Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

“This comfortable and relaxing holiday pairs plenty of free time with Costa Rica's best bits; it's a tailor made trip though, so if you want to pack more activities in, you can.”

Highlights

San Jose | Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve | Arenal volcano | Hike to La Fortuna waterfall | Juanilama reserve & pineapple plantation | Tenorio National Park | Rio Celeste waterfall | Ocotal Beach | Optional: canopy walk, coffee & sugar mill tours, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, biking, spa treatments

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip is only for tailor made departures throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Take a telescopic umbrella - effective in a tropical downpour and doubles as a sunshade.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Leisurely/moderate.
Accomm:
12 nights ecolodges and hotels.
Solos:
This tour can be tailor made for solo travellers at extra cost.
Meals:
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner.
Included:
Accomm., transport, listed activities, bilingual guide.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

Environment

Our Relaxing Costa Rica itinerary takes you to some of Costa Rica’s most dramatic and ecologically diverse areas, particularly Arenal Volcano National Park and the Monteverde cloud forest. Our partners who organise your trip on the ground represent 28 community organisations around the country which combine traditional ecotourism with community-based tourism, where visitors meet Costa Ricans who are conserving their forests and rivers and practising sustainable agriculture. As such, conservation is an integral part of all our holidays in a country which is the world leader in environmentally-friendly tourism.

All the accommodation options we offer in Costa Rica are very sensitive to their surroundings and many are located in rural communities, natural reserves, or indigenous territories which have not changed their way of life to adapt to the needs and tastes of mass tourism. They all meet our environmental criteria, including energy and water conservation, locally-sourced food and providing information to guests about ecological issues and how behave appropriately. You also have the opportunity to get more directly involved in community conservation efforts.

Many lodges go well beyond this, because the leading organisations in rural community tourism are also leaders in the protection of forests, water sources and endangered species. Using environmental education, community awareness campaigns and legal action, they confront the many threats to wildlife on a daily basis. They are involved in a large variety of other actions such as environmental education, watershed and forest protection, solar energy, organic farming and biogas production.

The money you spend on parks entrance fees goes directly to supporting national conservation programmes. In addition, your local guides on this trip are both accomplished naturalists in their own right and intimately familiar with the wonderful variety of Costa Rica’s nature. They are trained and knowledgeable about the impacts of tourism and will offer advice on how you can keep your environmental footprint to a minimum during your visit.

Community

On this trip you do not stay at any community-owned lodges, but we have looked for hotels that meet our robust socially responsible policies i.e. that are locally-owned, which employ and provide training to Costa Ricans and which support local projects or charities. Many of the accommodations exceed these basic requirements - a good example is the Celeste Mountain Lodge in Tenorio National Park.

The Celeste has an enormous range of environmentally-friendly practices such as: using local and salvaged building materials, sensitive construction techniques, solar and innovative furnace heating, water bio-purifiers, eco-friendly cleaning products etc. But it also supports the community by getting involved with local decision making for sustainable tourism development; helping local entrepreneurs to establish tourism-related businesses; bringing language and professional training sessions to the community; hiring 90% of staff locally; buying 90% of their food from local businesses and farmers (especially organic); contracting local women for handicrafts to decorate the lodge and contracting a school to help with recycling and tree planting.

In addition, the profits made by our Costa Rican partner are reinvested in capacity building programs, promotional campaigns and micro-loans for their member communities. Each year they provide technical assistance and workshops on diverse tourism related activities, such as Creole cooking workshops, marketing skills or product development, as well as running a rural tourism fair to promote responsible tourism. Even the vehicles they use to get you around are part of a carbon-offsetting programme.

Reviews of Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Can't possibly say just one so here are the highlights
The tours for Monteverde, Arenal and Tenorio were fantastic, and the 5 days at the end in Tango Mar were a nice opportunity for us to unpack our bags , get some things washed and dried and relax in one place. The arrangements were perfect, went like clockwork. All the accommodation was great , and a nice variety.
Hotel Presidente, San Jose - a lovely hotel, nice rooms, great breakfast , all fresh and a lot of choice. Staff very pleasant and helpful.

All the taxi drivers who transferred us from place to place , were polite , friendly and well informed and explained a lot to us during the trip as we passed through places, so much more than just a taxi driver! They were all happy to answer our questions, and stop along the route if we saw anything we wanted to photograph, and looked out for interesting animals and birds so they could point them out to us .

All the guides on the tours were extremely well informed too, spoke very good English, we learnt a lot and it was all very interesting to us.

The Monteverde Mountain Lodge was an absolutely delightful location, beautiful setting , high up among the trees , exotic plants and birds , especially hundreds of humming birds of all colours feeding around the restaurant area. We saw two coatis in the grounds, they were very friendly , and an agouti , who was quite shy. The staff at the hotel again were extremely polite, helpful and friendly . Food was great. Our lodge was very comfortable, lovely beds , very clean. Had the company of a very large cricket one day! We went on a tour around the frog and the butterfly gardens when we arrived and then we did the night tour to see tarantulas, spiders frog, bugs, birds and cicadas getting ready for the night . All very interesting. We walked to the town of Santa Elena and had a meal in a Tree House restaurant, great food.

The tour to the Monteverde Cloud Forest - Our tour guide collected us on time . he was great , so enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and determined to make sure we had the best experience, pointing out the amazing creatures and plants in the jungle. He explained about how Costa Rica recognises the value of eco-tourism to the country and invests in it, about eco-energy and preserving the rainforests. fascinating. We saw so many exotic creatures, birds, snakes, monkeys. Crossed a hanging bridge and looked down on the canopy, amazing trees. Great tour.

The trip across Lake Arenal to the Arenal Manoa hotel was lovely, serene. The Arenal Manoa was in stupendous grounds, with the volcano in full view. It covered a large area, there were swimming pools, spa, huge restaurant with fantastic views over a cayman lake, lots of birds, to see while eating breakfast , great spread of food for breakfast, nice evening meal. We saw a cayman, a kingfisher, vultures lots of amazing birds .

Casitas Tenorio in Bijagua - great accommodation. Really felt like we were living inside the jungle here. We had a lodge with an outdoor terrace surrounded by forest , lots of unusual noises throughout the day and night . Lovely owners , Pip from Australia and her Costa Rican husband Donald, who is from Bijagua, and they have two friendly dogs called Whisky and Dingo. They grow virtually all the food they serve for breakfast, especially an apple banana which is small but definitely tastes of apples , lovely. Exotic birds also surround the breakfast room and feed off the bananas in the trees. Just so wonderful to sit and watch them while you have your breakfast, felt so close to nature.

Trip to Tenorio national park - . We went to the Rio Celeste and the waterfall and the viewing point where we could see a series of volcanoes and much wilder jungle. We saw where the colour of the river changed due to the minerals in the water, we saw a bubbling pond.


The Tango Mar is a high quality hotel . We had a beach front apartment with a view of the Pacific ocean and palm trees. The sea was quite rough , not safe to swim in it but you can paddle . The hotel has a nice pool on the sea front . The hotel has very large grounds and you can go on nature walks around the grounds. We saw white faced capuchin monkeys and howler monkeys living in the trees. There is a golf course and stables where you can do horse riding, we did a couple of hours of horse riding one day. The hotel is quite secluded , far from a town, so you can't walk to a town, but you can easily get a taxi . The reception staff organise everything for you. We went to Tambor one afternoon and to Montezuma and Santa Teresa on other days. Staff again are extremely helpful , friendly , polite. The food is great , good choice. Served breakfast and evening meal in the main restaurant, and there is a smaller restaurant by the pool that serves lunch. The hotel offers various tours and activities . We did a snorkelling trip to Isla Tortuga. The snorkelling was just incredible, what beautiful warm clear water. I fed shoals of tropical fish from my hand for about 10 minutes , such varieties , such colour, I was in heaven!! we had a picnic on the beach afterwards, and saw a snake on the sand , two pigs and two deer in the trees. and a marimba band playing music. A fantastic trip .


2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for rain, a lightweight raincoat is fine. If you go in the rainforests bets to cover arms and legs and wear sturdy walking shoes or wellies. Need to tip people, especially the guides 5 to 10 dollars and taxi drivers 5 dollars. It's a long flight from Gatwick - 11 hours, need to keep moving about . 9hours 50 on the way back overnight, no lights and cold air conditioning! need a jumper and trousers .

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Most definitely supported conservation. The Costa Rican government recognises the value of encouraging eco-tourism and reinvests in the rainforests to preserve them. Walking routes through the forests are restricted to designated paths. On some you are only allowed to go with a guide. Creates lost of work opportunities for local people. Humans and nature seem to live together in harmony. Lots of conservation projects on the go, such as the turtle project at Tambor, where people are hatching the eggs and escorting newly hatched turtles back to the sea for safety !

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was amazing, fantastic, a revelation, and I would recommend it to anyone. Very impressive country, so much to see.

Reviewed on 21 Feb 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?




2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?




4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic service from the operator - right from the first phonecall it was clear that they're not only experts, but really cared about making this tailor-made trip absolutely perfect for us.

Reviewed on 06 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The beauty of the landscape, the advanced hospitality industry. Possibly Casitas Tenorio?

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Plan with a bit of details around travel durations and meal times/stops - easily done - but I didn't do it!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes there is a clear environmental/green culture in Costa Rica. The tourist industry supports this in here, anyway

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent place to relax - which is why I chose it. 10 out of 10 for that!

Reviewed on 27 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Rio Celeste hike to waterfall and lagoon. River trip on Rio Frio.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If going to Monteverde bring a fleece. It can be chilly in the early morning and at night.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Wonderful holiday. Very well organised. Accommodation excellent.

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The mother sloth and baby sloth, and a visiting young male sloth, outside our apartment balcony in the Parque Manuel Antonio for the five days we stayed there; recording biological data in the forest at Las Cruces and being stalked by a humming-bird; dripping with the tropical heat every day; photographing husband and daughter parasailing off the Pacific coast; listening to the scrape-scratch-slither of a large iguana as it dragged itself across our apartment roof, and - thump! - as it toppled off the end.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring thin cotton shirts or tops that dry fast because you will sweat bucketloads, wherever you are; a telescopic umbrella is much more effective for keeping tropical downpours off than rain jackets, and doubles as a sunshade when needed; take a camera with a good zoom lens. If you want to travel off the main roads the National Geographic map of CR is very good, but use screenshots from satellite maps to supplement it. Vegetarians will have no trouble finding lots of excellent food.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


At the Hotel Aranjuez in San José and at the Wilson Botanical Garden at Las Cruces, certainly: they have an outstanding environmental policy, and employ local people and services. At the Coste Verde hotel at Manuel Antonio, it certainly employs a lot of local people, but doesn't seem to do much for conservation or sustainability.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Tremendous: we loved it. My husband and I would go again for the wildlife, and to see other parts of the country that we didn't reach this time. We'd also go back to do more data recording at Las Cruces, it was a wonderful introduction to the animals and plants, being part of a working scientific community.

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The trip to Los Campesinos reserve was wonderful - though the hike was fairly tough going in hot and humid conditions that we weren't used to! But the wildlife we saw was superb, and the friendliness of everyone involved made it a great excursion.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Consider your options for getting to Costa Rica - since we had to stop over somewhere on the US east coast we took a proper break in New York for five nights. This gave our holiday an extra dimension and actually made the flights cheaper - though NY is not a cheap place to stay!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, it was nice to interact with locals everywhere we went, and to avoid all the big chain hotels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good.

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


White water rafting through the rainforest, amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Just do it, it's fantastic! If you're inland take some warmer clothes (trousers, long sleeved t-shirts)as it can get colder than you expect.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All of the places we stayed were dedicated to helping the environment and employed local staff.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Brilliant!

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