Costa Rica Holidays

Perfect destination for a wildlife and bird watching holiday, with a touch of adventure and beaches!

Costa Rica Testimonials

Almost all of our clients let us have their feedback after they get back from their travels. Sometimes this is a detailed trip report or it can be just a few words. Whatever it is, we love to receive feedback, as it helps us to keep standards high and experiences perfect for future travellers. Over half of our bookings come from repeat clients or by word of mouth, a statistic we are very proud of. Here, you can find some of the reasons why.

We were well received and we enjoyed the Costa Rican food - great for vegetarians.

We had a great trip to Costa Rica. All the arrangements worked very well. Our trip manager, Victor, was there to meet us on arrival.  He met us agai..

We had a great trip to Costa Rica. All the arrangements worked very well.

Our trip manager, Victor, was there to meet us on arrival.  He met us again on the next morning, kept in touch via email and was there to say goodbye when we left. Costa Rican Trails did a very good job – hotel bookings, guided walks and transfers.

Our favourite accommodation was Maquenque!

Second favourite was Trogon Lodge – we had a Volcano Hummingbird nesting just by our balcony!

We were well received in all the accommodation and we enjoyed the Costa Rican food – great for vegetarians.

Thanks to Motmot for organising such a good trip for us. Annette & Alexander Sevier – Dec 2018

 

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In Costa Rica, our guide's birding skills were phenomenal, from instant knowledge of what was seen, to knowing bird calls, we can't praise him enough.

There was an instant rapport with Herman our guide and Mo our driver, as well as with the rest of our group. We were off to an excellent start on our..

There was an instant rapport with Herman our guide and Mo our driver, as well as with the rest of our group. We were off to an excellent start on our tour to Costa Rica.

Throughout the tour Herman made sure we were safe and took our concerns about anything seriously. His birding skills were phenomenal, from instant knowledge of what was seen, to knowing bird calls, we can’t praise him enough. The green laser used to show us where a bird was hiding was used very carefully so birds were not blinded or scared off. If a member of our group was finding it difficult to spot a bird Herman was patient and would explain many times until the bird was found. Our own explanations of where a bird could be spotted improved greatly. Herman was extremely funny when he told us some examples of what not to do. ‘You see that bird over there …. in the green bush with the green leaves, next to that twig.’ His english was brilliant and we introduced him to some additional English manners and sayings which he found amusing. Mo was an extremely safe driver and took great pride in our trusty Toyota bus. It was constantly cleaned, swept and carpets taken out for a brush down. That bus had a great deal to deal with on some of the roads we travelled along! On many occasions the bus would be discretely following us along the trail so that we would not have a long walk back as well, perfect. Many times Mo also joined in with the fun and would point out anything of interest. It was Mo who spotted the Cappachin Monkey and desperately tried to get our attention whilst we were all looking the other way. A little later Ruth and Mo then had a game of peepo with the same monkey, a very enjoyable moment. Herman knew the locations so well, where exactly birds could be found, along a certain trail, in a particular type of bush or by vegetation growing in a field. After finding 4 female Quetzals early morning, we ended up finding the male Quetzal after breakfast, lead there by a local boy who was on his bike. So much fun!

We were lucky with the weather, we went geared up for stair-rods rain and miraculously experienced minimal apart from when we  stayed at Selve Verde Lodge.

Hotels:-
Bouganvillea – room was good. Everything needed was available. Gardens lovely to look around from the statues to the huge variety of flowers, shrubs and trees. Plenty of birds to get us practicing what we knew, but then plenty of ‘help, what’s that.’ from the less knowledgeable amongst us. Didn’t know where to look first. Had a very nice meal there in the evening.

Selve Verde Lodge – thank goodness there are covered walkways! Just amazing wildlife everywhere Herman took us. The only downside to the room was the musky damp smell and the feeling of dampness in the sheets. Not a complaint tho, just an observation. Ruth’s heel pain had healed, however suddenly knee pain came from nowhere in the other leg whilst at La Selva. Herman realised something was wrong and made sure Ruth was able to keep up. Over the weeks it improved gradually. Herman, made sure our rooms at all other Lodges were close enough to the restaurants so we didnt have to negotiate steep inclines. The ladies took time out one afternoon just to use the pool, it was clean, no hesitation in getting in.

Toucanet – On arrival, we had lunch before being shown to our rooms and all was well. Room 1 was amazing, panoramic view lovely to be able to sit on balcony. Nothing wrong with our room, food was another matter though. First morning there was coffee, rolls and jam available for our early start to find the Quetzal, good start. We then had breakfast at Paraiso Quetzal with a wonderful choice of breakfast.

Talari Mountain Lodge – The rustic appearance was so lovely. Felt at peace here. Lovely rocking chairs. Had to be careful walking down the incline from the restaurant as it could be very slippy. Food really good, fresh, hot and tasty. Looked forward to seeing what we would be given for each meal. Pool was clean, no hesitation in getting in but was in need of renovation.

Rancho Naturalista – Just wow, all staff were outside to greet us when we arrived. We had room 2, beautifully decorated. Being on the main balcony was a major plus. Plenty of hot water, came back to freshly made beds after every breakfast and clean towels every day. Lovely to be able to get some clothes cleaned at a reasonable price. Difficult to get anything dry ourselves due to the humidity. Lisa and her team were very attentive and the family atmosphere was great. Watching the birds and mammals from the balcony was brilliant. The hummingbirds would swoop over your head and perch comfortably on the strategically placed twigs barely an arm’s length from you. There was a constant supply of coffee and cookies available on the balcony. As we were here for Thanksgiving we were treated to an excellent Thanksgiving meal. Only thing Ruth can think of to make a minimal improvement here would be to provide a hair dryer.

Crystel – our one day here was fabulous, trails good, pool even better with it being so hot. Suggest an overnight stop here may be worth thinking about as the very early start and overall 4 hour journey there and back to Talari seemed endless.

Anna, Shona and all your team, we have had the most fantastic holiday. Thank you for all your help when we pestered you both with questions initially. We shall certainly be looking to book again. Simon and Ruth Smith – Nov 2018

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Enjoyed the birds in Costa Rica

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica, the places, the accommodation, the food and of course the birds.  Our guide was passionate, enthusiasti..

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica, the places, the accommodation, the food and of course the birds.  Our guide was passionate, enthusiastic and great fun and our driver transported us around very carefully.

Nigel & Margaret Turner – March 2018

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Overall a fantastic trip to Costa Rica and I’d happily go back to any of those places tomorrow!

It was a really great trip to Costa Rica! An excellent itinerary, giving a good variety of places to stay to see birds in different habitats, and plen..

It was a really great trip to Costa Rica! An excellent itinerary, giving a good variety of places to stay to see birds in different habitats, and plenty of well-chosen places to stop off and see more birds en route between them. The hotels and lodges had varying degrees of “luxury” but I enjoyed them all and had no problems with food or facilities anywhere. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and had a gift for making the whole trip a lot of fun even though he kept us very busy! The driver was excellent too; not all the roads were good, some being very rough indeed, but none of us had a single nervous moment in all the time he was driving. Overall a fantastic trip and if I could I’d happily go back to any of those places tomorrow! Jim Prior – Feb 2018

 

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The guide and driver were excellent

I had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica, albeit exhausting, I need a holiday now to get over it!! The guide and driver were excellent, so much so, that o..

I had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica, albeit exhausting, I need a holiday now to get over it!!
The guide and driver were excellent, so much so, that on recommending the holiday I would tell people to ensure to get Abelardo as the guide. The Hotel Bougainvillea was excellent, and the gardens a delight. Selva Verde was good, what I expected  although the weather was incredible (rain!) . The guide somehow managed to work around it and it didn’t spoil the trip at all. Sevegre was a lovely spot, I loved the fire in the rooms. It was looking a little tired (the enamel in my bath was flaking), but the spa was top notch (I had a massage). Macaw Lodge was the icing on the cake for me, I would have loved to stay at least another day. Wonderful place, the food was fabulous. Ensenada was a bit rustic for me, however the setting was out of this world. The food was very canteen style (as is Selva Verde, but they managed it with a bit more panache) and caused me concern. It just wasn’t my sort of place. I don’t think the others in the party felt the same. I think being a woman on my own didn’t help. Going back to Hotel Bougainvillea was wonderful, I felt I could sleep, relax and not worry about bugs!!

Reading this back it seems highly critical, but I had a wonderful holiday with a great group of people. Chris Chapman – Feb 2018

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The format of our trip to Costa Rica was exactly right

We had a marvellous trip and we will certainly travel with you again.  The rainforest certainly lived up to its name at times, but this brought out t..

We had a marvellous trip and we will certainly travel with you again.  The rainforest certainly lived up to its name at times, but this brought out the frogs etc and the covered walkways at Selva Verde allowed us to see plenty of things even during the downpours.  We are now thinking in terms of a return to Costa Rica in February or early March next year to get some drier weather and to see birds and wildlife of all kinds. The Bougainvillea Hotel was really good, and we would anticipate starting our trip with a couple of nights there.  We thought the format of our trip was exactly right – with just a few organised outings and with plenty of time for us to choose for ourselves what to do.  We wouldn’t want to be in a party with pre-organised trips early and late every day.  We very much enjoyed the fact that the 4 hotels/lodges we stayed in were located in such extensive grounds that we could easily wander about by ourselves when we wished.   Philip & Sheila Burgess Jan 2018

 

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Costa Rica was an amazing experience

Extremely happy with our guide/driver Abelardo. He looked after us ‘oldies’ very well, was very thoughtful, helpful and considerate at all..

Extremely happy with our guide/driver Abelardo. He looked after us ‘oldies’ very well, was very thoughtful, helpful and considerate at all times. His enthusiasm for wildlife and birds in particular was obvious from the start and he was anxious that we should enjoy it as well. He ensured that we had good views of the birds, not just a fleeting glance of a backside disappearing at speed, but was incredibly patient and made sure all of us had a good view through his scope or mine (whenever possible).  He is a credit to his country and I sincerely hope we will be able to meet up again with him at the Bird Fair in August  – he has a wonderful sense of humour and his command of the English Language is amazing – the perfect guide. 

Macaw Lodge, was our favourite – peaceful,  immaculately kept gardens, upstairs rooms that overlooked the lake, delicious food and a welcoming host, Jessica. The facilities were much appreciated – hot showers, comfy beds, cooling fans, just a shame we were only there for 2 nights.

Overall we both enjoyed our holiday, Costa Rica was an amazing experience, one that will linger long in the memory – a beautiful country which we hope will remain that way and not be over developed. 

Thank you for your help and advice in the lead up to our birding break. 

Sandy & Gerry Studd

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A fantastic guide, so enthusiastic and genuinely thrilled to be able to show us the wonderful birds and wildlife

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Costa Rica, I have made a few comments below:  Hotel Bougainvillea – a wonderful place to start and finish the t..

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Costa Rica, I have made a few comments below:

  1.  Hotel Bougainvillea – a wonderful place to start and finish the trip.  We liked the relaxed atmosphere of the hotel and it was lovely to have the beautiful gardens to walk around.
  2. Selva Verde Lodge – a lovely lodge, although it was a shame we stayed somewhere on the side of the main road (not that we were affected by any noise). We did think that three nights here would have been enough and would have dropped the excursion to Cinco Ceibas Reserve, although the boardwalk was a different experience we felt we weren’t there at the right time of the day to see much wildlife.
  3. La Ensenada Lodge – another lovely relaxing place to stay and we spent the right amount of time here.
  4. Macaw Lodge – beautiful lodge which would have benefitted from an extra night
  5. Savegre Hotel – another beautiful location, although there were lots of guests here this was only apparent at meal times (the meals were delicious), we loved the gardens and there were plenty of places to walk to.

We thought Aberlado was a fantastic guide, so enthusiastic and genuinely thrilled to be able to show us the wonderful birds and wildlife his country has to offer.  It was also nice to meet Serge at the beginning and end of the trip.  We thoroughly enjoyed Shona’s company too.

Anyway, many thanks to Motmot for putting together such an enjoyable trip!!

Caroline & Robin Simpson

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The range of birds and wildlife we were lucky enough to see was amazing

Thank you for arranging such a wonderful tour to Costa Rica. Everything about it was superb! The hotels/lodges were great, the itinerary was well thou..

Thank you for arranging such a wonderful tour to Costa Rica. Everything about it was superb! The hotels/lodges were great, the itinerary was well thought out, the group size was ideal, the locations chosen were fascinating and diverse and the range of birds and wildlife we were lucky enough to see was amazing.
Of course the whole trip can be ruined if the guide is not up to scratch! This was certainly not the case with Abelardo. He was great at spotting and identifying birds and his obvious joy when exciting new sightings appeared was boundless (“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” was the cry!) and this enthusiasm was infectious. Abelardo always worked hard, was available to help or answer questions at all times and he guided us at a leisurely pace so we never felt rushed at each destination. He has a permanent smile on his face and is a lovely human being!

I visited Costa Rica ten years ago but I really wanted to go back again on a small group tour to see more birds, mammals etc. and this trip was exactly what I had been waiting for, especially with the new direct flights to San Jose. THANK YOU! Beryl White – March 2017

A fuller review with a more detailed account of each venue appears on ‘Trip Reports’

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Would recommend trip, without reservation, to other wildlife enthusiasts!

Just to let you know that we both thoroughly enjoyed our recent trip to Costa Rica.  All the accommodation was excellent, with good food and faciliti..

Just to let you know that we both thoroughly enjoyed our recent trip to Costa Rica.  All the accommodation was excellent, with good food and facilities.  All transfers worked perfectly and our driver, Esteban, was a very good, safe driver and fun to be with.  He even spotted some interesting birds en route and was always happy to stop. Our guide Aberlardo was brilliant.  He was not only an excellent bird guide, but also informed us about many aspects of life in Costa Rica.  He made sure that everyone on the tour was happy and getting great views of all the wildlife.  He was very enthusiastic and always had a smile on his face. We would recommend this trip, without reservation, to other wildlife enthusiasts. Kevin and Jacki Solman – March 2017

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The holiday suited us perfectly

Our Costa Rica holiday was 23 Feb to 10 March. Overall, a super holiday with no problems. Guide Abelardo was very enthusiastic, and adapted to the req..

Our Costa Rica holiday was 23 Feb to 10 March. Overall, a super holiday with no problems. Guide Abelardo was very enthusiastic, and adapted to the required pace of birding.

Selva Verde Lodge: we loved the grounds and various walks we could do, and the fact that we stayed in one place for 4 nights. The only downside here was that the cabins were near the main road which is not so good for light sleepers like my husband!

Paraiso Quetzqal: we were not prepared for such cold temperatures at night. Cabin had spectacular view although quite a trek down hillside .. and back up again. Saw 4 Quetzals!!!

Macaw Lodge: Fabulous place – the buildings, the grounds, the food. Good to see fruit and veg being grown there. Could have stayed longer.

La Ensenada: Beautiful setting overlooking the Gulf and peninsular beyond. Saw some very good birds here.

Hotel Bougainvillea: first and last nights. Superb grounds, enjoyed room overlooking garden on first night.

Thanks to all at Motmot for a holiday that suited us perfectly – Caroline Quirk

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l would certainly recommend this trip to anyone

Costa Rica was a fantastic experience. I thought the trip was very well planned as we visited a really interesting variety of habitats. Abelard was a..

Costa Rica was a fantastic experience. I thought the trip was very well planned as we visited a really interesting variety of habitats. Abelard was an excellent guide, knowledgeable, immensely enthusiastic, very good at looking out for people and with an extraordinary grasp of the English language. Selva Verde was very interesting, Paradise Quetzal, despite being really cold (you could perhaps warn people more about this) was a superb place. I think we all agreed we preferred it to the other option in this area. Macaw Lodge was just beautiful and Ensenada although quite basic was in a wonderful area and I think probably my personal favourite. Thank you so much. l would certainly recommend this trip to anyone. Helen Cooper – February 2017

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We thought the country and its people lovely.

Yes overall we did enjoy Costa Rica. It is a beautiful country and their philosophy on the preservation of wild life is very much to be admired. We sa..

Yes overall we did enjoy Costa Rica. It is a beautiful country and their philosophy on the preservation of wild life is very much to be admired.

We saw most of the wild life ie birds and animals that we went for- so that was very much a plus.

We found all the hotels excellent, and although the food and wine were all of excellent standard, in all cases were  extremely expensive.

The organised tours that were built into our package were all very good especially the Cano Negro tour and the bird-watching and Coffee – tour at Rosa Finca.

We understand that from April BA will be flying directly to San Jose – this will be very much an improvement as Iberia by reputation and experience are  a complete pain.

We did achieve most of what we wanted to see and thought the country and its people lovely.

David Hides - Feb 2016

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