Costa Rica Wildlife Safari

San Jose – San Jose
$9,645.00 AUD


Next Tour: 25th October - 10th November 2024


Costa Rica’s name comes from the Spanish language, meaning ‘rich coast’ as early European explorers believed the mountains of Costa Rica to be filled with gold. Although they were wrong about the gold, Costa Rica is the ‘rich coast’ regarding flora, fauna and biodiversity. It may be a small country, but it is enormous on nature, natural history and environmental investment. A true paradise for lovers of the natural world! It has extraordinary biodiversity, with over 500,000 species, so it is little wonder that it is known as the birthplace of ecotourism.

The Safari visits the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. It 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. The area’s forests, grasslands and marshes are home to various endangered species.


Visit Cerro de la Muerte mountain, which is part of the Cordillera de Talamanca range and extends from eastern Costa Rica to western Panama. It is home to many endemic plants and animals.

Next, discover Savegre River, which is Central America’s cleanest river. 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.

Given the vastly different geography you find in Costa Rica, from coastal mangroves to forests in the clouds, the wide variety of plants and animals you will see in one day is jaw-dropping in this compact country. Its varied ecosystems are bursting with life!

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Extended Trip Details


Day 1

Arrive in San Jose

On arrival at San Jose airport, your group will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodation: Bougainvillea Hotel, Standard Mountain View Room D
Day 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 are many 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 commonly found in the Central Valley, and our local guide will lead an early morning and an afternoon walk. Alternatively, you can travel to San Jose to explore the city. Accommodation: Bougainvillea Hotel, Standard Mountain View Room BD
Day 3

San Jose – Central Pacific Coast

After breakfast this morning, you will depart towards the Central Pacific Coast. The day's highlight will be a boat trip on the Tárcoles River. The Estero de Guacalillo (Guacalillo Estuary) and the Tárcoles River allow visitors to observe one of the continent's largest populations of American Crocodiles. Discover the mangrove swamp area with high biodiversity, amongst which you will find many aquatic birds and the red macaw. The boats will take you on the journey of a lifetime into an impressive ecosystem composed of four different mangle species, each representing a critical ecological habitat for the region's other bird species and fauna. After the boat tour, we will arrive at Cerro Lodge, our home for the next two nights. Located on the Central Pacific coast, only one hour from San Jose, Cerro Lodge is situated in farmland and provides an important refuge for local wildlife, including the scarlet macaws. Accommodation: Cerro Lodge, Standard Room BLD
Day 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 include guans, trogons, toucans, mot-mots and many other forest species. Monkeys, squirrels, sloths and agoutis are among the more common mammals. After Lunch, we will visit the Pacific Rain Forest Aerial Tram. Created to raise the world's consciousness of the importance of 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 scarce tropical dry forest and the tropical rainforest. This junction between the two ecosystems is packed with exotic wildlife and bright tropical vegetation. Accommodation: Cerro Lodge, Standard Room BD
Day 5

Punta Leona - La Ensenada National Wildlife Refuge

Before breakfast, you can 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 after stopping for lunch on route. 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 its 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 a variety of birds such as pelicans, herons, parrots, Montezuma oropendola, bellbird, white iris, great egret, etc. After lunch, the group will have free time to enjoy the pool, walk, or sit in their 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 excellent 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
Day 6

La Ensenada National Wildlife Refuge

Today, you will rise early for a boat tour of the Gulf before breakfast. This boat tour is an excellent opportunity to see new mangrove wildlife, but you will also have the chance to see coastal birds, including Magnificent Frigate-birds 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 birds, mammals and reptiles. Accommodation: La Ensenada Lodge, Standard Room BLD
Day 7

La Ensenada - La Anita Rainforest

Today, you will again be able to undertake a nature walk on the grounds before breakfast. 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 grown and harvested macadamia nuts, the heart of palm, taro, cardamom, organic tropical fruits and vegetables, and medicinal herbs, together with thousands of tropical flowers. Now, La Anita grows cacao (chocolate) and is the only place in the world where 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 harmoniously with the environment and the local community. Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Lodge, Standard Room BLD
Day 8

La Anita Rainforest

Today, before breakfast, you can undertake a nature walk around the property with our local guide. After breakfast, 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 changed from the coastal plain. Now, we are in the foothills; you can relax in the porch hammock and watch the sunset over the volcanoes. Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Lodge, Standard Room BLD
Day 9

La Anita Rainforest Lodge - Caño Negro

Before breakfast today, the group will be able to undertake another guided walk of the grounds before 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 country's most important biological areas and one of the world's four most important wetland areas. 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 bird species and the Emerald Basilisk, iguanas, River Turtles, caimans and jaguars. After we arrive for lunch, you will have free time to enjoy the lodge's facilities. 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
Day 10

Caño Negro Wetland Tour

This morning, you will enjoy a downstream boat tour through the channels that make up this beautiful area. The scenery is very impressive, as are the flora and fauna. The channel systems are also excellent. 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 upstream to coincide with sunset. The waterway changes significantly as you move upstream, opening up into extensive flood plains, allowing us to see new wildlife. Accommodation: Caño Negro Natural Lodge, Standard Room BLD
Day 11

Caño Negro - Sarapiqui

Today, we’ll continue to the Caribbean lowlands. You will find several protected areas in Sarapiqui: 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
Day 12

Sarapiqui - Turrialba

Today, the group will be transferred to the Central Valley east lowlands, where you’ll notice a significant 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 watch the world go by from the lodge balcony. Rancho Naturalista is famous for many hummingbirds visiting it, including the rare Snow Cap. Accommodation: Rancho Naturalista, Standard Room BLD
Day 13


Today, the group will be able to enjoy the facilities of Rancho Naturalista. You will be free to enjoy the walks through the onsite rainforest or sit on the lodge's balcony and enjoy the birds. A variety of Mammals, including Armadillos and Coatis, are known to visit the lodge throughout the day. Accommodation: Rancho Naturalista, Standard Room BLD
Day 14

Turrialba - San Gerardo de Dota

After breakfast, your naturalist guide will escort you to the Cerro de La Muerte Mountain Range. Depending on the weather, we will visit above the tree line, where the group will find a new ecosystem. 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 Central America's rarest and endangered bird species. 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, Tennessees, and Raptors. Their native hosts include the Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Vireo, 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 Resplendent Quetzal. Accommodation: Savegre Natural Reserve & Spa or similar (Junior Suite) BLD
Day 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 can enjoy the incredible 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 it turns into a fantastic white veil. The Savegre River Waterfall is another reason to fall in love with San Gerardo de Dota. Accommodation: Savegre Natural Reserve & Spa or similar (Junior Suite) BLD
Day 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
Day 17

San Jose - Home

Today marks the end of your Costa Rican experience. Your guide will transfer you to the international airport for your flight home. B

NOTE: the above itinerary may be varied according to conditions and advice.


Places available


  • Fully escorted tour
  • Meals as per itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • Hotel transfer on arrival. (Only for guests arriving on Day 1)
  • 17 days of naturalist guide
  • 17 days of private transportation (Coaster Bus)
  • Tipping of our Naturalist Guide and Driver only
  • Carara National Park
  • Tarcoles River Boat safari tour
  • Caño Negro boat tours
  • Pacific Rain Forest Aerial Tram fees
  • La Anita Chocolate Tour
  • Entrance fees to La Tirimbina
  • Night Walk art La Tirimbina
  • Savegre Waterfall Hike

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