Costa Rica

A NATURE LOVER’S TROPICAL PARADISE

Code: CTWHW

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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • High Mountains
  • Wildlife

Level

  • 2
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £3,175.00 - 11 to 14 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

Download Trip Notes

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 birdlife including the iconic toucan. Hike in the Poás Volcano National Park, with steaming craters and emerald pools. Encounter another volcano at Arenal before relaxing on the sandy beaches and quiet trails of Marino Ballena National Park.

Holiday highlights

  • Great natural variety in a small area
  • Dominical and the undeveloped Marino Ballena National Park
  • Walks around the active Arenal volcano and the rainforest canopy
  • Boat ride through the Cano Negro Wildlife reserve, on the Nicaragua border
  • Astounding tropical bird life
  • The hills of San Gerado de Dota, in search of the rare quetzal bird
  • Expert walking and naturalist guides
  • Optional extension to the Corcovado National Park on the Pacific beaches

In pictures...

Accommodation

Stay in a selection of well equipped resort hotels and country and rainforest lodges, all with lovely tropical gardens close to nature.

 Buena-Vista-Hotel in Costa Rica

Buena Vista Hotel, San Jose - 2nts at start & 1nt at end of the tour 

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 in Cuba

Tilajari Resort, Arenal - 3nts

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 in Cuba

Savegre Mountain Lodge, San Gerado de Dota - 2nts

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 in Costa Rica

Cristal Ballena Resort - 3nts

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 in Cuba

Casa Corcovado - 3nts - holiday extension

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. 


On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.

Itinerary

Costa Rica itinerary

Download trip notes

A mixture of sightseeing and a choice of walks. Easier walks range from 3-6 miles (4.75-9.6km) with up to 600 feet (180m) of ascent; harder walks are from 6-12 miles (9.5-19.25km) with very little ascent. Some paths are narrow and muddy. Options are offered each day.

Historic theatre in San JoseDays 1-2: San Jose

Fly to San Jose and on arrival meet the local guide, transfer to the hotel for 2 nights.

The following day we visit the Gold Museum, which features excellent displays of pre-Columbian pottery, jade and gold jewellery.

 

 

Arenal volcano and lush vegetationDays 3-5: Poas National Park

Visit the Poas Volcano National Park, with its spectacular crater filled with emerald green water. Walk by a hummingbird observation area and the refreshing Las Paz waterfall.

The next day we take a slow river boat ride through the 20,000 acre Caňo Negro Wildlife Reserve on the lookout for howler monkeys, caimans, turtles, sloths, brightly coloured butterflies and exotic birds.

We also include a choice of walks around Arenal volcano, with extraordinary views, or the amazing experience of the Arenal Hanging Bridges in the primary rainforest canopy.

Brightly coloured Toucan birdDays 6-7: Gerardo de Dota

Today we travel south, stopping en route in the small town of Sarchi. We then continue to drive across San José and reach the highlands of Talamanca. We shall enjoy a traditional lunch in the mountains and walk into Savegre Lodge’s Valley.

A variety of trails are possible in the cool mountains, winding around the cloud forest of the Talamanca mountains and by the Savegre river. This is an area of wonderful bird life, including the rare resplendent quetzal and a large variety of hummingbird species.

Red-eyed tree frogDays 8-10: Pacific Coast & Marino Ballena National Park

Morning walk beside the rushing Savage River. After lunch we cross over the continental divide, where on a clear day it’s possible to see both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Dropping into the San Isidro valley we make our way over the coastal mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Stay near Dominical for 3 nights.

The next day explore this quiet and relatively undiscovered national park, with its large sandy beaches, tidal pools, and great marine and bird life. Coastal trails offer views of the Pacific Ocean not easily forgotten.

There's further time for exploration of the national park and also to relax in the peaceful surrounds of the hotel. This area is renowned for its visiting whales and dolphins and it is possible to take an optional whale watching cruise, as well as an optional mangrove cruise.

Days 11-13: To San José and return flight

Travel overland back to San José (1 night), calling in at various places on the journey including an area where it’s possible to see scarlet macaws.

The next day we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight back to the UK


Extend your stay - Corcovado National Park extension

Continue on your adventure and travel further down the Pacific coast to the Corcovado National Park, the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline, and stay at the excellent Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge. The tropical waters surrounding the Osa Peninsula are an amazing marine habitat for whales, dolphins, sea turtles and more.

Capuchin monkeyDay 11: To Corcovado - Transfer by land to the Sierpe river dock and take the boat directly to the Casa Corcovado Lodge, arriving in time for lunch. Afternoon is free to explore the jungle trails or relax on the beach.

Day 12: Corcovado National Park - Guided tour on the trails of the national park, with wildlife including spider monkeys, toucans, poison dart frogs, sloths and much more. There will also be plenty of time to relax on the coast.

Day 13: Cano Island - we explore the pristine waters, bays and coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Go to an excellent spot for snorkeling, the ‘Coral Garden, and then to a secluded beach sheltered by coconut palms. Hike up to the interior of the island or to stay awhile at the magnificent viewpoint.

Day 14: To San Jose - Take the boat up the Sierpe river and fly to San Jose. Stay 1 night at the Buena Vista Hotel. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 15: To London - Transfer to the airport for the departure flight.

Day 16: London - Early morning arrival.

Please note there will be no local leader in Corcovado, but there will be an English-speaking driver/guide. You will be getting in and out of boats, so please take waterproof sandals, or footwear you don't mind getting wet. Tips are not included for the extension. Conditions will be very hot and humid. All that said, as one guest described it - it's a tremendous experience, it's the icing on the cake!

General Information

Passport

A full passport is required and must be valid for one day beyond the date of departure from Costa Rica.

Visas

British citizens with full right of residence in the UK do not require a visa for Costa Rica. Those who do not have British passports should check requirements with the embassies or consulates of Costa Rica.

 

Health advice

Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk   www.traveldoctor.co.uk

Medical services are not free to visitors and health insurance is therefore a necessity.

Vaccines: Hepatitis A, Typhoid & Tetanus vaccinations are recommended. Diphtheria, malaria and rabies prevention may be recommended too.

Mosquitoes, chiggers and a little biting black fly can present a problem if you are allergic to bites. Ticks are present but no diseases are known to be spread by them. Most people are not bothered at all. A spray repellent with DEET is recommended. Malaria is present in Costa Rica, although more towards the south and Atlantic coast, away from the areas we will visit. We would urge you to consult your GP before you depart for up to date information.

Climate

Costa Rica experiences two seasons: wet and dry. Departures are planned for the dry season but even then, due to travelling through tropical rainforests, there may be a number of wet days, especially inland. Temperatures depend on place and altitude. San José has an average year round temperature of 22°C / 72ºF. The days can be fairly hot but temperatures drop a little at night. The highlands around San Gerado de Dota in particular are cold at night.

Money

The official currency is the Colon. Colones cannot be obtained in the UK, but can be exchanged from US Dollars in Costa Rica. US Dollars are also widely accepted. Travellers cheques are no longer accepted at most banks. Major credit cards are accepted in larger hotels, although you may have problems using them in some of the more rural locations we will visit. There are ATM’s available. Traveller’s cheques are not advised.

Tipping

Tips are included on this holiday. (but not on the extension to Corcovado)

For flights information please see Dates and Prices tab 

 

Leaders

Noel Urena

Fifteenth generation Costa Rican, Noel has been observing and generally been fascinated by nature for most of his life. So much so, that at an early age he made it his mission to build a career around the natural world. After earning a degree in ecotourism and environmental management in 1996, he worked his way towards becoming a professional naturalist and specialised birding guide in Costa Rica. His abilities and knowledge in the field are remarkable, well known and engaging. Anyone who is privileged to find themselves in his company on some backroad or trail will be swept up by his enthusiasm and be in awe of his in depth understanding of the natural history. Noel has been our second guide on HF Holidays' Costa Rica trips for many years, but now he is our main guide.

Reviews

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Dates & Prices

Here at HF Holidays, we pride ourselves in offering a unique holiday full of experiences that you can’t find with anyone else. Find out what's included in this holiday.

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
15 Nov 2017 CTWHW - Costa Rica Nature's Showcase
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 15 Nov 2017, 6:30 a.m.
  • Arrive: 15 Nov 2017, 3:50 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: San Jose Juan Santamaria International

Flight - Return

IBERIA INTL AIRLINE

  • Depart: 26 Nov 2017, 5:20 p.m.
  • Arrive: 27 Nov 2017, 2:55 p.m.
  • Depart from: San Jose Juan Santamaria International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
11 £3,379.00 £3,378.00 Holiday Guaranteed to run Book Now
15 Nov 2017 CTWHW - Costa Rica & Corcovado National Park - Without Flights 14 £4,114.00 £4,113.00 Holiday Guaranteed to run Book Now
13 Feb 2018 CTWHW - Costa Rica Nature's Showcase
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 13 Feb 2018, 10:05 a.m.
  • Arrive: 13 Feb 2018, 3:40 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: San Jose Juan Santamaria International

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 24 Feb 2018, 3:30 p.m.
  • Arrive: 25 Feb 2018, 7:45 a.m.
  • Depart from: San Jose Juan Santamaria International
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
11 £3,795.00 £3,795.00 Book Now
13 Feb 2018 CTWHW - Costa Rica Nature's Showcase - Without Flights 11 £3,175.00 £3,175.00 Book Now
13 Mar 2018 CTWHW - Costa Rica Nature's Showcase
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 13 Mar 2018, 10:05 a.m.
  • Arrive: 13 Mar 2018, 3:40 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: San Jose Juan Santamaria International

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 24 Mar 2018, 3:30 p.m.
  • Arrive: 25 Mar 2018, 8:45 a.m.
  • Depart from: San Jose Juan Santamaria International
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
11 £3,795.00 £3,795.00 Book Now
13 Nov 2018 CTWHW - Costa Rica Nature's Showcase
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 13 Nov 2018, 10:05 a.m.
  • Arrive: 13 Nov 2018, 3:45 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Gatwick
  • Arrive at: San Jose Juan Santamaria International

Flight - Return

BRITISH AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 24 Nov 2018, 3:45 p.m.
  • Arrive: 25 Nov 2018, 7:45 a.m.
  • Depart from: San Jose Juan Santamaria International
  • Arrive at: London Gatwick
11 £3,795.00 £3,795.00 Book Now
13 Nov 2018 CTWHW - Costa Rica Nature's Showcase - Without Flights 11 £3,175.00 £3,175.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Price includes:

  • 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

Other important information:

  • Single room: £590 (2017), £699 (2018)
  • Extension to Corcovado National Park from £1,335
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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