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Costa Rica Wildlife Discovery

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On this wildlife-focused holiday you explore the Caribbean jungle channels and mangrove forests of the Tortuguero reserve; bathe in naturally heated thermal springs in the shadow of the picture-perfect Arenal volcano, and cruise through wetlands sheltering thousands of migrating birds. Head on to explore the little-visited but bird-prolific Bosque de Paz cloud forest reserve. Finally, move on to the Pacific coast and another wildlife experience at a jungle lodge on the remote Osa Peninsula.

Costa Rica is one of the most rewarding countries in the world for wildlife observation, with a long and impressive history of conservation and eco-tourism allowing species to flourish. The comprehensive network of national parks with their extensive trails is always very accessible. The compact country is bursting with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna, and this private wildlife observation journey gives you all the opportunity to explore its national parks in various eco-systems.


Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in San José and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2

Drive and boat to Tortuguero Jungle Reserve.

Day 3

Wildlife spotting excursion and village visit in Tortuguero.

Day 4

At leisure.

Day 5

Fly and drive to Arenal volcano area.

Day 6

Guided wildlife spotting expedition.

Day 7

Guided excursion to the Ecotermales hot springs.

Day 8

Transfer to Bajos del Toro.

Day 9

Optional guided tour of a nature reserve.

Day 10

At leisure with optional jungle walks.

Day 11

Transfer to airstrip and fly to the Pacific coast’s Osa Peninsula, transfer to lodge.

Day 12

Snorkelling expedition; whale and dolphin watching in season.

Day 13

Wildlife-spotting hike in Corcovado National Park.

Day 14

Transfer to airstrip and fly to San José.

Day 15

Transfer to airport for international flight home.

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What our experts say

With Costa Rica being the eco-friendly, wildlife heaven that it is, we wanted to create a holiday that showcased the country’s amazing creatures and landscapes. I love this trip for its diversity: from bird-watching in cloud forest and wetlands to jungle walks and dolphin-watching on the Pacific coast, this trip has got it all!

Lina

Lina Fuller

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Costa Rica Wildlife Discovery

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Caribbean coast
Costa Rica Caribbean Coast
Eastwards from San José and the coffee-growing highlands sprawl the banana plantations of the sultry coastal plains fronting the Caribbean Sea. Long isolated from the rest of the Latin-influenced country, this region has a predominately English-speaking, Afro-Caribbean culture: a very informal, relaxed atmosphere pervades. Here there are exquisite volcanic beaches at Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. 

Accessible only by boat is the partly submerged Tortuguero National Park, with its network of canals, lagoons and swamps defined by a profusion of tangled tropical vegetation. It’s alive with several species of monkey, iguanas, sloths, river otters, poison dart frogs and hundreds of species of birds.

When's the best time to visit Costa Rica's Caribbean coast?

It’s hot all year round (often over 30°C). It rains here on and off all year round, with drier periods in Feb - Mar and Aug - Oct. Turtle watching season at Tortuguero is Mar - Oct. 

What's the official language of Costa Rica's Caribbean coast?

Spanish, English.

How do I get local currency in Costa Rica's Caribbean coast?
Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. There are ATMs in Limón but not elsewhere along the coast.
What's the time difference between Costa Rica's Caribbean coast and UK?

GMT -5 hours.

What places combine well with Costa Rica's Caribbean coast?
Arenal, in the north, the most spectacular volcano; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for excellent bird-watching. Costa Rica is a tiny country so road journeys, even winding ones through the highlands, are relatively short. Some roads are in good condition while others require 4WD vehicles. 
How do I get to Costa Rica's Caribbean coast?

There are light aircraft flights to Tortuguero from San José. Otherwise travel is by road (and boat to Tortuguero); and along Highway 32 to Limón on the Caribbean coast, 115 km. 

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Arenal and the north
Arenal Volcano
The pleasingly conical volcano Arenal rises from a skirt of thick forest and the waters of Lake Arenal. Once famous for its eruptions of molten lava, it erupts infrequently nowadays (nothing since 2010) The landscape here is ruggedly beautiful and comprises one of Costa Rica’s many conservation areas, protecting a territory of amazing biodiversity which contains half the known species of birds, mammals and reptiles in the country. It is also popular among adventure-activities enthusiasts, and visits are serviced in the formerly dozy town of La Fortuna. Cloud forest, waterfalls, caves and thermal pools – this is a diverse and captivating region.
When's the best time to visit Arenal?

If good weather is your priority, choose the dry season Dec - Apr when there is plenty of sun. The green (i.e. rainy) season is quieter in terms of number of visitors. La Fortuna, at 1,150m, has a pleasant climate with temperatures averaging 15-25°C.

What's the official language of Arenal?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Arenal?

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in La Fortuna using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. If you are not going to the town of La Fortuna, bring your cash with you from San José.

What's the time difference between Arenal and UK?

GMT -5 hours.  

What places combine with Arenal?

A beach wind-down at Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast, or Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula: each 5hrs by road; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for excellent bird watching, 3 hours by boat and bumpy road. Costa Rica is a tiny country so road journeys, even winding ones through the highlands, are relatively short. Some roads are in good condition while others require 4WD vehicles.

How do I get to Arenal?

Fly by light aircraft from San José or travel by road from the capital, 3.5 hours.

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San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Central San José
Costa Rica’s busy capital, San José, is a city on the move, where the choking traffic and crowds are mitigated by the eager friendliness of the people. There are some good museums and excellent restaurants but no colonial core: it’s a modern place, full of offices, North American style bars and malls - many US citizens visit or are resident in the country and their cultural influence is strong. The landscapes around however are delicious, both in the rolling coffee country of the highlands and in the fertile central valley, watched over by the smouldering Poás and Irazú volcanoes.
When's the best time to go to San Jose and central highlands?

If good weather is your priority, choose the dry season Dec - Apr when there is plenty of sun. The green (i.e. rainy) season is quieter in terms of number of visitors. San José, at 1,150m, has a pleasant climate with temperatures averaging 15-25°C.

What's the official language of San Jose and central highlands?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in San Jose and central highlands?

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too.

What's the time difference between San Jose and central highlands?

GMT -5 hours.

What places combine well with San Jose and central highlands?

A visit to the Caribbean or Pacific coasts for a beach wind down; Arenal, in the north, the most spectacular volcano; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for excellent bird watching. There are light aircraft flights from San José airport to many destinations. Costa Rica is a tiny country so road journeys, even winding ones through the highlands, are relatively short. Some roads are in good condition while others are poor and  require 4WD vehicles

How do I get to San Jose and central highlands?

There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to San José (11 hrs) as well as non-direct flights via US and European hubs.

What are the cultural events in San Jose and central highlands?
International Arts Festival: San José, Mar. Music, dance, film art exhibitions.
Independence Day: San José, 15 Sep. music and dancing in the streets starting the evening before.
El Tope: San José, 26 Dec. A horse parade through the city is followed by fairs, fireworks and bull-running south of the city.

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Osa Peninsula
Osa Peninsula
At the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, the Osa Peninsula’s rainforest vegetation contrasts with the open pastures of the northern Nicoya Peninsula. Here, in a remote region not easy to navigate in the wet season, there are opportunities for outdoor adventure and getting enveloped by nature. Wildlife reserves have been established throughout this lush region, notably Corcovado National Park, with magnificent biodiversity, sheltering rare species of mammals including the Central American squirrel monkey, white-faced capuchins, ocelots and tapirs. Caimans and crocodiles lurk watchful in the dark lagoons; a rare harpy eagle may circle overhead.
When's the best time to visit Osa Peninsula?

If good weather is your priority, choose the dry season Dec-Apr when there is plenty of sun. The green (i.e. rainy) season is quieter in terms of number of visitors. It’s hot and humid all year round.

What's the official language of Osa Peninsula?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Osa Peninsula?
Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in San José using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. Stock up with your local currency needs before travelling to the Osa Peninsula.
What's the time difference between Osa Peninsula and UK?

GMT -5 hours.

What places combine well with Osa Peninsula?

Arenal, in the north, the most spectacular volcano; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for excellent bird watching; Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast for wildlife and turtle watching. Costa Rica is a tiny country so road journeys, even winding ones through the highlands, are relatively short. Some roads are in good condition while others require 4WD vehicles.

How do I get to Osa Peninsula?

By light aircraft from San José to Palmar Sur. By road along the Pan-American Highway to Puerto Jiménez. From Puerto Jiménez there is an air taxi service to Carate and San Pedrillo.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

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Costa Rica Wildlife Discovery

15 days from £3,841pp

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