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Natural Highlights of Costa Rica

Jungles, mountains and coast: Costa Rica is a natural paradise



At a glance

* Travel by air-conditioned bus and boat
* 7 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges
* All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners included
* Green turtle nesting season: July to October

Jungles, mountains and coast: Costa Rica is a natural paradise

A tropical paradise bursting with wildlife; Christopher Columbus was right to
christen Costa Rica the ‘Rich Coast’ when he discovered it in 1502. Home
to 6% of the world’s plant and animal species, many endemic, the
country’s rich biodiversity is extremely colourful. Over 850 bird species
have been recorded here – far more than found anywhere in North America,
Europe and Australia. A cornucopia of exotic flora and fauna, Costa Rica is a
nature lover’s delight.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/wua_0.jpg?t=1Dgtx2

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival and departure transfers

Food:
All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners are included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. Hotel
breakfasts are normally buffet style, and lunches and dinners at Tortuguero
are also buffet style. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us
before departure of any special dietary requests.

Costa Rican specialities include ‘Gallo Pinto’, a black bean and rice dish
considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups and stews are also
common, and fresh fruit is abundant and will no doubt be one of the
highlights of your time in the tropics.

Start destination: San Jose

End destination: San Jose Airport

Cycling profile

Day 1

The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this evening. Land Only
clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free
transfers are available for all clients. This evening is the perfect
opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.
Accommodation: Park Inn hotel (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 2

Our adventure begins early this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel
to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only
by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero’s vast network of waterways, canals and
swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On
reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute
journey to our lodge, which is nestled in the heart of the main lagoon. Our
afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it’s possible to visit the
Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero
is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle,
which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to
October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant
Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January
baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean. Today’s
travel time will be in the region of five to six hours including a break for
breakfast.
Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 3

An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and
fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of
day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert
guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and
many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a
hearty breakfast by the river. This afternoon we return to the waterways for
a second boat trip along a different canal. Alternatively, the lodge is a
tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to
enjoy the facilities or follow a short walking trail through the forest.
Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 4

Leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to the pier.
Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Arenal,
passing huge banana, pineapple and sugar cane plantations on the way. Arenal
was Costa Rica’s most active volcano until fairly recently, when it entered a
resting phase and can no longer be seen spitting ash, smoke or lava. However
there is still a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you’ll have the
opportunity to visit one of the excellent hot springs this evening.
Alternatively have a go on the Sky Tram / Sky Trek, departing at 5pm. In
clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base,
the nearby town of La Fortuna. Today’s travelling time is around five and a
half hours including a lunch stop.
Accommodation: Lomas del Volcán Hotel or San Bosco (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 5

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Frío River combine to create a humid
area that is very biodiverse and harbours a great variety of resident and
migratory birds, three different species of monkey, iguanas, sloths, turtles
and caimans. We transfer approximately 1.5 hours to the village of Los
Chiles, found close to the Nicaraguan border. From here we board a boat for
our river adventure, which lasts around 2.5 hours and passes through tropical
rainforest and pastures until we arrive at the marshlands. The Olivaceous
cormorant makes its nests in the area and Wood storks and jabiru (the largest
bird in Central America and much endangered) can also be seen. Along the
river we may also see Howler monkeys, Three-toed sloths, caimans, lizards,
and turtles.
Accommodation: Lomas del Volcán Hotel or San Bosco (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 6

From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands
for our first taste of a Costa Rican cloud forest. The journey provides
breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the islands below as we ascend
the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally
means ‘Green Mountain’. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where
plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different
varieties here. Today’s drive is around four hours- the last 40km of road is
gravel and can be bumpy, particularly following heavy rain. In the afternoon
it’s possible to join an optional coffee tour to learn about the importance
of this crop to the socio-economic development of the country.
This evening we set off on a night walk in Monteverde Wildlife Refuge.
Situated within primary cloud forest, this reserve is committed to the
preservation of native flora and fauna. Taking a nocturnal walk allows for a
completely new perspective on the forest, which our guides will bring to life
for us!
Accommodation: Ficus Hotel (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 7

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a favourite destination for birdwatchers
and wildlife enthusiasts. A walk through the reserve will reveal huge old
growth trees covered in moss whilst the surrounding mist permeates the
atmosphere. The reserve’s geographic, topographic and climatic conditions
have allowed for a surprising biodiversity to thrive. There are four
ecological “Life Zones” that harbour different ecosystems for hundreds of
species – mammals, birds, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, insects and
arachnids. We can also find a variety of mosses, vines, other plants and
trees typical of the cloud forest. One of the trails of the reserve leads to
a lookout point right at the top of the continental divide where, on clear
days, you can be privy to the breathtaking view of both of Costa Rica’s
coasts: the Caribbean and the Pacific. These forests are also one of the few
remaining habitats of the endangered Resplendant Quetzal.
Accommodation: Ficus Hotel (or similar)
*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 8

After breakfast we return to San Jose Airport and the trip comes to an end.
It’s time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Land only
clients are advised to check the transfer time with their sales consultant
before making flight arrangements, or stay an additional night in San Jose to
ensure they reach the airport in time. 

Prices & Dates

Date: 2018-10-132018-10-20

Trip code: WUA181013

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1645

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Date: 2018-11-102018-11-17

Trip code: WUA181110

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1645

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Date: 2018-11-172018-11-24

Trip code: WUA181117

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-01-052019-01-12

Trip code: WUA190105

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-01-192019-01-26

Trip code: WUA190119

Availability: Available

Price: €1585

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Date: 2019-02-232019-03-02

Trip code: WUA190223

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1585

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Date: 2019-03-092019-03-16

Trip code: WUA190309

Availability: Available

Trip status: Fully guaranteed

Price: €1585

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Date: 2019-03-232019-03-30

Trip code: WUA190323

Availability: Available

Price: €1585

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Date: 2019-03-302019-04-06

Trip code: WUA190330

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-04-062019-04-13

Trip code: WUA190406

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-07-272019-08-03

Trip code: WUA190727

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-08-102019-08-17

Trip code: WUA190810

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-10-122019-10-19

Trip code: WUA191012

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-11-092019-11-16

Trip code: WUA191109

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Date: 2019-11-162019-11-23

Trip code: WUA191116

Availability: Available

Price: €1645

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Customer Feedback

One for the lover of birds

Summary:
It is a long flight going out, 11 hours. British Airways were the airline
chosen because of the direct flight, but the standard of service on the plane
had much to be desired could not wait to get off the plane.

The first hotel in San Jose was okay but the food and drinks were very
expensive, it would have been nicer to have had a hotel in the centre so that
one could go out and see the city.

The adventure really begun the next day when we had a coach journey then boat
to get to our first destination.

If you are a lover of birds you will love this holiday as they’re so many to
see, however the island is very green with cloud and rain forests which you
can explore. It is a country not contrasts and it should be seen.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
I really enjoyed the walk at night, to go into a forest at night and see
night creatures and just to hear different sounds. I learnt to much.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader was excellent, he knew so much about the wildlife and was
able to spot them while we were driving. He was able to keep the group
together and on time.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Don’t expect to much from the food, I found it very boring and plain. The
country caters mainly for American visitors which is reflected in prices.
Remember to pack waterproof and warm clothing for the evening’s.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
This holiday packs a lot in form the time spent on the island. It would have
been nice to visit some animal sanctuaries but there wasn’t time, I suggest
extending the trip to take this into account if one can.

Read full review

Fantastic, very well organised tour. Would highly recommend

Summary:
Breathtaking sights. Very knowledgable guide. Friendly yet not over bearing.
Great variety of wildlife and flora and fauna seen. A very intense few days.
Probably one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences we have ever had
the pleasure of experiencing. Would highly recommend this tour.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The purity of the rainforest… So lovely to see there is still so much
natural habitat in existence.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Guillermo was a fantastic tour guide. He was very informative and friendly.
Nothing was too much trouble for him. Always happy to help.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take comfy walking shoes and plenty of change of clothes due to the high
humidity and heat in Tortuguero. Would highly recommend taking luggage with
wheels as its down to you to move your luggage about at all times and
sometimes theres a small walk involved with this.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Just book it!! Worth every penny!

Read full review

Natural highlights of Costa Rica.

Summary:
This was a fabulous trip, giving you a slice of Costa Rica. There is a lot of
driving between locations, ( at times 4-5 hours) some of the roads were still
unmade, so can be very bumpy. The weather was extremely hot in places, but in
Monteverde quite windy and therefore something warm to wear is a necessity.
We saw so many beautiful birds and reptiles,on our boat trips and our guide
had a wealth of knowledge of fowl and fauna. Beautiful kingfishers,herons,
lizards,turtles,crocodiles to name but a few. The boat trips made it for
me,but the visit to the Hot Springs was fun and a great way of getting to
know your group! The suspension bridges were a lot lower than I thought they
would be and it was far too short. If you are not afraid of heights and
speed, go for the Zip Wire. I would recommend taking a waterproof jacket,
walking boots or shoes, and mosquito repellent!

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
I loved the boat trip at Cano Negro; the boat was open at the front and you
could stand and view both sides of the river for the local wildlife. We all
had fun trying to spot the elusive sloths,but great time had by all.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
He had an incredible knowledge of all the flowers and wild life, and could
spot creatures from a great distance; very impressive.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take a weather proof jacket,walking boots or shoes, mosquito repellent and
buckle up!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I would recommend tagging on a few days at the end at a beach resort to relax
and have a swim after a full on week.

Read full review

Cost Rica for the third time.

Summary:
There was a lot of hours travelling, however that is acceptable as the
country’s road system to the places we were going to do not allow shorter
journey times, and some of the scenery was superb. Our drivers throughout
were excellent as was our guide Glenda who worked hard to ensure we all had
an enjoyable tour.
We were slightly disappointed with Tortequero as the boat safaris could have
been longer and we did not really go as far into the jungle as we expected, a
lot of time was lost queuing up for entrance tickets and the last morning it
would have been possible to do an additional safari and depart the lodge a
bit later to return to the jetty. We actually saw more on the 2 1/2 hour boat
safari in Cano Negro than we did in the whole time in Tortequero. The Monte
Verde part was good but again more time could have been spent in the actual
jungle than having nearly an hour to have coffee and shop at the information
centre.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The time spent on the Rio Frio in Cano Negro where we saw lots of birds and
all three species of monkey to be found here with a great showing of white
faced capuchin very close to the boat feeding.
In Monte Verde actually finding a male Resplendent Quetzal a very rare bird
was enjoyed by all, the bird life at the accommodation was also well
appreciated (note we are not specifically birders).

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Glenda was escorting her very first trip and worked hard to ensure we all got
the best out of the trip, She was very knowledgeable about the country, fauna
and flora and the country’s wildlife and birds and if anything was asked and
she did not know she endeavoured to find the answers. Although she was
lacking in experience which will come obviously, she made up for it with
enthusiasm and in time will be a very good escort.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Costa Rica is a great place to visit and not just for the wildlife. It was
our third visit having done the national parks on both coastlines on our
previous visits and now the interior. If it is on your list of places to go
then go, its worth it.

Read full review

Fantastic tour of Costa Rica’s top sites

Summary:
A fantastic tour of all the best sites in Costa Rica from coast, to
volcanoes, to cloud forests. The tour exactly mirrored what was described in
the itinerary and the itinerary delivered lots of opportunity to view not
only the tremendous wildlife on offer, but also the different landscapes and
eco systems.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
We joined one of the optional tours on offer to see turtles coming ashore at
night to lay their eggs. We were not disappointed and got the chance to see a
green turtle scraping out its nest and laying its eggs. The included boat
trips along the rivers provided the opportunity to experience the tranquility
of the verdant forest bordering the rivers but also the skill of the boat
skippers got us in the best positions, up close to view the wildlife.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Guillermo was an excellent group leader who had an extensive knowledge of all
things Costa Rica and was energetic and enthusiastic in sharing that
knowledge with the group which made the trip enjoyable and informative, this
was particularly important whilst travelling between locations. He provided
information on the wildlife, the culture, the crops, and the eco systems. He
was passionate about the environment and proud of the efforts Costa Rica has
made in conservation. Guillermo and his company also provided an excellent
driver, Juan, who made an excellent wingman to the group leader and was an
integral and welcome part of the group. Juan was as passionate as Guillermo
about his country.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
In Costa Rica, and Tortuguero in particular, they take the conservation of
the turtle population very seriously and the tours at night are rigidly
controlled by the wardens with no cameras or torches allowed, to prevent
disturbing the turtles. There can be quite a bit of time spent waiting in the
darkness to be called forward by the wardens and tour leader to view the
turtles. Light waterproof jacket, dark clothing and closed toed footwear is
recommended. Secondly, although it is best to just watch the local wildlife
on offer, to preserve the memories it is best to take a camera with some form
of telephoto lens. Lastly, and most importantly ! They always say it is best
to learn some of the language to make the most of any trip. I discovered a
little known, local, Costa Rican response, to the greeting: “Como estas ?”
The local Costa Rican response is: “Con toda la pata”. I guarantee that if
this response is used it will make any local smile, not that that is too
difficult ! Apparently it is difficult to translate this into English but
apparently it means: “Fantastic ! including the whole paw” (?)

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Fantastic tour around a fantastic country meeting local people who
collectively sum up their life as “Pura Vida”

Read full review

An excellent introduction to Costa Rica

Summary:
This trip packs a lot into 8 days without ever feeling rushed.

We achieved our aim of seeing sloths (2- and 3-toed) and also saw many other
amazing animals and birds.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Seeing a sloth climbing down from high up in a tree to avoid the worst of a
squally shower and, as she got closer, realising that she had a baby clinging
to her was fabulous.

The Cloud Forest in Monteverde also stood out; for me it was the epitome of
what a ‘jungle’ should look and feel like (very green and wet!)

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our guide, Johnny, was friendly and knowledgeable about seemingly all aspects
of Costa Rica and its wildlife. Special mention must also go to our driver
Dennis who negotiated some narrow windy roads extremely safely.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Be prepared for rain in the cloud forest despite what the weather may be
doing in Monteverde itself!

For any photographers, a 400mm lens (or equivalent) really helps get photos
of sloths, monkeys etc high up in the trees.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
The only disappointment for me was that the hotels in La Fortuna and
Monteverde (Magic Mountain(!) and Poco A Poco) were more mainstream and
modern than I was expecting. The trip notes (which I know have since been
updated to list these) promised small eco lodges which these two were not.

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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