When to Travel

The high season in Costa Rica runs from December through April. The dry season is a month or two shorter along the southern Pacific coast. July also tends to be a dry month on the Pacific slope.


From Christmas until the end of the first week in January, and Easter week are doubly busy periods with lots of international travelers.

The rainy season, or winter in Costa Rica (May through November). Welcome rains during the rest of the year bring about a general greening and freshen the countryside. Rains usually come in afternoon thunder-storms, leaving the mornings sunny and the night sky filled with stars.

Key Info

For more information contact us on +44 (0) 7414 00 66 03paul@greigsmithtravels.com

Greig Smith Travels Ltd. Registered Company Number 7786310.

Travel Trust Association No: U9657

32 Drake Road, Chafford Hundred, Essex, RM16 6PS. UK

No portion of this website may be reproduced without the prior consent of Greig Smith Travels Ltd. All rights reserved.

© Greig Smith Travels Ltd 2011

Costa Rican Wildlife Tour- Tailor made holiday

Whether you’re a budding naturalist, birdwatcher or just looking for an inspiring holiday, which will allow you to reconnect with nature, then this is it. Blessed with a well developed infrastructure, fantastic eco lodges and hotels together with breathtaking biodiversity, this well balanced itinerary allows for a truly wonderful and unique wildlife experience, one where you don’t have to compromise on comfort.  Search for hummingbirds and hawk eagles to tree frogs and turtles or even whales perhaps, all in one two week holiday.

Highlights

  1. Experience some of the incredible biodiversity and beauty of Costa Rica

  2. Explore the canals of Tortuguero by boat searching for wildlife

  3. Trek through cloud forest, keeping an eye out for the abundant birdlife.

  4. A birdwatchers paradise, from the colourful hummingbirds to the resplendent Quetzal or regal ornate hawk eagle.

  5. Optional horse riding in the picturesque region of San Gerardo de Dota

  6. Visit the famous Wilson Botanical Gardens

  7. Do a spot of whale watching as well as snorkeling in Marino Ballena National Park

  8. Look for sloths and squirrel monkeys in the canopy at Manuel Antonio National Park or perhaps relax at its white sandy beaches.

Day 01:    Arrival (D)

Meet and greet at Juan Santamaria International Airport and private transfer to Hotel Bosque de Paz in Bajos del Toro (Transfer: 2H30).


Dinner included in the hotel.


Night at Bosque de Paz Rain Cloud Forest Lodge & Biological Reserve, Standard room


Bosque de Paz Rain/Cloud Forest is a 1000-hectares (3000-acres) privately-owned Biological Reserve that acts , as a natural biological corridor, connects the Poás Volcano National Park with the Juan Castro Blanco National Park. It is a spectacularly rich ecosystem because of its privileged location, on the Continental Divide, at an altitude ranging from 1450 to 2450 m.a.s.l. The Reserve is privately owned and it is exclusively open only to prearranged visits. The number of visitors is limited  to keep environmental impact  at minimum levels.


The lodge has 12 rooms fully furnished with exclusive ironworks and decorated with Costa Rican pottery. Each room has two double beds, private bathroom and hot water. Wide balconies offer beautiful views to the forest and the surrounded gardens. The lodge offers their visitors a reference library with books on natural history and research documents. The restaurant offers delicious homemade meals of gourmet Costa Rican typical dishes, natural drinks and premium coffee, with a 180-degree angle view to the butterfly garden and the forest. There is also vegetarian, vegan and other special dietary dishes on previous request.


Day 02:    Bajos del Toro (B,L,D)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the hotel.


Guided walk in Bosque de Paz Biologicial Reserve

Do you like birdwatching, orchid gardens, taking pictures of wildlife and birds, going on jungle nature hikes through a cloud forest and believe in conservation? If so, then you'll love the Bosque de Paz Private Ecological Reserve, an orchid and bird paradise in the mountains and a haven for photographers. There are several different trails from 1 km to 7.5 km long, adding up to a total of  22 kilometers through both primary and secondary forest. More than 331 species of birds have been recorded in Bosque de Paz Reserve since July, 1997, including the Resplendent Quetzal, the Scaled Antpitta, the Black Guan, the Emerald Toucanet, the Three Wattled Bellbird, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle among many others, and abundant hummingbirds.



Night at Bosque de Paz Rain Cloud Forest Lodge & Biological Reserve, Standard room



Day 03:    Bajos del Toro – Tortuguero (B,L,D)

Early breakfast in Bosque de Paz. Private transfer to Guápiles to meet Pachira Lodge regular transfer to Caño Blanco pier.


Board a comfortable boat upon arrival to Caño Blanco pier and let this extraordinary exotic paradise enchant you, as you travel along the Tortuguero canals. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail and a delicious lunch as you arrive to the lodge.


After lunch, visit to the picturesque town, the green turtle museum and the beach area. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m.


Night in Pachira Lodge, Standard room


Pachira lodge is located only five minutes away from the entrance to Tortuguero National Park. This wild and remote area is only accessible by boat or plane and it takes 5 to 6 hours by land and boat from San Jose. This lodge offers 96 comfortable rooms with bamboo furniture and ceiling fans. The lodge has a nicely decorated restaurant, a bar, a refreshing turtle-shaped swimming pool, beautiful gardens, ranchos with hammocks to enjoy the jungle and canal views and a modern fleet of boats and buses. Packages include shared ground and boat transfers, three meals a day, lodging and tours.

  1. *3-day package includes three different tours: a visit to Tortuguero town and the green turtle information center on day 1 and two excursions on the canals and the Tortuguero National Park on day 2.


Day 04:    Tortuguero (B,L,D)

After breakfast, guided walking tour through the trails. Free time before lunch. In the afternoon, visit to Tortuguero National Park exploring the canals in small, open boats to allow a better visibility. Free time before dinner.


NOTE: The order of the tours may change according to weather conditions.

Optional night walk (not included in the package) from July to September to see the nesting of the green turtles.


Night in Pachira Lodge, Standard room


Day 05:    Tortuguero – Turrialba

After breakfast, shared boat transfer back to Caño Blanco and then private ground transfer to Turrialba. Lunch is included along the way.


Note: Our driver/guide will meet clients in Siquirres to take them to Casa Turire.


Dinner included in Casa Turire


Night in Casa Turire, Standard room



Casa Turire makes you remember a beautiful ranch house in a farm during colonial times. Located at less than 2 hours East of San José, in the heart of the green and agricultural region of Turrialba, this beautiful place is bordered by La Angostura Lake with the imposing presence of Turrialba Mountains. It is located at 8.5 Km out of the city of Turrialba, near Atirro Farm.


This charming hotel offers 12 regular Standard rooms, three Suites and one Master Suite. All guestrooms have direct line phone service, safety box, hair dryer, satellite TV, ceiling fans and a private balcony with a stunning view. There are also rooms for guests with special needs available. Suites have a king-size bed, a sofa bed, a comfortable area for sharing, mini-bar, a flat screen TV, a DVD player, air conditioning, Jacuzzi and a hydro massage bathroom. The beautiful Master Suite, perfect for honeymooners or families, is a two-story room: the first floor has a living room, a bathroom with shower, a sofa bed, a TV room with a panoramic view of the hotel’s entrance; in the second floor, the main room has a king-size bed, a Jacuzzi, a bathroom, private balcony, mini-bar, air conditioning, flat screen TV and DVD player.


The hotel offers its guests a gourmet restaurant with typical Costa Rican and international food, an English style bar, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, a game and reading room with TV, laundry service, room service, trails, free Wifi internet connection and meeting rooms. In addition, the hotel has 12 hectares of reforestation area and a farm producing some of the fruits and vegetables used in the kitchen of the restaurant. C


asa Turire is listed on Pack for a Purpuse’s website, a nonprofit organization designed to be a resource for vacation travelers to determine if their accommodations support projects in their communities. The website will provide a list of supplies requested by a primary school in a small town called Canada and the Community Aid Center La Suiza providing assistance for persons with a terminal disease or underprivileged health conditions. Both projects are supported by Casa Turire.


For bird lovers, Casa Turire is a very special birding spot. Over 180 species have been recorded up to this moment in the area of the hotel: the Lovely Cotinga, the Rufous Browed Tyrannulet, the Red Breasted Blackbird, theTropical Mockingbird and even the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal just to name a few.


Day 06:    Turrialba - San Gerardo de Dota (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Route to San Gerardo de Dota. Stop at Hacienda Tayutic for a Coffee, Macadamia Nut and Sugarcane learning tour.


Life at the Hacienda: Discover one of the most spectacular valley in Costa Rica, learn about its ancient traditions and taste its tropical flavors: coffee, sugar cane and macadamia nuts.


The “Tayutic Hacienda Experience” is a family business that offers three tours in one! This plantation recreates the agricultural techniques of the early 1900’s to show visitors how coffee and sugarcane were grown, harvested and processed by Costa Rica’s forefathers. Macadamia nut is a relatively new addition to Costa Rica’s agricultural community, but its production is also very interesting and is worth learning about. In addition to learn about agriculture, the plantation’s location offers an amazing view of the Turrialba Valley.


At the end of the tour, visitors will be offered samples of all the plantation’s products including coffee, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and traditional sugar cakes. There is also a stop at the gift shop where visitors may purchase these delicacies as well as other organic products from the Turrialba region.

Lunch is included in Hacienda Tayutic


After this visit, the trip continues to Savegre Lodge in San Gerardo de Dota.


Dinner included in the hotel Savegre Lodge.


Night in Savegre Hotel, Standard room


Eighty-nine kilometers (55.3 miles) south of San José in a private natural reserve of 400 hectares and just 9 km. (5.5 miles) from Los Quetzales National Park, Hotel Savegre is located in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca mountain range. The Chacón family have been operating the hotel since its beginning and it has always been their utmost aim to provide top-quality service that goes hand in hand with the environment.


There are two meal options: buffet or à la carte. Hotel Savegre is proud to offer visitors the opportunity to visit their Private Nature Reserve through a network of trails of around 30 km. (18.6 miles) that start and end at the hotel. The reserve has a spectacularly high level biodiversity and it is also a scientific field research site, although  for guests it is mostly a place of great peace and tranquility. Four of the six trails are interconnected and visitors are given a trail map to explore the forest in complete safety. Trails have been graded according to their difficulty from 1 (very easy) to 5 (technically challenging) in terms of length and terrain.



Guests have also the option to visit Del Rio Spa to relax with a massage, a body wrap or a facial treatments carried out in one of the three spa rooms. San Gerardo de Dota is well known by bird watchers thanks to more than 170 species spotted, some of them endemic to the zone. Hiking, horseback riding and a visit to Los Quetzales National Park are other activities that can be enjoy while staying at Savegre Hotel.


Day 07:    San Gerardo de Dota (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Day to enjoy the area with a Bird watching tour early in the morning and a Hiking Tour after.


Bird watching is one of the fastest growing leisure activity with more and more enthusiasts around the world. San Gerardo the Dota is one of the best places for birding (it is the only destination in Costa Rica mentioned in the book Fifty Places to Go Birding Before You Die: Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations. Morning birdsong heralds the start of an unforgettable experience in the cloud forest. During breakfast the hummingbirds give you an indication of what your excursion will be like. After meeting your guide at the hotel reception, you set out on your walk. Hotel Savegre’s bird list has more than 170 species and some are endemic to the zone. Along our trails, you will be able to find the most elusive and hard-to-spot species, real trophies for birders who want to increase their life list. The tour consists of short walks around the hotel or in the private reserve. Mornings, just after dawn, are the best time for seeing most species.



One trail, which starts at 3492 meters (11,450 feet) above sea level at the highest point of Buena Vista mountain, leads down through the forest to reach the hotel at 2200 meters (7,220 feet).After exploring and learning about the eco-system at this elevation, the hike starts in the hotel. At first you are surrounded by sub-Alpine forest where vegetation does not grow higher than a meter. This forest zone is also known as páramo and is only found on the high ground of the Talamanca Cordillera and in the South American Andes.



As the hike progresses, you can see how the eco-system changes until you are totally immersed in the cloud forest with its huge oaks and perpetually green vegetation.


Approximately five hours after starting off, the hotel awaits you where you can enjoy a drink at the bar or reward your body with a relaxing massage.


Lunch and dinner included in the hotel.


Night in Savegre Lodge, Standard room


Day 08:    San Gerardo de Dota- Las Cruces Biological Station (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Private transfer to Las Cruces Biological Station.


At arrival, guided walk through Costa Rica’s premier garden and Central America’s richest plant collection. Discover the richest botanical collection in Central America and learn about the flora and fauna of a mid-elevation forest at this leading research station in southern Costa Rica. The walk would lead the visitor through well-maintained, gently sloping trails, enchanting grounds filled with the richness of tropical colors and scents.


Lunch and dinner included in the Station.


Night in Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Gardens, Standard room


Las Cruces was founded in 1962 by Robert and Catherine Wilson, primarily as a botanical center and nursery, and as an experimental farm. It was acquired by OTS in 1973 and without losing sight of its original focus, has over the years expanded to develop a strong reputation in tropical research, particularly in applied fields such as conservation biology and restoration. It is located in San Vito de Coto Brus, 300 km by road from San José and only 10 Km from the Panamanian border.


The station is also home to the Wilson Botanical Garden – the most famous botanical garden in Central America.  It is part of “La Amistad Biosphere Reserve” that encompasses 472,000 hectares of park-land and buffer zones centered in the southern Talamanca mountain range, in southern Costa Rica.


The garden features beautifully diverse plantings of tropical and subtropical ornamentals, representatives of unusual plant families, and rare and endangered plants from Costa Rica and elsewhere. The garden also boasts the second largest collection of palms in the world. Particularly well represented groups include ferns, aroids, bromeliads, gingers, heliconias, marantas, and of course palms.


The Station offers rooms amply furnished with bamboo and wood, and a private deck overlooking the lush gardens, perfect for bird and animal observation Dinner is family style, where students and researchers mix with tourists in a spacious, friendly setting. Vegetarian food is a daily option. Other facilities include: gift shop, library, laundry service and parking lot. Additional activities include: half day and full day guided walks, early birding tour or night tours. (at supplemental cost)



Day 09:    Las Cruces Biological Station (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Day at the Station for a longer hike.


Lunch and dinner included in the hotel.


Night in Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Gardens, Standardroom



Day 10: Las Cruces Biological Station – La Cusinga (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Private transfer to La Cusinga in Uvita, Dominical.


Lunch and dinner in La Cusinga


Night in La Cusinga, Superior Ocean View room


Hidden in the hilltops overlooking the pristine beaches of Costa Rica's still-virgin South pacific, where the ocean crashes into the jungle, sits La Cusinga, an eco lodge dedicated to conservation and environmental education. It is located on the South-Western Pacific coast and it borders Ballena Marine National Park, which was established to protect the humpback whales that frequent the coast.


In addition La Cusinga is part of a Private Nature Reserve protecting 200 hectares of virgin rainforest that borders thousands of more acres of privately protected forest.  The hotel offers breezy comfortable rooms made from reforested wood and a great panoramic view. There is also a secluded bungalow ideal for honeymooners. This suite features a beautiful, hand-laid stone bathroom and shower. The Gecko Restaurant creates delicious, mostly organic food using entirely local ingredients, grown and sourced for organic and sustainable practices. Fruits come from the trees on the property and fish is locally caught, and in most cases, bought directly from the fishermen themselves.


La Cusinga is also ideal for a yoga retreat: the beautiful yoga platform is a place of tranquility and complete balance with nature.  The open-air design with panoramic ocean views and tropical breezes creates a refreshing, inspirational atmosphere perfect for individual exploration and personal growth for beginners and advanced practicioners alike.


Guests can also enjoy several types of massages and beauty treatments in the Spa. La Cusinga is also ideal for birdwatching and hiking. There are several different trails in the property, both through secondary and primary forests, including a short walk to arrive to Playa de Arco. Other possible activities are: whales watching and snorkeling at Marino Ballena National Park, Caño Island tour and a one day visit to Corcovado National Park.


Day 11:    La Cusinga (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel.


Guided hike in La Cusinga’s Private Reserve.


Lunch and dinner in La Cusinga


Night in La Cusinga, Superior Ocean View room



Day 12:    La Cusinga – Manuel Antonio (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. After lunch, private transfer to Manuel Antonio.


The Central Pacific is blessed with the closest beaches to the capital city.  Among the most popular are Herradura, Jaco, Dominical and the ones at Manuel Antonio National Park. They enjoy the characteristics of a very hot and humid climate, with a season of brilliant sunshine from December through the end of April and warm waters all year long.


Hills covered with green forests compose the common landscape of the area.  Some of the features which have made Manuel Antonio one of the most visited parks are its white sand beaches, cliffs, rivers, rain forests, and the large variety of animal life. 


The Manuel Antonio National Park is home of the White Faced, Mantled Howler and Red-backed Squirrel monkeys, Two and Three Toad sloths as well as a number of species of birds.  Punta Catedral (cathedral point), the bay of Puerto Escondido (hidden port), and the beautiful beaches with blue green waters represent some of the main attractions of this park. Dinner included Hotel Parador.


Night in Hotel Parador, Garden room


Parador Resort & Spa is located in the most pristine and tranquil area of Manuel Antonio, yet within minutes from the world famous Manuel Antonio National Park, the picturesque fishing town of Quepos, and the local airport. The resort is easily accessible from the capital of San Jose with a 20 minute domestic flight, several times a day, or a 3 hour drive by car. Guests can relax and read their favorite book at the adult pool or just lounge for hours at the infinity swimming pool, gazing at the incredible views, while sipping on their favorite cocktails.  The facilities included are:  two infinity swimming pools with swim up bar, one adults’ swimming pool with cascading waterfall, one adults’ infinity pool at Las Suites, one relaxation pool at Pacífica Spa, tennis court, fitness center, miniature golf, green areas and nature trails, free high-speed wireless internet throughout the public areas, souvenir shop and gift shop, private parking, meeting room for 60 persons, laundry service, room service, baby sitting and medical service on request and shuttle service to Manuel Antonio beach.


Day 13:    Manuel Antonio National Parc (B,L,D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Private visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.


Watch sloths and monkeys moving through the tree canopy, hunt for nocturnal silky anteaters, surprise iguanas resting on a tree and listen to the songs of the various birds. And if you are lucky, you might spot one of the 1,000 remaining endangered Mono Titi or squirrel monkey that live in Manuel Antonio National Park biological corridor. See how many different kinds of flora and fauna you can spot just in the span.If you like, you can hike through the trails to reach unspoiled, un-crowded, pristine beaches. Pic nic lunch included.


Dinner included in the hotel.



Night in Hotel Parador, Garden room



Day 14:    Departure (Manuel Antonio – International Airport)

Breakfast at the hotel.  Private departure transfer to Juan Santamarina International Airport.

Check in at airline counter must be done three hours prior to flight departure.


Price is subject to change & availability

Tour Includes

  1. Our representative to meet you at the airport in Costa Rica

  2. English speaking guide and private bus or private transfers.

  3. All accommodation as per itinerary

  4. Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

  5. Specified tours and activities

  6. All hotel taxes




Tour Excludes:

All International flights & Visa fees


Costa Rica departure tax at airport currently $28USD pp.


Additional Meals, unless mentioned

Differently


Optional tours & activities mentioned in the itinerary.


Beverages and personal expenses


Other excursions and entrance fees


Tips