Arrive San Jose
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.
To Tortuguero rainforest
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 2.5-hour boat ride to Tortuguero National Park (a light plane flight is possible at extra cost). 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.
Tortuguero National Park
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.
To Sarapiqui rainforest
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. 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.
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).
To Bajos Del Toro cloudforest
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.
In Bajos Del Toro cloudforest
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.
To Manuel Antonio
After breakfast, your Costa Rica wildlife adventure continues, with a drive of about 4 hours to Manuel Antonio National Park. The journey follows scenic mountain roads right down to the coast.
Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in the county, but with a mix of beach and forest, a high density of animals and birds, and a network of well-marked trails, it is one of the most popular. Your hotel is at the edge of the park, overlooking a sandy beach. You'll be able to refresh yourself with a swim in one of the pools, or indulge in a spa treatment.
In Manuel Antonio National Park
This morning you could choose a guided walking tour in the national park, taking in the varied habitats of beach, lagoon, mangrove and forest. Keep your eyes open for monkeys, sloths, birds and iguanas. With so much to see you'll soon realise why this park is so popular. At the end of the tour you can opt to remain in the park to explore the trails on your own, later heading to the beach to spend a few lazy hours in the sun, or return to the hotel for the afternoon.
In Manuel Antonio National Park
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, mountain 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.
To the Osa Peninsula
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.
Hiking in the Rainforest
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. There are even cats here, such as jaguars and margays - though they're rarely seen, you could be lucky!
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.
At Caño Island
For a change of scene you'll set off by boat this morning to Caño 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.
To San Jose
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.
It's time to head for home. After breakfast, you'll be driven back to the airport, arriving in time to check in for your flight home, hopefully returning home with the Costa Rican attitude of 'Pura Vida'.
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