15 days from £2940pp plus international flights.
Travelling from the Caribbean coast to the central valley, across to the Pacific and down to the Osa Peninsula, this holiday takes in contrasting scenery and habitats that are home to a diverse range of wildlife. It'll open your eyes to the rich natural wonders of this small country.
Over the course of two weeks you'll spend time in rainforest, cloudforest and by the coast, exploring on foot and by boat. At each wildlife activity you'll be accompanied by a naturalist guide, eager to show you the best his country has to offer in terms of flora and fauna, and to share his knowledge and passion. Howler and Capuchin monkeys, toucan, macaws and hummingbirds, frogs in all manner of colours, sloths and turtles are just some of the species you'll become familiar with.
You'll be staying at lodges and hotels, each chosen for its location, comfort and service. Between activities and adventures you'll have time to chill, chatting to other guests, eating tasty Costa Rican food, some days enjoying a dip in the pool and relaxing with a massage.
They say good things come in small packages, and Costa Rica is a case in point. You'd be hard pushed to experience so many landscapes and see so much wildlife in two weeks anywhere else on earth. So grab your camera and pack your bags - it's holiday time!
You'll be met at San Jose airport and driven the short distance to Hotel Presidente. The rest of the day is free for you to relax after your journey. Take things easy at the hotel or venture out into town, enjoying a stroll in one of the parks or sipping a coffee at the Mercado. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel so you can choose where you dine this evening.
An early start this morning with a shared coach transfer with breakfast en route. You'll be driven from the capital towards the north Caribbean coast through the lush forest of Braulio Carrillo National Park. At Cano Blanco Dock you'll board a boat for the 2½ hour boat ride to Tortuguero National Park. As you travel along the canals you'll catch glimpses of monkeys and birds. You'll arrive at Evergreen Lodge in time for lunch, followed by a briefing about the park and activities on offer. In the afternoon you can visit Tortuguero village for an insight into local life. You'll also learn how locals and conservationists work together to protect the precious turtle nesting grounds on the coast. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
With its network of canals and waterways Tortuguero is best explored from the water. You'll have the chance to join a shared guided boat excursion, watching for wildlife. Three-toed sloths, capuchin monkeys and crocodiles are often seen and howler monkeys heard, and there are over 400 species of birds. You'll also be able to set out in a canoe or kayak, visiting some of the lagoons. Keep your eyes open for bright green tree frogs and iguanas, among the smaller creatures. This is a wonderful introduction to the richness of Costa Rica. Later you can chat to fellow guests over dinner, swapping experiences. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Leaving Tortuguero you'll head by water and road to Guapiles where lunch will be served. Afterwards the journey continues by land to Sarapiqui, an area less visited than the national parks but no less interesting. The birdlife here is prolific, with both lowland and highland species. You'll be welcomed to Selva Verde Lodge and will have time to settle in before dinner at about 6pm. An hour later you'll have the opportunity to join a nocturnal guided tour, to spot some of the many varieties of amphibians. The red-eyed tree frogs steal the show, but you're likely to see many other species. Afterwards you can have a drink at the bar before retiring to bed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Awake early this morning to join the naturalist guide at 6am for a bird walk in the lodge's grounds. Birds are very active at this time of day, and you'll spot a wide variety on the many feeders around the lodge and in the wider environment of the grounds. After breakfast you'll head to the nearby Tirimbina Rainforest Centre for a chocolate tour! You'll walk through an old cacao plantation and learn about the history of chocolate production, before witnessing the present day process and sampling the finished product for yourself! The afternoon is free for you to explore the forest trails by the lodge, or join an optional guided tour. (Pay locally for optional extras). Breakfast, dinner
You'll be collected from the lodge after breakfast for the private transfer to Bajos del Toro Cloudforest, enjoying gorgeous scenery along the way. Bajos del Toro's cool air and wet climate results in rich and varied plant life, waterfalls, streams and lagoons. It feels like an enchanted forest! You'll arrive in time to go for a walk, coming across exotic orchids and colourful birds. Later relax at Bosque de Paz lodge, sipping a coffee as you watch hummingbirds in the garden, or sit on your balcony and catch up with some reading. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Birdsong just outside your room is your alarm clock this morning! Appropriately your morning excursion will be a guided bird watching walk in the grounds of the lodge. There are numerous birds here, mainly highland species, and your time with the guide will prove invaluable later as you explore for yourself. There are several walking trails to chose between, each showing you different aspects of the cloudforest. You can also visit the orchid garden, with flowers of varying sizes and colours, a wonderful opportunity to see native species in the cloudforest environment. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
A second full day in and around Manuel Antonio National Park. There's a wide choice of activities, and today has been left free for you to choose to spend how you wish. You might want to explore some of the nature trails in the Parador's grounds and do some bird watching. If you'd prefer something more adventurous hotel staff can book zip lining, miuntain biking and kayaking, to name a few. Or maybe you'd like an easy day relaxing by one of the pools or on the beach. The choice is yours. Breakfast
Following breakfast you'll be driven south to the Sierpe River local dock. Here you'll board a boat travelling downstream to the coast and Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. You'll be transferred to your next accommodation, Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge. There are 2 swimming pools and lovely tropical gardens where you can rest after your journey, later enjoying dinner in Los Vitrales restaurant. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning you'll venture into Corcovado National Park, beginning with a boat ride to the ranger station. You'll then join a guide for the hike which starts with an uphill climb through secondary rainforest. As you walk, watch out for monkeys, as all 4 of the species which occur in Costa Rica are found here. Some 400 species of birds have been recorded here, including the largest number of scarlet macaws in the whole of Central America You'll reach a viewpoint where you can gaze out over the ocean, maybe spotting dolphins and whales. You'll have a picnic lunch and will return to the hotel in the afternoon. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
For a change of scene you'll set off by boat this morning to Cano Island, about 18kms off the coast. The boat ride will take about an hour. There's a lovely beach for sunbathing and relaxing, but the main attractions here are beneath the surface of the sea, where there are 5 platforms of coral reefs. The water is relatively shallow and with visibility of up to 6 metres this is an ideal spot for snorkelling. Parrotfish, puffers, snappers, eels, barracudas, manta rays and turtles are all found here. Later in the day you'll take the boat back to the mainland and will be transferred to your hotel. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel after which you'll be driven to the local airstrip for the flight to San Jose. You'll be met on arrival and will be driven to Hotel Presidente. Depending on the flight time, you may be able to explore the sites of San Jose this afternoon. Breakfast
It's time to had for home. Breakfast eaten and bags packed, you'll be driven back to the airport, arriving in time to check in for your flight home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £2940 (ex. international flights)
2020 price from (pp sharing, exc international flights):
01 Jan – 30 Apr 2020 from £3050
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter attract a supplement on the above prices.
Meet and greet at San Jose Airport on arrival, private transfers throughout with the exception of Tortuguero and Osa Peninsular where these are on a shared basis, Domestic flight and taxes, meals as specified, Shared tours - Tortuguero programmed activities ~ shared night tour and bird-watching tour at Selva Verde Lodge, chocolate tour at Tirimbina, half-day shared tour in Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park shared tour and Cano Island shared tour.
International flights and taxes, travel insurance, meals not specified, drinks, optional tours and activities at lodges, tips, personal expenses and visa's (currently not required by UK passport holders).
This holiday starts and ends in San Jose. International return flights from the UK will cost from around £600 per person, depending on season, route and availability. We will be happy to look at flights for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailormade holiday and can be taken from about December to August beginning on the day of you choice.
If you're looking to do a similar wildlife trip in September to November, please note that it is not possible to travel in Osa Peninsula due to the rains. However, we are happy to suggest alternatives to you for this section if these are the months you're wanting to travel. Please talk to us about this.
A small cloudforest lodge with abundant bird life, an enchanting orchid and enthusiastic hosts with excellent eco-credentials.
The lodge consists of attractive bungalows, 2 outdoor pools, a restaurant, bar and 170 acres of grounds near Corcovado.
Evergreen Lodge is just 5 minutes from Tortuguero National Park so is an ideal base for boat rides, hikes and wildlife watching.
This contemporary-style hotel combines a convenient location and comfy accommodation making it a popular choice for visitors to the capital.
How this holiday helps
In many ways, no matter which trip you choose from our Costa Rica programme there will be a strong in-built element of sustainability and conservation.
This is because Costa Rica is not only one of the most biologically diverse countries, but also one of the most ecologically-friendly countries in the world. However one of the lodges on this trip (Bosque de Paz) makes a particularly big effort and it shows in so many ways you’ll love.
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Find the best time to visit Costa Rica
Time: GMT -6 hours
Flight time: The flying time is about 12 hours from the UK. There are now direct flights from the UK using British Airways. We work with all the major airlines and can offer flights from the UK or via the USA, Panama or a European hub. With the connection times you are looking at around 15 or 16 hours.
Language: Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken throughout Costa Rica
Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.