Costa Rica Adventure Family Holiday

16 days
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£3,229
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 16 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
FNR
Ways to Travel:
Family Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Family
Min age:
5
Group size:
4–16

Tropical adventures for all the family in varied ecosystems

Costa Rica is a natural paradise, complete with volcanoes, rainforest, waterfalls, wildlife and beaches. Travel into the steaming jungle and explore the waterways of Tortuguero by boat, in search of monkeys, toucans and other colourful birds. Visit the Sloth Sanctuary and meet some of its famous inhabitants, stars of their own Animal Planet TV show. Enjoy a night walk in the rainforest, try white water rafting (optional) and relax in thermal pools in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. There's beach time too as we head to both Cahuita on the Caribbean coast and Manuel Antonio on the Pacific, where jungle cascades down to white sandy beaches.

Highlights

  • Discover unrivalled wildlife – monkeys, sloths, birds and frogs
  • Visit the beaches and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Meet the residents of Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary
  • Have fun on the beaches of both the Caribbean and Pacific Coast
  • Choose from plenty of optional activities: zip-lining, white water rafting, chocolate tour, catamaran excursion and snorkelling trips available! 

Key information

  • Flights usually with British Airways 
  • Travel by minibus, boat and on foot
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader
  • 14 nights comfortable hotels

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • 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:
020 8772 3936
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

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to 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. This evening is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Country Inn & Suites (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Morning visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens; relax by the hotel swimming pool.

    After breakfast, you will meet your guide at 9:00am in the hotel lobby for a short drive to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Located within the transitional forest between the Central Valley and the Northern Lowlands, La Paz Waterfall Gardens hosts a wide variety of plants and bird life amongst stunning scenery. A short walk along a trail within the rainforest brings us to a great viewpoint from which to watch the cascading falls. Entrance to the gardens includes a visit to the petting zoo, frog exhibit, aviary and butterfly observatory. In addition monkeys, sloths and toucans also inhabit this area, providing a great introduction to the incredible diversity of Costa Rica. The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the hotel swimming pool, or explore San Jose at your own pace.

    Accommodation: Country Inn & Suites (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    To Tortuguero N.P.

    We have an early departure this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park in the Caribbean Lowlands. 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.

    Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Boat tour of waterways in Tortuguero N.P.

    A 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, visit the beach or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    To Cahuita on the Caribbean coast; relax on the beach.

    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 Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, where we check into our hotel and have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the pool, beach or discover our new surroundings. 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 Cariblue (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Visit Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary; discover Cahuita N.P.

    After breakfast we drive to 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. It was recently 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 visit the sloth nursery, meet 'Buttercup' and take a boat tour along the river to see sloths, monkeys, butterflies and birds in the wild. This afternoon we return to Cahuita and visit the National Park, 2711 acres of land including 600 acres of coral reef.

    Accommodation: Atlantida Lodge or Cariblue (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    To Sarapiqui; night walk in Tirimbina Biological Reserve.

    We depart for Sarapiqui, a region blessed with abundant vegetation and the beautiful Sarapiqui River. Sarapiqui is one of the main areas of banana production in Costa Rica, although coffee, cardamon, cacao, corn and other fruits are also grown here. This region is also gathering a reputation as a great spot for adventure seekers with plenty of optional activities to keep you entertained! In the evening we take a night walk through Tirimbina Biological Reserve to have a different perspective on the rainforest and its many inhabitants.

    Accommodation: El Bambu Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Free day in Sarapiqui

    There are various optional excursions to try today: join a chocolate tour in Tirimbina Biological Reserve, take a safari floating trip down the Sarapiqui River, have a go at white water rafting on grade II and III rapids or join a canopy tour and zip-line through the forest. Alternatively, there are a number of nature walks to enjoy in the beautiful surroundings.

    Accommodation: El Bambu Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano; free afternoon for optional activities.

    We transfer to the area surrounding Arenal Volcano. Following a massive eruption in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. As well as the volcano, this region has plenty to offer with thermal waters, waterfalls and Lake Arenal waiting to be discovered.

    The rest of the day is free to explore the area either at your own pace or on one of the optional excursions available. You could take the Sky Walk (canopy walk) or Sky Trek adventure (which has an optional zip-wire through the canopy) or have a go at canyoning.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Guided nature walk in Arenal N.P.; visit thermal springs.

    This morning we have a guided nature walk through Arenal Volcano National Park. The park has a great system of trails passing through secondary forest and near lava fields created by previous eruptions. In the late afternoon we visit Kalambu Hot Springs as a group to enjoy a hot thermal bath from the volcanic spring water and have a chance to splash around – a refreshing end to the day. Please note that on weekends or Mondays we will visit an alternative hot springs called Ecotermales.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    To the Pacific coast.

    We travel southeast along the coast, following the Pan-Am Highway to Dominical, passing African oil palm and teak plantations on the way. Our hotel is on the coast near Dominical, around 50 minutes south of Manuel Antonio. The hotel is set in lush gardens overlooking the river and just a short (20 minute) walk to the beach. We spend the next three nights in Dominical. Depending on our time of arrival we should have some time to enjoy various optional activities this afternoon, visit the beach or enjoy the hotel swimming pool.

    Accommodation: Villas Rio Mar in Dominical (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Explore the beautiful trails and beaches of Manuel Antonio N.P.

    Today we drive to Manuel Antonio National Park. This 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. We have a guided nature walk today which should enable us to have some very 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. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel.

    Accommodation: Villas Rio Mar in Dominical (or similar) 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day to relax, enjoy the beach or optional activities.

    Today has been left free for you to relax – make the most of the hotel swimming pool, visit the beach or explore the local area. There are a few optional activities available in the Dominical area, such as a whale and dolphin watching boat trip (seasonal, from mid-July to October and mid-December to March) or visit the indigenous territory of Boruca.   

    Accommodation: Villas Rio Mar in Dominical (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To San Jose; relax by the hotel swimming pool or explore the city.

    Today we return to San Jose. If you wish to travel into the downtown area there is time to explore the modern capital and pick up some souvenirs. Alternatively you can relax by the hotel swimming pool.

    Accommodation: Country Inn and Suites (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Depart 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. Transfers to San Jose airport are available to all clients on group flights today.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Arrive London.

    The group flight usually arrives back into London in the mid-afternoon.

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 www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information. 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, 3 lunches and 2 dinners are included in the price of the tour.

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 an almost perfect tropical climate. The average temperature is 12ºC – 22ºC in the highlands, and from 22ºC - 27ºC 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 the 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. Many areas visited on the trip are hot and humid throughout the year.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

Reaching Costa Rica will involve approximately 11 hours of air travel (or 14+ if you travel on indirect flights) and when you get there it can be hot and humid, especially on the Caribbean coast. These conditions can be tiring. Whilst the driving distances are not huge and most roads are good, some are of poor quality/pot holed, which can result in slow driving times. There are a few long drives but most should not be more than 3-4 hours. There are dangerous insects and snakes present in the jungle, although attacks are extremely rare. Advice from the guide must be heeded at all times – it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that children listen to the guide and don’t stray from paths. Anyone in reasonable health should be able to take part. The trip involves some fairly easy walks in tropical conditions and you do not have to carry more than a daypack. Some activities may be changed as a result of the weather.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
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 & Lodges

14 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges.

There are swimming pools in all locations. In Tortuguero we stay in a beautiful lodge, perfect for wildlife viewing and bird watching. In Cahuita our hotel is usually Atlantida Lodge, which is the most simple accommodation that we use on the holiday. It has been chosen due to its location in this small, laid back village on the Caribbean coast. Atlantida Lodge is a very short walk to the beach and the best option in the area. Please note that whilst visiting Manuel Antonio National Park we usually stay in Dominical, around 50 minutes to the south. This enables us to have accommodation away from the incredibly busy tourist areas of Manuel Antonio, in a lovely setting by the river, just 20 minutes walk from the beach.  

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
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

  • Reviewed August 2018
    Natalie Charles

    Amazing Adventure with Teens

    A wonderful couple of weeks focusing principally on the wildlife of Costa Rica. We went at the start of the rainy season and were lucky with the weather, but don't think you'll be suthbathing (much) as Exodus keep you moving!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My thirteen year old son told me that the Pacific coast beach we visited was the most beautiful place he'd ever seen.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. Gio has an exceptionally calm, professional and efficient manner. He's also incredibly knowledgeable and endlessly enthusiastic about his country. On top of that, he understands the importance of group dynamics and ensured that we formed a happy group. I really don't think we could have asked for a more thoughtful, organised and all-round nice guy to lead our holiday!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Two things - 1. If you're travelling in the rainy season, ignore the advice to travel light as you cannot dry clothes (everything is constantly damp) 2. Ignore Exodus's terrible and costly advice to take dollars. You need enough dollars to get you to a cash machine, then withdraw local Colones and use them everywhere - otherwise you will be ripped off by terrible dollar exchange rates offered in shops and restaurants.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Caroline Richardson

    Wow, wow, wow!!!

    Costa Rica is a fabulous country and well worth the long flight. We went as a family of 5, parents of nearly 50, my mum in her early 70s and 2 girls aged 10 and 12. We were looking for a change from the usual pool / beach holiday and gosh, it was different!!! The wildlife is nothing short of phenomenal. We saw spiders, snakes, macaws, crocodiles, lizards, fantastic birds, frogs etc...... the list just goes on. The plantlife was great - plants we have at home in pots in the house growing tens of feet high in their natural habitat - it was quite something to see. It was also very educational, not just seeing plants and animals in their natural environment, but also other experiences such as the trips to the chocolate / cacao plantation and the sloth sanctuary. And it was great fun, especially the white water rafting and the zipwiring in Arenal. It was however, quite exhausting. I must admit we were not quite prepared for the pace, the early mornings and the long coach trips, but, in retrospect, they were all for a reason and all worth it for the sights and sounds and experiences in each location. And of course, I must mention our guide Glenda and our driver Mauricio who were quite simply, marvellous. Their professionalism, efficiency and enthusiasm for their country made the holiday very special for us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think we all enjoyed the quiet boat trip in Tortuguero - how Glenda managed to find a waterway all to ourselves given the amount of traffic on the main river I will never know. But the chance to see turtles, crocodiles, various birds including toucans and macaws, monkeys, lizards etc in their natural habitat with the added highlight of the 2 dolphins was marvellous. The white water rafting and zip wiring were such fun and we all enjoyed the adrenalin rush! And seeing something new almost at every turn was great. Traipsing back to our room one afternoon we came across an armadillo, seeing a coati in the grounds of the hotel, howler monkeys moving across in the trees above the swimming pool... etc. I could go on.......

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing short of fabulous. Glenda was so knowledgeable and her telescope managed to pick out things that we could not even see with the naked eye. Mauricio was always there incase anyone wanted to finish a walk early and his keen eye also spotted other treats hidden in the trees. Glenda's enthusiasm for her country and her willingness to share this with us was much appreciated. Our experience of Costa Rica would not have been half as good without her...

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is hot and humid in August and clothes all get very damp. Anything that gets wet, stays wet. So pack clothes in ziplock bags and keep them zipped wherever possible. Dry-wicking clothes are perfect and do not bring anything that cannot dry easily. A ball or something for the kids to play with in the pools is a great idea. And test your waterproofs before you travel. These need to be industrial strength as when it rains I mean it really rains!! Stand in the shower for 15 minutes on full blast and check those seams!!! If your kids are remotely travel sick - think about travel bands on their wrists as the roads are windy and bumpy. Connecting or family rooms are rare however if you have young kids the rooms normally have 2 double beds so you could all sleep together although it might be quite tight! A zoom camera is a must and maybe, as we did, another soft bag to throw in the washing and / or hiking boots when these are not being worn will keep the suitcases relatively clean and organised.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Come with an open mind - this is not a five star country and yes it does rain - loads!! However, the experiences are well worth the early morning starts and the requirement to pack up and move on every 48 hours. It is, admittedly, quite daunting. The concept of spending 2 weeks in close proximity with 3 or 4 other families and hoping the kids get on and the parents find common ground. However I feel we were incredibly fortunate on our tour and met some lovely families. The kids had great fun together and the parents did too! Looking at other reviews this seems to be a common theme, so do not delay and book today, you will not regret it!!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    CLARE HUDSON

    COSTA RICA FAMILY ADVENTURE

    This was a really memorable holiday. Costa Rica is an extraordinary country with a plethora of fantastic birds, animals, and flowers to see - and the big appeal of it when travelling with children is that on any expedition you ALWAYS see something. Hotel gardens themselves are places where anything can happen - I had one of the most exciting bird sightings (a trogon) in the garden of our hotel in Dominical - where we also saw a boa constrictor in the stream by the hotel. It really did feel like an adventure - the itinerary packs so many experiences into a short space of time. It was great for our 11 year old daughter to have other children in the group to make friends with - that made her braver and more tolerant of some of the long journeys and physical challenges of so much torrential rain. What makes it all work is the style of the tour - yes, there is a busy itinerary but our guide always sought to offer choices of places to eat and things to do, so it felt quite organic and we never felt over-managed or regimented. Her deep local knowledge, and that of the driver made a huge difference. Costa Ricans are friendly, efficient and proud of their country and that made this trip special too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My daughter and I loved the rafting trip at Sarapiqui - which was the "floating safari" rather than the white water version as we felt too nervous to do that. In fact, because of heavy rain the night before the water was quite stirred up so it was actually quite thrilling. The guide on this raft was wonderful - he made it really fun. She also loved the zip wiring at Sarapiqui, and we all enjoyed the hot springs at La Fortuna - absolutely magical in the twilight. But the stars of the show were all the animals we saw - especially sloths and monkeys, and endless iguanas!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Katia was one in a million - so knowledgeable and such a brilliant communicator. Long journeys were broken up with really good background on where we were and what we were seeing, and she gave us really good historical, cultural and social background too. - As a birdwatcher I really appreciated her willingness to take us on 6am bird spotting strolls. I would never have seen half so much if she hadn't shown me it - and her passion for flora and fauna is infectious. I will never forget her detailed description of the social organisation of the leaf cutter ant! She is a born leader - always managing to make things feel organic and informal, while doing masses of contingency planning behind the scenes. She also treated us all as individuals and sought to offer options that would appeal to each of us. Her local knowledge of restaurants was invaluable - she gave us choices and took us to great places.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went in the rainy season - and boy, did it rain. Not just an hour or two a day, but torrentially for hours on end, especially on the Caribbean side where it rains more or less all the year round. And when it isn't raining it is more often than not very overcast. Once we got to the Pacific side the weather was much better - sunshine for at least half of every day. So be prepared for the weather - it can be demoralising. Others have mentioned the difficulty in drying clothes out - our guide was ingenious and took us twice to local laundrettes where a service wash was efficient and far cheaper than in the hotels. Returned either same day or following morning. Hotels are simple - but we liked the simplest one, at Cahuita, the best because you could hear the ocean from the garden. We had a miserable time on the optional turtle trip at Tortuguero locally run, not organised by Exodus. We had to walk through rainforest to get to the beach and, because of heavy rain, floodwater was nearly up to our knees - the pitch dark and the warnings about going single file because of the risk of snakes resulted in our daughter being absolutely terrified. We did see turtles but by this time she was unable to enjoy and just wanted to feel safe again. It felt very overcrowded and not really in the interests of the turtles. But the river trips made going to Tortuguero worth it. Do consider doing what we did: we booked a hotel on the Pacific coast and stayed on for five more nights after the tour relaxing, swimming and whale watching. Really worth it - after travelling all that way.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a really good way of seeing fantastic wildlife and visiting a tropical country very different from our own, with children. The organisation and the guide take all the stress out of this kind of travelling leaving you all free to get the most out of the experience. The Caribbean coast is wetter but it is really fascinating and shouldn't be missed - its Afro-Caribbean heritage making it very different from the rest of the country.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Tim Newham

    Excellent intro to Costa Rica - outstanding guide Edward

    Wow, just back from our 2 week adventure. I don't usually do reviews but this one is definitely worth a few lines! Firstly, our guide Edward absolutely made the trip for us. Enthusiastic, unfappable, great with kids. Very knowledgeable about all aspects of the country, particularly wildlife and specifically birds (Edward is a trained and expert ornithologist and took keener members on a couple of early morning twitching trips). Edward gauged the needs of our diverse group really well, and made just the right number of decisions for us to keep it relaxing without being constraining. A special word for how he dealt with a favourite cuddly toy being left in a hotel (when we noticed about 200 miles away). Edward's connections, organisation and determination led to a reunion the next day! Costa Rica, generally, delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Amazing wildlife and landscapes. The big highlights for us were the additional paid-for trips. White water rafting was exhilarating, with just enough thrills to feel edgy for our 9 and 11 year olds, whilst feeling completely safe and in control. Zip wire near Arenal volcano was similarly exciting. As someone with an intense dislike of heights (I feel wobbly in thick socks - and seriously, struggle to stand on a step ladder) I'd encourage anyone like me to go for it. The start and interim platforms are deep in the trees, so don't feel at all exposed or high. And the "zippy" bits are, yes, high above the valley, but high enough for the drop to be abstract and so fast there's no time to look down! The only slightly tricky bit for me was the walk (down a spiral staircase - think of a fire escape) at the end. Tips: - Everyone accepts dollars, and debit cards work everywhere too (including all the restaurants). - It's wet in August! (as everyone kept reminding us - it's a rainforest...). Doesn't interfere with the enjoyment at all but anything that gets wet, will stay wet and then smelly. If we went again we'd take 7 days worth of clothes and get them washed (i.e. and also dried) at a couple of hotels. This was fast and efficient when we tried it. - We travelled 1000 miles on fairly slow roads (so, a bit more than 20 hours in total) over the 2 weeks. For younger kids, bring activities for the coach. Feedback for Exodus (other than the obvious "it was all great and Edward is amazing") Cahuita didn't really do much for us and also featured the weakest of the set of hotels. Nothing specifically bad about it (so don't worry, prospective bookers!) but maybe drop that (and the 2 long-ish transfers) for more time around Arenal? The last 36 hours felt a bit flat/wasted. Maybe have an early start, drive straight from Dominical to the airport on the last day, and have an extra night in Dominical? Overall, and excellent trip, well worth the money, and we'll be back for more in the future!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing our first sloth in the wild!
  • Reviewed August 2018

    Costa rica family adventure

    What a fabulous experience only made possible by our wonderful guide Glenda Araya, our fantastic driver Mauricio and 3 families who met as strangers and ended the 2 weeks as one big, happy family. It may have rained every night (and when it rains it really rains) and we may have witnessed some of the most amazing thunder and lightening I have ever seen, but that didn`t detract from the scenery which was stunning and the wildlife which was up close and fascinating. Every day involved a new experience whether it was gliding slowly on a boat through the deserted waterways of Tortuguero ( made possible by Glenda`s expertise in managing to capture a quiet time of day) or chewing on raw cacao beans on the chocolate tour then sampling the finished product or white water rafting, something I always said I would never do but somehow it seemed right to be brave and give it a go. You lose track of the days of the week and really it isn`t important- just let go and enjoy the experience as everything is organised for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Gliding slowly though the waterways of Tortuguero National Park with no other boats around us- just the forest,the water and us. Glenda, our guide, and Jeffrey, our boatman, helped us spot dolphins, turtles, a host of birds and iguanas. Magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Glenda was approachable, fun and also had an extensive knowledge of her country and it`s flora and fauna. Armed with her trusty telescope she allowed us to capture amazing videos and pictures and spotted wildlife which, quite frankly, I would never have seen had she not been with us. She was very patient even when the group were dithering about the rafting and what grade of river we would be on as some of our insurance didn`t cover certain grades of river. She made several phone calls to try and clarify this for us and found out the information and came with us for the experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a poncho ! Bring lots of quick drying underwear as nothing dries if you wash it. There is a laundry service in most hotels the cheapest was at Montechiari at Arenal. Everyone took suitcases - I only mention this as I was unsure when it said `pack light` whether it meant rucksacks or not though you still need a day rucksack, and definitely bring walking boots or shoes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are wanting a relaxing holiday to put your feet up by a pool this may not be the best trip for you. If you want to see this wonderful country and pack as much as possible in and still have a few afternoons or mornings to relax then this is the best way to do it.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Peter Whittle

    Family Adventure

    This was an excellent family holiday to a magnificent and inspirational country full of adventure opportunities and wonderful wildlife. Our tour guide, Hector, was excellent and very knowledgeable. There was a lot of travelling, but the destinations were worth the time spent travelling. It was the wet season, but the rain didn't cause any real difficulties or stop the planned activities. Accommodation was good, mainly in lodges, and the food everywhere was better than expected from the guide books. The wildlife is amazing and generally so close to hand.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the turtles laying eggs at night time, although the scenery, the oceans and the wildlife are all inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour guide, Hector, was excellent, very knowledgeable, good English, gave us options to consider, and dealt with the few problems that arose very well. He made sure that we did as much as we wanted, gave good commentaries and has very good knowledge of the birds, animals and insects. He was very patient with the children. The two drivers we had were also professional and drove safely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A great family holiday, the children of various ages all got on well together, but the humidity can make drying clothes almost impossible. However the laundry services offered by the hotels were generally cheap and quick.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our third Exodus holiday, all have been excellent. Exodus policy of using local staff is very good.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Anonymous User

    Costa Rica Family Adventure

    Family adventure trip - you moved on every couple days so you needed to pack wisely. There was a lot of boat trips and travelling around the country. There was a huge amount of wildlife to see so a pair of binoculars is good. Highlights were Tortugero National Park - truly remote location, beach at Cahuita and seeing Buttercup.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    White water rafting at Sarapiqui - instructors were great - really good with the kids and great lunch provided afterwards.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge was inspirational - his knowledge of the wildlife was exceptional. He was great with the kids.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A plastic poncho - raincoats even the highest tech do not shelter you or backpacks enough from the torrential downpours, and invariably it takes jackets a long time to dry out. The luggage is packed onto a minibus so we found that smaller wheelie cases worked well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would like to remain anonymous
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Ann T

    Brilliant family adventure

    We travelled with children aged 11 and 14 and found ourselves in a lovely group of 4 families from across the UK. We totally lucked out with our amazing coach (and driver, Ohman) and our wonderful guide, Gustavo. Every day was different and we learned so much about where our food comes from, nature, and all types of wildlife. Accommodation was slightly basic at times but we coped and all pools were lovely. The 14 KM white water rafting is not to be missed and we also enjoyed the night walks and boat trips. Had an amazing trip on a catamaran and swam with tropical fish and the kids jumped off the boat back into the blue sea. We always felt very safe and well looked after with Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the green turtles lay their eggs and watching the kids follow her back to the Caribbean sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing: Gustavo looked after us so well and knew so much.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take warm clothes, when it rains it's quite cold (we went in Aug) - it rained most days but was manageable. If you need special diet food take your own.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Katharine Baker

    Costa Rica family adventure - fantastic

    The trip was an excellent way to see a sample of the best bits of Costa Rica. We had an excellent guide (Jorge) , who managed to find loads of animals and birds for us to watch.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, this was being in the cloud forest and rain forest - being able to see all those things you have heard about on nature programs and geography lesson!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge was a superb leader. He was very knowledgable about the country, the wildlife and the places we visited . He was really good at considering and involving the children and teenagers. Restaurant choices were good value and suitable for our family group. Jorge was very friendly and considerate. I would like to thank him for his excellent tour and personal dedication.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Guidebook temperatures are only that - a guide. We travelled in early April and temperatures were over 30 degrees C. Mosquito repellent is important . Drink bottled water. Do go if you can as it is fascinating country with lots of wildlife to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well organised trip with good hotels although I would suggest the last hotel in Playa Hermosa could be substituted. It was beach side but not on a stretch of beach which was OK to swim at. Would have been good to visit a coffee plantation and factory.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Frederick Ibbotson

    Family holiday in the rainforest

    The holiday was superb. Lots of lovely animals to see and of great interest to both kids and adults alike. Our guide and driver Antonio and Theodore were superb. Antonio super knowledgeable and a top bloke. Company of the fellow travellers and kids also made the trip-superb bunch of people. Animals,scenery and wildlife was great to see. Kids are still talking about the things they have seen

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the rainforest downpours and all the great animals.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader was first class, amiacable and helpful. He listened to people's needs within the group and was always enthusiastic to show us the scenery and wildlife. Nothing was too much bother.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't forget your going to the rainforest. At times it may be wet and difficult to dry things but the weather is warm

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A couple more local eateries would be nice but realise that sometimes have to stick to a schedule.

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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