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Cox & Kings Natural Wonders of Costa Rica

Cox & Kings Natural Wonders of Costa Rica

I have just experienced Cox & Kings' fabulous Natural Wonders of Costa Rica Tour, which I can’t wait to tell you all about. I flew Club World on the new direct British Airways flight, direct from Gatwick to San Jose. With a flying time of only 11 hours, the extra space & comfort of Club makes a huge difference & I would recommend this to anyone whose budget will allow. On arrival into San Jose we were met by our friendly tour guide, Juan Carlos, who would stay with us throughout our trip. San Jose is located in the Central Valley, a fertile agricultural region with a pleasant mix of the traditional & modern. Although it is relatively small compared to most national capitals, San Jose has a number of interesting museums, restaurants and shops. A short transfer took us to the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose, where we had an excellent dinner, ready to start our journey in the morning.

Doka Estate Coffee tour
Located on the slopes of the Poas Volcano, the Doka Estate belongs to the Vargas Ruiz family, pioneers in coffee growing for over 70 years. We were taken on a journey of harvesting, processing & roasting the grains & the production process of this first-class coffee. The mill here is one of the oldest in Costa Rica & the plantation has been voted amongst the best in the region. At the end of the coffee tour, you can purchase various types of coffee to take home with you. Our next stop was the Tabacon Grand Spa hotel, our home for the next two nights. The Tabacon Grand Spa is situated near the base of the beautiful Arenal Volcano, until recently one of the world’s most active. The Arenal Volcano is situated in 2,900 hectares of protected cloud & rainforest. The Tabacon Grand Spa hotel has one of the best hot springs in the area!!!

 

Boat trip on Rio Frio
Cano Negro is one of the most important wetland regions in Central America & is considered to be of international importance, as it protects a number of endangered species. Driving through this area brought us to the tiny town of Los Chiles, where we boarded a boat for a trip along the Rio Frio. The sunlight made for the perfect day to spot a wide range of birds, caimans, and howler monkeys, whose distinctive howl makes them easy to spot, high up in the trees!

 

The Nicoya Peninsula
The next morning, we took a 3.5-hour drive to the Nicoya Peninsula. The Gulf of Nicoya is separated from the mainland & is surrounded by the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. The area has beautiful coastal scenery & numerous national parks. We reached the Punta Islita Hotel where we spent the next 2 nights. The hotel is perched on a mountain outpost, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Within the hotel, I could see & hear howler monkeys in the grounds & beautiful, exotic birds close to my room. The scenery from my room was spectacular & even better when admired from my outdoor jacuzzi & hammock!

Local Flight to Quepos.
Air travel from the ‘glamour’ days…we arrived at the airfield to see our local flight taxiing in. We were met by two pilots, who helped us board a small plane with our luggage & advised that our trip will take approximately 30 minutes. Once we are in the air, we have the most breath-taking views. Our guide Juan Carlos described it as ‘Pura Vida’, a commonly used phrase in Costa Rica meaning “pure life”. The sheer beauty of Costa Rica warrants nothing less than this description. All too soon, we arrive in another beautiful part of Costa Rica – Manuel Antonio. This had to be my favourite part of the tour. Manuel Antonio is one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, but certainly one of the finest. Beautiful forests fringe beaches & dramatic rocky headlands. Within a short time, I see a sloth in a tree right in front of me - I was so excited! I then spotted a family of squirrel monkeys, racoons, scarlet macaws & many more fascinating creatures. Walking at altitude within the national park offered superb ocean views & stunning vistas - it really is a paradise for lovers of the natural world.

 

Our last two nights were spent at the El Parador Hotel, located in 12 acres of gardens & a forest peninsula on the central Pacific coast. My ‘Tropical’ room had a balcony overlooking the rainforest, with views of the ocean. On my way to dinner, I spotted another sloth sitting calmly (do they have any other mode?) in a nearby tree. Everyone gathers around to take a look at this wonderful creature. We have a beautiful Costa Rican dish of chicken and rice, overlooking the sea. A perfect way to end this ‘trip of a lifetime’. We say our goodbyes to our wonderful guide, Juan Carlos, & driver Orlando, who have become close friends during our time together. So many wonderful places, so little time! I can thoroughly recommend Cost Rica & Cox & Kings, of course – please get in touch & I’ll be very happy to help with any enquiries.

 

My top tips for Costa Rica

1-Take a good quality camera. – a good camera, especially one with a zoom lens, will certainly help to get you the most amazing up-close photos of your personal favourite animals!

2 -Costa Rica is a tropical country so take a lightweight raincoat, in case of short (but maybe) heavy rainfall. Take lightweight clothing & cover up with long sleeves & trousers in the evening, to prevent any mosquito bites. Sturdy & comfortable walking shoes are also a must.

3- When travelling within the National Parks, please do not be tempted to feed the animals. Certain foods & products can actually make them very ill. So, although you may think that you are helping, it can actually harm them. Most wildlife feed on naturally occurring foodstuffs; supplements are sometimes given by staff within the parks.

4- A tour in my personal opinion is the best way to see & experience Costa Rica. A great tour guide with local knowledge & expertise will make a huge difference to your trip.

5- Check with your GP regarding any up-to-date health requirements, as depending on the areas you travel to within Costa Rica malaria prevention may be required. Take a strong insect repellent (with at least 50% DEET).

About the author:

Sue Lowe is a travel expert with extensive worldwide travel experience. As well as far-flung exotic destinations, Sue has special expertise on luxury & activity family holidays, & ski holidays.

Contact – info@travelclubelite.com

0121 213 0012

 

  • 25th August 2017
  • Sue Lowe, Senior Travel Consultant