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Unique Costa Rica

Birdlife in Costa Rica

Birdlife in Costa Rica

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Three-toed Sloth

Three-toed Sloth

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Pristine Nature

Pristine Nature

Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal

 

This is a great way to discover a different side of Costa Rica, with the option of travelling by private transfer or self-driving.

This tailor-made Costa Rica tour offers 12 days exploring some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful regions.

Begin by visiting Poas Volcano, the Doka Coffee Plantation and La Paz Waterfall Gardens before spending two days at Tortuguero National Park with its network of navigable lakes, rivers and canals and abundant wildlife and birdlife.

Between July and September this is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see Sea Turtles nesting.

Continue to Turrialba and be ready for some outdoor adventure activities on the Pacuare River area.

After the adrenalin of Turrialba, head to San Gerardo de Dota, one of the largest extensions of protected land in Costa Rica.

Visit the Savegre Private Nature Reserve with its 20-mile long network of hiking trails.

Finish your tour of Costa Rica in Dominical, a seaside town popular with surfers and home to secluded and pristine beaches.

At a glance:

  • Return Economy Class Airfares from the UK
  • Private arrival transfer
  • 2 nights San José
  • 2 nights Tortuguero
  • 2 nights Turrialba
  • 2 nights San Gerardo de Dota
  • 3 nights Dominical
  • Transfers by shared vehicle with private transfers where applicable
  • All meals and tours when in Tortuguero National Park
  • Guided walking visit to Tortuguero town
  • Guided visit to Doka Coffee Plantation
  • Guided visit to Poas Volcano
  • Guided visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens

 

Day 1: Fly UK to Costa Rica

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

If you have an overnight flight you will arrive into Costa Rica the following morning.

Overnight San Jose. Breakfast included. 

Day 2: Poas Volcano – Doka Coffee Tour – La Paz Waterfall Gardens

After breakfast, enjoy a guided visit to Poas Volcano, the Doka Coffee Plantation and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.  

The Poas Volcano is one of the most spectacular volcanoes in Costa Rica, with its enormous crater measuring 1 km in diameter and 314 metres deep.

Hike to the beautiful Botos Lagoon then continue to discover La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a natural park with some spectacular trails leading to the White Magic Waterfall.

Overnight San Jose. Breakfast and lunch included.

Day 3: San José - Tortuguero

You will be collected early from your hotel for the shared transfer to Tortuguero.

Admire the biodiversity of this astonishingly beautiful protected area in Costa Rica as you are driven through Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Stop en-route to enjoy a delicious typical Costa Rican breakfast.

On arrival at Caño Blanco pier, board a small motorized boat and explore the Tortuguero canals on the way to your lodge, where lunch will be waiting.

In the afternoon, visit the picturesque town of Tortuguero, the Green Turtle Information Centre and the beach area.

Overnight Tortuguero. All meals included.

Day 4: Tortuguero

After breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour through the trails of Tortuguero with the rest of the morning free before lunch.

In the afternoon, visit Tortuguero National Park, exploring the canals in small, open boats. 

Tortuguero is a network of navigable lakes, rivers and canals (both natural and man-made) that are used for transportation and are a great place for observing local wildlife.

Abundant wildlife inhabits Tortuguero, including amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. More than 300 species of birds live in Tortuguero.

July to September marks Sea Turtle nesting season and optional night tours are available at an additional cost. 

Overnight Tortuguero. All meals included.

Day 5: Turrialba

After breakfast, take a shared boat transfer back to the pier, where you will be transferred on to your next destination.

Lunch is included in La Ceiba Restaurant en-route before continuing on to the beautiful Turrialba Valley.

Continuing from here there is the option to take a private transfer or alternatively include a rental car.

Situated 40 miles east of San Jose, the beautiful Turrialba Valley is irrigated by the wild waters of the Reventazon River.  

Overnight Turrialba. Breakfast and lunch included. 

Day 6: Turrialba

After breakfast enjoy the day at leisure to explore or take an optional tour. 

Activities popular here include rafting on the Pacuare River, Canyoning or taking a Canopy Tour.

Overnight Turrialba. Breakfast included.

Day 7: San Gerardo de Dota

After breakfast, transfer or self-drive to San Gerardo de Dota.

San Gerardo de Dota is set within the largest extension of protected land in Costa Rica and close to Cerro de la Muerte, one of Costa Rica’s highest peaks.

The drive from San José takes around two hours.

This is a landscape of green rolling hills and fruit plantations and is one of the most beautiful regions in the country.

Overnight San Gerardo de Dota. Breakfast included.

Day 8: San Gerardo de Dota

After breakfast, enjoy the day at leisure to enjoy the area or to take an optional tour. 

Savegre Private Reserve is a nature reserve with a network of more than 18.6 miles of walking trails.

Four of the six trails are interconnected and visitors are given a trail map to explore the forest with ease and in safety.

Bird watching is great here and the waterfall excursion is strongly recommended.

Overnight San Gerardo de Dota. Breakfast included.

Day 9: Dominical

After breakfast, transfer or self-drive to Dominical.

Dominical has some of the best surfing in Costa Rica and the beach here extends for more than 4 km, backed by the lush vegetation typical of Costa Rica's Pacific coast.

This is a strong fishing community and the seafood here is possibly the best in Costa Rica.

Dominical is also very close to the Ballena National Marine Park which is a great place for whale watching.

The small village of Uvita de Osa is located between Dominical and Ojochal, known for its great cuisine and the beautiful beaches of Uvita, Ballena, Arco, Piñuela, Ventanas and Tortuga.

Day trips to Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Park are also available from here.

Overnight Dominical. Breakfast included.

Days 10 - 11: Dominical

Enjoy the days at leisure to enjoy the local area or to explore further afield

Suggested tours and activities include whale and dolphin watching or a guided visit to Finca Ibis.

Overnight Dominical. Breakfast included. 

Day 12: Fly back to the UK

After breakfast, transfer or self-drive to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

For self-drivers, please note that the car drop-off will take place at the nearest airport office. Once all the formalities have been completed, a free shuttle bus runs to the terminal.

Day 13: Arrive UK

Arrive back in the UK. 

Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero is a fairly remote National Park on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast side, but is still the third most visited national park in Costa Rica.

The park protects a large area of natural wetland on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and covers an area of 77,000 acres.

The park formed from a series of volcanic islands which gradually became linked over time as alluvial soils from Costa Rica's mountains silted up the channels between them.

The high rainfall and rich soils here have helped to create an area of exceptional biodiversity and a magnet for nature lovers.

On any visit to Tortuguero, be prepared to encounter some rain as this is one of the rainiest areas of Costa Rica, even in the dry season!

There is no permanent settlement within the park and there are only 4 trails, 3 aquatic ones and a land trail, a 2 km walking route called the Gavilan Trail.

Consequently most visits to Tortuguero are by boat or canoe, gliding along the streams.

Wildlife in Tortuguero National Park

The park protects over 20 miles of coastline which are popular nesting locations for turtles (hence then name of the park, which means "turtle catcher" in Spanish).

Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green and Leatherback Turtles all come to the beaches and canal sides of Tortuguero to lay their eggs in Tortuguero.

Leatherback Turtles come between February and April, whilst Green and Hawksbill Turtles have a longer nesting season, stretching from July to October (busiest in August).

Seeing turtles nesting and laying their eggs is normally an after-dark activity and can be one of the highlights of a tour of Costa Rica.

With some luck it is also possible to see turtles hatching and making their way to the sea.

Tortuguero's forests are home to three of Costa Rica's four species of monkey and also to three-toed sloths, jaguars and almost 400 species of birds.

Around one million birds utilise Tortuguero's wetlands every year on their migration.

Turrialba

Easily accessible from San José (60 km away), the area is perfect for those seeking adventure, outdoor activities and pristine nature. 

This is a place to explore Turrialba Volcano National Park and visit the Monumento Nacional Arqueológico Guayabo, Costa Rica’s most important archaeological site. 

Turrialba Volcano (3,200 metres high) is active and occasionally sees some quite spectacular action. In May 2016 an eruption spewed volcanic ash 3 km into the sky and coated cars and buildings in San Jose with a thin layer of ash.

In the event of increased siesmic activity, Turrialba Volcano National Park can sometimes be closed to visitors.

Much of the National Park protects primary and secondary rainforest, and hiking the trails here often reveals much of the smaller wildlife species calling this area home.

Turrialba has some great local cuisine including the local delicious cheese, produced on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano.

San Jose & Surroundings

Welcome to the heart of Costa Rica, home to active volcanos, coffee plantations, white water rafting and lush rainforests, plus San José, the lively and welcoming capital of Costa Rica.

Most visitors arriving in Costa Rica spend their first day or more in San José which features an array of cultural activities including museums and theatres. 

Discover great restaurants, art galleries and colonial mansions now converted into boutique hotels or go shopping and enjoy San Jose's exciting nightlife. 

Easily accessible from San José are the Central Valley’s main tourist attractions including Poas Volcano National Park, Irazu Volcano, Botos Lagoon, Turrialba, the Pacuare River and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

San Gerardo de Dota

50 km or so south of San Jose, San Gerardo de Dota is a little-known destination in the Savegre River valley offering some of the best bird watching in Costa Rica in an off the beaten track area.

The Savegre watershed is a small area but extremely rich in wildlife, with more than 20% of all Costa Rican bird species present here.

San Gerardo de Dota itself is a tiny village, dwarfed by the surrounding Talamanca Mountains.

Seeing Resplendent Quetzals

Close by, Los Quetzales National Park protects 50 square kilometres of Rain and Cloud Forest and as the name suggests, has many Resplendent Quetzal, as well as Trogon and at least 170 other Costa Rican bird species.

The great thing about Los Quetzales is that the beautiful green and red Resplendent Quetzal can be spotted at any time of year, which isn’t the case in the rest of Costa Rica.

The best way to see a Quetzal is with a specialist guide, and March to April are especially good times of year, as this is breeding season.

 

Accommodation near San Gerardo de Dota

Accommodation near San Gerardo de Dota is limited to a handful of eco-lodges, including the 22 room Trogon Lodge in the Savegre Valley, the pleasant Dantica Lodge and Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa.

San Gerardo de Dota is about 2 or 3 hours by car to Manuel Antonio and Dominical on the coast and makes a great stop en-route from San Jose to the beach and National Park.

Activities & Climate

Walkers will love the trails in the National Park here, which are of varying lengths and normally very quiet.

One of the best short walking trails here follows the course of the Rio Savegre through the Cloud Forest, crossing a few rickety bridges to a beautiful little waterfall.

Bear in mind that the altitude here (in the Cloud Forest) means things are much wetter and cooler here, so come prepared for both.

Especially if coming straight from the coast, the cooler climate here can come as something of a shock.

Accommodation in San José:

Studio Hotel

Accommodation in Tortuguero:

Evergreen Lodge

Accommodation in Turrialba:

Casa Turire Hotel

Accommodation in San Gerardo de Dota:

Savegre Mountain Lodge

Accommodation in Dominical:

Cuna del Angel Hotel

11 nights Unique Costa Rica - with Car Rental:

  • Price from £1,575 pp

11 nights Unique Costa Rica - with Private Transfer:

  • Price from £1,975 pp

This is a guide price only, based on travel in low season.

Prices will vary according to choice of hotel and seasonal airfare and hotel surcharges. Please ask us for any current special offers.

Contact Us:

All of our Costa Rica Tours are completely tailor made and we can put together any kind of Costa Rica itinerary to suit your interests and budget.

Call us now to speak to a Costa Rica expert about your tailor made Costa Rica holiday.

Call us now on 0333 7000 747

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