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If you are due to travel shortly, we will be in touch to support and guide you in either postponing or cancelling your holiday, based on current Foreign Office advice and your insurance arrangements.
 
We hope that international travel will resume soon, but to ensure you can still enjoy a holiday this year, we have introduced the following new initiatives:
 
(a) For all new 2by2 Holidays we have relaxed our Booking Conditions, with refundable deposits & later final payment dates. This will allow you to plan your next long-haul holiday with more confidence, despite coronavirus uncertainties.
 
(b) We have launched Auriel Holidays – dedicated to finding you a range of wonderful holidays closer to home. Working with like-minded tour operators, who know their destinations intimately, safety is uppermost in everyone's minds. Our holidays within the United Kingdom and Europe will be mindful of this, and can be tailor made to your exact requirements - whether travelling by road, rail, sea or air.
 
After three months of hibernation, we are more than ready to start dreaming again!

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director

Self Drive, Costa Rica Birding Holiday: Central Valley + Quetzal + Osa Peninsula

Birding: Caribbean + Highlands + Osa Peninsula (self drive)
RCF14S
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,895
Per person sharing
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Self Drive Costa Rica Birding Holiday Central Valley Quetzal Osa Peninsula

This self drive Costa Rica birding holiday visits all the hot-spots of this small country, including bird watching in the Sarapiqui lowlands; the cloud forests of Turrialba & San Gerardo de Doto in the Central Valley, where you can hope to see the Resplendent Quetzal. Finish at Corcovado Park on the spectacular Osa Peninsula & Manuel Antonio. All specified birding included (with transfer option, if preferred).

Self Drive Costa Rica Birding Holiday Central Valley Quetzal Osa Peninsula
• 
Costa Rica Birding Holiday
• 
Sarapiqui Lowland Rainforest
• 
Central Valley
• 
Turrialba Volcano
• 
San Gerardo de Dota
• 
Respendent Quetzal
• 
Osa Peninsula
• 
Corcovado National Park
• 
Manuel Antonio National Park
• 
Self Drive Costa Rice
• 
Costa Rica Birding Holiday
• 
Sarapiqui Lowland Rainforest
• 
Central Valley
• 
Turrialba Volcano
• 
San Gerardo de Dota
• 
Respendent Quetzal
• 
Osa Peninsula
• 
Corcovado National Park
• 
Manuel Antonio National Park
• 
Self Drive Costa Rice
Day 1
You will be met at San Jose Airport and transferred to this capital city in the Central Valley, surrounded by the Talamanca Mountains to the south and the volcanoes of Poas, Irazu and Turrialba.
 
Check into your hotel and relax in this modern city.
Day 2
This morning your hire car will be dropped off at your San Jose hotel. After taking delivery of your vehicle (with GPS), drive 2-hours through beautiful Costa Rican scenery to the lowland tropical rainforests of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.
 
You will travel through coffee plantations, strawberry fields and dairy farms, and drive past Poás Volcano National Park, with its magnificent blue crater lake. When the mist and clouds part, there is a bubbling sulphuric lake at the bottom, surrounded by smoke and steam rising from fumaroles. Trails lead through the cloud forest to Lake Botos, which fills an extinct crater and is home to nearly 80 species of cloud forest birds, including hummingbirds.
 
Continue to the lush green rainforests of Sarapiqui, which have a huge diversity of indigenous tropical birds, flora and fauna. This region is also know for its banana plantations, adventure activities such as white water rafting and ‘turnos’ (outdoor festivals) - which include fairs, bull riding and cattle shows.
Day 3
An early start today to enjoy a 2-hour private birding walk through the lush lowland rainforests of Sarapiqui, accompanied by a lodge guide.
 
More than 54% of all bird species found in Costa Rica can be seen in this region. We walk along the river bank and through primary and secondary forests in search of a variety of tanagers, honeycreepers, herons and much more. Some sought-after species include the highly endangered Great green macaw, Keel-billed toucan, Sunbittern, Snowy cotinga, White-fronted nunbird, Wood thrush, Grey-necked wood rail, Violet-crowned woodnymph and Black-crested coquette.
 
In the afternoon enjoy another 2-hour private birding walk.
 
Note: Wear rubber boots or closed shoes. Bring binoculars, camera, jacket & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen & insect repellent.
Day 4
This morning enjoy a relaxed boat ride down the Sarapiqui River. As we cruise down the river, be on the lookout for wildlife in the water and on the land, as it is possible to see monkeys, iguana, sloths, crocodiles, alligators, otters and a variety of bird life.
 
After returning to your lodge around midday, there is time for a siesta. Then in the late afternoon transfer to the Tirimbina Reserve. After an included dinner at the reserve, we set out on a shared Night Walk to see nocturnal species such as porcupines, frogs, possums and kinkajous (also called 'honey bears').
 
Note: Wear good walking shoes & take rain gear, insect repellent and a headlamp for the night walk, which has a maximum of 10 per guide.
Day 5
This morning drive 3.5-hours from Sarapiqui to Turrialba in the cental valley region of Cartago - the gateway to Turrialba Volcano National Park.
 
Check into your hotel in this beautiful but lesser known region of Costa Rica.
Day 6
Rise early for a shared morning birding walk around Turrialba accompanied by a lodge guide.
 
With over 450 different species of birds having been recorded in this forest reserve, you will have many opportunities for excellent sightings - including hummingbirds, trogons, tucans, hawks, motmots, cuckoos, woodpeckers, migratory tanagers, collared redstarts and possibly the yellow throated brush finch.
 
In the afternoon enjoy another shared birding walk.
 
Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars, camera, jacket & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen & insect repellent.
Day 7
This morning drive 3-hours from Turrialba to San Gerardo de Doto, a small high-altitude community nestled in a pristine steeply walled mountain valley, high in the Talamanca Mountains at 7,200 ft (2,200 m).
 
The cloud forests of Los Quetzales National Park are filled with massive oaks and other native highland species and this is the best birding spot in the country for regional endemics, with more that 50 found in the central highlands of Savegre. This area is also part of the Los Santos Forest Reserve, a biological corridor for a large number of wildlife - some in danger of extinction. It is a haven for both bird watchers and walkers.
Day 8
Rise early for a private morning birding walk with a guide from your lodge.
 
This region is famous for its large population of Resplendent Quetzal - a bird that is sacred to the indigenous people and is one of the most beautiful birds in the Americas. We start the day looking for this bird, but over 175 other birds have also been identified in this small town.
 
While seeing a quetzal will be our main goal, this valley is also an excellent place to see all the specialty birds of the region. Some of the regional highland endemics we are likely to see include the Highland tinamou, Red-tailed hawk, Black guan, Sulphur-winged parakeet, Ruddy treerunner, Silvery-fronted tapaculo, Sooty robin, Ruddy pigeon, Scintillant hummingbird, White-throated mountaingem, Purple-throated mountaingem and many other hummingbirds,  flycatchers, trogons, tanagers and sparrows.
 
In the afternoon enjoy another 2-hour private birding walk. As you are at a fairly high high altitude, remember to walk at a slow pace.
 
Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars, camera, jacket & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen & insect repellent.
Day 9
This morning drive 3.5-hours from San Gerardo de Dota to the small town of Sierpe, where you will leave your hire car in secure parking at the nominated meeting point.
 
You will then take a scenic shared 1.5-hour boat ride to reach your lodge situated near Drake Bay on the spectacular Osa Peninsula. Half of this ride will be through the mangroves of the Sierpe River delta and the other half will be along the Pacific Coast, with a wet landing at your lodge.
 
With the Golfo Dulce ('Sweet Gulf') to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Osa Peninsula is a paradise of primary rainforest, empty beaches and backwater settlements. Check into your lodge surrounded by the lush vegetation and wildlife of Corcovado National Park.
 
Note: As your boat departs at a set time, arrive in good time to change into shorts and water shoes for your wet landing and to hand in your hire car, if  your rental ends here. Each lodge has a specified pick-up point & departure time (eg for Casa Corcovado, arrive at La Hacienda by 11.00 for the 11.30 boat departure).
 
Most Corcovado lodges are closed from the beginning of October to mid November.
Day 10
Set off early this morning to explore Corcovado National Park, a virgin tropical rainforest that is home to over half of all wildlife species found in Costa Rica.
 
National Geographic magazine has called Corcovado "the most biologically intense place on earth", with more than 500 different trees, over 400 birds, 140 mammals, 117 reptiles/amphibians and over 40 species of freshwater fish. Depending on the location of your lodge, it will take about 1.5-hours by speedboat to reach the Sirena ranger station (with a wet landing), followed by a guided nature hike, crossing many small streams as we discover the park's varied flora and fauna.
 
Wildlife you can hope to see here include endangered species such as the Scarlet macaw and Squirrel monkey, as well as the iconic sloth. Keep an eye out for magnificent birds such as toucans, parrots, tanagers and manakins. These rainforests are also home to the howler monkey, white-faced monkey, spider monkey, white-lipped peccary, collared peccary, poison dart frog, tyra, coati, agouti, American crocodile, caiman and the shy and secretive tapir. If you are very fortunate you may even see a small wild cat such as the ocelot or jaguarundi. Puma (also known as mountain lion or cougar) and jaguar also live here but are rarely seen.
 
After an included picnic lunch on the beach, we return 1.5-hours by boat to our lodge. In the warm ocean you can hope to see dolphins and whales, as there are two whale watching seasons. From mid July until mid October, humpback whales travel up from Antarctica to breed, whilst from December to March northern hemisphere whales travel down from Alaska, but these are much harder to see. Although not often seen, three species of sea turtles nest on this side of the Osa Peninsula - the small Olive Ridley turtle that you will see most often (year round, but best seen July to November at new moon), the endangered Green turtle (July/August) and the vulnerable Leatherback (September to March).
 
Note: Wear shorts & water shoes for the wet landing and good walking shoes. Also take water, swimsuit, towel and rain gear. Not recommended if you are pregnant or have back, respiratory or heart problems, as the boat ride can be rough at times.
Day 11
It is not necessary to leave the grounds of your lodge to enjoy the wildlife of the Osa Peninsula, as birds and rainforest wildlife are all around you.
 
There are many nature trails for you to explore, as well as miles of pristine beaches. Birdlife is colourful and abundant with scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, tanagers and so much more. Other wildlife you can hope to see include the sloth, howler monkey, white-faced capuchin, spider monkey, squirrel monkey, poison dart frog, tyra, coati and agouti. It is rare to see tapirs, but December to February offer the best opportunities.
 
Optional activities vary by lodge (pay locally) but usually include nature walks, bird watching, night walks to discover noctural wildlife, kayaking in the mangrove, horse riding, fishing, boat rides to search for dolphins and two seasons of whale watching (mid July to mid October for humpback whales migrating from Antarctica; and December to March for northern hemisphere whales travelling down from Alaska, but they tend to pass much further offshore so are much harder to see).
 
You can also book a snorkelling or diving excursion to Caño Island and additional visits to Corcovado National Park - but these require wildlife permits, so must be booked in advance.
Day 12
This morning take the 1.5-hour boat ride from Drake Bay along the mangrove-lined river back to Sierpe.
 
Here you will collect your hir car and drive 2.5-hours along the coast to Manuel Antonio, a busy tourist town known for its sandy Pacific beaches surrounded by lush coastal rainforest.
 
On arrival in Manuel Antonio, check into your hotel and relax in your verdant surroundings.
Day 13
Rise early to enjoy a half day of birding in the forests around Quepos with a naturalist guide.
 
These primary and secondary Pacific coastal rainforests are full of wildlife and home to over 250 different bird species. We hike through rural areas and along paths, cattle farms and unpaved roads as this is the best way to spot up to 70 different species in one day - such as the Black-mandibled (Yellow-throated) toucan, White-throated shrike-tanager, hummingbirds, birds of prey, seedeaters, thrushes, doves, trogons and many more.
 
Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars, camera, jacket & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen & insect repellent.
Day 14
Today drive 3-hours from Manuel Antonio to your hotel situated on the outskirts of San Jose, in a location convenient for the airport.
 
Check in and relax in your beautiful surroundings.
Day 15
Drive to San Jose Airport for your flight home.

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