Costa Rica Wildlife route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3795  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: San Jose, Costa Rica
Depart: San Jose, Costa Rica
Lodging: 2 nights in hotels, 6 nights in well-appointed lodges in beautiful settings
Meals: All meals included except Day 1
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Walking
Trip Level: Easy forest hikes and nature walks, optional zip lines


  • Boat in pristine rainforest, hike in cloud forest, and walk hanging bridges (and optional zip line) through a treetop canopy alive with birdlife
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest, with its paths draped in orchids and bromeliads
  • The inviting thermal springs and waterfalls of Arenal Volcano
  • Tortuguero National Park, a wonderful realm of caimans, spider monkeys, and colorful toucans
  • Our fantastic naturalist guide shares in-depth knowledge of Costa Rica’s ecosystems

Typical Wilderness Travel excellence!David S.—Potomac, MD

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Early Sign-up Discount!

$350 discount per person
All December 2015 through December 2016 departures

Limited to the first six sign-ups per departure. Please note that these special offers cannot be combined with other discounts.

Costa Rica is a glorious tropical paradise, with huge swaths of beaches, cloud forests, and rainforests protected in world-famous parks and reserves. With our expert naturalist guide, you’ll enjoy nature walks in Monteverde, with its treetop canopies full of birds, follow hanging bridges suspended high in the forest near towering Arenal Volcano, hike to the base of the breathtaking, 200-foot-high La Fortuna Waterfall, and even enjoy options for zip lining. Our grand finale is Tortuguero National Park, where you’ll explore by boat through tropical forest waterways sheltering a fantastic array of wildlife. Charming lodges keep you comfortable as you experience this natural wonderland.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
Monteverde Cloud Forest

After an overnight in San Jose, we head to magical Monteverde Cloud Forest, set in the highlands at a cool 4,700 feet. Our Trip Leader unlocks the secrets of Monteverde as we hike along paths carpeted in ferns, mosses, and shade loving plants, while high above, the dense green canopy shelters countless birds, including the resplendent quetzal, sacred bird of the Mayas and Aztecs. During our visit to the Jardin de las Mariposas, you’ll discover the shimmering blue morpho butterflies, one of 40 species represented in this enchanting garden, and also hike nature trails in nearby Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, noted for its howler monkeys. We unwind after our active days at welcoming Monteverde Lodge, set in lovely gardens surrounded by cloud forest (a soak in its large Jacuzzi is a must!).

Day 4-5
Arenal Volcano

Crossing Lake Arenal by private boat, you’ll take in your first views of magnificent—and still active—Arenal Volcano. A perfect cone shape emerging 5,300 feet from gentle green hills, Arenal first became active in 1968 when it erupted in a spectacular fashion. A series of hanging bridges brings you right to the high rainforest canopy, where more than 350 species of birds and a colorful array of butterflies reside. A hike through forests and meadows brings you to the base of stunning La Fortuna Waterfall, where, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a dip in the cool waters below. You’ll also have the option of taking an exhilarating ride on the canopy zip line. Zipping along nearly two miles of cables, you’ll see the rainforest and Arenal from a whole new perspective. Soak in a gorgeous natural thermal spring, then watch for the nighttime glow and red lava flows of Arenal Volcano from our boutique resort nestled among 120 acres of primal rainforest overlooking the mountain.

Days 6-9
Tortuguero National Park

Set along natural inland waterways of the Caribbean and accessible only by boat or air, Tortuguero protects one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. In this emerald world, you’ll head out by boat to explore its maze of tranquil blackwater canals overhung with rainforest that provides a rich habitat for caimans, manatees, monkeys, three-toed sloths, river otters, and dazzling birdlife including all six species of kingfishers found in the New World, three species of toucans, eight species of parrots, and the slaty-tailed trogon. Green sea turtles nest here (July-October) as well as leatherbacks (March-May), and we’ll be sure to visit the Green Turtle Research Station. Our classic Caribbean-style lodge—and its inviting pool—are set right at the river’s edge. Depart on Day 9, or join one of our exciting extensions.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 2, Easy to Moderate, according to our trip grading system. Wildlife viewing takes place during nature walks on mountain rainforest trails and on lagoon trips by boat. The walks are about two to four miles, covering a variety of terrain and usually on well-marked trails. There is no extensive hiking on the trip, but you should be in good physical shape to enjoy it to the fullest. Accommodations range from a modern hotel in San Jose to charming wildlife lodges. The Corcovado Extension and Pacuare River Rafting Extension are Level 3, Moderate.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Dec 21-29, 2015  Federico Alban
Dec 29, 2015-Jan 6, 2016  Federico Alban
Jan 8-16, 2016  Federico Alban
Feb 7-15, 2016  Federico Alban
Feb 22-Mar 1, 2016  Federico Alban
Mar 4-12, 2016  Federico Alban
Dec 18-26, 2016  Federico Alban
Dec 29, 2016-Jan 6, 2017  Federico Alban

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$3795 (11-15 members)
$3995 (5-10 members)
Holiday surcharge (Dec): $250
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Corcovado Rainforest Extension
   from: $1650
One-Day Pacuare River Rafting Extension
   from: $150

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in first-class hotels and lodges
  • All meals included except Day 1
  • Land transportation, airport transfers as noted in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; airport transfers not on group dates; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
San Jose, Costa Rica
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:

San Jose, Costa Rica (airport code SJO)
Suggested arrival time: anytime
San Jose, Costa Rica
Date: Day 9

Suggested Airport for Departure:

San Jose, Costa Rica (airport code SJO)
Suggested Flight Departure Time: anytime

Hotel Bougainvillea

Hotel Bougainvillea

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 8 (1 night), San Jose, Costa Rica

The Hotel Bougainvillea is set among 10 acres of lush tropical gardens in the residential district of San Domingo de Heredia, just 15 minutes from ...
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Monteverde Lodge

Monteverde Lodge

Days 2 to 3 (2 nights), Monteverde, Costa Rica

The winding paths of Monteverde Lodge’s beautifully manicured gardens are flanked by ferns and bromeliads, and a stream, pond, and small ...
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Lost Iguana Resort & Spa

Lost Iguana Resort & Spa

Days 4 to 5 (2 nights), Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

This wonderful resort is like an oasis in the middle of nowhere. While the rooms are not luxurious, they are very comfortable and private, and ...
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Tortuga Lodge

Tortuga Lodge

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens and dense forest, Tortuga Lodge offers 24 spacious and comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Federico Alban

Departure Dates: December 21-29, 2015, December 29, 2015-January 6, 2016, January 8-16, 2016, February 7-15, 2016, February 22-March 1, 2016, March 4-12, 2016, December 18-26, 2016, December 29, 2016-January 6, 2017

If you want to know what the Pura Vida lifestyle looks like, look no further than Federico Alban. Though he lived in Spain, Israel, and the United States from age seven to nineteen, Federico is a Costa Rican local at heart and welcomes Wilderness Travel guests to experience all the country has to ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Onik Morrison

As the only daughter of an American biologist and Costa Rican civil engineer, Onik Morrison grew up exploring different parts of the world, and has since developed a solid case of wanderlust. “After hundreds of expeditions with my Dad, there was no remedy for me," she says. For the last nine ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Costa Rica

Corcovado Rainforest Extension

Nature Hikes, Wilderness Beaches, and Forest Trails

Wildlife & Natural History
4 days  -  Level 2+

One-Day Pacuare River Rafting Extension

Whitewater, Waterfalls, and Rainforest

Wildlife & Natural History
Level 2

Client Comments

Typical Wilderness Travel excellence! David S., Potomac, MD This was such a wonderful trip. We saw an almost unbelievable variety of wildlife. Our leader was terrific - extraordinary knowledge of the plants and animals of Costa Rica. Education, fun, adventure, and exercise equals a great vacation. Cathy and Richard L., Portola Valley, CA I am a 'city girl' who was surprised to find herself captivated by ants, birds, bats, and sloths, among other things! Costa Rica is beautiful and this was a great way to experience it. Dorothy M., Chicago, IL It was great to get away to such a beautiful and sunny place in February! This trip would be fun to do again. Corrine D., Palo Alto, CA The trip exceeded our expectations and its variety of experiences kept us in constant amazement. Elizabeth C., Washington, DC We had a great trip. We will definitely recommend WT to friends. Brian S. and Shana S., Indianapolis, IN One of the best trips we’ve ever had. Our 11-year-old granddaughter never stopped smiling. Paul C., Cambridge, MA This trip was spectacularly planned and executed, the best of our WT trip experiences. Charles and Ruthellen M., Great Neck, NY Having traveled with other companies, WT is by far the best one yet. Jalien H., South Dartmouth, MA Superb trip—all I had to do was enjoy myself! Ray B., Springfield, OR
It was truly one of my best vacations EVER! Dorothy P., Las Vegas, NV Everyone at Wilderness Travel from our first call to our final good-bye at the airport was exceptional! Sue M., San Carlos, CA Your trip leader has a great deal of knowledge and passion regarding the wildlife, history and current events of Costa Rica. His guidance added a whole new level to our enjoyment of this amazing country. Kristine J., Orangevale, CA A tremendous trip that really helped me understand and appreciate Costa Rica's animals, plants, and natural beauty. Federico was great, the lodges and hotels where we stayed were top notch, the cultural events were very interesting, and the rainforests and animals were unforgettable. Mark H., Wilmette, IL The trip was exactly what I had hoped—a small group of enthusiastic travelers, hikes and boat trips with lots of plants and wildlife to photograph. Plus, it was an excellent break from winter weather! Julia M., Washington, DC Loved it, loved Costa Rica. Can't wait to do another adventure. Dr. Leila G., Maplewood, NJ A fantastic trip! Lots of activities for those people like me who want to be on the go all the time and options for those who want to take some down time. I really appreciated the beauty of the country and the chance to see so much wildlife! Sylvia B., Canterbury, NH