Costa Rica holiday, off the beaten track

“You can tell that these guys really understand the natural nooks and cultural crannies of Costa Rica. This wonderful tailor made itinerary was the most perfect adventure into unknown terrain, with a few classics like Tortuguero thrown in. ”


San Jose | Tortuguero | La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano | Juanilama | Boca Tapada

Description of Costa Rica holiday, off the beaten track

This Costa Rica holiday is all about getting off the beaten track, tailor made to suit your interests and time frame, while also ensuring that you see some of the parts of Costa Rica that we really value. Starting in the capital, San Jose, you then take a coach to the outskirts of Tortuguero National Park, which is only accessible by boat. Be prepared for a trip into another world completely. This is a classic place to visit in Costa Rica, as is La Fortuna and the Arenal volcano, just one of sixteen volcanoes on Costa Rica in fact. Staying in a wooden cabin on the outskirts of touristy La Fortuna, however, means you can enjoy this tropical terrain in more peaceful surroundings.

You will be even further off the tourist trail after that, spending time with the Tico community in Juanilama where the women have set up an exemplary community tourism business, so that visitors can learn about the local ecosystem, produce and traditional cuisine. From Juanilama to Boca Tapada up in the north, which is a protected wildlife reserve where you can stay in the most simple, natural bungalows surrounded by birds. This reserve is, for example, a primary nesting area for the endangered great green macaw. It really is a special place to spend your last night before heading back to San Jose and your onward journey.

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

Departure information

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica holiday, off the beaten track


We aim to use accommodation that shares our values when it comes to the environment. During this trip you will stay in an eco-lodge in La Fortuna who are committed to protecting the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. They do this by recycling, educating the community on the practices and benefits of environmental protection and using energy saving methods and biodegradable products throughout the lodge.

We also like to use local guides on each of our trips who know the area and the natural surroundings. During our trip to Corcovado National Park you will explore the area with a guide who can tell you all about the wildlife, plants and trees here and how best to protect them.

Our local partner in Costa Rica has sustainability at the forefront of their ethos and they have demonstrated this by achieving the highest level of 5 leaves as part of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program. This program is based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. This influences their choices when it comes to accommodation and excursions they offer.


We are constantly looking for meaningful trips which give back to the communities and adds something really special to our customer's experience in Costa Rica. During this itinerary you will spend one night with the Bribri tribe in a local village near the Panama border. Here you will learn how to make chocolate, visit a traditional finca (farm) and learn which plants have medicinal benefits. You'll enjoy a home made meal from local natural products and get an insight into local life in this tribe. This brings tourism income into the community and gives our customers a truly authentic and memorable experience.

Throughout our trips we use local guides and drivers who can pass on their specialist expertise to our customers. By having a local guide specific to each area you gain an insight and experience. This also puts money into the local's pockets, especially if you eat at local restaurants which we actively encourage.

4 Reviews of Costa Rica holiday, off the beaten track

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 30 Jan 2019 by

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

We spent some time with the Bri Bri people who are indigenous to Costa Rica. They cooked all of our meals which were traditional food and took us
swimming in the rainforest. The real highlight was making fresh chocolate with them from their Cocoa plantation. It was the nicest chocolate we had ever
tasted and a truly unique experience!

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

Fill your itinerary with lots of places! Costa Rica is a small country and there is so much to see, each place only requires 2-3 days max. Also self-drive is
extremely easy, the roads are very simple and it's the easiest way to get around.

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

Yes definitely, they made sure that all of our experiences benefited the local people. All of the places we stayed with local wildlife were respectful and
very careful to preserve the natural rainforest.

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

10/10 it was an amazing experience, truly unique.

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2018 by

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

Early morning canoe trip from Evergreen Lodge with Ray Brown wildlife watching. Snorkelling off Caño island and seeing sea turtles.

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

Take easy drying clothing and plastic packing bags as difficult to dry things.

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

Hopefully we provided some employment for local people. The saving the rainforest kids project trip supports the project.

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

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Ruth,

Thanks ever so much for leaving us such a wonderful review of your holiday to Costa Rica, I'm really pleased that you had such an amazing time, particularly enjoying the snorkelling near to Corcovado, - this was one of my favourite spots too!

We look forward to helping you plan another adventure soon!

Best wishes,


Reviewed on 21 Sep 2018 by

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

The stunning countryside, wildlife and how incredibly clean of litter it is, great not
seeing plastic rubbish everywhere...

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

Make sure you learn basic Spanish...

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

It really does and Costa Rica relies on tourism..

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

It was good though some of the places booked for me to stay were a let down due to isolation, paid for trips not happening and a couple of rude staff, though I
put most of this down to the company I booked with..

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Vince, thanks for your feedback and I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed the nature and wildlife that originally drew you to Costa Rica and could feel how much of a positive effect you were having while travelling with us. I'm sorry to hear about you feeling isolated, we do specialise in smaller more off-the-beaten-track lodges perfect for immersing yourself in Costa Rica's stunning nature but can see these might not suit the solo traveler sometimes. This has all been noted and I hope you still enjoyed your adventure as I know this was a precursor for a bigger trip that you are hoping to head out on soon. Thanks, Rob

Reviewed on 18 Apr 2017 by

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

The most memorable part of the holiday was encountering unexpected
wildlife up close!

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

I would recommend that you should not spent too much time travelling but spend a few extra days at a good base. Travelling in Costa Rica, despite the relatively good roads, is not quick and can be quite a challenge. Costa Rica is also very expensive for everything! It was a nightmare getting in to San Jose due to some bridge construction and took a total of 3 hours to get to our hotel from the airport ( 1.5 hours through immigration and a further 1.5 hours in a shared taxi!) - not very environmentally friendly.

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

I didn't really feel that local people benefitted except indirectly through
having a job in the tourist industry. Items for sale were rarely produced in
the country.

Travelling by minibus was perhaps more environmentally friendly but there were so many buses!!

Conservation is a tricky issue. Many educated locals appreciate their natural inheritance but ironically don't think their government are doing enough to save it. Many people continue to slash and burn the forest and then sell the land for building or worse still, for planting forests of oil palm plantations. No animal species benefits? from oil palms; nothing lives there and the land dies ultimately. I was personally horrified to see so many miles of oil palm plantations along the Pacific coast, and more land being cleared for the same. This was very evident from a flight from the Osa peninsula to San Jose.

So despite the numbers of tourists and the overall costs involved, I do wonder how much is actually used to help conservation?

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

We enjoyed the holiday overall and can't fault the organisation of our accommodation and transportation which was totally reliable.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Jackie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experiences of travelling in Costa Rica. It sounds like you had some really special wildlife experiences out there - I have always found the incredible diversity of both the fauna and flora in Costa Rica to be such a wonder!

You have raised some interesting points about the local economy, which is heavily reliant on both the tourism and agricultural industries. Although a holiday to Costa Rica cannot directly impact how the agricultural industry is run, of which African Palm plantations are an established part, we can do all possible to ensure that the holidays we plan for our customers have as much positive impact on the local community and as little negative impact on the natural environment as possible.

We strive to work, as far as possible, with local partners, hotels and suppliers who are either locally owned or have a majority of employees from the local area. By choosing to work with the local ground handler we have in Costa Rica, we know that every booking we make has an immediate impact on local communities and on the local environment, since a portion of every booking made goes towards supporting local community upliftment, educational
and environmental protection projects. They are also registered with CST (Sustainable Tourism Certification) and they have always received the maximum reward for their sustainable tourism practices: 5 leaves. We also make sure to recommend travelling by shared transport so that there are fewer individual cars travelling around this beautiful country sending out those destructive fumes.

I am really pleased to hear that overall you enjoyed your time in Costa Rica and we do hope to hear from you again soon.

Best wishes, Fiona

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