Wildlife Holiday in Costa Rica

Epic journey from Osa Peninsula to Monteverde discovering the biodiversity of Costa Rica

Where
Costa Rica
When
December to April
How long
11 nights
How much
From £4,480 PP
why
Extraordinary wildlife & ecosystem diversity; rainforests & cloud forests; great family destination; brilliant guides
staying in
LODGES & Eco-Lodges

A journey highlighting the best of Costa Rica’s wilderness and wildlife.

The real key to making the most of Costa Rica’s famous diversity is to cover the main ecosystems well: coastal rainforest & mangrove, montane cloud forest and the tropical lowlands.

Here four carefully selected locations allow deep immersion in to each area while staying at independent lodges in the company of enormously knowledgeable naturalists.

You'll begin your trip in the far south of the country staying in the jungles of Corcovado - exploring the unique terrain on foot getting close to nature. After a few days in the jungle, you'll transfer by air to central and northern Costa Rica. Staying at eco-lodges you'll be enjoying day and night walking in the rainforests as well as boat trips on the Rio San Carlo - this itinerary will get you into the natural hotspots and in the capable hands of a brilliant expert private guide.

Continuing the odyssey that has taken us to the wildest places in Madagascar, Kenya, the Pantanal and through Uganda; travelling with Rod Tether on a superbly designed trip around Costa Rica we experienced exceptional wildlife from coastal rainforest to cloud forest. Witnessing the rehabilitation of wetlands was particularly heartening. Amazing birdlife included an astonishing 26 species of hummingbird, King Vulture and the splendidly named Montezuma’s Oropendola.”

- J HUDLESTON ON HIS ADVENTURE IN TO COSTA RICA WITH NATURAL HIGH

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY

Day 1 - 5: THE PACIFIC COAST

Corcovado National Park

Arrive at San Jose International Airport and spend the remains of the day at Bougainvillea Hotel, a veritable arboretum with a plethora of birds, including parrots, resident in the gardens.

The next day fly down to Drake Bay on the Pacific Coast in the far south near the Panamanian border. Take a boat to Casa Corcovado, a 170 hectare private reserve bordering the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula.

Day 1 - 5: Corcovado National Park

Weird & wonderful wildlife

This is probably the best place in the world to see the weird and wonderful tapir – related to rhinos and horses but resembling neither. Baird’s tapir are known to wander in to Casa Corcovado and brazenly munch on the fallen water apples. Aside from tapir, Corcovado National Park contains a wealth of neo-tropical mammals: anteaters, four species of monkey including spider and howler are regularly seen (and heard) – wild peccaries live in groups of tens, as do the charismatic coatis, while snakes, frogs and superb birdlife can be found and identified by first-class guides.

Day 1 - 5: Corcovado National Park

Into the blue

Out at sea try snorkelling, or diving, to encounter rays, turtles and small sharks while dolphins play in the wake of the boat taking you out to Cãno Island for the day.

Night walks are also possible and rewarding allowing access to a myriad of nocturnal insects, snakes, amphibians and birds.

Day 5 - 6: Juan Castro Blanco National Park

The Cloud Forest

Fly from Drake Bay to San Jose where you’ll be met by your naturalist guide who will accompany you for the remainder of your stay in Costa Rica driving you from point to point (on the country’s excellent road network), and stopping at places of interest en route.

First stop Bosque de Paz lodge in the Cloud Forest, expansive and beautiful and perhaps the most evocative of all Costa Rica’s various eco-systems.

Day 5 - 6: The Cloud Forest

Bosque de Paz

Only a couple of hours drive from the capital Bosque de Paz feels like another country. Bird life abounds – particularly humming birds (the country is home to over 50 species) attracted to nectar feeders in the gardens which provide for sensational video and photo opportunities. Bosque de Paz is privately owned and while the lodge is slightly spartan it is wonderfully well meaning and effective in protecting this delicate ecosystem being built and run by a family who have been passionate about the area for decades.

Spend a full day exploring the Cloud Forest exploring the flora and fauna, orchids are particularly rich, as is the birdlife while a few mammals are encountered – notably Agouti which resemble a small antelope but are in fact rodents who create food stores underground to survive the leaner months.

Day 7 - 8: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Access to the canopy

Head across to Monteverde – probably Costa Rica’s most famous patch of Cloud Forest.

Stay at the chalet-style Belmar Hotel which has benefitted from a recent upgrade and is a place to relax and luxuriate, there is a spa and jacuzzi as well as excellent restaurant, while further explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest by way of the ‘Sky Walk’ – a combination of trails and suspension bridges allowing unfettered access to the canopy.

Day 7 - 8: Monteverde Cloud Forest

The Resplendent Quetzal

Visiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest offers a variety of riches, not least because of the chance of seeing a Resplendent Quetzal, surely one of the most outrageously plumaged birds in the world.

Day 9 - 12: Northern Lowlands

Stark contrast to the rainforests

Travel up towards the Nicaraguan border and explore the northern Lowlands. This area has much more on an African savannah feel to it with lakes and rivers and dry and riverine woodland in stark contrast to the wetter areas of the country.

Brilliantly coloured macaws and toucans are particularly in evidence while both caimans and crocodiles lie in wait on the banks of the rivers. King vultures are a singularly impressive bird of prey and this is as good as place a you can find to see them. The forest is alive with life – from the seemingly ever present leaf-cutter ants to the more cryptically camouflaged poison dart frogs. As on the Osa Peninsula, it is possible and rewarding to head out after dark with for an escorted night walk in order to encounter many of the nocturnal residents.

Day 9 - 12: Northern Lowlands

Eco-lodges on the river banks

Maquenque Eco Lodge is a quirky family run venture combining passion with excellent service and attention to detail. A delightful pool in a shaded grove gives relief from the tropical heat and spacious verandas on the rooms and dining area are a great place to sit and watch the natural world go by.

A journey by boat along the San Carlos River to the Nicaraguan border is an excellent way to encounter lots of birds, bats and enormous iguanas that bask on the banks.

Drive back to San Jose International Airport, stopping at picturesque waterfalls along the way – for your flight home.

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+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Rod Tether
Rod Tether
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Olly Williams
Olly Williams

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Reviews

Natural High

"We are repeat customers and NH never fail to deliver an exceptional trip. They understand exactly what we want to experience and tailor the adventure using accommodation that suits us and fabulous guides. The advice is sound and backup there if necessary."

Ruth Maxwell AH

Enjoyed EVERY second of an action- packed two weeks in Kenya. Asante Sana👏

"This was my fourth safari booked with Natural High and, as previously, it surpassed my expectations. Vanessa’s Itinerary was spot on - the three camps were very different but all were spectacular with food to die for, wonderful staff, friendly, knowledgeable and great driver/guides. I could go on and on - it was perfect, and the icing on the whole trip was tracking, and finding a pack of Wild Dogs - the reason for going😃
Already saving for a 5th trip and will DEFINITELY book with Natural High - they are the Best!"

Julie Baxter VJ

Natural High

"They picked out good places to stay that fitted the criteria. Very thoughtful and attentive. They called back and they sent emails with suggestions."

Anonymous

Morroco was a pleasant surprise

"This was certainly not our first trip with natural high.
As any other trip, organization was great, ie pick up, vehicles, local guides, food, all well done.
I now have a different opinion of the country and people."

Don and Bernice Willoughby RT

Wonderful trip

"The holiday was absolutely perfect. The recommended places to stay were spot on, excellent service throughout. It shows that each property has been visited by Natural High, and the staff told ask you ask lots of questions. You certainly know what type of trip we like, and how to supply it"

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