Costa Rica Wildlife Safari
San Jose – San Jose
Join us for an adventure in exotic Costa Rica, lauded as the most environmentally friendly country in the world. You can expect to see a vast array of wildlife in pristine natural habitats – Costa Rica is a paradise for lovers of the natural world!
Your Costa Rica Wildlife Safari is comfortably accommodated and fully escorted, and the flexible itinerary allows plenty of time to pursue your special interests. Just a few of the tour highlights are outlined below to whet your appetite – this is a magnificent tour not to be missed!
The stunning Savegre River is known as Central America’s cleanest river, and is a must-see destination for nature lovers. Lush rainforest, waterfalls and canyons surround this stretch of coastal whitewater. Many tropical birds call the rainforest home, including egrets, osprey, toucans, parrots, kingfishers and cormorants.
Cerro de la Muerte Mountain
This magnificent mountain is part of the Cordillera de Talamanca range, which extends from eastern Costa Rica to western Panama, and is home to many endemic plants and animals.
The higher areas are páramo habitat (meaning desolate territory in Spanish). This is a Neotropical ecosystem, featuring dwarf bamboo, stunted shrubs and tree ferns, together with smaller plants like blueberry, gooseberry and lady’s slipper. In the lower areas of the mountain the natural vegetation is oak forest with a bamboo understory. This area is an excellent place to look for the brightly coloured Resplendent Quetzal.
Nearly fifty percent of the bird species recorded from Cerro de la Muerte are endemic to the Talamanca range. These include the Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Timberline Wren, Sooty Robin, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Peg-billed Finch and Volcano Junco.
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
The Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is 25,100 acres and is part of the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area. The refuge includes wetlands that host record numbers of migratory waterfowl species including storks, spoonbills, ibis, anhingas, ducks and cormorants. The forests, glasslands and marshes in the area are home to a variety of endangered species including jaguars, cougars, tapirs, ocelots, peccary and several monkey species including the White-headed Capuchin and Mantled Howler.
1 Arrive in San Jose
On arrival in San Jose airport, your group will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Accommodation: Bougainvillea Hotel, Standard Garden View Room D
2 San Jose
Today’s main objective is to give you time to rest and recover from your flights to Costa Rica. You will have a whole day of free time however there is a number of optional activities throughout the day should you feel up to them. The hotel’s lush gardens are perfect for a walk to admire many of the birds that are commonly found in the Central Valley and our local guide will lead an early morning and an afternoon walk. Our local guide will also lead a bus trip to downtown San Jose. This trip will include a short walking tour of the city full of history as well as some free time to get lunch (at own expense), visit a local museum (at own expense) or just wonder the streets before being transferred back to the hotel for dinner.
Accommodation: Bougainvillea Hotel, Standard Garden View Room BD
3 San Jose – Central Pacific Coast – Carara Biological Reserve
After breakfast this morning you will depart towards the Central Pacific Coast. The days highlight will be a boat trip on the Tárcoles River.
The Estero de Guacalillo (Guacalillo Estuary) and the Tárcoles River, offer to the visitors the opportunity to observe one of the largest populations of American Crocodiles on the continent. Discover the mangrove swamp area with a high biodiversity, amongst which you will find a large number of aquatic birds and the red macaw Conservation Reserve. The boats will take you on the journey of a lifetime into an impressive ecosystem composed of four different mangle species, each one representing an important ecological habitat for the different bird species and fauna of the region.
After the boat tour we will arrive at Punta Leona which will be our home for the next 2 nights. Located in the Central Pacific coast, only one hour from San Jose, Punta Leona Hotel & Club is a unique tropical rainforest and beach resort that combines environmental conservation and tourism. Part of the property has been officially declared a Wildlife Reserve thanks to its biodiversity in plant species and fauna such as whiteface monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, coati, and armadillos. Once we have settled in we will travel to a local restaurant for dinner (at own expense).
Accommodation: Punta Leona, Standard Room BL
4 Carara Biological Reserve
This morning we visit the Carara Biological Reserve. This 4700 hectare reserve is at the mouth of the Tárcoles River. The reserve is surrounded by agricultural land and provides an oasis for wildlife from the surrounding area. You will be able to spot the brilliantly patterned scarlet macaw. Other birds to watch for include guans, trogons, toucans, mot-mots and many other forest species. Monkeys, squirrels, sloths and agoutis are among the more common mammals present.
After Lunch we will visit the Pacific Rain Forest Aerial Tram. Created to raise the world’s consciousness of the importance of the tropical rainforests, the Pacific Rain Forest Aerial Tram allows guests to discover the hidden secrets and hanging gardens of the Transitional Tropical Rainforest from an awe-inspiring perspective. The Pacific Rain Forest Aerial Tram is an eco-tourism project with 222 acres (90 hectares) of rainforest, showcasing small waterfalls and scenic views of the Pacific Coast.
Our Rain Forest Aerial Tram – Pacific flies through a transitional area between the extremely rare tropical dry forest and the tropical rainforest. This junction between the two ecosystems is packed with exotic wildlife and full of bright tropical vegetation.
At Sunset today we will head to an area know for Scarlet Macaw. As the sun goes down we hope to see pairs of Macaws returning to the same spot to roast for the night.
Accommodation: Punta Leona, Standard Room B
5 Punta Leona – La Ensenada National Wildlife Refuge
Before breakfast you will have the opportunity to join our local guide on a guided walk of the grounds. Early morning is a great time to see birds waking up for the day and nocturnal mammals heading home after a long night of foraging.
After breakfast you will continue to the east coast, following the Pan-American Highway on the road to Punta Morales, Coyolitos and Abangaritos where we will arrive at the La Ensenada Lodge for lunch.
La Ensenada National Wildlife Refuge is 1000 acres, located on the pacific coast in the province of Puntarenas, on the gulf of Nicoya. It is an ideal place for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The most important aspects of this ranch are their cattle, horses and the production of salt and fruit. It is also a paradise, where you’ll find the perfect point of balance between adventure and relaxation. The gulf of Nicoya, the mangroves and the salina offer those who love birds and photography many different species and variety of birds such as pelicans, herons, parrots, Montezuma oropendula, bellbird, white iris, great egret, etc.
After lunch the group will have free time to enjoy the pool, go for a walk or just sit in your hammock and enjoy the views over the gulf. Later in the afternoon there is an optional walk to the salt pans on the property. These salt pans provide great habitats for shore birds and the trees around them provide habitat to a whole other range of birds as well as Howler Monkeys and Iguanas.
Accommodation: La Ensenada Lodge, Standard Room BLD
6 La Ensenada National Wildlife Refuge
Today is free time to spend at your leisure or to participate in optional activities such as a boat tour of the Gulf before breakfast (at own expense). This boat tour is a great opportunity to see new mangrove wildlife but you will also have the opportunity to see coastal birds including Magnificent Frigatebirds and Royal Terns. After Lunch there is also the opportunity to join our local guide on a walk through the sounds of the lodge looking for bird, mammals and reptiles.
Accommodation: La Ensenada Lodge, Standard Room BLD
7 La Ensenada – La Anita Rainforest
Today you will again before breakfast have the opportunity to undertake a nature walk before breakfast of the grounds. After Breakfast you will be transferred to the northern mountains and volcanic area of Guanacaste province, where you will be staying at the La Anita Rainforest Lodge. The lodge is surrounded by lush vegetation in a flat area between three volcanoes, the Miravalles, Rincon de La Vieja and Santa María.
In the heart of this remarkable rainforest at La Anita locals have grow and harvest macadamia nuts, heart of palm, taro, cardamom, organic tropical fruits and vegetables, medicinal herbs, together with thousands of tropical flowers. Now La Anita grows cacao (chocolate) and is the only place in the world that cacao is grown, processed and sold as chocolate. La Anita is part of La Colonia Libertad town, where 55 families work in agriculture to support themselves. La Anita is also committed to working in harmony with the environment and the local community.
Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Lodge, Standard Room BLD
8 La Anita Rainforest
Today before breakfast you will be able to undertake a nature walk with our local guide around the property. After breakfast the the group will be treated to a chocolate tour! From growing right through fermenting, drying, roasting, grinding and finally combining with other ingredients to make the chocolate this tour shows it all not to mention free samples! After lunch there is an optional walk from the local village to investigate how the landscape has change from the coastal plain now we have moved to the foothills or just relax in the porch hammock and watch the sunset over the volcanoes.Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Lodge, Standard Room BLD
9 La Anita Rainforest Lodge – Caño Negro
Before breakfast today the group will be able to undertake another guided walk of the ground be the group departs and heads to the northern plains, bound for the Caño Negro area.
Caño Negro is mainly formed by the Caño Negro Lagoon and the Rio Frio. It is one of the most important biological areas in the country and is one of the four most important wetland areas in the world. The Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge was declared a wildlife area of international importance in 1991. This ecological treasure is the natural habitat of more than 350 species of bird, as well as the Emerald Basilisk, iguanas, River Turtles, caimans and jaguars.
After we arrive at the lodge for lunch you will have free time to enjoy the facilities of the lodge. The local village is just outside the front gate of the lodge and is easy to explore on foot.
Accommodation: Caño Negro Natural Lodge, Standard Room BLD
10 Caño Negro Wetland Tour
This morning you will enjoy a down stream boat tour through the channels which make up this beautiful area. The scenery is very impressive, as is the flora and fauna. The channel systems are also very beautiful. This refuge is home to more than 350 bird species such as the Jabiru, Roseate Spoonbill, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Wood Stork, Tricolored Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Sungrebe and the Black-bellied Whistling Duck. After lunch you will take another boat tour up stream to coincide with sunset. The water way changes significantly as you move up stream opening up into large flood plains giving us an opportunity to see new wildlife.
Accommodation: Caño Negro Natural Lodge, standard Room BLD
11 Caño Negro – Sarapiqui
Today we’ll continue to the Caribbean lowlands. In Sarapiqui you will find several protected areas: Braulio Carrillo National Park, La Selva Biological Station and the Sarapiqui Protected Area. Visiting these areas will show you different types of tropical rainforests.
The Group will arrive at Selva Verde for lunch after which you will have free time to enjoy or join our local guide for a guided walk of the grounds.
Accommodation: Selva Verde Hotel, River View Room BLD
This morning after breakfast the group will be transported to La Tirimbina for a guided walk through the rainforest. Along the reserve’s trails, you will have the opportunity to search for, find and interpret the secrets of the rainforest. We will return to the hotel for lunch and then enjoy free time in the hotel grounds until we have an early dinner and return to La Tirimbina for a guided shared night walk. Your naturalist guide will escort you on a walk by the light of the moon to discover the wonders of the night-time rainforest, when most wildlife species are active.
Accommodation: Selva Verde Hotel, River View Room BLD
13 Sarapiqui – Turrialba
Today the group will be transferred to the central valley east lowlands, where you’ll notice a big change in weather and bird species within a short distance. Rancho Naturalista offers stunning views of Volcano Turrialba and Volcano Irazu. After arriving for a delicious home cooked meal you will be free to explore the hotel grounds, enjoy a trail walk or just watch the the world go by from the lodge balcony. Rancho Naturalista is famous for the large amount of humming birds that visit it including the rare Snow Cap.
Accommodation: Rancho Naturalista, Standard Room BLD
14 Turrialba – San Gerardo de Dota
After breakfast your naturalist guide will escort you to the Cerro de La Muerte Mountain Range. Dependent on weather we will visit above the tree line where the group will fine a totally new eco system. The group will defend from an altitude of 3,400m to the San Gerardo de Dota Valley floor at an altitude of 2,300m.
San Gerardo de Dota is a tiny community in the Talamanca Mountains, settled in the fresh mist of a mountain valley, surrounded by deep cloud forests and filled with massive tropical trees. It is also a paradise for birdwatchers as it’s home to more than 170 bird species, including some of the most rare and endangered bird species in Central America. It is a special place for watching the Resplendent Quetzal bird, one of the most ornate birds in the wild.
Various migratory species arrive in different seasons, joining the native species to add to the colourful views for birdwatchers. Among the visitors are the Orioles, Warblers, Tennessee’s and Raptors. Their native hosts include the Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Vireo, the Flame-throated Warbler, Black-cheeked Warbler, Yellowish Flycatcher, Barred Becard, Tufted Flycatcher, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Zeledonia, Torrent Tyrannulet, Collared Trogon, Scintillant Hummingbird, Volcano Hummingbird, Fiery-throated Hummingbird and Spotted Wood-Quail. We will check into our hotel for Lunch after which we will visit local hot spots in search of the Reseplendent Quetal.
Accommodation: Trogon Lodge, Standard Room BLD
15 San Gerardo de Dota
Before breakfast you can join our local guide for a nature walk of the hotel grounds followed by breakfast and free time until lunch. After Lunch you will have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful Savegre Waterfall surrounded by a dense cloud forest. Your guide will take you through the forest and show you the gorgeous flora and fauna that spreads alongside the crystal waters of the Savegre River, until the point where it turns into an amazing white veil, the Savegre River Waterfall is definitely one more reason to fall in love with San Gerardo de Dota.Accommodation: Trogon Lodge, Standard Room BLD
16 San Gerardo de Dota – San Jose
This morning there will be a guided bird watching tour at the hotel reserve before being transferred to San Jose for the last night in Costa Rica.
Accommodation: El Rodeo, Standard Room BD
17 San Jose – Home
Today marks the end of your Costa Rican experience. Your guide will transfer you to the international airport for you flight home. B
NB: The above itinerary may be varied according to conditions and advice.
17th November – 3rd December 2020
- Fully escorted tour
- Meals as per itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Porterage on arrival
- Guided arrival transfer
- 17 days of naturalist guide
- 17 days of private transportation (Coaster Bus)
- Tipping of our Naturalist Guide and Driver only
- Bottled water daily
- Carara National Park
- Tarcoles River Boat safari tour
- Entrance fees to Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge
- Night Walk art La Tirimbina
- Savegre Waterfall Hike
- Carara National Park entrance fees
- Porterage on departure
- Hotel Taxes
Download Trip Dossier (PDF)
…Well we are back, what a splendid time we had, I thank you sooooo much for everything. A great time was had by all I’m sure, we certainly did. We worked out the tipping thing. Jheudy and Ramon (our driver) were just sensational. We learnt so much about Costa Rica’s history, wildlife and so much more from them both. We have only praise for them both. Jheudy’s professionalism, knowledge – especially about birds – and help was excellent.
Zoe & Jeff Inman