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Costa Rica Wildlife: Turtles + Sloths + Birds (with Osa)


RRA14S
14 NIGHTS
FROM £2,995
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Our Costa Rica wildlife holidays reveal the amazingly diverse flora & fauna of this tiny Central American country, with some of the best birding in the world. See nesting turtles at Tortuguero National Park; sloths, birds & rainforest wildlfe in Monteverde Cloud Forest & around Manual Antonio & Arenal Volcano. All vacation transfers are by shuttle, with specialist birding guides on request (supplement payable).
Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays Turtles Tortuguero Sloths Birds Vacation
• 
Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
• 
San Jose & Gold Museum
• 
Tortuguero National Park
• 
Nesting Sea Turtles
• 
Sarapiqui Vacation
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Hanging Bridges
• 
Monteverde Cloud Forest
• 
Sloths, Birds & Reptiles
• 
Manuel Antonio Rainforest
• 
Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
• 
San Jose & Gold Museum
• 
Tortuguero National Park
• 
Nesting Sea Turtles
• 
Sarapiqui Vacation
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Hanging Bridges
• 
Monteverde Cloud Forest
• 
Sloths, Birds & Reptiles
• 
Manuel Antonio Rainforest
Day 1
You will be met at San Jose Airport and transferred to your hotel in this capital city in the Central Valley, surrounded by the Talamanca Mountains to the south and the volcanoes of Poas, Irazu and Turrialba.
 
On arrival enjoy a short tour of the city, starting with a drive through Sabana Park. We then visit the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, situated beneath the Plaza de la Cultura. This small art museum has an intriguing collection of over 2,000 artworks and artefacts relating to the pre-Columbian era (500 AD to 1500 AD) and a large collection of coins, including the Media Escudo - Costa Rica’s very first coin.
 
Day 2
An early departure this morning, with 06.30 pick-up from your hotel for your shared 4.5-hour transfer to 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 3-hours by air-conditioned coach, we stop at Guapiles around 08.00 for a Costa Rican breakfast, before continuing to the docks at La Pavona or Cano Blanco. Here we board the boat for our 1.5-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 enjoy a buffet lunch. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to visit the local village with a guide, to observe their way of life. We walk back to our lodge along the beach trail, with balance of afternoon at leisure.
  
Note: As turtle tours book out quickly, on arrival we recommend you immediately book your tour at reception, as this cannot be booked in advance (approx. $35 per person).
Day 3
This morning is devoted to exploring the waterways of Tortuguero National Park on a shared excursion by boat with a local guide. At sunrise these rainforests come alive with wildlife - including sloths, monkeys, caimans and over half of all the bird species found in Costa Rica.
 
Tortuguero is also a critical breeding ground for four species of vulnerable and endangered sea turtles, which lumber up these beaches in their thousands each year to nest, with their hatchlings emerging two months later - an unforgettable sight. The best times to see this remarkable natural phenomenon are as follows:
Green turtles - July to mid October (peak = Aug/Sept)
Loggerheads - May to August
Leatherbacks (the largest of all sea turtles) - February to June (peak = March/April)
Hawksbills (critically endangered & found only in smaller numbers) - September to October.
 
With eleven different habitats - including rainforests, mangroves, swamps, beaches and lagoons - this park sustains a wide range of bio diversity and is teeming with birds, reptiles, small mammals and insect life. You may see alligators, tapirs, anteaters, ocelots, peccaries and more. But be aware that it will be very hot and humid, with the park receiving up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) of rain a year.
 
Return to your lodge for lunch, after which you can join a guided walk along the pathways of your hotel or simply relax by the swimming pool.
 
In the evening we recommend an optional Turtle Tour (must be booked locally). To ensure you do not disturb the turtles, you must wear dark clothing - blue, black or grey - and closed shoes. Cameras are strictly prohibited.
 
Note: Take rain gear and a windbreaker for your boat ride, as showers can always be expected in the rainforest.
Day 4
Check out early this morning to depart after breakfast (07.00) and travel 1.5-hours by boat to Guapiles, where we stop for an included lunch.
 
After lunch continue 3-hours by shared shuttle transfer across a large agricultural and cattle area to the Arenal Volcano - one of the most active in Central America.
 
Check into your hotel in La Fortuna and enjoy the surrounding national park and thermal hot springs.
Day 5
Today transfer to the rainforests of Arenal National Park, which offers wonderful views over Arenal Volcano and the lake.
 
A great variety of plants, wildlife and lava rock formations are found in these rainforests, as well as abundant tropical birdlife. Ascend for 20-minutes on the Sky Tram gondola, following a beautiful cloud forest ridge where you can observe plants and wildlife. After spending some time on the observation platform, which is situated in the highest part of the park with panoramic views, enjoy the thrill of riding seven high-speed ziplines from mountain to mountain until you reach the bottom.
 
Note: If you do not wish to take the ziplines, you can travel down on the gondola.
Day 6
This morning transfer to the Hanging Bridges - a series of suspension bridges offering wonderful views of Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano. The bridges form part of a 2-mile (3 km) self-guided interpretative trail, allowing you to enjoy the great diversity of flora and fauna inside this mountainous zone, as well as outstanding bird watching.
 
In the afternoon you will be collected from your hotel for an included shared tour of Arenal Volcano, which 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 tour of the volcano starts with a drive to its active northwestern side, followed by a guided walk along either the Toucan Trail through the rainforest and across a large lava flow, or along the El Silencio Mirador Trail (depending on weather conditions). Your guide will explain the great variety of plants, wildlife and lava rock formations found in this region. Once on top of the lava flow you will have a beautiful view of the lake. The hike ends at a lovely viewing area.
Day 7
This morning transfer from La Fortuna to the lake for a 1-hour boat crossing to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
 
Monteverde was founded by a small group of conservation-minded Quakers who were looking for a peaceful place to live. Shrouded in mist for most of the year, this 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 exceptionally great biodiversity and is one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics.
 
On arrival you will be collected from the boat and transferred to your hotel. Check in and enjoy beautiful views over the Gulf of Nicoya.
Day 8
Today enjoy a shared tour exploring with a naturalist guide the Monteverde Cloud Forest, set on Costa Rica's continental divide and a magnet for 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 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.
 
This high elevation cloud forest offers miles of trails, with excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting & birding. It sustains over 2,500 different plant species (including the highest number of orchid species in the world), more than 100 mammals, over 400 birds, 120 reptiles and amphibians, as well as thousands of butterflies and other insects.
 
In Monteverde Cloud Forest you may 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. Other wildlife you may see here include the jaguar, ocelot, tapir, white faced monkey, spider monkey, toucan, hummingbird, three-wattled bellbird and bare-necked umbrella bird. The resplendent quetzal is best seen during the dry months from January to July.
 
If you wish you can walk 1.9-miles (3-km) along the Hanging Bridges of Selvatura that pass through the treetop canopy at heights ranging from 40 to 200 ft (12 to 60 m). There is also the option to take a ride in the Sky Tram, and experience a thrilling Sky Trek Zip Line across the forest canopy (pay for these three activities locally).
Day 9
Today enjoy your 3.5-hour shared shuttle transfer to Manuel Antonio, renowned for its beautiful sandy Pacific beaches surrounded by jungle and many hiking trails.
 
Check into your hotel and relax in your lush surroundings.
Day 10
This morning enjoy a shared tour to the rainforests of Manuel Antonio National Park, the oldest and most popular national park in the country, accompanied by a naturalist guide.
 
Situated on the Pacific Coast, this sanctuary consists of four protected white sandy beaches bordered by verdant tropical jungle. Over 100 mammals can be found here, as well as over 350 different bird species. You can hope to see two and three-toed sloths, white-faced capuchin, cute squirrel monkeys and many colourful birds. You can also hear howler monkeys calling across the rainforest.
 
Afternoon is at leisure to relax at your lodge.
 
Note: Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on a Monday.
Day 11
This morning transfer 2-hours to the small town of Sierpe, where you will take a boat to reach your lodge situated in Drake Bay on the spectacular Osa Peninsula.
 
Jutting off Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, this peninsula is a primitive paradise of rainforests, empty beaches and backwater settlements, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo Dulce ('Sweet Gulf') to the east. Check into your lodge surrounded by the pristine rainforests of Corcovado National Park.
Days 12 To 13
At leisure to relax at your lodge at Drake Bay on the extraordinarily beautiful Osa Peninsula, covered by pristine tropical rainforests that are home to over half of all wildlife species found in Costa Rica.
 
Optional activities at your lodge centre around guided walks in the jungle, snorkelling and either a 30-minute or 1.5-hour boat ride to walk in Corcovado National Park (some with wet landings). Wildlife you can hope to see here include endangered species such as the scarlet macaw and squirrel monkey, as well as the iconic sloth. You can also hope to see the howler monkey, white-faced monkey, spider monkey, white-lipped peccary, collared peccary, poison dart frog, tyra, coati, agouti and even tapir. If you are very fortunate you may even see small wild cats such as puma, jaguarundi or ocelot. Jaguar also live here but are rarely seen. Birdlife is colourful and abundant with scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, black-cheeked ant tanagers and so much more.
 
Four species of sea turtles nest on the Osa Peninsula - the small Olive Ridley turtle that you will see most often (year round, but best seen July to November at full moon), endangered Green turtles, vulnerable Leatherbacks (from Sept to March) and the critically endangered Hawksbills (from Sept to Oct, only in the Golfo Dulce between the Osa Peninsula and the mainland). In the warm ocean you can also hope to see dolphins and humpback whales in season (August to March).
 
Some of the best diving in Costa Rica is found off Caño Island, which is reached by a 1.5-hour boat ride from Sierpe. Other activities include sea kayaking and fishing.
Day 14
Transfer by 4x4 vehicle or boat back to the main access road, where you will be met and transferred 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 near the airport.
Day 15
Transfer to San Jose Airport for your flight home.
 
Please note there is an airport tax of approx. $29 per person payable on departure.

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