Costa Rica,

Off The Beaten Track In Costa Rica: Supporting Rewilding And Conservation

Scroll
Tailor-Made Tour
12 Days
From 3598
Birding
Off The Beaten Track
Rainforest
Conservation and Rewilding

Tour Introduction

12 Days from 3598 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

Costa Rica has a much-deserved reputation for its wildlife and sustainable tourism. By visiting any of the country’s wildlife lodges you are directly supporting wildlife conservation and endorsing a strategy of low-impact tourism providing sustainable jobs and protecting threatened forest habitats. For this tour, we have selected three lodges that exemplify and expand on this ethos, not just by conserving their own reserves but also extending and connecting other protected areas to create large tracts of protected wilderness thereby improving conditions for wildlife.

The first lodge, Maquenque, forms part of an important wildlife corridor linking the lowland Caribbean tropical forests of Costa Rica with the vast Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve in Nicaragua. This protects a crucial migration route for the endangered great green macaw and expands the territories of rare carnivores such as jaguars and pumas. The lodge is involved in an active programme of reforestation and education to expand the protected forests and safeguard this wildlife corridor for generations to come.

Heading into the mountains, the Savegre reserve protects over 500 hectares of rare cloud forest habitat and expands the protected area of the Los Quetzales National Park, home to rich and varied birdlife including the famed resplendent quetzal. The reserve has been in the same family’s hands for nearly 70 years and they work tirelessly to protect their precious cloud forest valley.

Finally, head south to Costa Rica’s rainforest-covered Osa Peninsular. Your lodge here has the highest eco-credentials and is a natural extension of the Corcovado National Park. The lodge owner is a passionate environmentalist and is working with other landowners to create wildlife corridors linking the national park with other protected reserves, thus greatly expanding the range of the park’s wildlife and improving the wildlife experience for all.

Throughout the tour, you will be staying in lodges with sustainability at their core and you will experience a wide range of Costa Rica’s natural highlights, stretching from the Caribbean rainforest of the east, to the cloud forests of the central mountains and the extensive rainforests of the Pacific coast.   As well as encountering a huge range of Costa Rica’s enchanting animals and birds, you can take great comfort that your visit directly supports local efforts to rewild and conserve some of the world’s richest and most beautiful tropical forests.

Full Itinerary

Price from 3598 per adult. Based on sharing twin/double rooms throughout.
Day 1
Arrive in San Jose

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

Staying at Bougainvillea Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 2
Boca Tapada

Morning pickup for your private transfer to the Boca Tapada area of northern Costa Rica, close to the Nicaraguan border, involving mainly paved but also some unpaved road. Take a small ferry across the San Carlos river to the secluded property.

Staying at Maquenque Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Boca Tapada

After breakfast, plant a tree, visit a local school or enjoy some independent birding. In the afternoon, perhaps take a canoe out on the lagoon. After dinner, go on a night walk to spot green-eyed tree frog, kinkajou and sleeping birds and iguanas.

Staying at Maquenque Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Boca Tapada

Early morning guided birdwatching in the lodge grounds for nightjar, waterfowl such as purple gallinule, and species like Montezuma oropendola and ornate hawk eagle. Later in the day, look for the nest of the endangered great green macaw, subject of an urgent conservation effort involving the lodge.

Staying at Maquenque Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Savegre

After breakfast, transfer by road (5 hrs) with to the San Gerardo de Dota highland region. Arrive at the lodge at Savegre, in the Talamanca Mountains. The road leads from lowland high forest to upland stunted foliage and cloud forest. Rest of the day at leisure.

Staying at Savegre Hotel. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 6
Savegre

A pre-dawn start today for an early morning shared guided tour of the cloud forest reserve (or depending on activity the unsurfaced road through the valley) to look for the resplendent quetzal and other cloud forest species. Remainder of the day at leisure for self-guided exploration or optional excursions arranged by the hotel.

Staying at Savegre Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Savegre

After breakfast head up to the paramo of Los Quetzales National Parkfor a shared tour. Created in 2006, this park is located between Providencia and San Gerardo de Dota, on the Talamanca Mountain Range and the basin of the Savegre River. Return to the lodge in time for lunch, then enjoy an afternoon at leisure.

Staying at Savegre Hotel. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 8
Osa Peninsula

After breakfast descend to the coast highway and drive to Puerto Jimenez on the wild Osa Peninsula. Transfer by normal car, then by 4x4 for two hours into the depths of the rainforest and to your next lodge.

Staying at Luna Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Osa Peninsula

Transfer by 4x4 to Carate beach for a full day’s excursion into the Corcovado National Park, the most bio-diverse park in the country.
Walk the nature trails throughout the day, stopping for a box lunch and to view the abundant flora and fauna. Return to the lodge in the afternoon.

Staying at Luna Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Osa Peninsula

Perhaps relax by the swimming pool, try some yoga, walk the nearby forest trails and soak up the ambience on your last day in this true wet lowland rainforest habitat.

Staying at Luna Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
San Jose

Early morning transfer to Puerto Jimenez dock. Take a boat on the Golfo Dulce for dolphin watching (many are usually seen). Return to the airport and catch your flight to San Jose. Met and transfer to your first hotel, just outside of town.

Staying at Bougainvillea Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 12
Fly Home

Transfer to the airport for your flight out.

Includes In-flight Meals.

Tour Accommodation

Costa Rica Sarapiqui Region

Maquenque Eco-Lodge

Overview

This family-owned former farm is the perfect model for rewilding and sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. By expanding their existing patchwork of old growth rainforest with an extensive programme of tree planting, the family have created a wildlife-filled haven and important wildlife corridor which is now home to some of Costa Rica’s rarest mammals and birds.

Situated close to the Nicaraguan border in Costa Rica’s far north, Maquenque has a critical position linking Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park and La Selva Biological Station with the vast (3,180 km²) Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve across the border in Nicaragua. These connected reserves create a huge expanse of forest and form an important part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which strives to create a safe corridor for wildlife stretching all the way from southern Mexico to Panama.

This large area of Caribbean lowland rainforest is home to many species not found elsewhere in Costa Rica and is one of the last refuges of the great green macaw for which the lodge runs a conservation and nest building programme. Scarlet macaws are also found here as well as two species of toucan (keel-billed and yellow throated) and over 400 species of other birds. Amphibians include two species of poison dart frog (green and black & strawberry) plus a breeding programme for the enchanting red-eyed leaf frog. Primates include howler monkeys and white faced capuchins and the reserve forms part of the territory of larger mammals like tapirs and jaguars although sightings of these are very rare.

Accommodation is in 15 comfortable detached cabanas, each built of local materials with private bathroom, ceiling fan and balcony ideal for watching scarlet macaws and parrots flying overhead. The cabanas overlook a private lagoon bisected by a causeway containing scores of caiman as well as northern jacana, whistling duck and purple gallinule. Montezuma’s oropendola build their hanging nests near to the cabanas and often their odd call is the first sound you wake to in the morning. There is a swimming pool with sun loungers and buffet restaurant serving delicious typical Tico dishes using ingredients sourced from the local area. There is also a bar and lounge on site, perfect for discussing a day in the forest with fellow guests.

Two new treehouse bedrooms bring a higher level of accommodation (literally) being raised 12 metres in the forest canopy.  A fantastic way to experience the forest but not for the faint hearted.

Activities include guided wildlife walks along two kilometres of forest trails, canoeing on the lagoon, guided birdwatching, boat trips on the San Carlos River and night walks to find smaller wildlife like red-eyed leaf frogs, eyelash vipers and nightjars.

You can also take part in some of the lodge’s rewilding and conservation efforts including tree planting and educational visits to nearby schools.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
15
Facilities

Private bathrooms, buffet restaurant, complimentary breakfast, bar, lounge, swimming pool, sun deck, hammock, laundry service, ceiling fan, free parking and a safety deposit box at reception.

Local Wildlife

Mantled howler and central American spider monkey, white nosed coati and agouti are commonly seen. The lodge is a great location for seeing a range of interesting reptiles and amphibians including the iconic red-eyed tree frog, several species of poison dart frog, basilisk lizard, green iguana, American crocodile, spectacled caiman and the beautiful eyelash pit viper. Birdlife includes the rare great green macaw, scarlet macaw, agami heron, sunbittern, roseate spoonbill, jabiru stork, scaly throated leaf tosser, mangrove swallow, black-and-yellow tanager and feeders attract toucans, tanagers, woodpeckers and Montezuma’s oropendola.

Optional Activities

Guided wildlife and nature walks, river boat trips, canoeing, visits to local schools and tree planting.

Costa Rica Turrialba Region

Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa

Overview

Owned by the same family for nearly 70 years, this small lodge protects over 500 hectares of precious cloud forest which is home to thousands of birds including many species of hummingbird plus the much sort after resplendent quetzal.

Set at an altitude of 7000ft, just outside the newly created Los Quetzales National Park near San Gerardo de Dota, this simple yet comfortable lodge is owned and well run by the original settler Chacon family, charming Costa Ricans who arrived back in 1954. Over the years the Chacon family have tasked themselves with protecting this beautiful cloud forest valley and showing its natural wonders to guests from all over the world. In fact, much of the family are still involved in guiding and the running of the lodge.

The 50 rooms and suites have private bathrooms with hot water (the suites have tubs), electric heating, safety deposit box, telephone, hair dryer and radio alarm clock and terrace on which to relax and watch birds.

The traditional restaurant serves local dishes as well as some international cuisine with a choice of buffet or a la carte dining. The hotel also has a communal bar and lounge where guests can watch hummingbirds at the feeders while enjoying a drink.

Guests walk the forest trails to spot quetzals, trogons and many other cloud forest bird species and visit nearby waterfalls. Day trips into the Los Quetzales National Park can also be arranged. The lodge has been awarded the fourth level Certification in Sustainable Tourism (CST).

NB: Please take some light warm clothing as evenings can get quite cool at the lodge.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
50
Facilities

Private bathrooms, hot water, electric heaters, restaurant, lounge, bar, safety deposit box, in room telephone and hair dryer.

Local Wildlife

The cloud forest reserve is home to 170 species of bird including some range-restricted species and of course the dazzling resplendent quetzal. Other avian highlights include the volcano hummingbird, collared trogon and the golden-browed chlorophonia.

Optional Activities

Guided birdwatching and walking in the reserve and excursions into the high altitude paramo.

Costa Rica Osa Peninsula

Luna Lodge

Overview

Awarded the highest level of sustainability certification and abutting the vast Corcovado National Park on Costa Rica’s rich Osa peninsula, this beautiful eco-lodge is the perfect retreat for those interested in wildlife and sustainable tourism.

With over 60 acres of private tropical rainforest, the lodge already extends the protected area of the Corcovado National Park. However, the owner is also actively working with other local lodges and land owners to create wildlife corridors connecting all of the protected areas of the Osa Peninsular, improving the wildlife experience for all and creating an interconnected series of protected reserves.

The lodge is run with the lightest ecological footprint. All electricity is provided by the lodge’s own hydroelectric plant, water is heated with solar heaters and most of the produce is grown in their own organic garden with fruit trees planted around the property including mango, water apple, papaya, banana, china fruit, mandarin orange, lemon, cacao, avocado and cashew.

The main building houses the restaurant, bar, library and gift shop. Set in the lush gardens is a lovely swimming pool with panoramic views over the forest.

The best accommodation is in the eight thatched bungalows each with two double beds and private bathroom with both tub and shower and a vista deck with seating to enjoy the sensational forest views. Other options include more basic terraced rooms and safari- style tents. All the rooms have electricity and hot water.

Hundreds of bird species including scarlet macaws and the four species of monkey found in Costa Rica inhabit the surrounding forest and are frequently seen. Knowledgeable local guides are on hand to help you explore the local forest trails to nearby waterfalls and swimming holes with day trips into the national park also available.

The lodge has been awarded a Five Leaf Rating for Sustainable Tourism from the Costa Rican Tourism Board, the highest possible.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
16
Facilities

Private bathrooms, restaurant, bar, library, gift shop, swimming pool and spa with full range of treatment.

Local Wildlife

The Corcovado National Park and surrounding area has the greatest diversity of wildlife in the country. The park has the highest densities of Baird’s tapir, jaguar, puma, sloths and all four species of Costa Rica’s monkeys. Reptiles include the impressive American crocodile, eyelash pit viper and boa constrictor and there are many amphibians. Birdlife is prolific in the forest and the National Park is one the best places in the country to see scarlet macaws. Two Reef & Rainforest clients, members of the British Dragonfly Society, went there specially to see the helicopter damselfly, a large species which due to an optical illusion appears to rotate its wings.

Optional Activities

Guided walks in the rainforest and a wide range of spa treatments are available.

Costa Rica Turrialba Region

Bougainvillea Hotel

Overview

The Bougainvillea Hotel is situated in a quiet location in Santo Domingo de Heredia, about 20 minutes from central San Jose. The hotel has elegant and spacious rooms with private hot water bathrooms, two double beds, flat-screen cable TV, ceiling fan, tea and coffee facilities and a safety deposit box. The rooms have been well designed with wide windows affording pleasant garden views.

There is a good restaurant and bar that serves a la carte international cuisine and caters well for special dietary requirements.

Other facilities include a gift shop, business centre, swimming pool, gym, sauna, tennis court and large, attractive tropical gardens.

The hotel’s location makes it ideal for a stopover before and after your international flights but it is far enough from the city centre to provide a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
81
Facilities

Private bathrooms, hot water, restaurant, bar, lounge, sauna, tennis court, safety deposit box, ceiling fan, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, room service, massage service, laundry service, luggage storage and currency exchange.

Local Wildlife

An array of tropical birds and insects

Optional Activities

Tennis, gym and sauna on site and bird watching excursions can be arranged.

Route Map

loading map - please wait...

Savegre Lodge: 9.564326, -83.801552
Luna Lodge: 8.448732, -83.462448
Maquenque Lodge: 10.740097, -84.201236
Bougainvillea Hotel: 9.999105, -84.109250
Savegre Lodge: 9.564326, -83.801552

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Best Visited:

November to April

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

You will be pleased to hear that [our] party returned safely from Costa Rica… We had a most wonderful holiday. All the arrangements made for us came up trumps. The drivers always arrived early [and] were keen to stop and show us any wild life they spotted as we travelled, also were able to identify any bird we had pointed out. All guides were excellent and eager to share their knowledge. As for rain we did not see a drop and had two days of being able to see the top of Arenal…We were impressed by [your representatives], and I found [them] to be most helpful.

Mr D S - Essex