Costa Rica wildlife holiday, Coastal Secrets

“A 2 week holiday, travelling in a small group with expert guides, from coast to coast, national park to nature reserve. This is where wild dreams come true.”

Highlights

Tortuguero National Park | Cahuita National Park | Sloth Sanctuary | La Marta Wildlife Refuge | Turrialba Valley | Savegre Cloud Forest | Osa Peninsula | Drake Bay | Caño Island | Dolphin and whale watching in season | Sierpe | Corcovado National Park

Description of Costa Rica wildlife holiday, Coastal Secrets

This two week Costa Rica wildlife holiday, travelling with a small group and expert wildlife leader, takes you from one stunning Costa Rican coast to the other, with a cornucopia of creatures in between. Even though it is a small country, it is bursting with biodiversity, and this trip certainly covers many of its most beauteous spots.

With a quarter of Costa Rica protected, on this trip we visit national parks, wildlife refuges, cloud forest and marine reserves. It is also superbly set up for tourism, allowing us to stay in wonderful, small and locally owned accommodation along the way, from eco lodges located in tropical gardens to a stunning waterfront accommodation on the Osa Peninsula, only accessible by boat.

The trip starts inland, in the capital San Jose and then, using private minibus, we head to the Caribbean Coast to explore two amazing national parks, with two days in each. First, we go to Tortuguero NP, which we travel through by boat as this is the only way to access it and see its eponymous turtles, otters, caiman and manatees. On land, we hope to see monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and myriad birdlife. From here to Cahuita NP, where you can hike on trails that dip in and out of coast and jungle, or take an optional snorkelling trip out on the reef.

These wildlife experiences, combined with adventures into some of the world’s most stunning natural environs continue back inland for a few days, discovering the fantastic flora and fauna of La Marta Wildlife Refuge. This is a more mountainous area, richly forested and opening up into a tropical world of waterfalls, rivers and caves.

One more inland idyll before hitting the Pacific coast is Savegre Cloud Forest, where we have two nights to enjoy, in particular, its extraordinary birdlife. The Forest is most famous for being home to the elusive and exquisite Resplendent Quetzal. There are few things more resplendent, however, than the final few days of this trip which are spent on the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park. This is home to about fifty per cent of Costa Rica’s incredible wildlife, from scarlet macaws to manatees, tayras to tapirs. We take a trip to Caño Island, where we hope to see dolphins and, in season, humpback or even orca whales. The former come here between July-November and the latter December-April. Osa Peninsula is one of the most exotic ways to end a wildlife holiday, with plenty of beach time too so that you can chill out before your return to the real world.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Map

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
13 Jul 2019
£3499
including UK flights
2 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 13 Jul 2019 departure
27 Jul 2019
£3599
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Jul 2019 departure
04 Aug 2019
£3849
including UK flights
6 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 04 Aug 2019 departure
11 Aug 2019
£3849
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 11 Aug 2019 departure
14 Sep 2019
£3649
including UK flights
2 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 14 Sep 2019 departure
21 Sep 2019
£3549
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Sep 2019 departure
05 Oct 2019
£3479
including UK flights
5 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 05 Oct 2019 departure
19 Oct 2019
£3399
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Oct 2019 departure
02 Nov 2019
£3479
including UK flights
1 space left
Click here to enquire about or book the 02 Nov 2019 departure
11 Jan 2020
£3649
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 11 Jan 2020 departure
18 Jan 2020
£3699
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Jan 2020 departure
21 Jan 2020
£3599
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Jan 2020 departure
25 Jan 2020
£3699
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Jan 2020 departure
01 Feb 2020
£3649
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 01 Feb 2020 departure
08 Feb 2020
£3699
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 08 Feb 2020 departure
15 Feb 2020
£3699
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Feb 2020 departure
18 Feb 2020
£3649
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Feb 2020 departure
22 Feb 2020
£3679
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Feb 2020 departure
07 Mar 2020
£3679
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 07 Mar 2020 departure
14 Mar 2020
£3679
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 14 Mar 2020 departure
21 Mar 2020
£3699
including UK flights
1 space left
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Mar 2020 departure
24 Mar 2020
£3649
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 24 Mar 2020 departure
31 Mar 2020
£3949
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 31 Mar 2020 departure
18 Jul 2020
£4049
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 18 Jul 2020 departure
25 Jul 2020
£4049
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Jul 2020 departure
01 Aug 2020
£4049
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 01 Aug 2020 departure
08 Aug 2020
£4049
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 08 Aug 2020 departure
15 Aug 2020
£4049
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Aug 2020 departure
19 Sep 2020
£3549
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Sep 2020 departure
26 Sep 2020
£3549
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2020 departure
03 Oct 2020
£3549
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 Oct 2020 departure
10 Oct 2020
£3549
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 10 Oct 2020 departure
17 Oct 2020
£3599
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 17 Oct 2020 departure
31 Oct 2020
£3599
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 31 Oct 2020 departure
07 Nov 2020
£3599
including UK flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 07 Nov 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica wildlife holiday, Coastal Secrets

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend two weeks in a combination of hotels and eco-lodges around Costa Rica. We use fairly small, family run and locally staffed establishments which ensures that we are benefiting local communities. Our local operator is a leading member of the Rainforest Alliance and has been awarded a "4 Leaf" award from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute for their sustainable tourism practice & dedication to improving standards. An example of eco-friendly accommodation on this trip is the Drake Bay Wilderness Resort, a family run business in a stunning location on the Osa Peninsula – the first resort of its kind in the area.

Activity:
Being a wildlife based tour, we are very conscious of our effects on the environment and how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation. On this trip we visit national and private parks, including Tortuguero and Corcovado, where entrance fees directly support conservation efforts. We also visit Aviarios del Caribe, the sloth sanctuary, an educational visit to increase awareness of the dangers that sloths face and the rehabilitation process for those injured animals coming into the centre.

Local Craft and Culture:
Although this is a largely nature based trip, we incorporate as much benefit to local people as possible. One of the ways to support local people and boost the economy is to buy crafts in some of the remote regions that we visit, such as Tortuguero and Cahuita. Having the opportunity to purchase locally made handicrafts encourages cultural exchange and provides a significant form of alternative income. Guides are careful to explain that any souvenirs on sale over the duration of the trip which are made from animal parts, shells or local hardwoods should not be purchased.

UK office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


3 Reviews of Costa Rica wildlife holiday, Coastal Secrets

3.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
0
2
0
1
0

Reviewed on 05 Feb 2019 by

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


Seeing such a variety of animals and birds every single day. But the highlights must be the quetzals, the racket of the howler monkeys and of course the sloths.

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


Be prepared for long long days in the mini bus when transferring between national parks. Still lots to see but through a window! Also very little downtime to just relax and enjoy your surroundings.

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


The majority of tourism of course benefits the local economy and must indirectly
benefit the country’s goals for the environment and their conservation targets.
Had little opportunity to meet and talk to Ticos.

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


A full-on trip! Wildlife galore.
I will definitely be back in Costa Rica soon.

Reviewed on 24 Jan 2019 by

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


There were many as we saw several different habitats! I loved the Cloud forests and the rainforests especially being able to walk some of the trails on my own as then I can experience the forest more quietly and directly and see animals and bird life that is not possible when people on a group walk are chatting. The group were great too with lovely people to share experiences with.

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


Invest in a reasonably good pair of binoculars! Several people on my trip just had very small binoculars so struggled to see things, but when I lent them mine they would say "ohhh!!" Makes a big difference to your enjoyment of the wildlife.

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


To some extent yes as there were several lunches and dinners when we ate out at local restaurants thus were spending money locally. Also we had a visit to a woman who ran her own small dairy farm and learned about her way of life which was really interesting. Several of the lodges we stayed at recycled and one made their own compost. We learned from our guide that the partner organisation supported a local rural school by getting them school supplies and by sponsoring and organising trips for the children to some of the best wildlife sites in Costa Rica.

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


Very enjoyable indeed and would recommend it to anyone especially if this would be someone's first time in that area or first time someone would be doing a wildlife trip. The only reason I am not rating it with 5 stars is that I personally prefer to stay in much smaller lodges, whereas we often stayed in very large lodges although they were well run and well organised.

Reviewed on 13 Mar 2019 by

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


Sloths

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


Drink lots at altitude; a number of us suffered from altitude headaches and nausea.
A travel kettle and supplies were welcome as was that other travel essential, a wash basin plug.

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


Well, we spent some money. We also filled our water bottles from bulk water in the hotels rather than buying bottled water.

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


Poor. Long bumpy journeys in a mini bus with uncomfortable front and rear seats. Didn't see as many birds as I expected; one needs to be interested in lichen, lizards, termites, ants, spiders etc as well! And I was also disappointed by the lack of mountain scenery.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Maryanne for her feedback regarding her holiday in Costa Rica, although we are very sorry that some aspects of the holiday did not meet her expectations. We regret that she found the journeys to be long and the transportation to be uncomfortable; the feedback about our ‘Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets’ tour is usually overwhelmingly positive, so we are very sorry that Maryanne’s experience was not so positive.

Popular similar holidays

Costa Rica wildlife holiday

Costa Rica wildlife holiday

An amazing variety of Costa Rican wildlife

From £2899 - £3799 16 days including UK flights

Costa Rica highlights holiday & beach

Costa Rica highlights holiday & beach

Short highlight itinerary covering city, forests and beach

From £1395 13 days excluding flights

Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

Family turtle conservation volunteering in Costa Rica

From £709 7 days excluding flights

Costa Rica tailor made holiday, vistas and volcanoes

Costa Rica tailor made holiday, vistas and volcanoes

Discover Costa Rica's hidden gems

From £3270 12 days including UK flights

Convert currencies