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Discover Costa Rica

15 days
from
$5,049 NZD
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
WUC
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
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 Caribbean 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
  • Wonderful naturalist guides who will share their love of Costa Rica with you!
  • 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
  • Countries visited: Costa Rica

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:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
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

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we spend the nights in a combination of hotels and eco-lodges around Costa Rica, where most are family run establishments that employ local staff ensuring that we are benefiting the local community. The Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is a great example of an eco-lodge model that combines conservation, environmental research and community development in a rural area. Additionally, it is 100 % carbon neutral and is constantly helping to fund local healthcare and education.

Our local operator is one of the few companies in Costa Rica to obtain the Certification for Sustainable Tourism for Tour Operators achieving all 5 levels. This is awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to identify companies according to the degree they comply to the sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.

We are very conscious of our impact on the environment, always looking into how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation. Through the entrance fees, our visit to national and private parks will directly support conservation efforts. When at the rural village of Copey, we will learn about the locals way of life and have a chance to have try some snacks made by a local family, fostering cultural exchange and interaction.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus 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 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 similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano.

    We 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 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 in 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 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 Resplendent 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. Your leader will suggest walks for today so that you can discover the tropical cloud forest and sub-Andean vegetation of the area. 

    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 where 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.

Post-trip Extensions

Tamarindo Beach Extension Costa Rica

Extend your stay in Costa Rica with a few nights of rest and relaxation at Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast. Once a sleepy fishing village, Tamarindo was discovered by surfers in the late 1980's and has steadily grown its reputation as one of Costa Rica's best beach destinations. Located in Guanacaste Province, known for its good weather and predictable sunshine, Tamarindo has a great mix of facilities and retains an authentic laid-back atmosphere. The town has accommodation catering to all budgets, from high-end boutique hotels to smaller, comfortable and characterful properties. Its big draw is the long expanse of beach, with a curved bay backed by palm trees, cafes and restaurants. The waves are strong and loved by surfers, with swimmers mostly staying to the shallow surf breaking on the shore. Facing west, the sunsets in Tamarindo are dramatic and not to be missed! There are plenty of excursions that can be organised locally if you want to discover the surrounding area. Or simply sit back and soak up the laid-back beach life, which is a real contrast from the other areas you will have visited in Costa Rica.  

We have hand-picked a selection of properties in Tamarindo and selected transport options to suit all budgets and group sizes - all that's left for you to decide is how long you want to go for, and we'll do the rest! 

ACCOMMODATION:

Please note that rates shown below are per room (not per person) and all hotels include breakfast 

Capitan Suizo Hotel: This beachfront boutique hotel is set in a privileged location to the south of the bay, with rooms surrounded by tropical gardens. Thoughtfully designed accommodation with excellent dining options, wonderful service and a friendly team waiting to welcome you. Just away from the main town, it has a lovely pool area and private loungers on the beach. Prices from £245 per room per night for a Superior Room.   

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel: This luxurious hotel is nestled in native trees and lush vegetation, just a short walk from the beach of Playa Langosta which is around the headland from Tamarindo's main beach. Consistently rated as one of the Top 10 hotels in Costa Rica by Trip Advisor! Elegant accommodation and surroundings with every need catered for, this is pure R&R. Prices from £225 per room per night for a Deluxe Room. 

Tamarindo Diria Hotel: Located right in the middle of the beach, this is one of Tamarindo's original hotels and has the most spectacular palm tree-lined view from its pool/dining areas. It is split into different areas, with the majority of rooms located away from the beachfront. Prices from £145 per room per night for a Standard Room / Tropicana Poolview.  

Wyndham Esplendor Hotel: One of the best infinity pools we've seen with extensive views across Tamarindo bay, thanks to it's hillside location above Tamarindo. Elegant rooms and facilities, but a fair walk from the beach and Tamarindo town - there is a free shuttle transfer provided at set times. Prices from £140 per room per night for an Ocean View Room.  

Arco Iris Hotel: A great option for value, with comfortable rooms surrounded by lush tropical gardens. A tranquil location set back from the street, around 500 metres to the beach. Prices from £100 per room per night for a Bungalow Room. 

Pasatiempo Hotel: A small, intimate property with real character and comfortable rooms. We think Pasatiempo is a hidden gem and it is our preferred choice if you are looking for great value and don't mind being located a short 5 minute walk to the beach. There are some great restaurants and shops nearby. Prices from £90 per room per night for a Standard Room or £95 per room per night for a Deluxe Room.  

How to reach Tamarindo?

There are three options to reach Tamarindo from San Jose, depending on your budget and how much time you have:

Shuttle bus: This is the most economical way to reach Tamarindo, particularly for solo travellers. The shuttle bus system is easy, safe and reliable and will drop you directly at your hotel. Shuttles usually pick up from hotels in San Jose at 7:15am or 2:30pm. From Tamarindo the departure times back to San Jose are usually 8am or 2pm. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours. You can also leave or return by shuttle directly from the airport - please specify at the time of booking and double check timings with your sales consultant as schedules may change depending on the season. Prices from £45 per person, each way. 

Private transfer: If you would prefer to travel in your own vehicle (seating up to 6 people), or need transfers timed perfectly with your international flights, we recommend a private transfer for the journey. You can either take this as a return or for just one leg of the journey. By private transfer the journey takes approximately 4 hours. Prices from £280 for a private transfer seating up to 6 people, each way. 

Flight: Perfect if you are short of time, you can take an internal flight from San Jose to Tamarindo Airstrip. During high season (Dec-Apr) there are usually 4 flights during the day in each direction. Outside of high season there are usually 2 flights in each direction. Flights usually take under 1 hour. With this service we will also arrange a vehicle transfer between your Tamarindo hotel and the airstrip. Luggage weight and size restrictions apply (30lbs, 114cm). Prices from £170 per person, one way.

There is also the option to arrange your return flights from Liberia airport, around 1 hour 30 minutes from Tamarindo, with a private transfer to Tamarindo. Please speak to your Sales Consultant to discuss this option. 

We recommend visiting Tamarindo for at least 3 nights. Please speak to your Sales Consultant for more details, to check hotel availability or to make a reservation. You may need additional hotel nights in San Jose depending on the end date of your trip and your flight schedule. Also please note that some hotels in Tamarindo are not available in September. 

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 here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. 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, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

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! 

Please note that in the region of Tortuguero the sea has very strong rip currents and is not suitable for swimming from the beach. 

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 you will have a free day to enjoy the many optional excursions of the region.

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. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
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.

Accommodation has been chosen for its location: typically wooden lodges set in tropical gardens or eco-lodges tucked away in the heart of the rainforest. We aim to use family run establishments as much as possible. Our list of preferred hotels is below: 

In San Jose the comfortable, modern Presidente Hotel has been chosen with easy access to downtown areas of the city. 
In Tortguero, Laguna Lodge combines a number of wooden lodges surrounded by beautifully kept gardens where wildlife often roams freely (look out for sloths and monkeys here!) - please note there are celing fans but no air-conditioning at this property.
Arenal Montechiari Hotel is located within a 10 minute walk of La Fortuna town. Each chalet bungalow is set amidst the tropical gardens where hummingbirds like to gather, and there are wonderful views of the Arenal Volcano. 
In the cloud-forest we use the Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge, a comfortable property elevated to have a panoramic view across the forest from the main restaurant area. Rooms are cosy with duvets for the change in climate you'll notice here. 
In Manuel Antonio we stay at Villa Bosque Hotel due to its close proximity to the entrance of the National Park which enables easier access to and from the park. 
The highlight of this trip will no doubt be your stay at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, a 100% carbon neutral property within Piedras Blancas National Park — wake up surrounded by the sound of birds! This is a unique and simple property, with ceiling fans rather than air-conditioning due to its location in the heart of the forest. 
Our final accommodation is Savegre Hotel, located in an ideal position within the Savegre Valley this lodge has plant-filled gardens, multiple walking trails to use and cosy wooden lodges.  

Please note that one or several of the named properties might be substituted for similar alternatives in order to secure hotel availablity. Please discuss with your Customer Operations Executive if you require more details regarding your specific departure date. 

Optional single supplement available, please see Dates & Prices.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
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 2019
    Andrew Patchett

    A birding bonanza

    This was the most wonderful adventure and our experience was just as all previous reviewers, simply amazing. Lots of great scenery, beaches, forests, countryside and birds. Lots and lots of the most amazing birds. Costa Rica is green for a reason so be prepared it can rain a lot at any time but it is always warm/hot!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the turtles hatch on Tortuguero beach and seeing the amazing Resplendent Quetzal in Savegre Cloud Forest at such close proximity.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andreas our group leader was one of the best we have travelled with and we have had a few! His patience, knowledge and enthusiasm was just simply amazing and never seemed to be phased by the groups constant questions. Our trip had a birding bias and Andreas’s ability to locate, see and identify them was just simply amazing. We would not seen a fraction of them without his expert knowledge and guidance. Thank you!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Costa Rica is not a cheap country so be prepared for normal UK prices or above however the food and drink are really good with lots of fresh local fare. Just the best. The coffee it goes without saying is fantastic. ( We liked the iced coffees the best. Mmmmm!) ATMs are safely available so no need to carry lots of cash and dollars are always used with change given in local currency. You can also pay on credit card everywhere and great internet access even in the remotest of stays. How do they do it! Everyone says it,however it is worth mentioning, you do need a lot more travelling clothes than you would normally take. When washed they do not dry quickly because of the humidity. A fold out umbrella is an essential item. We found sealed bags for cameras etc useful and check your ‘bins’ are sealed, they may steam up inside otherwise! It is all about the beautiful green countryside, so clean and litter free. This is a very different Central America more akin to the North and generally you will have no language barriers at all. Try to get a direct flight! Going via Miami is a complete nightmare with immigration, lines, and just general inefficiency with little or no signage. In our experience you need at least 3 hours between flights if you do and that will be tight. It was a real challenge and took the edge of what was an amazing adventure. A great pity. However ....... Go and enjoy!
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Miriam Carpenter

    Fabulous holiday

    How many times can I say the word amazing? We had high expectations of this holiday & we weren’t disappointed. It’s a busy holiday, moving on every 2 days, but there was time to relax in the afternoons & it meant that you feel you’ve seen so much of this varied country. The drives are about 4 hours, broken up with stops in interesting places, & the views are always amazing. We saw so much wild life, and the atmosphere in the rain forests was a great experience We had a couple of good fish meals at restaurants but Costa Rica isn’t really a ‘foodie ‘ destination. Prices are similar to England.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Boat trip on the Laguna at Tortuguero was magical. The atmosphere of the rainforest at Aquinas lodge was special, especially on the night walk At every location, there was so much wild life. Particularly loved seeing the colourful birds, especially the flocks of toucans and the resplendent quetzal, and the iguanas, and of course the sloths and howler monkeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos well deserves his tour leader of the year award. He is a naturalist to his very core, and his passion is infectious. he is incredibly knowledgeable, not just about the wildlife, he told us so much about the history, the politics & the economics of his country. On top of that he’s warm & friendly, he’s witty & he is very humble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, there’s some hoofing your case around but pack wisely as you’ll go from a hot & humid rainforest where you want to shower hourly, to the cool mountains where you need a jumper & jacket. All within a 4 hour drive. Beg steal or borrow a good pair of light weight binoculars. Set up a WhatsApp group to share photos with your group
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Sue Pemberton

    Pura Vida

    This was a 'special treat' holiday for me, I had been looking forward to it for 9 months and had very high expectations. These were more than met. Costa Rica is a fascinating country which we could learn a lot from. This tour gives you a really good introduction to the country, staying at 6 different locations all completely different. Wildlife was amazing. The journey was shared with a wonderful group of people - so much fun and friendship.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to choose, there were so many - a wonderful close view of a sloth on our way to Tortuguero, staying at Esqinas Lodge, the monkeys at Manuel Antonio, the scarlet macaws.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It's easy to see why Johnny is an award-winning leader. His knowledge of and passion for his country was impressive and he taught us so much in his gentle way. He knew the best places and times to find wildlife, which always seemed to appear bang on cue! His organisational skills were exemplarary and he always had 'a plan'. We also came home ardent supporters of the Herediano football team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go prepared for a wide variety of weather and remember to take your camera and binocluars with you wherever you go!
  • Reviewed November 2019

    Discover Costa Rica

    A great trip to get an idea of the different environments in Costa Rica, we saw a huge amount of wildlife in such a short space of time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick just one moment; seeing a sloth in the wild for the first time, the tiny turtle heading out of its nest down to the sea, the hummingbirds, the perfectly named resplendent quetzals, the macaws, the ever changing scenery, never ending laughter with the group of strangers that quickly became friends ……..just so many wonderful moments to remember.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic! Carlos Calvo is an excellent guide, his passion and knowledge knows no bounds, spotting animals and birds that we would have very easily missed. He is an amazing photographer and was more than happy to share his photos with the group. He is well organised and had a great sense of humour, interacting with everyone in the group with ease. Our driver Henry Fonseca was great too, he kept the minibus super clean, drove very carefully and always had a smile on his face.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely read the previous traveller notes, nothing to add as they are pretty comprehensive

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go - it's an amazing place!
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Julie D

    Discover Costa Rica

    Fantastic insight into this beautiful and fascinating country. Brilliant guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the baby turtles hurtling towards the incoming tide at Tortuguero

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant guide - very friendly and very knowledgeable about everything from the plants and wildlife to the history of the country

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring an umbrella !
  • Reviewed November 2019
    David Phillips

    Costa Rica is an amazing country

    This was a great trip which we enjoyed thoroughly. Having wanted to visit CR for some time, I was hoping to see a lot of the wildlife and to experience its rich biodiversity. The itinerary was perfect and allowed plenty of time to enjoy these aspects. The transport and accommodation was comfortable and of a high standard. Our guide was superb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many enjoyable moments throughout the trip, but for me the most thrilling moments were 1. witnessing a green turtle lay and bury her eggs on the beach at Tortuguera, and then return t o the sea on the second night in the country. This was a real privilege. 2. Spotting and photographing Resplendent Quetzals in the cloud forest at Savegre right at the end of the trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andres Zuniga is an absolutely superb guide. His knowledge of Costa Rica and its wildlife is astonishing and his ability to find and identify birds and animals is absolutely astounding. We would not have seen a tenth of what we did see without him. He instantly identified scores of birds by their calls. He found quetzals for us with little effort. He also has an impressive knowledge of the flora. He made our experience of Costa Rica an incredible one. Not only that, but he was pleasant at all times, interesting in what he told us, and was a great host and ambassador for his country. We also had a very capable, friendly and helpful bus driver, Geraldo. Between them they looked after our party extremely well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are at all interested in birds and animals and enjoy seeing them, you will enjoy this trip. Costa Rica deserves its reputation as a country that has gone to great lengths to restore and conserve its forests and biodiversity and this itinerary will give you many wonderful experiences of what it has to offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary was perfectly paced - 2 nights each at 6 destinations, with no more that a half day between them, meaning that we arrived at each place midday and then had the afternoon and all the next day to experience it before moving on. Thus we did not feel rushed and each destination was comfortable and welcoming.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Helen Sparling

    Wonderful holiday in Costa Rica

    I loved this trip. I had read many of the reviews before we went and so went with high expectations- we were certainly not disappointed. We saw so much more wildlife than I expected and saw such a variety of habitats/climates from rainforest to cloud forest, Caribbean coast to Pacific coast, plus a volcano to boot! It felt like we had been on holiday for way more than two weeks, we covered so much! I can’t pass a rustling bush now without trying to spot whatever is in there!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed all of it, it I guess highlights were seeing the Green Back turtle laying her eggs and returning to the sea; spotting not one, but four of the elusive Resplendent Quetzals in Savegre; seeing huge crocs; hearing howler monkeys at night ... the list goes on! Particularly loved the rainforest lodge in Esquina Blancas ... you will see what I mean when you go there!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was a fantastic guide. He was so knowledgeable about all the wildlife in Costa Rica and took great care to seek out as much wildlife as he could (trying to fulfil everyone’s wish list) and make sure we got good photos through his telescope. He gave us a lot of information about Costa Rica in general too whilst en route on the bus; about agriculture and the economy, history and the education system. He is well organised and has a great sense of humour and was very patient with us! All in all you couldn’t wish for a better guide! Also a big shout out for Maurizio, our lovely driver, who was an integral part of the team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went in August ... rainy season. We had one day of torrential downpours so a good poncho was vital. A pair of flip flops that could be wiped dry would have been useful. Other than that day, we were so lucky not to experience much rain! Take walking boots, a couple of fleeces and long trousers for the cloud forest. You need more variety of clothing than you expect to account for hot and humid climates, where nothing dries, to warm clothing for the cooler, more temperate Monteverde. Pack into strong plastic bags to protect your luggage from rain/damp! Optional trips worth doing: the turtle laying trip. Two night walks ... both offering different things to see... in Monteverde and Esquina Blancas. The hot springs in La Fortuna!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my favourite Exodus trip so far. I would recommend everyone to go!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Kathryn Hunt

    A memorable trip!

    The wildlife and scenery were stunning. We were not disappointed. Learning more about the country, its habitats and people was very interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Highlights were seeing the green backed turtles laying eggs in Tortuguero, and quetzals in the Savegre valley cloud forest. Also toucans, hummingbirds and sloths. An additional (optional) boat trip along the Rio Tarcoles was very worthwhile - we saw many different birds close to, as well as massive crocodiles.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide was fantastic in every respect. He was very knowledgeable indeed and went out of his way to try and make sure we saw as much wildlife as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were a little worried beforehand as our trip was to take place in the wet season. However we only had one day when the rain was so torrential it delayed one of our activities (and we got soaked to the skin) so it is not a given that August is a "bad" time of the year to go. It was very very humid though (apart from when were up in the mountains) so I wished we had taken another couple of pairs of walking trousers & T shirts, as changes of clothes were required more often than I had anticipated. And a poncho proved more effective than a conventional waterproof when it did rain.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Heather Kerr

    Discovering Costa Rica

    Exceeded Expectations Excellent Guide Extraordinary range of wildlife and flowers

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a quetzl flying

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Holiday of a lifetime - do it before you die !
  • Reviewed June 2019
    michael blake

    two wonderful weeks in costa rica

    A superb tour that delivered pretty much everything it promised. Good accommodation and comfortable transport. Wonderful scenery, amazing birds, mammals and vegetation throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cruising the quieter backwaters of the Tortaguero National Park, Seeing a mother and baby Sloth at close quarters, incredible birdlife on the Tarcoles river and magical two nights at the Esquinas Nature Lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was an excellent group leader who was very good at locating, identifying and explaining about all the myriad life forms we saw.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A must for lovers of birds and nature

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spending two nights at each stop made for a fairly relaxing trip.

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