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Costa Rica’s Coastal Secrets

from $4,349.00

Unrivalled wildlife viewing and Costa Rica’s coastal wonders

  • Reviews 38 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the Costa Rica’s Coastal Secrets.

From the wildlife rich waterways of Tortuguero to the dense jungle coastline of the Osa Peninsula, an area labelled by National Geographic as ‘the most biologically intense place on Earth’, Costa Rica reveals its secrets: Scarlet macaws rule the roost adding brilliant flashes of red, blue and gold to the foliage; Humpback whales breed in the waters off-shore, and sloths lazily crawl along cecropia branches.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
* 14 nights comfortable hotels and lodges
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport Arrival and departure transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Three nights in Drake Bay – the remote gateway to some of Costa Rica’s premier wildlife destinations
  • Corcovado National Park – the ‘most biologically intense place on Earth’
  • Discover the wildlife and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Unrivalled wildlife viewing – monkeys, sloths, dolphins & whales (in season)
  • Costa Rica’s famous Sloth Sanctuary
  • Swim in both the Caribbean and Pacific
  • Travel by minibus and boat
  • 13 nights comfortable hotels and lodges
  • Green turtle nesting season: July to October
  1. Day 1 Start San Jose.

    The group transfer usually takes place from San Jose airport this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  2. Day 2 To Tortuguero N.P.

    Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero’s vast network of waterways, canals and swamps are remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is nestled on a small strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it’s possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today’s travel time will be in the region of six hours including a break for breakfast.Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    Just after sunrise we board a small boat, enabling us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero as we pass serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast near the river. The lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, or alternatively you can join a second boat trip (included).Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  4. Day 4 To Cahuita; relax on the Caribbean coast.

    We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived, by taking a small boat to Siquirres pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, where we check into our hotel. Caribbean culture pervades this part of Costa Rica and is reflected in the music, food and laid-back lifestyle. Cahuita’s famous white-sand beach is fringed by tall palms, behind which the dense, wet tropical forest of Cahuita National Park can be found.Accommodation: Ciudad Perdida (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Wildlife walk in Cahuita N.P.

    Cahuita National Park has 2711 acres of land and an impressive 600 acres of coral reef, forming Costa Rica’s largest reef system. Today we visit the national park, taking a 7km walk from the southern entrance of the park which follows the coastline, leads through rainforest and passes impressive Caribbean beaches. Although a fairly small park in terms of size, there is plenty of diversity here. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the beach, join an optional snorkelling excursion to discover the underwater world or simply relax.Accommodation: Ciudad Perdida (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  6. Day 6 Free day in Cahuita

    Today is free to relax into the Caribbean pace of life and enjoy some free time around Cahuita. It is possible to join an optional excursion to the indigenous communities of Kekoldi & Bri Bri Reserve, where you’ll learn about the properties and uses of native plants, as well as the process of making artisan chocolate. Chocolate is very important in Bri Bri culture and used for purification rituals, food and medicine. Accommodation: Ciudad Perdida (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Walk in La Marta Wildlife Refuge; to Turrialba Valley.

    Our next destination is Turrialba Valley, a rich agricultural region located in the Central Highlands. On the way to Turrialba we visit La Marta Wildlife Refuge, an area of both primary and secondary forest within La Amistad Biosphere (recognised as a UNESCO World Patrimony of Humanity). The topography of this region is mountainous, with waterfalls, rivers and caves – the varied elevation supports a wide range of plants (such as orchids, bromeliads, lichens and mosses) and animals (such as anteaters, ocelots and tapirs).Accommodation: Villa Florencia or Guayabo (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  8. Day 8 To Savegre Cloud Forest.

    After breakfast we depart towards San Gerado de Dota and Savegre Cloud Forest. This is said to be one of the best places in the whole of Costa Rica to see the beautiful, colourful and notoriously shy Resplendant Quetzal and we have two nights here to discover the region. These endangered birds rely on the cloud forest for their habitat – the males in particular are striking with a green crest, red breast and tail feathers that can reach a metre in length. A good pair of binoculars will be helpful for quetzal spotting as these birds camouflage themselves well amongst the wet leaves of the forest! After lunch we take a short walk into the cloud forest.Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa or Trogon Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  9. Day 9 Free day to discover walking trails in Savegre.

    Today is free to relax and explore Savegre Valley. Bring your binoculars to spot some of the 170 bird species, trek through the tropical cloud forest or simply enjoy the incredible view from the lodge. Your leader will suggest walks for today so that you can discover the tropical cloud forest and sub-Alpine vegetation of the area. Birds that may be seen in this area include hummingbirds, colibri, tanagers and trogons, whilst tapirs and Squirrel monkeys may also be seen.Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa or Trogon Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  10. Day 10 To Sierpe; boat to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula.

    Our journey continues towards the small town of Sierpe, where we board a small motorboat to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. Passing the huge mangrove swamps that line the Sierpe River, our boat crosses the ocean before arriving into Drake Bay. This region is very remote and with extremely limited road access, which means the majority of supplies, as well as visitors and locals, must arrive by boat. Originally discovered by Francis Drake, getting here is part of the adventure! The bay is spectacular, with just a handful of lodges scattering the horizon and the rest thick verdant forest and rocky coves as far as the eye can see. Our next three nights will be spent at the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, a family run property positioned close to the ’town’ of Drake Bay and with ocean views from every corner.Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  11. Day 11 Boat trip to Caño Island.

    Board a small boat to Caño Island, located 12 nautical miles from Drake Bay. During this 45 minute boat ride there may be opportunities to spot migrating whales or playful dolphins in the surrounding waters (Orca whales might be seen between approx. December to April and Humpback whales might be seen between approx. July to November). The interior of the island is thought to have been a burial ground for the indigenous Daquis tribe during pre-Columbian times, and many perfectly spherical man-made stones have been found here. But it’s the marine life that is the biggest highlight of Caño Island, with Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles, Manta rays and White-tipped reef sharks being just some of the likely encounters on today’s snorkelling excursion. This area has been rated as having the best snorkelling in the whole of Costa Rica, with excellent water visibility and a huge marine diversity awaiting beneath the waves in the protected reef. Enjoy a picnic lunch on nearby San Josecito beach, where Capuchin monkeys, Coatimundi and lively Scarlet macaws may make an appearance.Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  12. Day 12 Boat trip to Corcovado N.P.; discover the park on foot.

    When National Geographic describes an area as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth’ it has to be worthy of investigation! This morning we board a small boat for a 30 minute journey to San Pedrillo Ranger Station, our entrance point to Corcovado National Park. This is undoubtedly Costa Rica’s most secluded and tranquil region. Protecting around one third of the Osa Peninsula (some 164 square miles), Corcovado is Costa Rica’s largest national park and encompasses 13 major ecosystems across various elevations, with montane forest, cloud forest, freshwater and mangrove swamps being just some of these. Scientists have recorded half of all of the species in Costa Rica on this peninsula alone. On today’s hike along the parks trails we may see all four of Costa Rica’s monkey species (Squirrel, Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider monkeys), tamandua (anteater), two and three-toed sloths, peccary, tapirs (including the endangered Baird’s tapir) and of course many reptiles, insects and amphibians. Puma and jaguar are known in this area but very difficult to see. With over 500 tree species, the bird count stands at an impressive 365 and the park protects the largest population of Scarlet macaws in the country, which can frequently be seen and heard flying overhead.Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  13. Day 13 Mangrove boat trip; to Sierpe; to San Jose.

    After breakfast, we board another boat to depart from Drake Bay and return to Sierpe town. On the way our boat will take a short tour of the huge mangrove forest that lines the Sierpe River. Delving into the network of tributary rivers and streams is fascinating and a chance to learn more about the role of mangroves in the eco-system and the numerous creatures that depend on them, such as fish, crabs, birds, molluscs and shell fish. In Sierpe town we transfer to our private minibus and commence our journey to San Jose.Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  14. Day 14 Visit the Irazu Volcano National Park and the Orosi Valley for a coffee tour

    Today begins with a trip to the Irazu Volcano National Park in the Cartago province of Costa Rica, located within the Central Mountain Range around a 1.5 hour journey from San Jose. Passing different types of vegetation from coffee plantations to ferns, we’ll drive towards the summit and then follow a path that leads to a wonderful view across the huge crater, overlooking the mystical green lagoon and jagged rocks. Irazu is one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes, though it has recently entered a dormant phase which has brought great relief to the farmers and property owners who make their living on its fertile slopes. On a clear day, both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines can be seen from the summit. Remember to bring a jacket as it can be windy and cold at the viewpoint of this elevation (Irazu summit is 3,432m).  Following this we continue to the city of Cartago with its famous Basilica, and the Orosi Valley, an area of natural beauty. After lunch in one of the many traditional restaurants, we join the Orosi Coffee tour to learn about the ancient techniques used to produce some of the best coffee in the world! This involves understanding the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of coffee beans, before you have a chance to savour the end product yourself. Afterwards we return to San Jose for our last night of the holiday. Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  15. Day 15 End San Jose.

    Our adventure comes to an end today after breakfast and it’s time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Free transfers to San Jose airport are available to all clients today.**

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Where you stay

Hotels & Eco-lodges

14 nights spent in comfortable hotels and eco-lodges, alll with en suite facilities and most with swimming pools.

In San Jose the comfortable, modern Presidente Hotel has been chosen with easy access to downtown areas of the city.

In Tortuguero, Evergreen Lodge is ideally situated for access to Tortuguero National Park by boat and offers comfortable accommodation in wonderful natural surroundings.

At Cahuita, Ciudad Perdida offers bungalow style accommodation within tropical gardens, just moments from the national park and a short walk from the town and coastline.

In Turrialba, either Villa Florencia or Guayabo are great places to enjoy nature with comfortable facilities and are well positioned in the Turrialba Valley.

We stay at one of two properties in Savegre (Savegre Hotel or Trogon Lodge), both occupying an ideal position within the Savegre Valley with plant-filled gardens to discover.

The highlight of this trip will probably be our stay in the area of Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, somewhere that can only be reached by boat due to its remoteness. For most departures we stay at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort which affords 180 degree views out across the vast ocean!

Please note that one or several of the named properties might be substituted for similar alternatives in order to secure hotel availablity. Please discuss with your Customer Operations Executive if you require more details regarding your specific departure date.

Optional single supplement available, see Dates & Prices.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style, and lunches and dinners at Tortuguero are also buffet style. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Costa Rican specialities include ‘Gallo Pinto’, a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups and stews are also common, and fresh fruit is abundant and will no doubt be one of the highlights of your time in the tropics.

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a safari rating of 4.

Driving distances are not very long and most of the roads that we travel on are of good quality. However, the road which leads to the river on the way to and from Tortuguero has a poor surface and this can result in slow driving times, particularly following heavy rain. Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula are two of the most remote areas that we visit on this itinerary – there is very limited road access or facilities in these areas and we will use boats as the main form of transportation.

There are several included and optional walks on the itinerary which occasionally involve walking on rough paths. These are suitable for most levels of fitness and usually last from two to three hours. During times of heavy rain, trails can be muddy and slippery and extra care should be taken. Many of the areas visited on the trip are hot and humid and there is the chance of heavy rain year-round – this is why Costa Rica is so green!

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Sloths and other animals

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    If you love wildlife the highlights are the plentiful opportunities to see the wide variety of species indigenous to the country. Howler monkeys are your alarm clock at your hotel in Tortuguero National Park. Capuchins and spider monkeys watch as your boat glides quietly through the forest waterways. A whole range of birds, reptiles and insects occupy the various levels of the canopy - and then, of course, there are the sloths! For those who like snorkelling there is also a chance to see a wide range of marine life off Cano Island during your stay at the lovely Drake Bay Wilderness Resort.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio, the group leader, was the perfect host and ensured the trip ran smoothly and serenely. He spoke excellent English and was extremely knowledgable about all the flora and fauna and the history of Costa Rica. He was quietly efficient, professional but friendly and clearly proud of his country. A mention too for our main driver Juan who was a star!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take heed of the advice in the trip notes - it's good advice. US dollars are widely accepted but do take some local currency too. Several of the hotels offer a laundry service [ and at the Drake Bay hotel it's free ], so you can afford to pack fewer clothes than you might think. The sun is fierce - wear a T shirt when snorkelling.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Eat as much fruit as you can! The pineapple in particular is delicious.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Bugs, birds and whales.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 5am howler monkey alarm clock...... seeing so many humpback whales and dolphins so close to the boat.....the amazing frogs..... and who couldn't forget the green sea turtles coming out of the sea to lay their eggs...
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny was extremely enthusiastic and passionate about all things Costa Rica. He gave a running history, geographic, political and social commentary during the drives which was extremely useful. The group had quite a mix of interests, and he was able to manage them to keep everyone satisfied with their own experience. If there were any queries that he didn't have the answer to, he would find out and give the answers later. He also had a great eye for spotting flora and fauna on the walks, nothing was too small or insignificant for us. He was great fun too, and always smiling, nothing seemed to faze him!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Getting on and off some of the boats was potentially tricky, particularly if you had any mobility issues and some of the walking could be a little challenging if not anticipated.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Costa Rica is back on our bucket list!!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The morning from Drake Bay when we were going snorkelling. I don't swim well so was tempted to stay behind. As it turned out we saw lots of humpback whales, many with babies, pan tropical dolphins & the lots of scarlet macaws when we stopped at an island for a picnic lunch. A very special morning which I felt privileged to witness. The quetzal watching in the beautiful Savegre valley was also very special.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    I have never met a leader who is more knowledgeable, caring, hard working & fantastic at his job than Johnny. He really turned a great holiday into something special. His wildlife knowledge really made a difference & his love for his country shone through.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took a walking pole which I found incredibly useful on the often slippery up & down forest trails. It's also good to know that Drake Bay Wilderness Resort will do your washing at no extra charge, with the humidity in the area nothing can get dry.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Costa Rica Costal secrets

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is almost impossible to say as it was the whole richness of biodiversity that is Costa Rica's glory. The first lunch stop revealed poison arrow frogs and A Sloth! from then on it continued....
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was expert in all aspects of natural history and especially birds. He was charming , helpful and friendly. He made sure everyone was involved. He also introduced us to Costa Rican culture which was a nice bonus.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    the trip is vey informal, changes of shirts and trousers essential although laundry services are available at the hotels. Be prepared to get up early in the morning as all the animals and birds are active at this time.The snorkelling experiences are for experienced snorkelers and not suitable for novices. The trip is very fast paced if you are in your 60's or 70's but not some much if you are in your 30's or 40's.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We did find it as older couple quite hard going but thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Costa Rica coastal secrets

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a male Quetzal was wonderful in the wild so to sloths and toucans. Nice walks in the rainforest.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good Antonio spoke good English was informative friendly and funny.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just relax and go with the flow and enjoy all that wild Costa Rica has to offer.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I took my snorkelling stuff but didn't really need it as they gave it to you without cost and they were at a good standard. You can get Costa Rica colons there currency in U.K. I did that I thought was better overall but take some dollars aswell.

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