Experience

Costa Rica

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Columbia scenery

Costa Rica
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Costa Rica really is as nature intended. One of the most ecologically pure countries on Earth it is a land of extraordinary variety, from the wild jungle to a central valley of live and extinct volcanoes and a grid of five mountain ranges, crisscrossing the land.

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Golfo Dulce is the place to go to see the denizens of the deep in all their glory. Here you may see humpback whales and their young calves, jumping stingrays and sea turtles in this tropical fjord on the Pacific Coast. The only way to reach this paradisiacal spot is via private boat. Playa Cativo Eco Lodge is hidden away in the rainforest and is the ideal place to see some of the fascinating animal and plant life for which the country is famed such as spider monkeys, caimans and a vast array of butterflies. Guests can enjoy guided rainforest treks and adventures around the lodge’s very own private nature reserve and play an active role in the ecology projects at the lodge’s biological research station and its organic farm.
Such is the importance of the environment here that a quarter of the land is designated as protected reserves and forests. Costa Rica is home to a staggering five per cent of the world’s biodiversity. There can be few more beautiful places to experience it than San Gerado de Rivas and the singular, Casitas Monte Azul. There may be another eco residence somewhere in the world which combines an artist-in-residence project with artisanal cheesemaking but it’s unlikely they do it with such creative flair as Monte Azul. The self-contained apartments are like mini art galleries, filled with works by local and international artists. Guests are invited to join workshops on activities like paper-making and screen printing. As for the delicious home-produced cheese, there’s also the chance to milk a cow and produce some of your own.
All over Costa Rica there are eco-lodges and hotels where sustainability is central to everything from construction to support of the local community. Pacuare Lodge is a prime example. Every effort was made to minimise the impact of creating an oasis of tranquillity, designed to exist in harmony with forest and river. Not one single tree was cut down to make space for any of the buildings and the timber from which they are made comes from a reforestation project run by local farmers. The elegant thatch roofs are the handiwork of Cabécar Indians using traditional techniques to weave together fallen palm leaves gathered from the forest reserve. Here, guests can enjoy surfing lessons and spectacular private river rafting expeditions on the nearby Savegre River. There is beauty in nature of so many different kinds in this lush and diverse country. With more than eight hundred miles of beautiful coastline it has some of the finest beaches to be found anywhere. With high mountain ranges reaching more than twelve thousand feet the climate varies enormously over relatively short distances. It can be hot and dry on the coast at the same time as the mountains are shrouded in a cooling mist.
Over and again, Costa Rica proves luxury and sustainability can go together. At the Arenas Del Mar in Manuel Antonio guests enjoy eleven acres of national parkland where monkeys and sloths coexist with this beautiful resort. A private catamaran, the Spanish Dancer, makes a lyrical sunset voyage along the shoreline where dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and many different seabirds are regularly in evidence. Here one can snorkel in Biesanz Bay and bathe from one of the glistening white sand beaches soaking in the welcoming Pacific and watching the gleaming South American sun set on a personal paradise.
Costa Rica has something for everyone. From three thousand year old ruins to the modernity of its cities, from adrenaline highs to relaxed and leisurely beaches and warming seas, stunning scenery, mountain, jungle and a whole Ark-load of animals and plants, Costa Rica needs to be seen to be believed.

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Itineraries

SOUTHERN ODYSSEY

Bathe in soothing volcanic mineral waters beneath grand, cloud forest waterfalls. Take in the splendour of a tropical fjord, home to dolphins, whales and manta rays and experience the magic of nature, kayaking through mysterious mangroves. Snorkel among the sea life in azure waters beside white sand beaches.

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10 nights/11 days from £4,590 per person

NORTHERN EXPLORER

Marvel at the wonders of the landscape in a thrilling helicopter ride over the cloud forest and giant volcanoes. Zip wire through the towering trees and take a white-water rafting adventure down the mysterious Pacuare River. Trek and abseil through this most beautiful of unspoilt lands.

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10 nights/11 days from £4,970 per person

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Destination guide

Capital

San José

Language

Spanish

Currency

Colon (CRC)

Flight Time from UK

11hr 15m

Time Zone (+/- GMT)

-6 hours

Costa Rica – Climate Guidance

With its diverse topography, Costa Rica has a variety of climatic zones. You can expect rainfall throughout the year in Costa Rica with the heaviest rain falling from July to October but without the rainfall, there wouldn’t be the lush wildlife-filled tropical rainforests, one of Costa Rica’s greatest assets.

There are two main seasons; the dry and the green and these vary dependent on the coastline. The dry season is from March to September on the Caribbean coastline and from December to April on the Pacific. Humidity increases in the months of May, June and November but this is a great time to explore the rainforests and when the rivers are at their fullest for white-water rafting.

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