Overview & Highlights
A Costa Rica wildlife and relaxation holiday with a difference: avoid the busy, commercialised places in favour of less visited, but equally beguiling spots with excellent small eco-lodges.
- Guided excursion in Carara National Park and Rio Tarcoles crocdile spotting
- Guided excursions and activities at Santa Juana Lodge
- Guided excursion to spot quetzals in San Gerardo de Dota forests
- Whale-watching at Uvita (depending on season)
For decades Costa Rica has been a leading light in conservation, and as a result over a quarter of its territory is given over to well managed national parks and private nature reserves. Many of the parks are popular and much visited, with many facilities of all kinds for tourists, all of which provides for a very different experience from the remote wilderness adventure that many wildlife enthusiasts are hoping for.
So for this holiday we have selected a few of our favourite parks and reserves which, although situated in stunning locations, don’t have the infrastructure to receive hoards of visitors. Among them are Carara National Park and the rugged hills and beaches close to Ojochal. Accommodation is in delightful rustic eco-lodges, usually small and family-run, which offer the opportunity to understand how real life is lived in these bucolic areas. Again, we’ve picked out the best. At these lodges you’ll have the opportunity to participate in optional or included activities, anything from crocodile spotting to coffee tours.
Transfer from the airport to your countryside lodge.
Guided discovery of the Carara National Park and crocodile spotting on Rio Tarcoles.
Transfer to Santa Juana Lodge inland from the Pacific coast.
Activities from the lodge.
Transfer to Trogon Lodge close to San Gerado de Dota.
Guided activities from the lodge.
Transfer to Ojochal area.
Activities from the lodge
Travel north up the coast to Dominical and Playa Uvita.
Free time on the beach or explore the area.
Transfer to San José.
Transfer to the airport for your international flight.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Santa Juana Lodge
Costa Rica / Savegre valley and Chirripo foothills
Costa Rica / Pacific coast
La Cusinga Ecolodge
Costa Rica / Pacific coast
Yaba Chigui Lodge
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
An amazing mix of experiences right from the start - sites/sights/sounds/climates/flora/fauna/city/country & so on!DR, Baldock
Crossing the first border from Panama to Costa Rica felt like being part of a film set as we trudged across an ancient bridge. Also in Ometepe we were swimming in the fresh water lake when a group of horses came cantering onto the beach and into the water for a drunk and swim!LR, Carteton
The Penguin tour was a great introduction to Chile, covering such a variety of landscapes and temperatures. Flying over the Andes was impressive. We were also surprised by the wildllife including condors, penguins, guanacos and flamingoes. All the local guides were excellent with superb local knowledge and the ability to make it enjoyable. Our tour leader fed in lots of interesting information as we travelled around.SY, Wetherby
On our fifth trip with JLA we have always found the organisation to be excellent and reliable. Its good to have knowledgeable tour leaders and to stay in individual style hotels where appropriate.CS, Lymington
So many highlights. Corcovado Mountain and the Cristo Redento statue in Rio was a truly spiritual experience. Bolivia as a whole completely exceeded our expectations. Machu Picchu is such an extraordinary sight - its location and setting are hard to comprehend.NH, Shrewsbury
"This was our third holiday with JLA and once again they did not disappoint."PP, Stafford
It was better than my wildest expectations, especially as value for money is very important for me and I saved 4 yrs for this trip it was worth every penny £ and $.JS, Malvern
'Untouched Aisen' is a tour which describes exactly what it is - a trip off the beaten track, away from people and exploring a truly wild and beautiful part of the world. It was my first visit to South America and a really memorable one.
The amazing scenery - every kilometre of the Carretera Austral, every turning, offers stunning views which never cease to surprise...I am impressed with the way it is possible to combine group tours with individual travel and with the flexibility available on the tours to meet individual needs. I find the whole booking experience from enquiry to final plans, very easy with great response from your office. The tour leaders are absolutely brilliant at what they do - I am in awe of their multiple skills!SC, Penryn
Most memorable experience - Sitting in the bar in Leon as the thunderstorm and wind developed and listening to the wild hand ringing of the church bell. Interesting and well informed guides talking about revolutions in Nicaragua. Trip around Lake Atitlan also made more interesting by knowledgeable guide.
A well balanced and organised trip, It gave an interesting insight into the historical, cultural, political and natural elements of the countries visited. Plus you got to stay in some great hotels.WA, Kingston
“Having previously travelled to Patagonia on a Classic tour we knew what the standards are and didn't consider anyone else. Our confidence was fully justified.”IJB, Birmingham
We had an amazing time in Colombia. The itinerary was fantastic, covering nearly everything we wanted to see. Our tour leader did a great job in making the tour run smoothly and contributing to our experience. I would thoroughly recommend Colombia and JLA.IR, London
"Dancing at Cafe Taberna in Havana; going to the ballet in Havana on our last night. Both occasions unforgettable. But there were other highlights such as swimming in the Banos de San Juan, outside Las Terrazas; eating at El Paraiso (near Vinales) whilst watching the sun set; staying at Las Terrazas; going for an amazing massage in Trinidad; the trip in a Vintage car whilst in Havana; learning about the history and politics of the country, most particularly the Revolution; reading Graham Greene's Our Man In Havana whilst sitting on a terrace watching a thunderstorm in Trinidad."KG, London
I would highly recommend this tour. The itinerary was very well chosen and we felt we saw as much as we could hope for in the time provided. The tour leader was highly professional and experienced, had excellent knowledge of the countries we visited and was available 24/7 for anything we needed. The local guides were excellent too and each gave us a special insight into the area we were visiting.MC, Australia
Overall, the holiday was excellent. As a single traveller, it was great that the group - a mixture of couples, pairs and singles got on very well together, which added to the enjoyment. The specialist guides were very good especially our guide at Cusco, Machu Picchu and Pisac.PW, Beaconsfield
This is the third year that we have travelled with JLA and each time it was very well organised from start to finish. We have had three brilliant trips.JH, Radstock
Most memorable experience? - Boat trip at Tortuguero. Watching a falcon catch and eat a snake! Seeing Honduran White tent-building bats roosting under a Heliconium leaf.ST, York
A superb holiday for those with an interest in wildlife and environment. It is intense, but this results in a highly rewarding experience. The whole holiday was greatly enhanced by having a single guide throughout, who had extensive local knowledge and experience.
Machu Picchu. What a privilege to go to such a stunning place. It was a little too busy in the morning, but walking part of the Inca Trail to the Sun Gate in the afternoon, when it had quietened down was an experience I will never forget. The train from Puno to Cusco was also something very special. In fact, most of the trip was just amazing. Well organised and we saw so much that would probably have been impossible as a solo traveller.RW, Holmfirth
We were extremely satisfied with our Sandpiper Journey which provided us with a broad view of the Countries visited and the cultures, history, wild life etc. All in all, a great experience and a wonderful holiday.PH, Farnham
Everyday was exhilarating and exciting. Guatemala was so colourful - the scenery, the markets, the food, the traditional dress, the flowers and birdlife. Delicious coffee! The itinerary enabled me to take in spectacular views of volcanoes, such as in Antigua and Lake Atitlan, of the Mayan ruins at Tikal and Yaxha.JH, Weybridge
The day we visiting the Frida Kahlo and Trotsky museums and also the canal. As well as all the wonderful pyramids and the Copper Canyon extension were among my highlights. We were very impressed with our first experience of travelling with JLA. We have been to several Central and South American countries before and had underestimated the impact that Mexico would have on us. It had such a variety of experiences to offer, the colour, the music, the many different and dramatic archeological sites and political history. The ethnic mix added to the diversity and the people were all a delight to meet. JLA allowed us to experience this in its selection of places, accommodation, excursions and especially the tour leader.JD, Buxton
Thank you for giving me an amazing trip, with a wonderful leader and a lovely group of people to travel with.BK, London
Our first trip to S. America was a wonderful experience from start to finish. Everything was very well organised and we couldn't have had a better group leader than tour leader. The local guides were very knowledgable and enthusiastic to share their country. When we booked this holiday we thought it would be our only trip to S. America, primarily to see Machu Picchu but now hearing the tour leader talk about other tours she has run we are eager to see more of the continent with JLA.FM, Aberdeen
I had a brilliant trip. The experiences were varied the people great company and the tour leader exceptional. What’s not to love!HL, Newcastle
A journey to South America was a long held dream of mine, and Journey Latin America certainly fulfilled my dream.EM, Bromley
It was a very memorable and exciting holiday. As well as the magnificent scenery, I was bowled over by the birds, animals and flowers. Compared to Europe, it felt very unspoilt and unpopulated.KM, Edinburgh
Most memorable experience? - Seeing the eruption of volcano El Fuego at Antigua - though from a distance - but we still saw the red lava. The unspoilt Pacific Coast near Leon with the turtle conservation centre and sunset beach. The jungle Chaa Creek resort with the toucans. The wonderful city of Leon.CB, Beckenham
We cannot pick out one most memorable part of our trip as every day provided us with a new and exciting experience. We saw and experienced things we had only dreamed of, some of which had been in our dreams for over 48 years.TC, Hayle
An excellent holiday made especially memorable by the leadership, thoughtfulness and humour of our guide.RL, Reading
All of the Parakeet was fantastic.LS, London
Even though I had seen countless photographs of Iguazu Falls and Machu Picchu when I first saw the sights I was reduced to a , 'Wow!' every few minutes.FB, Spain
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.