Wildlife & Nature
Itinerary & Map
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Rincon de la Vieja
Your trip starts at Liberia, Costa Rica’s northern airport, you are met by our representative and transferred to nearby Rincon de la Vieja National Park. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. For information on when the trip ends please refer to the itinerary as described below. Hotel 1 night (Swimming Pool) (B)
Rincon de la Vieja; Manuel Antonio
Today enjoy a morning hike through the spectacular scenery of the largest national park in Costa Rica’s northwest. Meaning literally ‘old lady’s corner’, Rincon de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex with at least nine eruptive vents within a 15 kilometre-wide caldera. The region is characterised by dramatic scenery, boiling mud pools, gleaming, clear water rivers and crashing waterfalls, perfect for swimming.
In the afternoon you will transfer to the coast, along the Pan-American Highway to Manuel Antonio (194km approx. 5hrs driving time). Hotel 2 nights (AAA) (Swimming Pool) (B)
Today, transfer the short distance to Manuel Antonio National Park and hike through this tiny park. With white sandy beaches on both sides of a forested peninsula, the park is a tropical paradise and the forested hillsides are home Monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans and scarlet macaws.
In the afternoon you will have time to relax on the beach or by the pool. If you are still hungry for adventure, a full range of optional activities can be arranged (additional charge). (B)
Today you travel north to La Fortuna, the gateway for exploring the amazing Arenal National Park (135km approx. 2.5hrs driving time). The park is home to Costa Rica’s most active volcano and is also rich in flora and fauna. The scenery consists of primary cloud forest and rainforest – this is a land of rivers, lakes and volcanic thermal hot springs. This afternoon there is free time for optional horse riding or waterfall hike (additional charge). Hotel 2 nights (AAA) (Swimming Pool) (B)
Strike out into the national park with the rumble of the impressive volcano in the distance and the shake of the force of this natural phenomenon under your feet. Exploring the fertile volcanic slopes will be an introduction to the wondrous and varied tropical landscape of Costa Rica. (B)
Lake Arenal; Monteverde.
Today you transfer along the Arenal Lake - a famous hangout for avid windsurfers - via Tilaran to Monteverde de Santa Elena (approx 4-5 hours). There are some great views across the lake looking back towards the Arenal Volcano as well as some arty wayside stopping points offering great homemade cakes and refreshments. As you climb up to Monteverde you’ll feel the climate becoming cooler and see the difference as the vegetation changes from tropical to cloudforest. On the surrounding hills are a number of coffee plantations as the area is famous for producing some of the best coffee beans in the country, with many of the growers belonging to fair-trade co-operatives. Hotel 2 nights (AAA) (Swimming Pool) (B)
Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers; they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. Variation in temperature and rainfall in this area creates eight distinct habitats covering both the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of the mountains.
Today you explore the forest which is home to the reclusive resplendent quetzal, the blue-crowned motmot, the emerald toucanet and some 30 species of iridescent hummingbird - to cite but a few of the 400-odd bird species recorded here! As if this were not enough, more than 100 mammal species, 1200 amphibian and reptile species and many thousands of insect species live here, all in addition to an astonishing variety of plant life.
One of the highlights for many is the chance to see the forest from the height of the canopy instead of always looking up into the trees. As an included activity you will walk across hanging bridges (Sky Walk) suspended through the trees. It’s not designed for vertigo suffers but provides a fantastic chance to get in amongst the foliage and experience the forest from a great vantage point!
Monteverde also has a number of other optional activities you may be interested in doing including horse riding, visiting orchid farms and the thrilling ‘Sky Trek’ where you zipline with harnesses on ropes between platforms in the trees. (B)
Your trip ends at the airport. (B)