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Looking for a tropical vacation without a lot of beach time but plenty of nature? This week's Smart Deal from Latin Destinations (tel. 866/645-2846; www.latindestinations.com) gives you six nights in Costa Rica to do just that, from $768 with air.

Latin Destinations offers highly customizable independent tours. You can pick your own departure date and gateway, but of course, the prices will reflect those changes. You can also easily view the trip's price history (up to 14 days). As this Costa Rica vacation package is devised, you can choose from a handful of hotels in the capital, San José, for your first night. It's followed by two nights at Mawamba Lodge, which puts you in the perfect spot to explore Tortuguero National Park, a rain forest that's home to green sea turtles, 300 different species of birds, and everything from monkeys to crocodiles to iguanas. All of this is set against the backdrop of the too-blue-to-believe Caribbean Sea.

Trogon Lodge, at 7,000 feet above sea level, has basic cabin-like accommodations with gas heat for chilly nights. The lodge also serves fresh trout from its on-site ponds. Hiking trails to waterfalls abound, along with opportunities to catch sight of the amazing quetzal bird which lives in the high mountain pass there in the Cerro de la Muerto -- otherwise known as the Mountain of Death. Don't be scared, though. This green bird, with a brilliant red breast and two-foot-long tail feathers, was revered by Aztecs and Mayas and believed to protect them in battle.

Trip Type: Air-inclusive; independent

What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from D.C. (Dulles) to San José; airport transfers, one night in San José, two nights in Mawamba Lodge; three nights in Trogon Lodge, breakfast daily where indicated, hotel taxes, and airline fuel surcharges.

What Else You'll Have to Pay: The package covers all taxes and fees, but the price will fluctuate according to your departure city and travel dates.

When: This trip was priced for a Sept. 10 departure.

Book By: As soon as possible to ensure availability

Other Details: Departures from other gateways and on other dates are also possible, and you can change the number of nights you stay in each place and extend the trip altogether if you like.

All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.

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