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Enchanting Costa Rica and Panama

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Experience the most unspoiled natural habitats on earth

14 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: CRJ21

About the tour

Experience the natural biodiversity of Costa Rica and Panama on a holiday that takes us to some of the most unspoiled natural habitats on earth. We see rare and colourful wildlife, take in vibrant cities, and sample local life in 2 countries that weave their magic at every turn.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and San José

After meeting at London Heathrow, we board our flight to Madrid. From here, we fly directly to San José, the capital of Costa Rica. We transfer to our hotel, the 4-Star Aurola Holiday Inn San José, enjoying a welcome dinner in the rooftop restaurant this evening, during which we admire the fantastic views across the city.

San Jose
Day 2 - Sightseeing in San José

This morning, we set out on a guided sightseeing tour of San José. During our explorations we start to get a true flavour of this Latin American destination, visiting the city's Central Market. A collection of narrow alleyways, the area is filled with over 200 shops and eateries, known locally as 'sodas'. We also see the impressive Catholic cathedral, located in the historic downtown area, and the National Theatre. This building dates back to 1897 and was paid for by taxes levied on the 'ticos', or citizens, of Costa Rica and is a great source of national pride.

San José
Days 3-4 - Tortuguero National Park

We leave San José early this morning, driving to La Pavona through the dramatic landscapes of Braulio Carrillo National Park. Here we board a river boat to the village of Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast. After disembarking, it's just a short walk to our hotel for the next 2 nights, Pachira Lodge. One of the things Tortuguero is best known for is its sea turtle protection programme. Translated, Tortuguero literally means 'region of turtles', and the low-lying beach here is a haven for nesting sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle, the giant leatherback turtle, and the loggerhead turtle. This afternoon we visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy Museum, where a local guide teaches us about the life cycles of the turtles themselves and ongoing conservation efforts to help protect them.

Day 4 includes a guided walk through our hotel's very own rainforest reserve. After lunch, we take a cruise through the waterways of Tortuguero National Park. Along the way, we hope to spot an array of colourful wildlife including monkeys, toucans, green macaws, and even caimans.

Tortuguero National Park
Days 5-6 - Arenal Volcano National Park

Today we travel west by coach and boat to Arenal, home to Arenal Volcano National Park.

Our accommodation here for 2 nights is the Chachagua Rainforest Ecolodge, and on the morning of Day 6 we explore the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a series of aerial walkways that elevate us into the magical world of the rainforest canopy. Your afternoon is free. Perhaps join an optional excursion to the natural hot springs at Eco Termales.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Days 7-8 - Monteverde

Known for its famous cloud forest and ecotourism, today we make the drive to Monteverde. After checking into our hotel, we head to a nearby butterfly garden for a guided tour. It's not just butterflies who have a safe home here, but also hummingbirds, native insects, and white-faced capuchin monkeys.

Day 8 takes us to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a unique micro-environment that occurs in tropical mountain regions where the atmospheric conditions allow for a consistent cover of clouds. Home to rare varieties of flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world, we enjoy a walk with a local naturalist to discover some of the staggering 400 species of birds, 5,000 species of moth, and over 100 varieties of mammals that can be seen here.

Monteverde
Days 9-11 - San José and Panama City

After breakfast, we begin our return journey to San José by coach. We stop en route at Sarchí, a quaint town famous for its intricately-painted ox carts.

Transferring to the airport on Day 10, we fly to Panama City, where we stay at the Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro for 3 nights.

Day 11 includes a guided tour of Panama City, a sleek skyline of glass towers that have more in common with the skyscrapers of Shanghai or Dubai than other Central American cities. Cosmopolitan is the key word here, with an eclectic mix of South American and North American travellers crossing paths amidst the vibrant web of streets and tower blocks. Despite its burgeoning modernity, there are still some exceptional historical sites to be uncovered, including the grandiose Teatro Nacional Theatre and the ruins of the former Colonial city. We also stop at the Amador Causeway, which provides marvellous views over where the Panama Canal meets the Pacific Ocean.

Panama City
Days 12-14 - The Panama Canal Railway and London

We make a return journey on the mighty Panama Canal Railway in panoramic carriages to Colón 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 lush rainforests and cruising alongside the canal's locks before travelling through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over the slender causeways of Gatun Lake. On arrival, we explore the local area before visiting the indigenous Emberá tribe by boat.

Following a morning at leisure on Day 13, we transfer to the airport for our flight to London Heathrow via Madrid. We land on Day 14 and our holiday comes to an end.

Panama Canal

Additional information

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Chachagua Rainforest Ecolodge, Arenal

Chachagua Rainforest Ecolodge, Arenal

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El Establo Mountain Hotel, Monteverde

El Establo Mountain Hotel, Monteverde

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Monteverde Country Lodge, Monteverde

Monteverde Country Lodge, Monteverde

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Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro Hotel, Panama City

Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro Hotel, Panama City

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Aurola Holiday Inn San José, San José

Aurola Holiday Inn San José, San José

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Pachira Lodge, Tortuguero

Pachira Lodge, Tortuguero

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Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2020/21

Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2020/21

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

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Enchanting Costa Rica and Panama

Experience the most unspoiled natural habitats on earth

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Luke Simpson
Luke
Helen Laverack
Helen