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Discover Costa Rica - Small Group Tour

Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,025

Discover rainforests, mountain ranges, and tropical coasts on this exploration of Costa Rica’s abundant natural highlights. Get acquainted with the country in the colonial streets of the capital San Jose before spotting sea turtles on the coast at Tortuguero, hiking to a cascading waterfall beneath the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, and spotting beautiful Quetzals in the Sevegre Valley.


This 15-day small group tour takes you through the rainforests of Costa Rica.

Your Costa Rica vacation starts in the capital of San Jose, tucked beneath volcanoes to the north and the Talamanca Mountains to the south. San Jose is often treated more as a jumping off point to the surrounding countryside than a destination in its own right, but this historic city is worth exploring. Pass through Barrio Amon to see its colonial architecture or head to the centralized Plaza de la Cultura to see the National Theatre of Costa Rica. If you happen to visit on a weekend, be sure to hit up the farmers market and see the crowds at Parque La Sabana.

From San Jose, begin your tour through Costa Rica’s national parks with a visit to Tortuguero, the “Land of Turtles.” Located on the northeastern Caribbean coast, Tortuguero boasts Afro-Caribbean roots and is one of the best places in the world to spot sea turtles, especially the endangered Green Turtle. Take an early morning boat ride to discover the country’s coastline and spot these wonderful reptiles, as well as hundreds of species of birds. Head west to La Fortuna, where iguanas wander the streets and sloths peek down from the canopies. This agricultural town is most famous for Cerro Arenal or Arenal Volcano, which erupted in 1968 and continued to spew lava and ash clouds until a few years ago. Hike through the forest at the foot of the volcano and gaze upon La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65-metre-high waterfall that falls into an emerald pool.

Pass onto Monteverde and its rainforests that crest mountains and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. While Monteverde is undeniably impressive, Santa Elena National Park offers similar cloud-wrapped peaks with only 10 percent of the tourists. Pass through its misty forests, keeping your eyes peeled for monkeys, sloths, and birds that line the trees overhead. Head south to Manuel Antonio National Park to hike the park’s winding trail through rainforest, across white-sand beaches, and over cresting rocks in search of iguanas, sloths, monkeys, and hundreds of species of tropical birds. In Manuel Antonio you also have the chance for a close encounter with monkeys as they pass down from the forest to the shoreline in search of food.

In Piedras Blancas National Park you’ll witness Costa Rica’s greatest biodiversity packed into a compact nature reserve. While the park has many of the same species as Monteverde or Santa Elena such as sloths and monkeys, you’ll also find pumas, jaguars, and bats. Move onto to Savegre Cloud Forest to close out your exploration of the country’s rainforests. Located in the Cerro de la Muerte mountain range, the Sevegre Valley is possibly the best place in the world to see the Resplendent Quetzal, an endangered bird with exotic red-and-green plumage. Return to San Jose, stopping by a local school in Copey along the way, to end your trip to Costa Rica.


 

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Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,025

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

San Jose

Please aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. Please advise us of your flight information to coordinate. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Park Inn Hotel by Radisson

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    Park Inn Hotel by Radisson



    Looking for a hotel in the heart of Costa Rica's largest metropolitan area? The Park Inn by Radisson San Jose, Costa Rica places you within walking distance of downtown, several business parks and the well-known Paseo Colon, the city's main avenue. Getting hungry? Stop by ...

    Looking for a hotel in the heart of Costa Rica's largest metropolitan area? The Park Inn by Radisson San Jose, Costa Rica places you within walking distance of downtown, several business parks and the well-known Paseo Colon, the city's main avenue. Getting hungry? Stop by the on-site RBG Bar & Grill for a selection of tempting dishes. You can get work done in our business center, and then reward yourself with a swim in the outdoor pool.

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Day 2

Tortuguero

Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's vast network of waterways, canals and swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier at Siquirres we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is nestled on a small strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it's possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today's travel time will be in the region of six hours including a break for breakfast.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Laguna Lodge

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    Laguna Lodge



    Laguna Lodge is a rain forest ecotourism lodge located along Costa Rica's northern Caribbean Zone. This region is the most important nesting site in the entire western half of the Caribbean for the green sea turtle. The lodge offers 80 standard rooms with views to ...

    Laguna Lodge is a rain forest ecotourism lodge located along Costa Rica's northern Caribbean Zone. This region is the most important nesting site in the entire western half of the Caribbean for the green sea turtle. The lodge offers 80 standard rooms with views to the gardens and forest that surround it.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Conference Facilities
    • Restaurant

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Day 3

Boat tour around Tortuguero

An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river. The lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, or alternatively you can join an optional second boat trip, visit the beach or follow a short walking trail through the forest

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano

Leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to Siquirres pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Arenal, passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations on the way. Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until fairly recently, when it entered a resting phase and can no longer be seen spitting ash, smoke or lava. However there is still a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you'll have the opportunity to visit one of the excellent hot springs this evening. Other excursions are available to book locally, such as a night Sky Tram tour through the rainforest. In clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base, the nearby town of La Fortuna. Today's travelling time is around five and a half hours including a lunch stop.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hotel San Bosco

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    Hotel San Bosco



    Hotel San Bosco in the center of La Fortuna is just 1 block away from the Banco Nacional, near the Arenal Volcano. Hotel San Bosco contains 34 guest rooms all equipped with air conditioning, ensuite and television. The hotel is ideal for exploring the nearby ...

    Hotel San Bosco in the center of La Fortuna is just 1 block away from the Banco Nacional, near the Arenal Volcano. Hotel San Bosco contains 34 guest rooms all equipped with air conditioning, ensuite and television. The hotel is ideal for exploring the nearby waterfalls, caves, thermal hot springs and the Arenal Volcano.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Parking
    • Pool (s)

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Day 5

La Fortuna Waterfall hike, visit Arenal Volcano

Waterfalls are abundant in the region of Arenal and this morning we visit La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65 metre cascade of water plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest brings us to a relatively steep set of steps that we must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit - the hike/climb takes around 20-30 minutes and is within the capabilities of anyone with reasonable fitness. Reward your efforts with a dip into one of the natural pools punctuating the foliage to cool off! After lunch we take a short scenic hike within Arenal National Park, walking through secondary rainforest and passing some of the lava fields from past eruptions. The high vantage points on this walk allow great views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the birdlife is plentiful.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 6

Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains

From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands for our first taste of a Costa Rican cloud forest. The journey provides breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we ascend the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different varieties here. Today's drive is around four hours- the last 40km of road is gravel and can be bumpy, particularly following heavy rain.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge

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    Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge



    Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge is located in Costa Rica's northern Tilaran Mountain Range, at an altitude of 5000 feet above sea level. Built in a quiet and secure location, surrounded by 70 acres of private property with primary and secondary forest, Cloud Forest Lodge offers ...

    Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge is located in Costa Rica's northern Tilaran Mountain Range, at an altitude of 5000 feet above sea level. Built in a quiet and secure location, surrounded by 70 acres of private property with primary and secondary forest, Cloud Forest Lodge offers 5 kilometers of private trails where you can find more than 180 species of birds. Cloud Forest Lodge also offers amazing views of the Cloud Forest and Gulf of Nicoya.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Internet Access
    • Restaurant(s)

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Day 7

Visit Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

This morning we have a guided walk in Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the first community-managed reserves in Costa Rica and an area that is world-famous for its biodiversity. To this day the reserve is managed by the Santa Elena High School with funds channelled into protecting the reserve and providing environmental education classes within the local community. Thanks to its high elevation, Santa Elena is bathed in thick misty clouds which support a huge range of flowers, ferns, mosses, vines and orchids. Birdlife thrives in the cloud forest with over 425 species recorded here. Santa Elena is also one of the best places to spot noisy Howler monkeys swinging through the trees! In the afternoon it's possible to join an optional coffee tour to learn about the importance of this crop to the socio‐economic development of the country, or join a canopy tour to get a different view of the forest.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Drive to Manuel Antonio

Our journey takes a south-easterly turn today as we follow the Pan-Am Highway along the coastline to Manuel Antonio, passing African oil palm and teak plantations on the way. Manuel Antonio National Park consists of a vast marine reserve as well as 1,700 acres of mangrove swamp, primary and secondary rainforest. The forest vegetation stretches as far as the high-tide line and provides a stunning backdrop to the expansive sandy beaches, forested islands and dramatic rocky headlands. Our drive to Manuel Antonio takes around four hours. We spend the next two nights here, normally in a hotel close to the beach and the entrance of the national park. Depending on our time of arrival we should have some time to enjoy various optional activities this afternoon or enjoy the hotels facilities.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Villa Bosque

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    Villa Bosque



    Villa Bosque Hotel is a small hotel located near the Manuel Antonio National Park. It makes the ideal starting point to enjoy river rafting, canopy tours, surfing and horseback riding. For guests looking to relax, the hotel is only a short walk from the white ...

    Villa Bosque Hotel is a small hotel located near the Manuel Antonio National Park. It makes the ideal starting point to enjoy river rafting, canopy tours, surfing and horseback riding. For guests looking to relax, the hotel is only a short walk from the white sand and sapphire waters of Espadilla Beach.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Internet Access
    • Lounge(s)
    • Restaurant
    • Swimming Pool

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Day 9

Discover Manuel Antonio

A guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park this morning should enable us to have some close wildlife encounters. White-faced Capuchin monkeys play in the trees and are frequently sighted on the beaches, whilst noisy Howler monkeys are usually heard moving through the trees and calling to each other before they are seen. The endangered Titi monkey (Squirrel monkey) are fewer in number but can sometimes be spotted in this area. Iguanas, agouti and two and three toed sloths are also commonly sighted in the national park. Manuel Antonio's beaches are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the country and we have all afternoon to enjoy them or try one of the optional activities available in this region. Please note that Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays. If your visit falls on a Monday, this timings of this activity will be adjusted so that you visit the park on the previous day, and today will be at leisure to enjoy the many optional excursions of the region.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 10

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in Piedras Blancas

Travel four hours south towards Golfito, a relatively wild and undiscovered region. The dense jungle here has hardly been explored or researched. The next two nights are spent in the beautiful Esquinas Rainforest Lodge set in the heart of primary rainforest and bordered by the newly created Piedras Blancas National Park and Golfito Nature Reserve. The lodge was originally financed by the government of Austria as a project combining forest research, development aid and nature conservation. Most employees are local and profits are used to help with projects in the nearby village. This afternoon we discover our peaceful surroundings and search for the abundant bird and insect life that resides here.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Esquinas Rainforest

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    Esquinas Rainforest



    Hidden in the jungle of remote Piedras Blancas National Park in southern Costa Rica, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is surrounded by thousands of acres of untouched wilderness. It is a retreat for nature lovers wishing to experience the sounds and sights of a tropical rainforest in ...

    Hidden in the jungle of remote Piedras Blancas National Park in southern Costa Rica, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is surrounded by thousands of acres of untouched wilderness. It is a retreat for nature lovers wishing to experience the sounds and sights of a tropical rainforest in a tranquil, undisturbed atmosphere.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Gift Shop
    • Library
    • Lounge(s)
    • Pool (s)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)

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Day 11

Hike on trails in Piedras Blancas

Hike through the rainforest this morning with your guide and experience all of the sights and sounds of the jungle. During this activity we are likely to see snakes, monkeys and maybe sloths. This hike can be quite slippery after rainfall but is a real highlight and well worth the effort. This afternoon has been left free for optional activities - delve deeper into the forest on a 10 mile network of trails departing directly from the lodge, or simply relax by the stream-fed pool.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Savegre Cloud Forest

Our journey takes a north-westerly turn through San Isidro and up and over the Cerro de la Muerte mountain range to our next destination, the Savegre Valley, located around four and a half hours away from Golfito. The cloud forest of Savegre is said to be one of the best places in the whole of Costa Rica to see the beautiful, colourful and notoriously shy Resplendant Quetzal and we have two nights here to discover the region. These endangered birds rely on the cloud forest for their habitat - the males in particular are striking with a green crest, red breast and tail feathers that can reach a metre in length. A good pair of binoculars will be helpful for quetzal spotting as these birds camouflage themselves well amongst the wet leaves of the forest! After lunch we take a short walk from our lodge into the cloud forest.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Savegre Hotel

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    Savegre Hotel


    The Savegre Mountain Hotel is located in the central valley, near San Jose. The hotel lies in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca Mountains, in the midst of a precious ecosystem. The beautiful town of San Gerardo de Dota offers fresh ...

    The Savegre Mountain Hotel is located in the central valley, near San Jose. The hotel lies in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca Mountains, in the midst of a precious ecosystem. The beautiful town of San Gerardo de Dota offers fresh mountain air, outstanding cloud forests, some of the best bird watching in the country and amazing peach, plum and apple orchards.

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Day 13

Free day in Savegre

Today is free to relax and explore Savegre Valley. Bring your binoculars to spot some of the 170 bird species, trek through the tropical cloud forest or simply enjoy the incredible view from the lodge. For those who are passionate about trekking, an optional tour to Los Quetzales National Park can be arranged to admire the tropical cloud forest and sub-Andean vegetation of the area. Birds that may be seen in this area include hummingbirds, colibri, tanagers and trogons.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 14

Visit the village of Cope, San Jose

Visit the village of Copey this morning to step momentarily into the agricultural lives of those living in the highlands of the Central Mountain Range. We take a short walk to the picturesque village before visiting a local school in this area - the children are very welcoming and it is a great opportunity to interact with locals. The school visit only takes place during term time, and the location of the school we visit may vary according to school schedules, therefore please allow flexibility. Some lunchtime snacks will be prepared for us with a local family, which is sure to be a memorable touch of Costa Rican hospitality! A two and a half hour journey takes us back to San Jose, where there is time to explore the modern capital.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Presidente

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    Hotel Presidente



    In the heart of Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, the Hotel Presidente is located on the corner of the Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard and Seventh Street, just 20 minutes from the San Jose, Costa Rica International Airport.

    In the heart of Downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, the Hotel Presidente is located on the corner of the Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard and Seventh Street, just 20 minutes from the San Jose, Costa Rica International Airport.

    Facilities

    • Concierge
    • Currency Exchange
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Lounge(s)
    • Mail and Postal Facilities
    • Massage Treatments
    • Parking
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa

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Day 15

San Jose

The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it's time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Free transfers to San Jose airport are available to all clients today.

Meal Plan Breakfast

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DEPARTURES:

2017: Sep 9, 20, 23; Oct 5, 7, 14, 21, 28; Nov 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22; Dec 15, 20, 27, 30
2018:  Jan 3, 6, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 27, 31; Feb 3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 19, 21, 24, 28; Mar 5, 7, 12, 14, 17, 21, 26, 31; Apr 7, 16, 21, 28; May 5, 12

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
  • All transport
  • Listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

OTHER INFORMATION:

Group size is from 6 to 18

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB EXODUSTSAN0217SG: WUA
18 Nov 2017
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