FLASH OF THE QUETZAL

Wildlife Adventure to Costa Rica

Caribbean & Lowlands, Central & Southern Pacific Coast, Central Valley & Highlands

Duration: 11 nights

Price: From £4,250 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers, boat transportation, experiences as stated and taxes

This Costa Rica wildlife and birding tour has been designed to sample the best of the country’s major wildlife habitats with expert tours to give you the inside track. Targeting Costa Rica’s most charismatic species, you’ll travel to the Caribbean coast to explore the land of the turtles then weave through the foothills of the misty Talamanca Mountains to the birding paradise of San Gerardo de Dota. You’ll finish the trip on the lowlands of the Osa Peninsula, swimming with the unbelievable sea life found along the Pacific coast, before resting in the coffee-filled Central Highlands for a few days of countryside R&R.
Perfect forTwitchers, photographers, naturalists and solo travellers.
In the knowAdding a few days to your trip to see the calling three-wattled bellbird in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Best for

  • Eco-tourism
  • Wildlife & Nature
  • First-timers
  • Landscapes & Scenery

All Exsus holidays are tailor-made

This itinerary is just a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

Call 020 7337 9010 or Make an enquiry

Itinerary details

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1 nightSAN JOSE

Arriving into Costa Rica, you’ll be taken to Grano de Oro, a converted Victorian mansion house located just off the capital’s main thoroughfare. Affectionately known as Chepe, San Jose offers some of the best museums, art galleries, and picturesque parks in Central America, plus plenty of fun restaurants and cafes serving typical Latin American fare. Although the city is not laden with colonial architecture, a visit to the undeniably beautiful Teatro Nacional is a must. Flecked with ornate gold interiors and a splendid façade, the theatre is a significant building in the history of Costa Rica’s indigenous tico culture. Head to the Parque Morazan to marvel at talented street performers, percussionists and jugglers, or visit the bustling stalls of the Mercado Central to sample local specialities, ranging from fresh squid to tempting artisanal ice-cream. Starting your wildlife adventure in San Jose, go on your first safari and dip into the city’s humming and vibrant nightlife, experiencing everything from salsa clubs and bohemian cafes to jazz haunts and karaoke bars.
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2 nightsTORTUGUERO

From the populated capital, you’ll fly to the ‘land of the turtles’, Tortuguero for two nights, where you can kayak on the river spotting caimans and magnificently-coloured flowers and watch hatchling turtles shuffling their way over the sands to the ocean between July and October (peak season for green turtles), as it is one of the most important nesting sites in the western hemisphere for the endangered turtles.

Enjoy a visit to the town of Tortuguero as well as a boat tour through the canals and waterways. Set out and explore the miles of private trails on the land of your hotel, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, or  simply relax in the riverside pool, or lie back in a hammock, while taking in the sounds and vistas of the surrounding river and jungle.
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Trogon Lodge

2 nightsSAN GERARDO DE DOTA

An ornithological melting pot of burgundy plumage, flaming crowns, and jewel-toned tail feathers, Costa Rica really is one of the best places in the world for birdwatching. From coast to countryside, you’ll be taken to San Gerardo de Dota, which is huddled up against the towering Talamanca Mountain Range.

A mountain lodge in the cloud forest and your best opportunity of spot the exceedingly shy Resplendent Quetzal, worshipped by the Mayans and Aztecs, Trogon Lodge will be your base for two nights as you head out on silent walks through the forest scanning the thick foliage for the rare blue, green and red coloured bird with three feet long tail feathers. Though Trogon Lodge offers a great chance of spotting the Quetzal, it is also frequented by green violetear hummingbirds, flame-throated warblers, emerald toucanets and wood quails to name but a few.
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 4 nightsOSA PENINSULA

Described as an Eden of coral and rock and consequently home to an underwater world of vibrant tropical fish, the Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is the next stop on your wildlife expedition. Accessible only by boat, you’ll be taken to the secluded eco-lodge Playa Cativo Lodge, which is surrounded by the Piedras Blancas National Park. If you liked the mangrove setting of Tortuguero, then you’ll love the Rio Esquinas mangrove, where enthusiastic paddlers can kayak between tree roots, spotting the impressive birdlife that fish in these waters. However, if you’ve had your fill of birdlife and jungle creatures, then you can spend your time suspended in the sparkling blue waters around the Golfo Dulce - snorkelling with manta rays, kayaking alongside bottlenose dolphins and marvelling at the breaching humpback whales around the Osa Peninsula.
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2 nightsCENTRAL VALLEY

Lastly, it’s back to Costa Rica’s Central Valley, where you can continue ticking off the wildlife checklist thanks to the 140 species of birds found dotted around the grounds of your colourful and quirky hotel, the Xandari Plantation. Here you can also visit the nearby Zoo Ave with its rescued animals, including crocodiles, deer, snakes, monkeys and cougars or for a different kind of wildlife adventure, enquire about rafting to jump on a raft and head down the world-class rapids on the Pacuare River.

When you are not shaking with adrenaline from paddling through the Class III and Class IV rapids, take the opportunity to spot some of the wildlife that inhabits the riverbanks, most notably anteaters, river otters, iguanas, capuchin monkeys and sloths. Alternatively, slow it right down with a leisurely tour of the area’s coffee plantations, learn the drying and roasting process, before having the organic beans ground into a paste and smoothed over your skin during a blissful spa treatment at your hotel.
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Travel is not recommended

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