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Costa Rica Wildlife Walk


Hotel Bougainvillea, Santo Domingo

Hotel Bougainville ***

Santo Domingo, Days 1+2

The Hotel Bougainville has won the 2015 'Traveler's Choice' award!

The Bougainvillea Hotel is in Santo Domingo, just 25 minutes from San Jose international airport and about 15 minutes from the center of San Jose.
The hotel is built in extensive gardens where you can take a stroll and start your discovery of all the flora and fauna Costa Rica has to offer. Rooms are spacious and the hotel facilities include pool, sauna, fitness centre and gift shop.

Further details on the
hotel website.

For the April 17, 2016 departure we stay Days 1+2 at the Hotel Buenavista

Day 1  Arrive in Costa Rica

We meet you and take you to your hotel (20 mins) in Santo Domingo, just outside of San Jose.

Day 2 Monte de Barva 12km/7.5mi/3.5hr

Today we head to Monte de Barva, a private property in the mountains where we explore forests with views over the Central Valley. Our walk ends with a typical Costa Rican lunch cooked on a wooden stove. We return to the hotel via the town of Barva, one of the oldest settlements in Costa Rica, famous for its colonial architecture and its dedication to retaining its culture. Time to explore the hotel gardens and have a swim before dinner.

Day 3  Monteverde Cloud Forest  12km/7.5mi/3hr

On to Monteverde, where we follow a forest trail through soaring ridge oak decked with bright orange clusia, in search of the resplendent quetzal. Onwards through the emerald forest canopy to the Continental Divide where the Caribbean and Pacific meet. Our next 2 nights are spent here.

Ficus Lodge+ ***   Monteverde, Day 3+4

Further details on hotel website.

+Accommodation for these nights varies by departure date.  Please inquire for details.

Day 4  Canitas & Cebadillas  15km/9.5mi/3.5hr

Walking through lush pastures with balcony views over curving Nicoya peninsula we soon reach the hamlet of Canitas. A gradual climb through forest brings us to Cebadillas mountain village. Before dinner, we take a fascinating evening stroll through the rain forest spotting tree frogs and hummingbirds.

Day 5  To Volcano Arenal  17km/11mi/5hr

We wind through farmsteads bright with blue flowered St Lucia trees overlooking the western shore of Lake Arenal. We'll pass cattle ranches, stud farms and dairies before continuing along the shore, spotting scarlet tanagers flitting through the reeds, before taking a boat to the western side of the lake for superb views over Arenal Volcano.

Arenal Observatory Lodge ***   Arenal, Days 5+6+7

The Arenal Observatory Lodge is one of the most historical hotels in Arenal in that it was originally the observatory lodge for the scientists that first came to study the volcano in 1987. The lodge is surrounded by hectares of parkland and it is the only hotel in Arenal that is within the Arenal National Park. The best thing about the lodge is the balcony views of Arenal that you get from pretty much every bedroom window, the pool and the restaurant. The volcano is just 1.7 miles from the lodge but the hotel is perfectly safe as the gorge of the Agua Caliente River separates it. Nowadays however, its strategic position makes the hotel a great place to experience the volcano. The view is ever present when you are in the pool, strolling through the gardens or having breakfast in the restaurant. The lodge is made up of a number of different rows of rooms that all have their individual entrances. The standard rooms are the original rooms that the scientists used. These are pretty basic and are the rooms nearest reception. The majority of the rooms that were added on after the lodge became a hotel are in the Smithsonian style. Breakaway guests stay in these. They each have 2 queen size double beds and many also have a chair, table and decking with patio furniture. Others have large floor to ceiling windows from where there are great views over Volcano Arenal when you draw the curtains in the morning. They are all en-suite with shower only. The restaurant is located opposite reception and this is where both breakfast and evening meals are taken. The hotel also has a large swimming pool as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi. There are a number of way-marked trails through the gardens that you can follow if you fancy a stroll.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 6  Cano Negro Boat Tour

Today's tour takes us first by road then by boat through the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge close to the Nicaraguan border . It's a bird watchers paradise as well as home to a number of endangered mammals and reptile species, including caimans, turtles and tapirs.

Day 7  Exploring Arenal and La Fortuna Waterfall 8km/5mi/5hr

Today we visit the Arenal butterfly and frog gardens and stop off at an indigenous Cabecares village. On to the famous La Fortuna waterfall before continuing on to relax in the hotsprings at Eco Termales!

Day 8 Rincon de la Vieja National Park 6km/4mi/3hr
Onwards to Rincon de la Vieja, beginning our walk through rainwood and Spanish cedar . Continuing through forest, maybe spotting turkey vultures flitting above us, we reach Las Chorreras and Victoria Falls, a 35m high torrent thundering through a verdant gorge. Time for a paddle before going on to our hotel for dinner . We spend two nights here.

Hacienda Guachipelin

Hacienda Guachipelin, Rincon de la Vieja (3*)

Days 8+9

The Hacienda Guachipelin is located right on the edge of the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. The lodge started up as a cattle ranch, and is still owned by one of Costa Rica's most famous horsemen, Don Tomas.

The lodge is made up of five separate rows of rooms each with a veranda. All rooms are en suite with shower and have 2 queen size beds as well as a table and chair. They are reasonably spacious and are all built in traditional Latin American style.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 9  Blue Lagoon & Thermal Springs  10km/6.5mi/3hr

Look out for toucans and white-fronted amazons, as we descend to La Cangreja waterfall. Its blue lagoon is so inviting we have to take a dip before our picnic. Then through woodland, where violet guaria morada (Costa Rica's national flower) grows, to Las Pailas - an eerie landscape of bubbling mud and geysers.

Day 10  Santa Rosa National Park  4km/2.5mi/2hr

Today we walk through Central America's largest protected dry forest. We may spot coatis, tapirs and iguanas as we descend to continue along the Indio Desnudo Trail - superb photo opportunities. Then to Playa Hermosa where our final two nights are spent overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Bosque del Mar,

Bosque del Mar ****
Playa Hermosa, Days 10+11

The Bosque del Mar hotel is a beachfront property on the grey sand Playa Hermosa (beautiful beach). The hotel is set in beautiful gardens and surrounded by tropical forests.

Rooms here are spacious and all have terrace or balcony with views of the garden or pool. Some rooms make you really feel you are part of the gardens as the structure of the building has been done in such a way to avoid cutting down trees where possible to cause less environmental impact.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 12  Free Day

Bosque del Mar is on Playa Hermosa, a Blue Flag beach and is the perfect end to our tour. There's the option to stay on here for extra nights.

Day 13   Leave Costa Rica

We take you to Liberia aiport (45 mins) for flights home.


This varied walking holiday is mainly on jungle trails and country tracks. Rain forest trails can be slippery and steep in sections, so walking boots are essential. In order to see as much of this varied country as possible some days do include long transfers. These are broken up with refreshment and photo stops.

For extra nights we recommend Santo Domingo or Playa Hermosa.

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