HOME





TRAVEL BLOG
ABOUT US
ENQUIRE
BROCHURE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY & COOKIES
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

Holiday: Wildlife Costa Rica + Galapagos Islands Cruise + Quito Vacation

Costa Rica Highlights + Galapagos Cruise
RRM16S
16 NIGHTS
FROM £5,995
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Holiday Wildlife Costa Rica Galapagos Islands Cruise Quito Vacation

This wonderful holiday combines the turtles, sloths, tropical birds & rainforest wildlife of Costa Rica, with a Galapagos islands cruise & the colonial city of Quito. Visit the Tortuguero wetlands; impressive Arenal Volcano & the rainforests of Manuel Antonio. Then fly to Ecuador & complete your vacation with a once-in-a-lifetime cruise in the Galapagos Islands. All transfers, park fees & sightseeing included.

Holiday Wildlife Costa Rica Galapagos Islands Cruise Quito Vacation
• 
Costa Rica & Galapagos Islands
• 
San Jose
• 
Tortuguero Wetlands
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Hanging Bridges & Hot Springs
• 
Sloths, Turtles & Tropical Birds
• 
Manuel Antonio
• 
Quito Vacation
• 
Galapagos Islands Cruise
• 
Holiday to see Wildlife
• 
Costa Rica & Galapagos Islands
• 
San Jose
• 
Tortuguero Wetlands
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Hanging Bridges & Hot Springs
• 
Sloths, Turtles & Tropical Birds
• 
Manuel Antonio
• 
Quito Vacation
• 
Galapagos Islands Cruise
• 
Holiday to see Wildlife
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
An early pickup from your hotel this morning for your scenic shared 4-hour coach transfer to the flooded forests of Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast - known as the 'Amazon of Costa Rica'.
 
This remote wetland system covers an area of over 300 square km. Meaning 'Land of the Turtles', it is the largest nesting site for endangered Green sea turtles in the western hemisphere and supports a wide range of threatened flora and fauna. It is also a RAMSAR birding site of international significance.
 
After travelling 1.5-hours by air-conditioned coach, we stop at Guapiles for a Costa Rican breakfast, before continuing another 1.5-hours to the dock. Here we board the boat for our 1-hour ride along the La Suerte River and the wider Tortuguero River, to your lodge in the heart of these lush waterways.
 
On arrival check into your lodge and book your turtle tour in season (see below). After a buffet lunch we visit the local village, with balance of afternoon at leisure.
  
Note: Noctural turtle tours are run from July to October, as this is when green sea turtles nest and lay their eggs, with hatchlings emerging 45 days later. The timing of your tour (8-10pm or 10-12pm) and the beach zone you will visit are allocated by the park authority and must be booked 24 hours in advance, so it is essential to book your tour with hotel reception on arrival, as it cannot be pre-booked (approx. $40 per person).
Day 3
Today you will explore the waterways and rainforests of Tortuguero National Park on a shared boat ride, accompanied by a lodge guide.
 
Tortuguero is a critical breeding ground for vulnerable Green Turtles, which lumber up these beaches in their thousands from July to October each year to nest, with their hatchlings emerging 45 days later - an unforgettable sight. Leatherback turtles - the largest of all sea turtles - nest here in March & April and a few Loggerhead turtles nest here in June & July. The critically endangered Hawksbill turtle may be found here in very small numbers in September and October.
 
Although these beaches are best know for their sea turtles, Tortuguero is also an excellent place to see two and three-toed sloths, mantled howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, basilisk lizards, green iguana, red-eyed tree frogs, spectacled caiman, black river turtles and over half of all bird species found in Costa Rica. These include the Great green macaw, Keel-billed toucan, Boat-billed heron, Blue heron, Laughing falcon, Bare-throated tiger heron, Yellow-crowned night heron, Green-backed heron, Osprey, Snowy egret, Northern jacana, Anhinga (snakebird), Green ibis, Green kingfisher, Southern mealy parrot, Turkey vulture, Social flycatcher, Montezuma oropendola and many more.
 
With eleven different habitats - including rainforests, mangroves, swamps, beaches and lagoons - this hot and humid park has a rainfall of up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) a year. As a result it sustains a wide range of wildlife and is teeming with birds, reptiles, small mammals and insects. Occasionally bottlenose dolphins swim up the river from the sea and you may also see crocodiles, anteaters, ocelots and more.
 
Your boat ride will either be in the morning or afternoon, depending on the scheduling done by the ranger station. Your second activity for the day is a shared guided walk through the grounds of your lodge - looking out for frogs, birds, sloths, butterflies and other wildlife.
 
In the evening, if you join an optional turtle tour, wear dark clothing to ensure you do not disturb the turtles, closed shoes and long trousers to protect your feet & legs from mosquitos. Flashlights are not permitted.
 
Note: As the park receives up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) of rain a year, it is very likely that it will rain during your visit - so bring rain gear with a hood and expect to get wet. Wear sports clothing that will dry quickly (not jeans, which take too long to dry).
Day 4
This morning depart after breakfast and transfer 1-hour by boat and 1.5-hours by road to Guapiles, where we stop for an included lunch.
 
After lunch continue 2-hours by shared shuttle transfer towards the Arenal Volcano - one of the most active in Central America, with a perfect cone that on a clear day is visible from almost anywhere in the area. Your route crosses a large cattle and agricultural area, where chocolate is grown. Cacao was very important in the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations and today it is enjoyed throughout the world.
 
Check into your hotel in La Fortuna, where you can relax surrounded by rainforests, waterfalls and thermal hot springs.
 
Note: When travelling by shuttle, your luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one item of hand luggage.
Day 5
This morning enjoy a shared visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges - a series of nine fixed and six suspension bridges, located in a natural corridor followed by migratory birds travelling between North and South America and offering wonderful views of the lake and volcano.
 
This 2-mile (3-km) self-guided trail will allow you to enjoy the great diversity of flora and fauna inside this mountainous zone, as well as outstanding bird watching. Keep an eye out for howler monkeys, sloths, anteaters, coati, racoons and other rainforest wildlife. Birds you can hope to see include the Yellow-throated toucan, Crested guan, Grey-headed chachalaca, Baltimore oriole, Clay-coloured thrush and Red-throated ant tanager, amongst others.
 
In the afternoon relax at the magnificent Tabacon Hot Springs, with its many natural waterfalls and pools, as well as a large swimming pool with swim-up bar. Dinner at the hot springs is included this evening.
 
Note: Group size 2 to 12 per guide. This trail is not suitable if you have a fear of heights. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, swimwear and water shoes.
Day 6
This morning you will be collected from your hotel for a shared half day excursion, walking for 3-miles (5-km) along one of the trails around the base of the volcano.
 
Arenal Volcano rises to 5,250 ft (1,600 m) and towers over the village of La Fortuna. On the morning of 29 July 1968, after having been inactive for three thousand years, it erupted in the most spectacular way. The earth started shaking, clouds of ashes rose into the sky, women washing clothes by the river felt the water becoming hot, and lava started pouring down the side of the volcano.
 
Your guide will explain more about this eruption as you walk along one of the trails through the rainforest, where you can see large lumps of sandy lava rock and view the many plants now growing here, as the rainforest has recovered. At the top of the trail, on a clear day you will have beautiful views over Lake Arenal. There is also a deck at the end of the trail, with postcard views of the volcano.
 
The afternoon is at leisure to relax at your lodge or explore the town. If pre-booked, there is also the option of visiting La Fortuna Waterfall, which plunges down nearly 250 ft (75-m) from a cliff outside the town. Surrounded by lush foliage, the climb down to the waterfall is tough (500 steps) but the view once you get there will be worth the effort. At the bottom there is the opportunity to swim in the cold waters of the surge pool and shallow river at the bottom.
 
Note: Group size 2 to 14 per guide. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars & rain gear. Also sun hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. Bring swimwear and water shoes for the waterfall climb, which is not suitable for anyone with mobility issues.
Day 7
Today transfer 5-hours through beautiful countryside from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio, a busy tourist town known for its sandy Pacific beaches surrounded by lush coastal rainforest.
 
Along the way we stop at the bridge over the Tarcoles River, one of four rivers flowing out into the Nicoya Peninsula and home to one of the world’s largest populations of American crocodiles, with some up to fifteen feet long. There are also over 50 different bird species here, including the rare scarlet macaw and a great variety of resident and migrant waterfowl, iguana and Jesus Christ lizards.
 
On arrival in Manuel Antonio, check into your hotel and relax in your verdant surroundings.
 
Note: Your driver will only speak Spanish today.
Day 8
Rise early this morning to avoid the heat of the day for a 2-hour privately guided hike with a naturalist, through the tropical humid rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park - the oldest and most visited national park in the country.
 
Situated on the Pacific Coast, this wildlife sanctuary consists of four protected white sandy beaches bordered by verdant tropical jungle. A series of boardwalks offer two main routes - either a direct 2-mile (3.2 km) hike to the main beach, or a longer 3.5-mile (5.6 km) circular hike that includes a second spectacular beach.
 
Over 100 mammals can be found here, as well as over 350 different bird species. You can hope to spot an adorable sloth - a tree-dwelling animal that sleeps for over 15 hours a day, whilst hanging from the branches of trees. The two-fingered sloth is largely nocturnal, so you are more likely to see the three-fingered sloth, although both species have excellent camouflage so can be hard to spot. These cute creatures move so slowly that algae grows on their fur. Look out for white-faced capuchins and cute squirrel monkeys and listen out for howler monkeys calling across the trees. You should see hermit crabs scurrying across the sands, halloween crabs (with their bright orange & black colouring) and may even see a bull frog, Jesus Christ lizard (the brown basilisk that 'walks on water'), helmet basilisk, black spiny-tailed iguana, green anole lizard, caiman, American crocodile, wish moth, wax-tail hopper, rainbow grasshopper or spectacular blue morph butterfly.
 
Birds you can hope to see include the Brown pelican flying in formation over the sea, Yellow-throated toucan, Tendin fruit bat, Long nosed bat, Mangrove hummingbird, Yellow-crowned night heron, Crowned woodnymph and Bananaquit, amongst many others.
 
At the end of your hike you will be given the opportunity to relax on the beach for about an hour, before returning to your hotel. Your afternoon is at leisure.
 
Note: Manuel Antonio Park is closed on a Monday. Wear swimwear, comfortable walking shoes, shorts & T-shirt, as it will be very hot & humid. Bring water, binoculars, raingear, sun hat, sunscreen, towel & insect repellent and expect this park to be very busy.
Day 9
Transfer 4.5-hours by shared shuttle from Manuel Antonio to the city of San Jose.
 
Check into your hotel in a location convenient for the airport.
Day 10
Transfer to San Jose Airport for your onward flight.
 
Note: Your driver will only speak Spanish.

You will be met at Quito Airport and transferred to your hotel in this historic Spanish colonial city that straddles the equator and is today a World Heritage Site.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city in the Andean Highlands, with its many museums, monasteries and churches with golden altars. The prosperous centre of the Kingdom of Quitus during the 13th century, and later the northern capital of the Inca Empire, it has a setting that few cities in the world can match.
Day 11
This morning we visit the equatorial monument that marks the Centre of the World at latitude 0º - about 16 miles (25 km) north of Quito. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere and visit the Intiñan folk museum that showcases the different Native American groups living in Ecuador, their culture and traditions. There is also a colonial-style tourist village complete with main square, church, post office, bull ring and gift shops.
 
Afterwards enjoy a Quito walking tour through the streets and main square of the historic Colonial Quarter, the largest and best preserved in South America. Take in its magnificent colonial architecture - including the Cathedral, President's Palace, Archbishop's Palace and the Municipal Building flanking Independence Plaza. You will see many mansions, monasteries and churches, and visit the Church & Convent of Santo Domingo. The city also has many cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts.
 
Our day ends with a visit to the TelefériQo (cable car station) from where you can view at least four snow capped volcanoes.
 
Note: Quito is situated at high altitude (9,350 ft / 2,850 m). As you will be visiting churches (except on Sundays, when this is not permitted), do not wear shorts or mini-skirts as these are not allowed.
Day 12
Transfer to Quito Airport for your flight, via Guayaquil, to the spectacular Galapagos Islands.
 
You will be met at Baltra Airport and transferred by bus to the boarding jetty. Here you will embark by panga boat (zodiac) on your Expedition Cruise through this magnificent archipelago, situated on the equator in the Pacific Ocean some 560 miles (900 km) west of the Ecuador mainland.
  
These volcanic islands are famous for their vast number of endemic species, studied by Charles Darwin during his historic voyage on the Beagle, which contributed to his Theory of Evolution by natural selection. Check in and relax in this astonishing marine reserve, where the unique wildlife does not seem perturbed by human visitors - allowing for extremely close-up encounters.
 
Please note that you need to be relatively mobile to enjoy an expedition cruise in the Galapagos, as you will be embarking and disembarking by panga boat (zodiac). All sightseeing with a naturalist guide, marine fees, snorkelling and medical care aboard the boat are included, but not the cost of medicines. Wetsuits are available for hire. Children < 6 years are not allowed on an expedition cruise.
Days 13 To 15
Enjoy cruising through the marine-rich waters of the world-famous Galapagos Islands, with shore excursions each day with a naturalist.
 
Your exact routing will depend on your departure date and the vessel you have selected. This will be confirmed before you book.
Day 16
Disembark from your expedition cruise today and transfer to Baltra Airport for your flight to Guayaquil.
 
You will be met at Guayaquil Airport and transferred to your hotel in this important port, that is the largest city in Ecuador. Here the vibe is Caribbean, in marked contrast to the Andean region.
Day 17
Transfer to Guayaquil Airport for your flight home.

Contact us
Order a brochure
Feedback