Costa Rica

Pura Vida! Meaning ‘pure life’ this is a greeting and more importantly the life philosophy of Costa Rica. Infusing everything, Pura Vida has come to represent the best elements of a journey here. Costa Rica offers prime wildlife viewing opportunities, secluded palm-fringed beaches with gnarly surfing conditions, lush dense jungles and stunning cloud forests packed with biodiversity. Coffee is an institution here thanks to majestic volcanoes providing nutrient-rich soil. This peaceful nation with no army and a thousand smiles is consistently ranked high by global happiness experts as a place to live happily. What’s not to love about a land full of adorable sloths?

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What to Expect

If you desire wildlife viewing, journey to the depths of the Osa Peninsula’s prolific rainforests in search of sloths, monkeys, toucans, Scarlet macaws and a multitude of mammals, butterflies and birds.

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Adventure enthusiasts will be enthralled by the array of choices around the Arenal Volcano area and the cloud forests of Monteverde; from hanging bridges, turquoise waterfalls and horse riding, to hiking to volcanic calderas and soaking your stress away in hot springs. Perhaps you’d like to witness turtle nesting and hatching on the Caribbean coastal area of Tortuguero? The ocean buffers the country on both sides, the Pacific Ocean on the West and Caribbean Sea on the East coast; a palm-fringed beach is never far away when you are ready to relax or take a surf lesson. Our aim is to keep you away from the crowds, providing unique and intimate experiences to cherish for years to come.

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The Essence of Costa Rica — Housing over 5% of the entire world’s animal and plant species, Costa Rica is a paradise for wildlife and bird lovers.

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The southern Osa Peninsula is Costa Rica’s last frontier; National Geographic have termed this the most biologically intense place on earth. A remote and raw jungle experience where scarlet macaws and toucans fly overhead, monkeys roam the jungle. Humpback whales come to raise their young here, and whilst difficult to spot, the elusive ocelot, puma and jaguar also call this home. Few areas on earth are blessed with such rich wildlife and birding opportunities.

Genuine Eco-tourism focus – Costa Rica is at the forefront of sustainable efforts to be carbon neutral and eco-friendly. As a result, it has some of the world’s best eco-lodges and most are plastic-free. Relish in divine lodges nestled in the depths of the jungle, or perched amongst the treetops with spanning views over the ocean; indulge in sumptuous spa treatments with biodegradable beauty products or dine on delicious meals with organic ingredients while feeling reassured that these lodges are doing everything possible to reduce their impact on the environment and wildlife. Many lodges have complimentary sustainability tours to take you ‘back of house’ and learn more about their direct efforts, and those of Costa Rica as a whole.

Channel your Inner Adventurer – We mentioned Costa Rica is an adventure enthusiasts’ paradise, but did you know you could rappel down free-flowing waterfalls, scale to the summit of ancient trees 300 feet high, SCUBA dive with manta rays and reef sharks, suspend among the rainforest canopy on hanging bridges and search for tarantulas or poison dart frogs on a night walk through the jungle? Almost everything your adventurous heart could desire can be done in Costa Rica.

Hidden Gem – Costa Rica is well known for wildlife on land, but the marine life here is just as much a highlight! The country is one of the best places in the world to spot the majestic humpback whale raising its young; with whales in residence here more months of the year than anywhere else worldwide. Humpback whales migrate here to raise their babies in the warm Pacific waters through the months of July through till March, and there are two distinct migration patterns. Dolphins are plentiful, too, frolicking amongst the boats. Another enriching experience are the turtle nesting and hatching seasons, an opportunity you’ll not soon forget. Five different species of turtle nest across different regions on both the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, allowing you to witness mothers laying up to 700 eggs at a time. Between July and September, you can catch a glimpse of either mothers nesting or hatching babies as they scurry down the beachfront for their first taste of the ocean. During winter, you can even witness magical bioluminescence at a few select locations, best done around the new moon each month.

Need to know

Direct flights are easily arranged into San José or Liberia from 9 different US gateways including New York, Washington, D.C., Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

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  • We recommend 8-12 days to fully appreciate the wide variety of destinations and experiences on offer.
  • Costa Rica is an excellent option for every type of traveler. We believe couples, honeymooners, families, and small groups will all find their Pura Vida on a trip here.
  • Visas are not required for most visitors, but inoculations may be recommended. We suggest you see a travel medicine specialist for advice.
  • The air and road infrastructure in Costa Rica are excellent, with only the occasional bumpy road. Your journey will be mostly overland with a combination of vehicle, small aircraft, and even boat!
  • English is widely spoken in the hospitality industry, however in smaller villages, locals speak Spanish. Practice with the locals and laugh along the way.
  • Guides receive rigorous training and are very well-qualified throughout Costa Rica.
  • Food is hearty and fresh within high international standards. Even simple meals like beans and rice are savory!

When to go

Weather in Costa Rica is divided between the dry season (summer) and the wet season (winter). The Caribbean coast and southeastern Osa Peninsula generally experience more humid weather than the rest of the country. The cloud forests of Monteverde and Arenal Volcano have a refreshingly cooler feel due to higher elevations.

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November to April (the Dry Season): This is the recommended time to travel with clear skies and sunny hot days. The ocean is warm and provides ideal surfing conditions. November to April is best for birdwatching, and wildlife is active in the early mornings and late evenings. This is peak season

May to October (the Green / Wet Season): Sunny humid mornings often make way for afternoon rains. While rains are short and infrequent, avoid the months of September and October which are particularly wet with frequent storms. Accommodations are more affordable, and sights are less frequented by tourists. Wildlife is still active, though best seen in the mornings before the rain sets in.

Accommodation

Observe wildlife from the deck of your luxury lodge in the depths of the jungle, sip a cocktail by the pool of a boutique hotel with vistas over the ocean or towards a towering volcano, visit hotels nestled amongst coffee plantations or and indulge in a spa treatment at a resort with natural hot springs on-site.

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There is a myriad of accommodation options to truly enhance your journey through this stunning country where you’ll experience the infectiously happy Tico hospitality full of warm gestures and fantastic service from locals who exude a laid-back attitude combined with diligent work and genuine care to make your stay memorable. Every property booked on a Rothschild Safari is vetted by staff and offer the highest standards in each category.

What our travelers say

Amy Lundberg

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

Betsy Robertson

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

Dawn Jacobs

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

George Kowalski

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

Jackie Smith

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

Jamie Scarlett

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Joe Moravec

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Kim Mather

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Lisa Anderson

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (and family)

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.