The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Exploring the rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls and wildlife of Costa Rica, a country so blessed with nature and wildlife.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 45700
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain. Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.
Costa Rica is an enlightened natural paradise. More than a quarter of the country’s landscape is protected, and a variety of distinct climatic zones caused by high mountains separate its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. We have developed this holiday over twenty years to encapsulate the country’s diverse natural ecosystems perfectly. Steamy jungle, mysterious cloud forest, the white-sand beaches of the Pacific & Caribbean coasts, volcanoes and thermal areas, mangrove swamps, waterfalls, coffee plantations, lazy rivers… this is an itinerary which has it all.
The highly trained and knowledgeable local guides we have worked with through the years always receive rave reviews. They help us spot and enjoy the endless array of exotic birds and wildlife… white faced Capuchin Monkeys, the Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds, sloths, caiman & crocodiles and Scarlet Macaws. With walks taking us further into Costa Rica’s natural riches than most visitors to the country have the opportunity to do, we will of course see more.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, 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.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We fly direct from London to Costa Rica. On arrival in San Jose in Costa Rica’s high central meseta, 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.
Transfer Time = 30 minutes
We have a morning's drive down to the east coast at Cahuita where we stay for two nights. This is a laid-back Caribbean town more like Barbados than the other places we will visit; the perfect place to unwind and relax. In the afternoon we will stroll around town to soak up the atmosphere with our guide.
Today we walk in the Cahuita National Park through lush rain forest and along tropical white sand beaches – this is scenery straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean. Listen out for Howler monkeys, as well as spotting white capuchins. Watch out for sloths and toucans in the treetops and on the water ibis, herons and kingfishers. Our sharp-eyed guide should be able to spot a variety of tropical frogs, spiders and insects. There are two rivers to cross on the way, one shallow and one often knee deep, so be prepared to take your boots off. Later in the day there will be free time to take a dip in the Caribbean.
After breakfast, we depart to Sarapiqui, where we stay for one night, in the heart of the former chocolate growing area. The cacao tree, from which the raw material for chocolate comes, is a rainforest tree. We walk into Sarapiqui’s classic rainforest to a former cacao-tree plantation. During the tour you will learn the natural and cultural history of the cacao tree and the secrets of transforming cacao fruit into chocolate.
Don’t be surprised if a collared Aracari (a small toucan) provides breakfast entertainment. Our hotel sets up a feeding table which this and many other exotic birds visit. Today’s tropical adventure starts with a hike in the forest of La Selva Biological Station. This is one of the world’s most important sites for tropical ecosystem research, holding over 450 bird species and 70 species of bats. Later in the day, we head northwest through the Central Tableland into coffee plantation country. After various stops during which we should see tree dwelling iguanas, we arrive at La Fortuna, spectacularly situated under the imposing silhouette of Arenal volcano. La Fortuna is an excellent place to shop for brightly coloured ethnic artifacts.
This morning we walk on the slopes of Arenal. The volcano has only recently become dormant and signs of volcanic activity are everywhere. We walk up to the edge of lava fields with plenty of stops to learn about the flora and fauna from our local guide. The walk takes about 2 ½ hours. In the afternoon we transfer to Tres Rios by the Rio Celeste. On arrival at our hotel at Rio Celeste (2nts) we can take time to relax in these peaceful surroundings.
The Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s natural highlights. Natural mineral deposits give the river a bright turquoise colour, made only more spectacular as it runs through lush green vegetation. We walk to a beautiful waterfall and also to where the turquoise waters meet clear river water. Later we enjoy a stroll through the extensive hotel grounds’ beautiful primary forest to enjoy the ambience.
Today we continue northwest to Rincón de la Vieja passing more volcanic scenery en route. We stop in Liberia for lunch to get a taste of an authentic Costa Rican colonial town. Early afternoon finds us at our hotel. The Cañon de la Vieja where we normally stay is the perfect place for a free afternoon. It has the best swimming pool of the holiday, a spa, a suspension bridge and offers various activities.
This morning we walk the Las Pailas Trail visiting assorted volcanic activity areas of steaming sulphuric hot rocks and bubbling mud pools. The terrain undulates with various streams to cross and some muddy sections. The walk takes about 2 ½ hours. In the afternoon we visit Santa Rosa National Park on the Pacific Coast which contains some of the last remaining tropical dry forest in the world, home to spider monkeys.
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. An amazing 50% of the county’s flora and fauna can be found here.
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. During the afternoon we can enjoy a coffee tour. It includes an overview of the history of Costa Rican coffee and its importance in the development of the country. During the tour, we will learn about other aspects of Costa Rican culture and its traditions.
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 crocodiles, hawk-like caracaras and osprey as well as the mangrove swamps.
We spend the day in Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific Coast, 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. There are kingfishers, five species of monkey and iguanas amongst many other creatures in this Garden of Eden. The 'Third (or Gemelas) Beach' with its coconut palms and white sands is almost exactly how you imagine a tropical beach should look.
Please note, during the Christmas and New Year period the Manuel Antonio National Park is a popular destination for locals on holiday and is likely to be busier than normal.
We have some free time to relax on the beach and stroll in the local area before our transfer to San Jose. On the way back to San Jose we will stop off at a nesting site for Scarlet Macaws. We will arrive back in the capital later in the day.
After breakfast, we have a walking tour of San Jose city with a local guide. We pass the Gold Museum, National Theatre and Jade Museum. Entrance fees are not included but there will be plenty of time to go back and visit any attractions you might choose. We have also the opportunity to visit the foster home Ramblers Walking Holidays supports as part of our “Heart and Sole“ charity project. The visit is entirely optional. Later we transfer to the airport for our flight home.
Departure dates for your selected tour
23rd Sep 2021 - 8th Oct 2021 (15 Nights)
9th Nov 2021 - 24th Nov 2021 (15 Nights)
21st Dec 2021 - 5th Jan 2022 (15 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Radisson San Jose-Costa Rica is centrally located in San Jose. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Gold Museum and Mercado Central. Rooms are air-conditioned with refrigerators, free Wi-Fi. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. The hotel has an outdoor and indoor pool.
The perfect place to capture the peaceful Caribbean atmosphere, Atlántida Lodge is a wonderful place to experience Costa Rica. It has an amazing pool, restaurant “El Tucan” and tropical gardens surrounded by a forest. Facilities include bar, restaurant, frog observation centre, pool and massage room.
Selva Verde is more than a lodge and more than a rainforest reserve. It is your gateway into a magical world of towering Almendro trees, Mantled Howler Monkeys, and Keel Billed Toucans. Immerse yourself in tropical nature as you hike through deep green forest or reflect quietly in a comfortable hammock. The abundant biodiversity, comfortable rainforest lodge, and exciting activities are ideal for wildlife seekers. Amenities include dining, bar and a refreshing pool.
With spectacular views of Arenal Volcano, Arenal Montechiari offers cottages set in tropical gardens. Located 450 yards from La Fortuna’s central park and church, it offers an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi in the reception. Spacious, air-conditioned wooden cottages feature tiled floors and cable TV. They have a work desk and fridge. The private bathroom comes with a shower and toiletries.
The Celeste Mountain Lodge is a beautifully designed hotel offering views over a valley of rainforest, and the Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes. The bright and clean rooms take advantage of the magnificent views and come with en-suite facilities. The hotel comes with free Wi-Fi throughout.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, Canon De La Vieja Lodge offers easy access to the natural beauties of the area. The hotel offers rooms with a small front terrace, air conditioning, private bathroom, hot water and amenities.
Hotel de Montaña Monteverde is located in Monteverde, Costa Rica, offers free Wi-Fi access (limited to the lobby and restaurant). The rooms offers tiled floors, wooden furniture and garden views.
Set in tropical gardens, the Karahe Hotel is a 1-minute walk from beach on the Pacific Ocean. Airy rooms and villas have minifridges, flat-screen TVs, safes and free Wi-Fi, plus balconies or terraces with garden or beach views. An outdoor pool is set on a terrace with sunloungers. There's also an informal restaurant.
Located in the centre of San José, Hotel Balmoral offers modern rooms with air conditioning. It features a 24-hour reception, free Wi-Fi, a gym and a restaurant. Each bright, modern room at Hotel Balmoral has simple, attractive décor. There is cable TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries.
This is a Grade 4 holiday which mixes active sightseeing and nature watching with countryside walks. The climate is warm and humid so we will always walk at a gentle pace. Walks are accompanied by our RWH Travel tour guide and our Costa Rican national guide so there is some flexibility in arrangements. Please see the Itinerary section for more information on these walks.
There is a reasonable amount of travelling on the holiday, and the programme usually consists of a mixture of half-day walks in diverse landscapes and sightseeing activities to give you a full flavour of the country.
Walks will usually proceed at a pace to allow you to observe the local wildlife – of which there is a lot to be seen (you’ll find yourself scanning the trees and understorey as a matter of habit after a very short time!).
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Costa Rica
Colon (plural: Colones). US Dollars are also widely accepted .
ATMs are available in most towns and cities and are the most convenient way to obtain cash. It is however advisable to carry a small supply of US Dollars for emergencies. Currency can also generally be exchanged in hotels. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica.
Mobile phones on most networks should work in most places in Costa Rica. Please be aware that making credit card telephone calls from Costa Rica can be extremely expensive.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
Flights from London Gatwick and San Jose and return with British Airways.
Travel in Costa Rica is by road. Due to the terrain and condition of many roads in Costa Rica, it may take longer than expected to cover distances.
The transfer from San Jose Airport to the hotel in San Jose takes about 30 - 40 mins depending on traffic.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Passport Information for Costa Rica
Passports should be valid for at least one day beyond the date you will be leaving Costa Rica.
You are required by law to carry your passport in Costa Rica.
British nationals don't need a visa to enter Costa Rica for visits of up to 3 months.
Entry to Costa Rica may be denied to persons of unkempt appearance.
If transiting the United States en route to or from Costa Rica you will also need to comply with the entry requirements for the US.
Breakfasts and dinners are provided and included in the holiday charge. Breakfasts will be taken in hotels and dinners either in hotels or in local restaurants. Lunches are taken in restaurants or as packed lunches.
Costa Rican specialities include the omnipresent Gallo Pinto (seasoned rice and black beans), and Casado (including Gallo Pinto, fried plantain, vegetables and meat). The meals are generally good, plentiful and interesting throughout the holiday. Some meals will consist of two courses rather than three (but are equally good and filling), and it's worth checking whether coffee is included in the meal before ordering as this varies between the various hotels and restaurants.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Country Specific Kit
Wildlife and scenery viewing experiences are always improved with binoculars. For seeing a bird in the treetops or picking out some detail on the horizon they are invaluable. If you have a pair, please bring them with you on your holiday. On some holidays it will be appropriate to have them with you all the time. Sometimes you might prefer to avoid carrying the extra weight. Your tour leader will always be happy to advise which days it will be particularly useful to take them.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Costa Rica
Electricity is supplied at 110 Volts at 60Hz. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a two pin North America style adaptor with flat pins. (Supplies in some places can be at 220V).
More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Costa Rica
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Costa Rica.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
Hepatitis A immunisation is recommended.
You might also like to consider immunisations against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Rabies.
There is a risk of Malaria in Costa Rica's Limon Province and a very low risk in other parts of the country.
A Yellow Fever immunisation certificate is required for travellers coming from areas with a risk of Yellow Fever transmission or who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in a country with a risk of Yellow Fever transmission.
Dengue fever, Zika virus and Chikungunya virus also exist in Costa Rica; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites. Seek pre-travel Zika virus advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel, particularly important if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Pack for a Purpose
Our trusted ground agent in Costa Rica holds environmental impact and sustainability very high on their agenda when operating holidays. Not only in nature but also with projects designed to assist the most vulnerable in their country. Camino Travel has partnered with Pack for a Purpose, an organisation that encourages travellers to use empty space in their luggage to take supplies to the communities they visit such as clothing, toiletries, reading books, and soft toys , which can make such a big difference to a local community.
Ramblers Walking Holidays staff led charity venture, Heart & Sole, provides our group leaders with funds to purchase items to support the Hogar Brotes del Olivo children's foster home, one of Camino Travel's community projects. In addition, you will have the opportunity to visit the project when you are in San Jose.
If you wish to use any spare space in your luggage, the foster home will be happy to receive donated items. Please see the Pack for a Purpose website at www.packforapurpose.org/destinations/central-america/costa-rica/camino-travel for a list of the most needed items. In addition, if you have reading books, jigsaws, baby toys etc you want to donate, they will be gratefully accepted.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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