Costa Rica is of course famous for its great abundance of wildlife and we know that a lot of people visit the country to experience this. We have therefore put together this suggested itinerary to take in some of the main highlights of the country with spotting animals as the aim. You begin at the waterways of Tortuguero to spot the likes of otters and caimans, before heading to Arenal and its local nature reserves. The cloud-forest of Monteverde has unique species due to the climate here and you then have a quick stop at the famous Monteverde National Park before ending in the Osa Peninsula – one of the most biodiverse places on the planet!
Upon your arrival at San Jose International Airport, a representative will meet and greet you, and will provide you with all the necessary documentation you will need during your holiday; then, you will be transferred to your hotel in the city centre to rest and relax after your flight. You will have an early start tomorrow, so we recommend enjoying one of our restaurant recommendations near to your hotel.
Early in the morning, you will depart from San Jose to the Domestic Terminal to board a local flight to Tortuguero. During the flight you will enjoy magical views of Braulio Carrillo National Park. Upon arrival at Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, you may schedule additional tours (at additional cost) or walk in the gardens, hike the trails behind the lodge or slip into a hammock set between the Tropical Rainforest and the Tortuguero River. The afternoon is at your leisure.
After breakfast, leave the lodge by boat (shared with other guests) with your Tortuguero Naturalist Guide to explore the creeks of Tortuguero National Park. The morning hours are especially active in the rain forest. It is not uncommon to find troops of Howler monkeys, see caimans swimming neaby and you might even encounter a River Otter hunting. This afternoon your guide will take you on a visit to the local village with a population of approximately 1500 people. Rest of the day at leisure.
This morning you will board a domestic flight to Arenal Volcano area. On arrivalaprivate transfer will take you to Arenal Observatory Lodge where you will stay the next two nights. This eco-lodge is perfectly positioned directly between the massive Arenal Volcano and deep blue Lake Arenal. No other hotel in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and the Arenal area is so close to the famous volcano and its lovely lake. Spend the afternoon at leisure enjoying the views.
The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Frio are biological humid areas considered one of the richest in biological diversity in Costa Rica. Here you can find a great variety of resident and migratory birds plus three different species of monkeys as well as iguanas, sloths, turtles and caimans. You will transfer from Arenal to Los Chiles, just 4km from the Nicaraguan border where you will board your boat for this floating style safari experience
Your transfer begins by a boat ride over the lake, perfect for birdwatching followed by a car transfer up through the mountains and into the cloudforest. You will travel to more than 1300 metres above sea level so you will feel a change in temperature here. Costa Rica represents 4% of the plant species on the planet and highland cloud forests of Monteverde are where 3,021 species are known, including 755 species of trees, and the most species (over 500) of orchids on the planet.
This morning is left for you to relax at your leisure in the reserve. If you are an adrenaline seeker this would be a great time to add in a zip-lining experience! Late this afternoon head into the reserve with your guide to see different species emerge as night draws in. At this hour the display of wildlife is a unique show from a nocturnal perspective. The hike starts in the hummingbird gallery and continues for about a mile slowly searching for different animals. Return back to your property for dinner.
On this day you will continue to one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica’s central Pacific, Manuel Antonio. As you descend from the mountains of the cloud forest to the coast, you will feel a warm change in temperature and the landscapes will be adorned by various beaches along the Pacific Coast. Reaching Manuel Antonio you will be greeted by a mixture of lovely white sand beaches, jungle and rainforest full of wildlife. Spend the next three nights here.
Today you will visit the Manuel Antonio National Park which has a unique and beautiful combination of lush tropical forest and beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters. Inside the park, there is a wide variety of vegetation, lagoons, mangroves, 109 species of mammals and 184 bird species. You can see several species of birds, reptiles and monkeys including the three-toed sloth. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the hotel facilities or to explore the area on your own.
Today we have left for you to enjoy a beach day at your leisure. You may wish to walk along the beach or just relax by the pool. You can book additional activities in advance or when you are there through the hotel. Among the activities you can choose from are; horse riding, surfing lessons, canopy walks, kayaking, fishing and mask diving.
After breakfast, you will continue to the South Pacific area of Costa Rica, specifically the area of Sierpe. Upon arrival, a boat will take you across the river and the sea to the selected Lodge. You will stay in the next three nights in Corcovado. This area of the South Pacific of Costa Rica is currently called “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. This region is home of 350 species of birds, 150 species of mammals, over 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, about 5500 insects, and 500 species of trees.
After Breakfast, you will enjoy an excursion to Corcovado National Park, located in the Osa Peninsula.
This is a wonderful opportunity to see the primary and secondary forest, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. The boat trip to the ranger station takes approximately 30 minutes and hopefully you will spot whales, dolphins or other marine species. From here you will continue on the trails through the secondary jungle spotting different wildlife on the way.
Located 12 miles from the coastline your boat trip will take about 45 minutes to the island. On the island, it is possible to observe the stone spheres made by the first civilizations that inhabited the area. There is a beautiful beach to relax on, but the main attraction is heading underwater where there are five platforms of coral reefs, the. Dark volcanic rock is home to many impressive species of marine flora and fauna. The water is perfect for snorkelling and exploring marine life.
You will have a sea and land transfer today to get you back to Drake airstrip and your domestic flight to San Jose. Here you will board your international flight. Bon Voyage!
This itinerary costs from £3,210 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.
You can get flights from £550 per person return and do ask us for advice. We can book the flights for you, but a booking fee may apply.