Day 1: San Jose, Costa Rica
Arrive in the capital of San Jose where our Costa Rica ecotour begins with a welcome dinner. If you reach the hotel early, enjoy a walk around the lavish gardens, home to abundant birdlife.
Day 2 Golfito—Private Cruise on Golfo Dulce / Tiskita Jungle Lodge
Transfer to the local airport this morning to board chartered planes for our direct flight to Golfito on Costa Rica’s remote southern Pacific coast. Here, we board a private boat for a cruise around Golfo Dulce in search of marine wildlife, including bottlenose and spotted dolphins, and rarer sightings of hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and rays. Few visitors to Costa Rica make it to this intensely biodiverse region along the Osa Peninsula, surrounded by the country's largest tracts of untouched primary rain forest. National Geographic identified Golfo Dulce—a rare tropical fjord biome—as one of the world's most pristine seas. We disembark in Playa Zancudo for lunch, then drive about an hour to reach Tiskita Jungle Lodge by mid-afternoon.
At the heart of
Day 3: Tiskita Jungle Lodge—Sea Turtle Hatchery
A highlight at our secluded ecolodge are meals prepared with fresh ingredients from the property, utilizing some of the 125 types of organic tropical fruit grown on the estate. On a hike through the grounds, we examine a wide array of fruit trees, and, if certain fruits are in season, we may get to taste some exotic varieties. This is also an excellent chance to see birds and monkeys attracted to the orchards and open areas. An in-depth
Day 4: Sierpe River Private Cruise / Finca 6 Stone Spheres
Depart Tiskita and drive along the central coast to reach the Sierpe River, where we embark on a private boat cruise into its vast mangrove ecosystem. The Terraba and Sierpe rivers flow from their headwaters on the southern slopes of the Talamanca Mountains to the Pacific where they form a delta comprising the Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands. A network of channels weaves through Costa Rica's largest mangrove estuary, protecting prolific birds and wildlife within the 67,000-acre reserve. Floating down the languid tropical river, we may see American crocodiles, rainbow boas, green iguanas, white-face capuchins, long-nosed bats, roseate spoonbills, ospreys, kingfishers, frigatebirds and a variety of egrets. If we're lucky, we might also spy some scarlet macaws in the trees.
Day 5: Hacienda Baru / Bahia Ballena
The 800-acre Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge protects large tracts of lowland rain forest, mangroves, wetlands and secondary growth, which we explore from a network of easy trails. Scientists at the conservation biology center on the refuge research plants and animals found within its bounds and surroundings habitats, including woolly opossum, anteater, sloth, armadillo and ghost bat, plus white-faced, spider and howler monkeys. Keep an eye out for northern raccoon and kinkajou, as well as abundant reptiles. Birdlife is impressive, with nearly 400 recorded species. After lunch, join our Expedition Leader on a walk to Uvita Beach, part of Ballena Marine National Park. The little-visited stretch of sandy coast is famous for its whale’s tail shape, surrounded by the turquoise sea. If surf conditions permit, swim or dip your feet in the ocean. Back at our hotel, take advantage of outstanding sunset photo opportunities with a sweeping view over the ocean, before dinner on the terrace.
Day 6: Talamanca Mountains / Savegre River
For those who wish to rise early, our Expedition Leader offers guided birdwatching on the hotel's expansive grounds. After breakfast, leave the coast to ascend narrow, winding roads into the Talamanca Mountains.
Our destination is the cloud forest along the Savegre River, which rushes down a narrow, high mountain valley at 7,200 feet. Our lush surrounding are replete with flowering tropical plants and myriad colorful birds—the resplendent quetzal is the biggest prize among the more than 600 different bird species found here. On a guided hike through the forest, pass vivid bromeliads and orchids while we scout for wildlife. This region is home to Baird’s tapir, wild boar, monkeys and coati. The rich habitat is also the territory of six species of neotropical cats including jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay, oncilla
Day 7: Los Quetzales National Park
This high-altitude ecosystem will thrill bird lovers, as it is home to a multitude of vibrant species and many endemics. We set out early this morning with the goal of spotting the resplendent quetzal, a revered and endangered creature of striking beauty. Listen for their deep, melodious calls as we quietly track these elusive birds. Photographers come from all over the world in hopes of capturing a shot of the quetzal's splendid plumage, with its electric green head, scarlet breast
Return to the lodge for breakfast, then depart for Los Quetzales National Park, encompassing more than 12,000 acres of pristine cloud forest and 14 different ecosystems. The park protects wild sections of the Savegre River, which originates high up on the Cerro de la Muerte. A highlight is
Day 8: San Jose / Depart
After breakfast, a group transfer is provided to the San Jose airport to connect with departing flights. Please schedule flight departures no earlier than 1:30 pm today.