Costa Rica wildlife vacation
Our bestselling Costa Rica vacation takes you through wildlife-rich cloud forests, parks and mountain highlands staying in a mix of small family-run accommodations and exemplary eco-lodges which actively contribute to conserving the biodiverse forests they are set amongst.
Tortuguero Monteverde Arenal Volcano Zip wires Esquinas Ecolodge Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve Manuel Antonio National Park Piedras Blancas National Park Savegre Cloud Forest Turtle nesting (in season)
US $3999ToUS $4879excluding flights
Optional single supplement from £928 - £1088.
Minimum age 16.
Minimum age 16.
Late availability on these dates: 21 Dec, 13 Jan, 15 Jan, 22 Jan, 27 Jan, 29 Jan, 03 Feb, 05 Feb, 19 Feb, 24 Feb, 26 Feb, 03 Mar, 05 Mar, 12 Mar
Description of Costa Rica wildlife vacation
Check dates, prices & availability
Small group tours:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modeled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. Those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
Our top tip:
This tour is fast-paced, so pack light. But do bring warm layers – the cloud forest gets chilly at night.
Small group tour, min. age 16.
Leisurely – included and optional walks of up to 2-3 hours.
Small hotels and ecolodges – many family run, often with pools.
Solo travelers welcome. Singe rooms available with surcharge.
Lodging, transport, transfers, listed activities. Flights if booked.
Buffet-style breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners.
33 Reviews of Costa Rica wildlife vacation
4.5 out of 5 stars
In depth story review
Reviewed on 15 Mar 2020 by Peter LinecarExcellent. Would not hesitate to recommend the operator. Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Mar 2020 by Judith BarfordThe vacation was great and our guide was brilliant. He knew so much about the wildlife and plants and trees and also gave us some history to the developments in Costa Rica. He was friendly and respectful and really made the vacation. The landscape did the rest. Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Feb 2020 by Kathryn JonesIt was like being in the film Avatar. Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Jan 2020 by Helen RobertsFantastic. We all fell in love with Costa Rica and its Pura Vida. I have wanted to visit for many, many years and I was not disappointed. Read full review
Reviewed on 16 Feb 2020 by Alan LeesThe most memorable part of the vacation was river boat trip at Tortuguero which enabled close encounters with birds and animals.. Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Apr 2019 by Tim GrahamOne of the best we have ever had. The whole trip was memorable for two main reasons – the variety of scenery and the superb wildlife. Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Feb 2019 by Paula CookeIncluded memories are - Spider monkeys swinging jumping above us to reach the trees on opposite side of jungle river, finding red eyed tree frogs at night... an incredible display by the resplendent quetzal during a courting session Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Feb 2019 by Jean ThirkettleThe stay at Laguna Lodge was an amazing start with river trips and accommodation overlooking the river. Seeing Sloths close up and watching the antics of the capuchin monkeys was fun. Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Feb 2019 by Judith DeanWhere to start? The boat trips around the waterways of Tortuguero, the beach in the Manuel Antonio National Park, the Esquinas experience and having amazing views of Resplendent quetzals. Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Sep 2018 by Lee TruongI had a great time! We had a great mix of personalities within our group, saw plenty of wildlife and ate lots of great food. Read full review
Reviewed on 28 May 2018 by Alan NunnThe great diversity of this country, the climate and geographical changes, together with the plants, birds and mammals. Read full review
Reviewed on 15 May 2018 by Chris SchaeferThe highlight was Tortuguero National Park. An excellent trip; traveling for circa 3 to 4 hours every other day was acceptable and allowed approximately a day and a half at each new location. Guide was well informed, articulate and considerate. Read full review
Reviewed on 04 Apr 2018 by Andrew NewboldOpportunity to see a wide range of wildlife in a good range of varied habitats. Facilitated by an excellent guide. Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Mar 2018 by Julie TaylorThe range of places, experiences and wildlife that we saw was the highlight. Outstanding. Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Feb 2018 by Hazel NelsonThe highlight was staying at Esquinas Lodge. Seeing 2 and 3 toed sloths, several different monkeys and masses of colourful birds. Excellent vacation! Read full review
Reviewed on 20 Mar 2018 by Jennifer AndersonDespite it being the dry season, the colours, landscapes and sounds of Costa Rica were a continuing delight. So many birds, mammals, reptiles and interesting ecosystems to discover. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Mar 2018 by Barry SingerThis trip includes walks through various forests; coastal, mountain, cloud forests and volcanos, and each was a wonderful experience. Both my wife and I had a wonderful, educational, and healthy trip. At the end we wanted to do it all over again. Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Dec 2017 by Stephen LindsayIt was truly memorable, superbly organised and our guide Johnny Villalobos was absolutely brilliant. We stayed in 6 lodges in around the major National Parks plus San Jose, the capital. Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Apr 2017 by Alan ScarisbrickSeeing a quetzal bird at close quarters was the highlight. Excellent trip. Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Mar 2017 by Alan HuntonSeeing wildlife close-up and in wonderful country. Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Feb 2017 by Sandy BagnallThe vast wealth of wildlife in this beautiful country and the ability and skill of our guide to find it ... and the abiding memory is the sound of a rainforest with all the insects, cicadas, and frogs and birds - day and night - continuous - MEMORABLE!! A lovely vacation, a beautiful country, welcoming people, an excellent guide. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Oct 2016 by Steve ClementsThe whole experience was mind blowing but I guess seeing a Sloth on the first day's lunch stop has to be the one (of the highlights). Read full review
Reviewed on 26 May 2016 by Susan CorkExcellent, had a great time Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Feb 2016 by Duncan PriddleGreat variety of eco-lodge type locations enabled great wildlife watching. Playa blancas area favourite location. Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Feb 2016 by teresa yatesA wonderful experience with a good group of people Read full review
Reviewed on 10 Nov 2016 by Martyn ToddThe natural landscapes and forests along with the different mammals and birdlife. Resplenent Quetzal say no more!! Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Oct 2015 by Ursula StantonStaying in Tortuguera and floating down the canals thru the jungle watching birds, monkeys and iguanas. Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Apr 2015 by wendy O BrienA wonderfully diverse trip visiting lots of different areas of Costa Rica seeing lots of different ecosystems and wildlife. Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Jan 2014 by Lindsay (Mr) ChallonerFantastic vacation. The wildlife and natural landscapes are amazing and worth the trip alone. For the sheer scope of diversity, colour and experiences this trip is unrivalled. Read full review
Reviewed on 22 Dec 2014 by Baron-vahl AmosIf you are bird crazy then this is the vacation for you Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Feb 2013 by Keith ValentineOne of the best hoildays we've had. A highlight was Seeing a rhinoceros beetle the size of a hamster! Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Dec 2013 by RebeccaSaw lots of animals, birds, plants and butterflies. Thankfully did not see the tarantula. Seeing sloths close up, active but moving in slow motion was great as was seeing little turtles hatching and running to the sea. Saw lots of birds and had a very knowledgeable guide to help us. The quetzel fly past was pretty good! Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Feb 2012 by Jane HamblingDifficult to pick one highlight. The boat trips at Tortegua where we saw an osprey, an otter who played alongside the boat. A very angry caiman coming to protect her youngster. The resplendent Quetzel in the cloud forest is unbelievable. Looking at the frogs in a night hike in the rainforest and also finding a feu de lance. Read full review
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetAccommodation and Meals:
We spend two weeks in a combination of hotels and eco-lodges around Costa Rica. We use fairly small, family run and locally staffed establishments which ensures that we are benefiting local communities. Our local operator is a leading member of the Rainforest Alliance and has been awarded a "4 Leaf" award from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute for their sustainable tourism practice & dedication to improving standards. An example of eco-friendly accommodation on this trip is the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, a model project combining conservation, environmental research and community development in a rural area. It is 100 % carbon neutral and helps to fund local healthcare and education.
Being a wildlife based tour, we are very conscious of our effects on the environment and how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation. On this trip we visit national and private parks, including the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the first community-managed reserves in the country. Entrance fees directly support conservation efforts in the areas we visit. Our activity also benefits the rural village of Copey, which is nestled in the highlands of the Central Mountain Range. By passing through this area, seeing how the locals live and work and having lunch in a typical home, we are encouraging cultural exchange and providing valuable avenues of income here.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Last January we contributed school supplies though the Costa Rican Association of Tour Operators (ACOT). We organised the donation of school packages to children and teenagers in indigenous communities (Dueri, Cerro Alto, Tolok Saku, Jamaikiri, Tsinikicha, Mata de Limón, San Miguel, Gandoca and Yorkin). If guests would like, they are also able to support local schools by delivering a gift of educational supplies when we visit Copey area on this tour. The cost of this is included in the full price of the tour. In terms of environmental charity, we give a monetary donation on a monthly basis to the Organisation for Tropical Studies.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
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