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Natural Highlights of Costa Rica

from $2,249.00

Jungles, mountains and coast: Costa Rica is a natural paradise

  • Reviews 10 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Natural Highlights of Costa Rica.

A tropical paradise bursting with wildlife; Christopher Columbus was right to christen Costa Rica the ‘Rich Coast’ when he discovered it in 1502. Home to 6% of the world’s plant and animal species, many endemic, the country’s rich biodiversity is extremely colourful. Over 850 bird species have been recorded here – far more than found anywhere in North America, Europe and Australia. A cornucopia of exotic flora and fauna, Costa Rica is a nature lover’s delight.

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, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
* 7 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers

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

 

Highlights

  • Visit multiple wildlife habitats in one week: verdant rainforest, lush mangroves, lava fields and serene cloud forests
  • Abundant wildlife viewing with sightings of monkeys, birds and sloths expected
  • Discover the tranquil waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels throughout
  • Two boat trips included at Tortuguero and a boat safari in the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
  • Travel by air-conditioned bus and boat
  • 7 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners included
  • Green turtle nesting season: July to October
  1. Day 1 Start San Jose.

    Free transfers are available for all clients from San Jose airport. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.Accommodation: Park Inn 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 is 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 in the heart of 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 five to six hours including a break for breakfast.Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing 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 by the river. This afternoon we return to the waterways for a second boat trip along a different canal. Alternatively, the lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities or follow a short walking trail through the forest.Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  4. Day 4 To La Fortuna, near Arenal.

    Leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to the pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Arenal, passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations on the way. Arenal was Costa Rica’s most active volcano until fairly recently, when it entered a resting phase and can no longer be seen spitting ash, smoke or lava. However there is still a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you’ll have the opportunity to visit one of the excellent hot springs this evening. Alternatively have a go on the Sky Tram / Sky Trek, departing at 3pm. In clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base, the nearby town of La Fortuna. Today’s travelling time is around five and a half hours including a lunch stop.Accommodation: Lomas del Volcán Hotel or Arenal Montechiari (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Boat tour of Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge.

    Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Frío River combine to create a humid area that is very biodiverse and harbours a great variety of resident and migratory birds, three different species of monkey, iguanas, sloths, turtles and caimans. We transfer approximately 1.5 hours to the village of Los Chiles, found close to the Nicaraguan border. From here we board a boat for our river adventure, which lasts around 2.5 hours and passes through tropical rainforest and pastures until we arrive at the marshlands. The Olivaceous cormorant makes its nests in the area and Wood storks and jabiru (the largest bird in Central America and much endangered) can also be seen. Along the river we may also see Howler monkeys, Three-toed sloths, caimans, lizards, and turtles.Accommodation: Lomas del Volcán Hotel or Arenal Montechiari (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  6. Day 6 To Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains; nocturnal wildlife walk.

    From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands for our first taste of a Costa Rican cloud forest. The journey provides breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we ascend the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means ’Green Mountain’. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different varieties here. Today’s drive is around four hours- the last 40km of road is gravel and can be bumpy, particularly following heavy rain. In the afternoon it’s possible to join an optional coffee tour to learn about the importance of this crop to the socio-economic development of the country.This evening we set off on a night walk in Monteverde Wildlife Refuge. Situated within primary cloud forest, this reserve is committed to the preservation of native flora and fauna. Taking a nocturnal walk allows for a completely new perspective on the forest, which our guides will bring to life for us!Accommodation: Ficus Hotel or MTV Country Lodge (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; to San Jose.

    Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a favourite destination for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. A walk through the reserve will reveal huge old growth trees covered in moss whilst the surrounding mist permeates the atmosphere. The reserve’s geographic, topographic and climatic conditions have allowed for a surprising biodiversity to thrive. There are four ecological “Life Zones” that harbour different ecosystems for hundreds of species – mammals, birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, insects and arachnids. We can also find a variety of mosses, vines, other plants and trees typical of the cloud forest. One of the trails of the reserve leads to a lookout point right at the top of the continental divide where, on clear days, you can be privy to the breathtaking view of both of Costa Rica’s coasts: the Caribbean and the Pacific. These forests are also one of the few remaining habitats of the endangered Resplendant Quetzal. Following today’s activity we transfer to San Jose.Accommodation: Park Inn Hotel (or similar)*Comfortable Hotel*

  8. Day 8 End San Jose.

    The trip 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

7 nights in comfortable hotels and eco-lodges, all with en suite facilities and some with swimming pools. Where possible we use family run establishments: wooden lodges set in tropical gardens with eco-credentials.

In San Jose the Park Inn Hotel is conveniently located for the downtown area of the city, with spacious and comfortable rooms.

At Tortuguero, we stay at Pachira Lodge, a property set in beautifully kept gardens where wildlife often roams freely (look out for sloths and monkeys here!)

In Arenal the Arenal Montechiari Hotel is located within a 10 minute walk of La Fortuna town. Each chalet bungalow is set amidst the tropical gardens where hummingbirds like to gather, and there are wonderful views of the Arenal Volcano.  We may also stay at Lomas del Volcan on some departures, a property with rustic wooden bungalows and great volcano views.

We use either the MTV Country Lodge, or the Ficus Hotel in Monteverde, both cosy options for cool climate of the cloud forest.

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

Optional single supplement, inquire for Prices.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners are included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. 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 1 (Leisurely) with a safari rating of 3.

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 and the road into and out of Monteverde have poor surfaces and this can result in slow driving times, particularly following heavy rain. 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. 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!

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Natural highlights of Costa Rica.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the boat trip at Cano Negro; the boat was open at the front and you could stand and view both sides of the river for the local wildlife. We all had fun trying to spot the elusive sloths,but great time had by all.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    He had an incredible knowledge of all the flowers and wild life, and could spot creatures from a great distance; very impressive.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a weather proof jacket,walking boots or shoes, mosquito repellent and buckle up!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend tagging on a few days at the end at a beach resort to relax and have a swim after a full on week.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Cost Rica for the third time.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The time spent on the Rio Frio in Cano Negro where we saw lots of birds and all three species of monkey to be found here with a great showing of white faced capuchin very close to the boat feeding. In Monte Verde actually finding a male Resplendent Quetzal a very rare bird was enjoyed by all, the bird life at the accommodation was also well appreciated (note we are not specifically birders).
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Glenda was escorting her very first trip and worked hard to ensure we all got the best out of the trip, She was very knowledgeable about the country, fauna and flora and the country's wildlife and birds and if anything was asked and she did not know she endeavoured to find the answers. Although she was lacking in experience which will come obviously, she made up for it with enthusiasm and in time will be a very good escort.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Costa Rica is a great place to visit and not just for the wildlife. It was our third visit having done the national parks on both coastlines on our previous visits and now the interior. If it is on your list of places to go then go, its worth it.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

An excellent introduction to Costa Rica

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a sloth climbing down from high up in a tree to avoid the worst of a squally shower and, as she got closer, realising that she had a baby clinging to her was fabulous. The Cloud Forest in Monteverde also stood out; for me it was the epitome of what a 'jungle' should look and feel like (very green and wet!)
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Johnny, was friendly and knowledgeable about seemingly all aspects of Costa Rica and its wildlife. Special mention must also go to our driver Dennis who negotiated some narrow windy roads extremely safely.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for rain in the cloud forest despite what the weather may be doing in Monteverde itself! For any photographers, a 400mm lens (or equivalent) really helps get photos of sloths, monkeys etc high up in the trees.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only disappointment for me was that the hotels in La Fortuna and Monteverde (Magic Mountain(!) and Poco A Poco) were more mainstream and modern than I was expecting. The trip notes (which I know have since been updated to list these) promised small eco lodges which these two were not.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

One for the lover of birds

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the walk at night, to go into a forest at night and see night creatures and just to hear different sounds. I learnt to much.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was excellent, he knew so much about the wildlife and was able to spot them while we were driving. He was able to keep the group together and on time.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect to much from the food, I found it very boring and plain. The country caters mainly for American visitors which is reflected in prices. Remember to pack waterproof and warm clothing for the evening's.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This holiday packs a lot in form the time spent on the island. It would have been nice to visit some animal sanctuaries but there wasn't time, I suggest extending the trip to take this into account if one can.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Fabulous trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The early morning boat trip around Tortuguero, such a beautiful place.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Eduardo was absolutely fantastic. His English put native English speakers to shame. He made sure we all knew what we were doing, what to wear and what time to meet and were well fed at all times, and was very patient with us all asking him the same thing a million times over! He was very knowledgeable and a brilliant guide.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't leave home without insect repellent, layers of clothes, comfy walking shoes, closed toe sandals, weather proof coat, binoculars, camera. You can pay for everything in US Dollars, try to take small notes where possible. You will struggle with anything bigger than $50. Be prepared for 2-4 hours on the road at a time and 2 hours on boat safaris each time.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip, have a fabulous time!

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
November 7, 2020
Available
$2,249.00
N/A
November 21, 2020
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January 17, 2021
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$2,479.00
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February 14, 2021
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February 28, 2021
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March 14, 2021
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March 28, 2021
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April 11, 2021
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August 1, 2021
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August 15, 2021
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November 7, 2021
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November 21, 2021
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