Group - Discovery

Tanager: Flora and fauna of Costa Rica

12 days from £2,780pp

Costa Rica

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Essentials

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Tour Leader

Due to the tour concentrating on some less explored areas of Costa Rica we felt it was essential that this tour be led by a local expert. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group.

Transport

All journeys by private vehicles and boats. Travelling days between 2-4hrs.

Accommodation

On our Discovery Journeys the standard of accommodation varies. We aim to keep the price competitive while ensuring the basic comforts. Hotels/guesthouses are comfortable and attractive in most places, and you will be pleasantly surprised. This tour visits some of the more remote areas of Costa Rica, so accomodation will vary from place to place, but all with have ensuite bathrooms and a range of facilities.

Examples of hotels/lodges used on this journey include:
• San Jose: Parque del Lago
• Tortuguero: Turtle Beach Lodge
• Sarapiqui: Tirimbina
• Rio Celeste: Celeste Mountain Lodge
• Monteverde: Monteverde Country Lodge
• Carara: Villa Lapas

Meals

Breakfast daily; Dinner days 5,6,7 and 11; Full board days 2,3,4,7 and 10.

Summary Of Nights

12 days, 11 nights: San José 1; Tortuguero 2; Sarapiqui 2; Rio Celeste 2; Monteverde 2; Carara 2.

Currency

The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the colón.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in San José: taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in many shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency in San José at the beginning of your trip, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are increasingly falling out of use. (American Express cheques are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can exchange sterling but the rate may be unfavourable and there are fewer outlets providing this service. US dollars cash is widely accepted for payments.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

If you would like to show your appreciation to your tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

Costa Rica is a country where activities are based outside in the nature, so a relative level of fitness will help you make the most of trip. Most excursions will involve some walking, but your tour leader can advise on each activity and make sure it is suitable. For the more active there are opportunites for longer hikes and adventurouse activities.

Climate

The trip covers climates ranging from tropical lowland to more temperate zones in the highlands. November to April visitors will encounter high temperatures in lowland areas, but cool evenings in the highlands and San José with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be lower at this time.

Clothing And Special Equipment

Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A waterproof jacket is also necessary. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper (it can be cool in the interior), and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos may be lurking. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.

Don’t forget your binoculars, long lens camera and field guide.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Despite its small size, Costa Rica has a number of distinct microclimates. The Caribbean coast is humid all year round with the driest months being Sep-Oct; wildlife lovers, however, might prefer to visit this region from Jul-Aug to watch nesting turtles. The rest of the country experiences a dry season from Dec-Apr, when there is plenty of sun and temperatures are high, and a rainy season from May-Nov. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule for all regions: for example, the rainy season starts a month earlier in the south Pacific, while the northern areas, including the Guanacaste coast, are not as affected by the seasons and are generally much drier. The highlands and cloud forests have warm temperatures during the day but the high altitude means evenings are much cooler.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Costa Rica?

Spanish.

What's the national currency of Costa Rica?

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. There’s at least one in most main towns. 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. US dollars themselves are widely accepted.

What's the time difference between Costa Rica and UK?

GMT -5 hours.  

What places combine well with Costa Rica?

A visit to neighbouring Nicaragua or Panama. There are land crossings to both, as well as international flights.

How do I get to Costa Rica?

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 and sport events in Costa Rica?

International Arts Festival: San José, March. Music, dance, film art exhibitions.
Monteverde Music Festival: Monteverde, Jan - Feb.

What's included in the price

  • Local tour leader throughout
  • All land transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • boat trip down the canals of Tortuguero
  • nature walk in Tirimbina Rainforest reserve
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park and Rio Celeste hike
  • Selvatura hanging bridges
  • visit to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • cooking class at local finca

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions
  • $15 local entry fee for Tortuguero

What's included in the price

  • Local tour leader throughout
  • All land transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • boat trip down the canals of Tortuguero
  • nature walk in Tirimbina Rainforest reserve
  • Tenorio Volcano National Park and Rio Celeste hike
  • Selvatura hanging bridges
  • visit to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • cooking class at local finca

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions
  • $15 local entry fee for Tortuguero

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.

Papagaio

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

  • Evie Oswald
    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.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    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
    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.

  • Ben Line
    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.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    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.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

Meet the team