Wildlife of Costa Rica

Central America’s Garden of Eden

Trip Scholar: Professor Nick Davies

Professor of Behavioural Ecology, University of Cambridge
Available to Alumni of Oxford and Cambridge, family and friends

13 day tour
Price from £3,295

A jungle-clad jewel nestled between the Pacific and the Caribbean, fringed by powder white beaches, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. In this stunning setting, discover some of the world’s most unusual mammals such as sloths, tapirs and armadillos, as well as a host of monkeys and fabulous birds, from bright toucans, macaws and parrots to the prized resplendent quetzal. Accompanied by zoologist and ornithologist Professor Nick Davies, explore the waterways of Tortuguero, the lush rainforests, waterfalls and lakes of Arenal Volcano, the mist-covered Cloud Forests of Monteverde and jungle beaches of Manuel Antonio.

Tour highlights

  • Enjoy dramatic habitat diversity, from rainforests to powder-white sand beaches
  • Encounter incredible wildlife including squirrel monkeys, cheeky white-faced capuchins and white nosed coatis
  • Look for birds such as roseates and northern jacanas and stunning butterflies such as the blue morpho
  • Stay in carefully chosen hotels and eco-lodges convenient for exploring the national parks
  • Extend your understanding of the destination with engaging lectures from zoologist Professor Nick Davies
Costa Rica Alumni Tour Map

Itinerary at a glance

Day 1:     Tour starts in San Jose |  Temple World’s recommended BA flights from London arrive same day
Day 2:     Drive through the Braulio Carillo National Park  |  Continue by boat to Tortuguero
Day 3:     Explore Tortuguero National Park by boat  |  Look out for jacanas, howler monkeys and three-toed sloths
Day 4:     Transfer to Sarapiqui | Stay in a hacienda set in a 1,500 acre lakeside ranch
Day 5:     Visit La Tirimbina Rainforest Centre | Option to cross a 860m suspension bridge across the Sarapiquí River
Day 6:     Transfer to La Fortuna  |   Tour Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 7:     Choice of activity at Arenal  |  Sky Tram, Sky Walk, zip-wires
Day 8:     Cross Arenal Lake by boat  |  Quaker settlement of Monteverde | Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
Day 9:     Quaker & conservation talk   |  Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park  | Stop at Carara NP
Day 10:   Morning discovering the beaches and wildlife of the Manuel Antonio area  |  Afternoon at leisure
Day 11:   Explore Manuel Antonio NP  |  Return to San José after lunch  |  Farewell dinner
Day 12:   Tour ends after breakfast | If flights booked through us, fly overnight to London with BA
Day 13:   Temple World flight tickets only – arrive back in the UK this morning

14-25 April 2018 (14-26 April if taking our flights)
Room TypePrice Per Person£690Optional FlightAvailability
Standard£3,295£690From £650 returnAvailable

Optional flights
Temple World can arrange flights from London to coordinate with this tour.  British Airways has a direct service from London which works particularly well with this itinerary, with a cost from £650 return per person in ceconomy including taxes, and fees.  Other airlines, routes and departures from regional airports are available.   We can arrange a group transfer to and from the airport to coincide with the flight arrival/departure time of the BA flight for a small extra charge. Private transfers to meet any flight are also possible.

Booking your own flights
Clients wishing to use airmiles to buy or upgrade flights, or who wish to fly from outside the UK are advised to book their own flights.  The start and end point for the tour is SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica. Do be careful as there is also a San Jose airport in California – booking engines and even travel agents have been known to confuse the two.  The correct airport code for the one in Costa Rica is SJO (Juan Santamaria International Airport).  On 14 April, the first day of the tour, there are no activities until dinner, so guests can arrive at any point during this day.  Check in at the Presidente Hotel is from 2pm but bags can be stored there if guests arrive early. We will be happy to provide a quote for early check-in if needed. On 25 April, the last day of the tour, there are no activities after breakfast but you are welcome to stay until check-out which is 12.00 midday. If you would like us to give you a quote for late check-out or extra nights we will be happy to help. We will be arranging a group airport transfer for those booking flights with us (fee applies) but we can also arrange private airport transfers for those arranging their own flights for a supplement.

Very Important! Those who plan to book their own flights should not make any binding or non-refundable arrangements until their place has been confirmed in writing on the tour and Temple World has confirmed that it is a guaranteed departure.

The tour price includes
Hotel accommodation in a twin or double bedded rooms with ensuite bathroom throughout, all excursions with local guides including entrance fees (except any optional excursions if mentioned), full board (except on first day, where no meals are included until dinner, and after breakfast on the last day, where lunch, if needed, is at own expense), expert trip lecturer.

Not included
International flights, drinks, tips to drivers & guides, items of a personal nature.


NHS Fit For Travel advises travellers to Costa Rica are usually recommended to immunise against: Hepatitis A. There is a risk of Malaria in parts of Costa Rica but the areas we are visiting are considered a low risk, so antimalarials are not usually advised. A Yellow Fever Certificate is required if entering from an area with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please seek professional medical advice at least 8 week before departure. NHS Fit For Travel Website


UK and US passport holders do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica as a tourist. Nationals of a few countries may require a visa in advance, so please check with your local Costa Rican consulate before travel. Those transiting through the USA must have a valid ESTA or Visa prior to departure.

Fitness Guideline
We have graded the fitness level required for participation in this tour as Moderate. There is quite a lot of walking (not hiking) in the tour, on jungle trails and in rain-forest conditions which can be a little wet and slippery.  There may not be anywhere to rest or sit down regularly.
Full fitness guideline for this tour























































Trip Scholar

Professor Nick Davies
Professor Davies is Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Cambridge. An ornithologist and field naturalist, he has accompanied many previous alumni tours to great success. His research concerns the study of how behaviour evolves in response to selection pressures from ecology and the social environment. His current work focuses on the interactions between cuckoos and their hosts, and Professor Davies has recently published ‘Cuckoo: cheating by nature’ (Bloomsbury), as well as having previously co-authored a number of definitive primers on Behavioural Ecology.

Lectures during our tours

All our tours are accompanied by an academic ‘trip scholar’ as well as local guides. The local guide or guides provide the day-to-day guiding on our tours, whilst the trip lecturer will give regular lectures on his/her specialist subject throughout to provide an academic overview. Lectures/talks usually last 30-40 minutes including questions and answers (if applicable). These are generally held in the evenings before dinner and attendance is optional. We don’t usually specify before travel which days the lectures will be given (for operational reasons) but guests can expect them roughly every other day as a minimum, with some lecturers giving some kind of talk or presentation more frequently.

Optional Post-Tour: 3 night/4 day Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park

For those with more time, we have arranged an optional group post-tour with local guides to what National Geographic has termed “the most biologically intense place on earth”, the Parque Nacional Corcovado. The last great tract of original tropical rainforest in Pacific Central America, it is home to dozens of endangered species including Baird’s tapir, the elusive giant anteater and the spectacularly large harpy eagle.


25 April 2018:   San Jose to Oso Peninsula
Leave before the main group early this morning for a transfer to the local airport and a 60 minute flight to Palmar Sur in the south of the country. You will be met by your local guide and transferred to Sierpe from where a 90 minute boat journey down the Sierpe River then the Pacific coast, observing the mangrove wetlands on the way, takes you to Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge. Check in for a three night stay. The Four Star Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge offers the closest accommodation to Corcovado National Park and is set in lovely surroundings above a palm-fringed beach in 170 acres of private tropical rainforest. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the beach, hiking trails and swimming pools at the lodge.

26 April 2018:   Corcovado National Park
Have breakfast at the lodge before beginning the day’s exploration. Starting out from the lodge with your naturalist guide head into Corcovado National Park. The cool morning hours offer a good opportunity to spot wildlife and to observe some of the incredible variety of birds that abound in the park. Along the trail your guide will have a chance to tell you some of the fascinating stories about life in the rainforest and you can hope to spot white faced capuchin, red-tailed squirrel, collared peccary, white nosed coati and northern tamandua, with birdlife including pairs of scarlet macaws and mangrove black hawk. Later, coming down through the forest you will find a river and then discover an incredible waterfall. Now is your chance to cool off in one of the shaded pools of the rushing river. Afterwards, you wind your way down the river until reaching the Park Station at San Pedrillo. There under shade trees on the beach you will enjoy a picnic with fresh fruit and ice-cold drinks. After lunch there will be time to explore the beach or to just relax. In the afternoon it’s a short distance along the coastal trail to return to the lodge. Dinner and overnight at Casa Corcovado Lodge.

27 April 2018:   Osa Peninsula activities
Today’s morning tour starts after a leisurely breakfast, when you’ll meet your guide at the Gear House to select your flippers and mask. It’s then a 40-minute boat ride to the ‘Coral Garden’. At certain times of the year, you may also see pilot or humpback whales, and dolphin along the way. The snorkelling site is located within a marine reserve, and is a good place for spotting a wide variety of fish and marine mammals, including – if you are lucky – manta rays, turtles and small white-tipped sharks. The lodge’s inflatable diving vests can be adjusted to allow you to bob on the surface, fully supported, or dive down below, whichever you prefer. Accompanied by your guide, this is a great tour for beginners and experienced snorkellers alike. Guests usually snorkel for around an hour. A picnic lunch is laid out and served at the rancho on the Casa Corcovado long beach on your return. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Casa Corcovado Lodge.

NOTE: If you would like to look for specific animals such as Baird’s tapirs, silky anteaters, ocelots, jaguars (v rare) you may need to take a different excursion on one of the two days (we recommend the lodge’s Sirena Park Station excursion for tapirs, for example), or possibly extend by another few nights to make sure you have time to visit the parts of the park best known for certain species at the right time of day or night.

28 April 2018:   Osa Peninsula to San Jose and onwards
After a hearty breakfast, return up river to the town of Sierpe for a transfer to the airport and flight to San Jose, where the extension arrangements end. Those travelling on Temple World’s recommended flights with BA (available twice-weekly) will catch a flight at 17.25 overnight to London. Those on earlier flights may need to overnight in San Jose and fly tomorrow. Transfers back to San Jose city and hotel accommodation is available to book for those who need it – please ask for a quote.

29 April 2018:  Those on BA flights only
Those who have booked Temple World’s recommended BA flights will arrive at around 10.30 this morning.

PRICE:   £1440 per person, based on twin share.  This post-tour extension is accompanied by local guides and can run with a minimum of two participants.  Single supplement £TBA.
INCLUDES: Air transfers to and from the Osa Peninsula, full board, shared guided transfers and excursions (provided by the lodge).  Excludes: Tips, drinks, items of a personal nature.

Private extensions
An infinite number of private extensions throughout Central America can also be arranged to suit your individual interests, with neighbours Nicaragua or Panama making great combinations.   For those flying via the USA and wishing to stop on the outbound or return journeys, we can arrange car hire and hotels in most regions.  It is also possible to stay longer in the Corcovado National Park area and we have a selection of delightful lodges to choose from in the Drake Bay and Puerto Jiminez sides of the Peninsula.  Please note that if staying more than three nights it won’t be possible to use the BA direct service back to London as this only departs on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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[The tour] was perfect in both design and implementation--Tour Manager, Archaeologist, food, comfort and weather. Timothy

Congenial Companions

Our small group tours are exclusively available to alumni of Oxford and Cambridge universities and their friends and family, making for a wonderful atmosphere amongst like-minded individuals.

Expert Lecturer

All our small group alumni tours are accompanied by a university lecturer as well as local guides, with illuminating lectures given throughout the tour to enrich understanding of the destination.

To reserve a place on one of our small group alumni tours, contact us for availability then send us a signed booking form and deposit.

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