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Costa Rica Guided Walking Holiday

red eyed tree frog Costa Rica
Duration: 11 nights
Type: Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 2
from £3,999pp £3,849pp with flights

Discover the astounding beauty and rich wildlife of this stunning tropical paradise. Monkeys look on from the trees of the Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve as you cruise down the peaceful river en route to a canopy trail, where you’ll see colourful bird life including the iconic toucan. Hikes in Poás Volcano National Park reveal steaming craters and emerald pools – signs of the enormous geothermal forces which lie below. Encounter another spectacular volcano at Arenal National Park before relaxing on the sandy beaches and quiet trails of Marino Ballena National Park.

Holiday Highlights

  • Astounding tropical bird life including the rare resplendent quetzal
  • Walking around the active Arenal Volcano
  • Rainforest canopy walks
  • Boat ride through Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve
  • Insight from expert walking and naturalist guides
  • Optional extension to the Corcovado National Park. Please call 020 3974 8865 for more information.

What’s included

  • 11 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Full board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure
  • A full programme of guided walks led by local guides 
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Travel by air-conditioned coach/minivan
  • Tips

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

We transfer from the airport on a c. 20 - minute drive to our accommodation located amongst the coffee fields and at an elevation of 4,185ft. Here we have magnificent views of the Central Valley as well as Poás, Barva and Irazú volcanoes.

Buena Vista Hotel, San Jose - Costa Rica

The Buena Vista Hotel is situated a little outside San Jose, among coffee fields and enjoys views along the central valley across the capital toward Poas volcano. 


Today we visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a hummingbird observation area as well as a forest trail with spectacular waterfall views. Distance: approx. 1 mile (1½km) with negligible ascent on good terrain. We’ll also visit the Cinchona bird feeders and the Doka Estate for a wonderful coffee tour.

Buena Vista Hotel, San Jose - Costa Rica

The Buena Vista Hotel is situated a little outside San Jose, among coffee fields and enjoys views along the central valley across the capital toward Poas volcano. 


Today we travel northwest to the lush San Carlos lowlands and Arenal. We stop en route in the small town of Sarchí, known for its handicrafts and art, including colourful and distinctive traditional oxcarts. We’ll also visit Zarcero, a small town that is pleasantly not overrun by tourists and is home to an intriguing topiary garden and a wonderfully decorated old church.

Set in 30 acres of relaxing gardens, our hotel for the next three nights sits along the San Carlos River where we can see crocodiles, anhingas and green iguanas. As in most of Costa Rica, the birdlife is wonderful, and toucans often frequent the surrounding trees. The resort is near Arenal Volcano.

Tilajari Resort, Arenal - Costa Rica

A luxurious 4-star country lodge with large well-appointed rooms and a range of facilities including a butterfly garden. A highlight of the resort is the extensive grounds, with a private rainforest reserve in front of the hotel.


We’ll be doing something a little different today. We take a slow river-boat ride through the 20,000-acre Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Río Frío. Close to the border with Nicaragua, it is one of Costa Rica’s best reserves. Along the way we should have a good chance of spotting monkeys, caimans, turtles, sloths and butterflies as well as several bird species. We often spot the Great pPotoo, a highly camouflaged bird that pretends to be part of a branch.

Later this afternoon we have time to relax at the hotel and enjoy the facilities, or explore the local area, including the San Carlos River.

Tilajari Resort, Arenal - Costa Rica

A luxurious 4-star country lodge with large well-appointed rooms and a range of facilities including a butterfly garden. A highlight of the resort is the extensive grounds, with a private rainforest reserve in front of the hotel.


We have several choices for exploring the area around Arenal Volcano today.


Arenal Volcano 1968 Trails: We’ll explore here in the morning. Two walks lead us over old lava flows at the base of Arenal Volcano. Distance: 3 miles (5km) with negligible ascent; or a shorter option with more wildlife watching: 1½ miles (2 ½ km).


Arenal Hanging Bridges: This spectacular trail, which we’ll visit in the afternoon, winds through and over the primary rainforest, with a system of bridges and trails allowing you to view up close the wildlife and lush forest canopy and spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano. Distance: 2 miles (3km) with 250 feet (76m) of ascent.

Tilajari Resort, Arenal - Costa Rica

A luxurious 4-star country lodge with large well-appointed rooms and a range of facilities including a butterfly garden. A highlight of the resort is the extensive grounds, with a private rainforest reserve in front of the hotel.


As we begin our drive to the mountains we start the day visiting a gold museum in San José, which features excellent displays of pre-Columbian pottery, jade and gold artefacts.


We continue our drive to reach the highlands of Talamanca. We’ll enjoy a traditional lunch in the mountains and walk into the valley where our next accommodation is located, an unspoilt location ideal for wildlife viewing, especially birds.
San Gerardo de Dota is one of the finest spots in the country to see the Resplendent Quetzal, a beautifully coloured, iridescent bird that Central American tribes revered as sacred. We may also see Dusky Nightjars, Emerald Toucanets, Acorn Woodpeckers and a great diversity of hummingbirds, such as the Lesser Violetear, White-throated Mountain gem, Talamanca Hummingbird and Scintillant Hummingbird, Costa Rica’s smallest species.

Savegre Mountain Lodge, San Gerado de Dota - Costa Rica

The Savegre Mountain Lodge is relatively basic in terms of facilities and amenities, but its great attraction lies in its closeness to nature, and great location surrounded by untouched cloud forest and accompanied by birdsong. Nights can be cool here at 2,000m altitude, but it is a very atmospheric place.


During our time at the lodge, a variety of trails will be offered in the cool mountain surroundings.


Today we have two stunning walk options. We may take an 9 mile (14½km) full day trek, with 4,250 feet (1,291m) of descent, down the Cerro de la Muerte; alternatively, we can choose a shorter trail – 2 miles (3km) with 700 feet (213m) of descent – of equivalent beauty. There are also several shorter walks around the lodge, which will be offered in the afternoon. Walk along the nearby river to spot the riverbank birdlife, such as American Dipper and the Torrent Tyrannulet, look out for the interesting Flowerpiercer and explore the small nearby village, and learn a little about its history. Distance: 1 mile (1½km) or 3 miles (5km) to also visit a waterfall.

Savegre Mountain Lodge, San Gerado de Dota - Costa Rica

The Savegre Mountain Lodge is relatively basic in terms of facilities and amenities, but its great attraction lies in its closeness to nature, and great location surrounded by untouched cloud forest and accompanied by birdsong. Nights can be cool here at 2,000m altitude, but it is a very atmospheric place.


This morning, walk the Providencia Road, which traverses the high elevation of cloud forest of Los Quetzales National Park. This peaceful road affords us a great opportunity to admire the moss-laden forest and look for the famous Resplendent Quetzal. Distance: 3 miles (5km) with 450 feet (131m) of ascent.


After lunch we drive to the highest point on the Pan-American Highway – it sits at well over 10,000 feet above sea level. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea as we traverse the spine of the continental divide.


Dropping into the San Isidro valley we make our way over the coastal mountains towards the Pacific Ocean and our accommodation. Accommodation: Cristal Ballena Resort, Ballena de Osa (3 nights).

Cristal Ballena Resort - Costa Rica

On the Pacific Coast, this excellent 4-star hotel is set in extensive tropical gardens with splendid views over the ocean and extensive facilities including large rooms with balconies, a swimming pool and spa.


The park offers an array of activities and has yet to be discovered by most foreign visitors, and we spend two days here exploring. The vast sandy beach is quite deserted. Tidal pools are home to colourful saltwater fish and Humpback whales court and calve in the sheltered coves offshore.


There is the opportunity to go on an optional mangrove or whale watching tour. The mangrove tour reveals endemic species of birds such as Mangrove Hummingbird and the endangered Yellow-billed Cotinga. The order of activities will depend on tide times and personal interest, and all tours are payable locally, in cash.


A variety of walks will be offered during our time in the park, or you can spend extra time on the beach – there’s a great snorkelling spot accessible from here – or take advantage of the amenities at the hotel.

Cristal Ballena Resort - Costa Rica

On the Pacific Coast, this excellent 4-star hotel is set in extensive tropical gardens with splendid views over the ocean and extensive facilities including large rooms with balconies, a swimming pool and spa.


For those not taking the extension, we return to Alajuela, near San José. We’ll make several stops along the way including one to spot the jewel-bright Scarlet Macaws.

Buena Vista Hotel, San Jose - Costa Rica

The Buena Vista Hotel is situated a little outside San Jose, among coffee fields and enjoys views along the central valley across the capital toward Poas volcano. 


Our adventure has sadly come to an end; we transfer to the airport for our departure flight after breakfast.


Costa Rica Itinerary Map

Buena Vista Hotel, San Jose - Costa Rica

The Buena Vista Hotel is situated a little outside San Jose, among coffee fields and enjoys views along the central valley across the capital toward Poas volcano. 

Tilajari Resort, Arenal - Costa Rica

A luxurious 4-star country lodge with large well-appointed rooms and a range of facilities including a butterfly garden. A highlight of the resort is the extensive grounds, with a private rainforest reserve in front of the hotel.

Savegre Mountain Lodge, San Gerado de Dota - Costa Rica

The Savegre Mountain Lodge is relatively basic in terms of facilities and amenities, but its great attraction lies in its closeness to nature, and great location surrounded by untouched cloud forest and accompanied by birdsong. Nights can be cool here at 2,000m altitude, but it is a very atmospheric place.

Cristal Ballena Resort - Costa Rica

On the Pacific Coast, this excellent 4-star hotel is set in extensive tropical gardens with splendid views over the ocean and extensive facilities including large rooms with balconies, a swimming pool and spa.

Casa Corcovado - holiday extension - Costa Rica

Tucked away in the trees and cooled by the Pacific Ocean, the lodge is a 170 acre private reserve bordering Corcovado National Park. The lodge has been constructed to be in harmony with the landscape. Individual bungalows offering comfort without taking away from the natural surrounding and furnishings are by Costa Rican artisans. 

What to Bring

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Essential Equipment

As you’ll be carrying your own luggage at airports and between your transport and hotels we recommend you try to keep your luggage to a minimum. These items are a general suggestion of what to pack for an active outdoor and walking holiday; depending on your destination, you may need more of some things and less – or none! – of others. You’ll know best what you prefer to wear when out walking or while taking part in other outdoor activities.

  • Walking boots (worn in), with good ankle support and spare bootlaces
  • Walking socks
  • Walking sandals
  • Lightweight fleece, waterproof trousers and jacket
  • Shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts
  • Long trousers and long-sleeved lightcoloured shirts with collars to protect from the sun. Your clothing should ideally be pre-treated with insect repellent and in-built sun protection (available from specialist clothing stores such as Rohan, Cotswold Outdoor).
  • Warm fleece, scarf/buff hat and gloves
  • Torch
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes for evenings and sightseeing
  • Sun protection – sun hat, sunglasses, high factor sunscreen and lip protection
  • Water bottle – at least 2-litre capacity
  • Lightweight survival bag
  • Small/medium rucksack (30 litre) and a liner or cover to keep contents dry
  • Insect repellent
  • Universal travel plug
  • Personal first aid kit including: personal medication, tissues, plasters, blister kit, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, Imodium, rehydration sachets

 

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-Member fee: £10 per person. Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
18 Feb - 29 Feb
11 2020 Itinerary £5,698 Available Trip Notes Book Now
17 Mar - 28 Mar
11 2020 Itinerary £3,999 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
14 Apr - 25 Apr
11 2020 Itinerary £3,999 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
17 Nov - 28 Nov
11 2020 Itinerary £3,999 £3,849 Save £150 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
18 Feb - 29 Feb
11 2020 Itinerary £3,299 Available Trip Notes Book Now
17 Mar - 28 Mar
11 2020 Itinerary £3,299 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
14 Apr - 25 Apr
11 2020 Itinerary £3,299 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
17 Nov - 28 Nov
11 2020 Itinerary £3,299 £3,149 Save £150 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

  • Single room supplement: £699
Duration:
11 nights
Type:
Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:
2

11 nights from £3,999pp £3,849pp with flights

Save up to £150 per person

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