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Enchanting Costa Rica & Panama

15 Days from £4,095per
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(Tour code: CRJ19)

The best unspoiled natural habitats on earth

Experience the natural biodiversity of Costa Rica and Panama on a tour that takes you to some of the best remaining unspoiled natural habitats on earth. We see rare and colourful wildlife, take in vibrant cities and sample local specialties on a tour that weaves its magic at every turn.

  • San José city tour
  • Arenal Hanging Bridges & Angeles Sugar Mill
  • Arenal Lake cruise & Children’s Eternal Rainforest
  • The Monteverde Cloud Forest & crocodile safari
  • The Golfo Dulce & Corcovado National Park
  • Boquete Coffee Experience
  • Bird watching at Finca Lerida
  • Guarare & Amador Causeway
  • The Panama Canal & Panama Canal Railway
What’s Included
  • Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    2 Lunches
    13 Nights Hotel Accommodation
  • Optional Bag Concierge
  • Return Scheduled Flights

Enchanting Costa Rica & Panama 2019Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1-2 San Jose
Flights from London

London to San José

Our Central American adventure begins at London Heathrow, as we take the flight to San José, Costa Rica's capital city, via Paris. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, the Park Inn San José, where we overnight.

On Day 2 we enjoy a city tour that showcases the best this former Spanish Colonial outpost has to offer. We see the National Theatre, a building that dates back to 1897 and was paid for by tax levied on the 'ticos', or citizens, of Costa Rica, a great source of national pride. We continue on to the pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which is home to over 1600 objects of pre-Columbian era gold. The museum also houses Costa Rica's first coin, the 'Media Escudo', minted in 1825. We then leave San José and head north to La Fortuna.

Day 3 Arenal Hanging Bridges
Arenal Hanging Bridges

Arenal Hanging Bridges

We explore the Arenal Hanging Bridges today, as we visit this private nature reserve, which spans 250 hectares of tropical rainforest. Because we traverse the rainforest from its lofty heights, there is no need to hack and slash through the undergrowth to make any progress, yet from our vantage point we are immersed in the sights and sounds of nature.

As many of the rainforest's inhabitants actually reside in the tree canopy, our elevated position puts us much closer to the wildlife that lives here. We then continue through traditional sugar cane and plantain plantations to Angeles Sugar Mill, where we enjoy a taste of the local sugar cane liquor, 'Chirrite'. This afternoon, we transfer to the Natural Hot Springs of Ecotermales La Fortuna.

Day 4 Arenal Lake
Arenal Lake

Arenal Lake cruise & Children’s Eternal Rainforest

We travel to Monteverde today across Arenal Lake, a man-made mass of water that supplies hydroelectric power to large areas of the country. Built in 1974, the lake provides a fantastic viewing platform from which to see the spectacular Arenal Volcano and is home to many migratory birds, including the resplendent quetzal.

Later we visit the enchanting Children's Eternal Rainforest, named because it was bought and then protected thanks to the fundraising efforts of children around the world. It is now the largest private reserve in Costa Rica and a glowing example of the biodiversity in this country's rainforests. We take a night walk through the rainforest, giving us the opportunity to see many nocturnal creatures as they emerge to conduct their business. Accompanied by our naturalist guide, we hope to see tarantulas, grey foxes, and snakes - with the rainforest's nighttime soundtrack resonating in our ears.

Day 5-6 Monteverde Cloud Forest
Humming Bird

The Monteverde Cloud Forest & crocodile safari

A morning walk into the Monteverde Cloud Forest is our first foray into the wilderness today. We hike through the forest, where the countless varieties of flora and fauna reveal themselves in turn, as the early morning mist succumbs to the dawn's sunlight. Home to a staggering 400 different species of birds, the Monteverde Cloud Forest also boasts 5,000 different species of moth and over 100 varieties of mammals, including the howler and capuchin monkeys.

This afternoon we transfer by coach to Selvatura National Park, famed for its Butterfly Farm - the largest in the Americas. - as well as being home to a staggering number of hummingbirds, and one of the rainforest's more sedate movers, the sloth. On Day 6 we set off on our coach transfer from Monteverde to the verdant Central Pacific Coast region. En-route we stop off for a crocodile safari cruise, and a visit to Carara National Park, a fascinating nature reserve that is home to 48% of Costa Rica's avian species.

Day 7-8 Corcovado National Park

The Golfo Dulce & Casa Orquideas

On our way to Esquinas today, we explore the fertile Golfo Dulce region, an area characterised by lush rainforest and azure blue sea. Many wildlife species make their homes here, from playful macaws to squirrel monkeys, dolphins and whales in the Pacific Ocean.

On Day 8, We transfer to Golfito for a motorboat ride to Casa Orquideas, an incredible and beautiful botanical garden with hundreds of different tropical plants. Here, we are surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colours and scents as we explore the gardens on a walking tour. After a picnic lunch, we depart to Golfito National Wildlife Refuge.

Day 9-10 Coffee

Boquete Coffee Experience

Crossing the border into Panama we make our way to Boquete, known for its sweet oranges and vibrant natural beauty, Boquete boasts the perfect climate for a variety of plantlife, including coffee beans packed with rich flavour. We check into our hotel on arrival, the Finca Lerida Lodge, a former coffee estate dating back to 1922, where this afternoon we enjoy an interactive coffee experience. On the morning of Day 10, we enjoy a spot of birdwatching on some of the Hotel's many trail's.

Day 11-12 Amador Causeway
Amador Causeway

Parita & Amador Causeway

We transfer to the Azuero peninsular by coach this morning, and visit Parita, a local hub for artisans, where we see the striking devil masks and traditional folkloric crafts. Later, we venture to Santo Domingo to learn more about the local dress. On Day 12 we visit the Amador Causeway before travelling to Miraflores to view the colossal vessels that pass through the Panama Canal, a man-made wonder. Whilst here, we also explore the Museum and Visitor Centre dedicated to the canal's creation.

Day 13-15 Panama Canal
Panama Railway

The Panama Canal Railway & home

We travel on the mighty Panama Canal Railway in panoramic carriages to Colon today. From the comfort of our seats we enjoy one of the great train rides of the world. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal's locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake. Later we visit the indigenous Embera tribe, before returning to Panama City.

On Day 14 you have a morning at leisure before the afternoon flight home, via Amsterdam, arriving in London on Day 15.

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Scheduled flights from London Heathrow to San José via Madrid and Panama to Heathrow via Madrid
  • All rail and coach travel throughout your tour

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 13 nights' hotel accommodation including 1 night at the 4-Star Park Hotel in San Jose, 2 nights at the 3-Star Arenal Springs in La Fortuna, 2 nights at the 4-Star Poco a Poco Hotel in Monteverde, 1 night at the 3-Star Punta Leona Hotel in Puentarenas, 2 nights at the Casa Roland, 2 nights at the 3-Star Finca Lerida Lodge in Boquete, 1 night at the 4-Star Gran Hotel Azuero on the Azuero Peninsula and 2 nights at the 4-Star Tryp Wyndham Panama Centro

Delicious meals included

  • 28 meals, including 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 13 dinners


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • San José city tour, including the National Theatre
  • Visit to Arenal Hanging Bridges & Angeles Sugar Mill
  • Monteverde by boat & night walk through the Children's Eternal Forest
  • Selvatura National Park & Butterfly Farm
  • Crocodile safari cruise & visit to Carara National Park
  • Time in the Golfo Dulce area
  • Walk through the Piedras Blancas National Park
  • Interactive coffee experience at Finca Lerida
  • Bird watching morning at Finca Lerida
  • Visit to the folkloric village of Santo Domingo & visit to Parita
  • Miraflores, the Panama Canal, including the Visitors Centre & Museum
  • Journey on the Panama Canal Railway

Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Julie Pacalon
Helen Laverack
Enchanting Costa Rica & Panama

The best unspoiled natural habitats on earth


Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2019/20

Long haul rail holidays to North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

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