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    Endemic wildlife
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    Whales and dolphins
Special Interest - Wildlife

Flora and Fauna of Costa Rica

Flora and Fauna of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

  • A car with a tick VIP door to door
  • A glass of wine All Inclusive

Go in search of sloths, quetzals and humpback whales...

Spend 12 days travelling from coast to coast across the rugged landscapes of Costa Rica, home to cloud forests, hot springs, volcanoes, golden beaches and clear blue waters. One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Costa Rica offers incredible wildlife encounters, from trekking through the rainforest to spy the elusive resplendent quetzal, to watching hatchling turtles making their way to the sea.

Begin your adventure in Tortuguero, a network of canals, lagoons and dense rainforests where you’ll meet the locals, explore the national park by boat and join a night patrol to observe nesting turtles. From La Fortuna, home of the mighty Arenal Volcano, you’ll go in search of sloths in La Tirimbina rainforest, walk across the hanging bridges of Mistico Park, and visit a butterfly conservatory. 

Heading to Costa Rica’s southern coast you’ll stay in the beach town of Dominical, where jungle-covered mountains meets ocean. Explore the rare mangrove forests, and head out on a whale and dolphin watching boat trip with the hope of spotting humpback whales, Olive Ridley turtles and manta rays. Finish your journey in the lesser known San Gerado do Dota, set in a deep valley and surrounded by the towering Talamanca mountains, and area offering incredible birdwatching opportunities – don’t forget your binoculars!

We’ll ensure you get the most out of your adventure with our expert tour host who will help you to spot and identify wildlife sightings, plus you’ll have the opportunity to expand your knowledge with included lectures on sea turtle conservation, and whale and dolphin migration.


Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Car VIP door-to-door travel service

Bed 11 nights in hotels

Plate 32 meals: 11 breakfasts (B), 10 lunches (L) and 11 dinners (D)

Cocktail Free bar open 12 hours a day at the Tilajari Hotel

Person Dedicated Saga Host


  • Return flights and transfers
  • Included themed activities
  • Expert Host Talks
  • Hosted welcome drinks reception
  • Hotel porterage

Map Included excursions and visits

  • Visit to Tortuguero Village
  • Boat expedition in Tortuguero National Park
  • Lectures on sea turtle conservation and whale migration
  • Sea turtle night patrol
  • Hike through La Tirimbina Natural Reserve
  • Guided sloth walk
  • Arenal Volcano lave trails
  • Visit to the World of Tropical Rainforest Butterflies
  • Visit to Rancho Margot sustainable farm
  • Mangrove boat expedition
  • Whale watching boat trip
  • Quetzal trek
  • Birdwatching hike

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-San Jose

San Jose

After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly to San Jose, and stay overnight at the locally rated 4-star Bougainvillea Hotel (3Q). 

Enjoy a welcome drink on arrival and look forward to dinner included at the hotel this evening. D

Day 2 San Jose-Tortuguero

Explore Tortuguero

After breakfast at your hotel, depart San Jose and travel to Tortuguero, a region famed for its verdant rainforest, abundant wildlife, lakes and wetlands. Journey by coach across land to the La Pavona Pier, where you’ll leave civilisation behind as you board a small but comfortable boat for an hour-long ride through the rainforest to the locally rated 3-star Laguna Lodge (2Q+) for a two-night stay. 

The eco-lodge is set within six acres of tropical gardens teeming with wildlife on a narrow strip of land between Tortuguero’s main lake and the Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast. There’s even a pond where you can see endangered red-eyed tree frogs. It’s a real back to nature experience although everyday conveniences are still taken care of. 

Enjoy lunch at the hotel before joining an included visit to Tortuguero Village where you’ll meet the locals and explore the history and culture of the village. Return to the lodge for dinner this evening. B, L, D.

Day 3 Tortuguero

Green turtle

This morning experience the amazing biodiversity of Tortuguero National Park on a half-day boat tour exploring a fraction of its canals. The park covers 49,950 acres of lagoons and waterways, as well as a wild, untamed beach where four different species of turtles periodically visit to lay their eggs (spawning season is between July and October while hatching season is September and November). 

More than 300 species of bird can be spied in the thick jungle and, as you cruise the channels lined with clumps of raffia palms, just some of the species you may glimpse include great green macaws, kingfishers and curassows. You may also hear the chatter of monkeys and see caiman, iguanas and colourful butterflies by the water’s edge. 

Return to the lodge for lunch before spending an afternoon learning about the sea turtle conservation in the Caribbean during a lecture by the Sea Turtle Conservancy, then join a sea turtle night patrol along the beach after dinner. 

The endangered green turtle, hawksbill, loggerhead and giant leatherback turtles all nest along Tortuguero’s beaches and from November to January, the young hatch and make their way towards the ocean, a spectacle which you’ll hopefully have the chance to witness. B, L, D

Please note: turtle sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Day 4 Tortuguero-Sarapiqui-La Fortuna

Arenal volcano

Depart from Tortuguero after breakfast, taking a boat back to the pier to meet your coach. Continue to the region of Sarapiqui, where you’ll stop at La Tirimbina Natural Reserve. Join a two-hour guided walk through the nature reserve and as you follow the network of trails through the rainforest, look out for unique vegetation as well as sloths, monkeys, lizards, hummingbirds and a variety of insects. 

After lunch continue to La Fortuna for a four-night stay on an all inclusive basis at the locally rated 4-star Tilajari Resort (3Q). It lies in the San Carlos region which is acclaimed for its breathtaking rainforests, rivers, hot springs caused by geothermal activity, and the mighty Arenal Volcano. The hotel is set in 35 acres of lush gardens along the banks of the San Carlos River. 

Enjoy time to relax and explore the hotel before dinner. B, L, D

Day 5 La Fortuna

A three-toed sloth

After breakfast, set out on a walking tour in search of sloths. A local expert will guide you through local farms and nature reserves, the preferred habitats of these endearing creatures, as you hope to spot two- and three-toed sloths, whilst learning more about their biology and behaviour. 

Enjoy lunch at your hotel before embarking on an afternoon hike through the lava trails of Arenal Volcano. Return to your hotel for dinner. B, L, D

Day 6 La Fortuna

Mistico Hanging Bridges

Today you’ll enjoy another day filled with activities in the Arenal Volcano region. Begin with a guided walk through Arenal Hanging Bridges in Mistico Park. The three-kilometre trail leads you through the rainforest canopy, across 15 bridges, six of which are hanging, offering fantastic wildlife spotting opportunities and impressive views of Arenal Lake and Volcano. 

Next visit a butterfly reserve, dedicated to studying and conserving butterfly species in Costa Rica, followed by lunch in Rancho Margot. This afternoon enjoy a sustainable farm tour with a soap-making workshop and tree planting, before returning to your hotel for dinner. B, L, D

Day 7 La Fortuna

Spot butterflies in the garden

Spend today at leisure, and take advantage of facilities available at the hotel. Relax by the pool, or perhaps explore the onsite butterfly garden and botanical garden. B, L, D

Day 8 La Fortuna-Dominical Beach

A heron in the mangroves

After an early breakfast, depart the hotel and begin the long, scenic journey to Dominical Beach on Costa Rica’s southern coast. 

En route stop at the Guacalillo Estuary, an area noted for its mangroves. Four different species of mangrove are found in the area, and the trees provide a vital habitat for many endemic birds, including herons and hummingbirds. Enjoy a boat ride through the mangrove forest, and look out for crocodiles, iguanas and tropical birds in their natural habitat. 

Continue to Dominical Beach where you’ll stay for two nights at the locally rated 3-star Villas Rio Mar Hotel (3Q). A 20-minute walk from the beach, this hotel offers a peaceful location to relax amongst the tropical rainforest, on the banks of the River Baru. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening. B, L, D

Day 9 Dominical Beach

Dominical Beach

Spend this morning at leisure. Perhaps explore the hotel’s tropical gardens, head to Domincal Beach for a spot of sunbathing, or join an optional excursion to Nauyaca Waterfalls. 

This evening you can look forward to a sunset lecture from a marine biologist on humpback whale migration and dolphins in the Costa Rican Pacific. B, L, D

Day 10 Dominical Beach

Humpback whale

This morning embark on a whale and dolphin watching tour. You’ll head towards the Marino Ballena National Park, a 5510-hectare area of beaches, mangrove forest, lowland rainforest and marine habitat, named after the humpback whales that migrate here to mate from July to December each year. 

Look out for common inhabitants of the reserve, including bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, humpback whales, hawksbill turtles, and frigatebirds. 

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel to spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. B, L, D

Day 11 Dominical Beach-San Gerado de Dota

Resplendent quetzal

After breakfast, transfer to San Gerado de Dota, pausing en route for lunch at a local restaurant. 

Next, join a trek as you go in search of Costa Rica’s national bird, the elusive resplendent quetzal with a local guide. The lesser known valley of San Gerado de Dota, just 85 kilometres from the capital, is an ideal location to spot quetzals, thanks to the climate and the abundance of avocados. These striking birds, whilst elusive, are easy to identify with a vivid blue, green and red colouring, and a majestic tail.

On arrival in San Gerado de Dota, check in to the locally rated 3-star Savegre Lodge (2Q+) and enjoy a farewell dinner. B, L, D

Day 12 San Gerado de Dota-UK

Rise early this morning for a pre-breakfast birdwatching hike in the San Gerado forest. The region is home to over 170 species of bird, and your guide will help you spot and identify lesser known species and you trek through the cloud forest. Look out for bell birds, trogons, hummingbirds, tanagers and woodpeckers as you drink in the morning birdsong. 

Return to your hotel for breakfast, and then transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight to the UK. B

Day 13 UK

Arrive in the UK for your included door-to-door travel service home.

This is a very rewarding but physically demanding holiday, suitable for passengers with a good level of fitness and mobility. Accommodation may be basic due to the remote location visited on the tour.


Flora and Fauna of Costa Rica

Costa Rica