Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

Garden Tours

Gardens of Costa Rica

Costa Rica, Spanish for ‘rich coast’, is especially well-named if you consider the extraordinary wealth of plant, bird and animal life found within this small Central American country.

The term ‘biodiversity’ might have been coined with Costa Rica in mind, such is the range and number of different species that flourish within its pristine, tropical forests. Add some truly spectacular scenery and resplendently laid-back, happy people to the mix, and you have the makings of a life-affirming holiday experience. 

We visit a broad range of gardens both public and private, such as the Else Kientzler Botanical Gardens with its world class collection of plants.

In such a beautiful setting, we spend plenty of time taking in the spectacular natural features of the country. Lake Arenal is Costa Rica’s largest body of fresh water, and was enlarged to three times its original size when a hydro-electric dam was built here. The Poás Volcano is another highlight and is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular volcanoes, with an enormous crater and a steaming lake at the bottom. We also seek sub-tropical wildlife in the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Julia Corden

Julia Corden

Julia Corden is the Garden Manager at the Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry and has led numerous Brightwater tours to every corner of the globe.

Today's Price
£3,895

Deposit: £390 Single supplement: £960

Tour highlights:

  • World’s largest butterfly garden at La Paz Waterfall Gardens
  • Breathtaking views from the Ileana Teran garden
  • Spotting subtropical wildlife in the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Tour details

Dates 2 February 2020 - 14 February 2020
Duration 13 days
Cost
Today's Price
£3,895
Deposit: £390 Single supplement: £960 Balance due by 10 November 2019
Activity Level
Tour code BWGCR20A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

2 February 2020: Itinerary

We depart from London on our flight to San José, the capital city of Costa Rica. Please note that regional flight connections, flight upgrades and/or overnight accommodation before or after the tour are available on request. Upon arrival in San José we will be met by our coach and local guide and transferred to our accommodation, the Bougainvillea Hotel in Santo Domingo de Heredia, a few miles to the north of San José. The hotel is set within 10 acres of lush tropical garden and has a secluded outdoor swimming pool and sauna. Dinner will be served upon arrival. 

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea

This morning after breakfast we visit the Else Kientzler Botanical Garden in Sarchi Norte at the foot of the Poás Volcano. This private garden is home to over 2,000 different plants from around the world, including hibiscus, helicons, succulents and bromeliads. In addition there are examples of woody trees in danger of extinction like Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa "Red Foxwood"), Ron ron (Astronium graveolens "Zebrawood"), Cristóbal (Platymiscium parviflorum "Macawood") and Guayacán real (Guaiacum sanctum "Roughbark lignumvitae"). There is also an area for flowering plants: groundcovers, shrubs and trees that flower abundantly.

After lunch (included) we visit the private garden of Mrs Esther Rodriquez.

We return to the hotel where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea

This morning after breakfast we check out of our hotel and depart for a visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens where we visit the world’s largest butterfly garden and learn about the surprisingly complex life of the butterfly. We visit the Hummingbird garden where we will be serenaded by the gentle hum of tiny wings lightly brushing the air as dozens of these colourful jewels buzz around you in search of food and a quiet resting spot.  We then take a short walk to the magical waterfalls where the refreshing spray of water from the streaming cascades cools us.   Lunch is included here.

We then travel north to Sarapiqui and our accommodation at the La Quinta. Dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

Hotel: La Quinta - Sarapiqui

After breakfast this morning we travel to La Tirimbina reserve, where we visit an organic cacao plantation, with the chance to make and eat our very own chocolate!

In the afternoon, after lunch (included), we shall visit Organic Paradise Tour, where we will learn about the process of pineapple farming, from the harvesting to then packing and export. There will of course be an opportunity to taste this delicious, sweet fruit.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: La Quinta - Sarapiqui

Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and head west towards Arenal where we will see the majestic Arenal volcano, which has not erupted since 2010 but still rumbles and smokes from time to time. Here we will visit a medicinal garden and discover how various endemic plants are used to produce effective medicines.

After lunch, we journey on to our comfortable hotel which enjoys marvellous views of the volcano.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Arenal Springs

This morning after breakfast we depart on a full day excursion to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, close to the Nicaraguan border. This area of protected marshland is the epitome of ‘biodiversity’ – in the course of our two and a half hour boat trip we will see an astonishing variety of birds, monkeys, iguanas, sloths, alligators and turtles as well as a diverse range of flora. We will travel back to the Arenal Area where we will visit some of the abundant hot springs to be found here, fed by the constant geo-thermal activity of the region.  Lunch is included today, along with dinner at the hot springs.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Arenal Springs

After breakfast we leave the hotel and after a boat trip on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest body of fresh water, which was enlarged to three times its original size when a hydro-electric dam was built here, we head south to Monteverde. Lunch is included today.

On arrival at our accommodation dinner will be served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Monteverde Country Lodge

Following breakfast, we shall tour a nearby orchid garden. Costa Rica has the richest orchid flora in Central America with more than 1400 identified species. After lunch (included), we visit a butterfly garden, where again we can expect to see myriad different species in a garden that has been specially designed to attract these delicate, colourful creatures.

We return to our accommodation and in the evening there will be an opportunity to have dinner in the unique Tree House restaurant, built into the upper branches of a huge tree (not included).

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Monteverde Country Lodge

Enjoy your breakfast. This morning we have a tour of the Monteverde Cloud Reserve, whose variable climate and large altitudinal gradient supports a complex and extensive eco-system: over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, including orchids, bromeliads, ferns, vines and mosses. Animal species include the jaguar, ocelot and Baird’s tapir and birds such as the three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrella bird, and the famously elusive resplendent quetzal – you never know with animals and birds but we might be lucky!

Following lunch (included) we drive down to the west coast to our accommodation for the next two nights.

Evening is at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Parador Resort and Spa

This morning, after breakfast, we tour the Manuel Antonio National Park, which was established in 1972 to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country's smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequalled, with its charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. The forest is home for sloths, iguanas, the rare squirrel monkeys and millions of colourful little crabs.

After lunch (included) we will take the Rainforest Spices Plantation tour. In this highly sensorial journey we will smell, touch and taste many different spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, black pepper and a variety of essential oils and medicinal plants.

We return to the hotel where the evening is at leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Parador Resort and Spa

After breakfast we will depart from then hotel and head back to San José, with a visit to the Orchid Garden in La Garita included en route. Costa Rica has the richest orchid flora in Central America with more than 1400 identified species. Lunch is included. On arrival at our hotel there will be some free time to relax.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea

This morning after breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel to San José’s Juan Santamaria airport for our return flight to London. 

Meals include: Breakfast

Arrival is due in London this morning, when the group will disperse or make onward connections.

2 February 2020: Additional Info

2 February 2020: Accommodation

Set within lush tropical gardens just a 20-minute drive from San José Airport, Hotel Bougainvillea offers a large outdoor pool, tennis courts and a gym. Rooms have balconies overlooking the gardens or city.

The hotel’s beautiful gardens are home to a huge range of native Costa Rican trees and flowers. You can also spot wild hummingbirds and frogs.

Each room at Hotel Bougainvillea offers free Wi-Fi, flat-screen cable TV, a ceiling fan and a coffee maker. Rooms are decorated with unique furniture made from local hardwoods.

The Vitrales Restaurant & Bar serves international fusion cuisine in stylish surroundings. There are fantastic garden views from the lounge bar.

La Quinta is an eco-lodge which promotes sustainable tourism. It strives to have little, to no negative impact on its immediate environment.  The hotel has ten acres composed of regenerating agriculture, a reforested area with native trees, an old-growth forest on the riverside and tropical gardens. 

La Quinta has 28 rooms in bungalows, most of them are wheel chair accessible, surrounded by the tropical garden rich in heliconias, gingers, palms and flowering trees.Rooms have private bathrooms, hot water, clean fresh towels, air conditioning, ceiling fan, walking closet area, hairdryer, safety box, and a beautiful roofed porch facing the gardens with hammocks and rocking chairs, from where you can enjoy the view of dozens of flowers and birds.

The hot springs of Arenal Springs Hotel are hundred percent natural and rich in mineral salts and ions. Offering an outdoor pool and a restaurant, Hotel Arenal Springs Resort & Spa is located in Fortuna, 20 minutes’ drive from Arenal Volcano site. Free Wi-Fi access is available. Specialties in meats and seafood, the international chefs do an excellent job receiving constant training. Each distinctive Junior Suite comes with direct views to the beautiful Arenal Volcano.

Monteverde Country Lodge has been remodeled assuring the maximum comfort, yet preserving the real essence of traditional rustic lodging of the Monteverde from 20 years ago. Wooden finishes and gorgeous gardens ensure we keep our guests in touch with nature; personal service and accommodating staff complement a renewing experience for fellow Costa Ricans and guests from around the world.

By rescuing concepts like sustainability, helpfulness, quietness and delicious traditional Costa Rican recipes, Monteverde Country Lodge orients its efforts on lending your trip a hand to become the most authentic adventure in this amazing forest.

Treat yourself to luxury at Parador Resort & Spa, one of Costa Rica’s foremost eco-hotels. The resort is perched on the Punta Quepos promontory, just a five minute walk to the beach and a short drive to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park. Stretching across over 12 acres of lush, wildlife-packed rainforest, Parador features a crisscrossing network of nature trails, culminating in exquisite cliffside vistas. Expansive rooms and suites effortlessly blend relaxed tropical style with contemporary comfort, and include private balconies, free Wi-Fi access and deluxe bedding. Buffet breakfast is included. The hotel has three swimming pools and a fitness centre and Spa. 

2 February 2020: Enquiries

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