Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets

14 days
from
£2,599
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Traveller ratings:
4.7 / 5 from 43 reviews
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
WUR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
16

Unrivalled wildlife viewing and Costa Rica's coastal wonders 

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

Highlights

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

Key information

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

What's included

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

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

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

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

Responsible Travel

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

As much as possible, we try to use hotels and eco-lodges that are family run or at least employ local staff and use local produce to ensure that our visit directly benefits the local community. On the Osa Peninsula, clients will stay in the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. This family run business is extremely committed in environmental sustainability and is actively doing their best to reduce their carbon footprint and exploring eco-friendly alternatives for their amenities and operations. They are also very mindful of wildlife in this area and ecotourism. Additionally, our entrance fees to national parks like Tortuguero and Corcovado, directly supports conservation efforts.

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

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

San Jose
to
San Jose
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

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

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Tortuguero N.P.

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

    Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

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

    Accommodation: Evergreen Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    To Cahuita; relax on the Caribbean coast.

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Wildlife walk in Cahuita N.P.

    Cahuita National Park has 2711 acres of land and an impressive 600 acres of coral reef, forming Costa Rica's largest reef system. Today we visit the national park, taking a 7km walk from the southern entrance of the park which follows the coastline, leads through rainforest and passes impressive Caribbean beaches. Although a fairly small park in terms of size, there is plenty of diversity here. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the beach, join an optional snorkelling excursion to discover the underwater world or simply relax.

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary.

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Walk in La Marta Wildlife Refuge; to Turrialba Valley.

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

    Accommodation: Villa Florencia (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Savegre Cloud Forest.

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Free day to discover walking trails in Savegre.

    Today is free to relax and explore Savegre Valley. Bring your binoculars to spot some of the 170 bird species, trek through the tropical cloud forest or simply enjoy the incredible view from the lodge. Your leader will suggest walks for today so that you can discover the tropical cloud forest and sub-Alpine vegetation of the area. Birds that may be seen in this area include hummingbirds, colibri, tanagers and trogons, whilst tapirs and Squirrel monkeys may also be seen.

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

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

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Boat trip to Caño Island.

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

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

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

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

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Mangrove boat trip; to Sierpe; to San Jose.

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

    Accommodation: Presidente Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End San Jose.

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

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

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

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

Post-trip Extensions

Tamarindo Beach Extension Costa Rica

Extend your stay in Costa Rica with a few nights of rest and relaxation at Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast. Once a sleepy fishing village, Tamarindo was discovered by surfers in the late 1980's and has steadily grown its reputation as one of Costa Rica's best beach destinations. Located in Guanacaste Province, known for its good weather and predictable sunshine, Tamarindo has a great mix of facilities and retains an authentic laid-back atmosphere. The town has accommodation catering to all budgets, from high-end boutique hotels to smaller, comfortable and characterful properties. Its big draw is the long expanse of beach, with a curved bay backed by palm trees, cafes and restaurants. The waves are strong and loved by surfers, with swimmers mostly staying to the shallow surf breaking on the shore. Facing west, the sunsets in Tamarindo are dramatic and not to be missed! There are plenty of excursions that can be organised locally if you want to discover the surrounding area. Or simply sit back and soak up the laid-back beach life, which is a real contrast from the other areas you will have visited in Costa Rica.  

We have hand-picked a selection of properties in Tamarindo and selected transport options to suit all budgets and group sizes - all that's left for you to decide is how long you want to go for, and we'll do the rest! 

ACCOMMODATION:

Please note that rates shown below are per room (not per person) and all hotels include breakfast 

Capitan Suizo Hotel: This beachfront boutique hotel is set in a privileged location to the south of the bay, with rooms surrounded by tropical gardens. Thoughtfully designed accommodation with excellent dining options, wonderful service and a friendly team waiting to welcome you. Just away from the main town, it has a lovely pool area and private loungers on the beach. Prices from £245 per room per night for a Superior Room.   

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel: This luxurious hotel is nestled in native trees and lush vegetation, just a short walk from the beach of Playa Langosta which is around the headland from Tamarindo's main beach. Consistently rated as one of the Top 10 hotels in Costa Rica by Trip Advisor! Elegant accommodation and surroundings with every need catered for, this is pure R&R. Prices from £225 per room per night for a Deluxe Room. 

Tamarindo Diria Hotel: Located right in the middle of the beach, this is one of Tamarindo's original hotels and has the most spectacular palm tree-lined view from its pool/dining areas. It is split into different areas, with the majority of rooms located away from the beachfront. Prices from £145 per room per night for a Standard Room.  

Wyndham Esplendor Hotel: One of the best infinity pools we've seen with extensive views across Tamarindo bay, thanks to it's hillside location above Tamarindo. Elegant rooms and facilities, but a fair walk from the beach and Tamarindo town - there is a free shuttle transfer provided at set times. Prices from £140 per room per night for an Ocean View Room.  

Arco Iris Hotel: A great option for value, with comfortable rooms surrounded by lush tropical gardens. A tranquil location set back from the street, around 500 metres to the beach. Prices from £100 per room per night for a Bungalow Room. 

Pasatiempo Hotel: A small, intimate property with real character and comfortable rooms. We think Pasatiempo is a hidden gem and it is our preferred choice if you are looking for great value and don't mind being located a short 5 minute walk to the beach. There are some great restaurants and shops nearby. Prices from £90 per room per night for a Standard Room or £95 per room per night for a Deluxe Room.  

How to reach Tamarindo?

There are three options to reach Tamarindo from San Jose, depending on your budget and how much time you have:

Shuttle bus: This is the most economical way to reach Tamarindo, particularly for solo travellers. The shuttle bus system is easy, safe and reliable and will drop you directly at your hotel. Shuttles usually pick up from hotels in San Jose at 7:15am or 2:30pm. From Tamarindo the departure times back to San Jose are usually 8am or 2pm. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours. You can also leave or return by shuttle directly from the airport - please specify at the time of booking and double check timings with your sales consultant as schedules may change depending on the season. Prices from £45 per person, each way. 

Private transfer: If you would prefer to travel in your own vehicle (seating up to 6 people), or need transfers timed perfectly with your international flights, we recommend a private transfer for the journey. You can either take this as a return or for just one leg of the journey. By private transfer the journey takes approximately 4 hours. Prices from £280 for a private transfer seating up to 6 people, each way. 

Flight: Perfect if you are short of time, you can take an internal flight from San Jose to Tamarindo Airstrip. During high season (Dec-Apr) there are usually 4 flights during the day in each direction. Outside of high season there are usually 2 flights in each direction. Flights usually take under 1 hour. With this service we will also arrange a vehicle transfer between your Tamarindo hotel and the airstrip. Luggage weight and size restrictions apply (30lbs, 114cm). Prices from £170 per person, one way.

There is also the option to arrange your return flights from Liberia airport, around 1 hour 30 minutes from Tamarindo, with a private transfer to Tamarindo. Please speak to your Sales Consultant to discuss this option. 

We recommend visiting Tamarindo for at least 3 nights. Please speak to your Sales Consultant for more details, to check hotel availability or to make a reservation. You may need additional hotel nights in San Jose depending on the end date of your trip and your flight schedule. Also please note that some hotels in Tamarindo are not available in September. 

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, 8 lunches and 7 dinners are included.

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

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

Weather

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

Is this trip for you?

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

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

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

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

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

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

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

Accommodation

Hotels & Eco-lodges

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

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

Optional single supplement available, see Dates & Prices.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made 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 2019
    Melanie Costello

    An amazing holiday!

    We had spent a long time saving for and planning this trip for myself and my boyfriend. It did not disappoint. It was even better than we expected. From the moment we stepped off the plane, everything was organised. We got the direct flight from Gatwick. The flight was 10 hrs and went very quickly. The rest of our group went via Miami and unfortunately got delayed so ended up arriving at the hotel in the early hours and only had a few hours sleep before the tour started. If you get the direct flight you also stay an extra night at the end of the trip so you get a day to explore San Jose which we did but we felt there is not a great deal to do there. We had 8 in our group and it was a nice mix of ages and we all got on well. The minibus is nice and comfortable with aircon and plenty of room.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a turtle laying her eggs on the beach at Tortuguero and watching Humpback whales with their calves in Drakes Bay. We also loved watching the hummingbirds in Savegre. This was something I was not prepared for, they are beautiful. Getting to see scarlet macaws up close. A pair landed in a tree right above us and posed for quite a while. Tree frogs, sloths, jesus lizards, basilisks, crocodiles, caiman, birds, bats, turtles, monkeys (howler, spider, squirrel and white face capuchin), coatis.........the list goes on!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guillermo was excellent. His knowledge of the wildlife was amazing and he spotted things we would never have seen. His enthusiasm was infectious and we were soon all trying to spot and recognise different birds and animals. It's worth noting that the leaders are 'on call' for your whole trip so they work incredibly hard. We were so impressed. One day we stopped for lunch at a tradional Costa Rican restaurant which we would never have gone to withour our leader taking us there. Olman (not sure if I spelt that right) was a lovely driver. His skill driving our bus on some of the mountain roads was impressive. Guillermo and Olman obviously got on very well and made a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a book, there are some long bus journeys and plenty of time to relax in the afternoons. Taking a suitcase with wheels is ideal as there are a few times where you need to move it. I would recommend a hard case or a decent level of water resistance as they may get wet if it rains on the way to Tortoguero. Savegre is cold! Take warm clothes. The temperature difference really is noticeable. I slept with 3 blankets the first night we were there. Take an umbrella. We had ponchos but sometimes they were too hot and a bit too much. US dollars are fine. You can use them everywhere. We had a travel currency card which we used to withdraw dollars as we needed them. ATMS are easy to find and your leader will take you. We thought the food was fabulous. Vegetarians are well sorted and the portions are huge. Prices are about the same as the UK for eating out but we thought that snacks in the supermarket where expensive but probably because we were buying "British type" snacks. Take dry shoes and "water shoes". You have to jump in the sea a couple of times so it's handy to have these. Also a dry bag is useful for the boats to keep cameras dry but also if it rains. All the usual that everyone else has mentioned: sunglasses, hat, suncream, insect repellent, bite cream,torch,

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    At Drakes Bay, the hotel will do your washing for free each day which is very useful if you are running out of clothes. They will also dry out all your shoes so you don't have to put wet shoes back in your suitcase. It's worth mentioning that all the boat journeys are by speed boat and can be pretty bumpy especially when first going out to the hotel from the river. Not for the faint hearted but so much fun. The boat drivers are highly skilled and we felt perfectly safe on every trip.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Sara Johnson

    Loved it!

    Amazing trip, highly recommended. The itinerary changed slightly, so there was snorkelling on the last day which was amazing, almost as if leaving the best till last! This is for the more adventurous traveller rather than the type of person who likes to sit on a beach, although not as active as it could have been! We saw a lot of beautiful animals and birds, to many to mention, and especially enjoyed the boat trips. We can't wait now for our next exodus adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was seeing a turtle laying her eggs. Magical! For my husband it was snorkelling which he absolutely loved and saw two turtles, two stingrays and tons of fish.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge is an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and with a great sense of humour. He has a great relationship with Henri, our driver. Jorge and Henri gave up there time off so we could get a good view of a Resplendant Quetzal which we spent a good 45 minutes watching. Magical!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the itinerary and trip notes before booking! Your move around a lot on this trip which isn't for everyone, although we loved it as we feel we've had a good snap shot of what Costa Rica has to offer. Research the hotels before you go, all details are in the trip notes to see what each one has to offer. Things to take- an umbrella as we ended up buying an one. The rain isn't like the rain in the uk as there is no wind and we noticed its what the locals use, plus you get so hot in a poncho; take a hair dryer if this is important to you as not all hotels provide them, good walking shoes, light clothing, water proof sandals or flip flops are handy for wet landings or walking through streams; towels are provided for snorkelling at drakes bay so we were glad we didn't weigh ourselves with taking a beach towel from home. Take bug spray and after bite cream. Also take plenty of money- we took colons and found we got a much better deal on things for doing so. Walking wise the only walk i struggled with (being exceptionally clumsy as i am) was to the waterfall at Corcovado as it was pouring with rain and it was quite uneven under foot. There was also a large river to wade through to get to it. If you go on the turtle watching tour (very highly recommended) you will have to wear the worst wellies known to man, so take long socks! Some people chose to ignore the advice to wear them and ended up knee deep in mud. Also ignore when told not to take a torch on the turtle watching- we were told not to by the company (not exodus!) and then got told to take our torches out for the walk! Foodwise i did struggle with eating in some places being vegan, but luckily i had taken some items of food with me, such as pitta breads. Its not that food wasn't provided for me, it was more that they only provided one vegan option and it would have meant i had exactly the same meal for lunch and dinner 2 days running. Also it means that you're not just eating fruit for breakfast as places like villa florencia that didn't provide anything i could eat for breakfast ( and all costa rican bread appears to contain milk). For us (my husband has food allergies) the best places to eat were at Cahuita and Drakes bay. Food portions can be small, especially in Totuguero, so was glad of the extra snacks i took. Hotel wise, some of the hotels are what could be deemed as basic, especially Drakes bay. Again, this wasn't a problem for us as we saw the lodges as a base to sleep only, especially as all lodges at Drakes Bay are on the sea front, and you can sometimes see dolphins swimming by. Tortuguero's lodges don't have glass at the windows, just bug nets, which we loved as it meant going to sleep listening to the thunder and frogs croaking, and waking up to the noise of howler monkeys. However, on the flip side it it meant the place is constantly damp, so I'd recommend not unpacking here as it meant clothes got wet if left out the case. Air conditioner is in all rooms except Tortuguero which has ceiling fans. For us, our favourite place was in the cloud mountains at Savegre. Quiet, not over loaded with tourists, and beautiful views. For us, it was paradise.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus should really mention that the turtle watching tour is an additional cost in the trip notes as we were all under the impression it was included in the cost. Also it would be good if Exodus, if possible, could suggest to the company that runs this trip as the wellies provided truly were awful- my orthotics wouldn't fit in them, my husbands leaked, and others in the group ended up with injuries from them. Whilst i appreciated Exodus forwarding my dietary requirements to the hotel, i think it would be helpful if they explain what the dietary requirements means. For example, Drakes bay, under the guidance of Jorge, did me egg and milk free pancakes, only to cover them in honey, which i obviously couldn't eat- although to be fair my husband did appreciate this error. My fault really as i hadn't mentioned to Jorge vegans don't eat honey, but if exodus were to explain what dietary means, especially in places where certain diets aren't common, this would be helpful. This would be especially helpful for places where the guide isn't with you like villa florencia which unfortunately made me ill despite me telling them of my diet. I can see why exodus don't offer the direct flights as standard as part of this trip. It means an extra day in San Jose where there isn't that much to do. We did the art museum and the museum of costa rica- the latter being the greater success.
  • Reviewed July 2019

    Love Costa Rica

    Wonderful experience. This place is in my wish list from such a long time and finally my wish completed. Awesome trip and amazing experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Mary ( Candy) Duggan

    Fabulous Coasts and Country

    Wonderful, well organised trip full of interest. Great mix of forest, coasts and wildlife everywhere you looked, even sitting outside your room! Thank you to our fellow travellers who made this a memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many..... seeing a flock of toucans feasting on figs, sitting watching a group of 19 coatis on the beach at Corcovado National Park, being close to hummingbirds, listening to the rain, frogs and howler monkeys in Tortuguero,

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erick was great. Wildlife and bird spotting skill was remarkable. He and our lovely driver Henry had a good rapport and made a good team. Thank you.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found previous reviews very helpful. Read your trip notes! Do take a poncho, easy to take on and off and covers your back pack, and great on the open boats. Even our lightweight rain jackets were too hot! 12 members of our group took the direct flight from Gatwick to San Jose which avoided changing planes and gave us an extra day in San Jose visiting museums and galleries. San Jose duty free shops are VERY expensive, shop before you get there - try Cheiton Moren on Calle 17 a small not for profit shop and museum run by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers selling works by the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The walks were leisurely, stopping frequently to look at birds, reptiles, etc. Only 2 were slightly uneven underfoot. Long drives by air conditioned, comfortable minibus and by boat but the scenery was amazing along the way. We chose this tour as we wanted to visit different eco sysyems and were not disappointed. Tortuguero was a great start, a great cabin in the forest, Cahuita unspoiled and simple with a lovely beach, Savegre, lovely detatched lodge in beautiful gardens, and Drake's Bay, fabulous remote location. Cano island snorkelling was our only slight disappointment as the sea was crowded with different groups and reduced visability due to a storm the day before. Go, you wont be disappointed!
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Danuta Joyce

    Costa Rica - coastal secrets

    The geographical and wildlife diversity of Costa Rica is immense- a real treasure of a country. This trip certainly delivered in giving me an idea of its beautiful scenery and the wildlife therein. It left me wishing to revisit the country to see and experience more. My travelling companions were are bonus - we all knitted well and shared a great enthusiasm for everything. The Costa Ricans I met were engaging, helpful and enthusiastic about their country and what it had to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The diversity of Costa Rica: mountains, volcanos, beaches, forests, valleys, colour and the wonderfully diverse wildlife. What stuck in my mind most, however was one fact our guide told me: the country's energy is mainly renewably sourced- hydroelectric , geothermal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erick was great: organisationally on the ball; knowledgeable about politics, history and economics of his country (setting issues and daily life in context) as well as his knowledge of wildlife and the natural world. And ......... what eye sight! He had a great sense of humour which helped bond the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beware the US dollar to local currency exchange - you will get change in local currency from shops and cafes which do not follow the official exchange rate! Take loads of small denomination dollars. You need to pay for the loo stop at the transfer point at Tortuguero (currently $1.00). The Osa peninsula is not that isolated (sadly) and the snorkelling was rather crowded but I managed to catch a glimpse of a white tipped reef shark - magnificent
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Ruth Davies

    Loving Costa Rica

    A fabulous tour with a brilliant guide, great scenery and wildlife. Thank you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the 3 toed sloth coming down trees and vines very close to us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He is wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good alarm clock to get up at 5am to see the wildlife busy with breakfast.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highly recommend this trip. Also we flew KLM on the return journey back to Birmingham and the staff were great.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Carole Brown

    A Good Holiday But Not A Great One!

    My husband and I chose this holiday to Costa Rica mainly to be able to snorkel in the Caribbean and Pacific, together with the chance to see such a fantastic array of wildlife. Like mentioned by people in previous reviews, it was once again too rough to snorkel in the Caribbean and our snorkel near Cano Island was cut short because several people felt queasy. We saw a lot of wild life but this trip is mainly geared to bird watchers, which got a little tedious at times. We enjoyed the stay at Tortuguero,l Cahuita and Drakes Bay but the other two stops were rather boring and there was not much to see. We also ended up at a sub standard lodge in Savegre which didn't help, Everyone felt that there was far too much travelling in cramped mini buses with hardly any leg room and on boats.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably snorkelling alongside a turtle and hearing the strange jungle sounds late at night and first thing in the morning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge was competent and tried to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Everything ran like clockwork and he found us a lovely family run restaurant in the mountains to stop for lunch which we all enjoyed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We thought there would be a lot more walking involved and not as much bird watching. The mini bus seats are far too close together and painful for taller members of the group. We didn't think Costa Rica was expensive as described and returned home with a lot of local currency.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Nicola Jenkins

    Excellent

    A great trip for those interested in the wildlife of the country, with some walking but also boat trips and viewing in the grounds of the lodges.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not sure that I can pick a single moment as every day threw up wonderful sights and interesting animals. However the view of a moving sloth in the wild was special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Coped with everything that the group presented him with and very proactive in dealing with any problems.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do check that this is the trip for you. It is not hiking but spending time, sometimes in one place looking for the special view.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Frances Prior

    Costa Rica

    Overall very good, plenty of wildlife to see and local people very friendly. Disappointed with dynamics of group as although 16 of us 14 were one group so felt like outsiders, they were also a lot older than us so on occasion with specific options for treks and ability we were out voted. Some of the accommodation was very basic no hot or running water for two days at Cahuita and the food was hit and miss. The breakdown of days at different hotels could have been better, spending one night at Florencia arrived in the dark and departed very early so unable to use the facilities, could have arrived a day earlier or at least earlier in the day so could use facilities but rest of group wanted a later start again we were outvoted.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Actually it was the friend I went with, I have terminal bone cancer and she made me feel so special and ensured I enjoyed every day to the fullest, she was inspirational to me

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was very good, although communication could have been better with how the days were going pan out, timings changed quite frequently of start times, where we were going to eat although had to pander for the whole group some of which were very demanding. Knowledge was excellent and came across very passionate, happy to answer any questions and always very friendly towards us considering we felt we were on our own

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for lots of travel in small coach with many bumpy roads, some of accommodation is very basic. Don't worry about taking local currency as everywhere takes dollas although change is always given in local currency Be prepared to allow an amount of money for tipping which although not compulsory ended up being 220 dollas which hadn't accounted for

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When considering travellers, you should advise that age groups may vary, we were on a coach with 14 elderly guests and had we known we could have chosen a different date. Date of birth is taken at time of booking and this does really affect some of the activities chosen on the actual break due to varying abilities within the group
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Susan Baxter

    A fabulous trip for wildlife lovers

    The tour is well planned with a mix of early mornings and full days, with down time to spend around the pool or strolling. If you like a tour to be more like a holiday than a frenetic series of hotels, then this is perfect. If you are an activity junkie then it is not for you. It covers a huge variety in a couple of weeks, boat trips, walking, sightseeing and snorkelling, and we saw an amazing range of birds, reptiles and mammals with our fantastically knowledgeable and lovely guide. The accommodation was good, ranging from Tortugero where the individual chalets were in a stunning setting, to Cahuita which was rather in need of TLC but in a convenient location behind the beach. The rooms are as described in the details - comfortable rather than luxurious. The beds everywhere were extremely comfortable, I slept incredibly well! The included meals were all good, the hotels were very accommodating catering for a vegan diet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a sloth crawling along behind the beach in Cahuita, we stood and watched while he unsteadily clambered up the tree and around the branches. A lovely meal in a restaurant right on the beach that evening made for a fantastic day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge was extremely knowledgeable and amazing at spotting things. His knowledge of birds was incredible. He was always there if we needed anything and provided information constantly about the wildlife, the country and the activities. He was well-planned and organised, everything went like clockwork -if we were meeting a driver, he was always there waiting for us, if we were meeting a boat it was there without us having to wait in the heat. Checking in and out of the hotels was done extremely speedily, and you overall just couldn't fault him as a group leader he was fantastic!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars, take insect repellent, take a hat, take a torch, pack as light as you can and have a case with wheels as you are often moving your case about yourself to/from rooms and boats. Don't expect that you will be on your own with wildlife. Costa Rica is popular. There are many boats doing the same thing in Tortugero, the walk in Cahuita NP is a family stroll with lots of people around (everyone looking slightly puzzled that we were in walking boots, hiking trousers and rucksacks when they were all going past in bikinis and flip flops), the Osa peninsula is not wilderness any more, there were lots of other small groups doing the walking trails, and several other boat-loads of people snorkelling and having lunch on the beach. But the wildlife is still incredible.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    From an ethical viewpoint I have huge questions about the sloth "sanctuary" and I strongly urge exodus to re-consider the visit there. These animals are enchanting close up, but having seen them in the wild, viewing them in wire cages with pretend branches, a tiled floor, no enrichment, and no hope of any other existence was heart rending. Keeping them alive in these conditions is not necessarily the kindest thing to do.

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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