Costa Rica canopy

Costa Rica: a Walking Tour Exploring a Natural Paradise


Costa Rica - the ‘Rich Coast’ - is a diminutive country with a big reputation. Biodiverse beyond belief, with habitats ranging from tropical coastal wetlands to montane cloud forest, Costa Rica has become synonymous with conservation and an ecological approach to nature tourism that is without parallel.

During our 15-day journey from the highlands to the Pacific, we explore this rich diversity thoroughly, with guided jungle walks, boat trips on inland rivers and through mangroves, canopy walks in tropical forest, an explanatory tour of a cocoa farm, sea kayaking, and butterfly spotting from boardwalks.

From parrots to howler monkeys, through toucans, scarlet macaws and hummingbirds to three-toed sloths, anteaters and iguanas, we can expect to see a remarkable number of animals and a fantastic array of tropical flowers, including beautiful orchids, all from the comfort of first-class lodges, hotels and haciendas.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Costa Rica walking tour include:  

  • Short walking tours, guided by expert local naturalists, on most days – in jungle, cloud forest, open savannah, and high on a canopy walkway
  • Visits to cocoa farms, the scenic Arenal volcano district, a sugar cane mill and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in San José
  • Boat trips, including a gentle river float, bird watching in mangroves and the opportunity to sea kayak and snorkel or swim on the Pacific coast
  • Wildlife – from tiny, brilliantly coloured hummingbirds to toucans; three-toed sloths to howler monkeys; and iguanas to the legendary resplendent quetzal!
 

Guests’ comments on this trip:

'This was a very well planned trip to take in the best of the Costa Rican diverse habitat and wildlife. The country was teeming with birds, animals and insects, which our tour guides not only spotted but could always identify.'

'A lovely holiday with a good variety of locations and activities, very well organised.'

'A very interesting and enjoyable trip: wonderful birds, forests and scenery. It was excellently planned so that we had great variety in the places we visited.'

DAY 1
D included

We meet in the late afternoon at San José airport and have a short road transfer to our 4-star hotel, set in lush tropical gardens with a wide range of native Costa Rican trees and flowers with attendant hummingbirds. There is time for an introductory drink (guaro, from local sugarcane, with a fresh tropical juice) before dinner.

DAY 2
B, L, D included  

After a leisurely start and a bird watching stroll in the gardens, we set off on a guided tour of the capital, San José, seeing the wonderful collections of the Pre-Columbian Gold and Jade Museums and the fine art exhibits in the Costa Rican Art Museum. We have lunch in the gilded café of the 19th century National Theatre before returning to our hotel with time for a swim in the heated pool.

DAY 3
B, L, D included

A scenic drive through the mountains of the Braulio Carrillo National Park brings us to Sarapiqui, where we visit a private nature reserve which offers exceptional views of birds (including hummingbirds, Montezuma oropendolas and many tanager species), plus a forest walk in search of roosting owls and colourful poison dart frogs. Once settled into our rooms we can relax in the pool or explore the butterfly garden of our rustic lodge.

DAY 4
B, L, D included

We are awake early (howler monkeys are aptly named!) and embark on a morning’s inflatable raft ride on the Sarapiqui river – there are excellent views of tiger herons, snowy egrets and kingfishers as we alternately paddle and float gently down the river. After lunch in Puerto Viejo, we have a guided walk on a cacao estate (including an extensive chocolate tasting) and keep an eye out for sloths and the stunning keel-billed toucan in the treetops.

DAY 5
B, L, D included

We drive north, pausing en route for coffee and iguana watching, to the Caño Negro National Refuge, close to the Nicaraguan border. During the dry season (Dec – April) the Rio Frio dries up, leaving waterholes and marshes where huge numbers of birds congregate, including kingfishers, herons, ibises, the enormous Jabiru stork and the secretive Sungrebe. We spend the afternoon exploring by boat, then settle into our comfortable lodge.

DAY 6
B, L, D included

An early morning boat trip reveals sloths and monkeys in the trees along the river, anhingas and herons perched on overhanging branches, and caiman, basilisk lizards and neotropical otters on the muddy banks. The photographic opportunities are excellent. We have a free afternoon to relax at the lodge (facilities include a pool) before another boat trip in search of potoo, fishing bats and owls.

DAY 7
B, L, D included

Driving south through farmland, we stop to visit an historic estate where we have a lesson in making tortillas by hand and witness a traditional ox-powered trapiche (sugar cane mill) in action – followed by an estate lunch and some home-produced rum! Reaching the Arenal highlands area, we settle into our first-class hotel and then walk on the forest trails and learn about the Arenal volcano’s geology from our expert guide.

DAY 8
B, L, D included

A day to explore on foot. In the nearby Arenal Volcano National Park, we take a gondola ride which allows us to see close-up all the birds and mammals that live high in the forest canopy. Birds of prey such as vultures, swallow-tailed kites and broad-winged hawks soar above us and we search for epiphytic orchids amongst the lichen-festooned branches in the forest.

DAY 9
B, L, D included

We cross Arenal lake by private boat, then have a scenic drive down from the Continental Divide and through lovely open ranch country to Punta Arenas and a ferry across to the Nicoya peninsula. Once settled into our luxury hotel for 3 nights (all rooms have private balconies with views of the Pacific Ocean) we have free time to walk and swim on the beautiful private beach, indulge in the spa, swim in the pool or just relax with a cocktail to hand.

DAY 10
B, L, D included

Following a short drive, we have a guided walking tour of the Curú Nature reserve, excellent for watching white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys and spectacular birds such as the blue-crowned motmot and scarlet macaw. We board a private boat for a trip along the coast where spotted eagle rays occur, then continue to offshore islands and deserted beaches for swimming and snorkelling opportunities.

DAY 11
B, L, D included

This morning we take a half day sea kayak tour, visiting pristine beaches and swimming or perhaps (wind/tide dependent) visiting Isla Nancital to see spider monkeys. Our final afternoon on the Pacific coast is left free before dinner by candlelight, overlooking the ocean and accompanied by the musical calls of tropical tree frogs and the sound of the surf.

DAY 12
B, L, D included

A private boat trip takes us across the gulf back to the mainland and La Ensenada Wildlife Refuge, looking out for dolphins, brown pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds en route. After settling into our simple, comfortable hacienda, a swim with magnificent sunset views over the Gulf of Nicoya precedes dinner in the open-sided thatched restaurant.

DAY 13
B, L, D included

Early this morning (tide dependent) we travel by boat into the extensive coastal mangroves, home to Roseate spoonbills, Royal terns, black Skimmers, mangrove vireos, ospreys, Mantled howler monkeys and Crab-eating foxes. After a swim and a siesta, we walk and birdwatch in dry forest and on the saltpans, close to the hacienda, hoping for three-wattled bellbirds, large flocks of N. American waders, king vultures and parrots.

DAY 14
B, L, D included

We travel by road to San José (2.5 hrs). There are opportunities to shop for local woodcarvings, textiles and hammocks before settling into our 4-star hotel, with individual luxury villas set in 40 acres of tropical gardens high in the hills of the Central Valley. Our farewell dinner of organic estate produce is accompanied, as always on the tour, by excellent South American wines.

DAY 15
B, L included

After a leisurely morning enjoying the walking trails in the hotel gardens, the spa or one of the 4 swimming pools and hot tubs set amongst the tropical flowers, we transfer to the airport for late afternoon flights home.

£5,290 per person sharing
£930 single room supplement
£1,000 deposit per person
 
Please note that the single room supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. We shall endeavour to obtain double rooms for single occupancy whenever possible, but some hotels do have single rooms that are small and less well positioned – in this case the supplement is simply ensuring your privacy.
 
Price Includes
  • All accommodation for Days 1 through 15, on a twin shared basis
  • All meals with local beer/soft drinks at lunch and wine at dinner
  • All land transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles (plus jeeps) as described, except during free periods
  • Arenal gondola trip and canopy bridge walk as described
  • Trips on watercraft as described
  • Ferry tickets for crossing the Gulf of Nicoya
  • Snorkelling and sea kayaking trips as described
  • All entrance, National Park and sightseeing fees except during free periods
  • Services of an English-speaking local naturalist guide and a driver throughout (plus a Kudu tour leader)
  • Services of specialist guides in National Parks and reserves
  • Tips for porters, restaurant & hotel staff and driver (appreciation for tour leaders is entirely at your discretion)
 
Price does not Include
  • International transportation to and from San José
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol besides beer & wine with group meals, free time activities, etc.)
  • Meals noted as excepted in the daily notation
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Costa Rica departure tax, if any

VALUE FOR MONEY - SO MUCH IS INCLUDED

On Kudu trips you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

 

  • 2 nights in San Jose, in a 4 star hotel set in lush tropical gardens with a wide range of native Costa Rican trees and flowers
  • 2 nights in Sarapiqui, in a rustic eco-lodge
  • 2 nights in the Caño Negro Natural Reserve, in a comfortable air-conditioned lodge with a pool
  • 2 nights near the Arenal Volcano, in a first class hotel
  • 3 nights on the Nicoya peninsula, in a luxury hotel where all rooms have balconies with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean
  • 2 nights in a simple, comfortable hacienda in La Ensenada Wildlife Refuge
  • 1 night in a 4 star hotel, with individual luxury villas set in 40 acres of tropical gardens, high in the hills of the Central Valley

Off the beaten track

Please be aware that electricity and water supplies may occasionally be erratic and travel arrangements (e.g. ferries) can be disrupted. Kudu Travel will endeavour to do everything possible to ensure a smooth-running tour, but please be ready with your sense of humour and tolerance when travelling in the tropics.

 
Visa and Health Requirements

Visitors from the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Costa Rica. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of Costa Rica.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is not required when arriving from Europe or the USA. Immunisation/boosters against Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid and Polio are usually recommended. Please consult your doctor in good time (at least 6 weeks before departure) about this and anything else they recommend. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.

Insurance

It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

 
Size of Party

This trip will run with a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14 guests.


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