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Signature Costa Rica: Wildlife and volcanoes

Day 1

Transfer to your hotel in Santa Ana, a garden suburb close to the capital.
 
Central San José

You will be met at the airport by our local representative who will take you to your hotel in leafy Santa Ana, close to the modern capital.

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Central San José

Day 2

By road and boat to Tortuguero Jungle Reserve
 
Baby caiman are easy to spot at Tortuguero
You take a 5hr drive including a short bumpy ride through banana plantations to Caño Blanco dock. It is then an hour’s boat ride along the shore hugged by mangrove swamps before you arrive in the small, ramshackle village of Tortuguero, which gives you an insight into the way of life in this remote region.

Tortuguero National Park was originally intended to conserve a major nesting beach of the Atlantic green sea turtle. Now it is one of the last protected areas of tropical rainforest in Central America, with 11 different natural habitats. 3 species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three-toed sloths, and River otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals.

Caimans, iguanas, river turtles, basilisk lizards and poison dart frogs inhabit the area, along with more than 320 species of birds including all 6 species of kingfishers found in the New World, 3 species of toucans, 8 species of parrot, and other neo-tropical species such as the Slate-tailed trogon, White-collared manakin, Purple-throated fruit crow, and White-fronted nun bird. These and many more species may be observed during your guided boat trip through the backwater mangrove channels of Tortuguero National Park.

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Baby caiman are easy to spot at Tortuguero

Day 3

Wildlife spotting in Tortuguero National Park
 
Tortuguero National Park

You have a guided exploration by boat through the mangroves, your guide helping you to spot and identify the myriad of wildlife. The remaining time can be spent relaxing in your lodge or participating in some of the many activities available.

Explore more of the jungle trails and waterways with a naturalist guide, or rent one of the kayaks and investigate the canals at your leisure; gliding silently through these waters you are likely to spot all kinds of wildlife on the banks. Visit the nearby turtle museum to gather some information about the nesting cycle of these ancient reptiles. In season, take a night-time walk along the moonlit beach, and search for turtles and their eggs.

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Tortuguero National Park

Day 4

Fly to San José, transfer to Monteverde. Guided excursion to the Cloud Forest Reserve
 
Jungle
Fly to San José and travel inland by road into highlands mantled by the woodland of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which lies in the rugged, rolling hills northwest of San José. You'll be driven for a couple of hours through the Central Valley along the Pan American Highway, a decent paved road.

After 150km you take the turn off for Monteverde, and here the adventure begins - for up to 90mins, the dirt road is bumpy with volcanic rocks, winding up through the hills to the cloud forest at 1,400m. You can expect it to be dusty in the dry season and muddy in the wet. However you should be diverted by wildlife you spot along the way - sloths, monkeys and tropical birds - keep your binoculars handy.

In the afternoon there will be a walk in the reserve accompanied by a naturalist guide. The reserve is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 400 of birds and 1,500 of plants. Walking along the well-marked trails, amidst dense, dripping foliage, you are likely to encounter the Resplendent quetzal (Jan – Jul. Occasionally a dozen or more individuals at once). Other species include the Three-wattled bellbird, the Emerald toucanet, and White-faced and Howler monkeys. The reserve includes a protected area comprising 6 different life zones. So many habitats in such a small area, along with extensive trail improvements, allow visitors to enjoy a rich diversity of flora and fauna with relatively short distance and easy walking.

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Jungle

Day 5

Transfer to Arenal volcano area
 
Arenal Volcano

It's a 136 km, 2-3 hr downhill afternoon drive by 4WD vehicle from Monteverde to Arenal. There is no direct route and the road condition on the first segment of the journey is rough and bumpy but you can look out for wildlife so keep your binoculars handy.

On reaching the lake and Rio Chiquito on the shores of Lake Arenal, you embark on a boat to take you across the lake (30-40 mins) followed by a short, good-quality road journey to your hotel. A private bus transfer is followed by a boat trip across Lake Arenal, which provides a magnificent first glimpse of this imposing volcano, reflected in the lake’s sparkling waters (2.5hrs).

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Arenal Volcano

Day 6

Excursion to La Fortuna waterfalls
 
Swim in a Waterfall Plunge Pool

Today you have an excursion by road through typical Costa Rican countryside, passing cattle and agricultural farms, to the start of a 500m steep trail. Continue on foot through the rainforest - you may spot toucans and monkeys on the way - to the 70m high La Fortuna waterfall.

There are natural pools at its base where you can spend an hour relaxing before heading back to the vehicle and to Arenal. There are around 500 steps involved in the walk to the falls so we recommend good footwear - and don't forget your swimsuit and waterproof camera.

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Swim in a Waterfall Plunge Pool

Day 7

Transfer by shuttle bus to San José
 

Travel by shared minibus back to San José, a journey of about four hours. Overnight in the city.

Day 8

Transfer to the airport for international flight home; or continue to the Pacific beach at Manuel Antonio.
 
Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica

Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight, or if you have more time, add a few days to relax on Manuel Antonio Pacific beach.

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Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica

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

Tailor-made holiday

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Signature Costa Rica: Wildlife and volcanoes

  • Manuel Antonio Pacific beach 4 days from £336pp

    After an exhilarating holiday zipping around Costa Rica's scenic and wildlife highlights, why not settle back on a golden beach on the country's Pacific coast?  At the Falls Resort you have the choice of simply relaxing or taking part in more active water sports or other land-based pursuits.We suggest you stay for four days to make the most of this idyllic setting.

    Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest but best regarded nature parks in Costa Rica. Its setting is lovely - wild, tropical beaches and rocky outcrops backed by rainforest. It has a network of trails where you may see a variety of reptiles, as well as monkey, sloth, armadillo, racoon and over 350 species of birds. Close by, Manuel Antonio beach is also one of the most popular in the country. Over 30 years ago, when we first went there, its pristine white sands were visited only by monkeys and backpackers. Now you'll find tourists from all over the world, especially the USA, but it is still a gorgeous place graced with exquisite natural beauty.

    The Falls Resort is situated just a ten minute walk from the coast on a leafy hilltop. You can take the shuttle bus which transports visitors to the beach, the national park and Quepos, the little port a short distance away.  They encourage you to get away from it all here: there is no 'phone in the rooms and wifi is only available in reception and a couple of the deluxe suites. But if you need any information or excursions to be organised, the accommodating staff are only too eager to please. The gardens, overlooked by the guest rooms, are especially lovely, and attract all sorts of wildlife, including monkeys, agoutis and bats. There's a small pool, and a restaurant with decent meals at European prices.

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Signature Costa Rica: Wildlife and volcanoes

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Signature Costa Rica: Wildlife and volcanoes

8 days from £1,808pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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