Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday

This wildlife holiday showcases the abundant and diverse wildlife of Costa Rica in all its colourful glory. It’s a technicolour romp through the national parks and reserves of the country!

Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday

15 days from £3,970 pp

(exc. international flights)

This 2-week wildlife holiday in Costa Rica really packs a punch!  You criss-cross the country, taking in the central highlands, Caribbean and Pacific coasts, spending time in the rainforest, cloudforest, mangroves, lagoons and beaches. And, of course, encountering Costa Rica’s famously diverse wildlife: mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds make this small country a paradise for wildlife lovers.

You’ll see all 4 species of monkeys found in the country, watch hummingbirds from your balcony, spot turtles on the beach and macaws among the trees, marvel at the colours and sounds of frogs on a night walk in the forest, gasp at the iridescent beauty of the quetzal, see sleepy-eye sloths among the branches and snorkel among shoals of multi-coloured fish.

In each location you have the services of expert local guides to help you discover this enchanted land and understand its riches. It’s a holiday for the active, though high levels of fitness aren’t required. You hike through dense forest, follow marked trails, ply canals by boat, paddle in secluded lagoons, climb hills and swim in the ocean.

Accommodation has have been chosen for location, to get you as close to nature as possible. This doesn’t mean sacrificing creature comforts: all rooms are en-suite and many are air conditioned, most hotels and lodges have swimming pools and are all set in gorgeous gardens, and offer warm Tican hospitality.


  • San José 1 night
  • Tortuguero 2 nights
  • Sarapiquí 2 nights
  • Bajos del Toro 2 nights
  • Manuel Antonio 3 nights
  • Osa Peninsula 3 nights
  • San José 1 night

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Day 1

Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José where you are met and driven to your hotel in the heart of the city. At Hotel Presidente you are well located for visiting museums, parks and galleries, though if you prefer to stay put and rest after your flight, the hotel bar is the ideal spot.

Hotel Presidente

Day 2

Rise early to join a shared coach transfer, stopping for breakfast en route. You are driven to the Caribbean coast through the rainforest and hills of Braulio Carrillo National Park. When you reach the dock at Caño Blanco you swap land for water and board a boat for the 2.5 ride along a series of canals to Tortuguero National Park. This gives you time to look out for animals and birds by the banks. Check into Evergreen Lodge where you have lunch and meet your guide who informs you about the various activities available. In the afternoon you have an optional visit to the local village, or you prefer, rest at the lodge.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Evergreen Lodge

Day 3

Tortuguero is best explored from the water and this morning you join a shared boat trip on the canals with a guide on hand to point out the different bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species. You can also use a kayak to venture in to quiet lagoons where you can listen out for birds and monkeys – the soundtrack of the rainforest, with which you’ll soon become familiar.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4

A combination of boat and road transport brings you to the town of Guapiles where you break the journey for lunch, later continuing on to Sarapiquí Rainforest Preservation Area and your next lodge, Selva Verde. Freshen up after the day’s travels, ready to sit down to an early dinner. Afterwards you have the chance to join a guide for a night tour of the rainforest, a time when many animals are at their most active. This is a great opportunity to observe these otherwise elusive nocturnal species including bats, kinkajous and tree frogs.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Selva Verde

Day 5

Wake early for a guided bird watching walk from the lodge at 6am. It’s worth the effort as at this time of day you should see a wide range of birds. The guide is an expert at spotting and identifying different species. The walk lasts about 2 hours, building up a good appetite for breakfast. Later you visit the Tirimbina Rainforest Centre for a chocolate tour! Starting in a cacao plantation you learn about the cultivation of the plants, find out about the production process and finally sample some of the produce. No events have been planned for the afternoon, so you are free to stroll along trails in the lodge’s grounds or to join a guided tour on foot or by bike (pay locally).

Breakfast, dinner

Day 6

After breakfast you are collected for the drive to Bajos del Toro in the Central Highlands. The trip takes a little over an hour and passes through lush scenery. Your destination is Bosque de Paz, a lodge in the midst of a private reserve teeming with life. This afternoon you can take 1 of the 5 trails as an introduction to the reserve. One concentrates on the forest’s varied plant life, two offer excellent bird watching, one passes through a valley that was farmland and has been returned to nature, and the last leads to an impressive waterfall.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Bosque de Paz

Day 7

 This morning you have a guided bird watching walk. Whether you’re an experienced birder or simply enjoy watching our feathered friends you will find this an entrancing tour. The forest is home to a great variety of birds, including trogons, scarlet macaws, toucans and the resplendent quetzals. The rest of the day is free, so you might want to try a different walking trail, visit the famous orchid garden, or simply sit by the lodge and watch hummingbirds congregate around the feeders.   

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8

Leaving the highlands behind you travel to the Pacific coast. In total the journey takes around 4 hours, ending at the stunning Parador Resort and Spa set on a cliff above one of Manuel Antonio’s lovely beaches. Take time to settle into your new surroundings. There are no fewer than 3 pools and 4 restaurants on site, several hectares of forest where you can search for wildlife and a spa with a varied menu of treatments.


Parador Resort & Spa

Day 9

Breakfast is followed by a guided half day tour in Manual Antonio National Park. You are exploring on foot following marked trails taking in different aspects of the park’s scenery. You walk along a forest trail for about 90 minutes with frequent stops to observe birds, mammals, reptiles and insects, before emerging on to the beach with time for a swim, before returning along a coastal path, reaching the hotel in time for lunch. In the afternoon you can explore further or take life easy poolside or on the beach.


Day 10

A free day at Parador Resort and Spa. Being so close to both the jungle and the beach you have a wide choice of activities. Follow trails in the extensive grounds to catch glimpses of monkeys, sloths and birds, walking up to the cliff top for views over the ocean, or spend time on one of the beautiful beaches, sunbathing, snorkelling and kayaking. And of course with the whole day at your disposal, there’s time to do both! Not forgetting the hotel’s swimming pools and spa, perfect for unwinding.


Day 11

Your journey continues today as you head south by road, then by boat along the Sierpe River and out to the coast, enjoying fine views of Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula. On arrival at Casa Corcovado Lodge you are shown to your room, a cosy bungalow surrounded by gardens, with a hammock by the veranda where you can doze. There are 2 swimming pools, 1 at the heart of the complex and the other more secluded beside a stream, and a welcoming bar where you can meet other guests. This evening you are dining at the hotel in Los Vitrales restaurant.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Casa Corcovado

Day 12

Time to explore Corcovado! You take a boat to the ranger station where you meet your guide who briefs you on the hours ahead. The walk begins with an ascent through rainforest, alert to the sights and sounds of birds – this area has a large scarlet macaw population, and there are monkeys around you. The climb ends at a viewpoint overlooking the ocean. If you’re lucky you might catch sight of dolphins and whales. The tour includes a picnic lunch and you are then transferred back to the hotel where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure, and you might like to make your way up to Margarita Point for sundowner drinks before dinner.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13

Today you are whisked off to Caño Island, about an hour’s boat ride from the lodge. The island has white sand beaches flanked by palm trees, seasonally used as a nesting place by turtles. Its main attraction however is beneath the sea where there’s an impressive coral reef. Snorkelling here is superb, with the clear water making sightings of turtles, rays, eels and numerous tropical fish easy. Depending on how much time you spend in the water you may have the chance to relax and sunbathe on the beach before returning to the lodge in time for dinner.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14

After breakfast you are taken to the local airstrip for the 40 minute flight to San José, where you’re met and once again driven to Hotel Presidente. It’s almost 2 weeks since you were last here and a lot has happened in between! There’s time now for some final souvenir and gift shopping, should you wish, and to take in some of the city’s sites or join locals at the Mercado for coffee. There are lots of restaurants in the neighbourhood offering plenty of choice for dinner this evening.


Hotel Presidente

Day 15

Thoughts now start to turn to home. Enjoy breakfast then your driver will take you back to the airport in San José in time for your flight home.


2024 guide price from (pp for two sharing, excluding international flights):

January to April from £4,140

May to June from £3,970

July to August from £4,065


Includes: Transfers and transport as specified, including both private and some shared transfers, including flight from the Osa Penisula to San José, 13 nights twin share accommodation, meals as specified Shared Tours: Tortuguero village tour, canal tour in Tortuguero National Park, night walk in Sarapiqui, morning bird-watching tour in Sarapiqui, half-day chocolate tour at Tirimbina, bird watching tour at Bosque de Paz, half-day walking tour in Manual Antonio National Park, half-day hiking tour in Corcovado National Park, Cano Island boat and snorkelling tour

Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not specified as included, drinks, optional excursions and activities, personal expenses, tips

Getting there: This tour starts and ends in San José. Return flight prices from the UK start from around £900.

Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday and can be taken from about December to August beginning on the day of your 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.