Using specialist naturalist guides and charming small-scale accommodation
San José - 2 nights
Tortuguero - 2 nights
Sarapiqui - 2 nights
Arenal - 2 night
Monteverde - 2 nights
Carara area - 1 night
Flight - 1 night
Imaginings with regard to what the Garden of Eden might have been like generally describe a tropical abundance of brightly coloured fruits and flowers set against a lush and varied backdrop of vigorously thriving greenery. Populating this paradise, the most noticeable presence would probably be a chorusing panoply of brightly coloured birds feeding on the fruits and flowers. The friendliest of primates, monkeys, would play in the forest canopy and a closer inspection of the undergrowth would reveal a lively, surprising and delightful diversity of flora and fauna. Little in mankind’s garden of recreation would be of menace (apart from the snake) and reciprocally mankind would nourish and protect it.
Costa Rica is a kaleidoscope of vivid natural colour and corresponds more closely to the above description than any other country in the Americas. Offering for example over 2,000 species of orchid, more than 850 species of birds, thousands of species of butterflies and a scenic diversity comprising volcanoes, rainforests, cloud forests, plantations, farmlands and Atlantic and Pacific coasts, it is also a country which has legally protected over a quarter of its countryside, has disbanded its armed forces and enjoys a 95% literacy rate. For a more comprehensive tour of this fascinating country see our 'Grand Tour of Costa Rica'.
Cultural & Wildlife
Jules Verne Sightseeing
Local Guide Throughout
Group Size: 5 – 18
Day 1 Fly from your chosen airport to San José. Transfer to the Aurola Holiday Inn for a two-night stay.
Day 2 Early morning departure for the Savegre Natural Reserve, home to 170 bird species of which some are endemic to the area. The strikingly coloured Quetzal is often found in the reserve as well as the Flame-coloured Tanager. (B, L)
Day 3 Drive to the Atlantic coast via the Braulio Carrillo National Park. By boat to the Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero for two nights. Visit the Turtle Museum. (B, L, D)
Day 4 A boat tour exploring the Amazonesque channels surrounding the Tortuguero Lagoon. Afternoon at leisure. Tortuguero cruise. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Transfer by boat to Caño Blanco or La Pavona and continue by road, to Selva Verde Lodge or similar for a two-night stay. Evening talk by your naturalist guide. (B, L)
Day 6 A morning walk through the intriguing La Selva Nature Reserve with a resident naturalist guide. The reserve is home to nearly half of the 850 species of birds in Costa Rica as well as monkeys, peccaries, agoutis and coatis. Afternoon at leisure. Enjoy a cookery class. (B)
Day 7 Morning bird watching in Sarapiqui, birds include the Black-mandibled Toucan and Green Ibis. Continue to Arenal to bathe in the hot springs at Ecotermales La Fortuna. Overnight at Hotel Volcano Lodge or similar with an included dinner. (B, D)
Day 8 Explore the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Birds that can be seen include the Passerini's Tanager, Slaty-tailed Trogon and Rufous Motmot. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Day 9 Continue to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (3 hrs) with a stop at a canopy walkway. Spend two nights at the Poco a Poco hotel. (B)
Day 10 A guided walk explores the trails of the reserve and a tour of walkways and bridges built high in the cloud forest canopy. Later, a night walk in the grounds of the lower altitude of the Bosque Eterno de Los Niños. (B)
Day 11 Depart Monteverde (3 hrs) and take a crocodile safari boat tour for the last chance to spot over 100 species of bird, amongst other wildlife. Overnight in Macaw Lodge or similar. (B)
Day 12 Travel to San José for the return flight to London. (B)
Day 13 Arrive London in the morning.
This is a full itinerary with some uneven surfaces.
A mirrored tower 4-star hotel with views of the Central Valley and WiFi (free). 200 air-conditioned rooms with mini bar, safe, hairdryer, coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
The lodge is located in an ideal position, just a 5 minute boat ride from the entrance of Tortuguero National Park. Restaurant, pool, WiFi (chargeable) and 55 rooms with fans.
Located near the Sarapiqui River in the Costa Rican rainforest, this simple 3-star lodge offers 40 rooms with private facilities, hairdyer and fan.
A 3-star hotel at the foot of Arenal Volcano, admist tropical gardens with restaurant, bar, pool, WiFi (free). 62 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
Situated in the mountains of Monteverde. Spa, pool and WiFi (free). 30 rooms with hairdryer, coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
An authentic eco haven with an abundance of bird life, in the hills of Cerros de Turrubares and situated near to Carara National Park. Restaurant, gardens, lounge and WiFi (free). 12 rooms with fans.
The hotels and lodges are 'eco-friendly'. Whilst precise definition will vary from property to property, it generally implies a scenic setting, environmentally sensitive architecture and operation, an active involvement in schemes to protect and regenerate Costa Rica's indigenous fauna and a desire on the part of an establishment's management to facilitate in some way its guests' enjoyment and appreciation of Costa Rica's superb natural world heritage. Our local agent has been awarded the prestigious Costa Rican Sustainable Tourism certificate and has recently been upgraded to the highest level, 'five leaves'. On occasion hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.
Manuel Antonio Extension
Stay three nights with breakfast in sea view rooms at the stunningly located and beautifully decorated 4-star Hotel Parador or Si Como No Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park combining idyllic white sand beaches with wonderful wildlife.
Day 1 Transfer to the 4-star Hotel Parador or Si Como No Hotel in Manuel Antonio for three nights. (B)
Day 2 At leisure. (B)
Day 3 At leisure. (B)
Day 4 Return Flight. (B)
A stay at the Manuel Antonio National Park combines idyllic white sand beaches with wonderful wildlife. The 4-star hotel is stunningly located and beautifully decorated with restaurants, bar, pools, gym, spa and WiFi (free). 130 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, minibar, coffee making facilities and satellite TV. A complimentary shuttle service operates between the Parador, the nature reserve and nearby beaches.
A charming 4-star hotel set in the jungle of Manuel Antonio National Park and close to the beach. Restaurant, bar, pool and WiFi (free). 58 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
per person in a twin/double room
British Airways from Gatwick
Supplements per person
Single supplement £485
British Airways World Traveller Plus from £595
British Airways Club World from £2275
Extension - Manuel Antonio
3 nights £625
Single supplement £415
Extra nights - San Jose
Aurola Holiday Inn
(per night) £55
Single supplement £55
Add £995 per person
Arrival transfer add £25
Departure transfer with group included
Air travel and UK departure taxes, transfers, 11 nights' accommodation in 3 or 4-star hotels and lodges, breakfast daily, 3 lunches and 3 dinners, itinerary as described, services of a naturalist guide and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, overseas departure taxes, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
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