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'Creature Comforts'

What makes this trip special?

Dramatic volcano

Dramatic volcano

Poas Volcano

Striking conical-shaped volcano with a vast crater and sulphorous hot aquamarine crater lake within close proximity to San Jose's central valley.

Waterfalls, butterflies and hummingbirds

Waterfalls, butterflies and hummingbirds

La Paz Waterfall Garden

A popular attraction in the Central Valley with five waterfalls, large butterfly enclosures and hummingbird garden.

Upmarket estancia and wetlands reserve

Upmarket estancia and wetlands reserve

Estancia Rancho Humo

A boutique ecolodge set in a 1,100 hectare traditional estate ranch on the banks of the Tempisque river bordering the Palo Verde National Park. The ranch is an international example of wetland resuce - its extensive grounds protect a range of habitats offering impressive birding and nature viewing opportunities.

Astounding biodiversity

Astounding biodiversity

Osa Peninsula

Mostly undeveloped and natural, this remote corner of Costa Rica's South Pacific has been called "the most biologically intense place of earth" by the National Geographic, and there are a couple of very special lodges that help guests experience it.

Remote rainforest biodiversity

Remote rainforest biodiversity

Golfo Dulce

Tremendously biodiverse and remote corner of the country with over 140 species of tree per hectare, around 2,500 species of plants and and more than 360 species of birds. Wonderful for hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, horse-riding or simply relaxing and enjoying the natural wilderness

Boutique cloud forest hotel

Boutique cloud forest hotel

El Silencio

Costa Rica's only upmarket lodge and spa in a cloud forest setting situated in its own 500 acre private reserve with spacious, stylish cabins, premium amenities and a personal 'eco-concierge' for each party.

Itinerary map for Costa Rica 'Creature Comforts' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Finca Rosa Blanca
  • 2 Finca Rosa Blanca
  • 3 Estancia Rancho Humo
  • 4 Estancia Rancho Humo
  • 5 Estancia Rancho Humo
  • 6 Lapa Rios
  • 7 Lapa Rios
  • 8 Lapa Rios
  • 9 Lapa Rios
  • 10 Playa Cativo
  • 11 Playa Cativo
  • 12 Playa Cativo
  • 13 El Silencio
  • 14 El Silencio
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Creature Comforts'

DAY 1

Central Valley

You are met on arrival at San José airport and transferred to Finca Rosa Blanca. Finca Rosa Blanca is a small luxury-priced, eco-award-winning lodge on the cool hills of a coffee estate with wonderful views across the Central Valley.

DAY 2
BL

Poás Volcano and La Paz waterfall

Your guide collects you this morning for a scenic drive through the Central Valley to Poás Volcano, passing through cloud forest up to the stunted trees and bushes high on the volcano’s slopes. You walk to the rim of the volcano to look across its mighty crater with steam rising from the vivid aquamarine waters of its crater lake. You then visit the lovely La Paz waterfall garden, walking garden trails to reach the waterfalls. The owners have added several small attractions including a hummingbird gallery busy with birds, a serpentarium, a butterfly garden and a frog house. You return to Finca Rosa Blanca with some time to relax and enjoy its facilities which include a wellness menu.

DAY 3
BD

Palo Verde wetlands

There could be time for you to take Finca Rosa Blanca’s short coffee tour this morning before you are driven via the Puente La Amistad (which spans the Tempisque River at the crook of the Gulf of Nicoya) to stay for 3 nights at Estancia Rancho Humo, an upmarket ecolodge near the Palo Verde wetlands reserve–internationally recognised RAMSAR seasonal wetlands. You could arrive at the lodge by boat along the Tempisque River at an extra cost.

DAY 4
BLD

Two full days at Estancia Rancho Humo on a full board basis. The estancia offers a good range of habitats including mangrove, wetlands, tropical dry forest and pastures, which in turn support a large variety of wildlife. Birding around the estancia is particularly productive, with storks, herons, ducks, egrets, spoonbill, plovers, sandpipers, rail and many others to be expected. The ranch offers several excursions at extra cost, including river trips, horse-riding and birding tours into the wetlands.

DAY 5
BLD

Full day based at Estancia Rancho Humo for optional excursions available locally at additional cost e.g Tempisque river trip, horse-riding, wetlands birding tour

DAY 6
BD

Osa Peninsula rainforest

This morning you are collected and driven to the airport at San José for an afternoon flight to Puerto Jiménez on the Osa Peninsula–one of the most biodiverse places on earth. You are met on arrival and driven to Lapa Rios Ecolodge where you stay for 4 nights on a full board basis. A daily selection of tours led by the lodge’s resident naturalist guides and shared with other guests is included in your stay. Lapa Rios Ecolodge is situated at the start of a private 1000 acre forest reserve that is a biological corridor into Corcovado NP, 80% of which is undisturbed primary forest. Your afternoon is free to explore the lodge’s grounds or choose from its wellness menu. The lodge is set on a hillside so there are lots of steps.

DAY 7
BLD

Three full days at Lapa Rios. The lodge’s options include an adventure hike through virgin rainforest to waterfalls; early morning and sunset birding; an Osa trail rainforest hike; a medicinal plants interpretative walk; and night walks in the jungle. Though not suitable for swimming, the beautiful local beach below the lodge is a favourite with scarlet macaws who come to feast in the almond trees that line the shingle shore.

DAY 8
BLD

Full day based on the Osa Peninsula

DAY 9
BLD

Full day based on the Osa Peninsula

DAY 10
BLD

Golfo Dulce

This morning you return to Puerto Jiménez and travel onwards by boat across the Golfo Dulce (look out for playful dolphins along the way) to the beautiful Playa Cativo Lodge, set beside the beach within a 1000 acre private reserve that merges with Piedras Blancas NP. You stay at Playa Cativo for 3 nights on a full-board basis. You could spend the rest of your first day here settling in and exploring its self-guided hiking trails. The lodge has a lovely swimming pool to relax by and a wellness menu to choose from at its Spa. Your stay includes a guided introductory rainforest tour shared with other guests, and use of the lodge’s kayaks, SUP boards and snorkelling gear. A good range of other experiences and tours is on offer at extra cost at the lodge. Wildlife options include dawn and dusk birding, boat trips for dolphin and whales (in season), and nature hikes–some of which are challenging. Snorkelling, kayaking and SUP are among the active options. This is such a peaceful location with such lovely views out over the Golfo Dulce that you may find yourself deciding to do exactly nothing.

DAY 11
BLD

Full day based at Playa Cativo.

DAY 12
BLD

Second full day based at Playa Cativo.

DAY 13
B

Bajos del Toro cloud forest

This morning you travel by boat to Golfito airstrip for your flight to San José. You are met on arrival at the airport and taken to the small mountain village of Bajos del Toro, where you stay for 2 nights at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, a boutique lodge set in a 500-acre private reserve of lush cloud forest with trees weighed with bromeliads, orchids and ferns, crossed by clear mountain streams. Your stay would be on a B&B basis which offers the best value here.

DAY 14
B

An ‘eco-concierge’ is available to accompany you today on a guided nature walk to experience the rich cloud forest ecosystem and introduce you to its flora and fauna, including a varied array of birds. For the afternoon you might decide to relax and enjoy the private jacuzzi on your terrace or use the El Silencio’s stylish spa facilities.

DAY 15
B

Departure

Today you have a private transfer from your hotel to catch your chosen flight home.

Guide prices for 'Creature Comforts'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Upper/top range hotels, private transfers 2 people sharing £4,840 £5,795
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Costa Rica
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • shared services of resident English-speaking naturalist guide in Tortuguero
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'Creature Comforts'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 94%

rating

Tortuguero, Lapa Rios + Arenal Area - could easily have spent another day at Lapa Rios or Arenal (but trip was well balanced)

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Osa Peninsula, Birding, the people

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Would not have changed anything, the balance was about right. The Osa Peninsula was a definite highlight - the wildlife was amazing.

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Amazing wildlife, turtles, volcanoes, lovely hotels

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Turtles at tortuguero, eduardo at monteverde, freddy at carara and xandari pacific

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Mixture of activities with lovely hotels

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It's very difficult to say what was the best part as all was very enjoyable. Allowed us to see a great range of landscapes.

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Loved the boat trips

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Rafting, Osa Peninsula, Santa Teresa

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Pacuare by far. Save for Arenal forest trek which was way up there.

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Whale watching and Tortuguero.

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It is difficult to state what were the best parts of the trip, loved it all! Will go back!

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Playa Cativo

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Carara Park and Osa Peninsula

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Wildlife. Walking scenery. High point was being mugged for a packet of biscuits by a Coati.

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We genuinely really enjoyed every part and would not change a thing.

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Scenery, people, weather, wildlife.

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Manuel Antonio

Seasonal information for 'Creature Comforts'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Finca Rosa Blanca 23°C rainfall 52mm
2 Finca Rosa Blanca 23°C rainfall 52mm
3 Estancia Rancho Humo 32°C rainfall 2mm
4 Estancia Rancho Humo 32°C rainfall 2mm
5 Estancia Rancho Humo 32°C rainfall 2mm
6 Lapa Rios 32°C rainfall 69mm
7 Lapa Rios 32°C rainfall 69mm
8 Lapa Rios 32°C rainfall 69mm
9 Lapa Rios 32°C rainfall 69mm
10 Playa Cativo 32°C rainfall 122mm
11 Playa Cativo 32°C rainfall 122mm
12 Playa Cativo 32°C rainfall 122mm
13 El Silencio 21°C rainfall 123mm
14 El Silencio 21°C rainfall 123mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Creature Comforts'

Days 1 - 2

Finca Rosa Blanca Country Inn

Central Valley
rating

Average rating 4.1 (13 ratings)

This eco-award winning Inn is located above the Central Valley of Costa Rica, 4000 feet above sea level, on a plateau of extraordinary beauty. It is surrounded by towering "Higuerón" trees and exotic flora, volcanoes, cloud forests and coffee plantations. The Inn features a unique architecture inspired by Gaudi and 10 acres of private property with fruit trees and dramatic tropical fauna. Each of the rooms is individually decorated and the communal areas feature unique works of art and sculptures. The honeymoon suite is on 2 levels with panoramic views over the valley and this is is a great place to begin or end your trip with a lovely pool to relax by.

Finca Rosa Blanca Country Inn
Days 3 - 5

Rancho Humo Estancia

Palo Verde region
rating

Average rating 4.7 (3 ratings)

Rancho Humo Estancia is a  boutique ecolodge set in a 1,100 hectare traditional estate ranch on the banks of the Tempisque river ranch bordering the Palo Verde National Park. The ranch is an international example of wetland resuce - its extensive grounds protect a range of habitats: mangrove, wetlands, dry tropical rainforest and pastures, offering impressive birding and nature viewing opportunities - species such as storks, egrets, herons, ibis, grebes, spoonbills, ducks and hawks, American crocodiles, spectacled caimans, howler monkeys and anteaters can all be seen here.

The hotel has 10 modern rooms and suites each with A/C, two-queen or a king-sized bed, wifi, telephone, safe, coffee maker flat-screen T.V, hairdryer, mini-fridge. Some rooms and suites have terraces and views of the wetland plains. There is a small swimming pool and loungers. The hotel's restaurant serves local produce prepared in a gourmet style.

A complimentary shared guided wetlands tour in specially adapted open-sided vehicles is included during each guests stay, as is a one-way boat transfer in or out of the lodge along the Tempisque river. There are a variety of additional tours on offer, from visiting the Palo Verde Biological Station to a cattle ranch farm experience, horse-riding, birding as well as off-site tours to visit Barra Honda caves or Monte Alto nature reserve.

Rancho Humo Estancia
Days 6 - 9

Lapa Rios Lodge

Osa Peninsula
rating

Average rating 4.9 (18 ratings)

Set in a private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Costa Rica's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest, Lapa Rios overlooks the point where the Golfo Dulce meets the wild Pacific Ocean. It is the vision of John and Karen Lewis; a private nature reserve and eco-lodge which has won many awards for its sustainable practice.

The main building and 16 bungalows line three ridges connected by walking paths and steps. Built with local materials, over 350 feet above the sea, Lapa Rios catches the cooling tropical breezes. This lodge is legendary in Costa Rica. A great upmarket eco-lodge option, ideal for honeymoons.

Note: the impressive, spacious, wooden guest cabins descend steeply down the stepped hillside from the ridge-top restaurant and pool area set at 350ft above sea level.

Lapa Rios Lodge
Days 10 - 12

Playa Cativo

Golfo Dulce
rating

Average rating 4.4 (8 ratings)

Playa Cativo is a small upmarket waterfront lodge set amongst 1,000 acres of private rainforest reserve surrounded by the Piedras Blancas National Park. As there are no roads, the lodge is accessible exclusively by boat from Golfito. There are three categories of room constructed from reclaimed hardwood and decorated with locally crafted artisanal tiles: deluxe, luxury and premium, each has an ocean view and is steps away from the beach has king-sized beds, ceiling fans, sofa (or pullout bed), Wi-Fi, coffee makers and safe boxes, bathrooms with rainforest showers, biodegradable toiletries and cotton bathrobes. The new (as of November 2017) stand alone premium cabins are more spacious and have superior views as well as an included mini-bar. Lodge facilities include a gourmet a la carte restaurant that uses fresh local ingredients, bar, a freshwater chemical-free swimming pool and air-conditioned library. There are a variety of self-guided tours on-site around the grounds, complimentary use of snorkelling equipment, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, whilst there are also tours available at additional cost such as mangrove kayaking, Piedras Blancas nature hikes, birding, night-walks, dolphin and whale watching as well as yoga classes.

 

Playa Cativo
Days 13 - 14

El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Bajos del Toro
rating

Average rating 4.7 (11 ratings)

This is Costa Rica's only up-market hotel in a cloudforest setting. 90 minutes drive from San Jose airport. It comprises 16 very spacious, stylish cabins each with large picture windows, L-shaped sofa area, gas fire and whirlpool tub on deck. Plus four two-bedroom villas. The emphasis here is on 'well being' and the chef prides himself on locally sourced and seasonally grown food from which he creates exciting new recipes. There is an on-site trout farm and organic garden and stables for horse-riding excursions. With five hundred acres of private reserve there are a number of trails to follow up into the cloud forest, passing by beautiful waterfalls. There is a spa using the resort's own natural products and a yoga studio.

 

Minimimum age: 8 years old (allowed in villas only with all meals to be taken in the lodge's more casual restaurant) No infants or children under 8 years old are permitted.

El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Cabana