Costa Rica’s Natural Jewels

Take an expedition through the dense jungle, visit several National Parks, explore some of the most beautiful and scenic regions of this amazing country. Walk along the beaches of both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines looking for wildlife along the way – this trip is a wildlife and photographers dream destination

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Day 01

Arrival

Upon arrival, your guide will meet you at San Jose International airport and drive you to the hotel, a short distance from the airport, providing you with a welcome briefing. The rest of the day is free so you can relax and rest from the flight and adjust to the local time zone.  

 

Day 02

Overland transfer to La Fortuna.

Drive for about 3 hours to reach the foothills of the impressive Arenal Volcano - this famous mountain will make a great landscape photo opportunity for you. Surrounded by an extended amount of attractions, La Fortuna town is one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. On the way, you will immerse in the Costa Rican culture by visiting various small villages, seeing the daily life of the locals. Before arriving at your first destination, you will stop at Don Juan’s Organic Farm Tour for a tasty homemade organic lunch and a tour of the “Finca” – Spanish for Farm.  Check in to your hotel.  There are several local restaurants near by and around the main square of La Fortuna which also has a garden and clock tower.

 

Day 03

Full Day at La Fortuna

The day starts with a visit to the Arenal Volcano National Park for a morning nature walk along the woodland trails and to the viewpoint over-looking the lake on the old lava flow of the volcano.  This allows for an interesting overview of the history of activity of this natural wonder as well as chances for exiting encounters with the local wildlife.  The pace will be slow to allow for bird watching and looking for plants and animals. Later, visit La Fortuna Waterfall – a walk down and back up about 500 concrete and wooden steps each way through woodland. A majestic 60-meter cascade famous for its refreshing waters in which you can swim if desired or simply enjoy the beauty of the site.  Finish the day by relaxing in hot springs heated by the Volcano and enjoy dinner.

 

Day 04

Driving day – overland transfer to Sarapiqui and visit the OTS (Organisation for Tropical Studies)

Today, we head east! The journey to Sarapiqui, one of the top destinations for birdwatching in Costa Rica also allows you to observe and learn about various agricultural products grown in the northern lowlands of this Central American country along the way. On your arrival, we will visit La Selva; this OTS Research Station offers 1,600 hectares of well-preserved old-growth and recovering wet lowland tropical forest that abuts the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The 4 to 6 km wide forested corridor that connects La Selva at 35 m above sea level to the top of Barva Volcano at 2,906 m is one of the best-preserved elevational gradients in the tropics.  Check in to your hotel, have time to relax and have dinner.  Later, enjoy an evening nature walk in search of the beautiful frogs of this region on a guided walk around the lodge gardens (with torches) – keep an eye out for the famous red-eyed tree frog. The iconic amphibious representative of the tropical rain forest of Costa Rica.

 

Day 05

Overland transfer to Tortuguero

Tortuguero is the most important area of the Caribbean Midwest where the green tortoises (chelonian Mydas) come to lay their eggs.  This region seems like a world apart from the mountains and waterfalls of central Costa Rica. The journey begins with a relatively short drive to the winding La Suerte river, this serves as the primary access route.  Leaving your vehicle behind, walk a short distance over the sandy riverbank (with your bags) to where the boats are moored before getting on a motorboat (shared with other people) to your next lodge.   The trip on the river itself lasts a little over an hour and is relaxing as you travel slowly, giving you ample time to take a close look at massive trees laced with hanging vines and ferns with leaves large enough to serve as full-size umbrellas.  After lunch, we will visit the beach area and the small and picturesque town of Tortuguero. A delightful dinner will be served on your return to the lodge.

       

Day 06

Full day at Tortuguero

Enjoy nature its best as you undertake a journey through the canals at dawn and take a picture of a real Caribbean sunrise.  There are amazing opportunities for wildlife close ups since this is the most active time and you will be in a small private boat. After the first morning tour on the canals you will discover more Costa Rican flavours as you enjoy breakfast at the lodge followed by another boat ride in order to discover the rest of the surroundings using other canals. Upon returning to the lodge, have lunch.  The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the hotel amenities such as the pool or trails in the property.

 

Day 07

Overland to Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is a village on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, near the border with Panama. Based here you can visit Cahuita National Park which has coral reefs and the white-sand beach of Playa Blanca. The rainforest is home to toucans, monkeys, raccoons and many other species that inhabit this amazing site. Our lodge it’s located right in front of the white-sand beach of Playa Cocles. Free afternoon to explore the area.

 

Day 08

Cahuita town and National Park 

This morning you will visit the National Park; The land area of the park covers about 1,100 ha, and it is just as stunning as the marine section. Some of the mammals which can be spotted are pacas, northern tamanduas, sloths and mantled howlers. Some of the brightest and most colourful birds in the world can be seen in the national park, for example, green ibises, keel-billed toucans and herons.  The flora of Costa Rica is unsurpassed too - from orchids to mushrooms, there are thousands of species of plants. Optional swimming on the beach is also possible. The rest of the day is free for you to take a moment to settle into Cahuita's vibe.  Optional snorkelling tour is available

 

Day 09 

Overland to Turrialba

A short drive of about 40 minutes north from your hotel is the Sloth Sanctuary which cares for injured and orphaned sloths. A fun, informative introduction to sloths: how they live, why they are unique and how human encroachment affects them. Meet sloth rescue Nº 1, Buttercup, and see sloths in enclosures in the Learning Centre. You may also see a wild sloth during your 45-minute canoe ride to experience the sloths’ habitat. The sturdy fiberglass canoe fits six guests comfortably, and there’s no need to paddle. Your boatman, a local guide, will glide you along the shallow Estrella River to see protected lowland rainforest flora and fauna. Entire Buttercup Tour duration: about 2 hours.

Afterwards we continue to Turrialba; With some stunning views of Costa Rica’s rural countryside, Turrialba is a charming little town in the lush and beautiful valley, famous for the pre-Columbian ruins at Guayabo which are interesting to visit or enjoy the various species of birds of the area.

 

Day 10 

Full day at Turrialba

Today is a free day for you to choose what you want to do – either relax, enjoy the birds in the surrounding forest of the property or go on an optional tour to Guayabo National Park.  The Monument is located northwest of the city of Turrialba, in the District of Santa Teresita in the canton of Turrialba, province of Cartago. Approximately 20 hectares of protected area include the archaeological site, which consists of a set of pre-Hispanic architectural structures made from river boulders that were built over a period of time between 1000 BC and 1400 AD  

 

Day 11

Overland transfer to Savegre Valley

This morning we start the trip to the highlands after our tasty homemade breakfast. Our journey will take us up to the highest mountains in Costa Rica. Various interesting sites are located along the way for us to show you such as the Basilica de Los Angeles; home of the most important symbol of the catholic church in Costa Rica and La Virgen de Los Angeles.  Optional visit the Lancaster Botanical Garden, an institute managed by de Costa Rica University that display one of the most impressive collections of plants in Costa Rica, including an outstanding display of over 1000 different species of orchids. Upon arrival you can rest and relax in the beautiful gardens of the lodge and get familiarized to local species of birds including the famous Rufos collared Sparrow, the large footed Finch, Acorn woodpeckers, Talamanca’s Hummingbirds and many more.

 

Day 12 

Full day in Savegre

The morning will start with the dawn chorus before leaving a bit earlier than usual to search for what is considered the most beautiful bird of the continent, the famous Resplendent Quetzals. These birds represent some of the most beautiful birds in the world and are found in the cloud forests of Central America, from Southern Mexico to Panama. The Quetzals are famed for their beauty and with good reason! They are brightly coloured with vibrant shades - iridescent greens and brilliant reds. The males are more brightly coloured than the females and during the mating season the males grow two very long tail feathers that can reach one meter in length. Their heads have a crest of feathers that look like ‘Mohawks’. The lodge trails will also give us the chance to explore the area and spot more wildlife. Free time to birdwatch in the hotel ground or relax

 

Day 13

Overland Transfer to Drake Bay

Today we drive to the lowlands again, but this time to coastline of the Pacific. Exotic and lush, the Osa Peninsula is home to thirteen major ecosystems that range from mangrove swamps and Jolillo palm groves to montane forests, lagoons, beaches, freshwater herbaceous swamps and primary lowland rainforests. Encompassing over 41,000 hectares the park protects over 140 different mammal species; 400 bird species, 20 of which are endemic; 116 amphibian and reptile species, 40 species of fish and at least 500 species of trees. Habitat of the rare Harbor Squirrel Monkey and the Harpy Eagle, the Corcovado Park also is a great place to spot the poison arrow frog, indigenous wild cats, crocodiles, pumas and jaguars as well as four species of sea turtles. To reach this amazing site you will board a boat through the Sierpe Mangrove Forest making this transfer a great opportunity for wildlife lovers. You arrive at your destination – the beautiful Drake Bay. 

 

Day 14 

San Pedrillo Station (Corcovado NP)

Corcovado National Park is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. Truly a nature lover’s paradise, the park contains 2.5% of the planet’s total animal species. This list includes four types of venomous snake, all four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, an enormous concentration of scarlet macaws, four species of turtle, peccaries, red-eyed tree frogs, harpy eagles, and a very small number of jaguars. Two of Corcovado’s four ranger stations are accessible by boat from Drake Bay. The San Pedrillo Station is only about thirty minutes away and features two trails – one of which leads to a refreshing waterfall.  Boat trip, nature walks and relaxing for today.

 

Day 15 

Caño Island / transfer in the afternoon

An experienced crew that includes a local guide will take you out into the Pacific to Caño Island with crystal blue waters. You will hopefully have the opportunity to see wild dolphins and enjoy their magnificent natural habitat. Ancient Indian burial ground, beautiful shaded beaches, hiking to the top of the island and outstanding snorkelling. Bring hiking shoes, swimsuit, sunscreen, hat, and water bottle. Guided tour leaves at 7:30am and returns at 2:00pm approx.   Return to the mainland to drive for about 2 hours, alongside the Pacific coastline to the Uvita area for your overnight stay.

 

Day 16

Transfer to Monteverde

After breakfast, depending on the height of the tide and sea, visit the “Whale Tail” beach in Marino Ballena National Park (it can only be seen at low tide) before continuing your journey to Monteverde in North Puntarenas.  The area is one of the rarest habitats on Earth, the cloud forest, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is unique from Costa Rica’s other rainforests, with a constant mist that looks like clouds which gives the forest its name. The high humidity at this spot, 1,600 meters above the ocean, creates the mist and provides a cloud-like cover. (Total driving time is 4 hours approx. with stops on the way) - “Crocodile Bridge”

 

Day 17

Full day at Monteverde.

Imagine walking through the clouds thousands of feet above sea level. At the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, you can embrace the misty atmosphere, which serves as one of the most coveted ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica. The reserve encompasses a 26,000-acre bio-zone, brimming with a marvellous diversity of wildlife and plant life. The moisture is caught in the branches of the tallest trees, harbouring a thriving ecosystem below.  Enjoy “The Treetop Walkway Tour” which guides you both through and above the rainforest across a series of 8 suspension bridges which are connected by trails totalling about 2 miles (approx. 2 ½ hours) – the bridges are very stable and there is no bounce when you walk over them so even if you are scared of heights you should be fine especially as some of the tree tops are close to you the height seems to disappear!  The walk will give you the chance to experience the flora and fauna at every level of these magical tropical forests. You will have complete views of the forest canopy and access to a completely different ecosystem that can only be discovered at the highest points of trees. We will point out intriguing plant and animal life, so you won’t miss out on amazing details these forests offer.  Free time to relax or optional visit to the Orchid House or the Frog Pond in the town or to the Humming-bird Gallery near the entrance to the Cloud Forest (entrance fees payable locally)

 

Day 18

Overland departure to the airport – The international airport, in the capital city of San Jose is located some 3 hours away from Monteverde – your departure time from the lodge will depend on the time of your flight arrangements. – brief city tour of the Capital of Costa Rica 


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