Costa Rica, Panama,

The Wildlife Highlights of Costa Rica and Panama

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Tailor-Made Tour
14 Days
From £5593
GEOIP Not Available
Snorkelling and Diving
Country Combo
Rainforest

Tour Introduction

14 Days from £5593
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

An excellent itinerary combining some of the best wildlife destinations in Costa Rica and Panama, and a partial transit of the Panama Canal! Explore the rainforests of the Sarapiqui region and the prestigious La Selva Biological Station. Then travel to deep within the vast south western rainforests of Osa – the most pristine in Costa Rica. Crossing the border in to Panama, explore the lush cloud forest of the Chiriqui highlands, home to the resplendent quetzal. Then cross the Continental Divide to the Caribbean and experience the wildlife of the Bocas del Toro archipelago from above and below the water. Your holiday ends in Panama City with a partial transit of the Panama Canal, one of the engineering wonders of the world.

Full Itinerary

Price from £5593
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Arrive San Jose

Arrive San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, in the late evening. Met and transfer to your hotel, not far from the airport.

Staying at Bourgainvillea Hotel. Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2
Sarapiqui

After breakfast transfer to your rainforest lodge, located about two hours north of San Jose on the mighty Sarapiqui River.

In the afternoon cross the suspension bridge to enjoy a private guided nature hike within the lodge’s primary rainforest reserve on the other bank.

Staying at Selva Verde Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Sarapiqui

Transfer to La Selva Biological Station for a private 6-hour walk in the famous rainforest reserve. See the wonderful work done to preserve the region’s forests and ecosystems.

Includes Breakfast.

Day 4
Osa Peninsula

Fly to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. Met and transfer to your lodge.

Staying at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Osa Peninsula

Full day to relax and explore the area which has the greatest variety of rainforest wildlife to be found in Costa Rica including 350 species of birds, sloth, howler, spider and squirrel monkeys, and tapir. Two guided tours are included and can be taken at any time. Choose from early morning bird walks, wildlife watching along the rainforest ridge, guided seashore walks and night walks (excursions outside the private reserve are not included).

Staying at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Osa Peninsula

A full day to explore the Lapa Rios private reserve. There is also a superb self-guided trail to follow at leisure.

Staying at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Boquete, Panama

After breakfast transfer (approximately 4 hours) to the Paso Canoas border with Panama. After clearing immigration and customs pick up by the Panamanian driver for the transfer to Boquete in the cloud-forested Chiriqui Highlands.

Staying at Finca Lerida. Includes Dinner.

Day 8
Boquete

Enjoy a morning’s small group guided birdwatching walk in the Finca’s private cloud forest reserve. There is a network of professionally built trails along which one can spot resplendent quetzal and three-wattled bellbird, among many other fascinating cloud forest species. Also in the forest are mammals such as peccary and deer, and there are fantastic viewpoints along the trails. In the afternoon there is a small group tour of the farm to learn about the production of coffee.

Staying at Finca Lerida. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Bocas del Toro

In the morning drive up through the cloud forest and across the Continental Divide, leaving the Pacific behind and descending through the forest to the pineapple fields and banana plantations of the Caribbean, arriving at Almirante.

From here it is a short boat transfer to Bocas del Toro on Colon Island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

Staying at Laguna Azul. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Bocas del Toro

In the early morning take a boat to Boca del Drago and weather permitting visit Swan’s Cay, a rookery for red-billed tropic birds (the only location in Panama where they can be found) and brown boobies.

Return to Bocas del Toro, stopping at mangrove isles and coral reefs to snorkel. The afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities at the resort.

Staying at Laguna Azul. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Bocas del Toro

Head by boat to the eastern side of Bastimentos Island which is part of the Bastimentos National Marine Park.

Visit the indigenous community of Salt Creek where the villagers have created a number of rainforest trails. Wildlife includes the red-throated ant tanager, three-wattled bellbird, and golden-collared manakin, night monkeys, white-faced capuchins, three-toed sloth, spectacled caiman, slider turtle, and the flaming poison dart frog.

After the hike visit the community, perhaps purchase some handicrafts, and enjoy a simple lunch. In the afternoon snorkel among mangroves and coral reefs before returning to Bocas del Toro.

Staying at Laguna Azul. Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Panama City

Enjoy a morning at leisure to relax or explore Bocas Del Toro on your own.

In the afternoon transfer to the airport and fly to Albrook domestic airport, Panama City and on to your hotel in the Casco Viejo old town.

Staying at Las Clementinas. Includes Breakfast.

Day 13
Partial transit of the Panama Canal

Today enjoy a partial transit of the Panama Canal. The transit is usually southbound on Fridays and Saturdays, first passing through Pedro Miguel and then through Miraflores Locks. On Thursdays the transit goes northbound, starting on the Pacific Ocean. The transit usually lasts between 4 and 5 hours but depends on ship traffic on the canal and the assigned transit scheduled by the Panama Canal Authority.

Staying at Las Clementinas. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 14
Depart Panama

This morning explore Casco Viejo, Panama City’s UNESCO World Heritage old town. Established around 1673, sites of interest include the Canal Museum and San Jose Church with its golden altar.

In the afternoon transfer to Tocumen International Airport for the flight out.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Costa Rica Sarapiqui Region

Selva Verde Lodge

Overview

Just off the main road at Chilamate, the long established and well-run lodge is quite large and attracts birdwatching groups and individuals to its splendid riverside location by the impressive Sarapiqui River. The simple yet comfortable rooms are of wood construction and set in small blocks reached by covered walkways lined with tropical garden plants such as heliconia and wild ginger. Each room has comfortable double or twin beds, ceiling fan, safety deposit box, hair dryer, desk and private bathroom with solar powered hot water. There are also five seclude bungalows and a special suite suitable for large families.

There are trails near the lodge for independent walking, private primary and secondary forest reserves, a swimming pool, a conference room, a butterfly garden and a library of natural history books. Rafting trips on the Sarapiqui, both white-water and gentle, are available and can reveal much of the wildlife interest.

Otters have been seen hunting from the upstairs dining room, where typical Costa Rican meals are served buffet-style: there is also an a la carte restaurant on the ground floor serving pizza and other dishes. Many birds (400 species), mammals, butterflies (700 species) and poison-dart (dendrobates) frogs are found around the lodge and in the 530 acres primary rainforest reserve, reached by a bridge across the river.

The separate La Selva rainforest reserve and research station can be explored on booked visits. This reserve encompasses more than 1500 hectares including a variety of ecosystems characteristic of the wet lowland tropical zone. It forms part of a much larger protected area that includes the Braulio Carrillo National Park and is particularly good for sightings of three- and two-toed sloths, spider monkeys, peccaries, toucans and macaws.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
46
Facilities

Private bathrooms, solar powered hot water, ceiling fan, writing desk, safety deposit box, hair dryer, restaurant, bar, lounge, gift shop, conference room, swimming pool and laundry service.

Local Wildlife

Both three-toed and two-toed sloths are particularly abundant in the forest and all four primates (squirrel, howler, spider and capuchin monkeys), peccaries, iguanas, turtles, macaws, toucans and 400 bird species are also present. Night walks regularly reveal kinkajous, woolly opossums, poison dart frogs (also seen by day), snakes and owls.

Optional Activities

Guided nature and bird walks are the main activities. There are more adventurous ones such as white water rafting, canoeing, gentle river rafting, horse riding and zip lining, and cultural activities such as visits to local communities and a chocolate making factory.

Costa Rica Osa Peninsula

Lapa Rios Eco lodge

Overview

The Lapa Rios Eco lodge is one of the most exclusive in the country and has received numerous awards including the highest rating for sustainable tourism (5 green leaves). The luxury cabins are set on a ridge amidst lush gardens, with extensive views over the ocean, especially from the central observation tower.

Each of the detached cabins are delightfully secluded and come with inside and outside showers and a large balcony with hammock. There is a good swimming pool, excellent restaurant and small spa area where yoga lessons are given.

A short, steep walk away are some good beaches offering swimming and excellent surfing (lessons available).

The beaches are fringed by rainforest, so your wildlife watching doesn’t stop there – keep an eye out for the scarlet macaw couples which come here to feed on wild almonds.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
17
Facilities

Private decks with sea views, outdoor showers, large bathrooms, superb restaurant and swimming pool.

Local Wildlife

Sloths, four species of monkey (mantled howler, white-faced capuchin, Central American squirrel and spider), white-nosed coatis, agoutis and over 330 species of bird including scarlet macaws. Dolphins and occasionally humpback whales can be seen out to sea.

Optional Activities

Most on-site tours are included – other optional tours include: dolphin watching, surf lessons, zip lining and guided tours in Corcovado National Park.

Costa Rica Turrialba Region

Bougainvillea Hotel

Overview

The Bougainvillea Hotel is situated in a quiet location in Santo Domingo de Heredia, about 20 minutes from central San Jose. The hotel has elegant and spacious rooms with private hot water bathrooms, two double beds, flat-screen cable TV, ceiling fan, tea and coffee facilities and a safety deposit box. The rooms have been well designed with wide windows affording pleasant garden views.

There is a good restaurant and bar that serves a la carte international cuisine and caters well for special dietary requirements.

Other facilities include a gift shop, business centre, swimming pool, gym, sauna, tennis court and large, attractive tropical gardens.

The hotel’s location makes it ideal for a stopover before and after your international flights but it is far enough from the city centre to provide a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
81
Facilities

Private bathrooms, hot water, restaurant, bar, lounge, sauna, tennis court, safety deposit box, ceiling fan, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, room service, massage service, laundry service, luggage storage and currency exchange.

Local Wildlife

An array of tropical birds and insects

Optional Activities

Tennis, gym and sauna on site and bird watching excursions can be arranged.

Panama Canal Zone

Las Clementinas

Overview

Las Clementinas is a six-room boutique hotel located on the northern edge of Panama City’s historic UNESCO World Heritage Casco Viejo district. The interior is very grand with resplendent furnishings and architecture and the well-appointed rooms have kitchenette, sitting room, bedroom with queen-size bed, bathroom and balcony. Each has an individual style with a comfortable mattress, air-conditioning, satellite plasma TV, mini-bar and there is free Wi-Fi. There are stairs (no lift) to all floors and a lovely rooftop terrace with views to the city. There is also a small, decked garden with outside seating – perfect for a relaxing drink at sundown.

Breakfast is taken in the ground floor restaurant (also open to the public) where lunch and dinner are served on an a la carte basis. Room service is available from 07:00 – 23:00.
Las Clementinas is well-located to explore the numerous sites of interest in Casa Viejo including churches, squares, the National Theatre and Presidential Palace.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
6
Facilities

Private bathrooms, restaurant, bar, lounge, kitchenette, mini-bar, air-conditioning, satellite plasma TV, room service, rooftop terrace, free Wi-Fi and laundry service.

Optional Activities

Tours of Panama City and Panama Canal.

Panama Chiriqui Highlands Region

Hotel Finca Lerida

Overview

Finca Lerida is one of Boquete’s oldest and most traditional coffee estates. Established in 1922 and, since 1957 until recently, owned and run by members of the Collins family, At an altitude of 5,500 feet on the foothills of the Baru Volcano in western Panama, the estate is surrounded by expanses of primary and secondary cloud forest, preserved originally to protect the water source needed to process the coffee, and contains some of the richest biodiversity of the region. Finca Lerida has a network of professionally built trails where one can usually see the resplendent quetzal and other high altitude birds, and marvel at the magnificent flora within its cloud forest, including huge tree ferns and boughs festooned with various species of epiphytes and orchids.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
22
Facilities

Good network of trails, historic coffee factory, lush gardens

Local Wildlife

As per Robert S. Ridgley's A Guide to the Birds of Panama, Finca Lerida is a good place to go "searching for quetzals and other [cloud forest] specialties", something birders have done for over 70 years. An indication of its importance is the fact that a unique collection of over 1600 bird specimens collected in the vicinity of Lerida by its original owner was donated to the Chicago Natural History Museum in 1957 and now enjoys its own special exhibit. Highland species seen at the lodge include the resplendent quetzal, collared trogon, orange-bellied trogon, three-wattled bellbird, dark pewee, silvery-throated tanager, sulphur-winged parakeet, black guan, violet sabrewing, stripe-tailed hummingbird, white-tailed emerald, volcano hummingbird, white-throated mountain-gem, scintillant hummingbird, prong-billed barbet, red-headed barbet, acorn woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, silvery-fronted tapaculo, barred becard, black-faced solitaire, buff-fronted quail dove, spotted wood quail and the rufous-collared sparrow.

Optional Activities

Birdwatching, hiking, horse riding, coffee estate tour, visit the picturesque town of Boquete

Panama Bocas del Toro Region

Laguna Azul Eco Lodge

Overview

One of the best options out of Bocas Town, the very comfortable Laguna Azul Eco Lodge consists of a hardwood main building on stilts, with ground floor terrace, restaurant, bar, large suite by the lobby and seven first floor rooms of differing sizes. Each room comes with beach towels, water bottles, fruit basket, mini-bar, safe, toiletries and bathrobes.

Laguna Azul Eco Lodge is wonderful for relaxation but if you want to there are plenty of activities and locations to visit. On site you can use the gym, book a spa massage, snorkel directly from the resort or swim a few yards to a floating pontoon with sun loungers.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
8
Facilities

Restaurant, bar, reading room, TV area, gym, laundry service, private bathrooms, balconies, free Wi-Fi in main area, spa, pontoon deck and lawn.

Local Wildlife

Hard and soft corals, sponges, reef fish, dolphins, red poison dart frogs (different islands have their own varieties), sloths, mantled howler monkeys, bats and seabirds.

Optional Activities

Snorkelling right off your veranda or by boat to other better locations, scuba diving, sea and river boating, hiking, kayaking, bicycle rental, fishing and visiting Amerindian villages, Bocas main town and various other islands in the archipelago.

Route Map

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Hotel Finca Lerida: 8.812992, -82.483605
Lapa Rios: 8.400129, -83.284963
Selva Verde Lodge: 10.450366, -84.069150
Laguna Azul Eco Lodge: 9.188568, -82.102681
Las Clementinas: 8.953497, -79.537078
Bougainvillea Hotel: 9.999105, -84.109250

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Best Visited:

December to April

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

This is the second trip with reef and Rainforest and it certainly met all of our expectations. (Your representatives) were excellent as were all the lodges generally. There was a good balance of organised tours and time to ourselves – this was just what we wanted. Your choice of locations in Costa Rica was again excellent sharing your local knowledge and expertise and assessing what we wanted. Thank you very much for your help and organisation. We look forward to using you again and will happily recommend you.

Mr D M - Gwynedd