The heart of Central America
Fly direct from Gatwick to join this unforgettable escorted tour - an incredible opportunity to experience Costa Rica's amazing natural beauty. Explore the canopy of the majestic Cloud Forest, see the brooding mass of the Arenal volcano, and encounter some the rarest and most colourful wildlife on the planet.
Fly to San Jose, the friendly, cosmopolitan capital of Costa Rica. Meet your tour manager and transfer to your hotel, then rest and relax after your journey.
Very early this morning, we'll board the coach and head east, through jungle landscapes. After an en-route stop for breakfast, you'll arrive at the pier in Cano Blanco or Pavona, and board a canal boat for the last part of the journey, to the very edge of the Caribbean Sea.
Spend two nights in Tortuguero National Park, at Mawamba Lodge. The park is a treasure trove of biological diversity - it's home to land turtles, monkeys and manatees, and some 375 species of bird - criss-crossed by canals and navigable lagoons.
Enjoy an unforgettable day in Tortuguero, discovering the park, in the company of an expert guide, aboard a canal boat. The park is a vital nesting site for both green and leatherback turtles, and visitors in September will have the opportunity to visit the hatching site where (with luck) newly hatched turtles will be emerging!
Complete your stay in this amazing place this evening with dinner at the lodge's floating restaurant.
Leaving Tortuguero behind, we'll travel across the Costa Rican lowlands to La Fortuna and the Arenal Paraiso Hotel for two-night stay with views of majestic Arenal. After 40 years, the eruptions of this exceptionally active volcano have finally died down, but the region is blessed with hot springs and thermal baths, including those at Eco Termales that you'll visit today.
Today you'll travel north to the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy a canal cruise along the stunning Rio Frio during which you should hope to see caimans and crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas and a variety of colourful birds.
We'll return to the hotel in La Fortuna this evening.
The privately owned Monteverde Reserve in the Tilaran Mountains, which protects six wildlife communities quite unlike those elsewhere in the country, is today's destination. Our base for two nights, the El Establo Hotel, boasts extensive hillside grounds and offers spectacular views across the forested hills and - on clear days - all the way to the Nicoya Gulf.
Today we'll follow the 1.9km trail over eight bridges through the lush rainforest canopy of Selvatura. Visit the Hummingbird Garden, and Butterfly Garden for a close encounter with these sparkling creatures, and perhaps dare to ride Selvatura Park's 15 zip lines (the longest of which is one kilometre long!) through the cloud-forest canopy on an optional excursion.
Stunning Manuel Antonio National Park, at the edge of the ocean on Costa Rica's central Pacific Coast, provides the perfect background for a relaxing pause in your travels as you enjoy the facilities of a secluded luxury hotel just a short walk from the beach and close to the park entrance.
Relax beside the hotel pool, head into Manuel Antonio National Park on an excursion or visit the nearby fishing village of Quepos. The choice of how little or how much to do on these three days is entirely yours.
Today you'll return to San Jose and head to the airport to board your flight home.
Arrive back in the UK after an overnight flight.