Resplendent Quetzal
Resplendent Quetzal

Garden Tours

Southern Costa Rica

Costa Rica, Spanish for ‘rich coast’, is particularly well named when you consider the extraordinary wealth of plant, bird and animal life to be found within this small Central American country. Indeed, 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 to the mix some truly spectacular scenery and a laid-back, happy people and you have the makings a life-affirming holiday experience. 

Introduced by popular demand, this holiday complements our successful tour of the country’s northern parts. It explores the southern regions, including Golfito, often referred to as Costa Rica’s ‘last frontier’. Here we find an unexplored rugged wilderness, where the amenities are more basic, but the where one can experience an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the more popular tourist destinations.

What's included?

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

Today's Price

Deposit: £390 Single supplement: £400

Tour highlights:

  • World class collection of orchids at Lankester Gardens
  • Roberto Burle Marx design at Wilson Gardens
  • Explore remote corners of the rainforest
  • Glide through the treetops on an aerial tramway

Tour details

Dates 25 January 2020 - 3 February 2020
Duration 10 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £390 Single supplement: £400 Balance due by 2 November 2019
Activity Level
Tour code BWSCR20A

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

25 January 2020: Itinerary

We depart from London on our flight to San José, the capital city of Costa Rica. Upon arrival in San José we will be met by our coach and local guide and transferred to our hotel.  

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea

This morning after breakfast we visit the Lankester Garden, which has a world class collection of nearly a thousand varieties of orchids, all conveniently displayed at eye level. Orchids are very difficult to spot in the wild - even with a qualified guide you would be lucky to spot a dozen during a full day in the forest – and the majority are epiphytic, growing high in the canopy on trunks and branches and flowering for only a day or two. With so many varieties here there are likely to be hundreds in bloom during our visit, an excellent opportunity to view some exquisite specimens at close quarters.

After lunch we continue our journey south into the mountains, an area of National Parks and Reserves. 

All meals included

Hotel: Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

Enjoy your breakfast. We have an unusual and fascinating day ahead of us today, which begins with a walking tour of the surrounding tropical cloud forest. While one can never rely on the co-operation of wild animals there is every chance that we shall see some Resplendent Quetzals (Pharamochrus mocinno costarricencis), the magnificent Phoenix-like bird that was so revered by the indigenous peoples of Central America. Look out also for humming-birds, fly-catchers and finches darting about among the mighty oaks of the forest, along with bromeliads, lichens, ferns and orchids.

We return to the resort for lunch, after which we will enjoy a visit to the surrounding area of San Gerardo de Dota.

We return to the lodge in time for dinner.

All meals included

Hotel: Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and continue our journey southwards, stopping en route for lunch. Our destination is San Vito and the Wilson Botanical Garden. Covering 12 hectares and surrounded by 254 hectares of natural forest, this world-class garden was established by Robert and Catherine Wilson in 1963 and thereafter became internationally known for its collection.

Accommodation is provided here in self-contained cabins with views over the gardens. 

All meals included

Today is spent exploring the 25-acre Wilson Botanical Garden.  The elaborate garden is broken up into sections. Each features a different genus of plant with some crossover and additional species, such as large trees, mixed in. Mostly we will find areas of similar plants and see various plaques or tags identifying their scientific names. In the past, the gardens have been used mainly for scientific research so aesthetics wasn’t the priority. Recently, though, a new director has been initiating changes to make the gardens more appealing to everyday visitors. Flowering species are being added to areas that previously held only leafy vegetation, and a new hummingbird garden has been built in a Japanese style.

The plants include Palms (over 700 species), Marantas, Bananas, Heliconias, Dracaenas, Bamboos, Gingers, Aroids, Cycads and Bromeliads. Bromeliad Hill, where the Wilsons are buried, is one of the more manicured areas of the property. A signature design method of architect Roberto Burle Marx can also be found here. Look for the ruffled fan palm (Lacuala grandis) planted beside an imperial bromeliad (Vriesea imperialis).


All meals included

Following breakfast, we check out of the hotel and head south once again, towards Golfito, often referred to as Costa Rica’s last frontier. A remote and secluded region of the country, Southern Costa Rica is an unexplored rugged wilderness, where the amenities are basic, but the experience is authentic.

Upon arrival at our next hotel, there will be time to explore the surrounding area and get to know the local flora and fauna.

All meals included

Hotel: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Golfito

After breakfast this morning we visit Casa Orquideas, one of the oldest and most interesting botanical gardens in the southern Costa Rica region. The garden hosts some 100 species of orchids along with heliconias, bromeliads and host of edible plants.

All meals included

Hotel: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Golfito

The time has come to turn round and head back to San José. We will break our journey with a stop for lunch and a visit to the Aerial Tram near Jaco. This unique tour allows us to explore every level of the tropical transitional forest from the ground to the treetops as we glide silently through the trees in open gondolas, suspended from cables. As well as enjoying the one-hour gondola ride we also visit the beautiful Butterfly Garden and the fascinating Medicinal Plants Garden and take a walk through the Terrariums, where there are many interesting amphibian and reptile species, ranging from turtles to different species of frogs.

 In the afternoon we continue our journey to San José.

All meals included

Hotel: Hotel Bougainvillea

This morning after breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel to San José’s 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.

25 January 2020: Additional Info

25 January 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.

Trogon Lodge is located 0.9 miles from San Gerardo de Dota town centre and 5.6 miles from Los Quetzales National Park. It features an extensive garden, a terrace and BBQ facilities.

The rooms will provide you with a terrace and a private bathroom with a shower. You can enjoy mountain views and garden view from the room. Extras include bed linen.

Featuring a natural swimming pool and an extensive tropical garden, this eco-lodge is set in the rainforest just 1.2 miles from La Gamba Village, on the edge of Piedras Blancas National Park.

Furnished in wood, rooms offer a fan, desk, seating area, a wardrobe and a private bathroom. The jungle villa also features a kitchen with a dining area, kitchenware, a stove and a fridge.

Guests at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge can enjoy all meals included in the rate. There is also an on-site bar available.

This lodge is part of the prize-winning Rainforest of the Austrians project, and can arrange activities such as hiking in Piedras Blancas National Park, horseback riding to Chorro Waterfall and boat tours in the Gulf of Dulce.

25 January 2020: Enquiries

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