Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday
Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday
Prices from: £2,865 pp for 15 days (ex. international flights)
This 2 week trip 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
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: Tortguero 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. Breakfast 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. Breakfast
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. Breakfast
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. Breakfast 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. Breakfast
2019 guide price from (pp sharing, excluding international flights): January – April £2,970. May – August £2,865. September onward – please ask.
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter will attract a supplement on these prices.
Includes: Transfers and transport as specified, including the 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 £600.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made 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.
Located on Central Avenue in the heart of downtown San Jose, this hotel is a convenient base in the city, within easy reach of shops, bars and restaurants, and bicycles are provided of you want to explore further afield. Accommodation is comfy and includes spacious superior rooms and suites. Hotel facilities include a gym, free Wi-Fi and a roof terrace with great views over the city. A complimentary buffet breakfast is provided each morning to set you up well for the day ahead.
Set in 2 hectares of grounds, Evergreen Lodge is just a few minutes from the entrance of Tortuguero National Park. Rooms are light and spacious and cooled by ceiling fans. All have private bathrooms with hot and cold running water. They are set among trees, so you’ll hear birds and monkeys and will feel surrounded by nature. Meals are buffets, giving you a wide choice of dishes, served in the restaurant which has windows on 3 sides allowing you to look out into the forest as you dine. The bar provides a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks and is a good place to mingle with other travellers, and has Wi-Fi access so you can keep in touch with friends and family. There’s a pretty outdoor pool in the shape of a turtle, a paved sunbathing area and gardens with benches where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. A massage at the spa is the perfect way to relax after spending time in the national park.
In the heart of Sarapiqui Rainforest, at Selva Verde you are perfectly placed for exploring the wonders of the rainforest. Between excursions you can relax by the pool, walk in the gardens as you look for birds, monkeys and frogs, and sip a drink the bar. You can enjoy local cuisine buffets in the first floor dining hall, while in the evening you might opt for tasty Italian cuisine at La Terrazza restaurant and pizzeria. River lodge rooms provide the simplest accommodation, cooled by ceiling fans and with private bathrooms and shared verandas. Rainforest bungalows benefit from air conditioning, coffee makers and fridges and are located about a 10-15 minute walk from reception for extra privacy. La Casona consists of 2 en-suite bedrooms, a lounge and kitchen, all air conditioned, and is ideal for families and small groups.
Bosque de Paz
From this small lodge you can visit both rain and cloud forest, marvel at dozens of species of orchids and birds and hike to a 60 metre waterfall. There are 12 guest rooms decorated with local artworks providing comfortable, en-suite accommodation, each with a balcony overlooking the gardens where you can watch colourful butterflies, hummingbirds and monkeys. You can spend time with other guests in the sitting room chatting, playing board games, browsing through books and watching TV, or wander outside to admire the grounds which include orchid and butterfly gardens, ponds and streams and many peaceful sitting areas. The restaurant serves traditional local food and has picture windows looking out to the gardens.
The hotel is surrounded by 5 hectares of verdant forest and is set on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, ideally placed for exploring the rainforest and spending downtime on the beach. Rooms and suites are divided among 4 buildings, and each has a flat screen TV, minibar, coffee maker, safe, phone and private bathroom and is cooled by both air conditioning and a ceiling fan. Suites also have private balconies and Jacuzzis. There are 4 restaurants and a choice of bars, all providing a distinct setting and ambience including cosy interiors and panoramic terraces, and serving a wide range of cuisines. Let yourself be pampered and spoilt at the spa with its large repertoire of treatments, swim in your favourite of the 3 pools, and lie back as you perfect your tan.
The lodge borders Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific coast. This is a vast area of unspoilt forest and mangroves with abundant bird, mammal, amphibian, insect and marine life. You’re likely to be out most of the day, but you can take time out at the lodge to rest, enjoying a swim on 1 of the 2 pools, chilling with a massage, socialising in the lounge and savouring a late afternoon drink at Margarita Sunset Point. Tasty meals are served at Los Vitrales restaurant. Accommodation is in self-contained bungalows and suites in the gardens. Inside they feel cosy with beamed ceilings, shuttered windows and tiled floors. They have full electricity, solar-heated water, minibar and ceiling fans, and each has an outdoor area with seating and a hammock.
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