Costa Rica terns

Costa Rica: Exploring a Natural Paradise

Costa Rica - the ‘Rich Coast’ - is a diminutive country with a worldwide reputation for its wholesale adoption of a safeguarding approach to its natural assets. Biodiverse beyond belief, with habitats ranging from tropical coastal wetlands to montane cloud forest, Costa Rica has become synonymous with conservation and an ecological commitment 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 walks on forest trails, farm tracks and beaches; boat trips on inland rivers, through mangroves and on the Gulf of Nicoya; and explanatory tours of cocoa and coffee farms.

From parrots to howler monkeys, via toucans, scarlet macaws and hummingbirds to three-toed sloths, anteaters and iguanas, we 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 and hotels.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Costa Rica tour include:  

  • Short walking tours, guided by expert local naturalists, on most days – in jungle, cloud forest and open savannah 
  • Visits to cocoa and coffee farms, the scenic Arenal volcano district, a sugar cane mill and the Jade Museum in San José
  • Boat trips, including a gentle river float, bird watching in mangroves and the opportunity to 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.'

You can see some excellent photos taken by John Bridson, a guest on Kudu tour 2023 on
Costa Rica arenal view
Costa Rica walk
Costa Rica quetzal
Blue Morpho
Arrow frog
Costa Rica sloth
Costa Rica pelican
D included

We meet in the late afternoon at San José airport. An hour’s road transfer takes us to our 4 star hotel, set in tropical gardens featuring a wide range of native Costa Rican trees and flowers with attendant hummingbirds.

B, L, D included  

After an optional early morning stroll in the lush hotel gardens, we set off for the capital, San José, to see the outstanding collections of the Jade Museum before taking the Pan-American Highway south, heading for the 3,000 m Pacific slope of the Talamanca mountains. We walk on the paramo (sub-Alpine) zone above the tree line, looking for the elusive Volcano Junco, before descending into the remote Savegre valley and our serene eco-lodge. At dinner, we sample grilled trout and the lodge’s hydroponic farm produce.

B, L, D included

A morning’s birdwatching walk in the forest and beside the river introduces high altitude specialities such as the White-throated Mountain gem, Sooty Thrush and Torrent tyrannulet. Our riverside lunch is bound to feature locally grown avocados and it may be accompanied by observations of Acorn woodpeckers and Collared Redstarts! More opportunities for close up photography await us in the charming Batsu Gardens where hummingbirds and tanagers pose for our view.

B, L, D included

Savegre valley is considered one of the best locations in Costa Rica for resplendent quetzals, whose preferred food is the fruit of the wild avocado tree. We are up very early this morning to walk in search of them. A hearty Costa Rican breakfast is our reward. A scenic drive through the mountains of the Braulio Carrillo National Park brings us to Sarapiqui, where we stay for 2 nights in a privately owned rainforest reserve lodge.

B, L, D included

We are awake early (howler monkeys are aptly named!) and embark on a morning’s raft ride on the Sarapiqui river. We have fleeting views of tiger herons, snowy egrets and kingfishers as we alternately paddle and float gently down the river. In the afternoon, 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.

B, L, D included

We drive north, pausing en route for ice cream 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, after settling into our comfortable lodge with spider monkeys as company and resplendent oropendolas on display.

B, L, D included

An early morning boat trip, in a different area of the nature reserve, reveals sloths and monkeys in the trees along the river, anhingas and herons perched on overhanging branches, and caimans, basilisk lizards and neotropical otters on the muddy banks. The photographic opportunities are multiple. We have a free afternoon to relax at the lodge before a walk through the surrounding farmland.

B, L, D included

Driving through pastures and alternating fields of pineapple, sugar cane and cassava, we stop to visit a small organic farm and learn about their traditional sustainable production techniques. We have lessons in sugar cane juice extraction in a trapiche and try our hand at making tortillas, before enjoying a fire cooked lunch. Reaching the Arenal volcano area, we take an aerial tram ride with close-up views of the forest canopy and the great lake below.

B, L, D included

Setting off on foot from our first class hotel, the only lodge within the Arenal national park, we walk (2.5 hrs) on forest trails and tracks, learning about the Arenal volcano’s geology. In the afternoon, we have a scenic drive (3.5 hrs) along the lake shore, down from the Continental Divide and across the impressive Friendship Bridge. Our exclusive accommodation is on a working estancia in a private nature reserve on the banks of the Tempisque river, bordering the Palo Verde National Park.

DAY 10
B, L, D included

Early this morning (tide dependent), we travel by boat in the extensive wetlands and mangroves of the Tempisque river delta, 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 the village close to the estancia.

DAY 11
B, L, D included

Heading for southern Nicoya peninsula, we visit the charming 17th century Church of San Blas and enjoy a seafood lunch en route to our beachfront hotel, our exclusive home for the next 3 nights. We have free time to walk in the hotel grounds, swim on the beautiful beach or just relax by the pool, with a cocktail to hand.

DAY 12
B, L, D included

Following a short drive, we have a guided walking tour of the Curú Nature reserve, ideal for watching White-faced capuchin monkeys and spectacular birds such as the Blue-crowned motmot and Scarlet macaw. We board a private boat for a trip to a rocky islet with snorkelling opportunities en route, before continuing to a nearby island for our lunch on a white sand beach, popular with the locals.

DAY 13
B, L, D included

An hour’s drive takes us to the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula. At low tide, we walk across the natural bridge to the atmospheric Cabuya Island Cemetery. On our final evening on the Pacific coast, we travel in a small boat to watch the ocean light up with bioluminescent algae. Discovering this rare ecosystem, found in warm-water lagoons, is a magical experience. Diving into the water is not obligatory, though certainly encouraged.

DAY 14
B, L, D included

A morning ferry (1.5 hrs) brings us across the Gulf back to the mainland, as we look out for dolphins, brown pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds en route. We continue by road (2.5 hrs) to a well-regarded wildlife centre dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals. We learn about the re-introduction school with its grades and classes. We meet at close hand the sanctuary residents ranging from toucans, owls and parrots to sloths, monkeys and wild cats. Our luxury inn is on an organic coffee farm in the hills of the Central Valley. A farewell dinner of organic farm produce is accompanied, as always on the tour, by excellent South American wines.

DAY 15
B, L included

After a leisurely start, we walk on the tree-shaded coffee plantation and follow the golden grain’s journey from red coffee cherry to roasted brew. Our journey ends with a transfer to the airport for late afternoon flights home.

Trip Price, per person sharing:
£6,650.75 until 19th May 2023
£6,830.50 until 19th August 2023
£7,010.25 until 19th November 2023
£7,190 after 19th November 2023
£1,380 double for single 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.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation for Days 1 through 15, on a twin shared basis
  • Meals with local beer/soft drinks at lunch and wine at dinner, as listed
  • Land transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles as described
  • Trips on watercraft as described
  • Activities, 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, driver, restaurant and hotel staff (appreciation for tour leaders is entirely at your discretion)
Price does not Include

  • Flights 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


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.


  • 1 night in San Jose, in a 4-star hotel set in tropical gardens with a wide range of native Costa Rican trees and flowers
  • 2 nights in a serene eco-lodge in the Savegre valley
  • 2 nights in Sarapiqui, in a privately owned rainforest reserve lodge
  • 2 nights in the Caño Negro Natural Reserve, in a comfortable lodge with a pool
  • 1 night near the Arenal Volcano, in a first-class hotel
  • 2 nights on a working estancia in a private nature reserve on the banks of the Tempisque river, bordering the Palo Verde National Park
  • 3 nights on the Nicoya peninsula, in an exclusive beachfront hotel
  • 1 night in a luxury inn on an organic coffee farm 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 such as ferries may 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 UK, 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.


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.