The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Garden Tours


Southern Costa Rica

10 days From £2,995

26 January 2019



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

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.

Call for availability £3,195

Deposit: £319.50 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 26 January 2019 - 4 February 2019
Duration 10 days
Cost £3,195 Deposit: £319.50 Single supplement: £400 Balance due by 3 November 2018
Activity Level Challenging
Tour code BWSCR19B

Call for availability

26 January 2019: 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 accommodation, the Wyndham San Jose Herradura Hotel. The hotel is set within lush gardens with outdoor swimming pools, spa, an orchid greenhouse and organic garden. Dinner will be served upon arrival.

Meals include: Dinner

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. Our base for the next two nights is Hotel Rio Perlas Spa and Resort, set in the beautiful Orosi Valley. You'll be surrounded by tropical gardens and the cloud forest at the stunning property which also features a full-service spa, hot springs and 2 the outdoor swimming pools. All rooms have en-suite facilities. Dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

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

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. Dinner is provided in the evening.

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).

Lunch is included today and dinner is served in the evening.

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.

Our base is the Vista Ballena Hotel, set high among the mountainous jungles of Costa Ballena with panoramic views of both ocean and jungle. On arrival there will be time to explore the surrounding area and get to know the local flora and fauna.

Lunch is included today and dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

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.

Lunch is included today and dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

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 and return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

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.

26 January 2019: Additional Info

26 January 2019: Accommodation

26 January 2019: Enquiries

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