Discover Costa Rica
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ends on 26 Sep 2018
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- San Jose
- San Jose
- Explore Tortuguero's canals
- Visit the Sea Turtle Museum
- Enjoy Costa Rica's hot springs
- See diverse wildlife up close
- Age range
- 16 to 80 year olds
- Max Group Size
- Coach / Bus
- Travel style
- Rather Poor
- GRGillianWritten on March 31, 20184.5 - ExcellentWell organized and comprehensive tour. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, especially the birds. He spotted things which we would never have done and was able to identify them with ease.Show detailed ratings
- DWDonaldWritten on March 21, 20174.5 - ExcellentGreat holiday for the environmentally conscious person. A cornucopia of flora and fauna, well presented.....wonderful experience.Show detailed ratings
- AEAniWritten on October 30, 20165.0 - ExcellentThis was my first group tour and it completely exceeded my expectations. I planned a last minute solo trip to Costa Rica and thought it would be helpful to be with a group and couldn't have been more right. The tour was so well planned and organized, and we were able to do things that would have taken weeks to coordinate. In general we saw a great range in everything Costa Rica had to offer. Our guide was incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient and fun. The trip would not have been the same without her.Show detailed ratings
- AnonymousWritten on November 9, 20135.0 - ExcellentAn interesting and wonderful country. Exodus organisation was impeccable. Not a cheap location and activities/shopping aimed at 'Tourists' charged in USD and often over-priced. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?For us both, seeing baby and adult turtles. For myself seeing the amazing butterfly population, particularly the Morphos.What did you think of your group leader?Good and reliable.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Add a few days at Pacuare Lodge [www.pacuarelodge.com] at the end of your Exodus trip. Arrive and depart by white water raft. Amazing location, service, staff and food. In National Geographic's top 25 Ecolodge list! Our only mistake was not booking for longer!!Take twice as many USD as you think you will need. Contrary to expectation the the visit and walk to Arenal goes nowhere near the summit or crater. Don't bother visiting Selvatura Park, Monteverde - very overpriced, staff indifferent and some frankly rude. Visit the nearby Monteverde Butterfly Gardens 'El Mariposario' instead [not to be mistaken for the understocked butterfly house which is part of Selvatura Park].For snacks in Monteverde go to the Orchid Cafe - wonderful iced coffees and other delights!Is there anything else you would like to add?Suggest Exodus offers the option of Pacuare Lodge as an extension and includes a visit to see at least one volcano crater.
- AnonymousWritten on October 26, 20135.0 - ExcellentA truly amazing trip which surpassed my high expectations. Everything was perfect, the accommodation, the food, the guide, Giovanni, the local guides, the itinerary which included close contact with lots of amazing wildlife and chance to become familiar with some of the culture of Costa Rica with a visit to a coffee plantation, a school and an appetising lunch with a lady who makes delicious cheese. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Difficult to choose one there were so many but my first view of a sloth was amazing, I had always wanted to see one, also getting so close to iguanas who posed beautifully for photographs. Gliding peacefully along the canals at Tortuguero was like a dream. And I loved the feeling of being so close to nature at Esquinas lodge, listening to the evening frog chorus.Â What did you think of your group leader?Giovanni was all you could ask for in a guide. His knowledge about wildlife was extensive and he never tired of answering our endless questions.Â He was obviously proud of his country and was keen for us to learn something about his people. He was able to recommend some good eating places. He was sensitive to all our needs and had a good sense of humour. He made sure dietery requirements were met and went out of his way to make sure we saw all the wildlife we could, He had amazing spotting ability, we wondered how he managed to spot some things, and would stop the bus so we could take photographs and get a closer look through his telescope. He made sure we saw the resplendant quetzal at Savegre. We were lucky enough to see male, female and juvenile.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Book now it is an amazing trip. A poncho is really useful as it covers your rucksack when it rains. I took my own wellies for the muddy walks but others managed in trainers. I found my walking stick useful on really muddy tracks as it helped maintain balance when it was slippery. The walking is not difficult many of the trails are on stony tracks. I didn't need the separate holdall for the trip to Tortuguero as there was enough room for luggage even on a full boat. Check you have enough time for connecting flights in Madrid if you choose that route.A super absorbent travel towel was useful on the waterfall walk to dry off after a swim.Take plenty of insect repellent. We had to go through security again in Madrid on the return journey even my bottle of water bought airside of security in San Jose was confiscated so this might affect what you buy at duty free in San Jose.Is there anything else you would like to add?I must mention the driver. I felt really safe the whole time he was such a skillful driver on some very steep and windy roads. We were only eight in our group so we had plenty of space to spread out in the minibus. All the accommodation was clean and comfortable and all the staff were friendly and looked after us well, nothing was too much trouble. This really is a trip of a lifetime. It was my first trip with Exodus but it won't be the last I was very impresssed with their organisation before and during the trip. I can wholeheartedly recommend this trip, just book it you won't be disappointed.
- AnonymousWritten on October 1, 20135.0 - ExcellentAn excellent trip all round with a great group of fellow travellers. I saw and did everything that I wanted to and took lots and lots of photographs!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I think seeing the green sea turtles hatching on the beach at Tortuguero was the highlight of my trip.Â We had been looking on the beach at dawn and dusk for 2 days when Primo our boatman called us over and we had to run and walk for about a kilometre along the beach just in time to see about 70 hatchlings break out of their nest and head off in to the sea.Â The visit to the organic farm is surprisingly good fun.Â Gustavo and Christian the farm worker are a great double act.Â Try some of the raw sugar cane juice and also the local rum that they brew from it whilst you are there.Â You will also find out how to harvest papaya the Costa Rican way, using your hat.What did you think of your group leader?Gustavo was an excellent tour leader throughout the whole trip.Â Paulo was our bus driver and was able to navigate Costa Rica's roads with ease and as much comfort as possible for us.Â Gustavo has an obvious enthusiasm for his country and also has an excellent knowledge of the local wildlife, trees and plants.Â He was able to answer all our questions with a great deal of understanding and patience.Â We were quite a big group but Gustavo always had plenty of time for every one of us.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?I went in September and for me this was a great time of year to go.Â The turtles had been nesting for a few months and so there was a good chance to see hatchlings.Â It was also just before the main season started (Oct to May for the cruise ships) so there weren't too many other tourists at each of our destinations.Â The food in Costa Rica is not cheap and it is quite easy to spend a fair bit of money on the optional extras such as the boat trip for whale watching. Take one of those big sink plugs as a lot of the hotel rooms don't have sink plugs! If you want to get some laundry done then the Esquinas lodge only charge $15 for a bag full rather than per item. Also at Esquinas spend a little time choosing some wellies that fit, they are very useful after the rain!Â The horse riding is suitable for complete novices (like me) but it is quite a long trek (3 hrs round trip on the horses) as long as you can hang on asÂ the horses know the way.Â The horses do like snacking on the way so try your best to keep them out of the hedgerows.Is there anything else you would like to add?This was a great trip for all sorts of reasons.Â Even some of the short stops on route could be really interesting such as stopping at the fruit and veg stall to try loads of the local fruits. The turtles are an obvious highlight but also seeing so many primates and the sloths at the Manuel Antonio national park was a real treat.Â The travelling between locations is not too bad at all and goes quite quickly.Â The jungle treks are great fun not so much for the wildlife spotting but for the sheer sense of achievement on completing them.Â Costa Rica is a wonderful country to visit and Gustavo made the whole trip great fun and a real joy to go on.
- AnonymousWritten on June 9, 20135.0 - Excellent2 Weeks in Costa Rica was a dream come true for a nature lover like me. I loved the lush tropical forests with blooming gingers and heliconias everywhere. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?I like to learn about local life and culture so I was really pleased to visit a rural dairy farm. We also went dancing at a local bar in La Gamba....ask your guide to take you there.What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader Gustavo was a fabulous guide. I also have to give kudos to our driver Pablo for his driving skills.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared for rain. Our tour started mid-May which is the start of the rainy season and it rained everywhere we went, sometimes for a short time and sometimes for hours. You will need an umbrella, poncho and waterproof footwear.Â I'm somewhat of a foodie so I do have to add that I was disappointed with the food in Costa Rica. Overall I found the food expensive, bland and uninspired at most of the lodges and restaurants we went to.Â Â I do recommend lunch at the organic farm in La Fortuna, they prepare local dishes from ingredients grown on the farm.Â Â Is there anything else you would like to add?This trip is a perfect overview of all that Costa Rica has to offer.
- AnonymousWritten on May 14, 20135.0 - ExcellentCosta Rica is a natural paradise teeming with life; monkeys swing in the canopy of the steamy rainforest, exotic birds constantly flutter and squawk overhead, cascading rivers carve through jungle and waterfalls plunge into pritine pools. The trip is the perfect introduction to this Central American country and its weirdly wonderful wildife. A perfectly balanced itinerary with two nights spent in each destination, from mangrove lagoons to cool, mistly clouds forests, sun-kissed Pacific beaches to sweltering, impenetrable rainforests, you say goodbye to Tico land feeling like you really have discovered Costa Rica! What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?There were too many fantastic wildlife encounters, it is impossible to pick just one! My first highlight would be simply waking up to the sounds of the rainforest on my very first morning in Tortuguero - howling monkeys, chirping birds and chattering cicadas to name just a few. The boa constrictor digesting its iguana lunch on the banks of the mangroves in Tortuguero was a spontaneous encounter we were incredibly lucky to see; the Common Potoo and her chick nestled in a tree in Manuel Antonio was another rare and special sighting; and coming face to face with a Howler monkey piggy backing her baby was an initmate, albeit brief, interlude never to be repeated on the trip. With a view of Arenal volcano to one side and a lake on the other and swathes of undulating forest unfolding beneath me, zip lining 200 metres high over rainforest canopy was probably the most breathtaking moment of the trip! I was also delighted to see ten types of frog, including the iconic Red Eye Tree frog and the almost transparent Glass frog, during a couple of guided night walks - I would definitely recommend joining these walks as it is incredibly difficult to spot the night time wildlife in Costa Rica without an expert to point you in the right direction!What did you think of your group leader?Our leader, Pedro, was brilliant. His knowledge of the local wildlife was pretty much flawless, even able to identify a number of bird species simply by their birdsong alone! He was informative, flexible and dynamic enough to accommodate the needs of the group. During the few long bus journeys he educated and entertained us with humorous annecdotes and stories of his country's history.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take walking boots or at least a pair of decent walking trainers. Depending on the time of year you travel, some trails can be muddy, uneven and slippery. If interested in photography, take a decent telephoto lens with you as a number of the wildlife encounters maybe at a distance and often obscured by leaves and branches! Waterproofs and quick drying layers are a must as it can take a while for cotton clothes to dry out in that humidity. Oh and don't forget to take a decent supply of DEET repellent (or buy some locally) - the mosquitos out there mean business! Above all else, immerse yourself in the nature and enjoy one wildlife highlight after the next...it is an incredible destination.
- AnonymousWritten on May 7, 20135.0 - ExcellentA great overall and varied introduction to an amazing country.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Being in such close proximity to beautiful hummingbirdsWhat did you think of your group leader?Johnny is a wonderful guide and ambassador for Costa Rica.Â If he didn't know something, (which was rare) he would find out and let you know the answer.Â Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Go! You will not be disappointed.Is there anything else you would like to add?We had a great time.
- AnonymousWritten on April 13, 20134.0 - GoodCosta Rica may be a small country but it is one with a big heart. With its volcanic landscape, dramatic coastlines on both its Carribean and Pacific shores, lush tropical rainforests, and diverse flora and fauna, it has so much to offer its visitors. An inspiring example of how people can work within the natural environment, preserving it for all to enjoy.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The trip stops in seven separate locations around the country, offering a variety of experienes - each with its own charm, as our team-leader Johnny Villalobos would often say to us. For me, it was our time in the very first location - Tortuguero National Park - that was the most inspirational, and however good our experiences were in the remainder of the trip, none matched the feeling of awe that I felt as our small boat drifted silently on the waterways beneath the towering trees of the rainforest. It is like a pocket-sized Amazon, and neither the occasional drenching from a tropical storm or the itching from numerous mosquito bites could detract from the tension as we all strained our eyes looking for the varied animals, reptiles and birds that were all around us. We were not disappointed, and an incredibly close encounter with a river otter was probably our best reward. What did you think of your group leader?Johnny Villalobos could not have done more to ensure we all got the most out of our experience of his country, about which he talked with great knowledge, insight, and belief. There was no aspect of Costa Rica about which he could not enlighten us. He was very much as one with the group, and we felt he was a true friend to us all, sensitive to our individual interests and needs. Johnny showed endless patience and consideration at all times, and was tireless in his efforts to maximise our opportunities of seeing the best that Costa Rica has to offer. There were times on some of the forest hikes when birds and animals were simply not there to be seen, and then Johnny would always find something - an unusual plant, or tree, even the effects of bacteria! - to show to us and explain its significance to us. He wanted us to be aware that enjoying the natural world is not just about the big and spectacular creatures, it is also about all the little things that go to make up an ecosystem. Right up to our last night, when he suggested the perfect venue (Times Bar & Grill) for our end-of-trip gathering, Johnny offered us all the right choices. A great team-leader, and a real gentleman.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The natural world is not a theme park with its many wonders ready and waiting for you. What you see on this trip so often depends on sheer luck, on being in the right place at the right time. We were not lucky with our sightings of many of the natual inhabitants I expected to see in Costa Rica: our views of toucans, caimans, macaws, and snakes were mostly fleeting or distant. At times we seemed to walk for long periods in the rainforests without seeing very much. So you have to be patient and manage your expectations. Out team-leader Johnny told us that people go to Africa to see the Big Five, but you come to Costa Rica to see the Little Thousand! And there is always the magical peace and splendour of its rainforests. Photographers be aware that natural light in the forests is very low and this makes it particularly challenging to get decent photographs. You should not use flash when taking pictures of the tree frogs or reptiles, as it blinds them, so you may need to be satisfied with seeing some of these amazing creatures without capturing the moment on camera.Is there anything else you would like to add?I must mention the food. I don't think I have ever eaten better abroad, certainly not on an Exodus trip (this was my seventh). The quality of the fresh fruit, the fresh fish and meat dishes, a range of vegetables with potatoes, rice, yucca ... and not forgetting some perfect desserts to round off many a meal - all of this was superb wherever we ate. Most places used local produce and it tasted so good. The food at Tortuguero Lodge and Cloud Forest Lodge (Monteverde) was particularly praiseworthy, and I must also mention the excellent ice-cream at the cheese factory in Santa Elena! At most of the hotels and lodges you could serve yourself, so beware of over-indulging! With food this good, it is hard not to. Finally, I must say that some of the incidental stops on the road between locations gave me some of the most memorable moments of the trip: seeing the crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles, the sculpted granite spheres in a magical park in Palmar Sur, our visit to the school in La Trinidad and the farmstead in the village. Each gave a glimpse of a different aspect of Costa Rica.
ItineraryDownload PDF Brochure
- Day 1: Start San Jose.
- Day 2: To Tortuguero N.P.
- Day 3: Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.
- Day 4: To La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano.
- Day 5: La Fortuna Waterfall hike; visit Arenal Volcano.
- Day 6: To Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains.
- Day 7: Visit Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
- Day 8: To Manuel Antonio.
- Day 9: Discover Manuel Antonio N.P.
- Day 10: To Esquinas Lodge in Piedras Blancas N.P.
- Day 11: Hike on trails in Piedras Blancas N.P.
- Day 12: To Savegre Cloud Forest.
- Day 13: Free day to discover walking trails in Savegre.
- Day 14: Visit the village of Copey; to San Jose.
- Day 15: End San Jose.
AccommodationRated Excellent by past passengers
GuideRated Excellent by past passengers
MealsRated Excellent by past passengers
TransportRated Excellent by past passengers
- Exodus People - Johnny Villalobos
- Costa Rica with Exodus Travels
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About the countries
Useful things to know before you go
- ColonCosta Rica
Plugs & Adapters
Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.
These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
- Recommended for Costa Rica. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
- Hepatitis A
- Recommended for Costa Rica. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
- Hepatitis B
- Recommended for Costa Rica. Ideally 2 months before travel.
- Yellow fever
- Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for Costa Rica. Ideally 10 days before travel.
- Start and end in San Jose.
- Hold my space
- TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
- TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 22 November 2018 the full payment of $3,067 is necessary.
- Cancellation policy
- No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $3067 for Discover Costa Rica, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
- Credit Cards
- The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express
Covering a total distance of approx 656 km.
- San Jose (Costa Rica)
- 87 km
- Tortuguero National Park (Costa Rica)
- 127 km
- La Fortuna (Costa Rica)
- 6 km
- Arenal Volcano (Costa Rica)
- 25 km
- Monteverde (Costa Rica)
- 4 km
- Santa Elena (Costa Rica)
- 126 km
- Manuel Antonio National Park (Costa Rica)
- 121 km
- Piedras Blancas (Costa Rica)
- 83 km
- San Isidro de El General (Costa Rica)
- 27 km
- Los Quetzales National Park (Costa Rica)
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