3 flights by light aircraft; 4 scenic road and road and boat journeys.
This trip combines a small, friendly mid-range hotel in San José with well-equipped rooms with private bathroom with comfortable, eco-friendly but not luxurious wildlife and beach lodges well located for wildlife observation.
Breakfast daily, full board days 2, 3; 8-10,11-13.
We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return. On this particular trip we use specialist naturalist guides where necessary.
• Guided boat excursion in Tortuguero National Park.
• Guided excursion to the Ecotermales hot springs at Arenal.
• Birdwatching with naturalist guide.
• Whale and dolphin watching, Corcovado National Park.
• Guided hiking in Corcovado National Park.
Summary of nights
15 days, 14 nights: San José 1; Tortuguero 3; Arenal 3; Bajos del Toro 3; Osa Peninsula 3; San Jose 1.
Included in the journey price
• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities.
• Flights to and from the UK.
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket.
• Optional excursions (Private guided turtle nesting or hatching (in season: Jul-Nov) and Bosque de Paz private reserve.)
The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the colón.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in San José: taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in many shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency in San José at the beginning of your trip, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are increasingly falling out of use. (American Express cheques are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can exchange sterling but the rate may be unfavourable and there are fewer outlets providing this service. US dollars cash is widely accepted for payments.
Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.
Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors, including families with older children with an interest in wildlife.
Bear in mind it is a relatively active trip. On the whole the trails are good and clear. All activities are closely monitored by qualified guides.
The trip covers climates ranging from tropical lowland to more temperate zones in the highlands. Those travelling between May and October journeys should encounter high temperatures (around 35°C) and high humidity in the lowlands. The ‘official’ rainy (green) season is May to October.
December to April visitors will still encounter high temperatures in lowland areas, but cool evenings around Arenal and San José with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be lower at this time.
Clothing and special equipment
Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A waterproof jacket is also necessary. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper (it can be cool in the interior), and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos may be lurking. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.
Don’t forget your binoculars, long lens camera and field guide.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to or via, the USA, you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online. This costs $14 per person, and must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.