAY 3: Wednesday, February 19- Vibrant Cloud Forests and Hummingbird Gallery

This morning, prepare for the overwhelming lushness of the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, home to numerous species of plants, birds and animals. Your guide will lead you on a walking journey through this abundant environment, pointing out the many exciting plants and animals, and keeping a keen eye out for Quetzals, considered by many to be the most beautiful bird in the world. We’ll also make a quick stop at the Hummingbird Gallery to enjoy a viewing of these tiny and beautiful members of the Cloud Forest community. The afternoon is yours to explore the area of Monteverde at your own leisurely pace. Of course, you may just want to take a siesta, or relax at the lodge. Sleep in Monteverde (B, L, D)

DAY 4: Thursday, February 20 - Canopy Skywalk and Orchid Gardens

This morning we enjoy the rare opportunity to visit the Cloud Forest canopy. Skywalk is a series of suspension bridges that will allow you to walk where our planet’s life is at its most complex. Eighty percent of all life in the Cloud Forest is to be found in the canopy. Hovering one hundred feet above the dark floor of the jungle, the sun-soaked canopy explodes with life. Former guests have stated that Skywalk is the trek a lifetime. After a tasty lunch, we head to Monteverde Orchid Garden. There are more than 1,400 types of wild orchids growing throughout the rainforests of Costa Rica, and 500 of these can be found in Monteverde alone. Incredibly, the Monteverde Orchid Garden houses 426 different species, spread across a neatly labeled and aesthetically pleasing outdoor garden. A trip here will educate you on the characteristics, growing environment and threats that orchids currently face. Your afternoon is free and we’ll meet up later for a group dinner. Sleep in Monteverde (B, L, D)

DAY 5 & 6: Friday and Saturday, February 21 & 22 - Horseback Riding, Volcanos, Thermal Pools and Zip Lines:

Our drive north will take us out of the Cloud Forest and through the dry grasslands of Guanacaste province. En route we’ll stop to enjoy a relaxing float trip on the tranquil Corobici River. After, enjoy an included lunch. Our lodge tonight looks out over Rincon de la Vieja, an active volcano. Called the “Yellowstone of Costa Rica,” Rincon de la Vieja boasts geysers, bubbling mud pots and mineral hot springs, virgin forest and countless species of birds, monkeys and other wildlife. For the next two days you’ll enjoy early morning nature walks, bubbling thermal pools, horseback riding and, for the more adventurous at heart, zip-lining, inner tubing and canyoning. Sleep in Rincon de la Vieja (B, L, D)

DAY 7: Sunday, February 23 - South to Manual Antonio National Park

After breakfast we make our way to the Pacific Coast where we’ll dine this evening on seafood specialties. Along the way, we’ll stop to view some of the largest crocodiles in Central America. Sleep near Manuel Antonio National Park (B, L, D)

DAYS 8: Monday, February 24- Manual Antonio National Park & Beach

Manuel Antonio is one of the best parks to visit for wildlife observation. Howler, squirrel, spider and white-faced monkeys all inhabit the park. Two-toed and three-toed sloths are abundant as are raccoons, coatis, pacas, anteaters, and occasionally ocelots. There are many reptiles including crocodiles, iguanas and many lizards. Over 350 bird species have been identified within the park including toucans, aracaris, various parrots and parakeets, hummingbirds, trogons and more. Your guide will be offering a guided walk along the beach and through the forests. The afternoon is yours to enjoy a good book, a tropical drink, a siesta or beach visit. For those who prefer a more active day, you may wish to set out on a hike or simply discover the joy of body surfing in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Sleep near Manuel Antonio National Park (B)

DAY 9: Tuesday, February 25 - Pacific beach to San Jose Via Carara National Park

Birdwatchers flock to Carara National Park area because it presents two life zones and a variety of birds, including one of the largest remaining wild populations of Scarlet Macaw in Costa Rica. In addition, the park is a must for anyone interested in tropical biology. The park is located between the dry forests of the north and the humid ones of the south and it is the result of this situation in an "ecotone" that gives Carara its diversitity. There are trails that go through both zones where you can appreciate the forest's exuberance and if lucky enough, spot some animal species which inhabit it. After our visit we’ll stop for lunch and then make to a quaint little town of Sarchí, known throughout Costa Rica for its beautiful and intricate arts and crafts and souvenirs. We arrive in San Jose in the late afternoon. Just in time to enjoy a farewell dinner. Sleep in San Jose (B, D)

DAY 10: Wednesday, February 26 - Tour concludes after breakfast

Your journey concludes after breakfast. Return home with a lifetime of happy memories.


  • Hosted by MPR News Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner
  • An expert Earthbound Expeditions guide/naturalist
  • Transportation from arrival to depature
  • Nine nights of accomodations in charming hotels, comfortable cabins and lodges - all rooms with private baths and hot showers
  • Six days of island hopping and exploration of the Galapagos Islands
  • Special visits to botanical gardens, cloud forests and orchid and butterfly galleries
  • Breakfast daily plus 13 additional multi-course meals
  • Entrances to all activities and national parks listed in the itinerary
  • Fun introductory language lessons offered by your guide
  • Gratuities for your driver, guides and naturalists
  • Alumni appreciation discounts applied toward future expeditions
  • Carbonfund contribution
  • Travel with fun, smart curious like-minded public media fans

Pricing and Terms

$ 4,695 per person double occupancy, $1,975 single supplement

WAYS TO SAVE $200 MPR and Earthbound Travel alumni save $100  Pay by check and save $100

Reservations and Deposits: A $500 per person deposit is needed to confirm your space on this journey. You can make a credit card deposit online or by phone. Once the deposit is processed, a deposit packet is emailed with pertinent journey details. Deposits are refundable, minus a $150 per person cancellation fee, for 60 days from the processing date or 90 days prior to departure, whichever comes first. Deposits made 90 days prior to a trip departing are not refundable. Final payment is also nonrefundable which is why we strongly urge guests to purchase travel insurance.

Not Included: International airline tickets, alcoholic beverages, room service and gratuities for
hotel staff, travel insurance, meals not listed in brochure, and any activities or items not listed
in your itinerary.

Physical Requirements: It is the responsibility of each guest to be aware of their physical
abilities or limitations and to be in sufficient good health to undertake the trip. Click here to
read “Is an Earthbound trip right for you?” or call the Earthbound office for more details.

Travel Insurance: Earthbound Expeditions strongly encourages the purchase of travel insurance coverage. We include information on trip insurance in your deposit information.

Events and Hosted Journeys: If a planned event is cancelled for any reason, another event will be included in its place. This is not cause for refund. Events are subject to change. Also, if a host or special guest is unable to attend as planned, Earthbound Expeditions will do its utmost to find another host who has similar interests, talents, and expertise. The inability of a host to participate in a tour is not grounds for a full or partial refund.

Terms & Conditions: Click here to read the full terms and conditions.

Need more information?

Call us: (1) 800-723-8454 Earthbound Expeditions is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Contact us! Complete our contact form and one of our travel consultants will contact you to answer your questions and help you complete your reservation.