Enchanting Costa Rica & Panama
Experience the natural biodiversity of Costa Rica and Panama on a tour that takes you to some of the best remaining unspoiled natural habitats on earth.
Experience the natural biodiversity of Costa Rica and Panama on a tour that takes you to some of the best remaining unspoiled natural habitats on earth. We see rare and colourful wildlife, take in vibrant cities and sample local specialties on a tour that weaves its magic at every turn.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Journey on the Panama Canal Railway
- All rail and coach travel as described
- Scheduled flights from London Heathrow to San José via Madrid and Panama to Heathrow via Madrid
- 13 nights' hotel accommodation
- 28 meals, including 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 13 dinners
- San José city tour, including the National Theatre
- Arenal Hanging Bridges & Angeles Sugar Mill
- The Monteverde Cloud Forest & night walk through the Children's Eternal Forest
- Selvatura National Park & Butterfly Farm
- Crocodile safari cruise & visit to Carara National Park
- The Golfo Dulce & Corcovado National Park
- Walk through the Piedras Blancas National Park
- Finca Lerida coffee experience
- Bird watching at Finca Lerida
- Guarare & Parita
- Miraflores, the Panama Canal, including the Visitors Centre & Museum
- Fully escorted by a UK Tour Manager from start to finish
Days 1 & 2 - London to San Jose
Our Central American adventure begins at London Heathrow, as we take the flight to San José, Costa Rica's capital city, via Madrid. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, the Park Inn San José, where we overnight. On Day 2 we enjoy a city tour that showcases the best this former Spanish Colonial outpost has to offer. We see the National Theatre, a building that dates back to 1897 and was paid for by tax levied on the 'ticos', or citizens, of Costa Rica, a great source of national pride. We continue on to the pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which is home to over 1600 objects of pre-Columbian era gold. The museum also houses Costa Rica's first coin, the 'Media Escudo', minted in 1825. We then leave San José and head north to La Fortuna.
Day 3 - Arenal Hanging Bridges
We explore the Arenal Hanging Bridges today, as we visit this private nature reserve, which spans 250 hectares of tropical rainforest. Because we traverse the rainforest from its lofty heights, there is no need to hack and slash through the undergrowth to make any progress, yet from our vantage point we are immersed in the sights and sounds of nature. As many of the rainforest's inhabitants actually reside in the tree canopy, our elevated position puts us much closer to the wildlife that lives here. Later we continue through traditional sugar cane and plantain plantations to Angeles Sugar Mill, where we enjoy a taste of the local sugar cane liquor, 'Chirrite'.
Day 4 - Arenal Lake Cruise & Children's Eternal Rainforest
We travel to Monteverde today across Arenal Lake, a man-made mass of water that supplies hydroelectric power to large areas of the country. Built in 1974, the lake provides a fantastic viewing platform from which to see the spectacular Arenal Volcano, and is home to many migratory birds, including the resplendent quetzal. Later we visit the enchanting Children's Eternal Rainforest, named because it was bought and then protected thanks to the fundraising efforts of children around the world. It is now the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, and a glowing example of the biodiversity in this country's rainforests. We take a night walk through the rainforest, giving us the opportunity to see many nocturnal creatures as they emerge to conduct their business. Accompanied by our naturalist guide, we hope to see tarantulas, grey foxes, and snakes - with the rainforest's nighttime soundtrack resonating in our ears.
Days 5 & 6 - The Monteverde Cloud Forest & Crocodile Safari
A morning walk into the Monteverde Cloud Forest is our first foray into the wilderness today. We hike through the forest, where the countless varieties of flora and fauna reveal themselves in turn, as the early morning mist succumbs to the dawn's sunlight. Home to a staggering 400 different species of birds, the Monteverde Cloud Forest also boasts 5,000 different species of moth and over 100 varieties of mammals, including the howler and capuchin monkeys. This afternoon we transfer by coach to Selvatura National Park, famed for its Butterfly Farm - the largest in the Americas. - as well as being home to a staggering number of hummingbirds, and one of the rainforest's more sedate movers, the sloth. On Day 6 we set off on our coach transfer from Monteverde to the verdant Central Pacific Coast region. En-route we stop off for a crocodile safari cruise, and a visit to Carara National Park, a fascinating nature reserve that is home to 48% of Costa Rica's avian species.
Days 7 & 8 - The Golfo Dulce & Corcovado National Park
On our way to Esquinas today, we explore the fertile Golfo Dulce region, an area characterised by lush rainforest and azure blue sea. Many wildlife species make their homes here, from playful macaws to squirrel monkeys, dolphins and whales in the Pacific Ocean. On Day 8 we spend time in Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula. After exploring this spellbinding natural habitat, we take a motorboat ride along the coast of Golfo Dulce and enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach. Later we take a gentle walk through the Piedras Blancas National Park.
Days 9 & 10 - Boquete Coffee Experience
Crossing the border into Panama we make our way to Boquete, known for its sweet oranges and vibrant natural beauty, Boquete boasts the perfect climate for a variety of plantlife, including coffee beans packed with rich flavour. We check into our hotel on arrival, the Finca Lerida Lodge, a former coffee estate dating back to 1922, where this afternoon we enjoy an interactive coffee experience. On the morning of Day 10, we enjoy a spot of birdwatching on some of the Hotel's many trails.
Days 11 & 12 - Guarare & Amador Causeway
We transfer to the Azuero peninsular by coach this morning, and in the afternoon visit Guarare, a major folkloric village in the region. Here we learn about the 'pollera', Panama's national dress. Later we continue to Parita, a local hub for artisans, where we see the striking devil masks and traditional folkloric crafts. On Day 12 we visit the Amador Causeway before travelling to Miraflores to view the colossal vessels that pass through the Panama Canal, a man-made wonder.Whilst here, we also explore the Museum and Visitor Centre dedicated to the canal's creation.
Days 13-15 - The Panama Canal Railway & Home
We travel on the mighty Panama Canal Railway in panoramic carriages to Colon today. From the comfort of our seats we enjoy one of the great train rides of the world. The line flanks the Panama Canal passing through lush rainforests, cruising alongside the Canal's locks, through the historic Gaillard Cut and gliding over slender causeways in Gatun Lake. Later we visit the indigenous Embera tribe, before returning to Panama City. On Day 14 you have a morning at leisure before the afternoon flight home, via Madrid, arriving in London on Day 15.
Rail Your Way
Own your holiday, make it bespoke, especially designed for you. This could be as simple as a variation to one of our existing tours by choosing where and when you want to begin and end your journey. Or something totally unique with your chosen destinations and hotels for the time you want. Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your holiday so you can have the experience you want.
Ask your rail specialist for details.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Finca Lerida Lodge, Boquete
The unique 4-Star Finca Lerida Lodge is set on a coffee plantation with a gourmet restaurant that serves delicious traditional food using fresh, local ingredients. Due to its location, there is also a coffee shop that sells the coffee from the surrounding plantation - coffee that has been exported from the plantation since 1929. You can also take a stroll around the plantation, looking out for the colourful birds, such as the Quetzal bird, that are native to the area. The comfortable rooms all come with a television, a safe, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Hotel Casa Roland Golfito, Golfito
In a country of astonishing natural beauty, the Hotel Casa Roland Golfito is the perfect place to appreciate the wonderful sights and colours that Costa Rica and its natural parks have to offer. Set in a town, close to the stunning Golfito Bay, this hotel takes in the very best of Costa Rican hospitality. Facilities include three swimming pools, a gymnasium, tennis courts and a restaurant. Each room provides WiFi access, a security box and a television.
Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa Hotel, La Fortuna
The superb, 5-Star Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa Hotel in La Fortuna is set against a stunning backdrop, overlooked by the majestic Arenal Volcano and just ten minutes away from Arenal Lake. Tastefully furnished with rustic décor, rooms are well equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen television, a coffee maker, complimentary Wi-Fi and breathtaking views across the volcano and gardens. Facilities at Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa Hotel include two on-site restaurants, which serve expertly prepared local and international cuisine, two bars and 24-hour room service. The hotel boasts a full service spa and fitness centre, as well as its own naturally heated hot springs, exclusively for the use of hotel guests.
Arenal Springs Hotel, La Fortuna
Arenal Springs Hotel sits at the base of the Arenal Volcano, nestled comfortably in its lush foothills. The volcano provides natural hot springs which are available for guests to use, and there is also an outdoor pool with swim-up bar and open-air spa. The colourfully decorated rooms feature beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano, and come with excellent amenities, including air-conditioning, a television, a minibar, tea & coffee-making facilities, and an in-room safe.
Hotel Poco a Poco, Monteverde
Our hotel in Moteverde is the 4-Star Hotel Poco a Poco. This lovely hotel is located close to the Moteverde Cloud Forest Sanctuary, and the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens, and is set in some delightful gardens. Facilities on offer at the hotel include a bar and a restaurant, as well as a spa which offers a range of beauty and massage therapies (payable locally). The stylish rooms are decorated in neutral tones with wooden accents, and come well equipped with a television, an en-suite bathroom, a hairdryer, and coffee-making facilities.
Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro, Panama
Our base in Panama is the Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro, located close to the Parque Natural Metropolitano. Amenities on offer here include an outdoor pool, a gym, and a restaurant, serving Mediterranean inspired food. The rooms are decorated in neutral colours, and feature large picture windows, giving the rooms a lovely airy feel. They also all feature a minifidge, coffee making facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout.
The Panama Canal Railway
The Panama Canal Railway runs past the magnificent Panama Canal, its structures and towering ships provide a fantastic showcase of human engineering. We enjoy panoramic carriages during our journey, allowing us unbroken views of the canal and passing jungle vistas - one of the best ways to experience the scenic part of Panama. The Panama Canal Railway is used as a commuter service for local people travelling from Panama to Colon. It also transports freight across the Panaman Isthmus.
Dates & Prices
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|6th November 2019||£4,095||Book Now|
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: Departs 6th November 2019 (£4,095)
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Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking. Itinerary & accommodations may vary for 2019 departures, please speak with a Rail Specialist for details.
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