Large tortuguero1a

Costa Rica Wildlife Holiday

A two week family holiday discovering Costa Rica’s spectacular wildlife and wilderness. Witness turtles hatching, and hike through rainforest teeming with life. Explore volcanic landscapes and experience Monteverde’s Cloud Forest by night. Enjoy dolphin and whale watching, and a thrilling treetop canopy walk. Stay in an elegant colonial hotel, on a coffee plantation, and in jungle and ocean fringed eco-lodges.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,022 per person economy class from London

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Tourdust is rated 5.0 out of 5 stars


…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....

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Itinerary

Overview


  • Two week tailor-made holiday in Costa Rica with a focus on the wildlife

  • See turtles, caimans, macaws, and howler and capuchin monkeys in Tortuguero National park

  • Try to spot hummingbirds and the elusive Quetzal in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

  • Explore Arenal’s volcanic landscape

  • Visit the pristine jungle of the renowned Osa Peninsula

  • Whale and dolphin watching in Uvita

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT SAN JOSE AIRPORT AND TRANSFER TO YOUR HOTEL
On arrival at the airport you will be met by our representative and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Accommodation: Hotel Grano de Oro, San Jose

DAY 2: SAN JOSE TO TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK (4.5HRS)
Today take a 3 ½ hour coach transfer with a stop for breakfast en route, followed by a one hour journey by motorised canoe to Tortuguero National Park, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. Arrive at your accommodation in time for lunch. Known as the ‘little Amazon’, Tortuguero is home to an impressive variety of birds and animals, including large numbers of caimans, macaws, and howler and capuchin monkeys. Activities available during your stay including a guided jungle walk, a visit to the local village, and a boat tour of the national park’s waterways. Activities take place in small groups with other guests from the lodge.
Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge, Tortuguero

DAY 3: JUNGLE HIKE AND BOAT TOUR OF TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
Today activities may include a guided hike in the jungle around the lodge and a boat tour of Totuguero's canals. Late July to September sees turtle hatching and nesting season within the national park, and is a huge draw for nature lovers. The main action takes place after nightfall, when hundreds of turtles emerge from the sea to lay their eggs in the sandy beach. If you are extremely lucky you might see the hatchlings emerge from their eggs and make their own way back down to the ocean. Note this seasonal activity is subject to permit availability, and that allocated viewing sessions may be late at night.
Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge, Tortuguero

DAY 4: TORTUGUERO TO ARENAL (4HRS)
This morning take a one hour boat transfer followed by a shared one hour drive to Guapiles. Here you will be met by your driver for a private two hour road transfer to Arenal. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Accommodation: Arenal Observatory, Arenal

DAY 5: ARENAL VOLCANO HIKE
Hike the trails of Arenal Volcano National Park and learn about the history of this rugged and fascinating area. Weather permitting, you will enjoy spectacular views of the volcano, along with the opportunity to walk on the dry lava fields. Although there have been no eruptions since 2010, visitors may occasionally hear the volcano rumbling and observe vapour clouds emerging from the crater. There should be good potential for wildlife viewing, as the ash layer in the soil has limited surrounding tree growth. The afternoon is free to spend at leisure; relax at one of the town’s famous hot spring resorts, or partake in an exhilarating zip wire experience.
Accommodation: Arenal Observatory, Arenal

DAY 6: ARENAL TO MONTEVERDE (2.5HRS); CLOUD FOREST NIGHT WALK
This morning, enjoy a two hour transfer by boat across Lake Arenal to Monteverde. Founded in 1972, the 3,500 hectare Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is internationally renowned for its dramatic biodiversity, and for its contributions to conservation and scientific research. On arrival at your accommodation, spend an afternoon at leisure, before setting out in the evening for a thrilling night walk in the Cloud Forest. This guided experience begins at sunset, when wildlife is at its most active. You will have the opportunity to hear and observe an impressive array of animals including sloth, coati, agouti, porcupine, and grey fox, along with numerous insects and hosts of sleeping birds.
Accommodation: Cloud Forest Lodge, Monteverde

DAY 7: MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST TOUR
Today you will hike through the well-marked trails, waterfalls, rivers, and observation areas of this prestigious reserve. Acclaimed as one of the ‘seven wonders’ of Costa Rica, the Cloud Forest’s geographical, topographical, and climatic conditions have spawned a remarkable diversity of wildlife. The reserve’s forests house numerous ecosystems inhabited by mammals, birds, reptiles, spiders, and insects, along with indigenous trees, plants, mosses, and tropical epiphytes and lianas. You may be lucky enough to spot the splendidly exotic Quetzal.
Accommodation: Cloud Forest Lodge, Monteverde

DAY 8: FLY TO OSA PENINSULA
This morning, take a private 2 ½ hour transfer to San Jose Airport, followed by a 50 minute flight by light aircraft to the Osa Peninsula. Considered the jewel of Costa Rica, the stunning Osa Peninsula remains relatively undiscovered, and spans vast tracts of primary rainforest and pristine coastline, all brimming with wildlife. Arrive at your accommodation by early afternoon, and enjoy the remaining day at your leisure.
Accommodation: El Remanso Lodge, Osa Peninsula

DAY 9: OSA PENINSULA - CANOPY TOUR
This morning, encounter the hidden life of the rainforest from the tree tops. Take part in a thrilling zip line canopy observation excursion, giving you an unforgettable bird’s eye view of the jungle and its inhabitants. The guided activity starts in the early morning with a short ridge hike to a series of suspension bridges, allowing you to climb to tree canopy level. Once you reach the first departure platform, you will use zip line cables to go from platform to platform, enjoying breath taking views of the forest.
Accommodation: El Remanso Lodge, Osa Peninsula

DAY 10: OSA PENINSULA - GUIDED HIKE
Today embark on a two hour guided rainforest hike where you will observe a multitude of wildlife. The dense tropical forest is home to a plethora of creatures including Costa Rica’s four monkey species (howler, spider, capuchin and squirrel) plus peccary, armadillo, kinkajou, and the elusive puma, jaguar, and ocelot. The area also hosts over 400 resident bird species, such as toucan, parrot, and macaw.
Several optional activities are available, including horse riding, kayaking, surfing, and dolphin watching at nearby Golfo Dulce.
Accommodation: El Remanso Lodge, Osa Peninsula

DAY 11: TRANSFER TO UVITA (3 HRS)
Relax during a private three hour transfer from the Osa Peninsula to Uvita, a world renowned whale watching destination fringed with beautiful beaches. Check in for a two night stay at a tranquil eco lodge.
Accommodation: La Cusinga Eco Lodge, Uvita

DAY 12: UVITA – WHALE WATCHING EXCURSION
Today embark on a scenic whale watching excursion along the stunning coastline of Marino Ballena National Park. Your boat trip will include several highlights of Costa Ballena: the Ventana sea caves, Ballena Island, and the famed Whales Tail at Punta Uvita. Keep eyes and ears open for humpback and pilot whales, as well as two resident dolphin species. (Humpback whales are a seasonal highlight, appearing from mid-July to late October, and from mid-December to the end of March.) Enjoy glimpsing marine wildlife amongst the coral reefs, and, weather permitting, indulge in a spot of snorkelling. (Note snorkelling may be limited during the rainy season, due to poor visibility).
Accommodation: La Cusinga Eco Lodge, Uvita

DAY 13: UVITA TO SAN JOSE (4HRS)
Return by private road transfer to San Jose, where the afternoon is free to spend at leisure.
Accommodation: Finca Rosa Blanca, San Jose

DAY 14: DEPARTURE
Today you will transfer to San Jose International Airport for your flight home.

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Historic hotel
- Near airport and attractions
- 35 bespoke colonial-style rooms
- Rooftop garden with twin jacuzzis

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Eco-friendly resort, 66 cabins
- Close to Tortuguero National Park
- Turtles, boat trips, nature walks, kayaking
- Rich biodiversity, excellent wildlife

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Close to Arenal Lake & Volcano
- Affordable option for groups & families
- Huge variety of activities
- Phenomenal birdlife

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Rural eco-lodge with stunning views
- Near Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
- Spacious rooms, restaurant/bar and lounge
- Hiking trails and zipline canopy tours

El Remanso

Osa Peninsula

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Eco-friendly rainforest lodge
- Great midrange option
- Water and land-based adventure activities
- Plenty of accommodation options

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Ecolodge with Ocean views
- Views over Ballena Marine National Park
- Simple, mid-range cabins
- River swimming

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Charming boutique property
- Secluded with stunning views
- Infinity pool, extensive grounds
- 20 mins to San Jose airport

Details

Getting there

From the UK: Direct Flights with a flight time of approximately 11 hours from the UK to Costa Rica San Jose airport are offered by BA (Twice or thrice per week depending on season), TUI (once per week to Liberia, seasonal) and Thomas Cook (once per week to San Jose, seasonal). Direct flights tend to be considerably more expensive than indirect flights to Costa Rica. Indirect flights involving one stop in Europe, USA or Panama are available with BA, American Airlines, KLM , Norwegian, TAP Portugal, Air Canada, Delta, United, and Iberia offering overall flight times of between 14 – 22 hours. Competitive deals are often available with BA and American Airlines flying via Miami, with the option of combining your Costa Rica holiday with a stay on South Beach, Miami. Return flights range from £720 to upwards of £2,000, depending on seasonality and demand. Please get in touch for a detailed quote, including international flights from the UK.
From the US:
From the East Coast, United offer direct flights to San Jose, taking approximately 5 ½ hours, with prices from $515 return. Avianca fly with one stop and a 7 - 8 hour flight time, with prices starting at $370 return. From the West Coast, American Airlines, United, and Avianca offer a flight time of between 8 - 10 hours involving one stop. Prices range from $450 to $610 return. Please get in touch for a detailed quote, including international flights from the US.

Price includes

Price for this sample itinerary is based on 2 people travelling together (or a family of 4 travelling together for the family price – note we do not recommend this safari for under 12s). Price includes all accommodation, transport in Costa Rica and guided activities where mentioned. Accommodation is a mix of full board (Tortuguero, Osa Peninsula) and breakfast only (Arenal, Monteverde, Uvita). Price is given as a guide and does not include international flights. Actual quote will vary depending on the number and age of your children, your travel dates and accommodation availability. Please call or enquire for a tailor-made quote including International flights.

When is best?

Costa Rica’s densely verdant terrain and sweeping rainforest owe much to its tropical climate. Generally, the country experiences its peak dry season from December to April, with May to November heralding the rainy or ‘green’ season. Rainfall can occur year round, although showers during the dry season tend to be short lived.
December to April: Peak visitor season: beaches and national parks are busy, and accommodation is in high demand. Most of the country enjoys plenty of sun and high temperatures, with minimal rainfall. The Caribbean Coast is usually at its driest during March. Wildlife viewing is generally excellent, including whale watching at Uvita from December to March.
May to August: The green season begins, bringing frequent showers to most regions. National parks see a slowdown in visitors, allowing crowd-free wildlife viewing, and surfing conditions can be good on key beaches. May and June can be good months to visit Arenal, when good visibility permits great views of the volcano. There are sunny periods in the Central Valley areas of San Jose and Manual Antonio National Park, and on the Caribbean Coast, where green sea turtle nesting along Tortuguero’s coastline is at its peak during July and August. July heralds the start of whale watching season at Uvita on the Southern Pacific Coast. The Northern Pacific coastline, including the Nicoya Peninsula, receives less rainfall year-round than the country as a whole, and often basks in sunny spells during July and August.
September to November: The height of the rainy season, with prolonged heavy rain showers and storms sweeping most of the country, and resultant sea swells bringing great surfing conditions along the Pacific Coast. Tourist accommodation may be closed, and roads in rural areas can be off limits, due to flooding. The Caribbean Coast, hot and humid for most of year, is usually at its driest during September and October, coinciding with the end of turtle nesting season. The Uvita whale watching season reaches its peak during October. In November the rains begin to abate, allowing low-season uninterrupted wildlife watching for nature lovers who don’t mind the odd shower. By the end of the month, visitor numbers are on the increase again.

Is it for me?

This holiday has a strong focus on the wildlife highlights of Costa Rica and would suit nature enthusiasts. The inclusion of the Osa Peninsula, undoubtedly the wildlife highlight of the trip, does add significantly to cost, so if you find this over budget, it would be worth considering whether to leave this part out (reluctantly).
For those with a more passing interest in wildlife, we would recommend one of our other itineraries in Costa Rica which tend to include one or two wildlife experiences balanced with other activities and non-wildlife locations.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 493 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam Kearns reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

  • The Namibia trip was fantastic!

    Self-driving was brilliant, and the chronology of the itinerary was perfect (against the flow/direction most other travelers took).

    As for specifics:

    OKONJIMA
    This place was the best!
    Best service, best staff, best food, best experiences, best facilities.
    We saw a cheetah kill, leopards, and white rhino (which we were not expecting).
    If you’ve never been you should go...If I ever go back to Namibia I will revisit.

    EMANYA
    The only (slight) disappointment.
    Maybe because it was right after Okonjima, but the service was lacking, the facilities were a bit run down, it was the only place with mosquitoes in the room with no net and no spray. Food was marginal. Not sure if there are better options in the area, though.

    OKAUKEUJO
    Etosha Park was amazing. There was so much wildlife with so little crowds.
    The Okaukeujo Camp had the best watering hole with animals coming in at all times of the night. A great experience exclusive to the camp.

    DORO NAWAS
    Beautiful place. Very private. Food and service excellent.
    A nice stopping point on the drive.

    SPITZKOPPE
    An amazing place...How they laid out and built it.
    Enjoyed exploring the grounds and the local area/sights.
    The staff was on par with Okonjima.
    2 days were perfect.

    Ivin provided us with good advice/information/recommendations along the route, along with a cell phone and cooler for the trip. The car was perfect.
    They represent Tourdust well!

    Again, another great trip you put together...Thank you!

    MissingEarl Wong reviewing Northern Namibia Highlights - Self Drive on 17 October 2018

  • We both suffered but enjoyed it immensely. Just how it should be!!!!
    Our route up the mountain, the Burguret trail is very arduous and certainly should not be used for people who are not very fit and experienced trekkers. It mainly followers animal trails through the forests and bog lands around the mountain. The Chogoria route down was great. The guide and porters were great. Wild camping means just that, really just what I wanted, but I have lived in Kenya.

    MissingJonathan Bailey reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 24 September 2018

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