HOME





TRAVEL BLOG
ABOUT US
ENQUIRE
BROCHURE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY & COOKIES
Although we are now working from home, if you are due to travel shortly we will be in touch to support and guide you in either postponing or cancelling your trip, based on Foreign Office advice and your insurance arrangements.
 
When you feel ready to do so, we are here to help you plan your next holiday, knowing availability in many key destinations is already tight for next year. To help you move forward with confidence, our booking conditions have been relaxed in case you are unable to travel due to COVID-19 issues beyond your control (eg a new wave of infections; visa restrictions; mandatory quarantine; or cancellation of your international flight).
 
Thank you for your ongoing kindness & support in these difficult times. And remember that all our holidays are fully financially protected, wherever in the world you live.

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director

Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday: Turtles, Tortuguera + Sloths + Corcovado, Osa

Costa Rica Wildlife: Tortuguera + Arenal + Osa Peninsula
RRC14S
14 NIGHTS
FROM £3,395
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday Turtles Tortuguero Sloths Corcovado Osa

This Costa Rica wildlife holiday explores the amazingly diverse flora & fauna of this tiny Central American country, with some of the best birding in the world. See nesting sea turtles at Tortuguero; sloths, birds & rainforest wildlfe around the Arenal Volcano, Manual Antonio & Corcovado Park on the spectacular Osa Peninsula. All transfers & specified wildlife activities included.

Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday Turtles Tortuguero Sloths Corcovado Osa
• 
Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday
• 
Tortuguero National Park
• 
Turtles
• 
Sarapiqui
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Hanging Bridges
• 
Sloths
• 
Birds & Reptiles
• 
Manuel Antonio
• 
Corcovado, Osa Peninsula
• 
Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday
• 
Tortuguero National Park
• 
Turtles
• 
Sarapiqui
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Hanging Bridges
• 
Sloths
• 
Birds & Reptiles
• 
Manuel Antonio
• 
Corcovado, Osa Peninsula
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 tour to the Arenal Hanging Bridges - a series of 9 fixed and 6 suspension bridges located in a natural corridor followed by migratory birds travelling between North and South America, offering wonderful views of the lake and volcano.
 
This 2-mile (3 km) 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
This morning transfer from La Fortuna to the lake for a 1-hour boat crossing to the small settlement of Monteverde, situated high in the mountains on the continental divide.
 
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was gifted to the nation by a small community of conservation-minded Quakers, who moved here from the United States in the 1950's to avoid being drafted to fight in the Korean War. Shrouded in mist for most of the year, this pristine primary rainforest comprises six different ecological zones spread over 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres) at different elevations - 90% of which is virgin cloud forest. As a result, it has an exceptionally large plant biodiversity.
 
On arrival you will be collected from the boat and transferred to your hotel in the mountains. Check into your lodge and on a clear day enjoy distant views over the Gulf of Nicoya.
 
Note: Your driver will only speak Spanish.
Day 8
This morning enjoy a shared tour exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest with a naturalist guide.
 
Set on Costa Rica's continental divide, this high elevation cloud forest offers miles of walking trails and is a magnet for certain flora and fauna thanks to its high rainfall and constant veil of mist. Woodlands give way to rainforests and tall trees festooned with orchids, bromeliads, ferns, vines, strangler figs, ephiphytes and mosses rise high into the sky. In other parts you will find swamp forests and deep gorges with numerous streams creating waterfalls, rapids and pools.
 
Monteverde Cloud Forest sustains over 2,500 different plant species including the highest number of orchids in the world, over 90 different avocado species, 120 reptiles and amphibians and thousands of butterflies and other insects. However be aware that spotting birds and wildlife in this cool high altitude region is much more difficult than elsewhere in the country. Although not often seen, more than 100 small mammals are present (including sloths, white faced and spider monkeys).
 
Over 400 bird species can also be found here including two toucan species, the Three-wattled bellbird, Bare-necked umbrella bird, Golden-browed chlorophonia, Black-breasted wood quail, Bananaquit and the magnificent resplendent quetzal, which is most often seen during the breeding season from February to May. Many hummingbird species can also be seen at the feeders outside the park, including the Magenta-throated woodstar, Coppery-headed emerald, Lesser violetear, Violet sabrewing, Purple-throated mountain gem and Green-crowned brilliant.
 
In the evening we suggest an optional visit to the Monteverde Frog Pond (pay locally).
 
Note: Group size 2 to 9 per guide. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars, camera, jacket & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen & insect repellent.
Day 9
Today enjoy your 4.5-hour shared shuttle transfer to Manuel Antonio, a busy tourist town known for its sandy Pacific beaches surrounded by lush coastal rainforest.
 
Along the way the shuttle will 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.
Day 10
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 11
This morning take the 2.5-hour shuttle from Manuel Antonio to the small town of Sierpe.
 
From here you will 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.. 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 12
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 13
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 14
Transfer 30-minutes by boat and 45-minutes by road to Drake Bay Airport for your light aircraft flight to San Jose.
 
You will be met at San Jose Airport and transferred to your hotel situated in a location convenient for the airport.
 
Note: As you are flying in a small light aircraft, your baggage must not exceed 18 kg in weight or be outsized. If the plane is not full, you can purchase excess baggage at $1.50 per pound. However if the plane is already at its weight capacity, your bags will be left behind to follow on the next plane that has space. These weight restrictions therefore need to be taken seriously.
Day 15
Transfer to San Jose Airport for your flight home.
 
Note: Your driver will only speak Spanish.

Contact us
Order a brochure
Feedback