Begeleid: The Wild South

A wildlife adventure to melt stress away
Dense untouched forest, refreshing walks, bird-watching journeys and swimming in the waters of the Pacific Ocean are just part of a holiday anyone who loves nature and wildlife should experience.
The tour begins with a drive through wide fields, forests and pastures, all the way up to the giant Irazú Volcano where you enjoy the cool winds in these heights above 3,000 metres and – weather permitting – an impressive view over the Central Valley. On your way back through the ancient capital of Costa Rica, Cartago, which is one of the oldest and most religious towns in the country, you will have the chance to get a glimpse of La Basilica, a mystical cathedral with a Black Madonna.
While exploring our vast evergreen cloud forest and woodlands, you may even get to see the legendary quetzal disappearing into the mist – this bewitching colourful bird was already sacred to the Mayas. Then, after ascending to almost 3,400 metres above sea level, we will head down to the beautiful beaches of Dominical, Uvita and Golfo Dulce, the best places to unwind or take a nap in a hammock. You may even want to relax peacefully by the pool looking at the immensity of the perfectly clear blue sky while a couple of scarlet macaws fly around. Sunbathe and get a gorgeous natural tan. Learn about the walking palm and the milk tree! Your adventure will come to a happy end in the midst of abundant wildlife at Golfo Dulce where spectacled caimans and harpy eagles and with quite a little bit of luck even a puma or the rare jaguar can still be seen.


Day 1, Monday: San José – Irazú – Orosi (until 31.10.16) / Turrialba (up from 01.11.16)

The journey starts towards one of the most famous volcanoes in Costa Rica, the Irazú, which you will admire from a very close angle. While descending from the volcano, you enjoy the rural landscapes with coffee fields, dairy farms, and different plantations. On the way to Orosi / Turrialba, you will do a short stop in Cartago, the former capital city of Costa Rica until 1823, where you visit the “Basilica de Los Ángeles” with the Black Madonna, a very important religious landmark of the country. You will then reach your destination, Orosi (until 31.10.16) / Turrialba (up from 01.11.16), where you can rest while admiring the beautiful landscapes.

Included fees/tours: Irazú National Park entrance fee
Included meals today: None

Day 2, Tuesday: Orosi / Turrialba – San Gerardo de Dota

After breakfast, you will depart to the region of San Gerardo de Dota, which is well-known for its cloud forest and the high population of birds, but especially the famous colourful quetzal already sacred to the Mayas. Upon arrival, you can enjoy the hotel’s natural trails and explore the richness of the place and the peace of this forest on your own. A delicious dinner will be served at the hotel.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals today: Breakfast, dinner

Day 3, Wednesday: San Gerardo de Dota – San Isidro del General – Dominical

This is a great day for an early wake-up and a walk in the region in search of the mystic quetzal. If you find it, you will certainly get to take some of the best photos of your entire trip. These pictures will make everybody feel envy once you are back home! Breakfast will be served back at the hotel and you then take the road to Dominical. The climate change you experience today will be very interesting – watching how the tropical flora varies between an altitude of 3,400 metres and ocean level is really exciting. On your way, you will stop by Hacienda Barú where you will observe secondary rainforest, beaches, mammals, and birds. After this stop, the day ends at your hotel where we can take a rest while enjoying the magnificent view or a dip in the swimming pool.

Included fees/tours: Hacienda Baru entrance fee
Included meals today: Breakfast

Day 4, Thursday: Dominical

Certainly a day to remember. After breakfast, you will go off-shore to look for whales and dolphins. The cameras must be ready to catch these magical instants which will leave you speechless with hard to explain emotions. As whales can be seen here around 9 months a year (from August to April), there is always a good chance to catch a glimpse of one. After the tour, you will go back to the hotel to enjoy some time at leisure.

Included fees/tours: Whales and Dolphins Encounters
Included meals today: Breakfast

Day 5, Friday: Dominical – Esquinas Rainforest

After breakfast, you will follow the road alongside the coastline farther to the south. We pass Ciudad Cortés and Palmar Norte and will reach Esquinas Rainforest Lodge before lunch. An immense variety of nature in a huge lowland rain forest: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is a leader in terms of research, communal development and lectures. Esquinas created the ideal balance between comfort and sustainability. With the only objective of protection and research, the Austrian government bought large extensions of forest and donated it to the Costa-Rican government. The grounds of the lodge are a real jewel! An unthinkable variety of local plants attracts hummingbirds in droves every day, as well as the beautiful scarlet tanagers and toucanets. A spring-fed swimming pool invites for a rest. With your stay, at the same time you support the preservation of the rain forest and will be spoilt with an unforgettable experience at this eco-lodge.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals today: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6, Saturday: Esquinas - Casa Orquídeas - Esquinas

After breakfast, we drive to Golfito, where we get on a boat. The boat tour along the beautiful coast of the Golfo Dulce is an unforgettable experience and leads us along uninhabited beaches surrounded by untouched rainforest. Frequently, dolphins may be spotted, some lucky guests even have been able to observe humpback whales and whale sharks. After about one hour we reach the isolated Casa de Orquideas. Ron and Trudy Macallister live here since 1970 and have created an impressing botanical garden with tropical trees and exotic plants, among them many orchid species. After our visit, we can enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean and a picknick at the beach, before heading back to Golfito and our lodge.

Included fees/tours: Visit Casa de Orquideas
Included meals today: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7, Sunday: Esquinas - Golfito - San José

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the local airstrip. On the flight back to San José, from up in the air you can look back on the places you visited. After arrival in the central valley, you will be brought back to your hotel in San José.

Note: Please take into account that your luggage on all national flights with Nature Air or SANSA is restricted to 18 kg plus 4.5 kg hand luggage per person. You have the possibility to leave excess luggage in your hotel in San José or in the main office of ARA Tours without extra charge. 

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals today: Breakfast