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Discover Costa Rica

15 days
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2 669 €
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 233 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
WUC
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
16

Experience the rainforest, mountains and coast of this tropical paradise

Costa Rica is renowned for having proportionately more protected land than any other country, making it ripe for wildlife tourism. What is less known is the marvellous, often bizarre variety of animals from catatonic sloths, screaming Howler monkeys, screeching toucans and nesting Green turtles. Throw in the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines and it is easy to see why so many return.

Highlights

  • Unrivalled wildlife viewing — Howler monkeys, caiman and sloths 
  • Visit the beaches and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Verdant rainforest, lush mangroves, lava fields and serene cloud forests
  • Wonderful naturalist guides who will share their love of Costa Rica with you!
  • Relax on idyllic Pacific coast beaches 
  • Stay in comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels

Key information

  • Travel by air-conditioned bus and boat
  • 14 nights in comfortable hotels and eco-lodges
  • Some departures with specialist birdwatching guide 
  • Green turtle nesting season: July to October

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 420 22 20
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

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we spend the nights in a combination of hotels and eco-lodges around Costa Rica, where most are family run establishments that employ local staff ensuring that we are benefiting the local community. The Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is a great example of an eco-lodge model that combines conservation, environmental research and community development in a rural area. Additionally, it is 100 % carbon neutral and is constantly helping to fund local healthcare and education.

Our local operator is one of the few companies in Costa Rica to obtain the Certification for Sustainable Tourism for Tour Operators achieving all 5 levels. This is awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to identify companies according to the degree they comply to the sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.

We are very conscious of our impact on the environment, always looking into how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation. Through the entrance fees, our visit to national and private parks will directly support conservation efforts. When at the rural village of Copey, we will learn about the locals way of life and have a chance to have try some snacks made by a local family, fostering cultural exchange and interaction.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus 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 is 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: Laguna Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing 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 or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Laguna Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano.

    We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to the pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Arenal, passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations on the way. Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until fairly recently when it entered a resting phase, and can no longer be seen spitting ash, smoke or lava. However there is still a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you'll have the opportunity to visit one of the excellent hot springs this evening. In clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base in the nearby town of La Fortuna. Today's travelling time is around five and a half hours including a lunch stop.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    La Fortuna Waterfall hike; visit Arenal Volcano.

    Waterfalls are abundant in the region of Arenal and this morning we visit La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65 metre cascade of water plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest brings us to a relatively steep set of steps that we must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit - the hike/climb takes around 20-30 minutes and is within the capabilities of anyone with reasonable fitness. Reward your efforts with a dip in one of the natural pools punctuating the foliage to cool off! Alternatively you could visit the lookout point and wait for the group. After lunch we take a short scenic hike within Arenal National Park, walking through secondary rainforest and passing some of the lava fields from past eruptions. The high vantage points on this walk allow great views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the birdlife is plentiful.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    To Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains.

    From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands for our first taste of a Costa Rican cloud forest. The journey provides breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we ascend the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different varieties here. Today's drive is around four hours — the last 40km of road is gravel and can be bumpy, particularly following heavy rain.

    Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Visit Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.

    This morning we have a guided walk in Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, one of the first community-managed reserves in Costa Rica and an area that is world-famous for its biodiversity. To this day the reserve is managed by the Santa Elena High School with funds channelled into protecting the reserve and providing environmental education classes within the local community. Thanks to its high elevation, Santa Elena is bathed in thick misty clouds which support a huge range of flowers, ferns, mosses, vines and orchids. Birdlife thrives in the cloud forest with over 425 species recorded here. Santa Elena is also one of the best places to spot noisy Howler monkeys swinging through the trees!

    In the afternoon it's possible to join an optional coffee tour to learn about the importance of this crop to the socio-economic development of the country, or join a canopy tour to get a different view of the forest.

    Accommodation: Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Manuel Antonio.

    Our journey takes a south-easterly turn today as we follow the Pan-Am Highway along the coastline to Manuel Antonio, passing African oil palm and teak plantations on the way. Manuel Antonio National Park consists of a vast marine reserve as well as 1,700 acres of mangrove swamp, primary and secondary rainforest. The forest vegetation stretches as far as the high-tide line and provides a stunning backdrop to the expansive sandy beaches, forested islands and dramatic rocky headlands. Our drive to Manuel Antonio takes around four hours. We spend the next two nights here, normally in a hotel close to the beach and the entrance of the national park. Depending on our time of arrival we should have some time to enjoy various optional activities this afternoon or enjoy the hotels facilities.

    Accommodation: Villa Bosque Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Discover Manuel Antonio N.P.

    A guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park this morning should enable us to have some close wildlife encounters. White-faced Capuchin monkeys play in the trees and are frequently sighted on the beaches, whilst noisy Howler monkeys are usually heard moving through the trees and calling to each other before they are seen. The endangered Titi monkey (Squirrel monkey) are fewer in number but can sometimes be spotted in this area. Iguanas, agouti and two and three toed sloths are also commonly sighted in the national park. Manuel Antonio's beaches are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the country and we have all afternoon to enjoy them or try one of the optional activities available in this region.

    Please note that Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays. If your visit falls on a Monday, the timing of this activity will be adjusted so that you visit the park on the previous day, and today will be at leisure to enjoy the many optional excursions of the region.

    Accommodation: Villa Bosque Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Esquinas Lodge in Piedras Blancas N.P.

    Travel four hours south towards Golfito, a relatively wild and undiscovered region. The dense jungle here has hardly been explored or researched. The next two nights are spent in the beautiful Esquinas Rainforest Lodge set in the heart of primary rainforest and bordered by the newly created Piedras Blancas National Park and Golfito Nature Reserve. The lodge was originally financed by the government of Austria as a project combining forest research, development aid and nature conservation. Most employees are local and profits are used to help with projects in the nearby village. This afternoon we discover our peaceful surroundings and search for the abundant bird and insect life that resides here.

    Accommodation: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Hike on trails in Piedras Blancas N.P.

    Hike through the rainforest this morning with your guide and experience all of the sights and sounds of the jungle. During this activity we are likely to see snakes, monkeys and maybe sloths. This hike can be quite slippery after rainfall but is a real highlight and well worth the effort. This afternoon has been left free for optional activities — delve deeper into the forest on a 10 mile network of trails departing directly from the lodge, or simply relax by the stream-fed pool.

    Accommodation: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    To Savegre Cloud Forest.

    Our journey takes a north-westerly turn through San Isidro and up and over the Cerro de la Muerte mountain range to our next destination, the Savegre Valley, located around four and a half hours away from Golfito. The cloud forest of Savegre is said to be one of the best places in the whole of Costa Rica to see the beautiful, colourful and notoriously shy Resplendent 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 from our lodge into the cloud forest.

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    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 enjoy the incredible view from the lodge. Your leader will suggest walks for today so that you can discover the tropical cloud forest and sub-Andean vegetation of the area. 

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Visit the village of Copey; to San Jose.

    Visit the village of Copey this morning to step momentarily into the agricultural lives of those living in the highlands of the Central Mountain Range. We take a short walk to the picturesque village where some snacks will be prepared for us with a local family, which is sure to be a memorable touch of Costa Rican hospitality! A two and a half hour journey takes us back to San Jose, where there is time to explore the modern capital.

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    End San Jose.

    The trip 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. 

If you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be expected to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you.  

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style, and lunches and dinners at Tortuguero and Esquinas Rainforest Lodge 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 1 (Leisurely) with a safari rating of 3.

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 and the road into and out of Monteverde have poor surfaces and this can result in slow driving times, particularly following heavy rain. 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! 

Please note that in the region of Tortuguero the sea has very strong rip currents and is not suitable for swimming from the beach. 

Please note that Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays. If your visit falls on a Monday, the timing of this activity will be adjusted so that you visit the park on the previous day, and you will have a free day to enjoy the many optional excursions of the region.

BIRD-WATCHING DEPARTURES
For keen birders, we have designated a number of departures that will be accompanied by a specialist bird-watching guide. Walks and visits to national parks will be led with the intention of seeing as much bird life as possible. Please check the dates and prices for more details. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 420 22 20
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 and Eco-Lodges

14 nights spent in hotels and eco-lodges, all 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 rainforest. The highlight of this trip will no doubt be our stay at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, a 100% carbon neutral property within Piedras Blancas National Park —  wake up surrounded by the sound of birds!

Optional single supplement available, please see Dates & Prices.

Call for general departures:
020 420 22 20
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.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 420 22 20
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 March 2019
    Ann Ford

    Excellent

    As someone who wasn’t bothered about our trip to Costa Rica I can honestly say I have fallen in love with this country and it’s people. The trip with Exodus was so good. The guides, the activities and accommodation was first class. I would recommend this trip and Exodus to everyone. Fabulous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Quetzel .. I have fallen in love with bird watching.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was brilliant. Helpful, inspirational and an all round wonderful guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was just a wonderful trip, cannot thank Exodus and Camino travel enough.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Jenny Brown

    Costa Rica for variety

    This 2-week trip took us to several geographically different regions ; volcano, tropical rain forest, beach and cloud Forrest. All had their individual climate and wildlife. We travelled with our guide and driver in a comfortable air-conditioned coach, staying in each location for 2 nights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1. Seeing sloths moving around in the treetops in Tortuguero NP , and seeing a sleeping toucan through the telescope of our night-walk guide. 2. The rough Caribbean Sea and the power of the waves

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader was excellent. He is also a bird-watching guide and was able to identify everything we saw. He was able to answer questions on other topics too. He was very careful about looking after the 2 people who needed to eat gluten-free meals for medical reasons. His English was excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for extreme climate. It is unbearably hot in the southern rain forest and you have to realise that doing anything, even walking, is exhausting.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was great to be able to drink the tap water. Food is delicious. Toilet paper has to be discarded in a bin, not down the pan.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Harriet Woodcock

    Everyday a highlight

    We'd wanted to go to Costa Rica for some time and this holiday did not disappoint. In two weeks we saw amazing things on the coast, in the mountains, in the jungle and in the cloud forest. Our guide, Katia, was extremely knowledgeable and was excellent at spotting wildlife and explaining all about it. Indeed all the drivers and guides we encountered on the journey were excellent and also good at spotting wildlife. The accommodation was good all round including some great jungle lodges. We really felt that we 'discovered costa rica' and were really impressed with the whole holiday and the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's hard to pick the most inspirational moment of the trip as there were so many of them. Esquina lodge was special. It was a small lodge in the jungle and everywhere you looked there was wildlife. The afternoon we arrived we had a fantastic thunderstorm so we got to truly experience the rainforest. At night the jungle came alive with the sound of frogs and other wildlife. But we also were captivated by the sloths in the cloud forest, the monkeys at Manuel Antonio, the humming birds everywhere ( who knew there were so many varieties?), colourful toucans at Tortuguero, and of course the quetzal in Savegre Lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Katia was so knowledgable about the wildlife and very patient with those of us who aren't natural 'birders' . She also gave us a great insight into the country with lots of information and stories to bring the history and politics to life. She was very personable and one of the best guides I've had on a holiday like this. A big shout out to Juan Jose our driver who was also good at spotting bird and kept the bus immaculately clean and tidy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a fab holiday with lots of opportunities to spot wildlife so book it now! The walks are undemanding compared to what we are used to doing, they use made paths or boardwalks and can easily be done in approach shoes or trainers. There are some steps and inclines and some of our companions found sticks useful but we didn't feel we needed them. All the lodges are designed to keep out bugs and beasties but occasionally some creep in (you are in the forest/jungle after all) so check your room before you go to sleep! The hotel staff are on hand to extract any unwanted creatures. Do try the coffee, it's excellent everywhere- non of this instant coffee stuff. There's lots of nice fish to eat fresh from the sea. You have to eat gallopinto at least once - I got quite addicted to it and will be cooking it at home. Only one downside and that was San Jose Airport. We waited three hours to get through customs on the way in so be prepared for a wait. We were told the average is around two hours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just a fab, fab, holiday. I truly have discovered Costa Rica
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Rosie Ritchie

    Well worth visiting!

    Lots of wonderful wildlife and plants, beautiful surroundings, great company and leader :)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying at Tortoguero National Park was an education! We stayed at the lovely Laguna Lodge in comfy rooms within the grounds and within a few minutes walk of the Atlantic Ocean. Taking to the waterways to view wildlife was something I hadn't experienced before and I found it fascinating when the boat came to a stop so we could see birds, monkeys, iguanas and even orchids up close and personal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hector really knows his stuff. And his love and knowledge of the wildlife, as well as the plants, really came through with everything he told and showed us. His patience in answering our questions was great and he is also resourceful. When we had bad weather on one occasion, he immediately found another activity for us, and he also had plenty of suggestions for good restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember to take mosquito repellent, suntan lotion, a swimsuit, and a waterproof.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Anne Booth

    Costa Rica - fabulous

    Discover Costa Rica really lived up to expectations Wonderful wild life and plenty of time to see everything in detail An incredibly varied country - difficult to do it justice in 16 days but this holiday gives an excellent insight into a wonderful holiday Unhurried and relaxing holiday Accommodation - food - wonderful Costa Rica is very Eco friendly. It’s approach to living alongside wildlife is to be greatly admired and, indeed, the rest of the world should learn from Costa Rica approach The guide (Héctor) was superb Costa Ricans are fabulous people - warm and welcoming Trip notes are accurate However if travelling from Ecuador to Costa Rica it is necessary to have a Yellow Fever Certificate.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing the birds, iguanas, monkeys from the boat in the lagoons. On a night walk in the jungle listening to the nightlife with the torch turned off - drinking in the noise of the frogs, insects etc. was magical. Swimming in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall surrounded by high cliffs and amazing forest vegetation Watching the humming birds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hector was wonderful. Having been on several Exodus trips I can honestly say he was The Best. Knowledgeable - interested in the people on the trip. Eager to learn and Europe as well as imparting information to us. He had a great sense of humour He wanted me make out time in Costa Rica special and memorable and he succeeded

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of spending money. The meals out can be expensive. All the extra activities are great - do them ALL - but budget accordingly If travelling from countries other than the UK check the requirement for a Yellow Fever Certificate. This is required from travelling via Ecuador

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Costa Rica is experiencing a boom in tourism. Book NOW before it gets too busy Friends of mine did this trip (with Exodus) 2 years ago. Swapping notes Costa Rica would appear to be much busier now Hector also confirmed that the tourism industry is growing fast
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Jackie Boot-Handford

    I didn't want it to end..........

    A superb trip, a lifetime experience As the other 227 reviews have said, the beauty of the environment, landscapes, birds and animals you see, hear and experience is breathtaking. I won't repeat the details again, but its all true! Costa Rica has extraordinary biodiversity therefore ecotourism contributes a big chunk to the GDP, and so they do tourism very well. They know their market and hit it square on. This tour, in a short period of time provides experience of a range of ecosystems, a new environment every 2 days and each day reveals a whole new range of fabulous things. While nature is the main draw to this trip, it also offers a great opportunity to learn about Costa Rica as a country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varys day by day, really. For me it was the whole dynamic- you are taken to a range of wonderful places, with a group of great people, a super guide who you could ask about anything and who would give you an informed honest answer .......... maybe it was : the afternoon sitting watching humming birds and toucans, or the time on the water at Tortuguero or the sloths/armadillo/bats/agouti/coati/howlers snoozing by the road maybe San Jose and the sculptures maybe singing sea shanties with the group in the bar ask me tomorrow and it will be a different list - a lot happens in 2 weeks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mayer Jiménez is an excellent leader- he will definitely get my vote for best leader this year I have the impression that the quality of leaders is high. They take a 5 year tourism degree covering the whole range of information visitors may want, not just around the animals, birds and environment but all aspects of Costa Rica including socioeconomic, sources of energy, you name it . The quality of knowledge and information he seemed to be able to supply and skill in knowing just how much was wanted was great. His ability to spot animals and birds was extraordinary, however this links to one of the things I particularly liked- he seemed to love doing it and his interest and enthusiasm was infectious. So a clever guy, highly trained very experienced, well organised and smart at handling the group. His happy place seemed to be with a pair of binoculars around his neck but he had great people skills too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1) Packing-Pack light Remember you will pack and unpack 6 times plus the guys loading the bags do so by hoiking up on to their shoulder then through the back window. They don't bat an eye but I couldn't watch knowing the weight of mine! I didn't need my heavy walking boots, or camel back. You do however need walking shoes & sandals with GRIP. Most surfaces have loose surface I'd consider getting one of the adapters you can attach to your camera then take pics through the guides scope Load up a Costa Rica animal app- they are very good 2) Places San Jose Don't just see San Jose as a place to stay post and pre flight. It is a very interesting city. I loved the sculptures in the parks. We were lucky to be there when Jorge Jiménez Deredia was exhibiting which was fabulous. Visit the Cathedral, National Museum of Costa Rica, MADC and Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. If I had another day I'd have done the Jade museum and Museum of Costa Rican Art ............and more cake shops and cafes La Fortuna/ Arenal -10 min walk into town- great icecream shops mmmmmmmmmm! Supermarkets reasonably priced Santa Elena- Beso coffee shop for great coffee and lovely bakery products at other end of the high street. You may be taken to the very pleasant tree house but try to push outside of comfort zone and go elsewhere (Amys was good pm but all of them look pretty sound) . Supermarket here is reasonable and I wish I had bought more in the tourist shop ( I got a mug for $6 here which was $16 in duty free/ airport. In evening, go into town to a restaurant- give the bus driver night off and get a cab back- only $6 and gives you freedom to do as you want. Use official cabs- red with yellow triangle . The views in mountains en route from Santa Elena to Manuel Antonio are so wonderful............then suddenly from nowhere you crash back to reality, urbanization, palm oil plantations and Manuel Antonio- about 15 shops/ overpriced supermarkets and a couple of average restaurants. However........there are nice places Mayer took us to an amazing restaurant next to a bar with a real aircraft in it. Great for sundown. There is also a nice restaurant near the hotel ( ask at reception). The pool is small but nice to chill out by- but watch the cheeky whitefaced monkeys- they will pinch your things. You can also see squirrel monkeys near the hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were very lucky with weather, tour, group and guide. I think though I liked the fact you had freedom to do as much or little as you liked and draw from the tour what suited you.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Helen West

    Discover Costa Rica

    My recent trip to Discover Costa Rica was absolutely amazing - I certainly 'Died and went to Heaven - as I was in Heaven', the trip ran so smoothly, perfect in fact - the transfers, accommodation, boat trips, wildlife and birdlife were in abundance. Our tour guide Mayer was simply Perfect No1, who know everything we asked and had an excellent sense of humour. I really cannot fault this holiday at all - simply perfect. I want to do it all again if I could. I have worked in hospitality for around 7 years but have never experienced such a well organised trip. Well Done and thank you so much Exodus, I will certainly be booking my trip with you next year, perhaps seeing the Jaguar in Brazil! Helen West

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting under the tree watching a Mother Sloth with her baby, eating leaves. She was on the beach then walked back along an electric line to the rainforest - truly memorable. Toucans at Esquinas Lodge and Tortugera NP were also amazing to watch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mayer was No1 Tour Guide he answered everything so well, and had a great sense of humour. Never got stressed, very patient and accommodating.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You won't have any regrets going on this trip, you have to go and see for yourself how amazing this place really is. With 2% biodiversity of the World..... and heading for carbon neutral and recycling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No - except thank you so much for taking me to Heaven and back!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    (Edna) Pat Alette

    What does this mean?

    An excellent trip covering a variety of different locations enabling us to get a feel for the country and especially for its wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing 5 male and 1 female quetzals together

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos was absolutely excellent. His ability to see creatures hidden in trees or a long distance away was exceptional and his knowledge of the wildlife was phenomenal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Paula Cooke

    A superb trip

    My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Costa Rica. The group of sixteen bonded well. ( ages 40+ - 70+ years)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The abundance of wildlife is amazing. The sight of many Spider monkeys swinging and then jumping above us to cross the river from over hanging trees was so thrilling. ( What an incredible birthday gift!) Finding two and three toed sloths and even patiently waiting to observe them moving along trees or even crossing a road along a wire! Seeing several sightings of the resplendent Quetzal - and especially coming across a ‘pre selection ritual’ with 4 males and 1 female amoungst the trees. We also saw many beautiful humming birds. Too many to list all of the incredible moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader Johny was phenomenal. His passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of the wildlife, ecology and his country was infectious. He was patient, kind and fun. Johny is a real ambassador for his country, full of respect for creatures, environment and people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some quite steep climbs ( at heights of 3000 metres above sea level) although it says level 1 some of the members of our group found it challenging, even though all were fit. Take enough layers for wearing at high altitude - it is cold up there even if it doesn’t rain. Also prepare for incredible heat and humidity at the low levels, the sea and waterfall swims are very welcome. Staying in the midst of the jungle in the small wooden lodges was perfect, and the jungle tends to be noisy all night. ( Ear plugs may be handy for some)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Even many little things are delightful so it is worthwhile looking everywhere such as tiny bats on logs, difficult to spot. There are beautiful sounding frogs, a surprise to the eye though! The early morning chorus of the jungle is a pure heavenly sound.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jenny Knott

    Discover Costa Rica

    An amazing country with such diversity. Each location has it’s own appeal. The Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, and the interior rain and cloud forests all have their own beauty, wild life and scenery. 16 is a good group size, and our new friends and brilliant tour leader- Glenda, made it a very special holiday. The lodges are comfortable and each is perfectly located for the adventures ahead, most have beautiful gardens. Usually basic lodge facilities, not always a hairdryer. Swimming pool in several locations , great to cool off! We were lucky with the weather though sudden rain showers need to be considered- best to pack waterproofs or cape. Concerned before we left about temperatures in February. Mainly between 26deg and 32, but Monteverde and Savergre cooler early morning and evening and a fleece useful. We did a 5.30am walk in Savergre (2100 metres) to see the elusive resplendent quetzal and was the only time l felt cold! There is an emphasis on the trip to see all the beautiful birds, though we were also delighted to see slouths, iguanas, lizards, camens, monkeys etc. The itinerary was much fuller than listed, with our guide adding extra walks and finding interesting places for us to stop. Although San José has little to offer, we appreciated going a day earlier to acclimatise and see the town- excellent restaurant with Costa Rican specialities 10 minutes walk from hotel- Nuestra Tierra. Also consider flying from a local airport via Skipol (Amsterdam) if you don’t live near Gatwick. It worked out cheaper and more convenient for us when considering hotel and car parking in Gatwick.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were inspired by the beauty of the country. It’s lushness and biodiversity. Our great guide Glenda was so passionate about her country she made all our areas visited inspiring for their individual charm. The waterways of Tortuguero were fascinating, and we particularly liked the cloud forest in Monteverde. The colourful birds in Savergre were stunning especially the toucan that sat on a branch within a few metres of us having our lunch in Savergre Hotel and enjoyed the attention! We enjoyed zip wiring through and over the tree canopy in Monteverde, organised from the hotel. 3kms of zip wires, 9 zips including across a valley over the lodges. Never thought l would have the courage, but felt safe and thrilled l did it. We enjoyed the night walk at Piedras Blanca organised through the hotel, frogs, snakes, tarantula etc. Our visit to a typical Costa Rican home for traditional fayre on our last day gave an enjoyable insight into the lifestyle of this country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Glenda was the best group leader we have ever encountered. Her knowledge was extensive on all aspects of Costa Rica. She was extremely well organised and made sure we all had a brilliant holiday. She was sensitive to our individual needs, as well as keeping the group happy. She went beyond what was expected of her to ensure we filled our holiday with many memorable encounters. Her energy and enthusiasm never faltered , and her passion for Costa Rica was inspiring. Her warm and friendly personality, together with a good sense of humour made her the perfect host. Thanks also to Louis, our excellent driver, who kept us all safe and was happy to transport us around additional to the itinerary .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Presidents Hotel in San José had a good rate of exchange, so we took dollars and changed some at hotel, then used credit cards as much as possible. Often best in markets, shops etc to pay in Colons as dollar price worked out more expensive. Check your universal adaptor is suitable for Costa Rican sockets as several of us caught out (American style) . No plugs in sinks, could take a universal plug. Expect some early starts but not so bad if you only adjust your body clocks by 3hours! A good camera and binoculars are very useful. Personally get attacked by nats/mosquitos. Advised to take antihistamine tablets by pharmacist from two days before travel, also used deet repellant. Possibility of getting bitten in all locations but not such a problem as anticipated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A 20 seater touring bus was used. Cases between locations were stacked on the back seats. As these were loaded by passing through a window, it is best not to take more than you need as storage space is at a premium, and if this space isn’t sufficient, cases may have to be lifted on to the roof.

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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