Small Group Wildlife Itinerary

1 nts San Jose, 3 nts Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, 2 nts Tortuguero, 3 nts Arenal Volcano, 3 nts Corcovado, Osa Peninsula

Departing Tuesday 21st January 2025 - Small Group Tour - max 12 people - 14 nights.

Based on our bestselling wildlife itinerary, this is a new group tour where you will be joined by a naturalist guide. Exploring some of the best areas of Costa Rica to see a range of different wildlife and bird species, this tour visits the Caribbean coast and the Pacific coast and includes Caribbean lowlands, Arenal volcano region and the jewel of Costa Rica the Osa Peninsula and seeing a range of different ecosystems. We begin this tour on the southern Caribbean coast where we visit the Cahuita National Park, hiking through this stunning park where beautiful beaches are nestled in tropical forest we can see two and three toed sloths, green iguanas, basilisk lizards, howler and capuchin monkeys, eyelash pit vipers, green and black poison dart frogs and many different bird species including the keel billed toucan and the collared aracari. We have time to relax on the Punta Uva beach, kayak on river or cycle bikes to the Manzanilla reserve, or visit the excellent volunteer run Jaguar Rescue Center, no jaguars, but plenty of other rescued animals that are released into back into the wild. The area is renowned for beautiful beaches, protected forests and an abundance of wildlife and birds, particularly sloths.

We then transfer by road and boat along the canals to Tortuguero to explore another unique eco-system. Here we explore the canals by boat to observe capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, great green macaws, toucans, parrots and caimans, our guide will take us into the narrower tributaries so that we are able to get closer to the wildlife. We then head inland to Sarapiqui in the Caribbean lowlands, an area with huge biodiversity, where a night walk is a must and an opportunity to see glass frogs, red eyed tree frogs, snakes and spiders. We also visit the Selva Biological Centre and do a night bat walk at Tirimbina.

Our next stop is the Arenal Observatory Lodge, the closest hotel to the Arenal Volcano and the lodge and grounds has incredible views of this majestic conical volcano. The lodge used to be a Smithsonian Research Institute and many of the equipment is still onsite. There are a number of trails on around the grounds that can be explored independently and the chance to see coatimundis, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, numerous species of tanager, Montezuma's Oropendulas. We will have a guided tour to the Mistico hanging bridges and around the lodge grounds with time to relax in some thermal hot springs. A final stay is on the Osa Peninsula where we will spend time at Sirena Station deep in the Corcovado National Park where we may see tapir, anteaters, squirrel monkeys, scarlet macaws, fiery-billed aracaris, chestnut mandible toucans, howler monkeys and capuchin monkeys among many other wildlife species. Our trip will finish with a boat trip to Cano Island where we snorkel and hope to see stingrays, eagle rays, possibly manta rays, white tipped reef sharks and an array of tropical, brightly coloured reef fish such as sergeant majors and angelfish.

This small group tour is ideal if you are interested in visiting a range of different ecosystems on both the Pacific and Caribbean coast, culminating in Costa Rica's wildlife jewel, the Osa Peninsula. Key species we will be hoping to observe include the Scarlet Macaw and the Great Green Macaw, all five types of monkey, Mantled Howler, White Faced Capuchin, Squirrel and Spider, and Three Toed Sloths, Keel Billed Toucans, Collared Aracaris, Crested Guans, Montezuma Oropendulas, Red Eyed Tree Frogs, Poison Dart Frogs, Glass Frogs, bats, snakes, iguanas, caiman and lizards, plus many more. Accommodation will be comfortable but not luxury, the tour will be accompanied by a guide and with a maximum of 12 people. Enquire for single supplement.

Price Guide

14 nights from £4,780 per person based on double occupancy

These prices are excluding international flights. Average direct flight prices to Costa Rica range from £900 per person to over £1,000 per person at peak times (Christmas, Easter and Summer). Flight routes vary, there are direct flight options with British Airways from London Gatwick but also many alternative routes via the US. Please contact us for accurate flight pricing for your timings and place of departure.

Day to Day

Below is an example day by day itinerary

Day 1

Met on arrival at the international airport and transferred to your hotel in downtown San Jose. Overnight Presidente Hotel.

Day 2

Transferred in an air-conditioned vehicle to the southern Caribbean coast and to Cocles beach to stay at Le Cameleon. Le Cameleon is opposite a lovely stretch of beach, the hotel has two pools and a beachside restaurant. The area has a large population of sloths and a walk along the beach looking up should reveal a few. Overnight Le Cameleon (B).

Day 3

Today you will transfer with your guide to Le Cahuita National Park, you will take a hike through the forest and your guide will point out the wildlife and birds. You may see Two and Three toed sloths, White Faced Capuchin monkeys, Mantled Howlers, eyelash pitvipers, iguanas, blue crabs, basilisk lizards, raccoons, paca and a chance to see a Northern Tamandua. Birds that can be observed include Keel Billed Toucan, Green Ibis, Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Golden Hooded Tanagers, Violaceous Trogons, Blue Gray Tanager, Squirrel Cuckoo and many more. Overnight Le Cameleon (B).

Day 4

Day at leisure. *Optional excursions could include kayaking at Punta Uva, this gorgeous tropical beach is backed with palms and mangroves and your kayak trip will take you through the mangroves along the river where the area has an abundance of wildlife and birds. Alternatively you could take bikes and cycle to the beach or into town, take a trip to Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, visit the indigenous Bribri community or visit the Jaguar Rescue Center, although there are no jaguars here, this volunteer rescue and rehabilitation centre will give you a talk on their work and you can see close up the injured monkeys and sloths, plus other species that are a the centre. Many species are able to be released back into the wild after rescue. Overnight Le Cameleon (B).

Day 5

Early transfer in an air-conditioned vehicle to Guapiles and on to the meeting points for your boat ride to Tortuguero. Travelling along the canals your guide will point out any interesting birds or wildlife on the way to your hotel. Overnight Evergreen Lodge (BLD).

Day 6

This morning you will take a guided walk through the trails at the lodge, where you may see red eyed tree frogs and poison dart frogs, iguanas, monkeys and sloths. Keel Billed Toucans may be spotted and look out for the Great Green Macaw, although endangered in Costa Rica, Tortuguero is a place to spot flying over the jungle. After lunch you will take a boat ride into the Tortuguero National Park and along some of the canals where your guide will spot caimans, White faced Capuchins and Mantled Howler Monkeys swinging through the dense jungle foliage alongside the canals. Birds such as the Agami Heron, Yellow Crowned Night Heron and the Bare Throated Tiger Heron can be spotted alongside American Pygmy Kingfishers and Green Kingfishers. *Optional excursions can include kayaking on the canals, night walks and self guided trails. Overnight Evergreen Lodge (BLD).

Day 7

Transferred by boat and then air-conditioned vehicle to the Sarapiqui Rainforest Lodge. The region is Caribbean tropical lowland forest and is a region of high biodiversity. The Sarapiqui Rainforest Lodge has an excellent location next to the Tirimbina Rainforest Research Centre and on the banks of the Sarapiqui river. In the evening you will have a guided night walk at Tirimbina, you will cross the 264m long hanging bridge across the Sarapiqui river to the private rainforest reserve where you may have the chance to see a variety of frogs including the translucent glass frog, plus snakes, bats and sleeping birds (closed shoes definitely required!). Tirimbina is committed to sustainable tourism and environmental conservation through its programs. Overnight at Sarapiqui Rainforest Lodge (BLD).

Day 8

Today you will be transferred to the nearby La Selva Research Station for an early morning bird tour. La Selva Research Station offers 1,600 hectares of primary rainforest and lowland tropical forest with boasting more than 2,077 species of plants; 125 species of mammals (72 of them bats); 470 species of birds; 48 amphibian species; 87 species of reptiles; 45 species of freshwater fish; and tens of thousands of insects, arachnids, and other arthropods. After the tour you will return to the hotel and will have some free time to relax in the gardens of the hotel or explore the local area. In the evening you will have an evening bat tour at neighbouring Tirimbina. The bat tour is one of the centre's ecotourism program and is a highly recommended tour (favourite among previous Naturally Costa Rica guests). There are 113 different species of bats in Costa Rica which represents 50% of the mammals in Costa Rica. During the evening presentation you will learn about the natural history of bats, and see first hand how the researchers capture the bats with snare nets to conduct research. You have the opportunity to observe bats at close hand and at the end of the tour they will be released. Overnight Sarapiqui Rainforest Lodge (BLD).

Day 9

Transferred in an air-conditioned vehicle to the Arenal Volcano region. In this region you will be staying at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, this former Smithsonian Research Centre is the closest building to the volcano and affords fantastic views of the volcano as well as of Lake Arenal. Many of the instruments are still around the hotel, the grounds of the hotel are extensive with many trails and numerous wildlife species such as White Faced Capuchin Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Mantled Howler Monkeys, Coatimundi's, Agoutis, Armadillos and Two and Three Toed Sloths. Bird species are also abundant and the sound and sight of the Montezuma Oropendulas is common from the balconies of the rooms. There are also Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, Crested Guan, Great Curassow, Collared Aracaris, Gray Headed Chacalacas, Red Lored Parrot, Slaty Tailed Trogon, Rufous Tailed Jacamar, plus many more. The outdoor dining area has a well stocked fruit table, ideal for bird photography, and views across the lake. Overnight Arenal Observatory Lodge (BLD).

Day 10

Today you will drive the short distance to the Mistico Hanging Bridges where you will take a guided walk across a series of hanging bridges observing the flora and fauna. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit some thermal pools, heated by the volcano and rich with minerals. Overnight Arenal Observatory Lodge (BD).

Day 11

Early this morning you will take a guided hike around the trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge to see some of the wildlife and bird species on the grounds. In the afternoon you visit a local farm and you will be able to pick tubers, fruits and vegetables that have been produced organically. Then you will have the opportunity to mill and enjoy a delicious juice of sugar cane squeezed in the craft mill. Finally, at La Guaria Morada Restaurant, you will participate in a typical Costa Rican cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional recipes and share with a local family. Overnight Arenal Observatory Lodge (BD).

Day 12

Transferred early by air-conditioned vehicle to San Jose domestic airport where you will take a propeller flight to Drake Bay airstrip on the Osa Peninsular where you will be met and will take a boat trip along the coastline to your hotel Aguila de Osa. The Aguila De Osa is a small lodge surrounded by rainforest, looking over the calm waters of Drake Bay. The Osa is one of the most biologically diverse areas of Costa Rica. The lodge is well situated for exploring the Corcovado National Park and Cano Island Marine Park. The rooms are nestled into a hill and there are steps leading from the main lodge to the rooms. The closest room is approximately 60 steps, so does not suit guests with mobility issues. Overnight Aguila de Osa (BD).

Day 13

Today you will have a guided trip to Cano Island, a small, picturesque island off the coast from Drake Bay that has fantastic marine life and coral. You will snorkel around the island and will have the opportunity to see tropical reef fish such as sergeant majors, angel fish and parrotfish, as well as reef sharks, rays, turtles and even Manta rays. Dolphins can often be seen on the boat ride to the island and the occasional whale can be seen in January passing along the coastline. *Optional excursions at the lodge could include self guided hiking, mangrove boat trip and guided birdwatching. Overnight Aguila de Osa (BLD).

Day 14

Today you will venture deep into the Corcovado National Park, firstly by boat trip around the peninsula to the Sirena Research Station. You will then take a guided hike from the station through the forest where your guide will point out the different rainforest flora, and you may have the opportunity to see anteaters, tapir, scarlet macaws, yellow throated toucans, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys and sloths. If you are lucky you may capture a glimpse of a puma or a jaguar. Overnight Aguila de Osa (BLD).

Day 15

Depart on a small propeller flight back to San Jose from Drake Bay in time to check in for your international flight home.

14 nights from
£4,780 excluding flights

Highlights Include

  • Departs 21st Jan 2025
  • Max 12 people (spaces)
  • Hike in Cahuita National Park
  • La Selva Biological Station
  • Visit the Tortuguero Canals
  • Tirimbina Bat Tour
  • See Arenal Volcano
  • Snorkelling at Cano Island
  • Hike Sirena Trails, Corcovado National Park

Click Map to Enlarge

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