Discover Costa Rica

15 days
from
£2,099
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 163 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
WUC
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Experience the rainforest, mountains and coast of this tropical paradise

Costa Rica is renowned for having proportionately more protected land than any other country, making it ripe for wildlife tourism. What is less known is the marvellous, often bizarre variety of animals from catatonic sloths, screaming Howler monkeys, screeching toucans and nesting Green turtles. Throw in the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and it is easy to see why so many return.

Highlights

  • Unrivalled wildlife viewing - Howler monkeys, caiman and sloths 
  • Visit the beaches and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Verdant rainforest, lush mangroves, lava fields and serene cloud forests
  • Relax on idyllic Pacific coast beaches 
  • Stay in comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels

Key information

  • Travel by air-conditioned bus and boat
  • 14 nights in comfortable hotels and eco-lodges
  • Some departures with specialist birdwatching guide 
  • Green turtle nesting season: July to October

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

San Jose
to
San Jose
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

    The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Tortuguero N.P.

    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 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.

    Accommodation: Laguna Lodge or Pachira Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    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 a second boat trip or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Laguna Lodge or Pachira Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano.

    Leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to the 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. In clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base in the nearby town of La Fortuna. Today's travelling time is around five and a half hours including a lunch stop.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari or San Bosco Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • 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! Alternatively you could visit the lookout point and wait for the group. 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.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari or San Bosco Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    To 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.

    Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • 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.

    Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    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.

    Accommodation: Villa Bosque Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Discover Manuel Antonio N.P.

    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, the timing 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.

    Accommodation: Villa Bosque Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Esquinas Lodge in Piedras Blancas N.P.

    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.

    Accommodation: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Hike on trails in Piedras Blancas N.P.

    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.

    Accommodation: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    To 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.

    Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa or Trogon Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Free day to discover walking trails 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 extra optional tour to Los Quetzales National Park can be arranged to admire the tropical cloud forest and sub-Andean vegetation of the area (this is a 6-hour tour so would normally replace other activities today). Birds that may be seen in this area include hummingbirds, colibri, tanagers and trogons.

    Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa or Trogon Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Visit the village of Copey; to 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. Some 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.

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    End 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them.
All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy.

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The symptoms and impact of the disease is not serious, but a significant risk to foetus development has recently been highlighted. Therefore, if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant you should seek additional advice from a health professional.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style, and lunches and dinners at Tortuguero and Esquinas Rainforest Lodge are also buffet style. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Costa Rican specialities include 'Gallo Pinto', a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups and stews are also common, and fresh fruit is abundant and will no doubt be one of the highlights of your time in the tropics.

Weather

Costa Rica is located 10º north of the equator and has a tropical climate. The average temperature range is 10ºC - 13ºC in the highlands, and from 22ºC - 26ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to November when there are daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine, so midsummer is not necessarily a bad time to go. December to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 1 (Leisurely) with a safari rating of 3.

Driving distances are not very long and most of the roads that we travel on are of good quality. However, the road which leads to the river on the way to and from Tortuguero and the road into and out of Monteverde have poor surfaces and this can result in slow driving times, particularly following heavy rain. There are several included and optional walks on the itinerary which occasionally involve walking on rough paths. These are suitable for most levels of fitness and usually last from two to three hours. During times of heavy rain, trails can be muddy and slippery and extra care should be taken. Many of the areas visited on the trip are hot and humid and there is the chance of heavy rain year-round - this is why Costa Rica is so green! 

BIRD-WATCHING DEPARTURES
For keen birders, we have designated a number of departures that will be accompanied by a specialist bird-watching guide. Walks and visits to national parks will be led with the intention of seeing as much bird life as possible. Please check the dates and prices for more details. 

Departure date 22nd December 2018
For this departure we cannot stay in Manuel Antonio and instead will stay in Dominical at the Villas Rio Mar. This enables us to have peaceful accommodation away from the incredibly busy tourist areas of Manuel Antonio. There will be a slightly longer drive to get to/from Manuel Antonio (it is about 1 hour away), but you will still spend the same amount of time in the national park.

Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Eco-Lodges

14 nights spent in hotels and eco-lodges, all with en suite facilities and most with swimming pools.

We use fairly small, family run establishments: wooden lodges set in tropical gardens or eco-lodges nestled in the rainforest. The highlight of this trip will no doubt be our stay at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, a 100% carbon neutral property within Piedras Blancas National Park - wake up surrounded by the sound of birds!

Optional single supplement available, please see Dates & Prices.

Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steve Ingleby

    Discover Costa Rica

    An excellent introduction to Costa Rica, and in particular its wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many, although we particularly enjoyed the night walks that were available at the lodges. The forests come alive at night and provide opportunities to see wildlife that doesn't normally appear during the day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Antonio was a superb ambassador for Costa Rica. He organised additional walks to ensure the team got the most out of their visit. He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Costa Rica, and is particularly good at identifying the many different birds we saw and heard on our travels. Mention should also be made of our driver, Alex. Despite limited English he was always friendly & enthusiastic, kept the coach spotless both inside and out, and must know the width of the coach to the nearest millimetre!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a universal sink plug - few hotels and lodges have them. Ponchos (and perhaps over-trousers) are more flexible than a conventional cagoule as it covers cameras & rucksack also. For people enthusiastic about photography, take a flash (if not fitted on camera) and a tripod. There is little light under the canopy even at midday and so shutter speeds are slow. For taking photos of specific species (e.g. amphibians) you may find that use of flash is not permitted (sometimes for all species on night walks) and so a tripod is the only way to get good photos. Make sure you protect your camera from moisture ingress. Rain is exceptional at times and a couple of our party had camera damage as a result.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is no need to change dollars to colones at the airport. Dollars seemed to be accepted everywhere and you will normally get change in colones.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Laura Jones

    Captivating Costa Rica

    This trip was varied so provided something for everyone. It was an easy trip - there is excellent infrastructure in Costa Rica, the standard of accommodation was good and the walking was not difficult.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wildlife viewing by boat in Tortuguero Zip lining in Monteverde

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and organised. He provided an amazing amount of information about the flora and fauna of Costa Rica and his love of the country really shone through. He went above and beyond the call of duty by accompanying us on walks during free time and by always being on hand to answer questions. Antonio's english was exceptional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When it rains it really rains so take a poncho - that way it covers you and your rucksack. It is difficult to dry things out once they get wet so consider taking some 'proper' trekking clothes that are quick dry material.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. There is regular moving about but lots of time to relax and take your time to see amazing animals and take in the atmosphere. The trip is very easy.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Deborah Terry

    Fabulous Costa Rica

    A great trip with a group of 16 which gelled really well and an inspirational guide and excellent driver. The itinerary was well-planned and we saw some varied parts of the country without endless bus journeys. All the lodges and hotels were good, and some very good, as was the food and of course the coffee. There was an occasional lack of hot water indoors, and too much rain and mud outdoors, but that's the rainy season for you. We saw a simply extraordinary variety of bird, animal and reptile life, often spotted by Chico as he drove the bus. Jorge's knowledge of birds and pride in his country were constantly evident. He arranged far more walks than the itinerary suggested so that we saw as much as possible. Overall a really excellent trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing baby turtles hatch and make their way across the beach into the sea at Tortuguera. Sloths ran them a close second. And then there were the quetzals....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge loves his country deeply and made a great job of showing it to us and telling us about it. Among other topics, I came back very well-informed on the education system in Costa Rica! And his knowledge of birds was wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Two of the hotels are at quite high altitude and in late November it was wet and cold. Take warm clothes and bedsocks. A walking pole was useful on muddy walks, and decent boots are essential.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus - another great trip.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Stephen Lindsay

    A wonderful trip

    This 16 day trip in November 2017 covered much of the Costa Rican countryside and was focused on bird watching. It was very well organised, tour leader (see below) was excellent, accommodation and food were fine. We stayed in 6 lodges close to or within National Parks on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. We saw in excess of 250 bird species including the Resplendent Quetzal. It was everything I wanted and more. Thank you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Several things stand out. 1. Seeing baby turtles hatch and make it to the sea in Tortuguero NP. 2. The variety of birdlife and their stunning colours. 3. The attempts Costa Rica is making to encourage tourism and protect its natural habitat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos. Such a nice guy, hugely knowledgeable, hugely enthusiastic nothing was too much trouble. He could identify the majority of the native birds along with their call. Up every day by 5am to lead the dawn walks and still around at 8pm in the evening.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Weather. It can be very hot and humid: 30C and 92% humidity, to 6C at altitude in the rain forest. So be prepared for both extremes. Consequently in the rain forests it can be damp and your clothes are damp. 2. Photography. If you are a serious photographer you need 400mm zoom for the birds.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is graded as a 1 Leisurely Trip. A number of the activities are really a 2 - 500 steps down and back to the La Fortuna waterfall, Manuel San Antonio NP some of us walked for 8 hours, a good 5/6 miles of varied gradient tracks. But please note there are gentler options if you wish.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    John Hirons

    Highly recommended

    I cannot recommend this trip enough. Everything was organised to perfection. We saw pretty much every animal available (apart from a jaguar which i believe the chances of seeing are zero)! The hotels were all pretty much first class - food delicious, staff so friendly, rooms comfortable and the towel art! Transport - comfy, driven very well by Felix, arrived on time everywhere. Andreas - the best tour guide you could ever hope for. It was a passion for him to ensure that we all made the best of the holiday and he ensured that we see everything he saw. He was so knowledgeable with everything Costa Rica had to offer. He was careful to ensure i was feeling okay after a run-in with a raccoon :-) Activities - all spot on and the hot springs were amazing. I only wish i was brave enough to do the zip wire instead of the coffee tour. Fellow travellers - all were amazing and made everyone feel welcome. i am sure we are going to keep in touch with everyone in the future.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hatching turtles on Torteguero beach. The whole reason i booked for November and i was not disappointed. The friendliness of the Costa Rican people. Everywhere we went we were made to feel very welcome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First Class! Could not have hoped for a friendlier, more knowledgeable tour leader

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an umbrella and do not forget to take a fleece or something for the Savegre Lodge - it is a tad chilly at times!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Fran and Alvar SWAINSTON

    Beautiful Costa Rica

    We have just returned from a fantastic holiday guided by Johnny Villalobos. He made the experience memorable for our group of 13 travellers. He gave 100% to us, walking early to see as much as possible, owl hunting at night and working all hours to enable us to ' maximise' our holiday ( his word ) ! The itinerary was well put together and all the lodges and hotels were carefully chosen, all different but all excellent. We particularly loved Esquinas Lodge, its remoteness and the birds of course! We saw a huge number of bird species and Johnny helped us to check the 'list' every evening in happy hour!!! We had the good fortune to be travelling with a great group of people which really made for a fun time as well. We did see quetzal too. We saw at least two males and two females and they did us the honour of performing a memorable flying display! All in all a really wonderful holiday. My only query might be a question of its rating as Leisurely 1!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Baby turtles hatching and making their perilous journey from nest to sea. The Resplendent Quetzals! Getting very wet in Monteverdi cloud forest! Visiting a local school and the home of Aurora for a Costa Rican lunch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing group leader. His knowledge, love and pride for his country Costa Rica shone through.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you love birds, mammals, nature and beautiful scenery book this trip.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Eleanor Freckleton

    Wonderful Costa Rica

    This was a wonderful holiday from start to finish, with so much to see and do. Our first stopover at Tortuguero was very enjoyable - the lodge was superb and we saw a lot of wildlife both on the boat trips and walking around the forest. It was also refreshing to have a swim in the pool at the end of a busy day. I thought the holiday may have gone downhill after that - but it didn't! The lodges we visited subsequently were just as good, and I continued to be amazed by the flora and fauna that were in abundance at all locations on our trip. Add to that a couple of relaxing days on the beach at the Pacific, and it truly was the recipe for a superb holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As already noted, this was a holiday of many experiences, and put them all together to get a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. I would highlight the following however: - I did the Sky Trek at Monteverde, which is an optional extra - it's billed as the ultimate zip line experience and it certainly lived up to its reputation. I loved the thrills from zip lining at speed through the forest. - As a contrast, I also enjoyed the rest and relaxation on the Pacific coast. Our walk there at the Manuel Antonio national park was packed with sightings, including sloths and monkeys. We then had the rest of the day if desired to spend on the beach within the park itself, which was much more peaceful than the public beach back in the main resort area. - And finally, I need to mention the Esquinas Lodge. The main building is open plan which adds to the experience and you truly feel that you are away from all the hustle and bustle, and it is just you and nature.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gio(vanni) was top class. He had a very easy-going manner and really helped to make the group gel and to engender our enthusiasm throughout the holiday. Nothing was a bother for him and he was always eager to please (although I did like his comment at the start of the holiday that it does rain in the rain forest and it is one complaint he can't help with!). He was also superb at spotting wildlife, and he kept up his 100% record on our trip of always managing to spot a quetzal in the Savegre cloud forest.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - Accept that it is likely to rain at some point during your trip and enjoy the experience for what it is. Our trip was the latter part of November and we were lucky as most of the rain fall was during the night. However, when it rained during our stay at Esquinas, we got the brollies out and enjoyed our walk in the rain, and slightly muddy paths (!), through the forest. - The cost of food and drink throughout the trip was relatively expensive and I ended up spending more than the average noted in the trip notes. However, the food was good quality and in particular I enjoyed the fish and seafood. - We made time on our last morning to visit the Gold Museum and it was very interesting. We were in it for over an hour but could have spent much longer going round all the exhibits.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like variety then I would highly recommend this trip. This was my first nature spotting holiday so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it didn't disappoint. And there was so much more to the trip than just the wildlife though - waterfalls, volcanoes and hot springs to name but a few highlights.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Iain Shiels

    Discover Costa Rica

    In my opinion, this tour is the perfect blend of wildlife, nature, activities and perfect introduction to Costa Rica. They say a guide makes the trip and in this case Andres did, but everything ran perfectly from meals to accommodation, and activities to free time. I was surprised just how much wildlife we saw including sea turtles hatching and making their way towards the Pacific Ocean, hiked in cloud forests and watched the forest below from canopy bridges. Exodus did a fantastic job in selecting eco-lodges which worked with the environment, as opposed to leaving a carbon footprint. I couldn’t have asked for a better Costa Rica experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tortuguero National park is an incredible place. Where else can you navigate the intricate river channels and waterways, spotting wildlife during the day, and watch sea turtles hatch and inch their way down to the Pacific Ocean in the same day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andres was the perfect guide. He had all the expected traits of an excellent guide: professional, knowledgeable, intelligent, able to read the needs and ability of the group. He gave us lots of information and kept us up to date with the daily activities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Costa Rica tends to be quite wet so an umbrella and decent (breathable) light rain jacket will go a long way. Take a waterproof bag for your electronics and anti-moisture gel packs. Binoculars will be a huge help in spotting different wildlife.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Heather Beaumont

    Great trip for wildlife

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. We had a great guide, Gustavo, and fab driver, Juan, who helped make the trip a success. We saw plenty of wildlife, including sloths, greenback turtles, monkeys, iguanas, frogs (including the iconic red eyed tree frog) and birds too numerous to list. Costa Rica is a lovely country with rich biodiversity and unspoilt countryside. The people were friendly and largely English speaking and very helpful in all the places we stayed. Our accomodation was of a good standard and the first and last lodges were particularly good. In spite of travelling in the rainy season the weather was kind to us - an added bonus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are a few moments that will stick in my memory. We were lucky enough to visit during green turtle nesting season. We were privileged enough to watch a turtle laying it's eggs then head back into the ocean which was pretty special. During this excursion a second turtle made it's way up the beach to where we were standing and nearly ran over my feet (the guide told us not to move) as it headed towards a nesting spot. A second highlight was seeing a red-eyed tree frog in the wild. In fact we saw two on one of our night walks. I even managed to get a couple of excellent photos, a great addition to my framed holiday highlight collection. Costa Rica is full of some colourful birds and we saw many. However the ones I will always remember are the humming birds. We saw many, many of humming birds and it was fascinating to watch them, and attempt to capture them on camera, at the special feeders around some of our lodges and in the wild.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Gustavo was very knowledgeable about his country, the wildlife we saw and importantly the best places to look for sloth, frogs etc. His English was good and I found himhelpful and worked hard to make our trip a success. He even organised birthday cake for those on our trip who were celebrating. It is also worth mentioning our driver, Juan. Although he didn't speak much English, he also worked hard and was humorous, helping to keep us entertained. He also kept the tour bus very clean, both inside and out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, the luggage all went on the roof of the tour bus so needed to be hauled up there (by the driver, guide and hotel staff). Be prepared to get wet - they don't call them rain forest and cloud forest for nothing! An umbrella is very useful, it also helps keep the camera dry when taking photos in the rain. Otherwise the trip notes were pretty accurate.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Sue C

    Discover Costa Rica

    This was my first Exodus trip and it reminded me why I love to travel and how I have missed travelling. It is a good trip to show you some of what Costa Rica has to offer and in comfort from travelling to accommodation, the daily drives are not to vast and are broken up with a visit here or there. You go from travelling through mangroves to witnessing turtles nesting, to volcanoes, rain & cloud forests with a beach thrown in as well - with evening cicada and frog calls to being woken by the roar of a howler monkey with sights of sloths, untold colourful birds including the fabulous Quetzal, 4 species of monkeys and much, much more, what more could you really want?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can't single anything out, it was great simply being away from it all and in such amazing surroundings, there were many "wow" moments for me

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gustavo was fantastic, he certainly knows his stuff and is excellent at spotting wildlife from afar, thus ensuring that we saw all we could. The trip was v well planned and organised

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect rain, a sturdy poncho is wise although you may find it's simply easier and more fun to get wet and blend with the locals!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is a definite must Pura Vida!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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