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Walking & Wildlife in Costa Rica

from £3399
  • Product Code 45750
  • Holiday Type Sightseeing And Walking Holidays, Rich In Wildlife Holidays, New Holidays
  • Grade

    Grades 1, 2 & 3 - Leisurely grades

    Grades 4, 5 & 6 - Moderate grades

    Grades 7, 8 & 9 - Challenging grades

    Grade 4
  • Holiday Duration 14 Nights

From the Costa Rican capital San José, we head to Sarapiquí. Our private tour leads us across the famous Selva Verde hanging bridge, through some of the best-preserved rainforest of Costa Rica and into an ecosystem supporting many bird species.

From there we travel to Tortuguero National Park by boat along the snaking canals. Here we may encounter turtles, monkeys, sloths and an array of fascinating birds such as the beautiful toucan.

Next we reach Rancho Naturalista, one of the finest birding resorts in Central America. Our final two centres are located on the Pacific coast. We enjoy beautiful beaches and an amazing variety of wildlife from the crocodiles on Tarcoles River, to the macaws in Carara National Park.

Costa Rica’s wildlife is stunningly diverse and accessible to all. 

 

Holiday Highlights

  • Turtle spotting opportunities in Tortuguero National Park.
  • Superlative birding at Rancho Naturalista.
  • Visit stunning Ballena Marina National Park covering land and sea.
  • Look out for the Scarlet Macaw in Carara National Park.
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 in the hotel or local restaurants 
      Twelve lunches 
      English speaking local guide throughout 
      All entrance fees 
      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 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.

This departure: Grade SS/4

  1. Day 1

    Arrive at San Jose's Juan Santamaría International Airport. After passing through Immigration you will be met by a representative who will give you an introductory briefing about Costa Rica, and then you will be transfer to your first hotel's destination.

  2. Day 2

    Today morning your private guide and driver will meet the group in order to start todays journey to your first destination: Sarapiqui. On the way, you will stop for some birding in the area of Cinchona and lunch. In the evening you can explore the gardens of the lodge looking for nocturnal species.

  3. Day 3

    Today you will have a birding experience at following research station. La Selva Biological Station run by the Organization for Tropical Studies is a primary destination for several universities research around the World, thanks to its massive diversity, the varied heights and consequential different climates and ecosystems. Start exploring the access road to the station until you get to the reception area to be ready for the guided walk in the early morning. As part of the stations regulations one of their resident guides will accompany you, and of course your private group guide will go with you too. Afterwards return to the lodge and enjoy some time at the pool or relaxing at your room before lunch. In the afternoon we have a private hike at Selva Verde Lodges Private Reserve. This is a great opportunity to live the wonder of the rainforest at its best. As you start the tour you will go across the famous Selva Verde hanging bridge and into the 500 acre private reserve where one of the most beautiful and popular rainforests of Costa Rica. A life system that holds several different species of mammals, hundreds of bird species and dozens of frog species. You may get to see white faced and howler monkeys, two or three species of poison dart frogs and birds like mot-mots and toucans. The dinner takes place at the hotel.

  4. Day 4

    After breakfast you check out of Selva Verde and travel to the area of Siquirres. Your journey will then continue, traversing a road between large banana plantations (you may have the chance to witness the banana packing process along the way), until you reach La Pavona (or Cano Blanco) river dock. The boat departs approximately at 11 am, taking you on a journey down La Suerte River and the local canals. The route makes for great wildlife spotting opportunities. You will arrive at Laguna Lodge between 12:30 pm and 1 pm, where a welcome cocktail and a refreshing wet towel will be waiting for you. During the afternoon, you will enjoy your first tour. You will participate in a guided visit to Tortuguero town, where you will be given a glimpse of the way of life of the local inhabitants and witness some of the daily activities of the town. Afterwards, we have some free time to do some exploring on your own

  5. Day 5

    This day starts with the Awakening Tour. During this tour, you will participate in a boat outing first thing in the morning. From Laguna Lodge, you will head to the docks and take a boat ride through Tortugueros canals. These north to south waterways were engineered to connect the meandering rivers and the lagoons of the area. The canals are teeming with fauna and early morning is the perfect time for wildlife spotting, especially bird watching. This tour includes transportation and guide. Once you are back at the lodge you may enjoy a healthy breakfast buffet served in the restaurant by the river, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Afterwards, we will go on a guided tour of Tortuguero National Parks canals. During this tour, you will be able to witness and enjoy the exuberance of the tropical rainforest. The park is one of the most important nesting sites of Chelonia Midas, the green sea turtle, whereas its forests and waterways are home to endangered mammals such as sloths, monkeys, agoutis, coatis, and manatees. It also boasts abundant bird species, such as toucans, trogons, egrets, herons, and anhingas. Additionally, it is home to crocodiles, turtles, and countless colorful butterflies, including the blue morpho. This tour makes for splendid wildlife spotting opportunities. You will return to Laguna Lodge lunch. In the afternoon, you will be taken on a guided visit to the hotels Botanical Garden. At Laguna Lodge, you can also enjoy the exclusive use of the hotels facilities; these include a frog garden, a botanical garden, swimming pool, bars, and the different areas of the hotel. Also, you can enjoy walks on the nearby beautiful Caribbean beach and witness the green turtles nesting season (from June to October), a huge attraction that brings tourists from all around the world to these shores.

  6. Day 6

    After breakfast, you will head back to Siquirres, leaving by boat approximately at 9:30 am. You will reach the shipping port around 11:00 am, where the bus will be waiting. Lunch will be provided at Selva Tropical Restaurant, which will be the meeting point with your private coach. After lunch you will continue your journey and you will arrive to Turrialba in the afternoon.

  7. Day 7

    Rancho Naturalista is famous for its warm, relaxed, friendly atmosphere, brilliant birding and delicious food served with the best fresh local ingredients. You will have the opportunity to enjoy all of this today- Meals are served family style where guests share stories of their day on the trail. Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in its private forest reserve and within the local area. Some of the specialty birds you may look for include the Snowcap hummingbird, the hite-crowned Manakin, and White-throated Flycatcher, among others.

  8. Day 8

    After breakfast, get ready to depart for your next destination in the Savegre Valley. Enjoy the scenic drive as you go from the lowlands of Turrialba up to the Cerro de la Muerte mountains, and then descend to San Gerardo, with birding opportunities along the way. You will stop at a local restaurant for lunch.

  9. Day 9

    Bird watching is one of the fastest growing pastimes, acquiring more and more enthusiasts worldwide. The neighbour Hotel Savegre offers superlative birding in its private reserve, so much so that San Gerardo de Dota is mentioned in the book: Fifty Places to Go Birding Before You Die. Morning birdsong heralds the start of an unforgettable experience in the cloud forest. The local bird list has more than 170 species, some endemic in the area. Along the trails, you will be able to find the most elusive and hard-to-spot species, real trophies for birders who want to increase their life list. Return to your hotel for lunch and explore the surroundings in the afternoon.

  10. Day 10

    During the morning, get ready to depart for your next destination on the coast. You will stop for lunch
    along the way. Free afternoon to enjoy the hotels facilities.

  11. Day 11

    Ballena Marine National Park covers both land (109ha/270acres) and sea (5382ha/13300acres). It is located in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica, approximately 230kms/143miles from San Jose (around a 4 hour drive). Established in 1990, it protects the largest coral reef in Central Americas Pacific coast. As its name indicates, its waters are the ideal place to view migrating humpback whales (from December to April) that come from as far as Alaska and Hawaii. With around 14.5kms/9miles of coastline, the park also serves as a nesting site for endangered Olive Ridley and hawksbill sea turtles from May through November. The beaches of the park are rarely visited and are blissfully empty of crowds. A network of crescent-shaped reefs and scattered rocky islands (called Las Tres Hermanas – the Three Sisters) form shoals that protect the parks beaches. They provide shelter from large ocean swells and dangerous surf, making them safe to swim in. During low tide, visitors who stop by Uvita Beach can walk out unto one of the parks most famous features: The Whales Tail. This is a famous reef and rock formation (connected to the mainland by a sand bar) that takes the shape of its name. The park has four beach entrances: Uvita Beach, Playa Colonia, Ballena Beach, and Pinuelas Beach. Toilets and picnic facilities can be found at each ranger station.

  12. Day 12

    Continuing on the program, you will head now to the Central Pacific area, where one of the main natural sites and attractions in the Carara National Park. Enjoy lunch along the way.

  13. Day 13

    The best time to visit Carara is during the early morning, time that offers the best opportunities for wildlife spotting. So be ready for an early start today! There are several hiking trails that make their way through Carara National Park, perfect for exploring the natural landscape. The park is relatively flat, so the trails make for some easy hiking.
    Laguna Meandrica trail (4kms/2.5miles) – this trail begins to the west of the main park entrance. It meanders through secondary rainforest, passing lagoons and marshlands. This trail makes for some of Carara’s best wildlife spotting. Araceas trail (1.2kms/0.75miles) – this trail travels parallel to a creek and winds its way through primary rainforest. Quebrada Bonita trail (1.3kms/0.85miles) – this hike traverses dry transitional forest and makes its way through the densest part of Carara’s primary forest that can be accessed by hikers. Universal Access trail (1.2kms/0.8miles) – this is a paved path that traverses secondary forest and a section of old growth forest. It is accessible for the physically disabled and the elderly. After your visit to Carara, you will go to Hacienda Nosavar property, located close to the Tarcoles river, where you will enjoy lunch, followed by a boat tour. Located on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Estuary of Guacalillo and the Tarcoles River offer the opportunity to observe one of the largest populations of crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) in America. You will also discover the mangrove forest, a habitat with a high percentage of biodiversity. Among the animals you can spot you will find a large number of waterfowl as well as the scarlet macaw (this is one of the most important conservation areas in the country for this bird). Boats have capacity for up to 25 people and will take you for a ride through the extensive mangrove ecosystem. It harbours four different mangrove species, all of them an important nesting ground for numerous bird species. Simultaneously, the mangrove forest provides shelter and nutrients for many fish and invertebrates; it also serves as a nursery for many species of fish. The Tarcoles River is one of the most important feeding sites for resident and migratory birds in the country; it is also an important meeting place for mating and it provides shelter not only for birds but for mammal and reptile species as well. This tour includes: boat tour, fruit snacks, and bottled water; beer, soft drinks or cocktails are available. The main objective of this tour is to immerse our visitors in the tranquillity of the surrounding environment and for them to achieve harmony with nature. Take a chance to leave the stress of your daily life behind and enjoy some serenity along with your family and friends.

  14. Day 14

    At a convenient time, according to the groups departure flight, you will be transferred to the international airport. Please remember that check in for international flights, is required 3 hours prior the flight departure time.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Gatwick to San José (British Airways) 
  • Airport transfers by road c.45mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights Premium Economy, Business or First Class and most low-cost carriers have extra legroom seats. 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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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Heredia (1), Sarapiquí (2), Tortuguero (2), Turrialba (2), San Gerardo de Dota (2), Dominical (2), Carara (2), Overnight flight (1). We stay in charming, comfortable hotels and lodges throughout.