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Natural Costa Rica

from £3025
Exploring the rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls and wildlife of Costa Rica.
  • Product Code 45700
  • Holiday Type Pioneer Holidays, Sightseeing And Walking Holidays, Rich In Wildlife Holidays
  • Grade Grade 4
  • Holiday Duration 15 Nights

Spanning its Caribbean and Pacific coasts, the mountains of Costa Rica divide the country into a variety of distinct climatic zones with a sheer scenic beauty, density of wildlife and biodiversity seen in few other places in the world.

With more than a quarter of the country’s landscape protected, the forests are alive with a multitude of brilliantly coloured creatures. Take your time; there’s certainly no need to hurry when sloth watching. We include a good mix of walks, wildlife watching and travelling.

We arrive in the capital San José, then travel down to the Caribbean coast for the wildlife, beaches and swimming. Then back through the coffee and pineapple fields to the volcanoes that straddle the continental divide which runs through the country.

Next the tropical paradise of Rio Celeste and then the volcanic Rincon de la Vieja region to walk the trails in the tropical dry forest, past mud pools and sulphur springs. We’ll walk the densely vegetated trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest biological reserve atop the Tileran Mountains. Costa Rica is one of the most enlightened nations on earth when it comes to protecting her natural wonders. Continuing to Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast with its adjacent National Park, we’ll explore the coastal trails and wind down in this paradise of tropical sandy beaches backed by forests and with wonderful sunsets.

We have a highly trained and knowledgeable local guide to accompany us. Feel free to discuss any aspect of ‘Tico’ life with our guide. From the birdlife to the education system our guides are a mine of information which they love to share.

By travelling with us, in addition to experiencing the joy of visiting new places, you can make a difference in the communities you visit. With your help Heart & Sole is able to make a positive impact to communities in need and in less developed countries.

Holiday Highlights

  • Stroll along tropical beaches and through the ocean surf.
  • Enjoy Manuel Antonio National Park - the wildlife is everywhere.
  • Learning from your local guide, hugely knowledgeable and brilliant at spotting everything. 
  • Take a dip in Rio Celeste. Tropical paradise!
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Gatwick to San José (British Airways)
      Airport transfers
      Half board accommodation
      Dinners taken at the hotel or at local restaurants
      Services of an English speaking local naturalist guide
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade SS/4

  1. Day 1

    We fly direct from London to Costa Rica. On arrival in San Jose, we travel about 30 minutes to arrive at our hotel for a night. Our group leader will arrange and pay for a snack for those who would like it.

  2. Day 2

    We have a morning's drive down to the Caribbean coast at Cahuita. There should be time for an afternoon stroll into town to soak up the atmosphere. We stay in Cahuita for 2 nights.

  3. Day 3

    We will walk in the Cahuita National Park through lush rain forest and along tropical white sand beaches. The walk is about 7km and will be taken at a slow pace with plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities on the way. Later in the day there will be free time to perhaps take a dip in the Caribbean.

  4. Day 4

    Next we stop in the heart of the former chocolate growing area to enjoy the scenery and the produce and learn a little about how it is made. We stay 1 night in Sarapiqui.

  5. Day 5

    We head northwest along the misnamed 'central valley'; (more accurately the 'Meseta Central' or Central Tableland) into coffee plantation country. After various stops, including hopefully seeing tree dwelling iguanas, we arrive at the pleasant tourist centre of La Fortuna where we spend 1 night just under the imposing silhouette of the Arenal volcano. On arrival there will be time to enjoy the town and the views of Arenal volcano.

  6. Day 6

    After breakfast we will have a walk on the slopes of Arenal. The volcano has only recently become dormant and signs of volcanic activity are everywhere. Later we drive to Tenorio (2hrs 30mins) to walk from Bijagua town in varied landscapes of primary forest and verdant jungle. On arrival at our hotel at Rio Celeste (2nts) we can enjoy walking through the forest in the hotel grounds.

  7. Day 7

    This morning we visit Rio Celeste waterfall, dyed a bizarre blue colour by natural minerals and continue to the local hot springs for a quick dip for those who like. In the afternoon we will further explore the local area on foot.

  8. Day 8

    We start with a walk from Canalete to Aguas Claras. Later we drive to Rincon de la Vieja. The area is known for its bubbling mud pools, steam vents, hot springs and abundant wildlife.

  9. Day 9

    Walking and exploring in the park. There are several waterfalls and wooded trails surrounding the lodge on the slopes below the ridge of volcanoes. we will also see all the abundant evidence of geothermal activity.

  10. Day 10

    We travel southeast to Monteverde (2 nights), settled relatively recently, in 1951, by a group of 44 Quakers. Monteverde, 'Green Mountain' in Spanish, is nestled high in the Tilaran mountain range and is one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica, with large tracts of forest still untouched.

  11. Day 11

    A morning visit to the 26,000 acre Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, preserved and protected as a result of the Quakers' foresight. The forest is home to a myriad of plants, insects and over 400 species of birds - a birdwatcher's paradise. The park authorities control the number of hikers on the forest trails to minimise the impact of visitors, which may affect the direction, routes taken and start times of walks within the reserve.

  12. Day 12

    We depart for Manuel Antonio National Park (2 nights), on the Pacific coast, with a cruise on the Tarcoles River en route. The cruise offers excellent viewing of the crocodiles that live here, the mangrove swamps and the birdlife.

  13. Day 13

    We spend the day in Manuel Antonio National Park, the smallest and possibly the most beautiful in the park system, and take the opportunity to enjoy the diverse wildlife and the tropical white sand beaches. The 'Third Beach' (or Gemelas Beach) is almost exactly how you imagine a tropical beach should look.

  14. Day 14

    We have some free time to relax on the beach and stroll in the local area before our transfer to San Jose. The new road from the Pacific Coast back to the capital has improved the journey making it considerably more comfortable than it was before construction.

  15. Day 15

    After breakfast we have a walking tour of San Jose city with a local guide. We will pass the Gold Museum, National Theatre and handicrafts market. Entrance are not included but there will be plenty of time to go back and visit any attractions you might choose. Later we transfer to the airport for our flight home.

  16. Day 16

    Arrive UK.

Travel Details

  • Flights: Gatwick-San José, British Airways.
  • Arrival transfer by road (c20mins).
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Celeste Mountain Lodge

An accommodation list confirming hotels will be sent to you with your air tickets, but a hotel we definitely use, and a highlight of the tour is the Celeste Mountain Lodge. The Lodge is a beautifully designed and unique eco hotel run by friendly and knowledgeable owners. There are amazing views from its hillside perch over a valley of rainforest, and the Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes. The lodge embraces responsible tourism and has respect for the incredible environment and biodiversity of the surrounding jungle. It has its own 2km jungle trail and is surrounded by protected rainforest, with the chance to spot passing wildlife a real possibility. The interior design is contemporary and innovative, yet with rustic touches, with many glass windows and spaces to allow the light and outdoors to become part of the experience. Very well reviewed gourmet standard food is served in the restaurant, where we take breakfast and dinners. It is called Tico Fusion Cuisine, where French gourmet techniques are applied to dishes inspired by traditional Costa Rican recipes made from fresh local produce. All bright and clean rooms face the same way to take advantage of the magnificent views and come with en-suite facilities. The hotel comes with free Wi-Fi throughout.

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