On this gently paced Costa Rican itinerary you will have the opportunity to explore some of the most outstanding locations for wildlife, gardens and nature in general, but you will still have time to relax and enjoy them. This itinerary will ideally suit those who wish to see all the key sights of this amazing country, while avoiding the crowds and staying in some of the very best boutique hotels and wildlife lodges.
Day 1 – SAN JOSE VALLEY
3 nights stay – FINCA ROSA BLANCA HOTEL – Breakfast
Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica. Our representative will meet you at the airport and provide transfer to your hotel for your first night in Costa Rica.
Finca Rosa Blanca is a graceful countryside mansion set on a hilltop in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, among coffee plantations and butterfly-filled gardens. Surrounding this idyllic estate are cloud forests, soaring volcanoes and national parks with a vast biodiversity. The hotel’s 13 spacious suites are spread across nine acres of gorgeously landscaped gardens that overflow with fruit trees, tropical flowers and birds. The hotel has a very organic architectural style reminiscent of Gaudi, but with a tropical Costa Rican flair. The undulating curves of the stucco buildings are an elegant fit in the rainforest setting. Interiors are decorated with Costa Rican hardwoods, bamboo ceilings, hand-painted murals and arch-shaped windows. Throughout the property, there are fabulous murals depicting the flora and fauna of the region.
Finca Rosa Blanca also offers an abundance of outdoor activities from hiking, to rafting and canopy tours. Onsite, coffee lovers can learn how organic shade grown coffee is grown, harvested, dried and processed. Relaxation can be found under the cascading waterfall of the hillside infinity pool, which has stunning views of the valley.
Day 2 – LA DOKA ESTATE COFFEE TOUR & LA PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS
Private Half day Visit includes: transport, guide, entrance fees
Today you will visit Doka Coffee Estate an actual coffee plantation, where you will learn about the ancient techniques used by the experts to produce one of the best coffees in Costa Rica. Learn about the careful process involved in the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of the Golden Bean. The Doka Coffee Estate is located on the fertile slopes of the Alajuela Poas Volcano, the rich soil and the ideal altitude and climate have made the Santa Eduviges farm famous for its excellent coffee.
Following the visit to Doka Estate, you will continue to La Paz Waterfall Garden. On arrival at La Paz, you will follow a trail, leading to a spectacular waterfall in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the park you will also visit the hummingbird gallery, the Serpentarium, the bird house, the butterfly garden and the frog’s exhibit.
Day 3 – ORCHIDS BOTANICAL GARDEN (LA GARITA- ALAJUELA)
Private Half day Visit includes: transport, guide, entrance fees
The orchid garden was born 30 years ago in a unique property located in La Garita, Alajuela. It was developed in a former coffee plantation that contained beautiful native trees that luckily survived the land development. Claudio Salas, botanist, orchid expert and owner of the property, felt the urgency to preserve these valuable trees, with the vision to create within these, an ecosystem for the orchids. This step gave the orchids the perfect habitat to develop and fill the place with colour. Other different kinds of tropical and ornamental plants such as heliconias, ginger lilies and palms were added to the property too, allowing it to achieve a very rich setting. Afterwards, greenhouses, nurseries and a laboratory were built, and from then on Claudio Salas has been involved with the process of orchid development.
One of his great achievements is that almost 100% of the orchid plants in the garden are laboratory produced, and then integrated into the garden. When the orchids find a perfect natural habitat, they begin to settle on the trees and proceed to propagate wildly. This process, together in alliance with the great love and dedication that Claudio Salas has for orchid plants, gives life to what is known today as the Botanical Orchid Garden, Costa Rica.
Day 4 – TORTUGUERO
3 nights – TORTUGA LODGE – Full Board
Private transfer to meeting point for Tortuguero package which includes –
– Full board starting with lunch at the lodge the first day and ending with breakfast at the lodge the last day
– Roundtrip transportation San Jose – Tortuga Lodge – Guapiles
– Visit to the Tortuguero town and 1 boat tour through the canals
– National park entrance fee
– Local English-speaking guide
You will then be transferred to Tortuguero’s dock where the two-hour boat trip to Tortuguero starts, arriving at the lodge in time for lunch.
TORTUGUERO VILLAGE TOUR
The lodge will schedule a tour to the village in the afternoon. This tour will provide detailed information on its history, culture and work in favor of conservation of the sea turtles and the flora and fauna in general. Today the town has a population of approximately 1500. The first inhabitants of the area were the Zambo-Miskito Indians and escaped slaves; they controlled the entire Caribbean coast raiding cacao plantations and hunting turtle. A visit to the Sea Museum of the “Caribbean Conservation Corporation” is also included, but the donation of USD $2.00 per person has to be paid directly to the CCC.
Day 5 – TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
Morning in Tortuguero National Park: After breakfast, leave the lodge by boat (shared with other guests) with your Tortuguero Naturalist Guide to explore the creeks of Tortuguero National Park. The morning hours are especially active in the rain forest, when wildlife is hungry and in search of their energy source for the day. It’s not uncommon to find troops of Howler monkeys in search of tender young figs or the leaves of the Monkey Plum tree. You might even encounter River Otter hunting. The Northern Jacana is often perched on an island of Water Hyacinth looking for insects and miniature shrimp and the caiman is quietly waiting for its next meal to swim by.
This tour is a three hour trip into the back water lagoons and creeks of Tortuguero National Park. Your boat is equipped with an ice chest with water and if you’d like to have additional beverages in the boat you can ask your guide to stock the ice chest with your favorite drinks (at additional cost). The time of your scheduled tour may change depending on weather conditions and occupancy. Return to the lodge in time for lunch.
Day 6 – TORTUGUERO
A free day to explore this amazing area with opportunities to see sloth, monkeys, tree frogs and other amphibians, waterbirds and turtles in season.
Day 7 – ARENAL
4 nights – HOTEL EL SILENCIO DEL CAMPO – Breakfast
Transfer to Guapiles and onwards by private transfer to Arenal.
Positioned within Costa Rica’s fertile northern lowlands, the Arenal Volcano is an unavoidable presence while travelling within this part of the country. This impressive volcano resides within the 29,960-acre Arenal Volcano National Park. Although the volcano entered into a resting phase in 2010, meaning that its eruptions have paused, it is still a stunning sight. Rising above the rainforest that surrounds its base, Arenal Volcano frames the skyline with near perfect symmetry. The Arenal Volcano National Park encompasses four different life zones and harbours a tremendous amount of flora and fauna, while the whole area offers an abundance of outdoor activities, making it an easy place to check things off your “must-do in Costa Rica” list.
Day 8 – VISIT TO DANAUS ECOCENTER
Half day Visit includes: transport, guide, entrance fees
At Danaus Ecocenter we will find a Botanical Garden with more than 600 species of plants, a butterfly garden with more than 40 species, there are areas destined to frog reproduction in a natural way, some wetland and areas dedicated to the exhibition of medicinal plants. Frogs, serpents, turtles, caimans, monkeys, sloth and birds are usually seen around the place. There are two ways in which the Eco-center can be visited, one is during the day, with more possibilities of seeing mammals and birds and the other is during the night to see a completely different world full of insects, bats, amphibians and snakes, all interacting within their natural environment. Includes transport, guide and entrance fees.
Day 9 – CANO NEGRO WILDLIFE REFUGE BY BOAT
Includes: Snack and Lunch, transportation & bilingual naturalist guide
The wildlife reserve of Caño Negro is one of the most important reserves for incredible bird watching and observation of wildlife in Costa Rica. Caño Negro is also home for many sloths, monkeys, caimans and bats, as well as numerous tropical plants. After a welcome drink and a snack, you will slowly and silently cruise to this exceptional natural refuge in our comfortable boat, from which you can enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna. On your return you will be served a typical, delicious lunch in the restaurant “El Caiman” which is nicely placed on the riverbank of “Rio Frio”.
Day 10 – ARENAL
A free day for you to choose from the varied local attractions. For example, you could do the Hanging Bridges Canopy Tour or simply relax in the thermal springs.
Day 11 – PLAYA CATIVO
4 nights – PLAYA CATIVO – Full Board
Private transfer to San Jose airport for flight to Golfito. Then get ready to experience a taste of Paradise and unimaginable wildlife adventures in this extraordinary first-class Costa Rican destination! Accessible exclusively by boat, Playa Cativo Eco Lodge is nestled in the tranquil waters of Golfo Dulce, in southern Costa Rica. Playa Cativo is a boutique hotel offering an unparalleled experience set on 1,000 acres (400 hectares) of private rainforest, surrounded by the Piedras Blancas National Park, a former extension of the Corcovado National Park.
Package here includes:
– Meet and greet at local airport and transfers
– One round-trip scenic boat transfer from town of arrival (Golfito)
– Ocean view lodging, steps from the beach
– Three à la carte, multi-course meals per day (in-room dining also available)
– Freshly brewed specialty coffees and teas
– Use of kayaks, standup paddle boards and snorkeling gear inside Cativo Bay
– Self-guided hiking trails and your choice of one of our selected on-site guided tours
Day 12 – RIO ESQUINAS MANGROVES – OCEAN KAYAKING At Playa Cativo you will find one of the largest and most pristine river systems in Costa Rica just a few short beaches away. The river mouth mangroves lead to picturesque views of the forest and remote farms. The diverse terrain allows for some of the best bird watching in the area especially at sunrise and sunset. Our boat tows your kayak to the mouth of the river where you will embark on a peaceful excursion and experience the magic of nature while cruising down the river.
Day 13 – INTRODUCTION TO THE TROPICAL WILDLIFE
This tour will take you to a nearby valley where different birds and animals are often seen. Our naturalist guide will walk you through some interesting facts about natural history and the interaction of the tropical rainforest, which are usually noticed only by our well train staff.
Day 14 – DOLPHIN AND WHALE SIGHTSEEING
Golfo Dulce is one of four tropical fiords around the world, and home to a variety of marine animals and mammals. With large mangrove areas and many rivers flowing into the gulf from the surrounding rainforest, the ocean is rich in minerals. It provides a healthy food source for dolphins (spinner, bottlenose and spotted), humpback whales (from August to November), manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles. Combine this tour with other activities such as snorkeling for a great beach day.
Day 15 – SAN JOSE
Transfer to Golfito for flight to San Jose to connect with your onward flight from San Jose to UK.
Day 16 – UK
Arrival back in the UK