The heart of Central America
Fly direct from Gatwick to join this unforgettable small group tour - an incredible opportunity to experience Costa Rica's amazing natural beauty. Stay in the heart of Tortuguero National Park on the jungle-clad banks of a glorious lagoon, explore the canopy of Monteverde's majestic cloud forest, the see the brooding mass of the Arenal volcano, and encounter some the rarest and most colourful wildlife on the planet including hummingbirds, sloths, monkeys and caiman.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly to Costa Rica
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.
Day Two: Travel from San Jose to Tortuguero
Very early this morning, we'll board the coach and head east, through the spectacular jungle landscapes of Braulio Carrillo National Park, towards the Caribbean. 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.
Day Three: Optional and included Tortuguero wildlife tours
Early this morning you'll have the chance to see the astonishing wildlife of Costa Rica come to life as a new day begins on an optional canal tour in the company of an expert guide.
Return to the lodge for breakfast, then head out once more for a full-day tour of the park. Hidden within the landscape of waterways and tropical forest you may spot monkeys and manatees, sloths and caimans, tiny turtles and toucan, as well as macaws, iguanas and water-walking 'Jesus Christ' lizards.
The park is also 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.
Day Four: Included hot springs visit
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 this evening.
Day Five: Included chocolate tour
Learn about the secrets and history of chocolate production, from cacao pods to ceremonial drinks and confectionery bars, on a fascinating Rainforest Chocolate Tour. And, this afternoon, burn off any samples you may have indulged in on a gentle hike through the volcanic landscape to the El Silencio look-out point where you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the volcanic slopes.
We'll return to the hotel in La Fortuna this evening.
Day Six: Coach travel to Monteverde
Today, we'll head around Lake Arenal and make our way to into the cloud forests of Monteverde, where private conservation sites and reserves protect wildlife communities quite unlike those elsewhere in the country. 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.
Day Seven: Included Selvatura Monteverde cloud forest tour
Today we'll follow the 1.9km trail over eight bridges through the lush rainforest canopy of Selvatura Park. 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.
Day Eight: Coach travel to San Jose
Today you'll return to San Jose and head to the airport to board your flight home.
Day Nine: Arrive home
Arrive back in the UK after an overnight flight.
Small group tours
Group sizes on each departure on this tour are restricted to a maximum of 24 people. The usual group size is between 16 and 20. As a result you'll be able to travel in smaller vehicles, enjoy experiences and encounters (and in some cases even stay in wonderful little places) that are denied to larger groups.
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Turtle hatching time in Tortuguero
Departures in September may have the chance to see baby green turtles hatching at the nesting sites along Tortuguero's 22 miles of beaches.
Passports and visas
British citizens do not require a visa to visit Costa Rica. Passports must be valid for one day beyond your stay in Costa Rica.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
A departure tax of USD$29 per person is payable on departure at San Jose airport.
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg. Please take an overnight bag, though, as luggage is limited to 11kgs for nights two and in Tortuguero National Park.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Changes to your hotels
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.