Headwater - Costa Rica Wildlife Walk

13 days
from
£4,185
Loading...
Suitable for:
Age 13+
Activity level:
Moderate
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
W11RC
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
13

Explore Costa Rica's most dramatic contrasts: cloud forests, volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls and the Pacific coast

This exciting holiday explores Costa Rica's most dramatic contrasts: cloud forests, volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls and the Pacific coast. You'll be amazed at the amount of wildlife you'll encounter. From quetzals and tree frogs to agoutis and iguanas, each day is memorably different.

Our local guides have an expert knowledge of Costa Rica's flora and fauna and are passionate walkers. With them, our tour is even more remarkable as we learn about Costa Rica's unique natural inheritance. Walking on forest paths and some country tracks, you'll spot wildlife along the way with agoutis and coatis scrambling across the path in Monteverde and monkeys swinging through the trees at Rincon de la Vieja. Awe-inspiring panoramas abound with balcony views to the distant Pacific Ocean and sweeping vistas over Lake Arenal and to the magnificent volcano.

Highlights

  • Land of contrasts: dramatic volcanoes, emerald lagoons, world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest, masses of rare flora
  • Perfect spot to relax: tiers of waterfalls, thermal springs, sandy beaches, sweeping ocean views
  • Mountain lodge hotels, all with private swimming pools
  • Superb wildlife: tree frogs, iguanas, spider monkeys and over 850 species of birds

Key information

  • 11 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of 3 and 4* hotels
  • 8 days of walking and 1 of activity (includes 2 boat trips)
  • Departs on selected Saturdays
  • Services of an experienced walking guide
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Countries visited: Costa Rica

What's included

  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • Services of an experienced walking guide
  • 2 boat trips (days 5 and 6)
  • Luggage transfers

What's not included

  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplements
Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for tailor made trips:
020 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.

9

Days of Walking & Trekking
Day by day breakdown
Day 212.0km/7.5miles
Day 312.0km/7.5miles
Day 415.0km/9.5miles
Day 518.0km/11.0miles
Day 79.0km/5.5miles
Day 88.0km/5.0miles
Day 910.0km/6.5miles
Day 1010.0km/6.5miles

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

Santo Domingo
to
Playa Hermosa
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Costa Rica

    Arrive at your hotel in Santo Domingo, just outside San Jose - Hotel Bougainvillea - and receive a snack on arrival.

  • Day 2

    Monte de Barva

    Today we head to Monte de Barva, a private property in the mountains where we explore forests with views over the Central Valley. Our walk ends with a typical Costa Rican lunch cooked on a wooden stove. We return to the hotel via the town of Barva, one of the oldest settlements in Costa Rica, famous for its colonial architecture and its dedication to retaining its culture. There's time to explore the hotel gardens and have a swim before dinner. (Staying at Hotel Bougainvillea)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Monteverde Cloud Forest

    It's on to Monteverde, where we follow a forest trail through soaring ridge oak decked with bright orange clusia, in search of the resplendent quetzal, then onwards through the emerald forest canopy to the Continental Divide where the Caribbean and Pacific meet. Our next 2 nights are spent here. (Staying at Hotel Poco a Poco)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Canitas & Cebadillas

    Walking through lush pastures with balcony views over curving Nicoya Peninsula, we soon reach the hamlet of Canitas. A gradual climb through forest then brings us to the pretty mountain village of Cebadilla. Before dinner, we take a fascinating evening stroll through the cloud forest spotting tree frogs and hummingbirds. (Staying at Hotel Poco a Poco)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Arenal Volcano

    We wind through farmsteads bright with blue-flowered St Lucia trees overlooking the western shore of Lake Arenal. We'll pass cattle ranches, stud farms and dairies before continuing along the shore, spotting scarlet tanagers flitting through the reeds. We then take a boat to the western side of the lake for superb views over Arenal Volcano. (Staying at Arenal Observatory)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Cano Negro Boat Tour

    Today's tour takes us first by road then by boat through the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge close to the Nicaraguan border. It's a birdwatcher's paradise and is also home to a number of endangered mammals and reptile species - look out for caimans, turtles and tapirs. (Staying at Arenal Observatory)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Exploring Arenal and La Fortuna Waterfall

    Today we visit the Arenal butterfly and frog gardens and stop off at an indigenous Malecus village. It's then on to the famous La Fortuna Waterfall before continuing on to relax in the hot springs at Eco Termales! (Staying at Arenal Observatory)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Rincon de la Vieja National Park

    We move onwards to Rincon de la Vieja, beginning our walk through rainwood and Spanish cedar, maybe spotting turkey vultures flitting above us. We reach Las Chorreras and Victoria Falls, a 35m high torrent thundering through a verdant gorge. There's time for a paddle before going on to our hotel for dinner. We spend two nights here. (Staying at Hacienda Guachipelin)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Blue Lagoon & Thermal Springs

    Look out for toucans and white-fronted amazons, as we descend to La Cangreja Waterfall. Its blue lagoon is so inviting we have to take a dip before our picnic. Then we walk through woodland, where violet guaria morada (Costa Rica's national flower) grows, to Las Pailas, an eerie landscape of bubbling mud and geysers. (Staying at Hacienda Guachipelin)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Santa Rosa National Park

    Today we walk through Central America's largest protected dry forest. We may spot coatis, tapirs and iguanas as we descend to continue along the Indio Desnudo Trail - there are superb photo opportunities here! Then it's on to Playa Hermosa where our final two nights are spent overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (Staying at Bosque del Mar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Free Day

    Bosque del Mar is on Playa Hermosa, a blue flag beach and is the perfect end to our tour. There's the option to stay on here for extra nights. (Staying at Bosque del Mar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Leave Costa Rica

    Leave Costa Rica

    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, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. 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, lunches and dinners included. Lunches are a mix of picnics and local restaurants, whilst dinners are taken in the hotels. One evening is spent at Eco Termales in Arenal where dinner is enjoyed after relaxation time in the hot springs.

Weather

As a tropical country Costa Rica’s climate can be briefly described as having a rainy season between June and November and a drier season between December and May. That is not to say however, that it never rains in the dry season or that the sun never shines in the rainy season. Whilst rain is rarer in the dry season, it is normal to see sunny mornings followed by rainy afternoons in the rainy season. However, the number of microclimates the country has means that this rule does not always follow. In the Central Valley where San José is located, the temperature is normally around 22-25°C all year round, whereas in Monteverde, at just under 2000m above sea level, the climate is fresher and can drop to around 8-10°C at night. Normally in the day it is around 18-20°C but can feel colder under the rainforest canopy. On the Pacific Coast, the climate is nearly always hot and dry with temperatures in the high 20°Cs and low 30°Cs.

Costa Rica

Is this trip for you?

Classification: Guided

This varied walking holiday is mainly on jungle trails and country tracks and includes some wildlife spotting and opportunities for photography along the routes. Rainforest trails can be slippery and steep in sections, so walking boots are essential. The distances of the walks range from 8km to 18km and take between 3-5 hours. On days 5 and 6 there are boat trips included for superb views across to the Arenal Volcano on day 5 and of the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge on day 6. During the trip there are also opportunities for swimming (if you want to).

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for tailor made trips:
020 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

W11RC: Hotels and Lodges

The hotels we stay in are typically mountain lodge style with separate small buildings or bungalows. All have beautiful tropical gardens and swimming pools. Highlights include Arenal, where you look out at the volcano and Bosque del Mar on Playa Hermosa. Lunches are a mix of picnics and local restaurants, whilst dinners are taken in the hotels. One evening is spent at Eco Termales in Arenal where dinner is enjoyed after relaxation time in the hot springs!

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for tailor made trips:
020 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

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

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]