Off the beaten track Costa Rica private tour

“Private tailormade tour of Costa Rica’s lesser visited national parks for an adventurous taste of wilderness, with a huge variety of optional activities.”

Highlights

Carara National Park | Crocodile spotting on river safari | Drive the Pacific Coast Highway | San Gerardo de Dota | Optional activities including canopy ziplining, scuba diving and white water rafting | Hiking and bird watching | Ojochal | Dominical | Playa Uvita | Whale watching (in season) | Ballena Marine National Park |

Description of Off the beaten track Costa Rica private tour

Long a destination of choice not only for ecotourists but adventurous, active travellers, Costa Rica has devoted over a quarter of its land to national parks and nature reserves. It’s an incredible achievement and one to be celebrated, but what that does also mean is that many of the best-known and most accessible parks see many visitors every year, which does not always result in the kind of remote wilderness that some travellers are hoping for when they take a holiday in Costa Rica.

Which is where this superb, private tailormade tour in Costa Rica comes in. Over two weeks, stay in a selection of rustic eco lodges in idyllic locations as you explore some of the country’s lesser-visited parks, and rediscover what makes Costa Rica such a sublime destination for nature lovers.

Carara National Park, just outside the capital, San Jose, where you will embark on a thrilling river safari in search of iguanas, a huge range of birdlife, threatened and endangered species and the huge American crocodile. Heading inland along the Pacific Coast Highway, spend a few days in the countryside where you might take an exciting canopy zipline tour, visit coffee or sugarcane plantations, and swim beneath a waterfall.

In San Gerardo de Dota, gateway to Los Quetzales National Park, you’ll find one of the finest places in Costa Rica for hiking and birdwatching, while moving on to Ojochal you can indulge in a fantastic range of activities from scuba diving to whale watching (in season), white water rafting and horse riding.

Before returning to San Jose you’ll spend a few days winding down (as if you’ll need it by now) in Dominical known for its whale tail-shaped beach and Pacific rollers, where you can kayak, surf, and snorkel with marine life including octopuses and turtles to your heart’s content. Then relax in the evenings, cocktail in hand, to savour a classic Costa Rican tangerine sunset.

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Off the beaten track Costa Rica private tour

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Travel and tourism can have positive as well as negative impacts on the environment, the economy and the social and cultural structures of communities. Sustainable tourism -the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of cultural heritage – lies close to our heart. Our love and passion for Latin America makes us strive to protect the destinations we take you to visit. As members of AITO, we’re committed to AITO’s Sustainable Tourism Guidelines, which means that we ensure that environmental and cultural demands are kept as low as possible.
We cooperate with local operators, some of who we work with over 25 years. They have a proven record in training guides to set a good example in their respect for the surroundings and pass on advice and encouragement to visitors on how to preserve the environment. Simple recommendations, including refilling water bottles, disposing rubbish in a responsible way and not buying arts and crafts made from endangered plants and wildlife, are only a few examples of shared advice by our guides in order for us to all contribute to minimise the impact of tourism on the surroundings.
Furthermore, we work with local foundations, including the LATA Foundation, which is a UK-based charity with social and environmental projects throughout the continent. In Costa Rica, they support a solar heating project run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) at La Selva Biological Station in the ecologically diverse ecosystem of La Selva – one of the premier sites in the world for ongoing research in lowland rain forest. Work on climate change and its impact on biodiversity in tropical wet forests has become a significant area of study at the station. The project aims to cut electricity usage by 50% within five years, by providing a solar water heater for the two cabins used by visitors. This project saved costs for OTS, promotes sustainability to visitors, and is more environmentally friendly.
For decades Costa Rica has been leading in conservation, and as a result over a quarter of its territory is given over to well-managed national parks and private nature reserves, several of which will be visited during this trip. When selecting accommodation, we prefer to work with hotels and lodges which have a verifiable commitment to eco-friendly practices. You will stay at small, intimate and mostly family-run eco-lodges, rustic but comfortable, with a wildlife and outdoor activity focus as well as offering peaceful relaxation. On the Pacific Coast for example you stay at La Cusinca Ecolodge, a private jungle reserve overlooking the ocean. It is a family-run eco-lodge, accredited for its conservation and environmental efforts. As the lodge is part of a private nature reserve, they are dedicated to marine and terrestrial conservation, as well as environmental education.
During your trip, you will visit several conservation projects and sanctuaries. Carara National Park for example hosts a wide range of ecosystems and is where many endangered and threatened species live and are protected. These include the American crocodile and many bird species, such as the scarlet macaw, tiger herons and toucans. We also recommend taking a trip out to the marine reserve at Caño Island, where you can snorkel in clear, sapphire blue water lapping suntanned beaches. It’s home to 19 species of coral, and 60 different species of water creatures, including white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles and manta rays. During your trip, you can also visit Ballena Marine National Park, one of only two nationally protected marine zones in the country. Here you may observe abundant wildlife on gentle trail hikes and take a dip in natural swimming holes.

Community

We pride ourselves on delivering our clients truly authentic and unforgettable experiences in Latin America which connect travellers with the people whose country they visit. Therefore, we prefer to work with suppliers who are committed to the same goal and vision. On the tropical hills inland from the southern Pacific coast you stay for example at Yaba Chigui Lodge. The owners here believe in solidarity and mutual help, and they embrace the causes that contribute to the socio-cultural and environmental development of the community of Ojochal. Guests at the lodge can join in patrolling duties to protect the turtles, assist in cleaning the beaches and walking trails, and plant ‘ojoche’ trees. The owners of the lodge also demonstrate to local students the principles of environmental sustainability used in the construction of the lodge, and guests are invited to help local children to study biological species of interest and to document their ecology and behaviour in conjunction with the National Institute of Biodiversity.

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