But it’s not all about wildlife. Costa Rica also offers you experiences like mud bathing and soaking in natural springs at Rincon de la Vieja. Not to mention exploring thorny deserts, wetlands and mangroves in Santa Rosa National Park and Palo Verde or – perhaps even more appealing – chilling out on the pristine beaches of the North Pacific Coast.
UK – San Jose
Your flight from the UK takes you to San Jose. You’ll be driven from the airport to your luxury hotel just 15 minutes away. As well as architecture that is reminiscent of the exuberant organic style of Gaudi, you’ll be able to enjoy extensive views over Central Valley and the Irazu Volcano.
Stay: One night in a junior suite at Finca Rosa Blanca.
Just 45 minutes in a plane will take you from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez and the wonderful world of the Osa Peninsula. Poised between Golfo Dulce and the mighty Pacific Ocean the peninsula is famed for its undisturbed rainforest and its wealth of wildlife. You’ll be surrounded by Central America’s largest tropical lowland forest with literally hundreds of different types of trees and plants. Keen birdwatchers can spot up to 315 species, whilst photographers will revel in eye-stretching landscapes, cascading crystal waterfalls and the truly massive Corcovado Park. You can explore river mangroves or – if you’re feeling really energetic – you can experience sea kayaking, deep sea fishing and horse riding.
Stay: Three nights at Lapa Rios.
Take a flight back to San Jose for a chauffeur-driven journey into the Arenal Volcanic Region. Not only is the scenery unforgettable, but Arenal will also present you with sights like the Ecotermales Hot Springs and the Arenal Hanging Bridges. You’ll be accompanied by a qualified naturalist on natural history walks through the area and you’ll visit the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge to meet indigenous creatures like three-toed sloths, caiman, lizards and turtles as well as howler, white-faced and spider monkeys. Birds like heron, cormorant and snake-birds also abound at Cano Negra.
Stay: Three nights in a deluxe casita in the Arenal Nayara Hotel.
Rincon de la Vieja
Now for a completely different experience. At Rincon de la Vieja you can get down and dirty – and also relaxed and restored – in the area’s natural hot springs and deeply soothing mud baths. Or, if you’re not the muddy type, you can go on nature hikes through unspoiled rainforest in search of the indigenous wildlife, or ride a horse through exceptional countryside.
Stay: Two nights in a deluxe bungalow at the Borinquen Mountain Resort.
Time to exchange the mud of Rincon de la Vieja for the fine sands of Tamarindo and Langosta. The North Pacific coast of Costa Rica has some of the country’s finest beaches, swimmable bays and warm waters. But the coastal region also offers Santa Rosa National Park with its natural habitats ranging from arid mountain landscapes to dense tropical hardwood forests and thorny deserts. Palo Verde continues the diversity theme with wetlands, mangroves, tidal estuarine ecosystems, deciduous forests and evergreen woods.
Stay: Three nights in an Andaz Bay view room in Andaz Papagayo Hotel.
A short flight from Tamarindo’s airstrip takes you back to San Jose where you’ll be staying on a coffee plantation overlooking orange groves, waterfalls and the San Jose Valley.
San Jose – UK
A 15 minute drive will take you to San Jose’s airport from where your international flight will return to the UK.