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Costa Rica 2015


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Costa Rica March/April 2015

Day 1: Fly Manchester to San Jose via Atlanta Hotel  Xandari Plantation Inn

Day 2: San Jose at Hotel Xandari Plantation Inn

Day 3: San Jose at Hotel Xandari Plantation Inn

Day 4: Fly San Jose to Puerto Jimenez and drive to Osa Peninsula.  La Leona Eco Lodge

Day 5: La Leona Eco Lodge

Day 6: La Leona Eco Lodge

Day 7: La Leona Eco Lodge

Day 8: Drive to San Gerardo De Dota.  Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge 

Day 9: Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge

Day 10: Long drive to Tenorio. Rio Celeste Hideaway hotel

Day 11: Rio Celeste Hideaway hotel

Day 12: Rio Celeste Hideaway hotel

Day 13: Drive to Liberia airport & fly Liberia>Atlanta.   Atlanta>Amsterdam

Day 14: Fly Amsterdam>Manchester


Day 1: Flights

Fly Delta Man-Atlanta (flight time 9.08) then Delta Atlanta-San Jose (flight time 3.01) Delta seems to have a lot of older airport staff & cabin crew. This seems to work well as everything seems to flow smoothly. Transfer to Xandari Plantation Inn which is set in a former coffee plantation. This was before BA started direct flights UK to Costa Rica.



Stream in hotel grounds



Black Throated Trogan 






Flame-Colored Tanager  




cr lizard 6.JPG

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Day 2: Lazy day at Hotel

Breakfast is in an open fronted restaurant at Plantation Inn with views down valley to San Jose. We have a lazy day to recover from our flight and wander around the extensive verdant gardens; it is a joy to do so.  It’s so peaceful and relaxing.  The food here is excellent.  They have their own vegetable and herb garden and everything is fresh, the salads are amazing.

Day 3:  Poas Volcano

Today we go on a trip to Poas volcano, a very busy tourist spot. The drive there passes a lot of coffee plantations.  We then have a walk of approximately half an hour to the crater rim and look down into a green lake and steam coming out of vents.  Quite an experience looking down into the steaming cauldron of a volcano!








Lava flow going own into valley 

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Day 4: Fly to La Leona Eco Lodge on the Osa peninsula one of the most remote places in Costa Rica. The lodge is just next to Corcovado National Park. 


After breakfast we transfer to San Jose Airport for flight with Nature Air Puerto Jimenez. The Plane is a very rickety 12 seater plane with gaps around the door.

From the plane there are views down to forest and into the Gulf of Dulce with whales swimming below.


 We are picked up by taxi driver in his old Toyota 4X4 for the trip to La Leona Eco Lodge. This is about a 2hour drive on some rough roads. We stop and drop our bags off at a hut for transfer to lodge.  The bags will be transported across the beach by horse and cart.  We continue our drive to the end of road, here our taxi driver points us along beach and says it’s about 2miles down there then he drives off.  




The Horse gets a cool down paddle 


It is a very hot walk along the beach but beautiful. 


We see Scarlet Macaws bickering with each other in the trees.  By the time we get to the lodge we are very tired, walking on the soft sand is not easy. We are greeted on arrival and passed a glass of iced tea, very welcome indeed!  We are taken to our tent which is about 20 feet back from the beach and the Pacific Ocean. From our tent we can see various lizards about including Jesus Lizards so called as the can run on water.


Jesus Lizard







Yellow Headed Caracara just in front of tent 


 The tent is basic, a bed and outdoor W.C & shower. There is only electric by generator 8am-9am & 4pm to 9pm, no mains water and no heating or cooling. We go down for dinner which is eaten outdoors on table made from a tree stump.  The food was very good especially considering the basic cooking facilities.  We head back to our tent and go to sleep with the lullaby of the ocean.

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Day 5: Lazy day at La Leona

Breakfast time and then a self-guided walk up into the rain forest.  There are great views down to the ocean and Capuchin Monkeys watch us from the trees above.   We spot Poison Arrow Frogs at the side of the path.




After dinner with go on a guided night walk; the only special dress needed - a pair of wellies (wellington boots). There are lots of animals and insect noises in the forest. We see some large cane toads. Then we hear something very noisy coming through the undergrowth towards us, eventually a skunk appears and just runs past us. There are the two of us and one other guest on the walk.

After about an hour walking up into forest, we start the decent by walking down the middle of a stream and are told to follow the guide’s footsteps exactly. The guide spots a Cat’s Eye snake which is not very poisonous but then a Fer de Lance one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. It is hard to keep footing at time and we are told not to put our hands down where there are leaves as snakes may be under leaves!  Another Fer de lance spotted but my wife does not seem too keen on taking a photo of it as it is only 6ft away.


Cat’s Eye snake



Fer de Lance


Fer de Lance


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Day 6: at La Leona

Today after breakfast we go on a guided walk along coast. There are six of us and the guide. We find tapir tracks but no animal seen. Howler monkeys are spotted in the trees and Spectacled Caiman in the river.


The closest we got to Tapier 



as near as we wanted 


We have a packed lunch on the beach watching hundreds of hermit crabs looking for new larger shells, fascinating!  On the way back we get caught in a heavy tropical shower and in a matter of minutes we are all dripping wet but the sun soon comes out again and the heat dries us off in no time.





Day 7: at La Leona

A self-guided walk today, back in the direction of the road but this time in the forest instead of along beach. There are lots of Scarlet Macaws in trees which seem to be constantly arguing with each other but their colours are beautiful, we could watch them all day.  It is very hot today so after lunch we just laze about reading and listening to the calming sound of the ocean.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Day 8: Transfer to San Gerardo de Dota

The next day after breakfast, we walked along shore but this time through the forest to a 4wd taxi to pick us up and take us on the next stage of our journey.  We collected our bags from the horse and cart we head to Puerto Jimenez.  

In the trees at the side of the road, our driver points out a Common Poto.  How the driver spotted it I will never know, what camouflage!  He also spots a White Nosed Coati.


 In Puerto Jimenez we transfer to a standard taxi for the drive to San Gerardo de Dota.  On arriving, we walk to our room which is about 800metres on dirt paths through the cloud forest. It’s so much cooler here and we feel the difference after the 30 deg at La Leona to about 5 deg in the cloud forest.   The restaurant is very nice and food delicious – if a rather long walk to get there and back.


Day 9: at San Gerardo de Dota 

Early start today, meeting the guide at 5am for a bird watching walk. The two of us travel in car with the guide and several other people follow in various cars. The aim today is to see Resplendent Quetzal.

This involves lots of stopping on the road with telescope looking for the bird. He does find a couple of Quetzals and it is worth all the searching.


 The only very poor photo of Quetzal


After lunch we laze about in and by our room which has great views into the forest. Watching the local birdlife


Red legged Honeycreeper


A Great Curassow hidden in the undergrowth

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Day 10: Transfer to Rio Celeste

We are collected from hotel the hotel and drive across country and through San Jose, this takes around 6 hours.  We arrive at Rio Celeste Hideaway hotel and taken to our room which is a stand-alone cottage and enormous!  There is a lot of carved wood furniture in the room.  We head down for dinner but here the food is not quite the standard we have been used to in Costa Rica.  



Day 11: Excursion to Cano Negro Wildlife refuge

After breakfast, we leave with a guide to drive to Cano Negro. Once there we are taken along the river in a small boat. The birdlife is incredible. Must be the highest concentration of birds anywhere we have travelled.  We see amongst others Roseate Spoonbills, Green Ibis, Egrets, Jacanas, Trogons, Herons, Kingfishers, Snake birds etc.


Boat Billed Heron 



Cherries Tanager 


We land on shore and walk to the lake edge. There are Caimans in and around the lake. On returning to the boat we go further upriver and stop at a local house for lunch. Our guide says Rambo lives here you will know what I mean when you meet him. The son of the house appears in shorts only showing of his muscles!

There is an outdoor kitchen with a couple of women cooking. Lots of locals seem to call in and purchase lunch. While we are waiting Rambo asks if we what a coconut drink, then goes and shimmies up the tree and picks two coconuts. He then brings them to us and cuts the top off with one swing of his machete.  The coconut juice tastes really good.

While we wait at the table there are chickens, dogs and cats chasing each other round and under the tables. Eventually we receive a local style lunch which is excellent.  We are asked if we want another drink and order a couple of beers.  However, it seems they have none but about an hour later Rambo comes back after going out on his boat to get some beers for us!  Great service and hospitality.

By this time our original boatman has given up and left us, so Rambo offers to take us back on his rather dilapidated boat.  A bit of a wreck it may be but reaches speeds of about 30 mph, which is exhilarating but a bit hard to spot the wildlife.

Apparently there are 307 Species of birds at Cano Negro, 78 mammals and 96 reptiles.  



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Day 12: Rio Celeste np

Today we drive to Tenorio Volcano National Park and walk the trail along the Rio Celeste. The water is an electric blue colour. There is a steep climb down to pool & back up to the path. We then walk on to place where two streams meet both are clear water but once they meet the water turns blue. We see humming birds very close up and our guide points out various birds and lizards.











The meeting of the rivers 


Day 13: Going home

Transfer by car Rio Celeste to Liberia airport approx. a 3 hour drive. Then fly Delta Liberia to Atlanta (flight time 4.56min). Then next flight KLM Atlanta to Amsterdam


Day 14: Fly Amsterdam to Manchester 


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  • 1 month later...

We were also in Costa rica  in 2015, we stayed in 6 locations . I've  promised  myself we'll  go back and do the Puerto Jimenez side of Osa and San Gerado de Dota ,  an itinerary similar  to yours. We might have to revisit Poas as well, the crater was obscured by mist for us. 

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