Costa Rica wildlife vacation

“Discover what Costa Rica does best: wildlife. Private transport and comfortable lodges balance out the busy pace, while naturalist guides reveal the secrets of the forests.”

Highlights

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)

Please feel free to contact the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!

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Date
Price
Basis
19 Dec 2018
US $ 3565
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22 Dec 2018
US $ 3605
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03 Jan 2019
US $ 3515
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05 Jan 2019
US $ 3625
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08 Jan 2019
US $ 3515
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10 Jan 2019
US $ 3675
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12 Jan 2019
US $ 3565
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15 Jan 2019
US $ 3515
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17 Jan 2019
US $ 3405
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19 Jan 2019
US $ 3405
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22 Jan 2019
US $ 3675
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24 Jan 2019
US $ 3515
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26 Jan 2019
US $ 3565
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29 Jan 2019
US $ 3515
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31 Jan 2019
US $ 3645
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02 Feb 2019
US $ 3565
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05 Feb 2019
US $ 3405
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07 Feb 2019
US $ 3515
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09 Feb 2019
US $ 3405
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12 Feb 2019
US $ 3515
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14 Feb 2019
US $ 3715
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16 Feb 2019
US $ 3485
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19 Feb 2019
US $ 3485
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21 Feb 2019
US $ 3565
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23 Feb 2019
US $ 3405
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26 Feb 2019
US $ 3485
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28 Feb 2019
US $ 3485
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02 Mar 2019
US $ 3405
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05 Mar 2019
US $ 3485
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07 Mar 2019
US $ 3365
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09 Mar 2019
US $ 3405
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12 Mar 2019
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14 Mar 2019
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16 Mar 2019
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21 Mar 2019
US $ 3365
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23 Mar 2019
US $ 3405
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26 Mar 2019
US $ 3365
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28 Mar 2019
US $ 3405
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03 Apr 2019
US $ 3405
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06 Apr 2019
US $ 3515
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10 Apr 2019
US $ 3565
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13 Apr 2019
US $ 3485
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17 Apr 2019
US $ 3365
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20 Apr 2019
US $ 3405
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24 Apr 2019
US $ 3365
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27 Apr 2019
US $ 3405
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04 May 2019
US $ 3335
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11 May 2019
US $ 3335
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13 Jul 2019
US $ 3335
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27 Jul 2019
US $ 3335
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03 Aug 2019
US $ 3335
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10 Aug 2019
US $ 3335
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17 Aug 2019
US $ 3335
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28 Sep 2019
US $ 3335
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12 Oct 2019
US $ 3335
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19 Oct 2019
US $ 2929
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26 Oct 2019
US $ 3335
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02 Nov 2019
US $ 3335
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05 Nov 2019
US $ 3295
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07 Nov 2019
US $ 3475
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09 Nov 2019
US $ 3335
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12 Nov 2019
US $ 3295
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14 Nov 2019
US $ 3475
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16 Nov 2019
US $ 3335
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19 Nov 2019
US $ 3295
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21 Nov 2019
US $ 3475
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23 Nov 2019
US $ 3335
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26 Nov 2019
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28 Nov 2019
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30 Nov 2019
US $ 3335
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19 Dec 2019
US $ 3605
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21 Dec 2019
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31 Dec 2019
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02 Jan 2020
US $ 3565
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04 Jan 2020
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07 Jan 2020
US $ 3515
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09 Jan 2020
US $ 3655
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11 Jan 2020
US $ 3565
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14 Jan 2020
US $ 3515
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16 Jan 2020
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18 Jan 2020
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21 Jan 2020
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23 Jan 2020
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25 Jan 2020
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28 Jan 2020
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30 Jan 2020
US $ 3675
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01 Feb 2020
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04 Feb 2020
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06 Feb 2020
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08 Feb 2020
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11 Feb 2020
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13 Feb 2020
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15 Feb 2020
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18 Feb 2020
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20 Feb 2020
US $ 3129
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22 Feb 2020
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25 Feb 2020
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29 Feb 2020
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03 Mar 2020
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07 Mar 2020
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10 Mar 2020
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12 Mar 2020
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14 Mar 2020
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17 Mar 2020
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19 Mar 2020
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21 Mar 2020
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24 Mar 2020
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26 Mar 2020
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28 Mar 2020
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01 Apr 2020
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04 Apr 2020
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08 Apr 2020
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11 Apr 2020
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15 Apr 2020
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18 Apr 2020
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22 Apr 2020
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25 Apr 2020
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29 Apr 2020
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02 May 2020
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16 May 2020
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11 Jul 2020
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01 Aug 2020
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08 Aug 2020
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31 Oct 2020
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07 Nov 2020
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10 Nov 2020
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Our top tip:
This tour is fast-paced, so pack light. But do bring warm layers – the cloud forest gets chilly at night.
Trip type:
Small group tour, min. age 16.
Activity level:
Leisurely – included and optional walks of up to 2-3 hours.
Accomm:
Small hotels and ecolodges – many family run, often with pools.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Singe rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Lodging, transport, transfers, listed activities. Flights if booked.
Meals:
Buffet-style breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled 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. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica wildlife vacation

Environment

Accommodation 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.

Activity:
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.

UK Office:
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.

Community

Charity:
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.

Group Size:
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.

24 Reviews of Costa Rica wildlife vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
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In depth story review

“It’s not like looking out at your garden at home. You have nice birds, of course, but you just don’t have the colours that you have in Costa Rica. ”

Reviewed on 02 Sep 2018 by

I 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

The 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

The 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

Opportunity 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

The range of places, experiences and wildlife that we saw was the highlight. Outstanding. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2018 by

The 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

Despite 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

This 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

It 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

Seeing a quetzal bird at close quarters was the highlight. Excellent trip. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Mar 2017 by

Seeing wildlife close-up and in wonderful country. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Feb 2017 by

The 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

The 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

Excellent, had a great time Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2016 by

Great variety of eco-lodge type locations enabled great wildlife watching. Playa blancas area favourite location. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Feb 2016 by

A wonderful experience with a good group of people Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Nov 2016 by

The 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

Staying in Tortuguera and floating down the canals thru the jungle watching birds, monkeys and iguanas. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2015 by

A 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

Fantastic 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

If you are bird crazy then this is the vacation for you Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2013 by

One 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

Saw 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

Difficult 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

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