The Wildlife Highlights of Costa Rica and Panama

15 Days from £5593 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you
15 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Snorkelling and Diving
Country Combo

An excellent itinerary combining some of the best wildlife destinations in Costa Rica and Panama, and a partial transit of the Panama Canal! Explore the rainforests of the Sarapiqui region and the prestigious La Selva Biological Station. Then travel to deep within the vast south western rainforests of Osa – the most pristine in Costa Rica. Crossing the border in to Panama, explore the lush cloud forest of the Chiriqui highlands, home to the resplendent quetzal. Then cross the Continental Divide to the Caribbean and experience the wildlife of the Bocas del Toro archipelago from above and below the water. Your holiday ends in Panama City with a partial transit of the Panama Canal, one of the engineering wonders of the world.

Itinerary

Price from £5593 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Depart London

Arrive San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, in the late evening. Met and transfer to your hotel, not far from the airport.

Staying at Bourgainvillea Hotel. Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2 - Sarapiqui

After breakfast transfer to your rainforest lodge, located about two hours north of San Jose on the mighty Sarapiqui River.

In the afternoon cross the suspension bridge to enjoy a private guided nature hike within the lodge’s primary rainforest reserve on the other bank.

Staying at Selva Verde Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3 - Sarapiqui

Transfer to La Selva Biological Station for a private 6-hour walk in the famous rainforest reserve. See the wonderful work done to preserve the region’s forests and ecosystems.

Includes Breakfast.

Day 4 - Osa Peninsula

Fly to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. Met and transfer to your lodge.

Staying at Selva Verde Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5 - Osa Peninsula

Full day to relax and explore the area which has the greatest variety of rainforest wildlife to be found in Costa Rica including 350 species of birds, sloth, howler, spider and squirrel monkeys, and tapir. Two guided tours are included and can be taken at any time. Choose from early morning bird walks, wildlife watching along the rainforest ridge, guided seashore walks and night walks (excursions outside the private reserve are not included).

Staying at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6 - Osa Peninsula

A full day to explore the Lapa Rios private reserve. There is also a superb self-guided trail to follow at leisure.

Staying at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7 - Boquete, Panama

After breakfast transfer (approximately 4 hours) to the Paso Canoas border with Panama. After clearing immigration and customs pick up by the Panamanian driver for the transfer to Boquete in the cloud-forested Chiriqui Highlands.

Staying at Finca Lerida. Includes Dinner.

Day 8 - Boquete

Enjoy a morning’s small group guided birdwatching walk in the Finca’s private cloud forest reserve. There is a network of professionally built trails along which one can spot resplendent quetzal and three-wattled bellbird, among many other fascinating cloud forest species. Also in the forest are mammals such as peccary and deer, and there are fantastic viewpoints along the trails. In the afternoon there is a small group tour of the farm to learn about the production of coffee.

Staying at Finca Lerida. Includes All Meals.

Day 9 - Bocas del Toro

In the morning drive up through the cloud forest and across the Continental Divide, leaving the Pacific behind and descending through the forest to the pineapple fields and banana plantations of the Caribbean, arriving at Almirante.

From here it is a short boat transfer to Bocas del Toro on Colon Island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

Staying at Laguna Azul. Includes All Meals.

Day 10 - Bocas del Toro

In the early morning take a boat to Boca del Drago and weather permitting visit Swan’s Cay, a rookery for red-billed tropic birds (the only location in Panama where they can be found) and brown boobies.

Return to Bocas del Toro, stopping at mangrove isles and coral reefs to snorkel. The afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities at the resort.

Staying at Laguna Azul. Includes All Meals.

Day 11 - Bocas del Toro

Head by boat to the eastern side of Bastimentos Island which is part of the Bastimentos National Marine Park.

Visit the indigenous community of Salt Creek where the villagers have created a number of rainforest trails. Wildlife includes the red-throated ant tanager, three-wattled bellbird, and golden-collared manakin, night monkeys, white-faced capuchins, three-toed sloth, spectacled caiman, slider turtle, and the flaming poison dart frog.

After the hike visit the community, perhaps purchase some handicrafts, and enjoy a simple lunch. In the afternoon snorkel among mangroves and coral reefs before returning to Bocas del Toro.

Staying at Laguna Azul. Includes All Meals.

Day 12 - Panama City

Enjoy a morning at leisure to relax or explore Bocas Del Toro on your own.

In the afternoon transfer to the airport and fly to Albrook domestic airport, Panama City and on to your hotel in the Casco Viejo old town.

Staying at Las Clementinas. Includes Breakfast.

Day 13 - Partial transit of the Panama Canal

Today enjoy a partial transit of the Panama Canal. The transit is usually southbound on Fridays and Saturdays, first passing through Pedro Miguel and then through Miraflores Locks. On Thursdays the transit goes northbound, starting on the Pacific Ocean. The transit usually lasts between 4 and 5 hours but depends on ship traffic on the canal and the assigned transit scheduled by the Panama Canal Authority.

Staying at Las Clementinas. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 14 - Casco Viejo

This morning explore Casco Viejo, Panama City’s UNESCO World Heritage old town. Established around 1673, sites of interest include the Canal Museum and San Jose Church with its golden altar.

In the afternoon transfer to Tocumen International Airport for the flight out.

Includes Breakfast.

Day 15 - Arrive London

Includes In-flight Meals.

Travel Info

Are Flights Included?
Yes

Flight Info:
Fly from London and certain regional airports to Panama City on KLM via Amsterdam, on Iberia via Madrid, or via the USA on Delta, American or United.

Best visited:
December to April

Area Specialist

Jonathan Morris
specialist_jon-morris

At Selva Verde, look for two colourful species of poison dart frog – one called “blue jeans” because of its red body and blue legs – in the lush borders lining the walkways.

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

Excellent and very enjoyable holiday. Panama definitely offers plenty to occupy a three-week trip (and more).

Mr & Mrs M - Edinburgh

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Hotel Finca Lerida: 8.812992, -82.483605
Lapa Rios: 8.400129, -83.284963
Selva Verde Lodge: 10.450366, -84.069150
Laguna Azul Eco Lodge: 9.188568, -82.102681
Las Clementinas: 8.953497, -79.537078
Bougainvillea Hotel: 9.999105, -84.109250