11nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE

Costa Rica is a paradise for nature lovers, and this adventurous tour is perfect for discovering the country's different climate zones and the unique flora and fauna in each. Get back to nature as you explore the jungles and coast of the Tortuguero National Park, the agricultural heartland of Sarapiquí, the volcanic landscape around La Fortuna and the cool cloud forests of Monteverde.

• San José: 2 nights
• Tortuguero: 2 nights
• Sarapiquí: 2 nights
• La Fortuna: 2 nights
• Monteverde: 2 nights

11nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Stay longer

Manuel Antonio National Park 4 nights Head to the coastal resort town of Quepos, gateway to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Relax on the secluded coves that dominate the area or head into the National Park for more opportunities to spot Costa Rica’s famous wildlife.

Papagayo Peninsula 4 nights Journey north to one of the all-inclusive resorts on the Papagayo Peninsula, where you can relax on secluded beaches or continue the adventure in the wildlife-rich forests. If you extend your stay with time in Papagayo then you'll travel directly to the resort on Day 11 instead of visiting Carara National Park.

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. This evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner of traditional Costa Rican cuisine.
Stay: Park Inn (or similar)
Meals: Dinner

Day 2: San José Head through the lush Central Valley landscape to visit the lofty Irazú Volcano – on a clear day you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Return to San José for a walking tour of the main sights including the Metallic School, built as a primary school in the 19th Century and made entirely out of 1000 tonnes of metal shipped from Belgium. Visit the renowned National Theatre, built as a place for wealthy plantation owners and constructed using Italian marble and French glass.
Stay: Park Inn (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: San José to Tortuguero Rise early and travel through the Braulio Carrillo National Park towards the Caribbean coast. You'll stop en route for breakfast and join other guests staying at your lodge in Tortuguero, before all boarding a boat together for a thrilling one-hour journey to your lodge through the canals – the first opportunity to spot incredibly biodiverse wildlife, including toucans, sloths, monkeys, crocodiles and frogs. Travel by boat to the small village of Tortuguero, where you can visit the turtle nesting beach (turtles won’t be nesting at the time of your visit) and browse stalls and souvenir shops, or stock up on water and snacks for your jungle adventure. There's an optional twilight tour to experience the sounds of the rainforest at night (payable locally). Approx. journey time: 5½ hours, 75 miles.
Stay: Mawamba Lodge (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Tortuguero Spend today enjoying jungle activities organised by the lodge. Rise early again for a thrilling boat trip through the canals of Tortoguero National Park. At this time of day you have a greater chance of spotting wildlife as it wakes up, and travelling in small boats gets you close to the action. Return to the lodge for breakfast before heading out on a walk through the gardens to discover small animals, birds and insects of the National Park. The afternoon is at leisure – go on a Tortuguero canals boat tour or kayak tour of quieter parts of the network (payable locally). Enjoy a sunset dining tour on the Katonga floating restaurant, the only one in Costa Rica. Stay: Mawamba Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Tortuguero to Sarapiquí After breakfast, travel by boat to the pier and continue your journey back into the Central Highlands towards Sarapiquí. This is one of the most fertile parts of Costa Rica, producing bananas, coffee and cacao, and home to nature reserves, national parks and the endangered Green Macaw. Arrive at your hotel with time to settle in before dinner. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 65 miles.
Stay: Hacienda La Isla (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sarapiquí Embark on a chocolate tour and discover its significance in regional history. Take part in the production process before enjoying your own chocolate drink creation. Afterwards head to a local farm to learn about the importance of agriculture to Costa Rica – enjoy a warm welcome and learn how the plants are grown without any negative impact on local wildlife, which includes colourful butterflies and frogs. The plantation owner will guide you around the pineapple and sugar cane fields and seasonal fruits; you can then help plant some pineapple seedlings. Spend the afternoon at leisure in your hotel – swim in the pool or discover the gardens and nature trails that blend into the surrounding rainforest.
Stay: Hacienda La Isla (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Sarapiquí to La Fortuna Before leaving Sarapiquí discover the life of the leaf-cutter ant, learning how they carry leaves to their nest and grow fungus underground to provide food for the colony – this is a unique and fascinating experience. Continue to La Fortuna, a popular tourist destination at the foot of Arenal Volcano. Check in at your hotel and head for a sunset birdwatching cruise on Lake Arenal, where you'll take in stunning views over the volcano and Tilarán Mountains in the distance – you may spot wading birds such as great blue herons and snowy egrets, as well as toucans, coatis and howler monkeys on the shores. Afterwards, enjoy dinner at your hotel. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 81 miles.
Stay: Arenal Manoa or Arenal Springs (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: La Fortuna Rise early for a two-hour moderate hike along the Arenal 1968 trail, which follows a network of trails along the original 1968 lava flow that destroyed three towns and changed the landscape of the area. Look out for wildlife in the forest including frogs, sloths, monkeys and over 200 species of birds, before discovering the old lava fields. Weather permitting, you could have amazing views of the volcano from the viewpoints that line the route. The afternoon is then free to enjoy the facilities at your hotel or book a local excursion.
Stay: Arenal Manoa or Arenal Springs (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: La Fortuna to Monteverde Drive along the northern shore of Lake Arenal and through the charming town of Tilarán before heading along a slow and bumpy track into the mountains and cool cloud forests of Monteverde, 1400 metres above sea level. This afternoon you'll visit a local family-run plantation which grows coffee, cocoa and sugar cane. Learn how the beans are grown, milled and roasted, enjoy tastings, discover the family’s history and the role of these products in Costa Rica’s culture. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours, 137 miles.
Stay: Ficus Sunset Suites or Poco a Poco (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Monteverde Visit the Hanging Bridges in Selvatura Park. Walk into the heart of the rainforest canopy on the Tree Top Walkways which consist of a 1.9-mile trail through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Make your way across eight bridges with heights of up to 60 metres above the forest floor, enjoy incredible views and look for exotic birds. You'll also visit the hummingbird garden to see over 100 of these iridescent birds darting around tropical flowers. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before enjoying a farewell dinner with the group.
Stay: Ficus Sunset Suites or Poco a Poco (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Monteverde to San José Enjoy one last fix of wildlife with a visit to Carara National Park. Stop off en route at Tárcoles 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, home to 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, or extend your stay at one of Costa Rica’s coastal resorts. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 120 miles.
Meals: Breakfast


Stay longer

Manuel Antonio National Park 4 nights Head to the coastal resort town of Quepos, gateway to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Relax on the secluded coves that dominate the area or head into the National Park for more opportunities to spot Costa Rica’s famous wildlife.

Papagayo Peninsula 4 nights Journey north to one of the all-inclusive resorts on the Papagayo Peninsula, where you can relax on secluded beaches or continue the adventure in the wildlife-rich forests. If you extend your stay with time in Papagayo then you'll travel directly to the resort on Day 11 instead of visiting Carara National Park.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

You'll love this tour if you're looking for a rustic adventure, and don’t mind forsaking some luxury comforts to get into the heart of the wildlife.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey, where the minimum age is 10)
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or local traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag
• A good level of fitness is required

What to expect

• Weather conditions in Costa Rica can change rapidly – being covered in rain forest, it can rain at any time. Waterproofs are therefore essential
• Sturdy footwear and light coloured clothing is recommended for all outdoor activities
• Temperatures can vary and drop dramatically at altitude, so warm layers are recommended
• Mosquito repellent is a must for visiting jungle and forested areas
• There is a luggage limit of 12kg when visiting Tortuguero, additional luggage will be securely stored until your return, therefore it’s essential to take an additional small bag
• If you extend your stay in Papagayo, you will travel directly there on Day 11 instead of visiting Carara National Park
• Eco-friendly lodges are rustic with limited facilities

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 sit within incredible natural surroundings. This allows you to make the most of the wildlife viewing opportunities, and waking up to birdsong, howling monkeys and stunning rainforest views is a wonderful way to begin your day.

Solo travellers

Sole-use room from £3568

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2021 Jan 16; Mar 6, 13; Sep 25; Oct 30; Nov 13

2022 Jan 22; Feb 19; Mar 12; Sep 24; Oct 29; Nov 13

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• All specified flights

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £4246 per person.

Costa Rica Explorer

Kuoni highlights

Kuoni highlights

Dine on a floating restaurant Enjoy a sunset dinner floating on the canals in Tortuguero surrounded by nature.

Follow a lava trail Hike the Mirador 1968 Lava Trail at the foot of the spectacular Arenal Volcano to witness the stunning views over the volcano and lake.

Cross hanging bridges Follow the treetop walkways in Monteverde which provide the best vantage point to observe the beauty of the cloud forest.

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Escorted Touring 2019/20