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Discover Costa Rica

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16 days
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£3,549
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 203 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
WUC
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

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
  • 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 8772 3936
Call for tailormade 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.

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. 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 Pachira 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 Pachira 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 San Bosco Hotel (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 San Bosco Hotel (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. For those who are passionate about trekking, an extra optional tour to Los Quetzales National Park can be arranged to admire the tropical cloud forest and sub-Andean vegetation of the area (this is a 6-hour tour so would normally replace other activities today). Birds that may be seen in this area include hummingbirds, colibri, tanagers and trogons.

    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

    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. Free transfers to San Jose airport are available to all clients today.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Arrive London.

    Arrive London.

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. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy.

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

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

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

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

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

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 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 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. 

Departure date 22nd December 2018
For this departure we cannot stay in Manuel Antonio and instead will stay in Dominical at the Villas Rio Mar. This enables us to have peaceful accommodation away from the incredibly busy tourist areas of Manuel Antonio. There will be a slightly longer drive to get to/from Manuel Antonio (it is about 1 hour away), but you will still spend the same amount of time in the national park.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade 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

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 8772 3936
Call for tailormade 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.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade 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

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 December 2018
    Ruth Harris

    Stunning !!

    Exodus' first women only trip with the wonderful Katia as our guide. She was truly an inspiration and a great breadth of knowledge so effortlessly imparted. I felt so privileged to be in Costa Rica. We saw much of its wildlife including armadillo and anteater and fabulous diversity of landscapes and eco climates. What a beautiful country and what a great group of fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Esquinas Lodge was definitely my favourite place to stay. So remote and so beautiful. The sounds of the rainforest especially at dawn. Close second was Tortuguero. The gardens there teem with birds and the boat trips took us right into the waterways where we saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, capuchins, caimans,turtles and so many birds. Turning off the engine of the boat and sitting in silence to hear the rainforest breathe was unforgettable. Seeing my first sloth was special. As was the quetzal trip at dawn. Three resplendent quetzals in no hurry to fly away!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very special. Nothing was too much trouble. Katia really did go the extra mile to make everything run smoothly and her knowledge was awesome. She had the perfect balance of interpersonal skills and professional know how. I learnt so much about the social and natural history of Costa Rica and we had such fun too!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If in the UK, do take the direct flight from London Gatwick to San Jose. It took all the strain out of the travelling and avoided the stresses of stopover in the USA, the harsh treatment by the US immigration system, and risk of missing onward flights!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    More women's holidays please Exodus!!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Linda Hawe

    Costa Rica Discovery

    First Exodus women’s tour and every part of it was fantastic!! We had a wonderful guide who could not have been more knowledgeable or helpful and funny. Torteguero was the highlight on the boat in the primal rainforest. However we covered 7 different ecosystems all different and exciting. Loved the bird life we did get to see a lot. I definitely recommend this trip it was so interesting. The watch outs were the zip lines are high and you need warm clothing for the Savegre as it is so high.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wildlife and the different ecosystems. Plus the visit to local lady and her farm.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing, Katie is inspirational and freely shared so much with us, on many subjects. Also brilliantly organised, always checking on our welfare and organised extra activities as well. She is fabulous.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    margaret crisp

    What an adventure!!!

    Had a wonderful trip around Costa Rica, on the delightful 'women only' trip. We were led by a very knowledgeable and informative guide, in Katia, and whilst I avoided the zip wires, I thoroughly enjoyed the suspension bridges, the boat trip in the mangrove swamps and the geo-thermal baths. We saw birds of all kinds, including the quetzal, racoons, crocodile and caiman, an armadillo, sloths, turtles and monkeys! We started as a group of strangers on the same trip...and ended up feeling a family!! The only downside was the return trip...so thorough is the security at Houston, that a two hour gap between flights is barely sufficient and i had to run to catch the second plane!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the tree roots seen on the boat trip round Tortuguero…..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Awesome!!!! Very knowledgeable and an inspiration!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, avoid Houston airport....or be prepared to keep looking at your watch and hoping!!!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A trip of a lifetime, many thanks to everybody involved!!!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Phil Cooper

    Beasties and Birdies of Coast Rica

    PS See later

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As posted

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ps see later

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If I did the trip again I would take a dictaphone to record the animals and free up for the photos. Also if you have one the tour leader used a scope.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Paul Kelly

    Costa Rica

    Excellent trip, lots of wildlife to see, turtles,snakes, frogs,birds,cayman, crocodiles and much more all explained by our knowledgeable guide. Lovely beach for swimming in the Pacific and spas. Locals very friendly, a great place to visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching turtles hatching on the beach and heading to sea. Riding zip lines over the forests

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very helpful and extremely knowledgable of everything Costa Rica

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get plenty of sleep beforehand it’s very full on but great

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Must have a camera and binoculars
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Phil Cooper

    Beasties and Birdies of Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is a wonderful country, mainly for its variety and volume of wildlife. Of course Costa Rica is well know for its bird life. While many will have seen humming birds, (as I have) it was a superb sight to be close to these magnificent birds as they weaved their way around us lumbering giants. I never grow weary of watching these creatures. Howler, Spider and Capuchin monkeys using their prehensile tail moving from branch to branch provided an often amusing spectacle. Other animals featured were the Tent Maker Bats and White Lined Bats, Agouti, Coati, Caiman and Green Iguana. Although not an ornithologist, brightly coloured birds such as Toucans, Curassaw, Acorn Woodpecker, Scarlet Macaw, Flame Coloured Tanagen and Emerald Toucanet, I find a delight to watch, particularly watching them feeding. It seemed as though even when driving along the roads animals almost posed for us to record them. One would expect to be roughing it, but it was the last thing I would use describe our accommodation, while the food was always good and often outstanding. The places visited represent the full variety of environments, from high altitude cloud forest (at Savegre) , to transitional forest (Manuel Antonio Reserve), to tropical wet forest (Tortuguero) to rainforest (Esquinas). I cannot leave my summary without mentioning the inspirational Michael Schnitzler who as a conservationist has obtained over $4 Million from his Austrian sources to purchase land and develop Esquinas Lodge. Amazingly he has done this in between travelling to between Costa Rica and Austria, where he is an internationally admired violinist and concertmaster the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra. A truly remarkable person developing a remarkable environmental project. Friends who have seen the videos from the trip have been enthralled. Others to whom I have described it have suggested that it be added to their "bucket list".

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were some unique sights of sloths, one mother and child and another of a rarely seen encounter between two alpha male sloths. I was able to obtain unique footage of these events. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TvsyT9BACI&t=3s I was not able to capture the sound of the impact, but they hit the found with a real thud. Andreas in 18 years had never seen the sloths fighting. The amazing thing was that after that fall from 15 meters they kept on fighting! - Albeit in slow motion!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide Andreas had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the habitats and plants and animals we found. He was helpful always willing to oblige - the best guide in some ten or so trips I have undertaken abroad.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In a word - Go! Substantial waterproofing is needed and the full array of photographic equipment and back up devices. Check carefully on extra trips, particularly if inclement weather might affect the experience. I also thoroughly recommend the night tours. The one at Esquinas enabled me to produce some great video material.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I suppose the only downside is the traffic in San Jose, which makes day trips out and back into the capital not that enjoyable.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Francis Sandbach

    COSTA RICA

    The group size of 14 was ideal with plenty of different personalities. The locations selected were a good combination of places which illustrated the diversity of wildlife habitats. The real bonus to the holiday was the guide (Katia) and driver (Chico). Katia was the real deal. Her English was good, she was very knowledgeable about wildlife, and she went out of her way to help and try to meet everyone's needs. Katia was a very professional guide indeed. We were also fortunate to have Chico who was always happy and helpful. He would often stop to let us see something he had spotted. The guide and driver always considered our safety not only when stopping to take in the view, but also in pointing out any potential dangers such as pickpockets, rip currents when bathing, etc.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trips from Tortuguero were wonderful. So many birds and other animals were pointed out to us with the Green Iguanas in the trees being particularly inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very hot and humid in the tropical rain forest but also cooler in the mountains. Casualwear is definetly what you need.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you get Katia as your guide you will be very fortunate.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Francis Sandbach

    COSTA RICA

    The group size of 14 was ideal with plenty of different personalities. The locations selected were a good combination of places which illustrated the diversity of wildlife habitats. The real bonus to the holiday was the guide (Katia) and driver (Chico). Katia was the real deal. Her English was good, she was very knowledgeable about wildlife, and she went out of her way to help and try to meet everyone's needs. Katia was a very professional guide indeed. We were also fortunate to have Chico who was always happy and helpful. He would often stop to let us see something he had spotted. The guide and driver always considered our safety not only when stopping to take in the view, but also in pointing out any potential dangers such as pickpockets, rip currents when bathing, etc.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trips from Tortuguero were wonderful. So many birds and other animals were pointed out to us with the Green Iguanas in the trees being particularly inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very hot and humid in the tropical rain forest but also cooler in the mountains. Casualwear is definetly what you need.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you get Katia as your guide you will be very fortunate.
  • Reviewed October 2018

    An amazing tour with loads of bird and wildlife spotting.

    We were very lucky to have Johnny Villalobos as our tour leader. He is a walking encyclopedia on the flora and fauna, caring, flexible and a great organiser. We saw spider, capuchin, howler and squirrel monkeys, three and two toed sloths , lizards, iguanas, a green turtle laying her eggs (very moving) and much more. I can't remember how many species of birds we saw (loads), all of them very colourful and often very close up. This is one of the best trips I have ever done.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but without doubt the time we spent at Tortuguero was tops. Hancy, our boat captain, was able to spot wildlife when all I could see was vegetation. The extra excursion to see the Green Turtle laying her eggs was very moving. We formed a 'guard of honour' as she hauled herself back into the sea. Also watching the capuchins stealing the bananas meant for hotel guests at the Villa Bosque and both the capuchins and squirrel monkeys using the overhead cables to move from where they spent the night to feed. We stayed in some lovely lodges/hotels. The only slight disappointment was the hotel at Manuel Antonio (Villa Bosque) as the rooms and bathrooms were small. Carlos, our driver, was very careful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos is amazing. His knowledge and enthusiasm is second to none. He often arranged extra stops on the drives to break up the time spent travelling, although I didn't find the drives long. I'm afraid of heights so didn't do the canopy walk, Johnny made sure that I would be OK waiting at the centre while the rest of the group went off, showing me around so that I knew where everything was. He also showed us around and explained things when some of us went to the hot springs. I had my birthday while we were away and Johnny arranged a cake with a central candle, which lit a ring of candles and played Happy Birthday! He and Carlos also gave me a small gift. Johnny is the best group leader I have ever had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Only really what everyone else has said. Protect your camera from the rain and protect yourself from insect bites. Even though your clothes don't get wet, the humidity will make everything feel damp.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only interaction you will have with Costa Ricans is in the lodges/hotels and shops. The only exception to this was the very interesting visit to Dona Aurora's farm. She had made a huge selection of Costa Rican food for us and didn't mind that we were curious about how she lived and with us looking round her house.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Nicola Rouse

    Amazing!

    What an amazing trip! Incredible wildlife at every turn - sloths, monkeys, turtles, iguanas, frogs, coatis, the list goes on, beautiful birds and unusual plants too. Seven very different locations, shortish travel times and great hotels. Just be prepared to sweat more than you thought humanly possible!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a green turtle lay her eggs at Tortuguero (optional extra). And the sloth with her baby hanging low on a vine beside the river.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous.

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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