Costa Rica wildlife small group tour

“Costa Rica might be tiny, but it punches far above its weight in the wildlife stakes. You’ll be on the lookout for toucans, sloths and jaguars on this small group holiday.”

Highlights

San Jose | Doka Estate coffee tour | Sarchi & Grecia | Irazu Volcano | Guayabo archaeological site | Pacuare River rafting | Tortuguero National Park | sail to Cano Blanco | Arenal Volcano | La Fortuna | Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve | coastal Manuel Antonio National Park | Nicoya Peninsula | Carara National Park

Description of Costa Rica wildlife small group tour

This small group wildlife holiday plunges headlong into the valleys, rainforests and white-sand coastlines that carve Costa Rica. Irazu Volcano gives you a toucan’s-eye view of the countryside that whacks out coffee and sugar for a living. Arenal Volcano comes complete with hot springs. And you’ll spend a day around the Pacuare River, choosing to white water raft through forest-cloaked canyons.

The national parks rustle with wildlife. Sail to Tortuguero National Park, where toucans and howler monkeys flit between the jungle canals and lagoons. People-shy ocelots, tapir and jaguar also hide away here. The colossal Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a mix of human and animal natural history, where tangled Mayan trails and Quaker settlements are squirrelled away between the bird-packed canopy walkways. Manuel Antonio National Park is a different flavour of reserve, backing onto the sand-swept Pacific Coast. This is the place to spot capuchin monkeys and sloths.

With two weeks under your belt – and plenty of free time – this small group wildlife holiday to Costa Rica gives you the transport and accommodation, but also the breathing room you need, to explore this country.

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06 Apr 2019
£3025
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13 Apr 2019
£2899
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13 Jul 2019
£3135
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10 Aug 2019
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05 Oct 2019
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02 Nov 2019
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09 Nov 2019
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23 Nov 2019
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18 Dec 2019
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04 Jan 2020
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11 Jan 2020
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18 Jan 2020
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01 Feb 2020
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08 Feb 2020
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15 Feb 2020
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22 Feb 2020
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29 Feb 2020
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07 Mar 2020
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14 Mar 2020
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21 Mar 2020
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28 Mar 2020
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04 Apr 2020
£3195
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Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
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.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica wildlife small group tour

Environment

We consider it very important to give our support to the countries that we visit, which we do, particularly in Costa Rica in a number of ways.

We support two organizations in Costa Rica which are dedicated to preserving the ecology. On this trip you will get the opportunity to visit the CATIE institute based in Turrialba, an innovative regional training and research centre providing opportunities for new professionals starting out in rural management, agriculture and conservation of natural resources. As well as helping to raise awareness of the centre and providing much needed funds there is a fine botanical garden to relax in.

On our next stop we visit the Caribbean Conservation Corps in Tortuguero National Park which contributes to conservation in the Turtle laying area of Costa Rica’s coast. Founded in 1959 the foundation seeks to survival of sea turtles through research, education and protection of the natural areas where they live including encouraging people to help clean up the beach where turtles lay their eggs.

In Monteverde proceeds from the entry fees to the cloud forest reserve help to protect the highly endangered habitat of the Resplendant Quetzal, of which only 300 pairs remain in the world. Monteverde houses 2.5% of worldwide biodiversity; income collected through visits are used directly to fund preservation, research and educational programmes to ensure this pristine environment is preserved for future generations.

As we travel in small groups, this reduces our environmental impact and all of our internal connections are made by bus. Interestingly on this trip there are plenty of opportunities to walk and we use boats to travel around the National Parks. This initiative allows you to get much closer to the natural habitats and to protect the delicate environment.

In the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve we have a guided nature walk which gives a more in depth view of the natural environment and eco system.

Community

Our local partners in Costa Rica have been leading the way in promoting gender equality within the tourism sector; recognising that gender equality is a key element to guarantee social well-being and sustainable development, they are a vocal advocate of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) mission, which looks forward to achieve equal pay between women and men for work of equal value by 2030.

In addition our local partners were one of the first tour operators in Costa Rica with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST), achieving five leaves (level 5) out of a maximum possible of five with all staff given regular training and support to promote environmental best practices including recycling, water and energy conservation. We employ local guides and encourage our clients to use restaurants, shops, and other local businesses along the way in order to benefit the communities we visit directly. We try to ensure that we have minimum impact on the flora and fauna that we see when we are exploring, so that their lives and surroundings are not affected.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

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