|Costa Rica, Panama
When hiking in Boquete keep an eye out for the resplendant quetzal, a bird with near-mythic status around these parts. Sacred to the ancient Mayans and Aztec people, the feathers of its gorgeous red breast and green crest were worn by priests during ceremonies. In 1944, Dr Alexander Skutch described the male as “a supremely lovely bird; the most beautiful, all things considered, that I have ever seen.”
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: San Jose
Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Real or similar, San Jose
- On arrival at San Jose airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in the heart of the city. In the evening you will meet your tour leader and the other members of the group for a pre-tour briefing. This is normally held at 6pm but please check the notice board at reception to confirm the time and place. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents along with you. Following the briefing there is generally an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.
- Costa Rica’s capital sits in the centre of a lush, wide valley which has a comfortable subtropical climate. The streets of the town are laid out along a grid iron pattern, with avenidas running east to west and callés running north to south. Many of the most interesting buildings are in the region of Avenida Central – the Teatro Nacional is an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors. There are a number of interesting museums in the city; the Museo de Oro has a good collection of golden pre-Columbian figurines. The Mercado Central is the main market which dates back to 1881 – there are some good food stalls here as well as countless artefacts for sale. Elsewhere in San Jose there are some good restaurants – you can dine out on Chinese, Indian, Italian or the more traditional variations on the theme of rice and beans.
Day 2-3: San Gerardo de Dota
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Trogon Lodge or similar, San Gerardo de Dota
- You will drive up the mountains in the south today, to reach San Gerardo de Dota. San Gerardo de Dota is situated in the mountains, it is surrounded by potato and carrot plantations, old growth oak trees and wildflowers and is close to one of Costa Rica's highest peaks.
- You may catch a glimpse of a quetzal here, a brightly coloured but rarely spotted bird, that was once considered sacred to the Mayan people. This is the best place in Central America to see it.
- Your guide will take you on a trip where you will hopefully see the bird, along with a number of other tropical birds including toucans, cormorants, kingfishers and egrets.
- You will have the opportunity to go rafting, or fly fishing on the Savegre River while you are here (optional). The Savegre River is the cleanest river in Central America.
Day 4-5: Golfito
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge or similar, Golfito
- You will continue on to Golfito today, on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Once a banana plantation hub before the area was struck by disease, the banana plantations have since been shut down and the area has instead become a national reserve and duty-free shopping zone.
- You will stay in the Refugio Nacional Golfito, a rainforest lodge overlooking the Gulf of Dulce. It is a sustainable lodge built from recycled materials and relying on solar power.
- While you're here you can choose from a number of optional activities, including fishing, hiking, kayaking, snorkelling and yoga. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife that frequents the rainforest and surrounding environment. You might see monkeys, iguanas, dolphins, toucans and bright blue butterflies.
Day 6-7: Boquete
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: La Casa de la Abuela or similar, Boquete
- You will leave your eco oasis and head across the border and on to Panama today, to reach the small mountain village of Boquete.
- Located in the valley of the Panama highlands, Boquete is awash with natural delights. It boasts forest reserves, crystal clear creeks and rivers, wildflowers, howler monkeys and quetzal.
- Panama's highest point, Volcan Bary, is nearby. From the top you can see the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- While you are here you can enjoy hiking, canopy tours, river rafting, kayaking and zip lining (all optional). this region is also known for its excellent coffee, so you may like to visit a plantation here, or hang out it in town over a local brew.
Day 8-10: Panama City
Meals included: 3 breakfasts
Accommodation: The Saba Hotel or similar, Panama City
- You will drive to Panama's capital today, Panama City. It is approximately a seven hour drive.
- On arrival you will check in to the hotel.
- On Day 9, you will enjoy a tour of Panama City, taking in El Casco Viejo, Ancon Hill, Causeway de Amador as well as the Panama Canal Visitors Center
- Your tour will come to an end after breakfast on Day 10, you are welcome to depart the accommodation at any time.
- The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour.
- Park fees.
- Arrival transfer.
- Authentic accommodation includes: Hotel (5 nts), Lodge (4 nts)
- Transport: Minibus
- Meals: 9 Breakfasts
- San Gerardo de Dota - Quetzal spotting tour
- Piedras Blancas NP - Mangrove kayak tour
- Boquete - Coffee Plantation tour
- Panama City - City & Canal tour
- International flights
- Airport departure tax
- Visas where required
- Meals not included in the itinerary
- Any optional tours or activities during free time
- Tips and items of a personal nature
- Daily budget
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
- San Jose - Butterfly Farm
- San Jose - National Museum
- San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls full day tour
What to know
No particular level of fitness is required however a certain degree of agility is best and you should be in good health.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region. We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.
Visas and Permits
Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Costa Rica. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
Please note that Costa Rican authorities require a Yellow Fever Certificate for visitors arriving from some countries in South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela).
At the time of writing, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans and British citizens do not require a visa to visit Panama for up to 90 days. All other nationalities should check with the Panama Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.
Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
Exploring Costa Rica-The Tico Times Costa Rica The Ecotravellers-Les Beletsky Wildlife Guide
Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 - David McCullough
Panama Fever - Matthew Parker
The Captain and the Enemy - Graham Greene
Panama: A Novel - Carlos Ledson Miller
The Tailor of Panama - John Le Carre
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Ocassionally sights such as museums and churches are closed to tourists on public holidays.
Please note that Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
Costa Rica Tourism Industry
Costa Rica has done a great job of looking after its natural wonders yet maximising their potential as tourist attractions. As a result, you should expect to pay for nearly every optional activity available. This allows everyone to individually have the choice of deciding on which activities they particularly want to participate in - from white water rafting to hiking - and also to plan their own budget. Prices in Costa Rica can be higher than in the rest of Central America but this also means high standards of service, well maintained gear, clear paths and signalling and well trained local guides that allow you to make the most of every activity.
Emergency Contact: Viaventure
24 Hour Emergency:+502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
9 April 2014
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Peregrine