Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets

14 days
from
3 115 €
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 33 reviews >
Trip code: 
WUR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
6–16
Min age:
16

Unrivalled wildlife viewing and Costa Rica's coastal wonders 

From the wildlife rich waterways of Tortuguero to the dense jungle coastline of the Osa Peninsula, an area labelled by National Geographic as 'the most biologically intense place on Earth', Costa Rica reveals its secrets: Scarlet macaws rule the roost adding brilliant flashes of red, blue and gold to the foliage; Humpback whales breed in the waters off-shore, and sloths lazily crawl along cecropia branches.

Highlights

  • Three nights in Drake Bay - the remote gateway to some of Costa Rica's premier wildlife destinations 
  • Corcovado National Park - the 'most biologically intense place on Earth'
  • Discover the wildlife and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Unrivalled wildlife viewing - monkeys, sloths, dolphins & whales (in season) 
  • Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary 
  • Swim in both the Caribbean and Pacific 

Key information

  • Travel by minibus and boat 
  • 13 nights comfortable hotels and lodges
  • Green turtle nesting season: July to October

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
015 407 558
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

San Jose
to
San Jose
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

    The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Tortuguero N.P.

    Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's vast network of waterways, canals and swamps are remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is nestled on a small strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it’s possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today's travel time will be in the region of six hours including a break for breakfast.

    Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    Just after sunrise we board a small boat, enabling us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero as we pass serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river. The lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, or alternatively you can join a second boat trip (included) or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To Cahuita; relax on the Caribbean coast.

    We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived, by taking a small boat to Siquirres pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, where we check into our hotel. Caribbean culture pervades this part of Costa Rica and is reflected in the music, food and laid-back lifestyle. Cahuita’s famous white-sand beach is fringed by tall palms, behind which the dense, wet tropical forest of Cahuita National Park can be found.

    Accommodation: Atlantida Lodge or Ciudad Perdida (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Wildlife hike in Cahuita N.P.

    Today we visit Cahuita National Park, with its 2711 acres of land and an impressive 600 acres of coral reef, forming Costa Rica's largest reef system. From the southern entrance of the park we take a 7km hike along the coastline following a trail that leads through rainforest and passes the impressive Caribbean beaches. Although a fairly small park in terms of size, there is plenty of diversity here. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the beach, join an optional snorkelling excursion to discover the underwater world or enjoy the hotel.

    Accommodation: Atlantida Lodge or Ciudad Perdida (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary.

    After breakfast we visit Aviarios del Caribe, Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary. This rescue and rehabilitation centre conducts research into sloths and works tirelessly with the goal of releasing sloths back into their natural habitat. In 2013 it was the subject of an Animal Planet TV show called 'Meet the Sloths'. You'll learn all about these fascinating animals on a two hour tour of the sanctuary, where you find out about the rehabilitation process and take a boat tour along the river to see sloths, monkeys, butterflies and birds in the wild. In the afternoon there is free time to relax in Cahuita.

    Accommodation: Atlantida Lodge or Ciudad Perdida (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Walk in La Marta Wildlife Refuge; to Turrialba Valley.

    Our next destination is Turrialba Valley, a rich agricultural region located in the Central Highlands. On the way to Turrialba we visit La Marta Wildlife Refuge, an area of both primary and secondary forest within La Amistad Biosphere (recognised as a UNESCO World Patrimony of Humanity). The topography of this region is mountainous, with waterfalls, rivers and caves - the varied elevation supports a wide range of plants (such as orchids, bromeliads, lichens and mosses) and animals (such as anteaters, ocelots and tapirs).

    Accommodation: Villa Florencia (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Savegre Cloud Forest.

    After breakfast we depart towards San Gerado de Dota and Savegre Cloud Forest. This is said to be one of the best places in the whole of Costa Rica to see the beautiful, colourful and notoriously shy Resplendant Quetzal and we have two nights here to discover the region. These endangered birds rely on the cloud forest for their habitat - the males in particular are striking with a green crest, red breast and tail feathers that can reach a metre in length. A good pair of binoculars will be helpful for quetzal spotting as these birds camouflage themselves well amongst the wet leaves of the forest! After lunch we take a short walk into the cloud forest.

    Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Free day to discover walking trails in Savegre.

    Today is free to relax and explore Savegre Valley. Bring your binoculars to spot some of the 170 bird species, trek through the tropical cloud forest or simply relax in the grounds of the lodge. For those who are passionate about trekking, an optional tour to Los Quetzales National Park can be arranged to admire the tropical cloud forest and sub-Andean vegetation. Birds that may be seen in this area include hummingbirds, colibri, tanagers and trogons, whilst tapirs and Squirrel monkeys may also be seen.

    Accommodation: Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    To Sierpe; boat to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula.

    Our journey continues towards the small town of Sierpe, where we board a small motorboat to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. Passing the huge mangrove swamps that line the Sierpe River, our boat crosses the ocean before arriving into Drake Bay. This region is very remote and with extremely limited road access, which means the majority of supplies, as well as visitors and locals, must arrive by boat. Originally discovered by Francis Drake, getting here is part of the adventure! The bay is spectacular, with just a handful of lodges scattering the horizon and the rest thick verdant forest and rocky coves as far as the eye can see. Our next three nights will be spent at the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, a family run property positioned close to the 'town' of Drake Bay and with ocean views from every corner.

    Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Boat trip to Caño Island.

    Board a small boat to Caño Island, located 12 nautical miles from Drake Bay. During this 45 minute boat ride there may be opportunities to spot migrating whales or playful dolphins in the surrounding waters (Orca whales might be seen between approx. December to April and Humpback whales might be seen between approx. July to November). The interior of the island is thought to have been a burial ground for the indigenous Daquis tribe during pre-Columbian times, and many perfectly spherical man-made stones have been found here. But it's the marine life that is the biggest highlight of Caño Island, with Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles, Manta rays and White-tipped reef sharks being just some of the likely encounters on today's snorkelling excursion. This area has been rated as having the best snorkelling in the whole of Costa Rica, with excellent water visibility and a huge marine diversity awaiting beneath the waves in the protected reef. Enjoy a picnic lunch on nearby San Josecito beach, where Capuchin monkeys, Coatimundi and lively Scarlet macaws may make an appearance.

    Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Boat trip to Corcovado N.P.; discover the park on foot.

    When National Geographic describes an area as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth’ it has to be worthy of investigation! This morning we board a small boat for a 30 minute journey to San Pedrillo Ranger Station, our entrance point to Corcovado National Park. This is undoubtedly Costa Rica's most secluded and tranquil region. Protecting around one third of the Osa Peninsula (some 164 square miles), Corcovado is Costa Rica's largest national park and encompasses 13 major ecosystems across various elevations, with montane forest, cloud forest, freshwater and mangrove swamps being just some of these. Scientists have recorded half of all of the species in Costa Rica on this peninsula alone. On today's hike along the parks trails we may see all four of Costa Rica's monkey species (Squirrel, Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider monkeys), tamandua (anteater), two and three-toed sloths, peccary, tapirs (including the endangered Baird's tapir) and of course many reptiles, insects and amphibians. Puma and jaguar are known in this area but very difficult to see. With over 500 tree species, the bird count stands at an impressive 365 and the park protects the largest population of Scarlet macaws in the country, which can frequently be seen and heard flying overhead.

    Accommodation: Drake Bay Wilderness Resort (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Mangrove boat trip; to Sierpe; to San Jose.

    After breakfast, we board another boat to depart from Drake Bay and return to Sierpe town. On the way our boat will take a short tour of the huge mangrove forest that lines the Sierpe River. Delving into the network of tributary rivers and streams is fascinating and a chance to learn more about the role of mangroves in the eco-system and the numerous creatures that depend on them, such as fish, crabs, birds, molluscs and shell fish. In Sierpe town we transfer to our private minibus and commence our journey to San Jose.

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End San Jose.

    Our adventure comes to an end today after breakfast and it's time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Free transfers to San Jose airport are available to all clients today.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them. All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style, and lunches and dinners at Tortuguero are also buffet style. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Costa Rican specialities include 'Gallo Pinto', a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups and stews are also common, and fresh fruit is abundant and will no doubt be one of the highlights of your time in the tropics.

Weather

Costa Rica is located 10º north of the equator and has a tropical climate. The average temperature range is 10ºC - 13ºC in the highlands, and from 22ºC - 26ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to November when there are daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine, so midsummer is not necessarily a bad time to go. December to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a safari rating of 4.

Driving distances are not very long and most of the roads that we travel on are of good quality. However, the road which leads to the river on the way to and from Tortuguero has a poor surface and this can result in slow driving times, particularly following heavy rain. Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula are two of the most remote areas that we visit on this itinerary - there is very limited road access or facilities in these areas and we will use boats as the main form of transportation.

There are several included and optional walks on the itinerary which occasionally involve walking on rough paths. These are suitable for most levels of fitness and usually last from two to three hours. During times of heavy rain, trails can be muddy and slippery and extra care should be taken. Many of the areas visited on the trip are hot and humid and there is the chance of heavy rain year-round - this is why Costa Rica is so green!

Call for general departures:
015 407 558
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Eco-lodges

13 nights spent in comfortable hotels and eco-lodges, alll with en suite facilities and most with swimming pools.

We use fairly small, family run establishments: wooden lodges set in tropical gardens or eco-lodges nestled in the forest. The highlight of this trip will probably be our stay at Drake Bay Wilderness Resort on the Osa Peninsula, a rustic property that can only be reached by boat due to its remoteness, and affords 180 degree views out across the vast ocean!

Optional single supplement available, see Dates & Prices.

Call for general departures:
015 407 558
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Paul Goldstein is one of very few people that has spent time with all five of the BBC's ‘Dynasty’ luminaries.

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

  • Reviewed February 2019
    Hilary Morrison

    Costa Rica Coastal secrets

    2 weeks in Paradise - wildlife bliss in a beautiful country with a great group and the best guide imaginable ( Jorge )

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list , but include watching a mother humpback whale nurse her baby at Drake bay, being surrounded by a huge pod of dolphins chasing a large shoal of flying fish , seeing a magnificant resplendent quetzal glowing in the sunshine at the top of a tree in sagrevre cloud forest , watching a sloth move slowly along a branch with a baby clinging onto her and waking up to the sounds of the howler monkeys and birds in the forested areas

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Having Jorge our guide was actually one of the biggest highlights of our trip . His incredible knowlegde and passion for wildlife and his country was infectious. He was cheerful ,patient and good humoured at all times , and went out of his way to accomodate everyones interests . He worked very hard to ensure we all saw as much wildlife as possible , and could spot birds and animals we would never have seen , and get his scope focused on a rare bird in seconds so we all could see it clearly . We all thoroughly enjoyed his company and sense of humour and he was very generous with his time adding in extra nature walks if we wished. We were all very sad to bid him goodbye at the end of the trip - thank you so much Jorge !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of deet and also some local currency ( Colons ) despite what Exodus advises . It just makes buying coffees , drinks and snacks easier as each bar will convert colons to dollars , but the rate of exchange will vary widly from place to place . Most of the group had an extra 24 hrs in San Jose at the end so we could fly on the only direct flight to Gatwick . At the end of the trip it was strange being back in a city after such being immersed in such variety of nature for 2 weeks. If you wanted and had time to visit a nearby volcano, plan this beforehand as its too late to do once you return to San Jose . We visited the National Museum , which was well presented in an old fort very interesting and covered the history of Costa Rica in an intersting way - it really summed up all Jorge had told us about its history .
  • Reviewed February 2019

    Amazing holiday

    Costa Rica really is an amazing place. Not a rich place as thought by Columbus but not third world either. I think they call it ‘an emerging economy’. Very much worth visiting if you’ve never been before and this is an excellent trip. I can only comment on the 2nd half of January when it’s relatively (but not completely) dry and only really, really hot on the Pacific coast. In theory, you could create this trip more cheaply yourself but do you really want the hassle of having to organise all the hotels and transfers to some pretty remote places (Tortuguero, Savagre and Drake Bay)? 3 days is enough at any of the stops so you’ll want to get yourself around the country during a two week stay. Plus you would need to arrange a quality guide to learn all about Costa Rica and point out incredible wildlife you would otherwise inevitably miss. The age group on our tour was exclusively in the ‘retired’ category apart from us two who were a generation younger. 9 Brits, 7 US. No problem at all as we all got on famously. It’s not the most active of tours - a lot of time is spent on coaches and minibuses but that can’t really be helped due to the geography and ‘evolving’ road network of Costa Rica but you do feel a bit lethargic sometimes, especially after the long flight to get there. There were a couple of ‘challenging’ walks to waterfalls which almost everyone made but if you struggle with tricky surfaces and awkward walkways then it’s no problem to stop and wait for the others to return. The change in climate is quite incredible as you journey around. San Jose is relatively high up for a capital city so a lovely temperature for wandering round. The wind generally comes from the east and the Atlantic coast gets a lot more rain than the Pacific. This means the Atlantic coast is slightly cooler but wetter. Up in the mountains, it’s still warm during the day but down to single figures first thing in the morning. I have to say we were incredibly lucky with the weather even though it did rain heavily a few times but not for long. There are many early starts to contend with which is fine for those from the UK thanks to the time difference. This is so you can either catch the wildlife at their most active or get on the road early to avoid the traffic and travel to the next place as soon as possible. Talking of wildlife, Costa Rica is all about birdlife. We must have seen dozens of exotic species – far too many to mention here. The place is absolutely alive with creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours which is a great testament to the way Costa Rica has created a large number of magical National Parks. I must admit, personally, we were more interested in tropical fish than birds and thought we would be snorkelling on both coasts. Sadly the seas were a bit rough for the Cahuita reef but Cano Island more than made up for this with two excellently organised snorkels off the back of a boat. The fins and mask supplied by the resort were of a high standard so no need to bring your own gear. It’s probably not the best location to try snorkelling for the first time or if you’re not too confident but there are two snorkel guides from the resort in the water with you at all times so you’re in very safe hands. Not a problem if snorkelling isn’t your thing as the others went for a nature walk in the pristine forests of the island. San Jose – Presidente Hotel – recently renovated, comfortable, very central location – right on the pedestrianised Central Avenue. Tortuguero - Evergreen Lodge – a proper eco-lodge – metal mosquito mesh for windows – no AC, only a fan – very damp but don’t be surprised by this as it’s in the middle of a rain forest. Excellent swimming pool and lovely food. Cahuita - Cuidad Perdida (not the Atlantida – worth checking with your Exodus rep which hotel you are booked into) – some people reported issues with showers lacking hot water but this was fixed during our stay. A 5 minute walk from the very easy-going Cahuita village with lots of Jamaican style restaurants and bars to choose from. Turrialba - Villa Florencia – best room of the whole trip – huge, modern, well equipped. Beautiful, peaceful location. Savegre - Savegre Hotel, Nature Reserve & Spa – Stunning location at the bottom of a steep valley, still 2,200m up so relatively cold first thing in the morning. Best food. Drake Bay - Wilderness Resort – rooms really could do with an update but all had AC and plenty of hot water for showering. Amazing location, on the beach, overlooking Drake Bay. The highlight of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the Costa Rican nation are the most inspirational thing about the trip. Considering it’s a relatively young country, surrounded by pretty unstable neighbours with an economy seemingly based on bananas, coffee and sugar cane, they’re doing just nicely. They’re a very friendly bunch and have run the place just about as sensibly as could possibly be expected. Thanks to very far-sighted government policies around nature conservation and energy supply, they are now reaping the rewards through well developed eco-tourism. As long as the whole world doesn’t descend at once on Costa Rica, they’ll do just fine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mayer did a fantastic job of coordinating us all – not an easy job by any means. Plus he’s a really nice guy who kept us all entertained and informed throughout. Mayer is a one man Costa Rican version of Google. What this chap doesn’t know about Costa Rican wildlife you can ignore. How he kept managing to spot tiny, camouflaged creatures hundreds of meters away through his incredible scope, I’ve no idea. For lugging this unwieldy scope and tripod through some of the world’s most hot and humid rain forests, he deserves a medal. You will learn all about the fascinating wildlife, history, politics and sociology which is why you need a decent guide for this sort of tour. He’s also very keen to answer any questions you might have.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    So, what to take with you? Don’t go overboard with stuff because you’ll be doing a lot of packing and unpacking as you move between locations. I wasn’t sure whether to take a wheelie suitcase or a large holdall. In the end we went with holdalls but it didn’t really matter either way. As for currency, we didn’t bother with dollars and used a combination of Colon notes and credit card to pay for things. Most meals and almost all excursions are included so you shouldn’t need a huge amount of cash – just the odd lunch/dinner/drinks and tips. The remote places miles from an ATM are Tortuguero, Turriabla, Savegre and Drake Bay. Make sure you’ve got enough cash in your pocket before you get to these places. Medicines – upset stomachs and sickness were unfortunately not uncommon but soon passed after a day or two – best pack some tablets to be on the safe side. Insect repellent – you will get bitten even in the dry season, through clothes and despite DEET – hydrocortisone cream is fantastic to stop itching though which means the bites heal quicker. As mentioned, it will rain at times. Heavily. Poncho needed. Footwear – Approach/trail shoes or hiking boots are ideal for the walks – as long as they are comfortable and have plenty of grip you’ll be fine. Water shoes / Crocs are also worth packing for when you get in and out of boats as they reverse up to the shallows of beaches during the trips from Drake Bay. Technical (polyester) t-shirts, thin shorts and walking trousers are ideal for walking in the jungles as they’ll keep you cooler. Don’t forget a warm fleece / light jacket for Savegre. We were advised to take a beach towel but in the end didn’t need it. Most resorts lend you a beach towel free of charge so not an issue. For some strange reason, only the San Jose hotel had a sink plug. Get yourself a travel sing plug if you want water to stay in the basin whilst you’re having a wash. Camera is a must. Ideally a decent one with a good zoom otherwise you’ll come home to a load of photos with a small dot in the middle which could be anything from a sloth to a pelican. Don’t be afraid to ask your assigned Exodus rep and questions about the tour you might have before you go – they are really helpful and usually get back to you within a day or two. Laundry – Drakes Bay resort do have a free, same-day laundry service but this is near the end of your stay. I tried washing some clothes at Savegre but getting them to dry was hard work – this country is humid, even in the mountains but especially on the coasts – you have been warned. Flights from/to the UK – get the direct BA flights from Gatwick if possible. The food is plentiful if not gourmet. You’ll need an extra night in San Jose at the end but Exodus will sort all this out for you along with the airport transfers.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Lesley Fysh

    Lots of wildlife and great places

    Enjoyed the trip very much. All of the destinations in the itinerary were interesting and beautiful. The only downside is the amount of travelling needed to get from place to place. It would be good if one or two journeys could have been made by air instead of road.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There wasn’t one single outstanding moment for me. The highlights were all of the wildlife viewings.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pedro was a great leader, full of fun and there to help out in any way.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Helen Lauder

    Great trip

    A really full trip. Travelling to areas remote and beautiful with plenty of scenery and wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing primary rain forest and the way conservation and tourism have been harnessed as resources.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was enthusiastic and knowledgeble. Excellent guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would loved to have had an extra few days.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Adrian Binney

    Excellent 2nd Trip after Discovery Tour

    This was our 2nd Exodus Costa Rica Trip - first was Discovery and only duplication was Tortuguero which is just a fabulous experience (access only by fast river boat) and great wildlife. There are no cars! Cahuita was a complete joy, v good hotel location and v nice Caribbean feel & great bars to eat at with ocean sounds. Savegre is a bird paradise and stunning facility and food. Drake Bay is a “must” for all - great experiences, location, staff and food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Drake Bay snorkelling - very safe, 15 of us with 3 guides - my first time and it was easy and safe. Turtles and thousands of reef fish in cristal clear water.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class. Truthfully so and we have been on many group tours.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is a must! Take beach shoes or the equivalent.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We will return to Costa Rica and there is simply no need to consider using someone other than Exodus. Their choice of hotels, itinerary and tour leads is perfect.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Rosemary MacGregor

    Pretty accurate title, though we had 3 days in the interior

    We had a terrific fortnight. I would have given 5 stars but for the hotel in Cahuita and for the choice of that location. We saw a great many birds and animals, did some wonderful walks and boat trips and experienced some of the lesser known parts of Costa Rica which were well worth experiencing. A small group - only 6 of us - but we got on excellently and it was a lovely atmosphere. I think I would have reduced the amount of road travel slightly. The drive to and from Cahuita was long and I don't think any of us felt it was really worth it, although we did good sloth spotting there and the walk in the National Park was lovely. We couldn't go in the sea as it was too rough (both there and in Tortuguero) which was a big disappointment, as it meant we only swam and snorkelled on the Pacific side at Drake's Bay, and for me, the snorkelling was one of the main draws.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The snorkelling trip at Drake's Bay, though I loved all the boat travel, and the trips to and around Tortuguero were brilliant The birdlife at Savegre was astounding, and finally getting to see the quetzal after 2 days of searching, was hugely exciting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Allan was a delight. He was thorough, caring, attentive and good fun. He was very knowledgeable about both the flora and fauna, and also very happy to explain to us about Costa Rican life, social affairs and customs. His English is excellent. Alejandro, the driver, was also lovely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found some of the hotels to be a bit basic- so for example, some had very low levels of light, making it hard to read at night. One (Cahuita) didn't have shampoo and several didn't have a hairdryer. Most didn't have air-con, but just fans. I think the others on the trip were less bothered by this than I was, but they had all done holidays with you before and were more used to the level of comfort being offered. Wifi was usually only really viable in the main reception, or bar areas. However, I think Costa Rica is a wonderful destination, with great scenic variety (and temperature). I'm not sure that the trip notes (which I've now lost) underline the need for warm clothing in the Savegre area. We all found it very chilly. Raingear also essential- despite it being the dry season.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The day spent at La Marta was perhaps the least successful- although we all enjoyed the hotel that night
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Derek Holwill

    Brilliant wildlife trip

    Tremendous trip for wildlife. Great photographic opportunities every day - very varied.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Humpbacks repeatedly breeching next to our boat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get up early to enjoy sunrise and the early morning birdlife. And have a camera with good low light capabilities
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Caroline Fielden

    Two weeks of wildlife bliss

    This was our second trip to Costa Rica (we travelled with Exodus 3 years ago and loved it) and it didn't disappoint. If you love the natural world this trip is for you. The entire holiday is spent immersed in the diversity of nature visiting some of Costa Rica's amazing locations From tiny leaf cutter ants to majestic whales this trip offers it all. Each stop on the itinerary offers its own unique view of the natural world with a abundance of wildlife in stunning surroundings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was memorable it would be hard to narrow it down. We saw numerous wild sloths (actually moving - very unusual) the magnificent show of the humming birds, snakes and lizards. The moment which took my breath away were the close encounters with humpback mothers and their calves and two sleepy tapir who were totally relaxed in our presence.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pedro had an obvious love of his country and its wildlife and was enthusiastic about even the tiniest animal. He loved his hikes through the rain-forest and gave up his free day to lead walks through Saverge's cloud forest.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If Exodus don't change their itinerary consider paying extra for a tour to Sirena rather than San Pedrillio while staying on the Osa Penninsula. The wildlife in Sirena is more abundant and varied. Although the trip notes recommend taking dollars, take as many colones as you can as some places don't give the best exchange rate when paying in dollars. Don't forget a good poncho and dry bags, it will rain!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Philip Wood

    Costa Rica

    The enthusiasm for wildlife of our guide Alex castro really made the trip special

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably snorkeling whales, turtles and humming birds

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent see previous comment

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You have to have an interest in flora and fauna
  • Reviewed August 2018
    denise gillott

    What an adventure

    What an amazing trip! Walking through jungle, swimming beside a waterfall, snorkelling in clear blue waters, boat rides along canals and through mangroves. Incredible wildlife everywhere, huge crabs, monkeys, sloths, turtles, whales, dolphins, caimen, crocodiles, frogs, snakes ,hummingbirds, butterflies. ...i could go on and on..The trip was full on. Early starts, that are not really a problem because of jet lag and extra walks included by our guide Alex who ensured that we all made the very best of our time in Costa Rica. We saw so much on our excursions but also lots just in the areas around our accommodation. We were a group of 14 , plus guide Alex, ranging in age from 19 to 70. It was very special being in a group of like minded people who were all there to get the most out of the trip, see a lot of wildlife and have lots of fun at the same time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We joined an optional evening tour in Tortugero to a beach where we watched a turtle laying it's eggs in the sand and then burying them. This image will stay with me forever. It was truly an honour to have witnessed this.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex, our group leader, really helped to make the whole trip special. His knowledge of birds and animals was incredible. His enthusiasm for any "find" made by any member of the group was infectious. Many species he must have seen so many times but his enthusiasm was real. He made a point of finding out what each member of the party wanted to see most of all and then made it his duty to make that sighting a possibility. On the last evening he even found a red eyed green tree frog that we had not seen until that time and came running to our rooms to call us over to ensure that we didn't miss it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you have winter walking boots. A pair of walking sandals that can go in water are useful for some trails and then for beach boat landings ( water shoes otherwise for landings). A pair of lightweight flip flops dry quickly for use around the lodges. Clothes/shoes do not dry very easily in Costa Rica...having items inside the lodge when the fan was on was more efficient than leaving items outside as the air is so moist. You MUST have a poncho. Insect repellent needed for all days and evenings so take plenty. Antihistamine cream is also very useful even if you have used deet. Much cheaper and more readily available in UK ,Use high factor suncream when snorkelling AND remember to apply more before going in for a second swim. Take a good camera if you have one and good binoculars. Many birds, bats , snakes etc can be at a distance, through foliage. We didn't have good binoculars but seeing things through Alex' was a whole different experience to seeing without. In the cloud forest the evenings were cool and the nights cold. I slept with 2 duvets and a blanket. I wished I had taken something warmer to sleep in. There is a free laundry service at Drake Bay. Enjoy!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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