Costa Rica is a nature-lover's paradise and this wildlife-focused small group tour takes you on an unforgettable adventure to one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. Get back to nature as you stay in rustic lodges and explore tropical rainforest, cloud forest, national parks and wild beaches that are home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife, from howler monkeys to hummingbirds.

• San José: 2 nights
• Tortuguero: 2 nights
• Sarapiquí: 2 nights
• Arenal: 2 nights
• Monteverde: 2 nights

11nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE

Costa Rica is a nature-lover's paradise and this wildlife-focused small group tour takes you on an unforgettable adventure to one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. Get back to nature as you stay in rustic lodges and explore tropical rainforest, cloud forest, national parks and wild beaches that are home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife, from howler monkeys to hummingbirds.

• San José: 2 nights
• Tortuguero: 2 nights
• Sarapiquí: 2 nights
• Arenal: 2 nights
• Monteverde: 2 nights

11nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to San José Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to San José. Upon arrival in the capital, transfer to your hotel for two nights. Stay: Park Inn by Radisson San José (or similar).

Day 2: San José Experience your first taste of Costa Rica’s incredible natural landscapes with a visit to Irazu Volcano. Drive north through the city of Alajuela, tranquil villages and coffee plantations before reaching Poás Volcano National Park. A short walk will take you to the main crater which is believed to be one of the world’s largest geyser craters. If the weather is good then you’ll be able to see the blue sulphur lake inside the crater. Hike to the second crater, taking time to admire the scenery and look for native birds along the way.

Return to San José and explore the city on a tour including visits to the Metallic School, the National Museum and early 19th-Century National Theatre. This evening you'll have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers during a welcome dinner at a traditional restaurant. Enjoy authentic Costa Rica cuisine made with fresh, locally-grown vegetables while learning about the origins and recipes of your meal. This is a great opportunity to ask your tour leader any questions you may have about the adventure ahead. Stay: Park Inn by Radisson San José (or similar). B, D.

Day 3: San José to Tortuguero Rise early to travel by road through Braulio Carrillo National Park into the Caribbean lowlands and continue through the jungle by a boat transfer to Mawamba Lodge. Nestled in rainforest on a sandbar overlooking the Caribbean, this remote lodge is an ideal base from which to explore Tortuguero National Park. The park is an area of significant biological diversity, which includes toucans, monkeys, crocodiles and colourful frogs. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. You could stroll down to the beach, explore the butterfly, frog and iguana gardens or relax by the pool. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours, 75 miles. Stay: Mawamba Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 4: Tortuguero Rise early for a thrilling boat trip through the canals of Tortuguero National Park. At this time of day you have a greater chance of spotting wildlife and exploring in small open boats gives better visibility. Your tour leader will be able to tell you all about the diverse wildlife including sloths, endangered manatees and the green turtles which nest here every year. Return to the lodge in time for breakfast and take a walk through the garden. This afternoon you’ll have the option of going on a second boat trip to spot even more wildlife. Stay: Mawamba Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Tortuguero to Sarapiquí Travel by boat to Pavona or Caño Blanco and continue by road to Chilamate de Sarapiquí where you can spend time with some locals and learn about the cultivation of crops. Enjoy a warm welcome from the Gómez family and a fresh fruit juice before exploring their Finca Surá eco-plantation. Learn how the plants are grown without any negative impact on the local wildlife as Don Rodolfo guides you around the pineapple and sugar cane plantations. You’ll get the chance to plant some pineapple seedlings before heading to your hotel which lies in the foothills of Braulio Carrillo National Park. Enjoy a leisurely evening. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 87 miles. Stay: Hacienda La Isla (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 6: Sarapiquí Chocoholics are in for a treat today on a chocolate tour where you can learn about the history of chocolate in Mesoamerica and enjoy some tastings. Discover the important role that cacao played in Mayan and Aztec ceremonies and how chocolate was used as a medicine and even a currency! Continue to La Quinta de Sarapiquí for a fascinating tour of a leaf-cutter ant farm. These farmers of the insect world are one of the world’s most complex civilisations. Learn how they carry leaves to their nest and grow a fungus underground that they then use for food. Return to your hotel for dinner. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 50 miles. Stay: Hacienda La Isla (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Sarapiquí to Arenal Journey west to the peaceful town of La Fortuna and enjoy panoramic views of Arenal Volcano from your hotel. Admire the region’s stunning landscapes during a boat trip on Arenal Lake. The surrounding forested hills and pastureland are dominated by the volcano and you may spot local water birds such as great blue herons and snowy egrets, as well as wildlife on the shores such as toucans, coatis and howler monkeys. Return to your hotel for a relaxing soak in the hot springs. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 81 miles. Stay: Arenal Manoa (or similar). B.

Day 8: Arenal Hike along the Arenal 1968 trail which follows a network of trails along the original 1968 lava flow. Admire views of the volcano and emerald lagoon and keep an eye out for wildlife such as glass frogs, pacas, sloths, white-faced monkeys, eyelash pit vipers and over 200 species of birds including the crimson-fronted parakeet. Stay: Arenal Manoa (or similar). B, D.

Day 9: Arenal to Monteverde Drive along the northern shore of Arenal Lake and through the charming town of Tilarán before heading along a bumpy track that will take you up into the mountains and misty cloud forests of Monteverde. This afternoon, visit a local coffee plantation and learn how the beans are grown, milled and roasted. Enjoy tastings as you discover the history, culture and traditions of coffee-growing in Costa Rica on this family farm which grows coffee, cocoa and sugar cane. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours; 137 miles). Stay: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (or similar). B.

Day 10: Monteverde Today you can look forward to a thrilling rainforest adventure with a visit to the Hanging Bridges in Selvatura Park. You’ll be able to walk right into the heart of the rainforest canopy on the Tree Top Walkways which consist of a 1.9 mile trail that crosses through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Make your way across eight different bridges of various lengths with altitudes of up to 60 metres above the forest floor. Enjoy incredible views of the forest and watch exotic birds flying by. Stay: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (or similar). B, D.

Day 11: Monteverde to San José This morning, transfer back to San José for your overnight flight to the UK. If your rainforest adventure has left you in need of some relaxation time then you can choose from two beach extensions, both in four star hotels, either set above Manuel Antonio National Park or on the stunning Papagayo Peninsula. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 84 miles. B.


Stay longer

National Parks and Beaches 4 nights
Relaxing on golden sands near Manuel Antonio National Park is the perfect way to unwind after your tour. Look out for a range of willdife including three-toed sloths, endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys and 184 bird species.

Costa Rica Beach 4 nights
The Papagayo Peninsula is a sun-drenched natural paradise renowned for its untouched beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Day 1: UK to San José Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to San José. Upon arrival in the capital, transfer to your hotel for two nights. Stay: Park Inn by Radisson San José (or similar).

Day 2: San José Begin your exploration with a visit to Irazú Volcano. Drive east, passing through the city of Cartago, Costa Rica's first capital, and enjoy views over the Central Valley from the volcanic peak. If it's a clear day with no clouds then you can even see the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans! The weather can be very changeable here, quickly switching from sunshine to wind and rain, while the colour of the lagoon varies from emerald green to bright turquoise, depending on the mineral levels.

Return to San José and discover the city's highlights on a tour which includes visits to the Metallic School and Morazán Park. Learn about the social developments during the government of President Guardia as you drive through the eastern section of the city before stopping at the National Park and its monument. Pass the National Museum and cathedral before enjoying a guided tour of the early 19th-Century National Theatre. This evening you'll have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers during a welcome dinner at a traditional restaurant. Enjoy authentic Costa Rican cuisine made with fresh, locally-grown vegetables while learning about the origins and recipes of your meal. This is also a great opportunity to ask your tour leader any questions you may have about the adventure ahead. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 62 miles. Stay: Park Inn by Radisson San José (or similar). B, D.

Day 3: San José to Tortuguero Rise early to travel by road through Braulio Carrillo National Park into the Caribbean lowlands and continue through the jungle by a boat transfer to Mawamba Lodge. Nestled in rainforest on a sandbar overlooking the Caribbean, this remote lodge is an ideal base from which to explore Tortuguero National Park. The park is an area of significant biological diversity, which includes toucans, monkeys, crocodiles and colourful frogs. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. You could stroll down to the beach, explore the butterfly, frog and iguana gardens or relax by the pool. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours, 75 miles. Stay: Mawamba Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 4: Tortuguero Rise early for a thrilling boat trip through the canals of Tortuguero National Park. At this time of day you have a greater chance of spotting wildlife and exploring in small open boats gives better visibility. Your tour leader will be able to tell you all about the diverse wildlife including sloths, endangered manatees and the green turtles which nest here every year. Return to the lodge in time for breakfast and take a walk through the garden. This afternoon you’ll have the option of going on a second boat trip to spot even more wildlife. This evening you can look forward to a unique dining experience at the lodge's floating restaurant. Soak up the scenery and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as you dine while gliding along the Tortuguero Canals. Stay: Mawamba Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Tortuguero to Sarapiquí Travel by boat to Pavona or Caño Blanco and then continue by bus to the town of Guápiles which is the gateway between the Caribbean coast and the Central Highlands. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to Sarapiquí. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy some time at leisure before dinner. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 41 miles. Stay: Hacienda La Isla (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 6: Sarapiquí Chocoholics are in for a treat today on a chocolate tour where you can learn about the history of chocolate in Mesoamerica and enjoy some tastings. Discover the important role that cacao played in Mayan and Aztec ceremonies and how chocolate was used as a medicine and even a currency!

Continue to Chilamate de Sarapiquí where you can spend time with some locals and learn about the cultivation of crops. Enjoy a warm welcome from the Gómez family and a fresh fruit juice before exploring their Finca Surá eco-plantation. Learn how the plants are grown without any negative impact on the local wildlife as Don Rodolfo guides you around the pineapple and sugar cane plantations. You’ll get the chance to plant some pineapple seedlings before heading to your hotel which lies in the foothills of Braulio Carrillo National Park. Enjoy a leisurely evening. Return to your hotel for dinner. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 50 miles. Stay: Hacienda La Isla (or similar). B, D.

Day 7: Sarapiquí to Arenal This morning you will head to La Quinta de Sarapiquí for a fascinating tour of a leaf-cutter ant farm. These farmers of the insect world are one of the world’s most complex civilisations. Learn how they carry leaves to their nest and grow a fungus underground that they then use for food.


Journey west to the peaceful town of La Fortuna and enjoy panoramic views of Arenal Volcano from your hotel. Admire the region’s stunning landscapes during a boat trip on Arenal Lake. The surrounding forested hills and pastureland are dominated by the volcano and you may spot local water birds such as great blue herons and snowy egrets, as well as wildlife on the shores such as toucans, coatis and howler monkeys. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 81 miles. Stay: Arenal Manoa (or similar). B.

Day 8: Arenal Hike along the Arenal 1968 trail which follows a network of trails along the original 1968 lava flow. Admire views of the volcano and emerald lagoon and keep an eye out for wildlife such as glass frogs, pacas, sloths, white-faced monkeys, eyelash pit vipers and over 200 species of birds including the crimson-fronted parakeet. Return to La Fortuna and visit the Casona Rio Fortuna, a traditional country estate. Experience a taste of local culture and cuisine during a cooking class with a local family. Tuck into your delicious home-cooked lunch and explore the farm and gardens before returning to your hotel. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 25 miles. Stay: Arenal Manoa (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Arenal to Monteverde Drive along the northern shore of Arenal Lake and through the charming town of Tilarán before heading along a bumpy track that will take you up into the mountains and misty cloud forests of Monteverde. This afternoon, visit a local coffee plantation and learn how the beans are grown, milled and roasted. Enjoy tastings as you discover the history, culture and traditions of coffee-growing in Costa Rica on this family farm which grows coffee, cocoa and sugar cane. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours; 137 miles). Stay: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (or similar). B.

Day 10: Monteverde Today you can look forward to a thrilling rainforest adventure with a visit to the Hanging Bridges in Selvatura Park. You’ll be able to walk right into the heart of the rainforest canopy on the Tree Top Walkways which consist of a 1.9 mile trail that crosses through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Make your way across eight different bridges of various lengths with heights of up to 60 metres above the forest floor. You'll also have time to visit the hummingbird garden where you can see these beautiful shimmering birds close up – they may even land on your hand! This evening you can reminisce on the highlights of your trip during a farewell dinner at your hotel. Stay: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (or similar). B, D.

Day 11: Monteverde to San José This morning, enjoy one last fix of wildlife with a visit to Carara National Park (approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 84 miles). Along the way, stop off at Tarcoles River Bridge – also known as Crocodile Bridge, to see groups of large crocodiles swimming in the river or sunbathing on the muddy bank. Spend two hours exploring Carara National Park which shelters an abundance of wildlife including monkeys, sloths and scarlet macaws. The forest's mix of humid and mildly temperate climates is an ideal environment for orchids. Transfer to San José for your overnight flight to the UK. If your rainforest adventure has left you in need of some relaxation time then you can choose from two beach extensions, both in four star hotels, either set above Manuel Antonio National Park or on the stunning Papagayo Peninsula. If you extend your stay with time in Papagayo then you will travel directly to the resort this morning instead of visiting the national park. B.


Stay longer

National Parks and Beaches 4 nights
Relaxing on golden sands near Manuel Antonio National Park is the perfect way to unwind after your tour. Look out for a range of willdife including three-toed sloths, endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys and 184 bird species.

Costa Rica Beach 4 nights
The Papagayo Peninsula is a sun-drenched natural paradise renowned for its untouched beaches and crystal-clear waters.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

You’ll love this tour if you want to discover the contrasts between Costa Rica’s cloud forest, volcanic regions, coastal areas and rainforest while spotting incredible wildlife. A sense of adventure and reasonable level of fitness are required.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed
• For guests over the age of 16
• Average group size of 14 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Some early starts
• Easy to medium level jungle and forest hikes of up to 3 hours
• The lodges are very basic with minimal facilities
• Driving times are approximate
• Some of the roads are quite rough and bumpy
• Some transfers are by boat so we suggest you wear suitable footwear and clothing in case of possible wet landings
• Insect repellent, warm clothes, waterproofs, comfortable walking shoes and layers are essential as you will experience varying climates (hot, steamy rainforests and cool, misty cloud forests)
• 12kg luggage allowance when travelling to Tortuguero. The rest of your luggage will be stored in San José and returned after your Tortuguero stay
• A departure tax of US$29 is payable in San José.

Accommodation on tour

This tour takes you as close to nature as possible for an authentic rainforest experience. The small and rustic eco-friendly lodges are basic, with limited facilities and no modern luxuries such as air-conditioning but they have incredible natural surroundings, views and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Waking up to birdsong and forest views is a wonderful way to begin your day.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £655

Is this for you?

You’ll love this tour if you want to discover the contrasts between Costa Rica’s cloud forest, volcanic regions, coastal areas and rainforest while spotting incredible wildlife. A sense of adventure and reasonable level of fitness are required.

Good to know

• For guests over the age of 16
• Average group size of 14 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Some early starts
• Easy to medium level jungle and forest hikes of up to 3 hours
• The lodges are very basic with minimal facilities
• Driving times are approximate
• Some of the roads are quite rough and bumpy
• Some transfers are by boat so we suggest you wear suitable footwear and clothing in case of possible wet landings
• Insect repellent, warm clothes, waterproofs, comfortable walking shoes and layers are essential as you will experience varying climates (hot, steamy rainforests and cool, misty cloud forests)
• 12kg luggage allowance when travelling to Tortuguero. The rest of your luggage will be stored in San José and returned after your Tortuguero stay
• If you choose to extend your stay with a visit to Papagayo then you will travel directly there on Day 11 instead of visiting Carara National Park.

Accommodation on tour

This tour takes you as close to nature as possible for an authentic rainforest experience. The small and rustic eco-friendly lodges are basic, with limited facilities and no modern luxuries such as air-conditioning but they have incredible natural surroundings, views and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Waking up to birdsong and forest views is a wonderful way to begin your day.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £635

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

Jan 13; Feb 10, 17; Mar 10; Apr 11; Dec 01

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Tour dates

2019 Jan 12, 26; Feb 09, 23; Mar 09, 27; Apr 10; Nov 02, 16
2020 Jan 11, 25; Feb 08, 22; Mar 07, 25; Apr 08; Oct 31; Nov 14, 28; Dec 05

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £605 per person

Costa Rica Explorer

Kuoni highlights

Being part of a small group means that there'll be plenty of wildlife-viewing opportunities and a relaxed setting for quizzing your guide about the incredible flora and fauna in the national parks. You'll see all of the main highlights and also get to enjoy some fantastic immersive local experiences including a visit to a family-owned pineapple plantation and chocolate, coffee and ant colony tours.

Kuoni highlights

Being part of a small group means that there'll be plenty of wildlife-viewing opportunities and a relaxed setting for quizzing your guide about the incredible flora and fauna in the national parks. You'll see all of the main highlights and also get to enjoy some fantastic experiences including a visit to a family-owned pineapple plantation and a cooking class with a local family.

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Escorted Touring 2018/19