6 - 12
In this Costa Rica eco tour, you will watch the wonderful wildlife in Quetzales, Corcovado & Marino Ballena National Parks. Tour a local Organic Coffee Farm and taste their product. Snorkel off the Pacific South Coast to enjoy its marine life. All while stating in 4* hotel accommodation. This costa rica wildlife holiday is one you will never forget.
Squadrons of pelicans swoop down from a ‘Jurassic Park’ volcano backdrop and glide unsteadily across the silvery water of a sandy bay. Walking beneath the high cathedral of the jungle canopy, it's lime green light streaming down, you hear howler monkeys whoop and bark. Armoured iguanas clattered up thick trunks as a rare Quetzal bird darts in a turquoise flash through the cloud forest: The ‘Rich Coast’ of Costa Rica derives its name with good reason.
(Available as a small group tour or tailor-made holiday)
When José Figueres Ferrer became provisional president of Costa Rica in 1948, he abolished the national army and set the country on a path to prosperous stability, and therefore an increasingly popular tourist destination amid the tumultuous region of Central America. It has since become the ‘poster child’ for sustainable ecotourism throughout the world, and an active example of how linking tourism with a growing protected area network can lead to the simultaneous growth of both its socioeconomic and environmental sectors.
By 2015 Costa Rica was able to produce 99% of its electricity from renewable sources, and with millions of trees continuing to be planted every year, it has literally doubled its forest cover over the last 40 years. This fantastic and relaxing adventure avoids some of the more heavily visited areas, allowing you to immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s wondrous natural biodiversity and culture, whilst also learning about the country’s successes in ecotourism, which offer a path to recovery for the rest of the world.
4 star hotel
Arrive into San Jose and be met and transferred to your centrally located 4* boutique hotel to freshen up and relax. If you have chosen a flight to arrive in the morning, or have chosen to arrive a day earlier in order to recover from any travel fatigue, then you will be able to enjoy a brief walking tour of the central area around the Hotel Presidente. San Jose is considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in Latin America, and features many historical buildings, including the National Theatre; the 'Jewel of San Jose', a masterpiece in art and architecture.
Your guide will offer you a group welcome briefing this evening, before a delicious meal in the excellent hotel restaurant. The rooftop terrace bar is also there to enjoy before or after your meal.
4 star hotel
After breakfast we leave San Jose to transfer to San Gerardo de Dota, a small town set in cloud forest in the foothills of the Talamanca Mountain Range approx 90km (2.5h) away. The journey gives you a chance to acclimatise to the Costa Rican countryside and you will enjoy the views en route. Our destination is Quetzales National Park, famous for (and named after) the striking Quetzal bird. Popular with ornithologists for obvious reason, the gentle walk is not all about trying to spot the Quetzal (although who knows, you may well!), but is an introduction to the wide variety of plant species that thrive in the different climatic conditions within the cloud forest. Many endemic species are to be found here including vegetation, birds and mammals.
A visit to a nearby conservation project, focused on the protection of the Quetzal, gives us an opportunity to be led on a walk by a naturalist and ornithologist who is passionate about photography. We are highly likely to see a Quetzal here, under their expert guidance. Walking will be at a leisurely pace on defined paths, and will cover approximate distances of 2kms for each route. There will be some undulations in gradient.
This afternoon we check in to at Saverge Lodge, a rustic spa resort sympathetically set in a nature reserve, with a beautiful bar & restaurant, where we will be staying for 2 nights. There is plenty of opportunity to explore the area around the lodge or to relax with a book, listening to the sounds of the forest.
4 star hotel
After a delicious breakfast, we travel for about an hour to the Green Communities Experimental farm in Providencia. There is a distinct educational slant on today, and we start by learning about the process and production of organic coffee, as well as the volunteer programs being run here. We get to see the complete process in action at the Coffee Mill before enjoying a typical and amazing lunch at the farm. This afternoon we get the opportunity to visit an organic model farm so can see the differences between ecological production and conventional coffee production. Naturally we will be able to take part in a coffee tasting at the 'clinic' before we stretch our legs with a gentle walk to El Pozeron and Velo de Novia waterfalls.
We return to the comfort and serenity of Saverge Lodge for a short talk about the impact of ecotourism and our second nights stay.
4 star hotel
It is time to head towards the coast, to continue to appreciate the staggering biodiversity of Costa Rica. Ballena Beach, our destination, is located just offshore, along the Central Pacific coast, in South Puntarenas. The Ballena National Marine park, in which it is situated, protects more than 13,000 acres of ocean and 9miles of coastline. Here you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience mangrove forests, coral reefs and untouched beaches. The park is named after the humpback whales that migrate here between August & November heading north from Antarctica, and December to April, when they are travelling south from Alaska.
Depending on the aspirations of the group, there are a number of beautiful walking routes that can be explored in the park this afternoon. La Cola de Balena (the embolic 'whale tail' sandy spur) is an option at low tide. Regardless of the trails chosen, you are likely to see iguana, and beautiful bird species.
Our hotel this evening is a 4* boutique hotel and spa on a hill between the Pacific Ocean & rainforest covered mountains, offering incredible views.
4 star hotel
The National Park offers many opportunities to the traveller in search of wilderness, beauty and an immersion into the exotic natural world of Costa Rica. Playa Bahia Ballena is a pristine beach, home to nesting colonies of several exotic bird species including frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Green iguanas and basilisk lizards can be seen scampering across the sand, and hermit crabs scuttle in and out of the waters.
You are at your leisure to relax and enjoy the beach and hotel today, or to sign up for an optional excursion; horse riding (see Optional Extras).
3 star hotel
Our destination, Drake Bay, can only easily be reached by boat, so this morning, after breakfast, we transfer an hour (57km) to the Sierpe River to catch the 11.00 boat. Seclusion, stunning vegetation and clam waves describe the Drake Bay Area, which offers access to Corcovado National Park, famous for its population of Tapir.
This afternoon we have a range of optional activities that you can reserve (see Optional Extras), or the Jintesa de Osa is a wonderful place to relax, with ocean views and the sound of lapping water.
Optional Extras: Sea Kayaking, Bird Watching, Night Rainforest Tour, Horse Ride on the beach
3 star hotel
Corcovado National Park is the largest of the 27 National Parks in Costa Rica, stretching for over 263sq miles. It boasts the largest primary forest on the American Pacific Coastline and is one of the few remaining lowland rainforest in the world. It is home to innumerable variations of plants and animals, prompting a National Geographic writer to call the park "the most biologically intense place on Earth".
As previously, there are a choice of trails to suit the aspirations of the group, and we will be joined by a local guide from the National Park, so will have the flexibility to split into sub groups as required. An exciting option is to walk to the mouth of the Sirena River (5km circular route) where you can sot bull sharks and crocodiles at high tide. Lunch wilil be taken at a local restaurant.
We return to our hotel, nestled in the lush foliage on the coast, for a second night.
3 star hotel
Today you will visit Cano island, with a scenic boat journey tasing around 50mins. You can expect to see dolphins and marine birds as well as whales, false orcas and sea turtles if in season. Cano Island is a significant historical archaeological site in Costa Rica, where two of the miraculous and mysterious, perfect spheres from the pre-Colombian era, were discovered, along with other historical items.
The aquatic life around Cano island is simply spectacular so we invite you to snorkel this afternoon (included) to marvel at the colourful spectrum of Pacific Coast reef fish such as trigger fish, needle fish, parrot fish, angel fish, puffers, grunts and barracudas, as well as rays, sea turtles and white tip reef shark.
4 star hotel
Reluctantly we have to pull ourselves away from the peace and tranquility of Drake Bay, and make our way back on the familiar route to the Sierpe River, by boat. We need to cover some ground today, to get back to within an armslength of San Jose, (journey of around 4.5hrs) but we will make a stop at Tarcoles River for a safari boat tour. The river is famous for its large crocodiles so this is not an opportunity to be missed.
Our hotel in Alajuela tonight gives us panoramic views over San Jose, and is the perfect place to recall the highlights of the trip before your travel homewards (or onwards!) tomorrow.
After breakfast, at the established time, we will transfer you the 20mins to Juan Santamaria International Airport for your flight home.
It must be time to plan the next adventure!
Single rooms are available on a first come, first served basis. We will charge on a pro-rata basis if a single room is only available for part of the trip.
Take the opportunity to explore the Ballena National Park on horseback, in a small guided group. Riding hats provided.
Guided small group, sea kayaking. Our kayak tour, apart from being an adventure tour, is an ecological tour on which you can see plenty of wildlife. You will start the excursion exploring the Bay, and then kayak to a river in the rainforest nearby to the hotel. Frequent sightings include crocodiles, iguanas, spider monkeys, and howler monkeys.
No previous experience required. Minimum of 2 people for this tour.
The bird watching tour is flexible; it can be done in the surroundings of Drake Bay village or at any of the farms near the town. The tour can either be 2 hours or all day, and includes: a specialized guide in birds fully equipped for bird watching and, if it's an all-day tour, lunch is included. The Osa Peninsula is known for its great abundance of avifauna and is a favorite destination for bird lovers.
This 3-hour tour starts at 6 p.m. on a farm in the vicinity of Drake Bay and is the best way to see amphibians, reptiles, and other nocturnal creatures, in addition to the surreal experience of trekking through the rainforest at night. Some of the wildlife you may encounter includes red-eyed tree frogs, snakes, poison-dart frogs, glass frogs, and an abundance of insects. Headtorches are included if needed.
Our horse riding trip is more than just a ride; it is an equine eco-tour on which you are sure to witness the diverse array of wildlife that the area is known for. The ride will take you through rivers, forests, and pristine beaches; it ends at a waterfall, where you can take a refreshing swim.
Minimum of 2 people for this tour.
Morning Tour from 10:30 - 3.00pm: includes VIP double decker bus & welcome drink, Bilingual guide, Live Music Show, Lunch, Guided walking tour at the National Theatre, Art Museum, Shopping at Central Market, the Gold Museum and the National Monument.
Afternoon Tour from 3.15 - 7.00pm: includes VIP double decker bus & welcome drink, Bilingual guide, Live Music Show, Dinner, Guided walking tour at the National Theatre, Art Museum, Shopping at Central Market, the Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza de la Democracia, Central Avenue and the National Monument.
Carbon Compensation is not the perfect solution, and it is important to first reduce our carbon emissions as much as we can, yet trees remain an excellent natural technology to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow global warming.
For every client and guide who attends a YellowWood Adventure, we donate £30 to our partner charity WeForest to plant 15 trees to (over) compensate for the carbon footprint of the tour.
We also invite our clients to match this with an optional additional £30 for another 15 trees to be planted to help compensate for the carbon footprint of their international flights.
WeForest run many tree planting and tree maintenance projects such as this seedling nursery in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil and many other projects in other countries including Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & India.
Click Here to find out more about their amazing projects around the world.
We fully believe in, and practice, Responsible Tourism and are using hotels run by locals. The accommodation on this adventure really accentuates your experience. We put time and effort into building our relationship with accommodation suppliers to ensure you have a great trip. We choose accommodation based on cleanliness, comfort, safety, proximity to our route (to avoid unnecessary extra travel) and a warm client welcome, as well as reliability in their service to us.
Wherever we can we will choose smaller, more characterful, individual hotels, but in areas where tourism is still developing, or in remote areas (like the mountains), we may not have a wide range of options. An aspect of our adventures is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles and to experience new things with are exciting and memorable and reflects the countries we are visiting.
The list below gives information on our first choice of accommodation for this adventure. Where hotels and refuges are fully booked or unavailable, we will use an alternative of a similar standard, and equally well situated. We will provide you with an accurate list of accommodation, with contact information to leave with relatives, prior to departure on your adventure.
San Jose (Day 1): 4* Hotel President, Family owned, centrally located hotel. Ensuite rooms with Wifi, bar & restaurant
San Gerardo de Dota (Day 2 & 3): Saverge lodge; rustic 4* spa hotel set in a nature reserve. Ensuite rooms, wifi & bar & restaurant
Marina Ballena National Park (Day 4 & 5): Hotel Cristal Ballena: 4* boutique hotel & spa situated on a hill between the Pacific Ocean and the rainforest covered mountains. Pool, bar, park & spa. Ensuite rooms with wifi.
Drake Bay (Day 6 - 8): Jinestes de Osa 3* Hotel just off the water in Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula. Spectacular bay views, ensuite rooms with wifi. Bar & restaurant
Alajuela (Day 9): Buena Vista Chic 4* Boutique Hotel in a relaxed colonial Spanish style. Small pool. Ensuite rooms with wifi. Bar & Restaurant
Unless you have booked a single room (where they are available) and paid the single room supplement for those nights, you will be sharing a twin room with another client (of the same gender).
Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced, local, English speaking Costa Rican guide with a good knowledge of the areas visited, and the wildlife that might be encountered. They will be joined by an ornithology expert for part of Day 2 of the adventure, when you are hoping to spot the beautiful Quetzal. You will also be joined by a local National Park guide in Corcovado National Park on Day 7.
We work closely with our Costa Rican Tour Operator partners both before and during your adventure to ensure that they understand your needs and the standard that YellowWood Adventures expects. We believe that it is a very important positive aspect of Responsible Tourism, to employ the expertise of local suppliers, as well as offering you a much more informative and authentic experience.
Your group will be any number from our minimum group size of 6, up to a maximum of 12 clients. This number works really well with the ratio of guides, and ensures the optimum level of service to you during your adventure.
We get clients booking alone, as couples and in small groups of friends. If you have a group of friends or family who are interested in having their own customised trip, then please let us know and we can cost it for you.
This adventure is a fabulous mix of sightseeing, and exploring the stunning National Parks and coastlines on foot.
To get the most of out of this adventure, you need to be in good physical health, and enjoy walking as a way of exploring an area. You do not need to be an experienced hiker as the walks on the itinerary are taken at a leisurely pace (to enable wildlife spotting and photography) on well trodden paths, for short periods of time (up to 2hrs) and with regular stops. You will be carrying just a day pack and bottle of water (bottled water) when walking or sightseeing.
Walking shoes or lightweight walking boots are more appropriate for this trip than hard and heavy walking boots.
Please note that you need to have an open mind to adventure travel, and experiencing different cultures to your own, first hand.
Your YellowWood adventure starts at the airport in San Jose where you will be met for your hotel transfer (if you are arriving on Day 1 of the adventure). We understand that arriving into an unfamiliar airport can be very daunting, so we aim to give you as much information here as possible to help you prepare. Please refer to our Costa Rica Overview page for information on Entry Requirements.
Flights are not included in the cost of your holiday, and whilst we are happy to help advise you, responsibility for booking the correct flights rests with you. We recommend that you use a comparison tool such as www.momondo.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net when searching for flights.
We will send you a Flight Information Sheet with further pointers on which flights to book for your adventure.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. We also receive notifications direct from the FCDO so we are always aware of the ‘status’ in our destination countries.
Holiday insurance is essential for all Yellow Wood Adventures. Unfortunately anyone without insurance is not able to take part in the holiday, so please make sure you arrange cover. We recommend sorting your insurance when you book so that if you have problems during the run up to your holiday, and need to cancel, you are covered, particularly in the light of effects that the pandemic has had on travel.
Prior to the holiday, we will ask you to send us details of your insurer, policy number, 24 hr emergency assistance contact details and the name, address, and telephone numbers of your NOK or persons to be notified in the event of an emergency.
Your insurance needs to cover you for hiking /trekking with the following fairly standard inclusions:
We would also recommend that you have cover for the following optional items:
For information on Costa Rica, such as climate, weather, language, social norms, food & drink etc, please have a read of our Country specificinformation.
This is a new itinerary for YellowWood and as such, we do not yet have any reviews. We would love you to be the first to review the adventure!
All adventures can be tailored as private bespoke trips.
Please contact us for more information:
+44 207 846 0197
Select dates & add any extras or 'Add on' adventures. Complete our Booking Form
Check out our Covid-19 friendly booking conditions & check the box to agree to our Terms & Conditions.
'Make Booking': You will be redirected to secure WorldPay to make your deposit (£300/$400/person) payment (receipted), if booking >56 days before your adventure or full payment if 56 or <56 days before your adventure. Your monies are held securely by the Travel Trust Association.
Your booking will show as 'pending' in your YellowWood online account.
Enter booking information for all guests in your party.
We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to confirm your booking or discuss any availability limitations. Do not book transport/flights until we have emailed you to confirm your booking (receipt of your booking form is not confirmation). We will change the status of your final invoice from 'Pending Approval' to 'Outstanding', when it becomes payable online.
This payment is due 56 days before departure date (we send reminders).
Contact us with any questions about your adventure or booking.
+44 207 846 0197
To help you choose the right adventure for you, we have given each itinerary a grading that relates to the level of Walking / Trekking you will experience during the trip. This grading can be found on the Yellow map on the adventure page of the website.
All of our trips involve a level of general activity so are designed for people who are in good health, enjoy the outdoors, and have a taste for adventure and some level of fitness. As will be clear from our destinations, the climate (and altitude) may be different to that which you are used to, so please take this into consideration when choosing the most suitable holiday.
Please read our Adventure Itinerary & Essential Information for more information and don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to chat through whether you have found a suitable adventure for you.
You need to be in good physical health to enjoy your active holiday, but you don’t need to be an experienced hiker. These itineraries offer a mix of sightseeing and easier walking for around 2-4hrs a day, with the emphasis on sights and cultural experiences.
Walks will be well marked or on defined pathways, and often around sites of interest. The expected amount of descent/ascent will depend on the landscapes of the destination, but will not exceed 400m/day, and will often be much less. Walks are at low altitude (below 3000m).
You will not be required to carry more than a day sack with water and essentials. Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have a pair of comfortable and worn in walking shoes/boots.
You need to have a good level of fitness and be a regular walker for these adventures, with ideally some trekking experience. You can expect to be walking for 3-6 hours per day, not including rest stops, normally on good trail paths but with some uneven surfaces at times.
You will not be required to carry more than a day sack. You may be walking in more challenging temperatures. You will generally be walking at low altitude (below 3000m) but may walk at altitudes up to 4000m. The amount of ascent could be up to 800m in a day but will frequently be less. You may walk on consecutive days.
Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable clothing for this adventure.
You need to have a good level of fitness with previous experience of trekking. Extra training before your trip will ensure that you get the most out of your adventure. Areas will be remote and terrain uneven.
Expect to walk for 5 – 8 hours a day, not including breaks, with some very steep ascents and descents. You will be walking at altitude (over 3000m but not higher than 5000m).
Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable equipment/clothing for this adventure (see the packing list for your adventure).
Please check individual itineraries for details of what you will need to be carrying with you.
Get in touch via our Enquiry form to check our availability, discuss the adventure and check we can meet your needs.
Complete our Enquiry Form; contact details, additional requirements (eg diet or health requirements) & questions you may have. Include as much information as you are able to, so we can help you with the detail you are looking for
Click on 'Send Enquiry' (receipted).
We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to answer your questions and help you plan your adventure.
+44 207 846 0197