Costa Rica self drive holiday, natural history

“Tailor made self-drive holiday around Costa Rica for two weeks, with an emphasis on wildlife, national parks and rainforests. And several other spots off the tourist trail. ”


San Jose | Irazú volcano | Cartago | Orosí Valley | Lankester Gardens | San Gerardo de Dota | Talamanca Mountains | Braulio Carrillo N.P | Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí |La Selva Rain Forest Reserve | Alajuela | Poás Volcano | La Fortuna for 2 nights | Arenal Volcano | la Fortuna waterfall | Caño Negro | Liberia | Carara NP | Rincón de la Vieja | Ranch stay

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

We offer a complete tailor made service allowing you to decide where you stay and what to do
Our top tip:
Take plenty of chill-out time in each place when putting together your tailor made itinerary.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
3-4* lodges and small hotels
Accommodation, 4x4 car hire, all breakfasts.
Check out the Casado (set lunch) at soda cafes, around £2.45
Can be tailor made for solo travellers at extra cost.
Holiday type

Tailor Made Specialists in Costa Rica

Our specialists have carefully designed this holiday to be the best of its type. You can choose it with confidence straight 'off-the-peg', for any date. You can add days before or after the itinerary if you have more time available. We can also design something just for you on a fully tailor-made basis. A tailor-made service naturally adds a little to the cost of a trip, but you are making sure that you get the most from your valuable holiday time and from the rest of your budget. For inspiration, we provide informative brochures and a comprehensive website. When it comes to planning things in detail our advisers are a phone call or email away. They know Costa Rica exceptionally well, and there's nothing they like better than to share that knowledge with you. We are based in London, fully independent members of AITO, with full financial and legal protection.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica self drive holiday, natural history

As an in depth specialist tour operator to Costa Rica responsible tourism is at the very heart of what we do. To us, this means much more than a simple donation to a charity for each client. We try to build long and constructive involvements with local guides, guest houses, wildlife lodges, and hotels, in the course of which we, and our clients, can make lasting wide-ranging contributions to the wonderful places and people we engage with. In this itinerary we use several lodges that fit with this philosophy perfectly, employing local guides and bringing long-term benefits to the local community. We are the first tour operator in the UK to form a partnership with the Rainforest Alliance to work towards the implementation of best management practices in sustainable tourism. In real terms this means that we are working with hotels who are making a positive impact on their local community – socially, environmentally and economically.

Outlined below are hotels we use that employ sustainable tourism methods.

Trogon Lodge employs energy saving tactics and contributes the local economy, helping to demonstrate that ecotourism is a more sustainable long term way to earn income than destroying or altering habitats for short term gains. The Lodge employs interpretive nature guides who are either trained in biology or have significant local knowledge of the habitat and provides books, posters, maps, photographs and other ways to inform guests and visitors about the biology of the area. It helps train and employ local people at fair wages and informs guests, staff and visitors on the importance and value of a healthy ecosystem and describes how to best enjoy the area without impacting it.

La Quinta de Sarapiqui Country Inn provides jobs for people in the local community (95% of their positions go to local workers). They have developed collaboration programs with local schools, consisting of cultural exchanges with their guests and including donations for improvements to installations and the acquisition of educational materials. They sponsor local cultural and sports activities. They grant four scholarships to students from the local high school. They are involved in community development and local environmental associations and in all the activities meant to improve quality of life in the community of Sarapiquí. They have adopted environmental protection measures through programmes for recycling, saving resources, and the use of non-contaminating products, and they educate tourists about these programmes.

Hacienda Guachipelin is focused on being a self-sufficient community, using energy production methods that are ecologically correct. For example, the water heaters use solar energy and electricity is produced by a water wheel. The property comprises 1600 hectares of land, of which 700 hectares are set aside for the conservation of the tropical dry forest; 575 hectares are used as pastureland; and 325 hectares are being reforested with species in danger of extinction. They are currently working on a methane gas biodigestor. It's a system to process sewage water, grease from the kitchen and other organic residues. Out of the process methane and liquid fertilizer is obtained. The gas is being used on the workers kitchen on the first stage. On the second stage, gas will be used in the hotel's kitchen. This way they are reducing the need for petroleum bi-products. From the effluent they obtain liquid fertilizer. This is used to fertilize the pastures of the Hacienda.

On this trip you will visit National Parks at Sarapiqui and Carara. The entrance fee goes toward the conservation of these protected areas.

2 Reviews of Costa Rica self drive holiday, natural history

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 17 Jan 2015 by

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

Being at the crater of Masaya Volcano at night, and also walking in the cloud forest on Mombacho Volcano

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

Learn some Spanish or take a phrase book.

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

yes, it definitely benefited local people using local tour guides and also the eco lodge definitely supported environmental concerns and the reserve supported conservation

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

Fantastic, absolutely loved it!

Reviewed on 24 Feb 2014 by

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

There were so many highlights - and part of the pleasure was the variety of
different experiences as we travelled around; more like six short mini-holidays
all packed together. The very best moment was kayaking in Tortuguero: just four
of us and a guide exploring the rainforest by river at dawn. The cries of the
howler monkeys echoed across the morning mist, and we got up close to crocodiles, turtles and incredible water birds. Priceless!

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

Self-drive is a great way to travel - and driving in Costa Rica is not difficult.
Choose an itinerary with a good balance of organised activity and free-time; it
is much easier to see wildlife in the rainforests when you are with a local
guide. We had at least one organised activity every day. Make sure you do at least one forest night walk - it's a different world at night.
Take a good pair of binoculars for everyone in the party. As one guide said "we
promised you wildlife, we didn't promise it would be very close!"

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

Yes. Costa Rica was the most environmentally aware country I have visited.
Tourism and environmentalism are very closely linked - and as long as the country is able to benefit economically from the preservation of its fabulous natural habitats, it can continue to support conservation instead of other more
environmentally harmful activities, and to employ many local people in the

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

Fabulous. An wonderful and unforgettable experience.

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