toucan rainforest costa rica

Toucan, symbol of the rainforest

From Monteverde's cloud forest to the tranquil waterways of Tortuguero National Park, we savor Costa Rica’s tropical biodiversity with our naturalist guide.

Photo by Keren Su / Danita Delimont Agency

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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


  • Boat in pristine rainforest, hike in cloud forest, walk hanging bridges through rainforest alive with birdlife
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano, Tortuguero National Park
  • Fantastic naturalist guide with in-depth knowledge of Costa Rica’s ecosystems

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

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.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Costa Rica is a glorious tropical paradise, with huge swaths of its beaches, cloud forests, and rainforests protected in world-famous parks. With our expert naturalist guide, we hike in Monteverde Cloud Forest, with its treetop canopies full of birds, and follow hanging bridges suspended high in the forest near Arenal, a towering volcano with inviting thermal springs. Our grand finale is at Tortuguero National Park, where we explore by boat through tropical forest waterways sheltering a fantastic array of wildlife.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
Monteverde Cloud Forest

Our Trip Leader unlocks the secrets of Monteverde’s magical cloud forest as we hike along paths draped in orchids and bromeliads, while high above, the dense green canopy shelters countless birds, including the resplendent quetzal, sacred bird of the Mayas and Aztecs. We also visit the Jardin de las Mariposas, with its shimmering blue morpho butterflies.

Day 4-5
Arenal Volcano

In Arenal, a network of spectacular hanging bridges gives us access to the canopy of primary rainforest, where more than 350 species of birds and a colorful array of butterflies reside. We enjoy a soak in a gorgeous natural thermal spring, then watch the nighttime glow and fireworks of Arenal Volcano from our comfortable lodge nestled in the rainforest.

Days 6-9
Tortuguero National Park

Set along natural inland waterways of the Caribbean, Tortuguero protects one of the last large areas of tropical rainforest in Central America. In this emerald world, we explore by boat 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 three species of toucans, eight species of parrots, and other neotropical species such as the slaty-tailed trogon. Green sea turtles nest here (July-October) as well as leatherbacks (March-May), and we visit the Green Turtle Research Station. Return to San Jose and depart on Day 9, or join our extension to Corcovado National Park or our exhilarating one-day rafting trip on the Pacuare River.

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 18-26, 2014  Federico Alban
Dec 26, 2014-Jan 3, 2015  Federico Alban
Jan 11-19, 2015
Feb 6-14, 2015
Feb 18-26, 2015
Mar 7-15, 2015
Dec 21-29, 2015
Dec 29, 2015-Jan 6, 2016

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$3795 (11-15 members)
$3995 (5-10 members)
Single supplement: $825
Forced single supplement: $625
Internal airfare: $530 (subject to change)
Holiday surcharge (Dec): $250
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Corcovado Rainforest Extension
   from: $1360
One-Day Pacuare River Rafting Extension
   from: $150

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.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

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.

Federico Alban

Federico Alban grew up in Costa Rica but has lived all over the world, including Jerusalem, Madrid, and New York City. His love of nature and wildlife led him to study Natural Resource Management and Agricultural Engineering at the Universidad Estatal a Distancia in San Jose, Costa Rica. He began his guiding career by working with Youth Challenge International, teaching young adults about wildlife and natural history. Federico is also an avid mountain biker.

Upcoming Trips:

Costa Rica Wildlife, December 18-26, 2014
Costa Rica Wildlife, December 26, 2014-January 3, 2015

Client Testimonials:

Federico is one of the most amazing individuals we have ever met. He has a genuine concern for everyone and displayed an incredible extent of knowledge, compassion, and leadership. Christine F., Costa Rica Adventure Federico Alban is a particularly special and gifted guide whose presence enhanced our enjoyment of the trip. Lise J., Portland, OR Federico Alban was outstanding. He was engaging, warm, attentive, always on time, and broad based in his knowledge. He contributed to my affection for Costa Rica. Grant M., Reno, NV WT is lucky to have someone as expert as a naturalist and Trip Leader as Federico. His enthusiasm shines through. Aviva S., Brookline MA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico was energetic, enthusiastic, and excited about the treasures of his country, which he shared with all of us. It was a real pleasure to be in his company. Virginia R., Orlando FL
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico had excellent knowledge and lots of enthusiasm. He was very in tune with the needs of all the participants. He was lots of fun to be with. Patricia O., Pinole CA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico was outstanding. Very knowledgeable, friendly, funny, etc. He took care of issues before they became problems, and was a blast to hang out with for a week. Sharon S., Cambridge MA
Costa Rica Adventure
Our guide, Federico, made the trip the best. His knowledge and language skills were only matched by his outgoing peronality, patience, and caring for each of us as individuals. Joyce C., Blue Bell, PA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico Alban is a wonderful guide with outstanding people and interpersonal skills, and an excellent understanding of the wildlife and culture of Costa Rica. He's one of the best! Stephen W., San Diego, CA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico was an excellent guide with deep knowledge, good communication skills, and great interpersonal skills. Karin W., Charlottesville, VA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico is by far the best guide we have ever had. He is passionate about what he does and very sensitive to the needs and expectations of every trip participant. Miriam F., Englewood, NJ
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico Alban is a wonderful guide with outstanding people and interpersonal skills. Excellent understanding of the wildlife and culture of Costa Rica. He's one of the best! Stephen W., San Diego, CA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico made the trip the best. His knowledge and language skills were only matched by his outgoing peronality, patience, and caring for each of us as individuals. Joyce C., Blue Bell, PA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico is an impressive ambassador for Wilderness Travel. Part logistics officer and tour guide, he is an organizational treasure. Ray B., Springfield, OR
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico was a star in every respect, with excellent knowledge of the fauna and flora and a terrific personality to match. Phillip M., Hampshire, England
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico was awesome...very kind, patient, and knowledgeable. He made the trip so enjoyable! Dorothy P., Las Vegas, NV
Costa Rica Wildlife
What a smart and personable guy. He did a great job moving us through a wonderful experience, allowing just the right amount of time for everything and listening to each traveler's special interests. Linda K., Berkeley, CA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Frederico was outstanding. His level of knowledge of birds, animals, plants, and ecosystems was extensive, and he has a very engaging manner in sharing it. We learned so much at every location, and his enthusiasm made each day a pleasure. Rami C., Newtown, PA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico was the best—warm, related, extremely helpful, was always available, and made sure all our needs were met. Barbara P., New York, NY
Costa Rica Wildlife
Federico's knowledge of culture, environment, history, etc. is exceptional, and his ability to spot animals and direct viewers is remarkable. He has a lovely temperament and is charming and forthcoming with comments on all aspects of Costa Rican life. Sally S., Oakland, CA
Costa Rica Wildlife
Frederico was FABULOUS. He worked constantly to explain all we were seeing and making sure we had everything we needed. We all loved him. Berkeley H., Greensboro, NC
Costa Rica Wildlife

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