Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets

Trip code: W13RC

Guided group walking

14 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

Operated by
Exodus Travels

SUMMARY

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Spend three nights in Drake Bay, the remote gateway to some of the premier wildlife destinations in Costa Rica Explore Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically rich areas on the planet Discover the wildlife and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for green turtles Enjoy unrivalled wildlife viewing, including monkeys, sloths, dolphins and whales (in season) Visit both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

TRIP DESCRIPTION

Costa Rica has many secrets to explore: from the wildlife-rich waterways of Tortuguero to the dense jungle coastline of the Osa Peninsula, an area named “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic. Scarlet macaws rule the roost adding brilliant flashes of red, blue and gold to the foliage; humpback whales breed in the waters off-shore, and sloths crawl along cecropia branches.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Start San Jose

Welcome to San José, the culture-rich capital of Costa Rica. Aim to arrive at the hotel by 5pm so that you can meet your fellow travellers and tour leader, who will give you a warm welcome to Costa Rica. If you miss today’s welcome briefing, the tour leader will give you all relevant information on the morning of Day 2. A free transfer is available to take you to our hotel in San José. Read the Joining Instructions in the Trip Notes for more information on booking your seat. Accommodation: Presidente Hotel or Park Inn or Aurola Holiday Inn San Jose (or similar)

You stay at Presidente Hotel.

hotel details

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Presidente Hotel, San Jose

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Located on Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard in San Jose’s vibrant core, the Presidente Hotel offers you the chance to experience the neighbourhood like a local. Many of the city’s best museums and galleries, as well as public parks, shops, restaurants and bars are within easy walking distance. There is a warm and friendly welcome to this family-owned hotel and the well-appointed rooms and suites feature comfy beds, Wi-Fi, and great showers. The hotel offers a daily buffet breakfast as well as a chance to relax on the rooftop at Azotea Calle 7, the fabulous bar/restaurant.
If this hotel is not available, an alternative of a similar level will be used.

Day 2: To Tortuguero National Park

Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to Tortuguero National Park in northeast Costa Rica. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero has a vast network of waterways, canals and swamps that are remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier, we board a small motorboat for the journey to our lodge (up to 1hr 30min) , which is a short distance from the main lagoon. Please note the transfer from San José to Tortuguero is not private for Exodus clients. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where we can visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for 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 hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today's travel time will be in the region of six hours including a stop for breakfast. Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)

You stay at Evergreen Lodge.

hotel details

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Evergreen Lodge , Tortuguero National Park

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The Evergreen Lodge is located just 5 minutes by boat from the entrance of the Tortuguero National Park and 12 minutes walk from the beach. Accessible only by air or water, this is the ideal location from which to explore this unique area, surrounded as it is by towering trees and jungle. This lovely lodge has 55 spacious and comfortable rooms with a seating area, a private bathroom with shower and ceiling fan. There is an outdoor swimming pool (in the shape of a turtle!), a bar, a restaurant with some spectacular river and jungle vistas, a wellness centre offering a range of massages and complimentary Wi-Fi in public areas. All meals are buffet service.
If this hotel is not available, an alternative, the Pachira Lodge, or a property of a similar level will be used.

Day 3: Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways

This morning we board a small boat, enabling us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero as we pass serenely along the waterways. In the morning 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-plus bird species recorded here. We’ll take a second boat trip this afternoon or you can relax at the lodge and enjoy the facilities. Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)

Day 4: To Cahuita; relax on the Caribbean coast

We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived, by taking a small boat to Siquirres pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the Cahuita region on the Caribbean coast, where we check into our hotel. Caribbean culture pervades this part of Costa Rica and is reflected in the music, food and laid-back lifestyle. The white-sand beach here is fringed by tall palms, behind which is the dense, wet tropical forest of Cahuita National Park. Accommodation: Ciudad Perdida (or similar)

You stay at Atlantida Lodge.

hotel details

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Atlantida Lodge, Cahuita

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Located on Costa Rica’s laid back Caribbean coast, Atlantida Lodge sits just over the road from a beach with calm seas ideal for swimming. The nearby village of Cahuita is only small, but offers a variety of restaurants, bars, shops and a bank and is also renowned for its breathtaking national park. The lodge’s rooms are comfortable and the décor includes local colours and themes. There is a ceiling fan, a private bathroom with shower and a safety deposit box. The property has a restaurant, offering Caribbean and international cuisine as well as their famous pizzas, a bar, a swimming pool and a wellness area. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi in the reception area.
If this hotel is not available, an alternative, the Ciudad Perdida, or a property of a similar level will be used.

Day 5: Wildlife walk in Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park has 2,711 acres (1,097ha) of land and 600 acres (243ha) of coral reef, the largest reef system in Costa Rica. Today we visit the national park, taking a 7mi (11km) walk from the southern entrance, which follows the coastline, through rainforest and past impressive Caribbean beaches. Although a fairly small in size, there is plenty of diversity in the park. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the beach, join an optional snorkelling excursion (subject to local conditions) or simply relax. Accommodation: Ciudad Perdida (or similar)

Day 6: Free day in Cahuita

Today is yours to relax into the Caribbean pace of life and enjoy free time around Cahuita. It is possible to join an optional excursion to the indigenous communities of Kekoldi & Bri Bri Reserve, where you'll learn about the properties and uses of native plants, plus the process of making artisanal chocolate. Chocolate is very important in Bri Bri culture and used for purification rituals, food and medicine. During the excursion, there is also the opportunity for a refreshing swim at a waterfall. Accommodation: Ciudad Perdida (or similar)

Day 7: Walk in La Marta Wildlife Refuge; to Turrialba Valley

Our next destination is Turrialba Valley, a rich agricultural region in the Central Highlands. On the way to Turrialba, we visit La Marta Wildlife Refuge, an area of both primary and secondary forest within La Amistad Biosphere (recognised as a Unesco World Patrimony of Humanity). The topography of this region is mountainous, with waterfalls, rivers and caves – the varied elevation supports a wide range of plants (including orchids, bromeliads, lichens and mosses) and animals (including anteaters, ocelots and tapirs). Accommodation: Villa Florencia or Guayabo (or similar)

You stay at Villa Florencia.

hotel details

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Villa Florencia, Turrialba

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Set amongst sugar cane plantations and surrounded by mountains and tropical gardens, the Villa Florencia is the perfect place in which to relax and enjoy the stunning landscape and wildlife (especially birds) of the Turrialba Valley. Offering guests all the comforts of a family-run boutique hotel, there is a swimming pool with a hydro-massage jacuzzi, a gourmet restaurant offering a flavoursome menu using fresh local ingredients and an open-air gym. The spacious rooms either have a terrace with garden views (Standard) or a balcony with mountain views (Superior). Each has a private bathroom, complimentary Wi-Fi, satellite TV, ceiling fan, coffee maker, hair dryer, and safety deposit box.
If this hotel is not available, an alternative property of a similar level will be used.

Day 8: To Savegre Cloud Forest

After breakfast, we depart towards San GeraRdo de Dota and Savegre Valley Cloud Forest. This is said to be one of the best places in 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 are particularly 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 among the wet leaves. After lunch, we take a short walk into the cloud forest. Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa or Trogon Lodge (or similar)

You stay at Savegre Hotel - Natural Reserve & Spa.

hotel details

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Savegre Hotel - Natural Reserve & Spa, San Gerardo de Dota

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Another property with minimal environmental impact, the Hotel Savegre - Natural Reserve & Spa holds a firm belief that guests can really help to maintain the property’s eco-friendly credentials, by the way they act during their stay. Turning off lights, using as little drinking water as needed and not leaving the marked trails during walks are just a few examples.
The property has comfortable, wooden-clad, cabin rooms with good amenities, all of which are surrounded by the fabulous gardens. There is a restaurant, a bar and lounge, a gift shop, a spa area as well as complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property. Las Bromelias Restaurant offers a balance of fine international cuisine with the best of Costa Rican tradition and offers either a buffet or a la carte dining experience depending on the number of guests.
If this hotel is not available, an alternative, the Trogon Lodge, or a property of a similar level will be used.

Day 9: Free day to discover walking trails in Savegre Valley

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 you can discover the tropical cloud forest and sub-Alpine vegetation of the area. Birds here include hummingbirds, woodpeckers tanagers and trogons, and if you are lucky tapirs and squirrel monkeys. Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa or Trogon Lodge (or similar)

Day 10: To Sierpe; boat to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula

Early in the morning, our journey continues towards the small town of Sierpe, where we board a small motorboat to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. Passing the huge mangrove swamps that line the Sierpe River, our boat crosses the ocean before arriving at Drake Bay. This region is very remote and with extremely limited road access, which means most supplies, visitors and locals, must arrive by boat. Getting here is part of the adventure. The bay is spectacular, with just a handful of lodges on the horizon and the rest thick verdant forest and rocky coves as far as the eye can see. Our next three nights will be spent at the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, a family-run property close to the 'town' of Drake Bay and with ocean views from every corner. Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)

You stay at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort.

hotel details

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Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, Osa Peninsula

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Drake Bay Wilderness Resort was opened in 1985 when this family-run, rustic hotel was a tourism pioneer in an extremely remote area, accessible only by boat and with no electricity until 2005! The hotel sits between the jungle and the ocean and experiences wildlife visitors to the property that include white-faced monkeys, coati, anteaters, agoutis, macaws, toucans, common black hawk and even dolphins (playing and feeding in the bay right in front of the hotel). The hotel has a restaurant offering Costa Rican and American dishes, a bar and a saltwater pool with beautiful views of the bay and the daily sunsets. There are kayaks for guests to use, complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry service and nearly all of the rooms have views of the ocean (many of the rooms also have air conditioning).
If this hotel is not available, an alternative property of a similar level will be used.

Day 11: Boat trip to Caño Island

Board a small boat to Caño Island, 12 nautical miles from Drake Bay. During this 45-minute boat ride, there may be opportunities to spot migrating whales or playful dolphins (orca are also here around December to April and humpbacks might be seen around July to November). The interior of the island is thought to have been a burial ground for the indigenous Daquis tribe during pre-Columbian times, and many perfectly spherical human-made stones have been found here. But it's the marine life that is the biggest highlight of Caño Island, with hawksbill and olive ridley turtles, manta rays and white-tipped reef sharks just some of the likely encounters on today's snorkelling excursion. This area has been rated as having the best snorkelling in the whole of Costa Rica, with excellent water visibility and a huge marine diversity living in the protected reef. Enjoy a picnic lunch on nearby San Josecito beach, where capuchin monkeys, coatimundi and lively scarlet macaws may appear. Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)

Day 12: Boat trip to Corcovado National Park; discover the park on foot

When National Geographic describes an area as “the most biologically intense place on Earth,” it must be worthy of investigation. This morning, we board a small boat for a 30-minute journey to San Pedrillo Ranger Station, our entrance point to Corcovado National Park. This is undoubtedly the most secluded and tranquil region in Costa Rica. Protecting around one-third of the Osa Peninsula (some 164sqmi/425sqkm), Corcovado is the largest national park in Costa Rica and encompasses 13 major ecosystems across various elevations, with montane forest, cloud forest, fresh water and mangrove swamps among them. Scientists have recorded half of all the species in Costa Rica on this peninsula alone. On today's hike along the parks trails, we may see all four monkey species in Costa Rica (squirrel, howler, white-faced capuchin and spider), tamandua (anteaters), two- and three-toed sloths, peccary, tapirs (including the endangered Baird’s tapir) and many reptiles, insects and amphibians. Puma and jaguar also prowl this area, but are very difficult to see. With more than 500 tree species, the bird count stands at an impressive 365 and the park protects the largest population of scarlet macaws in the country, which can frequently be seen and heard flying overhead. In October, when the national park is closed, we typically visit El Camino de la Danta, a wildlife-rich trail home to white-faced monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans and more. Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)

Day 13: Mangrove boat trip; to Sierpe; to San Jose

After an early breakfast, we board another boat and return to Sierpe town. On the way, our boat will take a short tour of the huge mangrove forest that lines the Sierpe River. Delving into the network of tributary rivers and streams offers a chance to learn more about the role of mangroves in the ecosystem and the numerous creatures that depend on them, including fish, crabs, birds, molluscs and shellfish. In Sierpe town, we transfer to our private minibus and commence our journey to San Jose. Accommodation: Presidente Hotel or Park Inn or Aurola Holiday Inn San Jose (or similar)

You stay at Presidente Hotel.

hotel details

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Presidente Hotel, San Jose

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Located on Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard in San Jose’s vibrant core, the Presidente Hotel offers you the chance to experience the neighbourhood like a local. Many of the city’s best museums and galleries, as well as public parks, shops, restaurants and bars are within easy walking distance. There is a warm and friendly welcome to this family-owned hotel and the well-appointed rooms and suites feature comfy beds, Wi-Fi, and great showers. The hotel offers a daily buffet breakfast as well as a chance to relax on the rooftop at Azotea Calle 7, the fabulous bar/restaurant.
If this hotel is not available, an alternative of a similar level will be used.

Day 14: Visit the Irazu Volcano National Park and the Orosi Valley for a coffee tour

Today begins with a trip to the Irazu Volcano National Park in the Cartago province of Costa Rica, located within the Central Mountain Range around a 90-minute journey from San Jose. Passing different vegetation, we'll drive towards the summit and then follow a path that leads to a wonderful view across the huge crater. Irazu is one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica, though it has recently entered a dormant phase – a relief to the farmers and property owners who make their living on the fertile slopes. On a clear day, both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines can be seen from the summit. Remember to bring a jacket as it can be windy and cold at the viewpoint of this elevation (Irazu summit is 11,260ft/3,432m high). Following this we continue to the city of Cartago, home to a spectacular domed basilica, and the Orosi Valley, an area of natural beauty. After lunch in one of the many traditional restaurants, we join the Orosi Coffee tour to learn about the ancient techniques used to produce some of the best coffee in the world. This involves understanding the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of coffee beans, before you have a chance to savour the end product yourself. Afterwards, we return to San Jose for our last night of the holiday. Accommodation: Presidente Hotel or Park Inn or Aurola Holiday Inn San Jose (or similar)

Day 15: End San Jose

Our adventure comes to an end today after breakfast and it's time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Hop in your free transfer back to San Jose airport to begin your return journey home.

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from $1125.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from $1125.

TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 0044 1606 720199 or email sales@headwater.com

Transportation

We travel in air-conditioned buses and also boats in Tortuguero and Drake Bay. Depending on the group size, we either use a 16-seat Coaster minibus or a larger 20-seat vehicle. Due to the type of vehicles we use, it's common for luggage to be transported on the roof, covered by a tarpaulin. There is a shared transfer to Tortuguero on Day 2 of the itinerary in a larger coach.

Joining Instructions

nKey information Start hotels and phone number: Park Inn, Avenida 6, San Bosco, CR-P, San José, 10103 (+506 4110 1100) or Presidente Hotel, Avenida Central, Catedral, San José, 11801 (+506 2010 0000) Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately Airport: Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) Getting to the start hotel The start hotel is approximately 30 to 60 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start (or pre-tour) hotel from the airport for all customers arriving on the date the tour starts. Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts. Catching your return flight Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) from the end hotel. Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts. Flying via the USA The US is known to have lengthy immigration queues which must be navigated by all passengers, including those in transit. We only book flights that meet the minimum valid connection time and wherever possible we will ensure there is at least a two-hour window between connecting flights. If your flight to the US is delayed and the connection becomes particularly tight, we advise you to make your way as quickly as you can from the plane to immigration where you should make yourself known to an official in an attempt to move closer to the front of the queue. n

REVIEWS

If you want to see a wide range of animals in their natural habitat, this is the trip for you. We selected the coastal secrets trip due to the variety of national parks, climate, scenery and type of animal. This didn't disappoint. We saw over 130 different types of birds, 3 types of monkey, a range of reptiles and swam with a basking shark and a turtle whilst on the Osa Peninsular. The trip has a lot of variety, travelling by boat to see the wildlife in Tortugerro, walking in the NP in Cahuita, emersed in beautiful gardens in Savegre and exploring the wild Osa Peninsula.

Jonanthan was a wonderful guide. His knowledge and understanding about the wildlife and his country was outstanding.

A fantastic trip with one highlight after another. Wonderful sights and sounds and a huge variety of scenery. Excellent hotel accommodation and food choices. Excellent guide Alejandro and driver Randall who went the extra mile throughout to ensure we had the best time. A lot of hours spent travelling and early mornings but so worth it. I cannot recommend this trip highly enough. I absolutely loved Costa Rica!

Lovely group of 12, knowledgeable & hard-working guide, good safe driver, wonderful locations & wildlife

A fantastic trip which was organised, managed and surpassed expectations

Busy,inspiring and possibly unique experiences

Amazing country packed with beautiful birds , wildlife, scenery and friendly people. Hot and humid in February a bit of rain but not cold unless at altitude.

This holiday was hard work, busy busy, busy, but goodness me it was worth the 6 a.m. starts and hours in the bus to see so much of a country that could justly claim to be a little bit of paradise on earth.

Loved every minute of this trip. The animals, birds, insects and scenery are amazing.

This trip is quite simply outstanding. The wildlife, the food, the culture - basically the whole experience - is just amazing and I cannot talk highly enough about it. Travelling from the Caribbean to the Pacific and back inland again, the itinerary finds a very good balance between travel days and hotel stays, allowing regular opportunities to stay 2/3 nights in one place. The ability to spot wildlife is phenomenal - in fact if Exodus were to offer a free refund if you don't see a sloth, they would have a sure bet!. Other wildlife experiences were also regular (quetzals, monkeys, tamanduas, birdlife, turtles hatching, snorkeling with turtles, sharks, tropical fish, the list is endless. Finally, the quality of the food caught us by surprise. An absolute delight for every meal and the fruit is SOOOOO fresh!

Great trip. Awesome guide (Jorge) and excellent driver (Freddy) both went out of their way and gave up their free days to maximize our opportunities to see wildlife - and we saw lots! Baby endangered green sea turtles emerging from nests and making their way to the sea, all 4 species of monkey, sloths, racoons, coates, agoutis, a peccary, a tapir, a tamandua, dolphins, sharks, resplendent quetzals, red and green macaws, crocodiles, caymans, lots of pretty colored birds. Mostly very well organized. Mostly went to plan. I highly recommend this trip.

Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets is a brilliant trip. The itinerary is well thought through with a variety of excellent locations and the right amount of travel. Our guide Jorge was great - efficient and friendly. We saw so much wildlife - turtles, sloths, coati, agouti, tamandua, racoons, spider monkeys, capuchins, howlers & squirrel monkeys, otters, crocodiles, bats, sharks, tapir, dolphins, peccary, resplendent quetzels, tanagers, trogon etc. All the accommodation was very comfortable. Drake's Bay, Tortuguero & Cahuita are stunning locations. The National Parks are very well looked after and teeming with wildlife. The Costa Ricans are very friendly. Everything is green. This is a very enjoyable, rewarding & memorable trip. The minibus was comfortable and we enjoyed all the boat trips. The snorkelling trip was fun.

I have done a lot of Exodus trips and this was one of the best. We saw everything significant that there was to see, thanks to the extraordinary ability of Jorge Suarez to see even the tiniest creatures in thick foliage, then set up his scope to enable us all to see it. Too many species to list them all but for starters: Sloths, tapir, several species of monkey, alligators, a breathtaking assortment of birds, including lots of hummingbirds and even the wonderful resplendent quetzal.

We absolutely loved this trip - it’s definitely for the wildlife lover and you need to be prepared for some very early mornings and some long travelling days - but if you can cope with that then you will be massively rewarded. We saw more than it’s possible to list here - Tortuguero and Corcovado are both highlights but everywhere had something new and good to offer. The trip was definitely helped by having the best group of fellow travellers - experiencing it with them made it all the better.

This trip exceeded all my expectations. We saw so much wildlife in addition to the breath-taking Costa Rican scenery. The birdlife was spectacular - we saw toucans, scarlet macaws, hummingbirds, quetzel, parrots, tanagers, trogons, waterbirds, and a host of other colourful birds. We also saw plenty of mammals including monkeys, sloths, coatis, and even tapir. The itinerary was excellent, taking in both the Caribbean coast, the cloud forest and the Osa peninsula on the pacific coast. We also had a day of snorkelling off the pacific coast where we saw turtles and dolphins. Our guide, Alejandro, was was an excellent wildlife guide and tour leader and looked after us very well for the duration of the trip

This trip packed in a great variety of wildlife locations each with its own range of habitats and communities of organisms. Overall, the accommodation and food was good.

This is a trip that packs in a lot! Moving from the Caribbean coastal rainforest, across the centre of the country via the mountainous cloud forest and then down to the Pacific coastline, there is ample opportunity to see some of the fantastic bird and mammal wildlife that is all around you. Every day there is something new to see.

This is a jam packed, go go trip. We saw lots of Costa Rica's landscape and wildlife. Even though there were a couple of long days on the bus, I found it a fantastic way of see the countryside. It is a small country with slow roads so we were very happy not to be doing the driving. We saw 89 species of birds, in addition to sloths, monkeys, coati, snakes frogs, dolphins and a tapir. And snorkeling we saw, of course many fish, but several hawksbill turtles, a green sea turtle, and 2 white tipped reef sharks. We saw wildlife!

Very good wildlife viewing in the reserves. We were lucky with the weather overall. There are some long days on the bus as would be expected and almost all the days are very early starts with a bit of a rush for breakfast. The accommodation was good on the whole but we were disappointed that in several places our accommodation was not the usual and probably downgraded. This is arranged through Tui in Costa Rica apparently and being high season the Savegre Lodge could not take all our group. The nights in the Suria hotel were cold with inadequate heating in the rooms although the bedding was sufficient. The local guides were good in Tortuguero but not so good in Drake bay. Our Exodus guide Guillermo was excellent. There was only one opportunity for snorkelling (Cano Island), the first session was very disappointing as you have to follow the guide. We were dropped in deep water with very little to see. The second session was a little better but we still couldnt go where we liked as there were so many groups in the water.

What an amazing trip with so much to see and do. What an experience.

A fantastic taste of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is beautiful and Jorge Diaz, our guide was wonderful. He had a bigger than normal job, due to road closures from rain/landslides, but he did it all.with clear communication and patience. He is passionate about his country and his work. He clearly enjoys teaching visitors about Costa Rica. We saw so many beautiful parks and stayed in lovely accommodations. The only problem was with one hotel in Cahuita that didn’t have running water. The rain only interfered with a few activities but we did other things that made up for it. The wildlife viewing was spectacular—sloths, tapirs, turtles, crocs, boas and so many different birds. The chocolate making tour and coffee farm tour were fun and interesting. Both were delicious and I am now a coffee drinker! At least of Cafe Cristina’s light roast! If you are thinking about this trip, go—you won’t be disappointed. Pura Vida!

I loved this trip! The itinerary was excellent - we saw so much and varied wildlife - dolphins, whales, a tapir, howler monkeys, quetzal, scarlet macaws, sloths, turtles and so on! Lots of variety and included some more remote places. Cahuita was great, and Torteguero, and Drakes Bay were particular highlights. Savegre was a lovely cooler spot for a couple of days, really loved Corcovado and the snorkelling. Accommodation and food was of a really good standard overall. La Marta needed more time spent there - the short walk didn't really do it justice. I had maybe expected some longer walks generally on some of the days activities, however we were able to do some additional walking on our free days / time. We had a group of ten which was a nice number, and a really great bunch of people!

An Absolutely Fabulous adventure seeing a lot of what Costa Rica has to offer. Seeing the interesting and varied wildlife, flora and fauna on the Caribbean, in the mountains and at the Pacific.

Interesting and varied wildlife opportunities every day at a very leisurely pace. Some long journey times but with adequate breaks that made it manageable. A great driver (Carlos) and an excellent guide (Jorge) made for a great journey.

On our second night in Costa Rica I had a huge wave of emotion hit me... I was sleeping in the rainforest during a tropical thunderstorm with frogs croaking and insects chirping.. it was AMAZING!

This trip was an excellent introduction to the many and varied climactic zones in Costa Rica and their associated wildlife. All of the locations visited on the trip were really interesting, although perhaps a minor change could be made to improve the experience.



Costa Rica is a relatively small country and so driving distances were easily manageable.

This trip surpasses all other wildlife trips I have been on, in that so much wildlife is seen on every excursion that it is almost impossible to go home at the end of each day disappointed. Wildlife seems to be guaranteed. Its like going into a wildlife superstore and witnessing all that nature wants to provide. The trip was well put together but there are a few long travel days so be prepared. The hotels were mostly comfortable with great facilities. The food was excellent and our guide and driver fantastic.

We had spent a long time saving for and planning this trip for myself and my boyfriend. It did not disappoint. It was even better than we expected.

From the moment we stepped off the plane, everything was organised. We got the direct flight from Gatwick. The flight was 10 hrs and went very quickly. The rest of our group went via Miami and unfortunately got delayed so ended up arriving at the hotel in the early hours and only had a few hours sleep before the tour started. If you get the direct flight you also stay an extra night at the end of the trip so you get a day to explore San Jose which we did but we felt there is not a great deal to do there.

We had 8 in our group and it was a nice mix of ages and we all got on well. The minibus is nice and comfortable with aircon and plenty of room.

Amazing trip, highly recommended. The itinerary changed slightly, so there was snorkelling on the last day which was amazing, almost as if leaving the best till last! This is for the more adventurous traveller rather than the type of person who likes to sit on a beach, although not as active as it could have been! We saw a lot of beautiful animals and birds, to many to mention, and especially enjoyed the boat trips. We can't wait now for our next exodus adventure.

Wonderful experience. This place is in my wish list from such a long time and finally my wish completed. Awesome trip and amazing experience.

Wonderful, well organised trip full of interest. Great mix of forest, coasts and wildlife everywhere you looked, even sitting outside your room!



Thank you to our fellow travellers who made this a memorable holiday.

The geographical and wildlife diversity of Costa Rica is immense- a real treasure of a country. This trip certainly delivered in giving me an idea of its beautiful scenery and the wildlife therein. It left me wishing to revisit the country to see and experience more.

My travelling companions were are bonus - we all knitted well and shared a great enthusiasm for everything.

The Costa Ricans I met were engaging, helpful and enthusiastic about their country and what it had to offer.

A fabulous tour with a brilliant guide, great scenery and wildlife. Thank you.

A great trip for those interested in the wildlife of the country, with some walking but also boat trips and viewing in the grounds of the lodges.

Overall very good, plenty of wildlife to see and local people very friendly. Disappointed with dynamics of group as although 16 of us 14 were one group so felt like outsiders, they were also a lot older than us so on occasion with specific options for treks and ability we were out voted. Some of the accommodation was very basic no hot or running water for two days at Cahuita and the food was hit and miss. The breakdown of days at different hotels could have been better, spending one night at Florencia arrived in the dark and departed very early so unable to use the facilities, could have arrived a day earlier or at least earlier in the day so could use facilities but rest of group wanted a later start again we were outvoted.

The tour is well planned with a mix of early mornings and full days, with down time to spend around the pool or strolling. If you like a tour to be more like a holiday than a frenetic series of hotels, then this is perfect. If you are an activity junkie then it is not for you. It covers a huge variety in a couple of weeks, boat trips, walking, sightseeing and snorkelling, and we saw an amazing range of birds, reptiles and mammals with our fantastically knowledgeable and lovely guide. The accommodation was good, ranging from Tortugero where the individual chalets were in a stunning setting, to Cahuita which was rather in need of TLC but in a convenient location behind the beach. The rooms are as described in the details - comfortable rather than luxurious. The beds everywhere were extremely comfortable, I slept incredibly well! The included meals were all good, the hotels were very accommodating catering for a vegan diet.

2 weeks in Paradise - wildlife bliss in a beautiful country with a great group and the best guide imaginable ( Jorge )

Costa Rica really is an amazing place. Not a rich place as thought by Columbus but not third world either. I think they call it ‘an emerging economy’. Very much worth visiting if you’ve never been before and this is an excellent trip. I can only comment on the 2nd half of January when it’s relatively (but not completely) dry and only really, really hot on the Pacific coast. In theory, you could create this trip more cheaply yourself but do you really want the hassle of having to organise all the hotels and transfers to some pretty remote places (Tortuguero, Savagre and Drake Bay)? 3 days is enough at any of the stops so you’ll want to get yourself around the country during a two week stay. Plus you would need to arrange a quality guide to learn all about Costa Rica and point out incredible wildlife you would otherwise inevitably miss. The age group on our tour was exclusively in the ‘retired’ category apart from us two who were a generation younger. 9 Brits, 7 US. No problem at all as we all got on famously. It’s not the most active of tours - a lot of time is spent on coaches and minibuses but that can’t really be helped due to the geography and ‘evolving’ road network of Costa Rica but you do feel a bit lethargic sometimes, especially after the long flight to get there. There were a couple of ‘challenging’ walks to waterfalls which almost everyone made but if you struggle with tricky surfaces and awkward walkways then it’s no problem to stop and wait for the others to return. The change in climate is quite incredible as you journey around. San Jose is relatively high up for a capital city so a lovely temperature for wandering round. The wind generally comes from the east and the Atlantic coast gets a lot more rain than the Pacific. This means the Atlantic coast is slightly cooler but wetter. Up in the mountains, it’s still warm during the day but down to single figures first thing in the morning. I have to say we were incredibly lucky with the weather even though it did rain heavily a few times but not for long. There are many early starts to contend with which is fine for those from the UK thanks to the time difference. This is so you can either catch the wildlife at their most active or get on the road early to avoid the traffic and travel to the next place as soon as possible. Talking of wildlife, Costa Rica is all about birdlife. We must have seen dozens of exotic species – far too many to mention here. The place is absolutely alive with creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours which is a great testament to the way Costa Rica has created a large number of magical National Parks. I must admit, personally, we were more interested in tropical fish than birds and thought we would be snorkelling on both coasts. Sadly the seas were a bit rough for the Cahuita reef but Cano Island more than made up for this with two excellently organised snorkels off the back of a boat. The fins and mask supplied by the resort were of a high standard so no need to bring your own gear. It’s probably not the best location to try snorkelling for the first time or if you’re not too confident but there are two snorkel guides from the resort in the water with you at all times so you’re in very safe hands. Not a problem if snorkelling isn’t your thing as the others went for a nature walk in the pristine forests of the island.



San Jose – Presidente Hotel – recently renovated, comfortable, very central location – right on the pedestrianised Central Avenue.

Tortuguero - Evergreen Lodge – a proper eco-lodge – metal mosquito mesh for windows – no AC, only a fan – very damp but don’t be surprised by this as it’s in the middle of a rain forest. Excellent swimming pool and lovely food.

Cahuita - Cuidad Perdida (not the Atlantida – worth checking with your Exodus rep which hotel you are booked into) – some people reported issues with showers lacking hot water but this was fixed during our stay. A 5 minute walk from the very easy-going Cahuita village with lots of Jamaican style restaurants and bars to choose from.

Turrialba - Villa Florencia – best room of the whole trip – huge, modern, well equipped. Beautiful, peaceful location.

Savegre - Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa – Stunning location at the bottom of a steep valley, still 2,200m up so relatively cold first thing in the morning. Best food.

Drake Bay - Wilderness Resort – rooms really could do with an update but all had AC and plenty of hot water for showering. Amazing location, on the beach, overlooking Drake Bay. The highlight of the trip.

Enjoyed the trip very much. All of the destinations in the itinerary were interesting and beautiful. The only downside is the amount of travelling needed to get from place to place. It would be good if one or two journeys could have been made by air instead of road.

A really full trip. Travelling to areas remote and beautiful with plenty of scenery and wildlife.

This was our 2nd Exodus Costa Rica Trip - first was Discovery and only duplication was Tortuguero which is just a fabulous experience (access only by fast river boat) and great wildlife. There are no cars! Cahuita was a complete joy, v good hotel location and v nice Caribbean feel & great bars to eat at with ocean sounds. Savegre is a bird paradise and stunning facility and food. Drake Bay is a “must” for all - great experiences, location, staff and food.

We had a terrific fortnight. I would have given 5 stars but for the hotel in Cahuita and for the choice of that location. We saw a great many birds and animals, did some wonderful walks and boat trips and experienced some of the lesser known parts of Costa Rica which were well worth experiencing. A small group - only 6 of us - but we got on excellently and it was a lovely atmosphere.



I think I would have reduced the amount of road travel slightly. The drive to and from Cahuita was long and I don't think any of us felt it was really worth it, although we did good sloth spotting there and the walk in the National Park was lovely. We couldn't go in the sea as it was too rough (both there and in Tortuguero) which was a big disappointment, as it meant we only swam and snorkelled on the Pacific side at Drake's Bay, and for me, the snorkelling was one of the main draws.

Tremendous trip for wildlife. Great photographic opportunities every day - very varied.

This was our second trip to Costa Rica (we travelled with Exodus 3 years ago and loved it) and it didn't disappoint. If you love the natural world this trip is for you. The entire holiday is spent immersed in the diversity of nature visiting some of Costa Rica's amazing locations From tiny leaf cutter ants to majestic whales this trip offers it all. Each stop on the itinerary offers its own unique view of the natural world with a abundance of wildlife in stunning surroundings.

The enthusiasm for wildlife of our guide Alex castro really made the trip special

What an amazing trip! Walking through jungle, swimming beside a waterfall, snorkelling in clear blue waters, boat rides along canals and through mangroves. Incredible wildlife everywhere, huge crabs, monkeys, sloths, turtles, whales, dolphins, caimen, crocodiles, frogs, snakes ,hummingbirds, butterflies. ...i could go on and on..The trip was full on. Early starts, that are not really a problem because of jet lag and extra walks included by our guide Alex who ensured that we all made the very best of our time in Costa Rica. We saw so much on our excursions but also lots just in the areas around our accommodation.

We were a group of 14 , plus guide Alex, ranging in age from 19 to 70. It was very special being in a group of like minded people who were all there to get the most out of the trip, see a lot of wildlife and have lots of fun at the same time.

I had booked this trip to celebrate 'big birthdays' for both me and my daughter, so my expectations were high and this fantastic holiday exceeded my expectations. Walking in the rainforest and cloudforest and sailing in the mangrove swamps was magical and thanks to the sharp eyes of our guide we saw at very close range howler and capuchin monkeys, two and three fingered sloths, poison dart frogs, blue jean frogs, transparent frogs, crocodiles, caiman, lizards, basilisks, snakes (the yellow eyelash viper was stunningly beautiful seen through our guide's telescope), green turtles, humpback whales, dolphins, hummingbirds, anteater, racoons, coatis, scarlet macaws, parakeets, heron, egrets and lots more. It was a safari! We experienced the diversity of the ecology and cultures of Costa Rica while avoiding the touristy areas. The eco-lodges varied from good to excellent and all had air conditioning to ensure a good night's sleep. The food was excellent and special diets were well catered for. We were warmly welcomed wherever we went. There was quite a lot of travelling in our air conditioned minibus but the journey was made more interesting by the guide's stories about the local area and frequent stops to sample local fruit at the side of the road , eating in family run restaurants where you could watch the birdlife at the same time, or stopping to see archaeological remains such as the stonospheres. If you want to experience the great outdoors in the tropics and fall exhausted but happy into a comfy bed at the end of every day, this is the holiday for you.

Overall we had such an amazing trip. Our tour guide was fantastic and one of a kind. He really knew his stuff and went the extra mile above and beyond for the group. We always maintained respect for Nature and conservation, further more learning the importance of why Costa’s Rica is so special. Costa Rica was teaming with wildlife, we spotted 9 sloths including a close up chance encounter of a wild two toed sloth, A surge of 30 Coati and their young on the edge of the rainforest coastal walk at Coravado. Swimming with green turtles and white tipped reef sharks, seeing a young humpback whale calf up close with mum....an experience to see the well renowned Quetzal...Macaws, Anteaters, Howler Monkey families at the door step of our lodge facing the Pacific Ocean not to mention the many countless bird species, insects and reptiles we encountered along the way. If your looking for paradise, Costa Rica has it all and more.

Our third visit to Costa Rica was everything we expected and more (sadly we didn't see a tapir - but that was the only disappointment!). The trip is full on - if you participate in all that is offered, you don't get much time to read your book! Early starts were the order of the day (not too difficult, due to the time difference between there and UK.) Some days there were longer journeys, but these were always broken up with stops for food or to see things of interest. The Costa Ricans are friendly and very keen on their eco-tourism. The lodges and hotels were of a good standard, with the meals (whether from the accommodation or from restaurants), were very acceptable. A holiday that starts and finishes with stays in lodges that can only be reached by a lengthy boat trip has to be very special.

Thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. We saw so much wildlife from sloths and monkeys and even an anteater to scarlet macaws and toucans, as well as the elusive quetzal, dolphins and lots of beautifully coloured birds, fish and reptiles. The group we travelled with was very friendly and good fun.



We saw many different landscapes and the whole trip was extremely well organised.

I would recommend this well organised holiday to anyone who wants to explore the diverse landscapes of Costa Rica, as well as see a wide range of wildlife - sloths, monkeys, spiders, frogs, snakes, dolphins, butterflies - as well, of course, birds ( we saw over 100 different types!) The accommodation ranged from good to excellent, and the food was varied and plentiful - not just rice and beans! We were also very fortunate to be with the nicest group of fellow travellers.

We had a great time on this trip. We saw lots of birds and other wildlife. Costa Rica has very diverse ecosystems and we experienced quite a variety. We really liked the limit of 16 travelers. We enjoyed the group and were made very welcome everywhere we went.

What a fabulous trip. I'd visited Costa Rica before, but this trip truly concentrated on the wildlife and the country has so much to offer. We saw so much and some of it very different - frogs, snakes, spiders, beautiful butterflies, stunning birds, dolphins, humpback whales, I could go on and on. I also thought I'd see a sloth, but we saw so many, it was wonderful.



I had read mixed reviews about some of the accommodation, but I thought it ranged from good to excellent. Where the hotels were merely good, the relative lack of tourists more than made up for it. The food included in the hotels/lodges was also of a very high standard...it would have been difficult to go hungry!

I totally recommend this trip to experience the beautiful diversity of Costa Rica. We had a trip of a lifetime. Great trips, accommodation, food and a tour of a beautiful country full of wonderful wildlife and birds and friendly people. I would love to return on day.

This is a fabulous tour which I highly recommend to anyone. It takes you across Costa Rica from the Caribbean to Pacific Coasts, experiencing a wide variety of scenery and habitats, from humid rain forests and lowlands to cool cloud forests. Our tour was well organised with an excellent tour leader and driver. Everything went exactly to plan! You stay for two or three nights in most places, so there is time to appreciate things and not feel too rushed. Travel in the small bus was comfortable, apart from a few short sections of bumpy roads, which is all part of the experience! Walks are easy and taken at a comfortable pace.

This was a memorable holiday, for all the right reasons. We were interested to find out about Costa Rica's wildlife and landscapes, and we were delighted with what we found. It was an active holiday, with quite a lot of early-morning rises, but this was more than compensated by the richness of the wildlife encounters. Our guide, Pedro, was outstanding: his knowledge, organisation, and enthusiasm were inspirational. The group, which ranged in age from 33 to 83, got on really well together, united by his passion and good humour. Accommodation was good to very good, and the food (most of which is included in the price) was also good to very good.

We experienced the full gamut of weather conditions, from tropical rain to warm temperatures and blue sunny skies.

As for organisation, the trip passed without a hitch despite certain roads being blocked by landslides and fallen trees, and we always felt safe.

There is quite a bit of travelling from one location to another.

August is the rainy season, but the early morning starts meant that we fitted a lot in before the impressive downpours that sometimes happened later in the day.

The range of wildlife we saw was astonishing; I'd picked this trip because of the visit to the Sloth Sanctuary, which was disappointing compared with the number of sloths that we saw in the wild. Our excellent guide was complemented by eagle eyed boat 'drivers' who also appeared to be keen and knowledgeable about wildlife and were ready and willing to nimbly propel the boats around to see something on the bank they had spotted: monkeys, lizards etc.

The accommodation, in places, was not 5 star, but had its own charm and there is not that I would not happily revisit for one reason or another, even the very friendly one in Cahuita with its temperamental showers but very friendly owner.

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The amount of wildlife that we saw was simply unbelievable - from sloths and whales, to scarlet macaws, toucans and 4 types of monkeys. We even saw animals that I'd never even heard of before. (Agouti and coati.)

Tortuguero is simply magical - waking up to the sounds of the rainforest and then seeing turtles on the beach at the other end of the day.

I couldn't believe the number of beautifully colourful birds we saw in the cloud forest. By the end of it, we were saying, 'Oh, it's just another hummingbird.'

And our time on the peninsula was just spectacular. Plodging through a stream in the rainforest and swimming near a mini-waterfall were great experiences. Never mind being able to spot humpback whales while standing on the beach having a picnic lunch!

...and I mean us, not the animals! This was a very leisurely wildlife-watching trip, with very slow ambles along suspiciously well-groomed jungle paths; you'll see a LOT of amazing birds and other creatures, you'll eat a lot of great food, and probably not lose a whole lot of weight...

A great trip where we saw so much wildlife and diverse habitats, enjoyed walks and ate some excellent food.

From the coasts of the Caribbean to the highlands in the middle ending with the Pacific side we swam and walked to see amazing wildlife like sloths, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, a variety of birds, turtles, crocs, snakes and a variety of fish.

Wow! What a trip. Everything I hoped for and a little bit more. Can't believe how much we packed in. Can't believe I got into bird watching (or sighting really). Can't believe I was so willing to rise at unearthly hours.

Costa Rica has clearly learned that conservation and habitat preservation bring benefits not only to wildlife and the environment but also to local populations and the national economy. The guides who support Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry are nothing short of inspirational; their training, level of knowledge, understanding of ecosystems and their enthusiasm to impart their knowledge bode well for our planet. Anyone who cares about the natural world and its well-being cannot fail to love this trip which will bring a smile to their face every single day.

The trip takes in just about all of the biomes of a country which can rightfully boast to be one of the most biodiverse in the world. To achieve this, it’s a busy trip which covers a lot of miles with stays at some very attractive lodges on both coasts and in the mountains. It also features some wonderful destinations which are

off the well worn tourist track. The September trip had some rain on most days, although never for long and although it was hot and humid a lot of the time, our air-conditioned coach with wifi and Carlos, a brilliant driver, made the travelling comfortable for us. We loved the trip and came home with memories (and photographs) to share and to last through many years.

Our 2nd visit to Costa Rica, and it surpassed our expectations in all areas.

The itinerary is very well planned to give an experience of the great biodiversity of Costa Rica from both coastal areas, Caribbean and Pacific, up to the high regions of the beautiful Savegre.

The lodges were excellent, Drakes Bay Wilderness Resort is particularly amazing - including the 'interesting' boat ride out to it.

If you enjoy wildlife.....it's definitely the place to go.

I was blown away by the whole experience. Treks in the forest revealed new sights of the inhabitants every few meters. A wildlife lovers paradise.

A fantastic trip where we saw an abundance of wildlife. Whales, dolphins, incredible bird life & amazing reptiles & amphibians. It was a tiring trip at times (for a 60+, not so terribly fit person) but well worth the effort. The scenery is beautiful from rocky beaches to mangrove swamps & forest walks.

This is a new option for prospective visitors to Costa Rica and one I would unreservedly recommend. The anticipated daily downpours didn't materialise [ though, of course there was some rain ], and we spent most of the trip observing fantastic wildlife in dense jungle or warm, blue seas under blue skies. The hotels were all comfortable and well located and the mix between activity and leisure was well planned.

Very helpful and knowledgeable lady assisting me. No pressure and responded as promised. So far so good.

26 Oct 2023

Very efficient, invoice produced and emailed as we spoke. I just wishHeadwater was not so expensive

19 Aug 2023

Good and efficient at getting booking done

7 Jul 2023


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