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Enchanting Costa Rica & Panama

(Tour code: CRJ17)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.

Tour Highlights
  • 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 (Full details)
  • Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    2 Lunches
    13 Nights Hotel Accommodation
  • Optional Bag Concierge
  • Return Scheduled Flights

Itinerary & Map

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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.

Flights from London
Day 1-2

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 Madrid. 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 and check into the Volcano Lodge Hotel. Later you have the opportunity to enjoy the Ecotermales hot springs which are located close to our hotel.

Arenal Hanging Bridges
Day 3

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. Later we continue through traditional sugar cane and plantain plantations to Angeles Sugar Mill, where we enjoy a taste of the local sugar cane liquor, 'Chirrite'.

Arenal Lake
Day 4

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. We check into our hotel for the next three nights, the Poco a Poco in Monteverde. 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.

Humming Bird
Day 5-6

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. Tonight we stay at the Punta Leona Hotel.

Day 7-8

The Golfo Dulce & Corcovado National Park

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. We arrive in Esquinas, and check into our hotel, the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge. On Day 8 we spend time in Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula. Corcovado is described by National Geographic as 'the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity'. Because of the park's large area of lowland tropical rainforest, of which few sustained areas remain on earth due to logging, it is a rare natural haven, with an incredible variety of flora and fauna making this a remarkable place to visit. This rainforest is home to the endangered Baird's tapir, the jaguar, puma, and all of Costa Rica's indigenous monkey species, some of which we will hopefully spot during our time here. After exploring this spellbinding natural habitat, we take a motorboat ride along the coast of Golfo Dulce and enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach. Later we take a gentle walk through the Piedras Blancas National Park.

Day 9-10

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 Day 10 we enjoy a full-day at leisure in the extensive grounds of our hotel. Alternatively you could join our naturalist guide for a morning of bird watching.

Amador Causeway
Day 11-12

Guarare & Amador Causeway

We transfer to the Azuero peninsular by coach this morning, and in the afternoon visit Guarare, a major folkloric village in the region. Here we learn about the 'pollera', Panama's national dress. Later we continue to Parita, a local hub for artisans, where we see the striking devil masks and traditional folkloric crafts. 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.

Panama Railway
Day 13-15

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. Along with its colourful history, the railroad follows a picturesque path across the Isthmus of Panama. 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, arriving in London on Day 15.


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